2012 was a huge year for games. There were great major titles, indie games, HD remakes, you name it, 2012 had it. Below I’ve compiled my top 10 games of 2012. Needless to say, it’s an extremely subjective list. I obviously did not play every game released in 2012, so I cannot have an opinion on all of them. Without further ado…
There are a few titles that did not crack the top 10 not because they were not enjoyable, but mostly because they aren’t totally unique titles. The three that fall into that category are FIFA 13, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, and Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. These three titles were all fantastic, but were not quite unique enough to bust into the top 10 since they were a yearly installment, HD remake, and console port. The honorable mention that is a new franchise is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. KofA had extraordinary combat for a role playing game, which is ultimately what made it so fun. The plot was interesting, but not quite on par with other major titles… hopefully it wasn’t the first and last game from 38 Studios.
Number 10 – Darksiders II
Part of the reason I believe Darksiders IIwas so enjoyable is because I never played the first installment. The gameplay was fast and hectic, but there were also more puzzles than I ever expected, which was a nice change of pace. It’s more of a traditional breakdown in terms of story progression in that you fight through some people or solve a puzzle followed by a culminating boss fight, then repeat. The story was compelling and there is a huge potential for more titles in the Darksiders franchise.
Number 9 – Borderlands 2
Borderlands 2 is essentially an MRPG with guns. The quests did not always appeal to me because they seemed a little derivative of MMORPG style, but the gameplay was so satisfying and the writing was so fantastic that the game was still loads of fun. The art style of the game is completely unique and the almost comical feedback style throughout the game is such a treat. There is something satisfying about seeing the health tangibly explode from an enemy’s body. With an elite co-op mode, Borderlands 2 easily provided hours of entertainment.
Number 8 – Assassin’s Creed III
ACIII is a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I was extremely let down with the game because the AC titles comprise my favorite gaming franchise as a whole. The game seemed to lack the spark that previous titles had. However, on the other hand, Assassin’s Creed games are still amazingly fun to play. The fighting was refined and a bevy of new weapons created new gameplay styles and challenges, not to mention great new theatrical kills. This ultimately overtook the slow start in the game and created a fun experience.
Number 7 – Quantum Conundrum
A lesser known title of 2012, Quantum Conundrum satisfied my desire of wanting to be stumped by a game. From the creators of Portal, QC essentially uses the same game mechanics, but with added depth. Four alternate dimensions that morph physics created truly devious puzzles to solve. Along the same lines as Portal however, the harder the puzzle is, the more satisfying it is to complete it. Quantum Conundrum may be a little overlooked, but it’s a fantastic game.
Great puzzles made Quantum Conundrum an amazing game.
Number 6 – Mass Effect 3
Probably the most controversial game of 2012, possibly ever, is Mass Effect 3. Personally, I didn’t fight against the ending as so many fans did; all I know is that the game was excellent. The refined gun play coupled with in depth character development and interactive choices with other players is a staple of the Mass Effect franchise; ultimately, that created a fantastic play through. It’s also always cool when a player can continue their personal character through titles like is possible through each Mass Effect title. And as if the original game was not enough, ME3 has some of the best DLC available.
Number 5 – Trials Evolution
As a huge fan of the original Trials HD, I had high hopes for Trials Evolution and Red Lynx exceeded what I was even expecting. Truly sadistic level design created the most frustrating/rewarding experience of any game of 2012, in my opinion. There is something to be said for a game being more old school in nature in that it’s just HARD. On the most extreme levels, every movement must be perfect in order to complete the track. The fiero moment that came from the hours of grinding on one level was well worth the time. The multiplayer mode was revamped and one of the most in-depth creation zones in any game made Trials Evolution a huge success.
Number 4 – Hitman: Absolution
In what apparently seems to be an emerging trend of my 2012 preferences, Hitman: Absolution was a hard game. You have to carefully plan your assassinations and escape routes in order to succeed and that’s what made it fun. The creativity that was available within in the game to assassinate people was fantastic (not sure how to express that without sounding creepy). Agent 47 returned after many years off and it was a huge success. Trying to get through each mission perfectly creates some great replay value as well.
Agent 47 is back.
Number 3 – SSX
Although is probably higher than almost everyone else who has compiled a top 10 list, in terms of sheer fun within a game, SSX is arguably the best. True, the story was thin, but it’s also a snowboarding game; no one thinks “I want an immersible story to get into, let me go check out a snowboarding game.” The over-the-top gameplay and exaggerated physics were just plain fantastic. New game modes since the old school SSXgames created new experiences also. The mountains were intricate with numerous routes leading to the same goal and the online universe was great. RiderNet compares your times against friends and others from the online universe to really foster the competitive aspect of the game. I still boot up SSXregularly to have some simple fun.
If only moves like this were possible in real life…
Number 2 – Halo 4
The most anticipated return to a franchise in the history of gaming was a critical and commercial monster. 343 Industries did a phenomenal job on Halo 4. The story was a change in mood and tone from past installments, but worked perfectly. That was all well and good, but for me, Halo is all about the multiplayer. The best online multiplayer game in history was resurrected in 2012 with fantastic online gameplay. New game modes and small gameplay tweaks changed the feel of the whole online experience for the better. Finally, following its November release, the days are back of multihour sessions with friends that had been missing essentially since Halo 3. I had extremely high expectations for Halo 4 and somehow the game still surpassed them.
Number 1 – Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 hit me like a tidal wave of awesomeness mainly because I had no preconceived notions of what the game would be like. I played it just to experience the game, not determined to like it or dislike it; ultimately, I ended up loving it. Open world games sometimes tend to be hard in random areas for no apparent reason. Far Cry 3 was the perfect level of in-depth RPG elements, coupled with challenging but understandable tasks, married to fantastic combat styles and mechanics. The story was actually extremely interesting (although some characters had somewhat apathetic lines) and provided for a great backdrop for the entire game. As you play through Far Cry 3 you really recognize the changes that your character has gone through and the changes that you have gone through as a player. Not any personal philosophical change, but as you progress through the game you learn great new tactics for disposing of enemies. Creativity oozes as you set up a strings of kills executed perfectly. When I finished the game, I stopped and thought about what I was doing at the start of the game to kill people and it was almost embarrassingly simple. All of the elements within Far Cry 3 came together perfectly to create, in my opinion, the best gaming experience of 2012.
The fact that this scenario is even possible within a game should show you how awesome Far Cry 3 is.
2012 was a phenomenal year for games and although I did not get a chance to play all the major titles released, I plan to catch up during 2013. The games I did play last year were fantastic and they only have me more excited and optimistic about the possibilities and new titles coming in the next 12 months.
Lucas has evolved in his video game preferences. With a foundation in predominantly sports game, action adventure games are now his favorite to play. He is a competitive swimmer and likes to play volleyball, basketball, and golf.
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