Tuesday, 11 December 2012

(Feature) 2012 - Games of The Year

2012 has been a sensational year for gaming. Here is my own personnel pick of the best and most disappointing games of the year. Please note that lists are in no particular order.



Top 5 Games of The Year


Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Witcher 2 easily takes its place on my list of best games of the year. 

There are few games that engage you in such an interesting and mature story and characters like Witcher 2 does. It's these elements that can make or break games and it is great so much effort was put into this game to ensure it succeeded in these areas.

While not being perfect, Witcher 2 involves the player in a miraculous world with astounding attention to detail. The combat system was a little hit and miss but the successes of everything else the game offers way out way any cons there might be.

Arguably you have to be a hardcore RPG fan to get the most out of this game, although I would beg to differ. I'm not a dedicated RPG player, yet Witcher 2 thrilled, intrigued and touched me.

If there is one game that likely slipped through peoples radars this year that shouldn't; this may be it.

Catherine
Catherine is the type of game that is so unexpected it's hard what to make of it at first. 
Essentially it is a sort of 'role-playing platformer' - although even that description far from hits the nail on the head. 
In a way the best description would be to simply say that it is one hell of a messed up emotional rollercoaster. 

I wasn't too keen on the platforming parts of the game at first; I preferred the interesting conversations and text talks with friends part of the game to be honest. However, as the game went on I realised that Vincent's nightmares played such an important part not only in the story, but in understanding things that I put more effort into them and, as a result; my liking for those gameplay segments increased.

It's a wicked and harsh game that really brought something so unique and different and, in its own way, fun, to the table, it is impossible not to love this game. 

New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
The odd one out on the list because it is the only handheld game I've included; NSMB2 for the 3DS proved that 2D Mario is triumphant over 3D Mario (on the 3DS at least). Indeed; Mario's 3D Land outing last year left me far from overly satisfied. 

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is an awesome game though, and proves the Italian plumber is far from getting old.

This entry remained exactly what fans know and love while still offering a few different takes on things. New levels, power ups and a large focus on coins; NSMB2 is easy to put on this list because it is just such an entertaining game. It never fails to amuse just like almost all Mario games. That deserves something.

Spec Ops: The Line

There have been many great games released this year and it was hard to come to a final decision on whether Spec Ops deserved a place. It isn't perfect. In fact, if I were asked to 'rate it' I wouldn't give it above an 8.5 out of 10. 
So how come it beat ingenious games like Dishonored and got a place here then?
Any person reading this has the right to ask that and, while I understand my justification, it is likely many won't agree. That is fine, however. An opinion is n opinion.

Spec Ops: The Line is a special game. It may have a dreary multiplayer mode, average pacing and a questionable lack of unique fights in the singleplayer; but it has an intriguing psychological twist to it that will have any gamer really wondering what the hell is going on. 

The story becomes confusing and weird, violent and scary; but that is the whole point. The game confuses with its surreal ability to make you actually question not just the characters but yourself. The confusion felt is not because the plot line is hard to follow; more that who you or your characters are anymore is near impossible to work out.

There were many times throughout the game when I thought I'd missed the point. It is, in fact, the missing of the point that is the point.

Spec Ops takes its well-deserved place on my list for being so damn thought provoking and emotionally brilliant. 

Far Cry 3
There are many reasons to praise Far Cry 3. It's fairly deep, mature and unique story. The island it is set on. The characters or combat. In the end if it weren't for all these things beings as top notch as they are; the game wouldn't be as good.

While the story and characters (mainly the two main enemies) weren't done to full potential, it still offered a far better plot than most other games released. 

Exploring Rook Island and completing missions while learning more about the cast of characters was a sensational experience. Few games hooked me like Far Cry 3 did and, I imagine, I will still be playing it next year.

Ubisoft got a lot spot on with Far Cry 3. There really are few games anything like this one.

Top 5 Arcade Games of The Year (360/PS3) 

Fez
Fez is an excellent example of how and by the Xbox 360 is a sensational arcade console as well as being a hardcore one.


Fez is difficult, intriguing and beautiful to look at. Using various camera angles to make the experience more complex and unique is something other games have explored; few, however, implement them in such a sensational way as Fez. 

Being an arcade title it's not likely a ton of people bought it upon release; so it is safe, then, to assume there are still people left to play it. To those people I say: put down Call of Duty and Far Cry 3 and get this game. I know there are many amazing games I've recommended (and will recommend); but Fez is a cheap, excellent addition to any gamers arcade library.

Journey
Journey is breath taking. A simple concept perfectly executed.

It isn't that Journey is astoundingly fun per say; or totally full of content. There is no blasting other players away online or killing thousands of people. It is just a magical, unique and totally awe inspiring game.

While travelling through a desert towards the objective, the player is often joined by other people playing the game and must work together to succeed. With no words spoken or typed, the game relies on a unique 'song' system that allows players to communicate via in game sounds.

It's an astonishing experience and one that is far from forgotten after completing.

Walking Dead 
Telltale successfully made the Walking Dead actually interesting with the arcade episode releases.

Being point and click and based on a mediocre (in my opinion) TV series I didn't expect much. I was pleasantly surprised to find, then, that they had actually produced something rather fantastic.

Story driven and interesting; the Walking Dead arcade series really impressed me. It's hard to fault the obvious dedication and awesome results Telltale produced.
Each episode was eagerly awaited and it really felt not only like a 'TV' series was being watched but truly participated in and, most of all, dictated by the player.

Trials Evolution
The whole Trials format is basic. You can find online games that can be played for free that offer the same gameplay basis. However, it is what RedLynx does with that format that makes the Trials series so frigging awesome.

Trials Evolution gives players exactly what they want: a fun challenge.
Awesome levels and a basic, yet outstanding and enjoyable gameplay system will leave any player satisfied.

Some would say that Trials is the bet arcade series around and while I would disagree, Evolution is extremely awesome and not to be missed.

Alan Wake's American Nightmare 
I absolutely adored the first Alan Wake and was really interested to find out what this indirect sequel would be like.

American Nightmare isn't a straightforward follow on to the first game and is more of a 'spin off'. I didn't quite like the concept at first and just wanted a straight forward sequel; however AWAN succeeded in being a really enjoyable, content packed, experience and, most of all, it was more Alan Wake - which isn't a bad thing.

The game suffers from story issues and returning flaws from the first game as well as offering an awesome side mode that doesn't include multiplayer or co-op(?). However it is a long, action packed experience that is great fun. Given that it is a cheaper arcade release that could almost be released as a full game as well as being really enjoyable, Alan Wake gets well deserved place on my list.

Top 5 Most Disappointing Games of The Year

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Despite still being a good game, the sequel to one of my most disappointing games ever (Black Ops); Black Ops 2 disappointed me on a more personal level. 

It failed to excite me upon playing and, unfortunately, failed also to get me back into the series that first got me into gaming. There isn't much to else to say about BLOPs 2 except it let me down for my on gaming reasons rather than ones that can be picked apart technically.

Resident Evil 6
What has happened to you Resi? You hit such a high note with number 5 and then you come out with this? It isn't so much that Resi 6 completely sucked; just that compared to what was expected it was a disappointment. This list isn't compiled of the worst games of the year, only the ones that disappointed me, so Resi 6 isn't a terrible game; just a let down.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter
After the last Medal of Honor offered a good experience with potential, I fully expected Danger Close to produce a great game here. Instead, MoH: Warfighter came in the form of a mush of mediocre gameplay and graphics, a bland mission selection and a multiplayer boring enough to make a caffeine addict go to sleep. 

Ninja Gaiden 3
What on earth were you thinking, Team Ninja? 

Ninja Gaiden 3 is an appalling follow on to a series that had a lot going for it. I don't even know what to say here as almost everything about the game sucked and disappointed. That's all anyone needs to know. Don't play it.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
 I hoped maybe Declassified could offer a really unique and awesome experience and truly be the best handheld console FPS yet. It wasn't. At all.

Disappointing? Yes. Utterly rubbish? Yes. Complete confusion over just what went wrong? Yes. 

When playing this game, instead of thinking how awesome it was, I couldn't get this though out my head: how do you screw a game up so much? If being this bad and disappointing was an Olympic sport and Declassified had been released before London 2012, it would've won gold. Fact.

I don't want to even waste more words on this thing. Bottom line: avoid it like the plague.

Seems my lists are done. It is unlikely many will agree with them so voice your own opinions on what were your best and worst games of 2012 in the comments!

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