Well, here it is, the big one. Game of the Year is what it’s all about so lets have a look back before we leap forward into 2013. While my list may be a bit different from yours, I think we can all agree that what’s below are some quality gems from this past year. The list I’ve put together below represents my favorite games from 2012.
and the nominees for Game of the Year 2012 are…
I mean, what can I really say? Borderlands 2 takes what makes the first game so great, and simply improves everything. Everything. The story and writing were clearly pushed to the front in addition to giving the game a much more defined and strong villain with Handsome Jack. I found the humor to be spot on within the context of the game and not forced at all. I found the art style, specifically the diverse gun visuals very pleasing as it was a big step above the first game. Combine all of that with the already addictive loot system, 5 different classes to pick from and Shooter/RPG elements and Borderlands 2 ups the ante by like a gajillion. Catch a Ride.
Mass Effect 3
Sure, many people took issue with the final segment in the game but if you really take a step back and look at the experience as a whole, Mass Effect 3 manages to grab all of those decisions throughout the trilogy and wrap them up in a very satisfying package. With a well made multiplayer component, additional DLC, and heaps of replayability, Mass Effect 3 manages to be the very shiny bow to an already fantastic trilogy package.
Yes, this downloadable title from Thatgamecompany is that good. With a focus more on experience that actual game, it nails the gameplay to a T. There’s also no denying that it’s an absolutely gorgeous game with sun baked sands, to underground caverns, to a blizzard ravaged mountain top. It also has a very refreshing and unique take on multiplayer removing the ability to speak through traditional means instead replacing it with “chirps”. Journey has the ability to draw you in, not have to hold your hand, and provide one of the most unique game experiences of the year.
Far Cry 3
Yes, releasing so late in the year, this one may be overlooked for many awards and honestly, that would be a disservice because Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 is easily one of the best games of the year. Featuring lush and vibrant visuals on a tropical island, the game is filled with things to do including hunting, liberating outposts, side missions, and activating radio towers. The voice acting and animations are top notch and really manage to pull you into the world that has been created. With a compelling story, an array of interesting characters, and a wealth of content (including co-op, competative multiplayer and a supoer powerful map editor) Far Cry 3 will keep you going for quite a while. You’d be insane to miss it.
In a year filled with sequels to already strong franchises, Dishonored had the dubious task of establishing a foothold as a new IP. After playing that game, I would say that they succeeded easily. Arkane put out a top notch game firmly rooted in the spirit of games like Deus Ex and Thief. Having created a beautiful and compelling world set in a steampunk, meets whaling town, meets Victorian England style era, Dishonored is as fascinating as it is pleasing to play. While it’s not open world, Dishonored encourages players to tackle situations the way they want, and to me, that is the more refreshing aspect about it.
With any sequel to Halo, there’s a level of expectations put upon it by fans. So take that, and multiply it by 100 due to the fact that a new studio is taking over for the franchise owner (Bungie) and you have what 343 Industries must have been feeling. Through all of that, 343 not only exceeded expectations, they may have even created arguably the best Halo in the series. Talk about knocking it out of the park. Armed with a brand new graphics and lighting engine, they managed to breath new life into Master Chief will still somehow managing to keep that same Halo feel. The only explanation might be dark magics.
And the winner is…
Dishonored really filled a void this year standing out amidst a sea of sequels. Not to say sequels are bad, but when a unique and new IP comes along there’s a lot of pressure especially when your a relatively new studio. Arkane came in and blew past expectations with their first person action stealth game providing a refreshing, unique and addictive experience. The world they built from the ground up with the help from famed City 17 creator, Victor Antonov, managed to pull me in deeper as a searched high and low for things that would pull back the layers. Here’s hoping the world they created continues as they’ve got a fan in me. Can’t wait to see what’s next for Arkane.