So, seeing as we’re already in the second week of 2013, I thought it’s about bloody time I wrote something about my favourite games of 2012. Unlike in 2011, in 2012 I actually managed to play a few games in the same year that they were released, which somewhat goes against our steadfast determination to remain several years behind the trendy forefront of gaming. Still, true to form, the number of games I bought/coveted vastly outnumbered the number of games I actually had time to play, so we’re still keeping up that tradition.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s a quick run down of my favourite games from last year, as well as a few that I wish I’d had a chance to play.
The Best Games of 2012 That I Actually Played
This one snuck in at the very end of 2012 in the form of a downloadable game for the Nintendo 3DS. After reading a favourable review of it online and being at somewhat of a loose end on Boxing Day, I decided to give it a go and was very pleasantly surprised indeed. It’s basically a recreation of a Dungeons & Dragons-style tabletop RPG, complete with dice rolling and static characters on little pedestals, but the writing is good enough to provide it with a rich atmosphere.
As I said not long ago, XCOM is easily my game of the year, and it has the honour of being the first game I’ve bought on the day it came out in over a decade. I’m currently waiting for the first batch of DLC to emerge before attempting a second playthrough on hard – usually I never bother going back to a game after finishing it on normal, so you can appreciate just how much I enjoyed this one.
Since Resident Evil went all Gears of War and Silent Hill went a bit, well, rubbish, there’s been a survival horror shaped hole in my life. Thankfully, ZombiU came along and has shown the way forward for this most beleaguered but much loved genre, so here’s hoping it spawns a few imitations in the years to come. Ubisoft also deserve high praise for making a game that absolutely scared the s**t out of me.
I cannot recommend Spec Ops: The Line highly enough – finally we have a game that knows how to tell a story, as well as being damn good fun to play. If you ever need an example of an experience that could only be achieved through video games, then this is it, and I’ve been raving about it to anyone who will listen for months now.
BUBBLING UNDER: Honorary mentions should go to New Super Mario Bros. U, which has been a lot of fun to play with friends but still hasn’t fully grabbed me, and to Trine 2: Director’s Cut, which turned out to be remarkably good fun with a couple of friends on board.
The Best Games of 2012 That I Would Have Played If I’d Had The Time
I actually bought this in a pre-Christmas sale a few weeks back, but I still haven’t gotten around to loading it up, such has been the manic rush over Christmas. I really can’t wait to play it though: its mix of BioShock and steampunk is right up my street.
I almost, almost bought a PS3 in the January sales, but the remembrance of all of the games I’ve still yet to play stayed my hand in the end. Still, if I did buy a PS3, Journey would be the first game I’d buy for it – it really does look like nothing else I’ve seen.
The Wii ended its life with some absolutely corking games, and The Last Story is by all reports one of the best games to ever grace the system. I’ve had my eye out for a cheap copy of this superb RPG ever since it came out at the beginning of the year, but it has steadfastly refused to drop in price since its release, such is its popularity/rarity. If anything, prices are going UP now that it’s getting harder to find…
Technically this was actually released in November 2011, but I only heard about it last month through an excellent article on The Brainy Gamer, and it only became available on Steam in September 2012. Apparently it’s a real tear-jerker, and it sounds completely unlike anything I’ve ever played before, so I’m dying to give it a go.
BUBBLING UNDER: Pandora’s Tower was another game that appeared on the Wii’s death bed and looks utterly brilliant: sadly, like The Last Story, it’s still stubbornly expensive though. Finally, The Walking Dead by TellTale has been garnering heaps of praise from all over the shop for its gripping storyline, so it’s one of those games I feel like I probably should play, but in all likelihood I never will. I read the first few volumes of the graphic novel a few years back and found it thoroughly repellant and depressing, despite the well-written storyline, so I imagine the game will be more of the same. After the horrors of ZombiU, I think my nerves need a break…
[As written by Lucius Merriweather while devouring the last of the Christmas bonbons. Happy New Year everyone!]