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GOTY 2012 - Revisited

REVISITED on 04 Dec 14 - This was easily the GOTY list that saw the most changes, as I had a massive pile of shame including Far Cry 3, X-Com, and The Walking Dead among others. As a result, the last couple of cuts were extremely difficult to get to the final 10 (it took several revisions, including a long period of time of having a tie at #10,


10000000 - This game was a fixture on this list through all revisions (originally at 8th or so, then down to a 10th place tie, before being removed) - a great mashup of genres resulting in highly addictive gameplay. I just could not stop until I got that next upgrade, until I went a little bit further. My wife doesn't play many games, and this one had her absolutely hooked. That's saying something in my book. That 'ending' though..was ultimately what lead me to cut it from the top 10. The payoff for all the grinding is a (SPOILER ALERT) MS paint bmp of the hero looking out to the horizon. It certainly adds to the charm of the game, but it stands in stark contrast to the deep gameplay and fun music. Give us something, anything more.

Mass Effect 3 - (originally at #6, then tied for 10th, before finally being kicked from the lit). Speaking of endings...As I look back on these GOTY lists, one of the key points I'm considering as I reevaluate the positioning of games, is how they have stuck with me. By that very nature, poor endings will heavily influence my thoughts. It's not news that the ending of this game was downright awful. Years of choices and character building boiled down to three colors. Bioware has tried to right the ship, but unfortunately did so by charging people for some of the DLC. However, these issues did provide a benefit: sparking a ton of conversation about the game, including the well put-together indoctrination theory. Overall, the game itself was great, though just missing some of the life that ME2 had. It just stands in a class with Halo 2 and Rage when it comes to most disappointing endings ever.

Sleeping Dogs - I would not have gotten this game if it hadn't been a free download as part of Games with Gold. And even then, I probably would not have actually played it much if it hadn't received such glowing endorsement from the staff's GOTY deliberations. Boy, I'm glad I did. My misconception of it being just a GTA clone were wrong. Very fun story, great combat system. Highly recommended.

Puzzlejuice - Asher Volmer's first puzzle hit. What a fun, addictive game. I love Threes even more and can not wait for Close Castles.

Hotline Miami - Very fun game with a crazy story and incredible soundtrack. Similarly to Counterstrike, I just don't think it made the cut as I find myself thinking more about the soundtrack, than the game itself. I think it was overhyped a bit, but it is still an excellent game.

Soul Calibur V - (Cut from the original list) I enjoyed the flash of this game (who doesn't want to play as Ezio in a fighting game? When you execute his super he even says Requiescat in Pace...sold), and the online features were solid, but at the end of the day, it had no staying power with me. I tend to revisit fighting games a lot, but after about a month, I did not return to SCV.

Trials Evolution - (Cut from the original list) I enjoyed Trials quite a bit, but with the other heavy hitters on the list, it just didn't make the cut. At some point, my trials skills were not enough, and there was something very disappointing staring at things I would never finish!

Counter Strike GO - (Cut from the original list) Great shooter with an unquestionable pedigree, but the game as a whole was just not deep enough to stay with me. This is in large part to me playing it on console, I get that, but I just do not have the desire to get back into PC gaming. As a Valve fan, I did want to mention it here.

List items

  • Formerly on my Pile of Shame, this game debuts at #1. What a game - first person open world done right. Excellent story and shooting mechanics and a breathing world that is fun to be in. I didn't play it until 2013, but this game stuck with me like no other through 2014.

  • DEBUT at #2 - What is there to say about this game that Giant Bomb users don't already know? Easily one of the best JRPGs of all time, this game alone is worthy of the Vita's price tag. Great characters and story, fun combat, and even better music. I tend to avoid JRPGs, but you really can't stay away from Persona 4.

  • Formerly on my Pile of Shame, this game debuts at #3. I played it as soon as I could in January and loved it. I think it was a benefit to have all of the episodes at once and play through it in a week's time. This was a great zombie story and the game gave you so many gut wrenching 'choices.'

  • Previously at #1 - I love stealth games, and the 2D side scrolling lends itself perfectly for that genre. Klei got all the cues right while providing an immersive world and a phenomenal ending. If you want to feel like a badass ninja, play this game.

  • Pretty much, everything I've wanted in a racing game. Give me the tight handling of Forza, but don't limit my driving to a handful of tarmac tracks. Here is to hoping that the next game brings in some weather effects.

  • I spent most of this comment space in the original list, apologizing for the game. Here is the gist - aside from a slow start, I felt that this was a really fun AC game with interesting characters, settings, and twists. The end. I flat out like AC games and still do, no need to apologize.

  • Many (myself included) were worried that 343 would either mess up Halo, or just make a by-the-numbers sequel. They did neither and released a Halo that is bigger, faster, stronger. It felt great to be back in the Halo universe, and the multiplayer righted all of the wrong steps Bungie took with Reach. I miss firefight, but I've enjoyed the episodic story of Spartan Ops.

  • In the Fighting Game Community, SFxT has gotten a very bad rap at high level tournament play because of some of the missteps in development of the mechanics. The nickname "Street Jab X Timeout" is not undeserved...Capcom just tried to pack too damn much in this game (e.g., Pandora mode is largely useless). Still, at it's core, I absolutely love SFxT. This game combines the deep combo system of Street Fighter 4 with the freedom for creativity and the relaxed inputs of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

  • Formerly on my Pile of Shame, this game debuts at #9 - I'm not super fond of strategy games, but the great sci-fi setting for this sold me. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, but by the end of the game (with the exception of the final mission) I felt like I had solved the combat and the missions began to feel very repetitive.

  • (2012 HD release) I confess that at first try I did not like the game, thinking it was just a silly little platformer that was trying to be too tough. It wasn't until the Spelunkin' w/ Scoops series on the site that I saw how deep it was. I eventually also got it on Vita, and while I may have Olmec's number, I have yet to reach Yama. Someday... The ultimate testament to this game is that, while I already own it on two platforms, if it comes to XBone, I'm buying it for a third time.