Top Ten Games of 2012
Hello 2013. Why the old year has passed there’s still time to talk about some of the best video games of 2012. Here is my full list of the Top Ten Games 2012.
10. Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes
After countless entries in the Lego series, Telltale Games decided to try something new. The DC Comics Superheroes are put into an Open-World setting that actually feels expansive. There’s lots of hidden secrets to find and its one of the most rewarding parts of the entire playing experience. While the actual story isn’t all that engaging, this time around they added voice over to the story elements. For years the series had sound effects for the characters, but now the voice over makes for some well-done comedy bits. Overall, Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes is the most family friendly game of the year and is extremely fun at the same time.
Months turned into years. The development progress at Polytron was lengthy to say the least. Five years later, Phil Fish had completed what seemed to be his life’s work in Fez. Fez is a 2D platformer, with a literal twist. In order to receive missing pieces, the player must rotate the world on a 3-Dimentional plane. That’s not the only unique element added to the game either. In order to solve some of the games toughest puzzles players must use a QR scanner or memorize vibration patterns from their remote. While there are some technical issues with the game after all this time, Fez is still worthy of a play through and is one of this years most charming games.
From the studio responsible for Flower and Flow, Journey is a brief but entirely memorable experience. While Journey can be completed in one sitting, the PSN exclusive justifies its length by incorporating some new ideas to the gaming realm. One of the best moments comes when another player enters the fold. There’s no way to connect or tell the other player what to do, but there’s a common thread to move forward so cooperation feels seamless. Journey is one of this years shortest experiences, but completely memorable all the same.
7. Mark of the Ninja
Who would’ve thought a 2D stealth game could still be riveting after all the 3D entries? Mark of the Ninja is developed by Klei Studios and has a decidedly new take on the 2D stealth genre. Lights and sound play a big part of the action as the player controls a ninja determined to complete his mission. Players are rewarded for the most unusual kills or even more challenging not being detected at all. The plot doesn’t mean much in the end, but the gameplay is notch above a lot of other contenders in the genre.
6. Hotline Miami
This game came out of nowhere. Hotline Miami didn’t receive any pre-release hype or promotion. Hotline Miami let’s its setting, tone, and gameplay speak for itself. From the first load there’s a sense that something isn’t right in their world. Partially inspired by the movie Drive, the protagonist is a hired killer in a drug filled 80’s world. He must clean out locations based on his assignments anyway possible. It also feels a lot like Grand Theft Auto 2, since the top down perspective is vital to how the gameplay works. Hotline Miami mixes equal parts stealth and trail and error. None of the killing feels glamorous, there’s a dark secret underneath it all. Hotline Miami is easily worthy of the price of admission.
5. Halo 4
When Microsoft passed the reigns of the Halo franchise to the unproven 343 Industries, there was a fear the series would fail to meet the success of its predecessors. Halo 4 doesn’t only meet those expectations it exceeds them. Featuring the best visuals on the XBOX360, Halo 4 is a visual spectacle. Halo hasn’t been this beautiful since the original Halo over ten years ago. The gameplay feels tight and the multiplayer campaign can stand up against the Call of Duty titles without hesitation. Halo 4 is one of the crowning achievements on XBOX360 and a required title for anyone’s library.
4. The Walking Dead
The Point-and-Click adventure genre has been brought back from the dead with this year’s The Walking Dead. The video game features a story that rivals anything that the television show has ever produced and has remained captivating since the first chapter was release in April. Not many games stay in the gaming subculture as long as The Walking Dead has. Games typically enjoy their spotlight and then step aside for the next big title. The episodic nature of The Walking Dead has allowed it to far exceed expectations of any gaming title in history as far as relevance goes. The Walking Dead isn’t just a fantastic game; it might change the face of the industry going forward. Not many titles can stake that claim.
3. Persona 4 Arena
A fighting game based on 100+ hour JRPG? Persona 4 Arena had no business being as rich and rewarding as it turned out. It was developed both by Arc System Works and Atlus and was based on the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series. It features teenagers who release their Persona in order to aid them in combat. The most amazing result of Persona 4 Arena is that it is a damn fine fighting game. It’s extremely well-balanced and features a fighting engine that is slightly tweaked from the BlazBlue series. It being a Persona game, it also features the most robust story mode ever seen in a fighting game. Persona 4 Arena isn’t just for fans of the franchise, but should also be checked out by fighting game fans post-haste.
2. Borderlands 2
One of the most anticipated games of year, Borderlands 2 had expectations through the roof. How much did it improve on its predecessor? More guns, better story, and a more compelling single player campaign certainly helped. Borderlands 2 combines role-playing game elements with a first-person shooter. The more missions completed the better gear unlocks and the more powerful you become. While the first game only had players completing fetch quests until the last mission, Borderlands 2 has some very memorable personalities on the way to the finale. While its fantastic that the single player is so much more rewarding this time around, the game shines with multiplayer. There are few experiences like it and the quest for the best loot will continue long into the night.
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
A “reimagined” remake of the 1994 classic strategy game X-COM: UFO Defense, XCOM: Enemy Unknown takes everything from the beloved classic and brings it to the modern era. The team at Firaxis nailed just about everything memorable. Being able to name your own squad so when they died, their names are etched into the annals of history and the painful sense of regret that follows. Like it’s beloved forefather, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is tense, strategic, turn-based strategy game. The game doesn’t hold any hands and if your twenty hours in and you fail, that’s it. Games aren’t this merciless these days and XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a welcome change of pace. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the finest game to come out in 2012.
[Honorable Mentions: Far Cry 3, FTL: Faster Than Light]