Kevin VanOrd has the best top 10 list, no over-hyped game in the list if you know what I mean.. But I would exchange Spec Ops with Max Payne in that list.
The GameSpot editors reveal their personal top 10 lists for 2012.
Edmond Tran, Video Producer
2012 was a phenomenal year to love video games, no question. But the games I'll remember and really revere are the ones that hit my emotions and manipulated my state of mind, the games that let me play as exactly the kind of person I wanted to be, the ones that forced me to do the complete opposite, and the ones gave me great experiences and stories to tell.
10. Far Cry 3
I'm one of those weird people that loved Far Cry 2. Though different in many, many ways, Far Cry 3 still had some of the things I loved about its predecessor. The open world gameplay, the dedication to a first-person view and the fantastic sense of physicality and weight to your character kept me completely immersed in the world until I somehow managed to wipe out the island's entire pirate population. It's the kind of game where my memories are not of the main story, but of the endless watercooler tales involving stealth missions gone wrong, vehicles flying off cliffs and parachuting right into a shark's mouth.
Although essentially a remake, the fact that Persona 4 still eclipses many JRPGs in 2012 speaks volumes about its strength. The visual aesthetic, enemy design and soundtrack are some of my all-time favourites, but it's the contemporary setting and social interaction which I love most. The honest relationships and real situations that you share with the protagonists' friends and family make me want to dive into the screen and give everybody a hug. I wish more games explored the same kind of themes Persona 4 does.
You know what was another phenomenal year for video games? 1998. That's when Thief: The Dark Project from Looking Glass Studios took over my life. Those great, stealthy memories were recreated when I played Dishonored and took on a strict no-kill, no-detection policy. The fact that Dishonored supported my play style as well as many others speaks to a game design philosophy I'm really glad is starting to make a comeback, and I hope that philosophy manages to make its way into more games as well-designed as Dishonored in the future.
The first time I stepped into DayZ, I had zero idea what I was doing. The game was buggy and the learning curve was steep. But I stuck with it, and what followed in the forthcoming months were amazing experiences that came from simply existing and trying to survive in a harsh, objective-less world. The game's atmosphere was bleak, harrowing, and almost always made me incredibly tense, which resulted in remarkable sensations of victory and relief from doing the most trivial things: learning how to build a fire and cook food, learning how to navigate the massive world via major landmarks, finding a weapon--any kind of weapon--and getting out of a major city alive.
But the thing that really defined my DayZ experience was the suspicion, fear and panic that occurred whenever I encountered other players. Sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile, and often deceitful, I came to witness the very best and the very worst of human behaviour, and experienced some of the most significant human interactions I have ever had in my life. DayZ was and certainly still is an exceptional social simulation.
6. Dota 2
The thought of me playing a game like Dota 2 this time last year would have had me laughing in your face. But here we are today and thanks to GameSpot's Dota 2 Diaries series, I now have over 150 hours of playtime logged.
Although trying to set aside an hour or three to play Dota 2 often comes with a deep sense of guilt, what makes it special is the impromptu camaraderie I've encountered when playing with strangers. A Dota 2 game is won or lost by the strength of teamwork, and more often than not I've been in situations where a group of strangers have supported each other, rallied each other, and shared their knowledge with each other to flip a match on its head and pull back from the absolute brink of loss to achieve victory. It's a tremendously invigorating feeling. These moments make me love what games and their players can be, and Dota 2 provides an impeccably polished and finely-tuned Valve game to love them in. GG.
I love that fact that in 2012, a turn-based strategy game can get the AAA treatment and be received so well. Like DayZ, XCOM is a game that constantly puts me into situations that create strong, gun-wrenching sensations of tension and fear with the understanding that I have to live with my decisions and mistakes throughout the whole campaign (because Ironman mode is the only real way to play). The feeling of relief when you take down incredibly dangerous enemies and the heartbreak when your favourite solders die horrible deaths due to your negligence serve to create a stressful, emotional rollercoaster ride of a game.
Brendan Chung's games have always been perfectly concise pieces of work that execute a particular concept exceptionally well, and Thirty Flights of Loving is no different. Its method of telling a story really took advantage of player interactions and cognitive involvement and by the end of it, the game had punched me in the face and left me stunned. It's an experience unique to the medium, one that really exemplifies why video games can be so damn special, and one that should be experienced by all.
The first five minutes of Hotline Miami made me feel dirty. The grimy 80's aesthetic is so perfectly executed I felt like I was actually in a drug-induced haze, and the violence was so brutal it almost put me right off. By the time I finished the game I felt both physically and mentally gross: twitchy as hell from the frantic, suicidal levels, in a mental trance thanks to the game's excellent electronica soundtrack, and deeply disturbed by the game's wonderfully presented, David Lynch-esque narrative. Despite having to take a shower afterwards, Hotline Miami's effects created an intense, challenging and enjoyable experience I went back to again and again and again.
FTL hit many of the same marks as XCOM: the stress of being responsible for the lives of your crew and having to live with your losses in a difficult situation. But it also came coupled with what I thought was a fantastic representation of what it might be like to be in command of a spaceship. You make your way through a vast, lonely environment and try to make a difference despite feeling insignificant relative to the greater scheme of things. And when it comes to the battles, the frantic micromanagement of squad members, ship resources and combat really made me feel like I was doing something amazing.
I had many amazing experiences with video games this year, but none hit me harder than The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead made me cringe, cry and genuinely care about Lee, Clementine and the horrendous situations they got themselves into. By the end of the last episode I was a complete wreck, and even now, thinking about the final few scenes fills me with an immense sadness and terror. The game is explicit in its narrative intentions and rarely falters. It is exceptionally written, exceptionally moving, and I heartily applaud the team at Telltale Games.
I love all these games for exhibiting the different things a video game can be, and for demonstrating the different ways a video game can affect us. These are the kinds of works that make me really damn happy to be playing video games.
@666NightsInHell It accepts box 360, PS3, and third party controllers just fine. The game was build ground up for the controls to work with a controller and there isn't a good transition to mouse and keyboard.
Either I'm continuing to drift away from enjoying video games or nothing fun or interesting came out this year. Either way, I'm saddened by it.
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@Suikogaiden Games can still be great or memorable yet have flaws to them. Also Chris is the one that reviewed the game and it isn't on his top 10 list.
Look for the podcasts Gamespot Gameplay, they talk often on there about Spec ops and what makes it good. Very good show that gives you insight to the staffs true thoughts and opinions about games.
Don't look at one review and take the number for granted. Compare it to similar games so you get an idea of how much it will appeal to you, then watch a number of reviews/impression videos on youtube. This game obviously appealed more to the person who wrote the article than gamespot's reviewer.
I?m definitely feeling this taking Q3 2013 by storm http://goo.gl/yNmuP
[i]It's also a huge criticism of the many shooters out there that glorify and justify their subject matter.[/i]
its the line of the year ...
1. Deus Ex Human Revolution, like every year since release
3.Max Payne 3
4. Planetside 2
kevin and carolyn sure are my fav reviewers , both of you should review bioshock infinte when released
If anyone ever has a problem with GS review scores, just check out these lists: Some editors don't know how to count to 10.....
Mass effect 3, Dishonored, The walking dead, Amalur, FTL, Xcom, Hotline miami and Guild Wars 2 are my games of the year.
1- The Witcher AOK EE
2 - Max Payne 3
3 - Hotline Miami
4 - Mass Effect 3
5 - Far Cry 3...and what else honestly...
1-Far Cry 32-assassin's creed 33-mass effect 34-saints row the third5-kingdom of amalur reckoning6- Max Payne 37-Sleeping Dogs8-Darksiders II9-Dishonored10- Hitman Absolution
Good ol' Chris Watters! If it hadn't been for him, I would have made a HUGE mistake and passed on Dishonored.
Thanks for that list Danny. As is so often the case I find myself agreeing with you yet again. Max Payne 3 is a real gem of 2012 as is F1 2012. I'll get round to Journey & FTL eventually...
Every blessing for the new year!!
oh Tom Mc Shea like anyone cares what u have to say or like. u are by far the worsr reviewer on game spot. with a new year coming soon i hope u loose your job so u can stop being paid for your bad reviews. i hope all the bad things in life happen to you and only you. pos
@jcwainc Baseless accusations and attacks don't go very far, you should take them elsewhere.
There are many people, myself included, that respect and enjoy what Tom has to say.
@Toysoldier34 its not baseless attacks. look at his reviews then look at the people telling him off. if u like him thats fine but in my and a lot and i mean a lot of people he is the worse reviewer here on game spot. his shinning moment is his the Simpsons review. please understand reviews really dont mean nothing to me cause i'll buy a game cause it looks good to me. but people look at reviews in a means to buy a game. its sad but true (thus why metacritic is a good and bad thing). well i could go on and on but why the kool aid drinking people will believe what they want to. while others will see with eyes open
@jcwainc There is no need to hide behind your keyboard and say things like you have about him that you would never say to a person. It only reflects poorly on yourself.
@jcwainc Boo hoo McShea writes OPINIONS I dont like, boo hoo I am too childish to look for second opinions, boo hoo there was something else my whiny ass wanted to say but the rock between my ears cant hold water.
Happy new year mate, hope everything goes swell for you too this year.
@jcwainc Regardless of how you feel about the work someone else produces, to me, those who wish bad things on others, especially to the severity that you just have, are the worst kinds of people in this world. Nothing he has done is so evil that he deserves to suffer for it, so you seriously need to wake up and smell the roses and stop being so selfish and immature.
@jcwainc Dude, he's just a piss poor reviewer. No need to get personal.
Aaron Sampson had the best description for ME3 being his 2nd choice (besides the fact that he chose Control) lol
Lot's of good games missing: Xenoblade Chronicles, Kingdom Hearts DDD, AC3, Kid Icarus Uprising, The Last Story
@Kenshin0011 We recognized Xenoblade Chronicles in our 2011 awards. Both The Last Story and Kid Icarus Uprising actually do appear on one of these lists!
@carolynmichelle @Kenshin0011 No disrespect but why are there soooo many arcade games up there? I mean come on, people don't even take half the time REAL developers do to make there games. Where is Dishonored, Borderlands 2, AC 3, and so many other GOOD games that people had sweat and blood in to it. I'm just saying that ARCADE games need to be separate from RETAIL games. And by the way, you are one of my favorite reviewers on this website :D.
Hotline Miami is a great example of a game that doesn't have a massive budget and marketing campaign or is even that long. While it may be short it uses every moment to the fullest and is one of the best games of the year.
It is funny that you mention people putting blood and sweat into projects when indie games are often the ones fueled by entirely that. While they may be solid games stuff like Assassin's Creed 3 is being pumped out year after year for money, not because of the passion of its creators and all the blood and sweat they put into making it.
You should look up Indie Game the Movie, watch it and see if you feel the same way. That even smaller arcade games don't have countless hours and sleepless nights poured into their creation.
@Livefantasy7"I mean come on, people don't even take half the time REAL developers do to make there games."
how are they not real developers. If any, they are the real ones. And remember, these lists are "personal perspectives"
I think it's unfair to assume arcade game developers aren't putting in the same time and effort as the teams making retail games. If anything, because of the escalating cost and time required to make successful retail games, we're already seeing far fewer games made each year. If all the development efforts were going into making the next Uncharted, Mario or Halo to put on a disc, we'd probably never have experienced amazing games like Journey, The Walking Dead, Minecraft or Hotline Miami.