Best of 2012

This year is the most politically charged year of the video gaming industry I have seen in quite a while. And even though we are on the final stretch of the 7th generation of video gaming, many publisher scandals and journalistic integrity issues popped up in my feed more than anything about actual video games. Did this mean that there were no good games that were released this year? While it was not as exciting or praise-worthy as anything released in 2010 and 2011, the games that did make an impact this year were outstanding. Here's a look at my Top 10 games of 2012.

List items

  • This mod had more production value, dedication, and overall brilliance over many of the AAA games released this year. While it's source material is definitely a defining factor in it's success, this game improves vastly over the original Half Life, adds more excellent writing, streamlines it, and then packages it in a way where it's almost impossible to believe it is free. It was truly worth the wait.

  • Once again, Eidos/Square have pulled off another amazing game. While the game takes a ton of concepts from other games shamelessly, it combines them and enhances them in a way that makes it feel fluid. Art and graphically, it's the best this year. It looks amazing and is optimized perfectly on the PC. The rendition of Hong Kong is spot on and unique, and it makes you feel like you are truly there.

  • While Far Cry 2 was not fully fleshed-out, the latest in the series is the culmination of that work, along with many other concepts to create the best FPS-adventure game in recent times. While the protagonist and his friends are quite forgettable, the supporting characters add contrast to an already saturated, beautiful world. While the story kind of loses it's edge during the last half, the gameplay still has you hooked with it's stealth capabilities and loot collecting.

  • Criterion made the best racing game within the past 10 years with Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. So when they announced Most Wanted, I immediately made my pre-order. And while the few quirks and issues prevent it from overtaking it's predecessor, it's impossible to improve on perfection. The multiplayer is an absolute blast, and I had a ton of fun playing the singleplayer because I like driving games for what they are: driving. Criterion once again makes another racing game of the year.

  • Not being a fan of Tell Tale games, I was skeptical of their next series and was hesitant. While I had technical issues, it did not pull me away from what is the best adventure game/interactive story in the past 10 years. Every action mattered, and there were no right answers. Lee Everett is on my list of best protagonists ever, and Clementine being the first character ever whom I felt like I needed to protect. The writers need to be commended greatly, as I have never felt such strongly for characters before. It was my story, and I cried in the end. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

  • While the multiplayer was broken and lackluster, the campaign for Max Payne 3 is a treat and a great modern homage to the original Max Payne, with a more depressed and dangerous Max. There were some amazing parts in the game that made you feel like you were part of an action flick. The gun play was superb and I hope Rockstar decides to push it into GTAV.

  • I am not a fan of indie games, I must admit. But this game takes those indie cliches, and beats the sh*t out of them full force with a brutal, intense, and quick gameplay. Along with the best soundtrack of any video game this year, the game's style is somewhere between Vice City and Drive. No matter how simple looking this game appears, it takes going postal to a different level.

  • Probably one of the biggest surprises for myself and my friends this year, Syndicate had such a quiet release, that I probably would never heard of if Jeff didn't praise it. Even as cliche cyberpunk is becoming, the game manages to have a unique art style, with gun play that surpasses most FPSes. But where this game excels is it's awesome co-op experience, with fun and unique missions each time.

  • Scribblenauts and it's later sequels have always been quite an awesome toy, but it has always been held back by it's consoles limitations. Being strictly a Nintendo DS game held the series back, and the forced levels felt cheesy and too closed. Unlimited breaks all of that by also being a PC game. Not only does having a really smart AI, more challenging puzzles, and an open-world give this game the edge it needed, it also has Steam Workshop. And it has finally come full circle.

  • New properties are a hard sell at this weird crossroad in the gaming industry. And Dishonored's attempt at finding a place among the round-table of brilliant franchises is admirable, yet disappointing. The amazing combat and stealth systems along with the fascinating world gets sidetracked by uninteresting characters and plot, and a karma system that breaks the "choose-your-adventure" style of game. Being punished for playing the game the way I want is not fun, and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.