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David’s Top 10 of 2012

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David Galanter has some favorite games from 2012 to talk about. Here he goes!

10. SSX

I never thought a snowboarding game would make my list of best games of the year, but it’s extremely tough to ignore the high I got racing down each mountain at ridiculous speeds, pulling off impossible tricks. The game continuously introduces new equipment to keep every run unique and will constantly surprise you with how fresh it will feel even hours into the experience. Snowboarding games may have past their heyday, but there’s never been a more compelling reason to give it another chance than SSX.

9. Assassin’s Creed III

I’ve been very vocal about the amount of glitches and questionable design choices in AC3, but that doesn’t mean the game has no merits. Far from it. The attention to detail put into the art direction is beyond impressive and free-running through an expansive frontier of trees, stalking your prey (human or otherwise), is extremely satisfying. I can’t even begin to describe what I would like to change about this game if I could, but, like the game’s insanely fun naval warfare, there’s enough here to please any gamer looking for something unique and addicting.

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8. Max Payne 3

You probably won’t see this on a ton of “Best of..” lists for last year, but there’s no denying the quality Rockstar Vancouver accomplished with this 3rd person, action noir. The shooting and bullet time is back from past installments, evoking a nostalgic form of obsession, and the writing is second to none. The multiplayer mode is fun too, but don’t expect Halo quality. The campaign is the main course here, and Max Payne 3 will have you wishing you could erase your memory of it so you could experience it again for the first time.

7. Call of Duty Black Ops 2

Call of Duty has had quite a bit of ups and downs in its history. As a harsh critic of Activision (and Treyarch), it’s hard to believe this year’s installment would make my list, but it did, and more than barely. Even though I’m still not a fan of the game’s campaign or zombie mode, the multiplayer is just as addicting as ever and delivers on the promise of fast paced gameplay and nitty-gritty customization the series is known for.

6. Halo 4

As the first original installment of the Halo franchise made by 343 Industries, Halo 4 had a lot to prove. A LOT. The result was a less than optimal campaign and a lot of returning weapons and vehicles that made the entire experience feel like fan service, but the multiplayer was more or less intact (save a few “borrowed” features from Call of Duty). I can never convince myself that this game will touch any of the Bungie Halos, however, the more I play the multiplayer, the harder it is to put it down, making this one of my favorite games of 2012.

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5. Mass Effect 3

By now you’re probably sick of hearing about “the ending” to this game, so I’m here to tell you this was some of the best beginning and middle I’ve had all year. Sub-plots wrap up beautifully one after another as you skip across the galaxy teaming up with old friends and saving all life in the universe (no pressure). Bad endings and a lackluster multiplayer mode aside, Mass Effect 3 delivers an expansive, futuristic, RPG experience worth playing more than once.

4. Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

As I am expecting to get a lot of “never heard of it”s from readers seeing this on my list, do yourself a favor and go hear about it. Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is one of the best real-time strategy games since the original Red Alert. Its slow pace and calming atmosphere will make you feel like you’re playing a turn-based game, with all of the benefits of a real-time experience. Command your army to conquer planets and enjoy some of the most epic, galactic battles in gaming.

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3. Civilization V: Gods & Kings

If Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is the best real-time strategy game, Civilization V: Gods & Kings is most definitely the best turn-based strategy game of the year. I know it’s only an expansion pack and not a full retail release, but Gods & Kings still stands strong as one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had all year. With a ton of new civilizations, technologies, units, buildings, and the return of spies and religion, this addition extends the already near perfect gameplay of Civ V and provides even more excuses to pour hundreds of hours into it.

2. The Walking Dead

Telltale continuously challenges itself to acquire the rights to established licenses and make quality games out of them. The Walking Dead is the latest example of the studio’s attempt to capture our hearts with a popular franchise. Not only do they succeed in capturing our hearts, they also succeed in stepping on it, throwing it in a meat grinder, and drinking it as an energy supplement. The connection you feel to the characters and the constant fear that surrounds their situation is expertly utilized to evoke emotions that’ll be tough to feel anywhere else, making it impossible not to make this list.

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1. Journey

As some might call it a pointless trek in the desert, I call it one of the best examples of gaming as art in the industry. Created as an interpretive metaphor for Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey,” thatgamecompany takes you through the worry of being alone in the desert, the excitement of finding a companion to travel with, the fear of stumbling into a cavern you shouldn’t be in, and the melancholy of your adventure coming to an end. With such a wide range of emotions, phenomenal music, a unique twist on online gameplay, and gorgeous visuals, Journey brings the best experience of this year and quite possibly this entire generation.

Little David Galanter grew up in Orange County, CA loving videogames and anything else that repelled girls. After getting his Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts, David decided to start contributing his soft silky words to the world via online media. He currently owns a website with a weekly podcast (www.drgman.com) and is a reviewer for Default Prime!
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