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GOTY 2012

Game of the Year lists are a difficult thing for me to put together. Not only do I always hesitate to create one as I have not played every game released in 2012—releases that could potentially interest me like Sleeping Dogs, FTL and XCOM—but it is also difficult for me to put into a coherent string of words why I love the games that I do.

However, I've told myself "why not?" and have decided to make my own list of my favorite games of 2012.

List items

  • The original Persona 4 is one of the greatest experiences I've ever had playing video games and Persona 4 Golden only adds to that. The new content, such as the additional scenes involving the game's lovable cast, are mostly excellent and the modifications to the gameplay such as the streamlining of the game's iconic "fusion" process are as well. If this was the only reason I had to invest in a PlayStation Vita, I would say it was well worth it.

  • I am a sucker for player choice, and The Walking Dead uses that concept to such a great effect that it feels as though the story I followed throughout that game was my own and that the events that occurred were a result of my choices, despite the fact that the story follows a rather linear path no matter the decisions made. That combined with a compelling narrative and interesting characters made me await the next episodes in this series in excitement.

  • Persona 4 Arena is the best fighting game I have ever played. Not only is it a fast paced fighter with deep mechanics that are simple to learn for beginners, but it is full of Persona 4's unique style and charm. The story mode, what is essentially a twenty to thirty hour visual novel, is fun to partake in as a Persona fan and seeing the Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters interact with each other and observing what the memorable cast see and think through the first-person perspectives was fantastic.

  • Despite only being a two hour experience, Journey is at the top of my list as that short period made me experience such an intense emotional response that I did not think a game could make me feel. Along with my one and only anonymous partner (Vega5deneb), I went through this "journey" of amazing visuals and music. I straight up do not enjoy co-op experiences as I prefer to go at things alone, however Journey made it so, even partnered with a stranger, I never wanted them to leave my side.

  • This game belongs to a genre that I am not a fan of. Katawa Shoujo is basically an adult visual novel where the protagonist has the choice of romancing any one of a harem of physically handicapped girls. To me, this premise does not sound interesting AT ALL, however the characters are so well written and the setting so enticing that I couldn't help but feel very emotional in regards to this game and the events it depicts. Because of Katawa Shoujo, I am willing to give games in this genre a try, even though I'm still not a fan of lame and unnecessary sex scenes.

  • VLR's prequel, 999, was a rather tedious experience although ultimately rewarding. In comparison, VLR's presentation is much better, with nicely done 3D models and fantastic voice acting, and it is also a much more enjoyable experience thanks to additions such as being able to view a map for all of the possible timelines one can take, and freely jump from one to the next. The story may not be as good as 999's was, but it is still something worth experiencing and it makes me excited for the next game in the series.

  • Despite not loving the fact that the game was blaming me for all of the bad things that go on in it (YOU FORCED MY HAND, GAME), I was still impressed by how a seemingly generic third-person, military shooter, at its surface, transformed, even by rather subtle means, into a tale of a psychologically broken man combined with the player's choices that make it happen.

  • I am a fan of anime. Asura's Wrath is like anime, but in video game form. Sure, the game doesn't have much actual gameplay and what it does have isn't all that compelling, but I don't care when there are quick time events that involve punching a gigantic finger plunging from the sky with my six arms until they all break off.

  • I played this on a whim; having never played the first game and having no interest in the second one as a result. However, what I found was an absolutely fun first-person shooter utilizing a unique mechanic involving manipulating "the Darkness." Slicing opponents, throwing them and eating their heart out all while shooting at them never ceased its welcome. Combined with the compelling story of Italian gangsters meets supernatural craziness as well as psychological trauma, and you've got one of my top ten games of 2012.

  • This game does many interesting things, however it falls short on a lot of them. Player choice, for example, is somewhat meaningless as the only significance it has to the story are dialogue changes and those who accompany the main character on his missions. Despite this, it is a good third person game with an interesting story spun out of a well established trope. I simply wish the developers had done more with the relationship building mechanic with the squad.