Just a few more days until the end of the world! And, if we’re lucky, Christmas and New Years. So, that being said, here’s another “Best Of” list coming at you. 2012 was a pretty great year for video games. Whether you’re a fan of mobile puzzle games, first person shooters, or RPGs, this past year delivered a pretty great selection. Here’s a look at 12 of the best.
12. Candy Crush Saga
Platform: Facebook, iOS and Android
Yes, that’s right. Candy Crush Saga. The game that looks like your five year old nephew should be playing… What has recently become a bit of a punchline in my social networking life on Facebook (thanks, C.J.!), Candy Crush Saga has quickly become one of the most popular games released by King.com. Titles like Candy Crush Saga, and Bubble Witch Saga before it, has catapulted King.com to the #2 spot when referencing social games creators. First place still goes to Zynga.
Quickly replacing my Bejeweled Blitz addiction, Candy Crush Saga gets roughly 5 million daily active players on Facebook. And now that the mobile version has been released, I’m sure that number has gotten higher across the board.
It may look simple, but the simplicity of the game’s concept quickly leads to levels that are so goddamn frustratingly difficult. Oh, and have I said yet how addictive this game is? Hey, readers, Candy Crush Saga is fun, frustrating and damn addicting. Just trust me here.
Platform: XBOX 360, Playstation 3
Well lookie here. An extreme sports game made the list! Sure, it seemed until this past year, that these types of video games had been pushed aside for more immersive first person shooter options. But alas, the classic snowboarding game series known as SSX was rebooted (so to speak) and the gaming world is a better place for it.
It’s the 5th installment in the series and EA Canada brought back some familiar faces from SSX games’ past. Up until this point, SSX Tricky was my favorite of the series. But 2012’s SSX introduced new game play elements to a familiar story making the concept of snow boarding around the world through some rather “Deadly Descents” an intense and addictive video game experience.
With an open world to explore and crazy multiplayer options, it’s no wonder that SSX garnered the “Best Individual Sports Game” at this year’s Video Game Awards!
Platform: The Playstation Network
To say that Journey is an interesting independent video game, wouldn’t do it justice. Created by thatgamecompany, Journey is an interactive, yet anonymous, online adventure. It’s about the experience of a person’s life and the intersections it hits with other life passages.
The concept is simple. You awake alone, surrounded by miles upon miles of desert. You soon discover the mountain in the distance is your goal, your destination. But, with ominous sand dunes, caves, ruins and intense winds, the trip to the mountain is not an easy one. The goal may be that mountaintop in the distance, but the gameplay experience is a rather existential one: discover who you are, where you are, and your purpose in this place.
With amazing imagery, music and a rather unique online gameplay experience, Journey is indeed a different and memorable video game experience.
Journey has garnered many awards this year, including “Best Independent Game” at The 2012 Video Game Awards!
9. LEGO Batman 2 DC Super Heroes
Platform: XBOX 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, DS, PS Vita, PC and Mac
The LEGO video game franchise debuted in 2005 and since then, we have had some terrific installments to the series. Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Star Wars and most recently Lord Of The Rings all have provided the fun and entertaining gameplay one has come to expect from playing as a LEGO super hero. However, one major issue that has held the franchise back has been the guidelines to which the games have had to follow. All based on established properties, there’s only so far these games have been able to go. That was until the first LEGO Batman entered the fold. Batman is a character that surpasses just one means of storytelling, with a comic book, a tv show, a cartoon and multiple movie story lines, the video game in question took to remaking the LEGO video game rules.
This past year, Traveller’s Tales released LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and followed the formula they created which made LEGO Batman quite a hit. But with the original story of this game, they upped the proverbial ante with new exciting gameplay elements including checkpoints, more in depth levels and characters who actually speak!
Available on, seemingly, all the platforms, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes has been named “Game Of The Year” by Apple’s Mac App Store.
8. Dead Trigger
Platform: iOS and Android
Sometimes, you just want to kill zombies. No, scratch that. ALL THE TIME, you just want to kill zombies! Well, let’s say you’re stuck at the dentist in the waiting room with a crap ton of anxiety and time to kill before getting that much dreaded root canal. Well, now you can blow the undead away in this amazing first person shooter mobile video game!
Dead Trigger takes place during present day. Modern civilization is coming to an end. A strange virus has killed billions of people, thusly turning them into undead killing machines. And…yadda yadda…you get the deal…
The developers at Madfinger Games have created a pretty bad ass first person shooter/action game for your smart phone and tablet. Recently winning “Best Technical Achievement” and “Community Choice” at the 2012 Unity Awards, Dead Trigger takes mobile gaming to another level.
7. Far Cry 3
Platform: XBOX 360, PS3, PC
Set on a tropical island somewhere between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the main gist of the long awaited sequel to Ubisoft’s 2008 hit Far Cry 2, is to save your kidnapped friends and escape these damn islands and their crazy island people unscathed.
Far Cry 3 is an open world first-person shooter which also features some role playing game elements such as leveling up and skill trees. With new abilities like silent takedowns and performing melee attacks from above, the story mode is roughly ten times larger in scope than its 2008 predecessor.
With beautiful imagery, an immersive story line, and fantastic first person shooter game play, it’s pretty obvious why Far Cry 3 is on the short list for “Game Of The Year”.
6. Assassin’s Creed III
Platform: XBOX 360, PS3, Wii U, PC
A direct sequel to 2011’s Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Assassin’s Creed III takes place before, during and after the American Revolution (1753 – 1783). A historical action-adventure open world stealth video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and presented by Ubisoft, the game features a new half English and half Mohawk protagonist known as “Connor”. Much like its predecessors, this installment of the series features the present day protagonist Desmond Miles. His mission here is to prevent the 2012 apocalypse through his adventure as “Connor” 259 years in the past.
The game features the Anvil Next engine which is said to “deliver a next-gen Assassin’s Creed experience.” As well, with some amazing gameplay features including the awesome battleship sequence, it’s pretty much a no brainer that this game has been featured in almost every “Best Of” list this year.
Platform: XBOX 360, PS3, PC
In a list filled with video game sequels, it’s nice to see an original title that has experienced as much success and great accolades as Dishonored has this past year. Brought to us by the great folks at Bethesda Softworks, Dishonored is a first person stealth action adventure game.
The story takes place in the industrial plague ridden city of Dunwall. You are Corvo Attano, loyal bodyguard of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. Wrongfully accused of murder, you soon break out of prison and join a resistance group known as “The Loyalists” with the goal of taking down Lord Regent and his followers. While on this quest, you fight through a world modeled after London and Edinburgh at the turn of the century. Yet, technology and supernatural forces seem to coexist here. And remember that “plague” I mentioned earlier? The infected in this game are known as “Weepers”. They tend to cry blood and have the proclivity to become violent against others (of course they do!).
Winner of “Best Console Game” at the 2012 Gamescom Awards, Dishonored is another title on the “Game Of The Year” short list.
4. Mass Effect 3
Platform: XBOX 360, PS3, PC, Wii U ( as Mass Effect 3: Special Edition)
The final chapter in the Mass Effect trilogy, Mass Effect 3 is an action role-playing game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. Mass Effect 3 continues the story of the adventures of Systems Alliance Commander Shepard as he (or she) tries to defeat the evil machines known as “Reapers”. The Reapers are extremely powerful and purge the galaxy of all sentient life in 50,000 year cycles. In the Mass Effect 2 DLC Arrival, Shepard goes into batarian space to rescue Dr. Amanda Kenson and quickly learns that the Reapers are close to returning. To delay them, Shepard destroys a mass relay (killing 300,000 batarian colonists as collateral damage). Consequently, Shepard is ordered to appear on Earth for a trial regarding his or her decision. And thusly, this is where Mass Effect 3 picks up.
Influenced by gamer choices made in the previous games in the trilogy, Mass Effect 3 is a power house of a game. Nominated for five awards at the 2012 Video Game Awards, it took home the prize of “Best RPG of 2012”.
3. Call Of Duty: Black Ops II
Platform: XBOX 360, PS3, Wii U, PC
Another damn Call Of Duty game has been released and, yep, it’s just as awesome as the previous ones. A first-person shooter, developed by Treyarch and published by Activision, Black Ops II is the ninth game in the Call of Duty franchise and a sequel to the 2010 release Call of Duty: Black Ops. I know…duh, right?
Black Ops II is the first in the franchise to feature future warfare technology and also the first to present various storylines driven by player choice. Hell, it also offers a 3D display option. As well, it’s also te first in the series to feature significant elements of nonlinear gameplay, including multiple endings (insert Clue joke here).
Written by David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight Rises, Man Of Steel) and with the theme scored by Trent Reznor, this installment of the Call Of Duty series sold 7.5 million copies in the month of November alone, making it that month’s highest grossing game.
2. The Walking Dead: The Game
Platform: XBOX 360, PS3, PC, Mac OSX, iOS
One of the big surprises for me this year was Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. Presented as an episodic point-and-click adventure role-playing video game and based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic book series, the game takes place in the same setting as the comic. Most of the characters presented here are new creations for the game, with the story focusing on that of Lee Everett who rescues and cares for a young girl by the name of Clementine as they fight for survival in the zombie apocalypse.
With Kirkman providing oversight of the game’s story, but giving Telltale leeway in how they handled the game’s development and story writing, the outcome is simply one amazing video game experience. As mentioned earlier, The Walking Dead is a “point-and-click” adventure game and what I mean is, the emphasis here is on story and character, while not-so-much on puzzle solving. The story is affected by the choices the player makes, which is a very intriguing aspect of the overall experience since a choice you make in Episode 1 may not come to light until Episode 4. The experience can be different for everyone.
I can blather on and on about this amazing game, but I’ll spare you. There is exciting news, though, as The Walking Dead was named “Game of the Year”, “Best Adapted Video Game”, and “Best Downloadable Game” at The 2012 Video Game Awards….aaaaand Telltale Games announced a Season 2 is in the works to be released next year! And I shall play it…as should all of you….FOR CLEMENTINE!
1. Borderlands 2
Platform: XBOX 360, PS3, PC, MAC
Since 2009, I have been not so patiently waiting for the sequel to my video game obsession that was Borderlands. Well, the long await ended this year with the amazing follow up, Borderlands 2 (duh).
For those of you out there not in the know, Borderlands 2 is first-person shooter/action/RPG mashup of a video game that was brought to us by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. Much like the first game, Borderlands 2 has players take part in a campaign consisting of main quests and optional side-missions. You have your pick to be one of four vault hunters (I’m Salvador, pendejos!) on the crazy planet Pandora.
The features that made the original game such a hit like the collaborative multiplayer option, the large variety of weapons, the skill trees, character mods, the sense of humor throughout, and the loot…THE LOOT…they’re all still here. As are characters like Moxxi, Doctor Zed, Handsome Jack, and your beloved ClapTrap. But there’s a whole bunch of “new” that has been thrown into the mix. Better weapons, bigger bad guys, and amazing new DLCs are just a few of the things available in Borderlands 2 that has continued my crazy video game addiction that I thought I kicked a few years ago.
It was really no surprise to me when Borderlands 2 was named “Best Shooter”, “Best Multi-Player Game”, “Best Performance By a Human Male”, and “Character Of The Year” at this year’s Video Game Awards. And…uh….sorry I need to stop typing. I have bullymogs to kill!
There they are, folks. My picks for the 12 best video games 2012 had to offer. Aww Hilda, did I leave out a title you thought should have made this list? I’m sure I did. Go ahead and point fingers, yell and shout, and tell me what I got wrong in the comments section below.
I know you want to.
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