GOTY 2012

This is my 2012 GOTY list. Unlike other years, I didn't play much of the current year releases... the free PS+ games kept me busy and away from most new releases. I guess, if there weren't such a great selection of free games every month, my list would feel more complete and less apologetic. Because of that, there are several cool looking games still in my backlog at the moment of writing this (like Asura's Wrath and Dishonored), and several would-be contenders I didn't even try (like Max Payne and Far Cry 3). I hardly feel all ten games are that great, but I had to complete the number...

List items

  • Every choice might cascade into survival or extermination, every decision might be the difference between a flawless victory or a crushing defeat. Every soldier has a name, a story, a familiar face and, if they die (and they will), they are gone, forever... The game never let you forget that danger; this is not a power fantasy, since you are the underdog.

    That tangible tension, coupled with you getting to know your troops, makes this strategy game an experience. The soldiers are more than resources, and you begin to root for them; to cheer at their victories and curse at their failures; to share their stories and feel their pain. And all that, with so little in terms of scripting and designers generated content, is an achievement on itself.

  • To say Telltale tried new grounds by making a dramatic point and click adventure game instead of their lighthearted, humorous franchises would sound like a dangerous move. To say they delivered would be an understatement. The game manages to create likable characters in niches that far more produced medium fall flat: small girls, convicts, rednecks, they would sound like one-liners descriptions, but they are starting points to some of the deeper, most endearing characters out there.

  • Speaking of surprises, nothing in the first few hours of this game make me felt like it was nothing but an average shooter stared by stereotypical military characters. By the time they pull the carpet on us, we are deep into a journey to darkness and despite our instincts, we have to see it through.

  • Its a pity the reaction of the ending make so much noise, people forget the high points of this game. At his highest, this game is as good (or better) than the previous ones. At his lowest, its not worst than the lowest of the previous one. Maybe less memorable moments make this game less impressive than Mass Effect 2, but it certainly was a great game well worthy of being the closing chapter of one of the biggest IP of the generation whose worst sin was, probably, raising the stakes too high.

  • Some people complain this is just "more Borderlands". Although that is a fair (and true) statement, the fact is there is no cooperative experience like it. Three years after the first game, there is still so little competition in the couch co-op market that every game feels like a welcome addition. That, and the fact the game is a smart sequel, surgically dealing with most of the issues with the first one, makes it a definitive experience for those that want some FPS online experience, without the unilaterality of competitive gameplay.

  • What a beautiful game. What a beautiful, minimalism game. Only 2 buttons and a narrative that leaves a lot open to interpretation, paired with some of the most beautiful graphics and music (bar none) is what this game uses to catch people into an adventure like no other.

  • I might be one of the few people that liked Darksiders 2 more than the first one. True, the settings and characters in the first one felt better and more fresh, but the game had some serious pacing problems. Not only the amount of backtracking was overwhelming, and the difficulty curve resembled a cardiogram, but the combat felt sluggish and ineffective. The second game solves a lot of those issues and presents a far more focused adventure.

  • This game has one of the deepest stories found in fighting games (if somewhat poorly implemented and, in the end, irrelevant), with a single story told from concurrent and intersecting points of views that don't feel out of place despite combining characters from different games. That alone would raise some eyebrows, which the game complements with a deep fighting system, like Arc Systems is used to make.

  • This is likely my biggest surprise of the year. I barely even noticed this game before, and when I did (trailers and such) I thought it was awful. However, after I tried it, I started noticing a lot of charm and silly humor. This game is so self-referential its beyond parody.

  • This game was so ambitious, I needed to try it just to see what it all the fuss was about. The idea of a Elders Scroll-like game with a heavy emphasis on combat and where all spec options where valid sounded interesting, if somewhat disjointed. In the end, the whole game feels this way: not all mechanics have the same level of polish and not all areas and quests are that interesting; sometimes reaching overpopulation without nothing else to offer.

    However, its a nice option for people looking for action western RPGs.