GOTY 2012

And now, ladies and gentlemen... My favorite games of 2012!!!

On a side note, I've unfortunately not had time to play Far Cry 3. From the looks of it, it could easily earn a spot on my list but I can't add it without having played it yet. So lets say it gets an honorable mention.

Edit from the future (2015): After looking through my old lists, I'm tempted to move Mists of Pandaria up to near the top if not number 1. It's easily one of my favorite expansions. It feels a little wrong to do so, so I'll leave it where it is for now.

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*2016 Commentary*

After commenting on my 2013 list, I came here to eye over some of the choices I made. I thought to myself, "wow! I can't believe I had MoP so low! I would probably move that higher if I were ordering this list today." Then I glanced at this section and noticed the same thought that I made a year ago. I couldn't help but laugh, as I had completely forgotten that I had done that.

List items

  • I cried twice during my emotionally draining experience with The Walking Dead. That brings the total number of times a video game has drawn tears from me to two. This game has to be one of the most intense emotional roller coasters I've been on in video game form. Is the Walking Dead truly a video game? I don't know. The definition of what makes a game, a game is being increasingly blurred every year. All I know is that no other game this year made me feel as brutally alone, depressed, worried, or desperate as The Walking Dead has. Simply put, what makes a game, GOTY material for me is the impact it has. That can range from gameplay, to story, to humor, or even fear. The walking dead wins it on raw emotion. Not to mention, I have never cared so much for a virtual character as I have for Clementine. The Walking Dead is an experience I would recommend to just about anyone. It's my game of the year.

  • The essence of what makes Hotline Miami fantastic lies within a blink of the eye. It's that fast. I've rarely been so pumped while playing a video game before. Hotline Miami is raw. Real Raw. It delivers a pulse pounding, supreme soundtrack that will keep your head bobbing as you murder your way to nirvana. Layer that on top of excruciating, unforgiving, and blazing fast combat. Mix all of that into a brilliant esthetic of 1980's cocaine fueled Miami nightmare and you have one hell of a cocktail. Damn, this game is good.

  • Borderlands was a deeply flawed game that I loved to pieces. I think everyone had their own laundry list of improvements they wanted to see in a sequel. To me, that signified that people cared about Borderlands. They wanted it to live up to the promise of the first game, and for the most part, the sequel delivers. Borderlands 2 is a fantastic re-entry into the world of Pandora. The combat and loot is as satisfying as ever. It's well written and genuinely funny which is a hard feat to accomplish in games. The comedy does stumble here and there with a couple of annoying characters and an unfortunate use of meme "jokes". U (NO)MAD BRO?! AHAHA! GET IT?! That didn't ruin my fun with BL2. The multiplayer is a blast and pandora has never looked and sounded so good. I played it on the PC this time so maybe that's skewing my perception a bit from the first game but damn it if I don't love Borderlands more than ever.

  • I don't know what to think of Mass Effect 3. I've been trying to wrap my head around this game, but it's very difficult to do so. I almost feel that ME3 stole a spot on this list on the terms of being the wrap up to one of my favorite games of the generation, ME2. That being said, ME3 doesn't really live up to pedigree of it's predecessor. In a lot of ways, it seems rushed. I won't even touch on the ending, but the game itself falls short of ME2. The conversations weren't as deep and felt like it was too much action and not enough "space detective". That being said, ME3 is still an impressive video game. There are moments that took my breath away as I stared, slack jawed, at the size and scale of the set pieces. Watching Reapers tear through earth to the backdrop of a fleet of ships engaging in combat in the starry void of space was something special. In a lot of ways, ME3 is kind of tragic. It's probably the only entry on this list that I'm not sure about, but I still really enjoyed my time with it. I wonder how that feeling will hold over the years.

  • I'll be honest here. I had no hope for Halo 4 coming out of E3. I've always been a fan of the series but it seemed like 343 was set to auto-pilot as the were picking up where Bungie left off. In some regards, this isn't totally untrue. Halo's story telling has never been the selling point for me and Halo 4 is no exception. What the game does do superbly, however, is how gorgeous it looks and plays. If Halo 4 was a test to see if 343 can make a good halo game, they just got excepted to Harvard. It's that good. I'm honestly a little shocked about just how amazing this game looks and how smoothly it plays running on old ass hardware. I think it just shows how far talent, money, time, and trust can take a product. I didn't trust 343 and I was wrong for it. They made an excellent Halo game. I find myself staying up to the wee hours of the morning, playing the multiplayer with friends and having an absolute blast. It's the most fun I've had with a competitive video game in a lot time. It's like I'm 16 again, playing halo 1 and 2 at a lan party with my buddies, lauging hysterically and having fun. Thanks 343.

  • What would be a GOTY list from me without a Blizzard game on it? This year, there's two. Mist of Pandaria is straight up one of the best additions to WoW since the inception of the game itself. It even rivals the great Burning Crusade. Maybe my stubborn nostalgia for TBC keeps Mists second best. Or maybe that means that if Mists of Pandaria can impress me as much as it did after this much time, it takes the top spot. Either way its a fantastic package full of improved storytelling, brilliant visuals and a sweeping asian score to match. Plenty of great additions to the main gameplay of an 8 year old MMO help freshens things up. Yea, its an expansion and not a game, but I don't give a flip flying fuck. It makes the list.

  • Yea...torchlight 2 is higher rated in this list than Diablo. That's not some snide snarky way of making the underdog beat the colossal behemoth. Torchlight 2 earns its spot because it gets one thing right that D3 didn't. The loot! Isn't that what these games are really about? By those standards, Torchlight's flag flies high as it almost pornographically showers you with loot as you make your way across...wherever the hell you are...to do...whatever the hell you're supposed to be doing. That's torchlight's only serious downfall. It has zero context for the world you inhabit. But that ultimately doesn't matter. It's still a fantastic loot filled adventure that looks great and plays great to boot.

  • A contentious entry, Diablo 3 was game that has left me torn in many ways. On one hand, the game delivers superb ARPG gameplay that is second to none. Beautiful, stylized, and dark visuals kept me pausing from the frantic demon slaying action to appreciate blizzard's ability to take a game that's been in development for 6 years and still manage to make it gorgeous. On top of that, the music is supremely rich and harrowing. In many ways, Diablo 3 should be higher on this list. But it screwed up one crucial thing...the loot. An ill-advised addition of an auction house eventually ruined the game for me. It meant spending more time browsing for a great deal, rather than spending that time slaying demons. The game also skimps on loot dropped so it's mandatory to check the AH if you plan to play inferno mode. Still, I sunk 200 hours on this game and having the zeitgeist of online friends to play it with went a long way.

  • Here's the thing... I'm not a big fan of turn based strategy. If given the choice, I'll take an RTS any day of the week. RNG usually serves to annoy me rather than excite. It really says something that despite all of that, XCOM manages to impress me through and through. I know an expertly crafted video game when I see it, dammit!