Before we get to our Game of the Year Awards, I want to extend a personal thank you to everyone who has visited our small site since we first launched. We do this because we love games and we’ve had some amazing reactions to our site over the past few months. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
Last year might not have been the biggest for video games, but it was still an extremely solid year. We had some fantastic titles cross all of our paths over the year, but there can only be one Game of 2012. So, without further ado, here are the runners up for Game of the Year.
Halo 4 (by Kyle Orr) – 343 Industries has launched the new Halo trilogy with a title that can easily stand toe to toe with any previous Bungie effort. The campaign feels fresh thanks to an influx of new enemies, weapons and vehicles, yet the series’ classic sandbox style gameplay remains intact. No other shooter even comes close to strategy and tactics that Halo’s AI demands. The multiplayer gets the update that it needs to survive, with more “carrot on a stick” elements all while retaining the same, sweet gameplay. The new maps feel great and the addition of ordnance drops to help spread out power weapons is a great addition. With the quality of Halo 4 it looks like the franchise is in great hands going forward.
Mass Effect 3 (by Gustavo Ramirez) – Unfortunately, the ending to Mass Effect 3 has dominated conversations about the game this year. What some people seem to forget is that Mass Effect 3 is another great entry in the sci-fi franchise. Decisions made five years ago in the original Mass Effect are referenced throughout and there are cameos galore of people and squadmates you’ve met along your journey. The shooting feels as precise as any traditional third-person shooter and a shockingly good multiplayer component was added to the series. While some people think of the last thirty minutes as the “ending”, I always felt the entire game was the actual “ending.” Some of the decisions I made during my last thirty hours with Commander Shepard and crew were the most difficult ones I had to make from all my time on the Normandy. And I loved every second because of it.
Sleeping Dogs (by Addam Kearney) – Sleeping Dogs is the first open world game in a very long time that felt truly well designed. Everything about it was near flawless. The story, characters and gameplay all melded into creating this truly unique experience. The combination of open world style gameplay and Arkham Asylum inspired hand to hand combat made for a lot of fun, but throwing people into furnaces and stabbing them with swordfish took the game to truly outrageous places. On top of that, the game might be one of the most stable open world games I’ve ever played. I never noticed any glitches or had any of the classic “open world genk” that people often note about these games. To top it all off, the two downloadble expansions, Nightmare in Northpoint and The Zodiac Tournament are two of the most fun DLC packs I’ve ever played. All in all, it might be one of the best open world experiences of this generation.
XCOM Enemy Unknown (by Patrick Cassin) – Options, customization, replayability, challenging difficulty levels, unique gameplay… the list just goes on and on. So let’s get one thing out of the way right now — the only reason that more people aren’t singing the praises of this title are because it wasn’t as good looking as Gears 3. Admit it: if XCOM in action looked every bit as stunning as Gears, swooping down gracefully for action camera kill shots, then this title would have won this category hands down.
AND THE 2012 PIXEL RELATED GAME OF THE YEAR IS…
The Walking Dead (by Kyle Orr) – It is plain and simple: no other game has ever had the amazing combination of the cinematic quality, writing and emotional pull of Tellale’s The Walking Dead. It presents a world that forces you to invest in it. By making decisions, you essentially have no choice but to become attached to the characters and situations in the game. It’s a wondrous experience that keeps you on edge throughout every episode, constantly throwing twists and “Holy $*!@” moments at you. Amidst all of that, the game also draws out emotions such as fear, sadness, relief and pure despair. If you’re not tearing up during several of the game’s hard hitting scenes, then you probably have no soul. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a fan of zombies or adventure games; this game is easily the best game of 2012.