List of Games Beaten in 2012

Third annual one of these. I beat all the games on this list in the year 2012 of the Common Era. That's pretty much it.

As is customary for retired Games Beaten lists, here's some stats about the year's gaming:

  • Total Games Completed: 62
  • 2012 Games Completed: 24
  • 2011 Games Completed: 14
  • 10+ Year Old Games Completed: 4
  • Games Started But Not Finished: 11 (most shameful one left behind? Dark Souls, still in hiatus from 2011)
  • System Breakdown: 360 (20), Steam (10), PS3 (8), Wii (6), 3DS (4), PS2 (3), Desura (3), DS (2), GBA (2), PC (1), GOG (1), GB (1), NES (1). (Yeah, weird year.)
  • First Game of Year: Bastion ("The Kid reckoned he'd heard enough impressions of Rucks for one year.")
  • Last Game of Year: Pineapple Smash Crew (seeing the year out with some fireworks)

List items

  • 01/01-06/01. Starting the year right. Bastion's a great game. I don't know if it would've made my top ten, but it's certainly a tightly-packed isometric adventure that's nice to look at and listen to. I probably didn't do myself any favors using keyboard controls. Wait, I'm making a huge blog for this, why am I writing anything here?

  • 2011-10/01. Been playing this on and off since around Xmas when the Ambassador package arrived. It's ideal for that sort of portable incremental play. At this point, I've mastered every mini-game, so it's time to move onto one of the many other GBA classics on there. Or Ghost Trick. Future's looking bright, 3DS.

  • 2011-01/02. Clearly Monolith Software were sitting around a table and thinking "you know, we've made a few of those incomprehensible space robot RPG games, how about we just make one that's <i>frickin' awesome</i> instead?" And thus was it so. Had I played more of Xenoblade last year, it would've easily made my GOTY: It has seriously rejuvenated my love of JRPGs. I might even have the courage to face FFXIII-2 now. Except... after 160 hours of this I'm not playing another RPG for at least a month (which is, curiously, around the time when Mass Effect 3 comes out). Let's see how I fare with less exhausting games for a while.

  • 2011-05/02. A rather slight Mario adventure, though much like any Mario game there isn't anything particularly objectionable about it. Each stage has its own personality, though many of the traps and obstacles seem to be culled from Mario games of the past (including Galaxy). Makes it feel rather by-the-numbers in nature. At this point, all I have left to achieve is beating every stage with Luigi, a task so utterly pointless I may just ignore my completionist tendencies for the time being. UPDATE: Yeah, so, I beat every stage with Luigi. I regret everything.

  • 07/02-17/02. Skyward Sword has its issues, but it had some welcome additions and a pretty interesting world. The dungeons felt more integrated and oddly dynamic, there was plenty to do (perhaps a little too much) and the swordfighting's complexity threw me for a loop more than once. It's not perfect, but maybe future Zeldas can build on this. Or maybe be completely different. Either case is fine, honestly.

  • 18/02-19/02. Like with the Phoenix Wright games, I was glued to this mystery until I beat the game a relatively short amount of time later. It's definitely gripping and I've beaten more expensive games in less time, I suppose. Loved the puzzles too, needless to say, though a few were slightly aggravating (like the jailbreak sequence). Great stuff overall.

  • 23/02-26/02. It's a solid little teamwork game, if a little awkward to get your big partner guy to do what he's told. Exploration, puzzle-solving, a lot of collectibles and some fun but easy boss fights results in a nice, low-stress game to cool down with before I hit The Last Story's no doubt byzantine JRPG combat.

  • 29/02-09/03. The Last Story is quite something. Deep Fire Emblem style strategic combat - that frequently and happily mixes things up, changing the rules and introducing new elements to make every battle feel unique - wrapped around a meaty Gears of War cover-based action core. The story feels very traditional 16-bit JRPG too, with knights and princesses and "doing the right thing", which goes some way towards acclimatizing genre fans to the divergent gameplay. Overall it's a fantastic game and, like Xenoblade, a clear example that Japanese game design (especially that of the increasingly hoary, trope-laden JRPG) can learn from the West and could feasibly once again become the dominant creative force in the industry.

  • 14/03. Mass Effect 3 wasn't available to rent, so I made do with the adventures of Punchy McAngryface. It feels like a Dragon's Lair game for the new century; its utter devotion to Quick Time Events makes that feature actually excusable for once, given how it's integral and not tacked-on for the sake of whatever hack designers feel it's good for. However, as much as I liked the story and the weird-ass directions it took, I have no compulsion to watch it all again, regardless of the "four playthroughs minimum" that the achievement list appears to require of me.

  • 15/03-21/03. ME3... I feel a lot of people were gunning for this game to either fail horribly or totally redeem BioWare after the problematic Dragon Age 2. In a sense, it did both. It unwisely persisted with DA2 style fuck-ups such as boring wave-based battles and a mediocre and inconclusive ending, but it was still a mostly solid Mass Effect game that didn't feel horribly broken nor incredibly lazy. I'm saying it's more "Return of the Jedi" than "Godfather 3": Still the low point of the trilogy, but definitely no failure.

  • 24/03-26/03. While Deadly Creatures has "budget" written all over it, with its shoddy camera and various glitches, it's also a highly inventive platform/brawler type game that follows a tarantula and a scorpion on their quest to be jerks to their local ecology. The nail-biting combat is fine enough, but it's the vertiginous traversal in particular that's the real winner. You also sting Dennis Hopper in the balls, as if he needed that.

  • 29/03-20/04. This thing just took over my life for the past month. It's a Tales game, so it was pretty much everything I expected, but for some weird text localization issues (I believe it was rushed) it's as slick as any Tales game could hope to be. But man, am I done with JRPGs for a long while.

  • 22/04-23/04. Fez is remarkable. For many reasons, in fact, and not all of them good. What is good, though, are the mostly thoughtful puzzles, beautiful pixel-based art, a soulful and subtle soundtrack that nicely complements one's ability to think out the low-stress puzzles and how cleverly its central gimmick is utilized. It has some glitches and is fairly short, though that's par for the course for a small Indie team. There's also "what Phil Fish said", which has little if any bearing on this game but does a better job framing it than any promotional material might: Borderline genius if a little self-important and not as insanely creative (meta puzzles were being done by The Fool's Errand on the Apple-II) as it would have you believe. But still definitely good. And a promising start for the people involved.

  • 28/04-03/05. The XBLA Doom, to be specific. Had fun revisiting my past. Ultra-Violence was definitely the way to go, though that last episode was a doozy.

  • 11/05. Short and sweet point-and-click, part of the May Madness challenge. Read about it there, I guess.

  • 12/05. Also a short and sweet point-and-click and also part of the May Madness challenge. Read about it there too.

  • 13/05. That thing I said twice already.

  • 08/05-14/05. Venetica's a fun little ARPG from Germany, with just enough going on with its real-time combat and interesting applications of Death's macabre powers to keep things interesting. Ought to keep the Snider spirit alive with these grassroots European entries.

  • 20/05. Max Payne was an interesting shooter with one really awesome gimmick and a fairly quirky noir plot. The second is pretty much more of the same, though it felt a little worse for wear. Maybe that's simply the result of the ravages of time though. At least the hallucination levels in this one were far more bearable.

  • 13/3-28/5. Whenever I had something between 15-30 minutes free (usually when cooking), I'd bust out Samus' latest (at least chronologically in-universe) for a quick jaunt. It was a lot tougher than I remember it being, though it's possible I've just been spoiled with easy games since I last played it. Just feels like it's been a while since I've had to repeat a boss fight a few times is all.

  • 25/05-29/05. Witcher 2 was pretty great, though I think I allowed myself to get hyped up a little too much. While there's no denigrating its excellent writing and presentation, it seemed as buggy and occasionally janky as every other Euro RPG I've played, like Venetica above. It's an impressive game, with a remarkable level of challenge, though not the second coming of the Infinity Engine era of PC RPGs I was (perhaps unfairly) expecting.

  • 01/06-08/06. XIII-2 does a lot of things right. It's like Square-Enix finally started listening to its detractors, or acknowledged they exist at least. Even so, the odd time travel premise is a little hard to wrap one's head around, and it's as melancholic as I think I've ever seen a Final Fantasy game, which is definitely saying something.

  • 11/06-12/06. I liked this cover-based TPS, which isn't a sentence I thought I'd say any time soon. Definite shades of Vanquish, what with the goofy action movie dialogue, equally goofy sci-fi nanomachine-ridden near-future setting and an incredibly familiar ruggedly handsome bro protagonist. I can't tell if the Japanese are earnestly attempting to break into the big market for this type of game or if they're making fun of us. I suspect both.

  • 14/06-??/??. See, this is more like it. Final Fantasy nostalgia wrapped around a rhythm game with an incomprehensible name is way more preferable than Final Fantasy nostalgia wrapped around a fighter with an incomprehensible ruleset. I kind of wished they went further with the unlockable bonus materials (more characters would've been nice too) but it's a solid little package all told. Here's hoping for more Theatre- Thearhy- ThinalThant- musical games from Square-Enix.

  • 26/06-28/06. I reviewed this elsewhere, but in summary it's a fine little adventure game. There's capacity for some really clever stuff when you have multiple playable characters in one of these and I sort of wish Resonance tried a bit harder to exploit that feature fully. Actually I guess I just want Coktel Vision to make a new Gobliiins. What are those guys doing these days?

  • 23/06-02/07. Finally defeated this titan of a PCRPG. Because of its humble Indie origins it has a very limited pool of resources to draw from, both graphically and mechanically, which led to a lot of repetition. Despite that, though, it's the type of engrossing and serious strategy RPG that I've sorely missed, ever since BioWare went all Casual Friday on us.

  • 20/06-06/07. "Pullblox", please. Pushmo sounds like a hate crime. It's a cute, occasionally brainscrambling puzzle game with very few gimmicks that only just avoid outstaying their welcome. Though it has every appearance of a platformer, being good at platformers isn't a requisite (shame, because I'm quite good at those).

  • 03/07-07/07. I actually hated Lollipop Chainsaw for the most part. Some of that is the extremely hit-or-miss humor and some is from my own enervation with the "character action" genre. The rest, I suspect, is from how incredibly broken and unfun much of this game is. It does have "Pac-Man Fever" though, so I guess credit where credit's due.

  • 09/07-12/07. Amped 3 is one of those cases where I wouldn't have known about how good a game was if Giant Bomb hadn't chosen to cover it. The crew don't delve into their old favorites very often, but it's enlightening when they do. This snowboarding game is functional and fun in the same way the THPS games used to be, but it's all the really odd trappings around it that make it a classic.

  • 13/07-15/07. Like last year's Captain America game, it seems superhero movie licenses are more comfortable simply borrowing from extant well-acclaimed superhero games. There's more than a touch of inFamous, Batman Arkham Asylum, Beyond Good & Evil oddly enough and, of course, Spider-Man 2, the last Spider-Man movie license game to get it right. It's not terrible by any stretch, but it's very by-the-numbers. Well, except for Bruce Campbell's Party Blimp, that was new.

  • 20/07-23/07. I'm tempted to just write this off as yet another Traveller's Tales Lego game that uses the same hoary formula and still has teething issues, even after so many functionally identical entries. Yet any game that makes Aquaman useful and makes playing as Superman fun can only mean that it was designed by a warlock. Therefore I'm inclined to be positive about it, lest I get transformed into a newt.

  • 28/07-30/07. Though probably not ideally enjoyed on the 360, this adventure game by industry veteran Jane Jensen has a pretty great story and a couple of intriguing protagonists. It's a bit simple for the true adventure game hardcore crowd, but worth a look if you can find a copy.

  • 01/08-03/08. Loved the hand-drawn graphics in this one. Plus having a button dedicated to hugging is something more games should consider (looking at you Epic Games). The game does have a few problems, but its charm is such that you'll barely notice them.

  • 05/08. Pounded out all four chapters of Yahtzee's Chzo Mythos series during a slow Sunday. They're not perfect, but they're not perfect in the way that classic adventure games weren't: It's sometimes too abstruse, it's fairly derivative and the sudden death moments can sneak up on you and your neglectful saving habits. Overall, though, it's a quality freeware product. Better than quite a number of adventure games I've paid for, honestly.

  • 06/08-09/08. Not generally a fan of driving games, but this one won me over with its shifting gimmick. If that means I can take out opponents in races with my ghost powers instead of actually trying to race them on even footing like a sucker then that's a big thumbs up from me. I liked all the 70s car movie references too; that's not the sort of nostalgia you see catered to very often.

  • 11/08. Had a slow day playing some old-ass games. First up was Samus's first portable adventure, and the only Metroid game I hadn't yet beaten. The last boss can be a doozy until you figure out what you're supposed to do (its reappearance in Other M gave me all the hints I needed though) and there's a surprising level of fidelity given the usual downgrade that GB games receive compared to their NES counterparts.

  • 11/08. Next was this old Japan-only NES game. My interest was piqued after watching Arino struggle with its non-linear progression in a recently translated GCCX episode. It's a definite curio and fun enough to play. That it's also a lot kinder than most NES games speaks to how well it's aged.

  • 12/08-15/08. I enjoyed this game way more than I was expecting. I just love a good collect-a-thon, even if all the treasure's waterlogged. There's something absurdly goofy in a fun way about diving four floors into a sunken luxury liner and purloining its canopy beds and grand pianos. I'd like to see Bill Paxton's character in Titanic manage that.

  • 16/08-18/08. Like all Laytons, it has a charming story, lots of fun logical puzzles and a few hateful sliding blocks to spend hours upon hours fussing around with until you mercifully die of dehydration. I believe the next one is due out any day now, so it feels like I'm forever playing catch-up with this series.

  • 19/08-20/08. A 3D mascot platformer, lost to the mists of time. It's actually fairly good as PS2-era platformers go, right up there with the Spyros if not the Ratchet & Clanks, though it did feel janky in some areas. Like, say, the tools with which you are ostensibly able to watch your character, if you see where I'm going with this (and if you do, you are not this game's camera).

  • 21/08. I... really don't like this game. I mean, the feeling's clearly mutual for one thing. So many instances of "Haha! You fucked it up!" going on and the whole "weapon downgrade upon getting hit" thing is just sadistic. And not in the fun, wears-it-on-its-sleeve sadism of your Dark Souls and Super Meat Boys. Its style, pixel art and story could well be top-notch (they aren't) but I'm too busy disliking its attitude to care.

  • 22/08. I wrote a blog that detailed some of the issues I had with this game, but essentially it's a game that tries to have its zombie pie and eat it too. The more unpalatable tropes of early JRPGs are thoroughly mocked, though much of them still persist regardless. Overall it's a fairly decent Indie JRPG with some smart ideas and some amusing dialogue, but nothing groundbreaking. I'll be sure to check out their Cthulhu game at some point.

  • 26/08-29/08. It's a little rough around the edges, especially where it's clear some feature would've gone in had the game not already spent a ludicrous amount of time in development, but it gets mostly everything right. The fighting's fun, the gunplay isn't strictly cover-based which earns it a pass from me, the driving's tolerable and the long story got really great towards the end. I also love how dates with women get you info on collectible side-quests; so rarely do the two go hand-in-hand.

  • 01/09-04/09. What started as me being hot and cold about this game and its foibles eventually became a love/hate sort of thing, only without the love. There's certainly aspects, few as they are, that are carefully and thoughtfully crafted, such as the wonderful if decidedly-not-Castlevania settings and how there's a wide bestiary of beasties each with their own tactics and personality. But holy shit, does this game's overambitiousness shine through with its legion (so to speak) shoddy design decisions, odd and unintuitive controls/direction, a frequently unhelpful fixed camera, combos and special attacks that are too complex for their own good and the game being overlong would be an understatement.

  • 07/09-09/09. Finally capped the R&CF storyline with this game, perhaps my favorite. Something "Heavy Metal"-esque about exploring space and those smaller moons with Pirate Radio's guitar-solo-heavy jams. Everything else is as stellar as always. Ultimately, it's one of those series that doesn't change much, but is of such a high quality that it doesn't really need to.

  • 10/09-13/09. I surprised myself at how much I liked this game, an odd smorgasbord of different ideas framed by one leonine dude's rescue mission in the midst of a series of natural disasters. It's not perfect, but I enjoyed its inventiveness and completely ludicrous presentation.

  • 21/09-30/09. That end point is only when I beat the first runthrough. With the subsequent runthrough and the pirate DLC added on, I've probably played that damn game for close a month straight. Damn you and your addictive gameplay and terrible internet references, Gearbox!

  • 20/10. Though I began this earlier in the year for that whole May Madness period, it's only now, this close to Halloween, that I bothered to complete the whole terrifying ordeal. My opinions on it haven't changed since May, so just go track down that blog. Or don't. What are you, my personal blog reading slave person guy? Didn't think so.

  • 22/10-25/10. Stabbin' dudes with a sword.

  • 27/10-30/10. Stabbin' dudes with a scythe.

  • 08/11-11/11. Stabbin' dudes with a tomahawk.

  • 17/11-22/11. Stabbin' dudes... nah, I didn't review this one, might as well put some effort into it. Dust is excellent. The sort of thing that ought to exemplify an Indie game: Absolute quality in a smaller package. It's also pretty rare you find a Metroidvania with a novel combat system that can keep your interest throughout, especially the customary backtracking. Just wish it was a little bit longer (which, I suppose, is one of the more complimentary criticisms there is).

  • 27/11-30/11. Still not sure what to think about this one. It has many bugs, lots of texture pop-in, frequent framerate issues and is just generally lacking in several key areas (combat, movement) that one might reasonably expect of an ambitiously large game from a small European studio. On the other hand, and just like the first Risen, it's pure gaming comfort food. From the bottomless inventory, to the clever character customization, to the free-roaming CRPG-ness of its Caribbean-but-not world. It's a hard game to dislike, whatever technical qualms you might have.

  • 03/12-03/12. Part of the December Desura thing. Go find my blog on it for a more in-depth analysis.

  • 10/12-10/12. See above.

  • 11/12-12/12. See above.

  • 13/12-17/12. Far Cry 3 isn't a bad game. It certainly nailed the most important aspect of any open-world game, which is to have cool random shit happening wherever you go, whether by design or an accident of the engine. Bears fighting crocodiles, surly tigers emptying out pirate outposts, an errant spark starting a bush fire - that sort of thing. In many other respects, though, it kind of falls short. Like a game made in 2007, almost, with a number of admittedly minor quibbles that other sandbox games have long since fixed, and a damp squib of an ending and various glitches (including one that deprived the scary completionist side of me his 100%) don't really help its case either. Good but not great. But hey, most of this blurb can be applied to Sleeping Dogs too and that's my GOTY. So go figure?

  • 19/12. Journey's a beautiful game, and is to video games what Fantasia was to animation: Both represent the artistic merit inherent in their respective mediums, and both contain dialogue-free narratives driven by their visuals and the mood of their fantastic soundtracks. There's a few aspects I didn't like - the "damage" from "enemies" eliminating a (admittedly specious) feeling of progress with one's destroyed scarf and how the companions you meet will often run ahead and solve all the puzzles for you. But it's ultimately nothing to diminish its considerable appeal.

  • 21/12-22/12. Hell Yeah's an interesting case. It's pretty amusing, and its Metroid II-style "eliminate everything in this non-linear area and move on" has a bunch of interesting puzzles and fun platforming. However, there's a heap of teething issues which betray the studio's amateur status: Floaty jumping, terrible checkpointing, arbitrary insta-deaths, repeating "death mini-games", not saving collectibles so you have to get them all over and over... It's not enough to render the game an unplayable also-ran - I still liked it a lot - but it doesn't help much either. Especially when there's already a way better rabbit-based Indie Metroidvania out in the same year. Tough break, really.

  • 23/12. Too brief for its own good, The Unfinished Swan is filled with great ideas that the game never fully capitalizes on before moving onto the next interesting concept made possible by its paint-based FPS format. Considering a major narrative theme of the game is how an easily distracted genius can create a long chain of unfinished projects (like the titular swan), it may be entirely intentional.

  • 23/12-25/12. I can't say I was pleasantly surprised by this game, since I was already salivating at the thought of what Matsuno and Level-5 could accomplish together before loading it up, but it's still a respectable little package that plays to Matsuno's strength as a mature storyteller. If you wanted a well-written, compact JRPG experience to see the year out, it's worth what little time it asks of you.

  • 26/12-28/12. A curious mix of a dual stick shooter and a roguelike with a little more than a passing resemblance to Cannon Fodder. It's a cool idea, but there was barely enough in it to sustain one's interest long enough to reach the Motherlode ship and the end of the game.