Wow, what a year! I find it hard to believe that 2012 is pretty much over, and if you believe weirdos who don’t get the idea that a calendar can reset and start from zero as opposed to it signalling the end of the world, then you will probably think it’s more than just 2012 that’s coming to an end.
Gaming has been pretty darn great this year, which means I hate making the following list. How do you sum up a year with so many great games by giving a list of your top ten games? It will simply not do enough justice to the rest of the gaming world. That’s why I have an ‘Honourable Mention’ and a list of stocking fillers with so many games on it!
The Walking Dead
My list is in no particular order with one exception: The Walking Dead. With decisions made in the first episode only being felt in the fifth episode six months later, you quickly realise that this is no ordinary game. Extremely emotional decisions and conundrums, insanely likeable and ‘love to hate’ characters, and the profound story all add up to make this the best game I have played all year. Oh, and zombies!
When I heard Hitman Absolution would be toned down for newer gamers I nearly gave up on Agent 47. Thankfully that was ‘nearly.’ A great stealth game with enough toughness on the harder difficulties to suit all levels of players. Nothing beats the feeling of planning and executing the perfect hit. Add to that a great Contracts mode to challenge your friends with and it is clear Agent 47 is back!
If ever a game had me consider throwing my controller at the screen, then Trials Evolution is it. Ranging from the insanely simple to the insanely hard, riding a bike along a two dimensional level has never been this much fun. Plus, no more playing alone! Up to three friends can join in and humiliate each other. RedLynx has also been fantastic in releasing their own new levels as well as making an editor powerful enough to create mini-games. This is how it is supposed to be done!
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
What promised to be the super action RPG of the year, especially considering the names in the credits, Reckoning failed to deliver, thanks purely to the hype machine. Once playing the game you realise it’s still a fantastic game in it’s own right. With a wonderful new world where so many stories could be pulled from, it is very sad that the studio behind this title has closed down. Lucky for you that means you can pick up Amalur for cheap!
Another title that dumbed down the gameplay for a wider audience, and another title that simple was not done enough justice by that statement. True, this is not the ‘next Forza’ that most petrol heads wanted. True, it is not even developed by Turn 10. That means nothing once you get behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Aventador and speed down beautiful tree lined roads, over huge dam walls, through music festivals and around the quiet countryside.
Mass Effect 3
I never got the mass debate over Mass Effect. I enjoyed the game immensely, even though it was the weakest of the trilogy. To see Shepard’s story come to its marvellous conclusion (many will argue about the marvellous-ness) still ranks up high on my list of ultimate gaming achievements. Not a single other trilogy of games had me so convinced that games are in fact a better medium than movies. Merely for making it this far deserves a pat on the back!
Nothing is certain but death and taxes and a new FIFA game. Thankfully FIFA 13 goes down much, much better than death or taxes. With one of the most refined sporting titles ever released you can be sure of hours of fun either by yourself or with friends. Judging by the furious contests we ran at the stand during rAge I am not the only one who loves me some FIFA 13!
Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition
I managed to avoid Minecraft for nearly two years. Then out of nowhere I was cornered at Bryan’s house to play the Xbox version. I was hooked instantly. Minecraft is like Marmite: you either love it or you hate it. Since Minecraft is the fastest and best selling title on the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace, I guess more people like Marmite than I thought.
My mind is very seldom in a more consistent state than jelly. So when it has to deal with the four-sided two dimensionality with a literal twist and turn, then it often starts to melt. Fez is based on an extremely simple principle with mind-bending consequences. It seems simple and cute and fluffy and nice, but can only be enjoyed in small doses, in fear of you burning out. It remains one of the most innovative games of 2012.
Diablo III (not 3, three or D3) was a big let-down for many people. That was inevitable purely because of it’s pedigree. Never can you out-play the hype and expectations of a game with such immense stature and cult-like following. In it’s own right it was a great hack and slash action RPG with very good graphics and randomly generated levels. Plus, who would pass on the chance to slay some of Satan’s evil minions and cleanse the world of evil? Not this adventurer!
Special Mention: Battlefield 3
I know that this game didn’t release in 2012, but it’s easily the game I spent most of my time with. A great shooter, with an even better community, all thanks to POItjie and his gang of merry men and women handing out pakkie pleisters and pakkie lekkers. Good times indeed!
The following games are six games that I did not get to play, but really got my attention. If I had endless resources (read time and money) I would love to play these titles. Here is hoping Santa sees this list and give me a few surprise stocking fillers.
Dishonored: Seemingly perfect assassin game set in a quasi Bioshock world, just what I need – (Read our review)
Borderlands 2: The co-op title of the year, I am sure this will be going for a shovel of dirt by early next year. Then I will move in for the strike! – (Read our review)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown: The best example of a second tier title overshadowing the major title. The XCOM shooter? What happened to it after this strategy (and closer to the original) game was released? A must buy! – (Read our review)
Journey: From amazing soundtrack to a really intriguing story, I would get Journey for the visuals alone. A moving piece of art! – (Read our coverage)
Far Cry 3: I am a massive fan of the Far Cry series. I doubt we will have some Afrikaans swearing in this title, but I can wish, right? – (Read our review)
Assassins Creed III: I am mostly intrigued by the settings of the Assassins Creed games, and the new American Civil War period really strikes me a great setting. I also need to complete my collection. – (Read our review)
Halo 4: I’m not really a big Halo fan, but if it promises to be “the future of gaming” then I must have it, surely. This is also the first time a web series (Forward Unto Dawn) successfully got me interested in a game. – (Read our review)
If you enjoyed this feature, be sure to read the rest of the team’s top picks for most impressive games of 2012 (so far):