Looking back at 2012, I was definitely blessed to be able to play several of the games that were released that year, some of them quite soon after release. This personal achievement means that unlike last year, I actually can do a Game of the Year article for 2012. I’ll be starting with number 5 and counting down to number 1, with a couple of honorable mentions thrown in.
Honorable Mention 1: Chrono Trigger – iOS
I’d heard so many good things about Chrono Trigger for so long that I finally bit the bullet and bought it full price on iOS ($9.99), and I have absolutely no regrets. It is up there as one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played and is easily up in my top five favorite games of all time. I sank over 25 hours into my first play-through, which is insane for a game that was on my phone. An excellent story and great combat really drew me into this fantastic game, and with its release onto the Android platform in 2012 it is worthy of mentioning as one of the best games I played last year.
Honorable Mention 2: Asphalt 7: Heat
Asphalt 7 definitely is worth an honorable mention. It is one of just a few games on iOS that has held my attention for an extended period of time. This longevity is quite a feat considering that most iOS games only keep me interested for a few days, and then I end up deleting them to free up space for other stuff. Not only does it look amazing, I have had a ton of fun playing it both singleplayer and multiplayer with family members. Asphalt 7 is well worth mentioning as one of the best games to come out last year.
Number 5: Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line was one game that was not even on my radar until a while after it released when word of mouth started getting around about how good the game was. It has a really good story for a shooter. I easily would put it up there with Modern Warfare as one of the best stories I’ve played in a shooter. While I did come out of it a bit confused on a few story points, the story is an experience I will not soon forget and really made me think about what was happening in the story, which I don’t often get in shooters. Though it did have a few technical problems that hurt the story a bit in my opinion, Spec Ops did such a good job of drawing me in and making me think about what I was doing that it still makes number 5 on my list.
Number 4: Torchlight 2
Torchlight 2 was one of my most anticipated games of last year. I absolutely loved the first Torchlight, and with Torchlight 2, Runic took the already-impressive gameplay and made it even better with brilliant little tweaks here and there, like giving you the ability to have your pet buy potions for you when you send it to town. I’ve sunk almost 20 hours into one character already and am just scratching the surface of the game. If you enjoy a good loot-fest, which I thoroughly do, you owe it to yourself to check this game out as it earns the number 4 spot on my list.
Number 3: The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead by Telltale Games was one of the biggest surprises for me of last year. I am not a big fan of zombies, but I heard so many people talking about how good it was that I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be one of the best games I played this year. The story completely drew me in, and while the gameplay does have some issues, they weren’t enough to ruin the game for me. It does a very good job of making you feel the weight of your choices throughout, and it was one of the most emotional games I have ever played. I felt a connection to the characters that was on par with what the Mass Effect series evokes for me. Whenever I had to put down the game, I would find that I couldn’t wait to pick it up and see what would happen next, so The Walking Dead is without doubt deserving of my #3 spot.
Number 2: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
When I play RPGs I tend to get engrossed in them, so the amount of time I sink into one is often a good indication of how much I like it. Under 20 hours is a decent game. Twenty to thirty hours is a good RPG; thirty to forty is a very good one; forty and up is excellent. So what would that make a game where I am approaching 90 hours for a single character? I’d say fantastic! Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was another game that wasn’t even on my radar at the start of 2012. It wasn’t until I had a chance to play the demo that this game grabbed my attention. The combat is extremely addicting, and the story and world really drew me in, enough so that it took me almost 90 hours before I finally put it down to play other games. I’d personally say it was the best new IP of last year, and it could have been my GOTY but for one game.
Number 1: Mass Effect 3
And that game is Mass Effect 3. While most of the other games on my list were not even on my radar at the start of last year, this one most certainly was. I absolutely loved the first two games and had extremely high expectations for this one. Mass Effect 3 delivered on those expectations and then some. Not only is it an incredible end to what is in my opinion one of the best recent science fiction stories, but it also delivered an amazing multiplayer component, something I was a bit worried about. I had no reason to worry; I have enjoyed the multiplayer immensely. I knew when I finished it that it would be very hard for anything to knock it out of my Game Of The Year, and unsurprisingly nothing did. Mass Effect 3 earns my Game of the Year award for 2012.