Before I start off, I just want to let you guys know that I'm aware of the fact that I'm pretty bloody late with this list to say the least. But after I saw every cliché "Top 10 games of 2012" list on YouTube, I was disagreeing with every single one of them in such a way that I figured "Hey, why not?" and here I am, writing my personal games of 2012. That you probably won't read anyways.
This was a beautiful game. It may be a cliché for all the self-proclaimed "art house lovers" out there, but after playing this, I do indeed have to admit that this was an amazing game. Although it might better be called an experience, because it feels more like a really great, long trip than an actual game. Congratulations thatgamecompany, because against all my expectations, you managed to grab me by the balls, and that deserves my respect, 'cause I'm not exactly a tripper. I'm more like a meth-head type of guy.
9. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I'm not one of those people that say "oh my god" whenever something unexpected happens, but still: oh my god. It's well-known that 2K Games was, and still is, working on XCOM's revival. Good news, but what the fans didn't like is that 2K was going to make XCOM a shooter. A shooter. Nobody really knew what was going on in 2K's head when they revealed they were giving XCOM this make-over, because in the late 90's, UFO: Enemy Unknown and XCOM: Extra-Terrestial Combat where strategy games in its purest form. Well, can't say 2K doesn't care about its fans, 'cause for all you hardcore XCOM-fans out there: here it is. It's not exactly a remake from the first two games, but its far more similiar to them than the FPS-revival will be. There's so much to say about this game, and so few bad things ... I could just continue forever. Everything that's been changed that made me doubtful (squad is limited to 6 members instead of 8, no longer randomly generated battlefields) turned out to be a well-thought of improvement, and everything that made die-hards cynical, turned out to be a measure of pure efficiency. A nearly perfect game for strategy adepts or curious people who just want an introduction to the genre, it's a shame there are just so few of them. I personally don't really enjoy strategy games all that much, and that's also one of the reasons why this game isn't on the top of the list, but that doesn't take away that this is one of the best games of the year, and I don't care if you play Dawn of War and StarCraft II or Call of Duty and Bulletstorm: that's an undeniable fact.
8. The Walking Dead
Whoa. What a surprise. In 2011, if I recall correctly, TellTale Games did a horrible job on making a Jurassic Park game: an uninspired mess that was supposed to be the revival of point-and-click games, but grew out to be all the bad things from Heavy Rain, without an excellent story. Anno 2012, expectations aren't exactly high for TellTale's virtual interpretation of The Walking Dead, as you might believe, but although the core gameplay was once again not much more than some QTE's and walking around, looking for stuff, this time, the story is from an immensely high level. Like, really, really high. In the 5 downloadable episodes the series has to offer, you're gonna have to make some really hard decisions, which constantly influence which surivors will survive and which not. The ending made me cry, by the way. An emotional experience. Quick fact: the characters used in the game aren't from the comic (or TV-show), and only some of them make a quick appearance in the game.
7. Mass Effect 3
It was unfortunately kind of forgotten pretty frequently in most of the top 10 lists because it was released early in the year, but trust me, it shouldn't be. I'm gonna keep it short on this one because everything you need to know about the story and gameplay is this: they're magnificent. Although I can't exactly assure the things you're going to encounter, I'm pretty sure they're going to be awesome, because everything you did in the first two games, influences what happens to you here. The gameplay grew a little more action-y and a little less RPG-like, but the fast pace really fits the game and its theme of desperacy and really emphasises the fact that the Earth is about to be - well - f*cked. The ending is indeed, as many say, bad, to say the least, but please, especially if you're a fan of the series, don't let that keep you to fully enjoy everything BioWare's last stand has to offer. A masterpiece.
6. Max Payne 3
But who needs walking through the desert, running from the undead, stealth and epic space battles if you have this? Max Payne 3 is a pitch black film noire in Brasil. Yes, I know, that sounds as convincing as an Austrian samba band, but please just give it a try. In this second sequel, Max has grown a little older to say the least, and as you might imagine, his life hasn't got any better. His wife and kids are dead as dust, and since then, things only got worse. But, evil as it sounds, Max's pain is our fun! Ironically enough, the Brasilian favela's bright colours only add up to the dark setting. And then there's bullet time. And the great multiplayer. Ladies and gentlemen, Rockstar has done it again.
5. Need For Speed: Most Wanted
You didn't expect this, did you? Need For Speed: Most Wanted is, just like Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, a remake of the smashing original. Think of it as the same thing, done by Criterion. That's right, it's Burnout's boys that were hired to give NFS a glorious, explosive comeback, and hell, did they succeed. This game has everything you'd want from an NFS or Burnout game (except tuning, *sob*): explosions, shiny cars and even more explosions. And that should be reason enough to buy this game. NFS is alive and kicking, vroom vroom, mother F'ers.
4. Far Cry 3
Okay, remember Far Cry and its succesor? Well, forget about them. They were both great games, but even Far Cry's biggest fans (the second one in particular) can't deny that the game could get kind of boring at times. And that must've went through Ubisoft's head too, because this isn't only the most aggressive Far Cry yet, it's also a very explosive game in general. And then you have the fire... I'm not Skrillex' greatest fan, but even I had to admit that it feels awesome to have "Make It Bun Dem" play on the background while burning some bad guys (which looks awesome by the way, Far Cry's fire never gets old). The gameplay is, like everyone claims, kind of like Skyrim with guns. The RPG-aspect that the game has is deep enough to keep you clustered to the screen, and by the time you've spent so much time and work on your guy, the feeling of being the most powerful thing on the island is indeed pretty rewarding. Like, you spend 3/4th of the game building up to become a bad-ass mofo, and spending the rest being a bad-ass mofo. And did I mention that Vaas Montenegro is easily the most awesome bad guy of the year? Google "Definition of insanity" and you'll realize exactly what I'm talking about.
Every once in a while, it seems Bethesda wants to take a break from Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. And every time they do that, it doesn't really get us a particularly great result, if we're all totally honest with ourselves for a second. Hunted: The Demon's Forge and Brink were nice tries to launch something big, Bethesda, but it just never seemed to work out. Until now. Dishonored is a game that literally lets you do whatever the hell you want. You wanna slow down time and slith a guy's throat before he even realized you're doing it? Or do you prefer the tortur-ish tactic and let some rats have a good meal before cutting those baddies to pieces? The variety is big, and the atmosphere is awesome. The story isn't exactly great (empress is dead, you're falsely accused, conspiracy, boo), but it legitimately adds to the atmosphere. You genuinely have the feeling that you're indeed dishonored, and that's why you should play this. It's like a succesful marriage between Deus Ex and BioShock, and Dishonored can be pretty proud of itself with that title.
2. Borderlands 2
Okay, okay, I admit. I just couldn't stand the temptation. I loved the original Borderlands, and although I'm aware of the fact that this is actually just Borderlands 2.0, that doesn't make it any less awesome, and you know that bloody well. A more balanced skill tree, more (annoying) Claptraps, more laffs, new, genuinely interesting characters, a better story and of course even more sodding guns make this a fantastic sequel in every meaning of the word. I can't really think of a better description than "Borderlands: bigger, better and uncut", but please don't let you think bad about this game, 'cause it really isn't. Besides, Handsome Jack could've easily been my favorite bad guy of the year if it wasn't for Vaas to come along. Sorry, Jack.
This is all we've been waiting for, huh? Okay, without any further ado, here it goes... My personal best game of 2012 was...
Call of Duty: Black Ops II! Nah, just kidding, sorry. :)
My real GOTY is... Assassin's Creed III!
My expectations for this game weren't very high before I heard more about it. After numerous spin-offs (Brotherhood, Revelations, Bloodlines, ...), it just didn't feel right anymore and I feared that Assassin's Creed was suffering the CoD-syndrome, which would be a pity because Assassin's Creed has been one of my favorite franchises since day one, in 2007, I believe. But when I found out more about the setting, story, and the interesting protagonist, I could barely wait. And I was right: Assassin's Creed III is probably the most innovating of all AC sequels. Maybe that still doesn't really say very much, but still. Everything about this game is just ... great. It looks, plays and also really sounds beautiful. My quick review for this game may be a bit unclear, but it's just that there's so much to do in this game (naval wars, hunting, making villages ... a little less free-running though) that it'd just too long for me to tell you everything about this game. You probably wouldn't be able to bear my enthousiasm either, by the way. And oh God, dat E3 trailer.
So that's it, I hope you partially agree with me, and if not, well that's a quarter of your life wasted, lad!