GOTY 2012

This goes by European release dates because...duh. That means no Persona 4 Arena, as much as it breaks my heart to say it. Anyway, you probably won't read much of this, but I enjoyed putting this together a lot! So many good memories this year!

Although there's a lot of games I regret not playing this year. XCOM and Layton 5 in particular would have probably made this list, but ah well. Another game I played a lot this year, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, just missed the tenth spot as well, but you should really give that game a shot if you own a 3DS!

List items

  • Over the period from about mid-August 'till up to now,I've played Kid Icarus: Uprising for 106 hours and 46 minutes, and played it 116 times. It's my most played 3DS game, as well as the most time I've spent playing one game on any system all year. Considering it's a short, cute little game with a (surprisingly) decent online mode, that's a lot. Kid Icarus just has everything I would love about a videogame and even just a story in general. The dialogue, while odd at first, is damn funny, and the story is simple but just presented really well. These characters are just so likable and filled with so much charm it's hard not to care about them. The gameplay, while it takes a mission or two to get used to, is a great combination of third person shooting, on rail shooting, and adventure games. Kid Icarus: Uprising is the new IP that gamers have been clamoring for years about, and most of them don't even know it. While Kid Icarus is an old franchise that has been around for a long time, it's definitely never felt this new or this...well...cute!

  • There's really nothing else to say about The Walking Dead because it has probably been featured in most of the GOTY lists this year. In fact, even that has probably been said already. Yeah, the puzzles are easy, and yup, that game sure is buggy, especially the console version. It's even hard to judge whether it's a game or not, but that said, Telltale's The Walking Dead is still probably the best story you'll experience with a controller in your hands...or while brutally destroying 'Q' on your keyboard.

  • This was a game that was compelling enough to warrant multiple playthroughs to each of the multiple endings, as well as to spot the smaller details of the story. The sheer amount of symbolism here is astounding, and the gameplay is surprisingly addictive.

    While it lacks a good, solid ending, Catherine should be commended for exploring an area that no other game or movie has. Its hard to say much and avoid the desire to just spoil aspects of it, but it was a joy to play and to watch (unless the person watching is your girlfriend.)

  • It's odd that Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 revisits the same, tired formula of the series after what was accomplished in the original Black and White. That said, Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 felt like the perfect version of that formula. A great rival, a truly menacing team, one of the most interesting, if not the most interesting Pokemon villain, a wonderful cast of gym leaders plus the champion and just some of the greatest Pokemon music to accompany them all.

    Oh, you can also fight all the best characters from the previous Pokemon games in a tournament that unites them all together. Also you can be a movie star. So there's that.

  • Anyone seeing a trend with all these narrative heavy games on this list?

    Anyway, there is some serious bullshit in Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (besides just the name). The plot gets way to complicated for its own good, and it feels like the characters are sometimes too quirky or calm considering their current situation. The puzzles can be boring enough that you just want to look online for the answers too, especially with the glitch that can ruin your save file if you save in certain rooms.

    Still, VLR is just so...interesting. The way it builds tension in its setup, and how the game challenges your trust in characters just makes for an experience unlike any this year. The branching storylines and multiple endings are laid out in a way that make you want to see even the most painful outcomes, and the way they can effect different paths as a result...well, perhaps that's saying too much already.

  • Halo 4's story is... Halo 4's characterisation... The plot of Halo 4 is... Goddammit who cares.

    Going into this with only a basic understanding of the events in the previous games, Halo 4 was never going to be about the story. As a multiplayer experience? It's the best 2012 has to offer. That's it.

    The story definitely has moments. Going in vehicles and blasting aliens is great, the game is one of the most beautiful things this year, and Cortana and the Chief's relationship is cute. But damn that multiplayer is great. If anything, Halo 4 shows that shooting your friends or some random guys over the internet is still fun.

  • This game has impressive graphics for a 3DS. Even on the 3DSXL, the sheer amount of detail on Jill's butt as it shakes at you in front of the screen with that skin tight wet suit is...horrifyingly good...in an annoying way.

    B-but anyway, Resident Evil: Revelations somehow manages to squeeze all the tension of the classic Resident Evil games and the gameplay of the current ones in a small, episodic package. It's dialogue is dreadfully cheesy, but thankfully to a point where it's funny and almost charming. The typical third person shooter sections can be boring, but add much needed development to the characters, and just makes the pacing of the story much better.

    All in all, Resident Evil: Revelations is just a good, fun game. It probably won't really scare anyone, though there's enough suspense and strange enemy types to at least give you a small shock every now and then.

  • Hotline Miami is the videogame equivalent of drugs. Really, really bloody drugs. The big difference is that it's a smart enough game to realise it, and make you question how much we, as consumers, love violence. It's a simple, short, bloody little game with a really catchy soundtrack that won't leave your head anytime soon, so go buy it on a Steam sale and get high.

  • Barring the character portraits, Dust: An Elysian Tail is beautiful. Not only do the backgrounds look stunning, but everything moves fluidly, and it makes the combos you create that much more satisfying. The combat, while simple, can be really addictive. The story is...well actually it's just alright. It's enough to keep you going, and it has some clever things, but it's not the highlight.

    If anything, it's hard to believe it was all programmed by one person. The years its taken to put this game together has paid off.

  • Don't worry, this won't just re-iterate the title of the game you're reading about like the previous descriptions; it's way too long and sounds stupid. Anyway, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is great not just for the huge nostalgia rush you get from seeing Vyse going through a HD Skies of Arcadia track (although that's a pretty huge part), but also because it's got tons of content that's challenging enough to keep you entertained for a long time. But seriously, wasn't that moment when the track music changes to a remix of the military facility theme in Skies of Arcadia just fucking AWESOME!? Holy shit.