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Ludono posted a blog entry in Ludono's Blog and Stuff2013 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 (3DS) 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 (PS3,360,PC) 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 (360, PS3) 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 (PS Vita) 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 (PS3,360,PC) 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 (PS Vita) 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 (PS3,360,PC) 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.
I look back at 2012 as one of the strangest years of gaming for me. I graduated high school and went to college, and although I have ridiculous amounts of free time, I spend almost none of it on gaming. Especially since I have to budget myself, the amount of new games I get have drastically decreased. But worry not, as my Top 5 games this year are still extremely fantastic titles that I'm simply dying to talk about. Without further ado... My Top 5 Games Of 2012! 5. Spec Ops: The Line Oh Spec Ops. I heard great things about you, and I knew what you were about even before I played you. But even though I knew every trick you had up your sleeve, nothing could stop you from impressing me. It's rare that I would play through a game immediately after I beat it, but Spec Ops delivers. With unforgettable characters, astonishing setpieces, and enthusiastic intelligence, the game does all it can to provide an extremely powerful narrative that simply blew me away. The really small details stuck with me, especially regarding how your main character behaves during gameplay during the later stages of the game. It's the small details that reward players who are paying attention that make the game shine brightly. I can see myself playing this game long after the other games on this list. It's simply that good. 4. Lone Survivor Wow. Just... wow. I'm a very vocal Silent Hill enthusiast, so this year has been... mixed to say the least. Silent Hill HD Collection ended up being a bad collection of 2 classics, and Downpour was simply just awful. I loved the two titles, but their flaws were incredibly apparent, and it bummed me out that the series had lost its way. Then I played Lone Survivor. If anything could rekindle my love for a Silent Hill game, it was a completely unrelated indie game whose very existence is a love letter from a dead spouse. The game oozed style and charm, and when 16 bit graphics are scaring you much more than Japanese horror films, then you know you're doing something right. The atmosphere was tense, the journey was incredible, and the gameplay is... addicting. That's kind of bizarre considering that it's a survival horror game, but I can't put it down. I look forward to seeing its impact on the horror industry. 3. Rock Band Blitz Ahhhh, the token Rock Band entry. This should surprise absolutely nobody. With incredible Facebook integration, great tracklist (it grew on me after a while), complete compatibility for all Rock Band songs, and a still updating goal system, the game is perfect for a quick solo session. And it doesn't hurt that I'm pretty good at the game. AND THIS GAME EXPORTS TO ROCK BAND 3! Just more reason to get this game, because it's an incredible value and it's just really really fun. Harmonix really is a fantastic developer, and I'm excited for their future. 2. Kid Icarus: Uprising The controversial entry on my list. For me, anyway. If you followed me on Twitter, you know how much I moan about my grievances with Kid Icarus: Uprising. Or rather grievance: it's completely stupid plot. What angers me about this game is that it tries so hard to have a great plot, and the fact that it fails so miserably upsets me, especially since everything else about this game is fantastic. I know people are down on the controls, but I personally found them incredibly natural WITHOUT the dumb stand. With addicting gameplay, incredibly fun multiplayer, and tons of content, Kid Icarus: Uprising is the absolute BEST game to get a 3DS with. It'll last you a ton of time, and it's actually good, unlike Super Mario 3D Land and Kingdom Hearts 3D (which are both very mediocre in my book). Also this game has Pyrrhon. That guy is awesome. And my Game Of The Year IS... ... ... ... Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward I can not tell you how much I thought this game was going to blow. I really enjoyed it's predecessor Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, and found it engaging all throughout except for the finale, which introduced psychic shenanigans that for me broke the realistic atmosphere the game tried so hard to make. Especially since I DETEST time travel stories (yes, I don't like Doctor Who), the curveball left a bad taste in my mouth. When it came time to play the sequel, I only had one request, to integrate the time space stuff throughout the story and have them weave into the exposition naturally. And did Virtue's Last Reward hit it out of the park. Although the To Be Continueds were detrimental to flow, the game handled my request beautifully. My other fear was that the original felt compact and definitive, so I thought a sequel would only try to make things BIGGER in order to outdo the original (ala Ghostbusters 2). With 24 endings (over the original's 6), fully voiced cast, 3D models, etc, I had good reason to fear this. And while the game is "sequely", the execution is done so well that I can't complain. And the twists, oh the twists blew my mind away in every conceivable level. When a game's story is keeping you up at 3 in the morning, you know something is done right. And this game is about the Prisoner's Dilemma. As someone who LOVES economics and is fascinated with game theory, this game's very core made my tremble with excitement. On the negative side, the cliffhanger ending was disappointing, and the save glitch (which I thankfully did not go through) and some of the puzzles can go die horribly. However, I left the game (which is about 3-4 times longer than the predecessor) with a huge smile on my face and sky high expectations for Zero Escape 3.