GOTY 2012

2012 has come and gone and I'm stuck with making a list of my favorite games of the year. I didn't get to play everything this year but I feel confident in saying that I played everything that mattered.

List items

  • I really did not expect this game to push all of my buttons the way it did. This was the best strategy, survival horror, and role-playing game all rolled up into a tight package of pure gaming bliss. Although the story was not anywhere as big as other story-intensive games in 2012 it was serviceable enough to give me a sense of accomplishment by the end of my brutal campaign against the extraterrestrial menace. That's enough for me to name XCOM: Enemy Unknown as my personal Game of the Year.

  • A case can be made for the formulaic nature of most open world games but Far Cry 3 takes Ubisoft's special brand of open world into the realm of first-person shooters. It just felt exhilarating to run around this big island environment. At the same time I was terrified at what I might find around every corner. The game does a remarkable job at instilling fear of both mother nature and man's inhumanity towards man making it one of the most affecting survival horror experiences of the past few years. Not a great story pay off but so much fun to play.

  • Just when I thought open world crime games were done, Sleepy Dogs comes along to punch me in the face, break my arm, and throw me into an electrical conduit. Pretty much every inch of this game was designed to be a joy to play. From driving, fisticuffs, and shooting Sleepy Dogs manages to craft a gritty Hong Kong crime story without ever feeling tedious.

  • I'm still not tired of zombies but I see why other gamers would be in this day and age. The Walking Dead breaks the mold on both episodic adventure gaming and zombie games to make an experience that is genuinely special. While not without some technical hiccups it's perhaps the most ambitious game story told in the past few years.

  • I somehow let the hype for this game just wash over me leading up to it's release. I literally knew nothing about Dust: An Elysian Tale until buying it at launch. Whatever expectations I may have had couldn't have prepared me for such a beautiful video game. The action was simple yet satisfying and the story was one of the most harrowing narratives I've played this year. It belongs on everyone's list and not just mine.

  • Syndicate is one of the only games this year I regret not paying full price for. The story and single player action is surprisingly tight and the multiplayer is a cool diversion to keep me coming back for more. It's not replacing Left 4 Dead as my favorite co-op shooter but it comes damn close.

  • This game probably belongs on a "best anime of 2012" list instead of being lumped in with the best games this year. Considering the over saturation of quick time events in games it's refreshing to play a game that so thoughtfully expands the psychological impact of simple timed button presses. I may not call it fun but I'd certainly call it entertaining.

  • While not as good as its predecessors Mass Effect 3 managed to scratch that itch for a Star Trek-like space opera that is missing from so much of main stream pop culture today. It was a bumpy end for sure but the series remains one of the greatest trilogies to be premiered in this generation of consoles.

  • Fuck you Phil Fish. How dare you make such an insane video game!

  • I like Trials, I like danger, I like fire, I like nitro, I like getting wild. I like a bit of blast, I like taking it fast, I like going to end and doing it with no class.