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GOTY 2012

eleven games in no specific order that came out this year that i really liked. i only got a gaming-capable PC a week ago or so, so there are a lot of PC only games that i just didnt get a chance to play.


List items

  • This is at the top mostly because i just finished playing it, not 10 minutes ago. Spec-Ops: The Line is a very strange game. its a competent third-person shooter that should be on everyone's year end lists for its bold, if somewhat clumsy, story. the horrors of war have never been tackled like this in the medium of games before, and i think its a watershed moment that hopefully will lead to more big-budget games tackling more weighty issues. its heart of darkness themes are handled fairly well, with homages to other films like The Warriors, Toy Story, and even the comic book DMZ. its a game that isnt all that much fun to play, but should be played by as many people as possible.

  • its open world FPS done right. this is another one with the whole "decent into madness" theme, but not done nearly as well as Spec Ops. the game shines in its improvisational, emergent guerilla style gameplay. its got a lot (in quantity, not variety) of side stuff and collectables to deal with while traipsing around in the jungles, and killing wildlife.

  • i didnt like the ending. but getting to it was a hell of a lot of fun. definitely not as dreadful as people like to say. i also really love the multiplayer, which it a thing i never thought i would say about a mass effect game.

  • Anthony Burch is a first-time game writer, and i think he knocked it out of the park. the humor in this is what most people who dislike this game dislike it for, and i can totally see what they mean, but ive always liked Burch and crew's brand of humor so this game was hysterical to me. the gameplay, however, cannot be argued with. Gearbox has taken literally every aspect of the first game and made it better. thats what you want in a sequel. ive only played this game in multi-player, and its HANDS DOWN the best co-op experience you can have right now.

  • i like fighting games and i like persona. this was a good fighting game, which i wasnt really expecting since BlazBlue and Guilty Gear never really did it for me. my one real issue is Yosuke's character portrait looks weird. did anyone else notice that?

  • Blink is a game changer. its impressive how a single power can breathe life into a gameplay style that had kind of hit a wall. it let deus-exing around a level be creative, improvisational, and kinetic rather than just looking for vents. the half-life 2-meets-steampunk environment has the best art direction this year, even if the graphical fidelity (on the 360, where i played it) left something to be desired. if i was ranking this list, this would be in my top 3.

  • Treyarch is the Call of Duty A-team now. where modern warfare 3 felt stagnant and uninspired, BLOPS 2 felt like a game made by a development team that still had something to say in the biggest series in the world. the story itself is kind of whatever, but the hidden branching paths were a brilliant little touch. it was fun to sit in the car with a buddy and give each other the rundown of how our games panned out. the pick 10 system in the multi-player side of things is the best thing to happen to online COD since COD4. making a class no longer feels arbitrary , it finally lets a player really customize and specialize each class in a meaningful way. Infinity Ward has a lot to live up to following this one.

  • Max Payne is a TERRIBLE bodyguard. this game told a classic Noir story in sun baked favelas and neon washed skyscraper night clubs. its a game about a broken man, running from demons and chasing ghosts. i thought it was a blast to play as well. i played it on 360, so i had used the aim assist and i was driving and sliding and smashing with the best of them. i feel like i should re-buy it on PC and play it properly. it also has a pretty entertaining multi-player mode, though it didnt really hold my attention all that long.

  • who woulda thought that The Darkness would get a sequel? it was a early 360 game based on an obscure comic book, with a bizarre story and clunky gameplay. the sequel streamlined the demon arms so that they are controlled with two buttons, making them as effortless and instinctive to use for they player as they are for Jackie. the graphical overhaul was a welcome addition as well, taking on a colorful, comic book style. the story was pretty good, putting jackie up against a cult of darkness-worshippers, as well as the darkness itself and a really interesting series of sequences that make you question everything thats happened in both games so far. its ending kind of sets up for a sequel, and i hope that sequel actually end up existing because the Darkness is a franchise im really starting to love.

  • this has been a good year for games that are like movies. Sleeping Dogs is an open world crime game that instead of working in the style of goodfellas or scarface, fashions itself after movies like SPL: Sha Po Lang, and Police Story. It's a sprawling tale of triads and cops, with Wei Shen playing both sides. its dripping in the style and attitude of its influences, with flashy hand-to-hand combat and car chases, as well as emptional scenes and family drama. this is the best straight open world crime game (Saints Row The Third is in a league of its own) that isn't called Grand Theft Auto, and is even better than a couple that are.

  • Dumb, but in the best way. James Gunn joins Suda51 to craft this supremely Japanese slice of madness, a thing that i am afraid is starting to disappear as Japanese devs keep trying to "appeal to western audiences". Nick is the most likable head in the hisory of games. juliet is dumb, but not stupid. a tone that a lot of games cant seem to hit. this is one of the games that had me laughing out loud the most all year.