2012 was a very mediocre year. Too many remakes, remasters, sequels & prequels. There was some fun to be had though...
~ DISCLAIMER ~
Same as last year, out of principle, I deduct points for the following
(a) featured cut content sold as overpriced DLC
(b) featured on-disc Unlockable Content labeled as Downloadable Content
(c) extortion pass (season/online)
You can agree or disagree with me all you want, fact of the matter is: those things are seriously getting on my nerves. I HATE spending my money on an incomplete product only to find out later that some of its contents are being held back for ransom. You are free to do with your money (or your parents') as you please but I do not support this anti-gamer nonsense, plain & simple.
~ END OF DISCLAIMER ~
Good games aren't perfect but they leave a long lasting impression and will most likely be played frequently in the years to come.
- Batman: Arkham City GOTY Edition (x360)
NOTE: I have yet to finish the game.
This game is nothing short of spectacular and improves on its predecessor in almost every imaginable way. I'm really at a loss for words when it comes to describing the sheer awesomeness of Arkham City. It oozes atmosphere like no other Batman game before it...
As trivial it may seem to some; the mini-puzzles that were developed for the Riddler trophies were a big plus for me!
- Doom 3 BFG Edition (x360)
I used to play the xbox original for hours on end. To me, this was the perfect blend of horror and first-person shooting. What we have here is a complete package with smooth RAGE-like controls, solid 60fps, two add-ons (one previously unreleased) and the XBLA version of both DOOM 1 & 2!
Yes, the core game is very dated but sometimes old-school hits the spot like nothing else.
- Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition (x360)
The last time I played a Mortal Kombat game was back when MK4 - renamed MKGold - was released on the Sega Dreamcast. Yeah, 10+ years ago... After that, I simply lost interest. And the silly subtitles of the next entries would only further help me steer clear of the series for a long, long time.
And here comes the Komplete Edition of a reboot of the original trilogy in its 2.5D glory and a nice'n'campy Story Mode. The amount of content in here is insane and the gameplay is dreamlike.
- Spec Ops: The Line (x360)
Possibly one of the most mature stories ever told in any modern shooter. I can't even remember the last time I felt guilt after eliminating enemies in a shooter. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever have...
Average games aren't bad. They just tried their best but something went wrong along the way and they've missed their target.
- Birds of Steel (x360) (a), (b)
At first, I was impressed with what Birds of Steel had to offer and the fact that a lot of love went into the development of this game only made it more appealing. The detail of the aircrafts is absolutely jaw-dropping...
Then came the short and unmemorable single player which, admittedly, is ballsy enough to let us attack Pearl Harbor as Japanese pilots. But clearly, the focus lies on multiplayer, which I found boring and monotonous.
Warning: several multiplayer maps and planes are unlockable with overpriced 128kb unlock keys. They can shove those where the sun doesn't shine. This is the first and last time I buy a Gaijin Entertainment game.
- Killzone HD (ps3)
NOTE: The version I played was part of Killzone Trilogy box set, not the digital version.
I will make no secret of it: I hated the original Killzone on PS2. I thought it was a lousy and pathetic shooter that was just about lacking in every department. However, my love for the series grew stronger because of the strategic approach Guerrilla Games took with Killzone: Liberation for the PSP and the spectacular action of Killzone 2 & 3 on PS3. So I was willing to give the remaster of the original a chance. I'm glad I did because it's a lot more playable and I enjoyed it so much I actually got a Platinum trophy for it.
Then why did I put it in the 'Average' category? Because the problems of the PS2 version are still present; stupid enemy A.I., atrocious voice-acting, no BGM during gameplay makes the combat feel boring...
- Project Zero 2: Wii Edition
... or how to criple an otherwise fantastic survival horror experience with downright broken controls and an immersion-breaking on-screen map that can't be switched off. What a shame.
- Silent Hill: Downpour (x360)
Off all the post-2004 Silent Hill spin-offs this is easily the most ambitious one but ultimately still a very bad game.
Quite a few times during my first playthrough I realized that many scenarios in Downpour feel too videogamey. I mean that, at certain points, the game makes it quite obvious to the player that he's playing a video game and this goes against everything Silent Hill stands for. Or used to stand for...
One a more positive note: the definite highlights of Downpour are the open-world approach with some fairly interesting side-quests and Daniel Licht's score!
- Slender (PC)
NOTE: This is a free indie game.
(Sorry, couldn't find a screen)
A dark forest, a flashlight and a faceless stalker. Slender is able to generate fear at the most basic level: the fear of being alone, vulnerable and watched.
Bad games just want your money and give you the finger right afterwards. They possess no redeeming qualities and their sole reason of existance is to painfully remind you how much of a fool you were to pay for them.
- Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition (x360)
Let me get this straight: this is a fantastic game. I enjoyed the story so much that it truly pains me to have to put this game in this category but let me explain.
This is an Ultimate Edition with all DLC add-ons included on a separate disc but they couldn't be bothered to have included the 16mb patch I had to download off of xbox live upon inserting the main disc? And even with the patch installed not a single session went smoothly!
In total, I lost 12 hours of progress because of five corrupted saves, frequent freezes and a nasty glitch that made ALL NPC's turn hostile for no science damn reason. The 160 hours I spent in New Vegas' gigantic post-apocalyptic world getting 100% completion was an absolute nightmare. This is a gaming experience I would never want to sit through again. Ever.
Fallout: New Vegas is a fantastic game and it's technical mess. Shame on the publisher/developer.
- Lucius (PC)
Possibly the most original concept for a video game in years. Murder residents of a mansion as the son of Satan and avoid suspicion? Yes please!
Closing comments & final thoughts
There were two other games I really wanted to play this year but couldn't. One was originally a retail game: I Am Alive. But the geniuses at Ubisoft thought it was a sound plan for it to go digital-only - which is something I do not support, unless it's indie - so any chance of me playing this has pretty much gone out the window. Actually, there's still hope, a PC version exists but I have yet to find out what type of malicious DRM systems are included.
The second game I wanted to experience was Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. I've never played an Assassin's Creed game before (yes, I know, you can kill me later ;) ) but the main character & setting of Liberation appealed to me so much that I even started saving up for a Vita. But I quickly abandonned that plan because honestly, I think the Vita is not worth the money, certainly not for one game... (Ok, two games. Gravity Rush caught my eye as well...)
Anyway, as I've said in my opening comment; 2012 was a mediocre year. Of all the years I've been gaming, never have I felt so alienated by the industry. Every purchase comes with a catch and every catch is a fist to the face. I'm sick of it.
I've been contemplating a lot of things this year. I even considered calling it quits. But I've made a decision which will hopefully be the correct one.
I'm done with consoles and I'm switching over to PC. There are simply too many horror games I'm missing out on and I need to catch up as soon as humanly possible. I have spent almost the entire year reading up on the advantages of PC gaming and I consider myself enlightened. I have since built my rig which, as of now, is 85% completed. I'm expecting the fans tomorrow and Windows 7 Home should arrive soon as well. I will probably post a picture soon when it is done :)
Anyways! There's a lot to look forward to next year. Lots of horror, lots of action and a few new IP's!
(january) - Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (PC)
(15 february) - Dark
(26 february) - Bioshock: Infinite
(march) - Deadly Premonition - Director's Cut (ps3)
(march) - Metro: Last Light
(may) - Remember Me
(Q3) - Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee - New 'N' Tasty
(tba) - The Last Guardian (ps3)
(tba) - Project Zwei
(tba) - République (PC)
(tba) - Sacrilegium (PC)
(tba) - Watch Dogs
That's all folks! :) Drop a comment below if you like, enjoy the holidays and I wish you all the best for 2013!
PS: Incidentally, last year I wished for a few things. Among them was the death of tacked-on multiplayer modes. Well, much to my delight Bioshock: Infinite & Metro: Last Light are shipping without a multiplayer component. This is fantastic news!