Call if Game of the Year, call it best games, call it whatever you like – at the end of the year we all like to sit down and take stock of the months that have passed. And by jove what a year 2012 has been. It was a cracker of a year. A real rip snorter.
And I didn’t even play Telltale’s The Walking Dead.
I did however play a whole stack of games, both new and old, even if I didn’t have as much time as I have in the past. Of course being someone who only writes about video games for a bit of a laugh – as in not professionally – it is almost impossible for me to have a comprehensive deliberation about the merits of each and every game released this calendar year. That translates roughly into an apology that Mass Effect 3 and Dishonored are not in the below list. But it also speaks reams about the quality of the games below, firstly that I spent the time to play them long enough (in most cases) to form an opinion whereby, hand on heart, I could recommend them, and secondly that they took me away from games like Mass Effect 3 and Dishonored.
So with that said, hand on heart, no bribes taken, the below are my favourite games of the year that was two-thousand and twelve.
The Most Agreeable Games of 2012
I’m not surprised by what is probably my favourite game of the year, and stands proudly beside Vanquish as one of the best games to come from Japan in recent years. The story about is great, the action is great in spite of itself (it is a cover based shooter, after all) and I am ashamed to admit that by the end of it I felt absolutely invested in both the characters the game developed, but also the world of Binary Domain more broadly. Am I really a hollow child, a robot indistinguishable from a human, telling you this so that SEGA can make their money back on a game that was in the bargain bin about a week after it was released? No. But seriously, buy this game.
The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition (Xbox 360)
Okay this is cheating a little given the Witcher 2 first came out for PCs in 2011. But my first experience with the Witcher 2 was the Enhanced Edition of the Xbox 360, and my what a memorable experience it was. Everything about the game, the characters, the political intrigue, character development and the hard to learn, harder to master combat compelled me to keep playing. It also happened to look pretty special. And forget what you read, the third act was a fulfilling closure to an amazing and expansive story. Or so I say.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I knew I’d love XCOM Enemy Unknown. But I didn’t know I would love it as much as I did. It is turn based strategy that felt far less rigid and far more exciting than its peers. And the macro strategy, although not particularly deep and from my experience easily gamed, added that extra level of depth to push XCOM beyond just a great damned turn-based strategy game, to one of the best games period.
Dynasty Warriors Next
You know what Dynasty Warriors Next isn’t a great game. And if I were a better man I would definitely put Wipeout 2049 on here in its place. But Dynasty Warriors Next just happens to have the honour of being my first. Yes I popped my musou cherry with what by all accounts is a pretty standard entry in the series. But that doesn’t make it any less special. Dynasty Warriors Next filled that much needed position of ‘game to play when I seriously can’t be bothered actually playing a game’ in a tumultuous year dominated by everything else but time to play video games. And for that it deserves to be here because in spite of itself, I had a romping good time mowing down hordes of mindless soliders.
This game has absolutely no right being on here. Firstly because for a game released in 2012 is feels uncannily like it was released before I properly hit puberty (I’m now 29) and secondly because I have spent a grand total of about 2 hours with it. Luckily that short time was spent playing local multiplayer because that time was priceless and demonstrated to me that the classic Twisted Metal formula, as chaotic as it is, is as fun now as it ever was. Twisted Metal isn’t the greatest game ever made. And honestly it is nowhere near the best game released this year. But sometimes technical accomplishments and refined gameplay can’t hold a candle to something that is just hands down a fantastic bloody experience. And Twisted Metal is was exactly that for me.
Mortal Kombat (PS Vita)
The Mortal Kombat ‘reboot’ was largely considered a success when it was released on consoles in 2011, with its fluid fighting and surprisingly good story mode. This all holds for the PS Vita version which retains all of that, and has the benefit of being on my favourite handheld. Yes I love the Vita. And Mortal Kombat is the embodiment of the justification for that love.
Have a favourite I missed? Tell me I’m wrong in the comments section. Or agree with me and add +1 Health to your party.