2013 is a day away but it feels like I still have so much left to do in 2012, at least where gaming is concerned. I've probably played more new releases in 2012 than any other previous year in my life-as-a-gamer. That said, my played to finished ratio is terribly out of balance and there are quite a few games that would have likely made this list had I played them before writing this list (Journey, Tokyo Jungle etc). Still, it was a fantastic year to be a gamer and here are a few of my personal favorites of the year.
10.Retro City Rampage
(PS Vita, PS3, PC)
It's a bit of a love-hate relationship for me with Retro City Rampage. On one hand the retro-GTA feel of the game coupled with the plethora of old school in-jokes and references make this game a blast to play. On the other the story and missions feel a bit lackluster to me, and I fail to find any interest in them so far. Still, for a game that has been in development as long Duke Nukem Forever it definitely has more to show for it.
9. Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir
Being a huge Fatal Frame fan, this was one of the first games I picked up for my shiny new 3DS. It's not a very good game all things considered but the niche Japanese horror style, and the use of AR, 3D and the 3DS's cameras make it a fun experience for fans of the genre.
8. XCOM Enemy Unknown
I'll be honest, I've never played an XCOM game in my life. I have no idea what they're about. But people were hyping this game up as one of the best strategy games of the year, and seeing as it's made by Firaxis, the studio behind Civilization (another favorite of mine), I decided to give it a whirl when it popped up for under $20. This game is a BLAST. It's got all the elements of a deep strategy game mixed with faster pacing and style of an action game. Naming your squad members also gives it an added layer of depth as losing squad-member "Kawaii Khorne" (Nationality: New Zealand) to the alien scourge is alot more engaging than losing Joe XCOM. A must play for strategy lovers.
7. Silent Hill Downpour
Despite not actually having finished Downpour, I can still safely add it to my list of "good Silent Hill games". The tone of the game feels right, the combat and gameplay is clunky (As it should be). The rain adds a new layer of environmental decore to the game. It's not a perfect game, but it's a great entry into the Silent Hill series.
6.Uncharted Golden Abyss
Here's a title that I personally haven't even started. The little bit I HAVE played of it was on a friends system. That said, it still manages to snag a spot on my list because it does what Sony promised Vita games would do, bring the console experience to us on the go. It's not a watered down version of Uncharted with less features, or a shorter campaign. It's a fully capable entry into the series, every bit as good as it's console brethen. That alone puts it on my list.
5. Binary Domain
(360, PS3, PC)
Originally I brushed this off as just another third person shooter set in the future. But after giving it more of a chance I came to love this game despite its faults. At it's core it IS just a third person shooter but on top of that it tells a great story and shows wonderfully deep interaction between it's characters. You eventually come to like everyone in your squad (Well, except for Big Bo) and that just makes the events and choices that much more personal.
4. Walking Dead
(360, PS3, PC)
Not too much to say about this that hasn't already been said. Another great action-adventure game from Tell Tale with a much more emotional story than seem in their light-hearted Sam and Max series. While I got a bit chuffed at the fact that your choices ultimately don't affect the overall direction of the story the fact of the matter is, the story is excellent and you don't see many of this quality in videogames very often.
And speaking of choices...
3. Mass Effect 3
Lets just get it out of the way. The ending was garbage. Even after they "fixed" the ending it still wasn't what most Mass Effect fans envisioned as the finale of the space adventures of Commander Shepard. Still the preceding 30 hours of gameplay were great. And while the third installment of the Mass Effect franchise goes in a very scripted third person shooter direction, the story and characters that you've grown to love over 5 years and 3 games are all there.
2. Persona 4 The Golden
I've been meaning to play Persona 4 for years now, but never got around to doing so. The Golden has finally gotten me to make the jump. And I'm sure glad I did. This is by far one of the best RPG's I've ever played, and perfectly suited to Sony's handheld system. This may be the only Vita game I've played so far but it already has justified my $170 purchase.
1. Sleeping Dogs
You all knew this was coming didn't you? Sleeping Dogs takes everything I love about Hong Kong action movies and puts it into videogame form. It's got an amazing line up of top notch voice actors, the story is extremely engrossing and the gameplay is some of the most fun I've had in an open world game since Saints Row the Third. The visuals are jaw dropping, especially on a high end PC and the soundtrack is a wonderful mix of Chinese pop songs. I only had a few quirks with the game, mainly regarding the accuracy of the city compared to Hong Kong itself, as I am very familiar with the Streets of Hong Kong. But I can forgive it that because it truly was my GAME OF THE YEAR.