GOTY 2012

10. Trials Evolution

This was a hotly contested slot. Had I written this a week ago I might have put Binary Domain here. Before that, Dust. Both those games are great, but I have to give it to Trials. I never did beat the final level or go for golds on most tracks, but to me this game is this year's Super Meat Boy. It's simple, it's straightforward, it's pure fun, but god damn is it frustrating.

9. Syndicate

Another game that makes this list simply because it's fun to play. The story was nonsense and the ending was bullshit(Miles and Merit should have just been best friend murder pals and you should have shot everybody), but the game just felt right to me. While the campaign is fun, the multiplayer is really where it's at though. I went through those stages over the course of a couple of days, some of them multiple times, and it was a ton of fun. Most groups seemed to work relatively well together without a ton of communication and there were very few dicks who just wanted to run. I remember one time where my team mates were down and it was me against like 10 other guys at least. I had to pop out of the corner, kill someone, pop back in, use everything at my disposal, and I almost died before finally picking people up. I'm a bit sick of First Person Shooters, but Syndicate was just a blast to play.

8. Rhythm Heaven Fever

Rock Band? Pshh. Rhythm Heaven Fever is a game I occasionally want to go back to before thinking about how all I have left to do is collect perfects and there's no way I'd be able to just casually do that. It's a ton of fun and the sound track is catchier than it has any right being. I'm finding I don't really have a lot to say about Rhythm Heaven, but it's a game I fear will go undernoticed by pretty much everyone this year, and that's a shame because it's brilliant. Also, fuck monkey watch.

7. Sleeping Dogs

I debated a lot where to put this on the list. I like it a bunch. Then I remember the second half of the game. The combat in this game is similar to the Arkham games, but different enough. It's not as snappy(literally) and it's a bit slower paced, but in some areas I find it to be more enjoyable. The combos and finishers are much more satisfying to pull off the hits felt like they had more weight. Unfortunately they want to make you use guns a lot at a certain point. The guns aren't good, but at least the shooting sections are absurdly easy. The story and characters are mostly forgettable but they're good enough to make for a fun ride while you play it. And really, that's what's important.

6. Diablo III

I know, everyone is supposed to hate this game. I'll admit this game didn't capture me quite like Diablo II did, but then I check the time played on my Barbarian. Well over 100 hours. I never beat Inferno difficulty Diablo, but that's because the game's flaw of gear being too difficult to get stopped me. It's still a completely solid game that is a lot of fun though. The classes feel different and a lot of the abilities are fun to use which makes it sad your loadout is so limited. Co-oping with some people I know probably helped to keep the game from getting stale, but it's hard to deny over 100 hours of entertainment.

5. Borderlands 2

The top 5 are all very close to me, but I have to number them. Borderlands 2 also broke the 100 hour mark, most of it on my main Axton. I'll admit I'm a bit of a sucker for character progression, but I'm ok with that. Borderlands 2 was a lot of fun solo or co-op. I look forward to eventually jumping back in once all the DLC is out. And I found Handsome Jack to be a surprisingly good villain.

4. Asura's Wrath

Man...fourth...I'm sorry Asura's Wrath. I love this game. I'm no big fan of Quick Time Events, but I enjoyed doing them in this game. Even though there was no fail state, feeling like you were a part of the action was awesome. I actually enjoyed these sections significantly more than the God of War sections or the Panzer Dragoon sections. I found myself strangely drawn in by the characters as well. Asura, Yasha, and Augus(bonus points for New World Symphony) especially. Also, I know, the DLC thing is bullshit and it shouldn't be taken into account. Had it never existed, Asura's Wrath would probably still take the same slot. The true ending DLC is fantastic though. The final two chapters especially are some of my favorite sections of a game this year.

3. Persona 4 Arena

I don't like fighting games. I'm not good at fighting games. Persona 4 Arena changed that. Initially I was just interested because hey, more Persona. But after seeing the quick look it actually looked pretty fun. I bought it, and started playing through the story modes. They were fun, but wore on me quick. The visual novel style was not doing it any favors. I actually never even finished all the stories. The multiplayer is what gives this game the number 3 spot. I came in with the intention of my main being Chie or Akihiko, the other subbing with a pocket Yu. But after trying Yosuke once, it just felt so right. Recently I've kind of forced myself to take on Kanji as my sub, and I'm actually enjoying him despite being a grappler. I owe a lot of my love for this game to the awesome community GB has for it though. I doubt I would have stuck with it anywhere near as long had it not been for them(Special mention to for organizing all the events and keeping us coming back). I'll admit I feel like myself and most of the others are on our way out though, and it's a shame. I've had a ton of fun with this game, love for Persona 4 aside, and it absolutely deserves the praise it's been getting.

2. Journey

It took some reminding, but Journey really was a special experience. I loved every minute of it and was completely taken start to finish. I'm not really one for art games, but Journey captivated me in a way I didn't know possible. Everything about it just pulled me in so hard I couldn't have resisted if I wanted to. I could try and describe the music, the lighting, the sand, and any other effect you can think of, but I wouldn't do it justice. At this point you've probably already made up your mind on Journey, but I maintain that it is something that anyone with even a passing interest in video games should experience. This game is gorgeous in every sense of the word.

1. The Walking Dead

Big surprise right? I'm sure people are sick of seeing The Walking Dead at the top of lists. I'm no stranger to forgiving subpar gameplay for a good story(after all, I do love me some JRPGS). I've been playing games all my life, starting with the NES. The Walking Dead represents something I think is important for video games. I'm in the camp of thinking stories and characters need to continue moving forward. Blending The Walking Dead's writing with Syndicate's game play would be a dream come true. (not necessarily those two specifically, but you get the idea). I've played plenty of good games, but I've never been this affected by one. Even the end of Nier didn't get to me like these games did. There were several times throughout the series I felt genuine emotion(mostly anger and sadness). I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll leave it at that. The Walking Dead succeeded where Heavy Rain failed, and is a truly special experience.