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Games of 2012 (WEEK 1)


So I was looking back on how I handled my Best of 2011 personal debate and eventual final list, and got to thinking about how I'd like to do it better this time around. I wanted to start my own little feature blog that looks at the biggest and brightest games released this year and provide some opinions on them.

A great many potentially fantastic titles are due out over the next 2 months (the last few weeks have already been kind to us, actually), but then there are all of the other games that were released earlier in the year that I enjoyed but don't remember clearly, or that I picked up but didn't put the time into. I had been keeping a running list going, actually, which can be seen here, and in order to give them fair trial I will be briefly re-visiting them over the coming weeks, alongside the new releases, and building up my top 10 list as I go. I will keep them in order but might swap them around as I go, and when I get to 10 games, I'll start dropping games when I add new ones in. Exciting! I'm not looking at finishing everything, just at playing everything enough to form a solid opinion. I'll also give some thoughts on other topics and trends that have cropped up in 2012.

By the final week of the year, I will have my final list, I'll have provided the commentary I wanted to share, and I will have had some good practice at keeping to a schedule and staying committed to a blog, which'll come in useful for reasons that will become clear soon enough (with any luck!). I'll be covering a lot of 2012's best games, but only the ones that are of interest to me.

A note on spoilers: I will try to keep this free of information that would hamper someone's enjoyment of the featured games - I intend the opposite, in fact! In cases where I feel it is worth mentioning something potential spoiler-y, I'll tag it so you can avoid it if you want to.



  • Released: October
  • Giant Bomb Score: 4/5
  • My Score: 5/5
  • Quick Look

A new IP, yet cut from familiar cloth (shades of Deus Ex, Thief, Half Life 2 and Bioshock run throughout), it perfectly hit the mark for me of empowering me when I want to be stealthy. The powers that I chose gave me new options that I'd not experienced before, key to it all being the ability to jump around instantly with Blink. I used it to move from one high point to another to avoid enemies and keep a good view of my surroundings, but after a while I realised that I could be much more bold with it. I tried using it to move directly behind enemies before going in for the knockout, and when times got tough and enemies were surrounding my position, I used it to skip around them and into a new hiding spot.

There were many abilities that I never even got to try, but that was my choice as I aimed to play it as cleanly as possible. Had I chosen to invest in some of the more deadly powers, I think I might have been more creative with my kills and escapes, and it looks like the game is well equipped to empower that kind of player as well - looking at videos of the abilities in action, I think I could have a completely different experience if I wanted to. The story and setting are fantastic, with the pronounced art-style giving it a distinct personality. The way that missions are set up initially feels stilted, but as you begin to become familiar with the world and your options, you appreciate it all much more. There are things that could be improved in a sequel (repetitive AI dialogue, some finicky use of the abilities), but as a stealth-adventure game built from the ground up to put the player in control, its a huge success.

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Hotline Miami

The most exciting and refreshing game I've played this year, with the best original soundtrack. This is a top-down, fast-paced action puzzle murder-em-up, and it just gets me all jumped up every time I play. You learn the mechanics of the game naturally, usually by getting smoked as soon as you encounter something you've not seen before - but every time you master that new gameplay wrinkle, you feel powerful and dangerous. It's instantly on my GOTY list for these reasons. When a games gets me excited or emotional like this, it's doing things right. The game's visual style is equally exciting - swimmy, trippy and vibrant, but clear in its intentions and hiding hidden depth in the environment details.

I don't want to go into it much more at this point, as I'd like to see people try it for themselves. I'll probably come back with some additional thoughts once I complete it, but for now consider it recommended without hesitation.

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Current List

2Hotline MiamiNEW


My Giant Bomb Lists

I keep lists of the games I am currently playing, and those that I complete (which I then give a score out of 5). You can check them all out here, as you can see my 'To Be Completed/Currently Playing' list exploded over the last 9 months, and so I'm forcing myself to concentrate on 2012 GOTY hopefuls until January, and then go back to the rest.

Fresh Games Coming Up Soon

  • NFS Most Wanted
  • Forza Horizon
  • XCOM
  • Assassin's Creed III

If you do end up reading this, I'd love to hear what you think. Like the idea? Any suggestions on a better format?