2012 saw a lot of noteworthy video game releases that ranged from AAA-blockbusters to humble school projects with a ton of heart. It was a good year for gamers and I’m glad I managed to survive the Mayan plague so I could bring you a list of the games that were my personal favorites of 2012.
(10) Halo 4
I won’t beat around the bush – Halo 4 is hands-down the best entry in the franchise to date. Not only is it the start to a refreshing new trilogy, but it also leaves Bungie’s previous rocky spin-off titles in the dust and takes Halo storytelling to new heights unlike anything we have seen thus far. It’s a damn fine start to something beautiful.
(9) Hotline Miami
After the first hour of quizzically reciting the poetry that is “what the fuck,” I found myself thoroughly impressed by the artistic violence found within Hotline Miami. It’s an old-school top-down shooter that players more like a puzzle game than anything else. Something I feared was a cheap gimmick quickly made it one of the most memorable games of the year.
A great man once said, “Fezes are cool.” You should take his word for it – he’s a Doctor. Fez is no exception. One of the focal points of Indie Game: The Movie, Fez is a masterpiece well worth all the hardships and obstacles that Phil Fish had to overcome for to finally get it into the hands of gamers. Pardon the cliché saying, but Fez is a pure, unadulterated love letter to video games.
(7) Mark of the Ninja
I’ll admit, I was hesitant to play it at first – but after David’s constant praise, I gave in and bought what turned out to be one of the best indie games of the year. Mark of the Ninja takes everything great about the ninja genre (you know, ninja stuff) and jams it into a beautiful side-scroller that plays unlike anything else currently available.
(6) Max Payne 3
As much as I hate to admit it, I almost forgot about poor ol’ Max. It’s not that the game was forgettable, it’s far from it – but there were so many games released this year that it makes it easily to overlook even some of the best games out of the crop. Max Payne 3 is everything an action fan waiting more than decade would want. It’s smart, violent and more fun than a barrel of self-loathing. I never thought I missed slow-mo dives until I started playing, then I realized just how fun and nostalgia-inducing they can be. Much like the previous two, Max Payne 3 is a timeless classic.
(5) Sleeping Dogs
You can’t keep a good dog down. Sleeping Dogs is a development hell success story that panned out a lot better than most of us thought it would. My initial reaction of “oh, it’s a cheap GTA knock off in Hong Kong” was quickly slapped off my face by the astonishingly well-rounded presentation of the game. Sleeping Dogs isn’t a simple a GTA clone, but an exquisite game that managed to dethrone the grandfather of the sandbox genre in my eyes.
(4) Mass Effect 3
Controversy and entitlement discussion aside, Mass Effect 3 was a wonderful end to the trilogy I hold so close to my heart. Finally seeing my decisions, hardships, friendships and dedication come full circle managed to wake something up inside me. On its own, Mass Effect 3 might not be the best game in the series, but it’s still a ride worth taking. For someone like myself who has lived with and regretted decisions since I made them back in 2007, the final kick in the teeth touched me in all the right places. I am Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite game on the Citadel.
(3) Far Cry 3
Taking the best parts of the original Far Cry and the African frolicking preformed in Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3 is the definitive Far Cry experience that fans have always wanted. It’s a genre-defining FPS with more personality than any other FPS released this year. Far Cry 3 treats the player as an everyday-Joe stuck against impossible odds and throughout the game you feel like you’re changing into a broken, revenge-driven man beside the protagonist. It’s emotional, fun and everything a FPS-sandbox title should be. Plus, you know, wing suits and Skrillex.
In a world without Half-Life 3, I do believe Dishonored is as close as we are going to get until Gabe Newell officially announces the game that will likely never come. There’s so much Half-Life influence in Dishonored it’s truly astounding. Dishonored is not only the best new IP of 2012, but also the best game of the year in my humble opinion. When describing it to friends, I like to call Dishonored a hybrid of all of the good parts of the Half-Life, BioShock and Thief series rolled into a polished, well told experience that’s a joy to play again and again.
(1) The Walking Dead
An emotional rollercoaster unlike any other, Telltale’s The Walking Dead is an unforgettable thrill ride that will go down in the history books as one of the most immersive adventure games ever made. Regardless of your feelings toward the source material, The Walking Dead is tailored toward anyone willing to give it a shot. What it lacks in the gameplay department it makes up for with its one-of-a-kind story that will leave your in tears more than once over its five episodes.
This is a personal top 10 list and the entries and their rankings do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Geekenstein.com, but of the author publishing it. Feel free to send in your own top 10 list to firstname.lastname@example.org.