For the final day of my Game of the Year 2012 awards, I bring you my favorite soundtrack, my favorite 2011 game that I played in 2012 and my top 10 list of the year. 2012 was a fun year filled with pleasant surprises towards its tail end.
Best Soundtrack of 2012
Winner: Hotline: Miami
Like Shatter, I wouldn’t have picked up Hotline: Miami if it wasn’t for the soundtrack. Hotline: Miami is nothing without its soundtrack. The beats chosen for this game helped define and shape its atmosphere and my approach to the game. It’s not intrinsic to the gameplay like with Rez but I cannot imagine the game without it.
Runner-ups: Journey, Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Best Game from 2011
My favorite 2011 game which I started and completed in 2012.
Winner: Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
I’ve played just under 1500 games online since Q2 2012. I found it to be the ideal deck building game for the new iPad and asynchronous play. In 2012, it was beautifully enhanced with high resolution assets and supported with a new expansion that added more depth and twists to formula. Some argue that there’s too much luck involved but I like that there’s an air of randomness to the games. Besides, I still have to recognize good cards when they show up and when to abandon a strategy that just won’t work.
I have yet to find a deck building game that fits the iPad and asynchronous play as well as Ascension.
Runner-ups: Driver: San Francisco, Shadows of the Damned
Top 10 Games from 2012
- The Walking Dead (PC)
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PC)
- Sleeping Dogs (PC)
- Max Payne 3 (PC)
- Rayman: Jungle Run (iOS)
- Super Hexagon (iOS)
- Halo 4
- Mass Effect 3 (360)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PS3)
Journey stands above the rest because it made me feel feelings, man. Seriously though it is one of those amazing games that I believe everyone should play. It elicited a wide range of emotions from boredom to exhilaration to longing and genuine loathing towards my fellow man.
The Walking Dead was a game of many triumphs; it kept zombies relevant in games in 2012 and it managed to deliver on the promise of episodic gaming like no other. However its greatest accomplishment was successfully implanting me in a believable zombie apocalypse and giving me the opportunity to make tough game changing choices along the way.
I should have played XCOM back during my Pentium 120 MHz days. Being able to outfit my own squad, customize my own base, determine what I can research, build and capture — the XCOM project is a complex initiative and it’s up to me to guide it towards victory or a fiery death. It’s also a fantastic strategy role playing game that reminds me a lot of Valkyria Chronicles.
I didn’t expect Sleeping Dogs to be so good let alone set the bar for open world games in the Grand Theft Auto mould.
Max Payne 3 is third person shooting action in its purist form. Rockstar’s production power coupled with Max’s self deprecating monologues made for an entertaining experience that I keep wanting to revisit.
Rayman: Jungle Run is the first auto running platformer that I found to be legitimately fun and engrossing. I also have it on this list as a way to honor Rayman: Origins which I bought and have yet to open.
When I first started I couldn’t last more than 3 seconds in Super Hexagon. With perseverance and a solid soundtrack I managed to navigate the triangular cursor through a relentless torrent of hazards. Now I can easily sail over a minute in Hexagon mode but I can still do better. Whether if I had two minutes or an hour, Super Hexagon can accomodate with ease which is why it’ll always remain on my iOS devices.
Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Mass Effect 3 all have one thing in common for me; they’re enjoyable sequels. They all have their faults — some causing more of a ruckus than the other — but they were not significant enough for me to write the entire game or franchise off.
And that’s a wrap for 2012. As the seventh console generation winds down, I look forward to 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360’s last hurrahs. Hopefully the long generation did not stifle creativity as some have suggested. It would be a damn shame to see this generation off with just more of the same.