2012 has been pretty good to us neckbeards now that the year is almost in the books. Sequels flourished and floundered, indie games made waves and some surprising titles caught gamers off guard. What’s most important is, despite the usual holiday season heavyweights, there’s been plenty of worthy of titles released to add to your catalog. That is, unless you’re one of those forum-dwelling whiners pining for the days when games “belonged” to gamers or whatever.
Anyway, now’s not the time to be jaded; not with all these great vidya games lying about. TSS’s resident geeks felt compelled to share their favorite games with you, the readers, for you to agree, disagree and bicker about in the comments. Check out our picks and give them a try if you haven’t yet.
Walking Dead: The Game (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac OSX, iOS) – Tell Tale Games
The Walking Dead is an emotional roller coaster where the story compels you so much that you actually question your own morals and values. Its objectives and decisions range from who gets the last rations, to who do you save first before their intestines are ripped out by a group of bloodthirsty zombies. The quick time events, art direction, storyline, game stability and sound are all perfect: rendering this adventure title a sure classic. And once you’re done you will understand how the game moved 3.8 million units and the Twitter phenomena #ForClementine (click at your own risk.)
Mass Effect 3 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) – EA Games
This epic Sci-Fi space saga not-named Star Wars was all the rage in 2012. ME3 went down as being the most anticipated game this year, as well as the most infamous. The gameplay was even better than before, with more fluid controls, intense action and cream-of-the-crop graphics, all coated with its well-crafted story. All controversy aside, this title was damn good from the beginning; making this trilogy something gamers can be proud of for years to come.
The Last Story (Wii) – Xseed Games
With the Wii on it’s last leg in 2012, the port of The Last Story to North America bought much surprise. This was because we here stateside don’t generally get JRPG games with a plot we can relate with or gameplay that keeps our short attention spans. This game, though, incorporated many of Final Fantasy‘s in-depth story style and real-time battles. Compile a fun control-scheme with the Wiimotes, the best graphics the Wii has to offer, a not-so-weird-Japanese love story and you got yourself one of the best games in 2012 and in the Wii’s catalog.
Hotline Miami (PC, Mac OSX) – Devolver Digital
This game right here… is one of the most gruesome and violent games released commercially in the US since Manhunt 2 in 2007, and embodies graphics from the 8-bit era. It’s got an eerie, good Fight Club-style story with twitchy, fast-paced gameplay, tons of unlockables, strategy elements and a learning curve that will have you pulling your hair out and kicking the dog. On top of that the original 80’s theme soundtrack is excellent: placing you right in the action of this crazy game. Once you start, you will not want to quit until you beat it.
Far Cry 3 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) – Ubisoft
The third entry in the Far Cry series sinks its devious hooks into the gamer within the first twisted cut-scene, and doesn’t let go. Great gameplay, a beautiful, expansive sandbox-style island to explore and one of the most compelling stories of the year deftly combine to create a clear-cut Game Of The Year. The diehard crowd might try to throw rocks at Ubisoft over a multiplayer that doesn’t measure up to Call Of Duty*, but get over it. The amount of polished content packed into the single player more than makes up for it.
*Why the hell would you go anywhere but COD or maybe Halo for multiplayer shooters? Let’s just stop making unfair comparisons.
FIFA 2013 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation Portable, Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, iOS, Android, Mac OSX) – EA Games
Same ol’ song and dance for EA Sports’ flagship? Hardly. FIFA continues to improve, implementing small, subtle additions to gameplay and presentation that add to the game’s touted realism. No longer do players on the pitch react uniformly to through balls, lob passes and headers, as decided by EA’s newly-implemented first touch system. When paired with teams that are constantly changing with their real-life counterparts, the result is the most realistic depiction of soccer we’ve ever seen.
Borderlands 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) – 2K Games
Half shooter, half RPG and all awesome, Borderlands 2 easily gives you one of the best bang for your buck values in games this year. The lengthy campaign comes fully fledged with well designed missions, a great villain and plenty of laugh out loud moments via its writing. Good times await potential vault hunters especially if you have friends to play with. Couch and online co op yield all kinds of memorable moments and may make you wonder why you bothered raging at COD all this time.
Forza Horizon (Xbox 360) – Microsoft Studios
Horizon’s stupendous blend of sim and “arcade” handling makes for plenty of fun races and hours of enjoyable joy riding at your fingertips. Occasional rubber banding kind of sucks later in the game. However adjustable difficulty settings and online play will hold you down if the campaign gets rough. The game world is easy on the eyes and a joy to roll through at your leisure. Heck, even the hipster-trash soundtrack might grow on you. Give the game a chance and, before you know it, you’ll start singing Tesla Boy’s “Spirit of the Night” in your Miami Vice ’88 Countach.
Trials Evolution (Xbox 360) – Microsoft Studios, Ubisoft and RedLynx
Ridiculous courses, a great map share feature, on/offline multiplayer support and a carefree, humorous vibe easily make Trials Evolution a must play for any 360 owner. Trials Evo is also a riot as the jumps, crashes and wacky physics WILL make you laugh like few games can. This downloadable title is so well made you might accidentally open your disc tray a few times whenever your through.