Top 5 Games of 2012
It’s that time of year again! Time for you to read my picks for top 5 games of the year and tell me how I’m wrong! Just kidding, it’s my opinion and opinions are fun.
Instead of just doing a simple 5-1 count down, I’m going to spice things up and throw in some fun little categories and silly awards before getting down to the Top 5. Some of these I took more seriously than others and you should do the same so enjoy!
Best NPC: Tiny Tina (Borderlands 2)
Though she had a rather small role in Borderlands 2, every word out of Tiny Tina was just comedy gold. I can’t exactly put my finger on it but Tina made me laugh the most out of all the characters in Blands 2. Go on youtube and listen to all the white ghetto rap speech she has mixed in with her insane personality. Borderlands 2 could honestly fill the list with awesome NCPs like Claptrap who was also hilarious but Tina amused me a bit more. I hope to see more of her in the future.
Runners Up: Claptrap (Borderlands 2), Nick (Lollipop Chainsaw)
Best male character: Scooter (Borderlands 2)
Man I tell ya what. Dang ol’ Scooter man, he hilarious and dang ol’ crazy trying to get into crazy love with them ladies and hoo boy howdy! He all over the place makin’ cars and catch a ride stuffs, man. Dang ol’ funny man.
Runners Up: Wei Shen (Sleeping Dogs), Conner (Assassin’s Creed 3)
Best female character: Cortana (Halo 4)
Spoilers: Cortana dies in Halo 4 or whatever the equivalent to an AI dying is. My favorite aspect of Halo 4 was the exploration of Master Chief and Cortana’s relationship together. While it didn’t go into as much detail as I would have liked, there was enough subtext to go on to get that Cortana does love Master Chief and he loves her though he isn’t exactly an emotional guy. It’s really sad to see her go as she has pretty much been the only friend the Chief has ever really had. You will be missed Cortana.
Runners Up: Lilith (Borderlands 2), Juliet Starling (Lollipop Chainsaw)
Sexiest Female Character: Mia (Dead or Alive 5)
Now you could fill a title like this with any of the female DOA characters but I feel new comer Mia is best suited for it. With that red and black hair, long legs and vicious fighting moves, she’s a force to be reckoned with in the ring and in looks. She also has a fun little Rocky Balboa style story arch that gives you a nice feeling for this character. She’s one of my favorite fighters in DOA5 for looks and skills.
Sexiest Male Character: Wei Shen (Sleeping Dogs)
Wei Shen is one tough undercover cop and he looks good doing it. With a chiseled body that would make Bruce Lee blush and Sun On Yee dragon tattoos, Wei is one sexy Asian bad ass.
Best Hero: Jason Brody (Far Cry 3)
Jason Brody made for an interesting protagonist. He starts out as your rather typical rich white college student from California thrown into a situation he is completely unskilled or equipped for dealing with, scared for his life and fearing for his friends and ends up becoming a Rambo like badass in a fairly realistic manor. I was surprised. If you’re like me, you probably didn’t like him much at the start of the game but you come to real like him over time. Half way through the game his objectives seem to change but in the end it’s ultimately up to the player to decide if Jason becomes a real hero to save his friends or follow through with his seemingly new purpose in life.
Runners Up: Juliet Starling (Lollipop Chainsaw), Wei Shen (Sleeping Dogs)
Best Villain: Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2)
That’s just the best villain name I’ve ever heard. From beginning to end, Jack is verbally and physically harassing you, making you really hate him but at the same time always wanting to hear what he’s going to say next because he’s just such a hilariously smug asshole. Like many characters in Blands 2, he has so many great lines. Look them up on youtube. I should also mention that Vaas from Far Cry 3 was VERY close to taking this title. If Vaas was in the game longer than he was, I would have named him best villain of the year.
Runners Up: Vaas (Far Cry 3), Haytham Kenway (Assassin’s Creed 3)
Most Forgotten Game of 2012: Final Fantasy XIII-2
I only just remember that this game came out and that I played it and even own it. While this direct sequel is considered a step up from the previous game, it was sadly something that only hardcore Final Fantasy fans could enjoy. I am not one. I did like it’s time travel aspect of the game, it wasn’t enough to make me love it or keep going with it. The golden days of J-RPGs are well behind us I’m afraid.
Throw Back Title of the Year: Splatterhouse (2010)
This award is for a game I played this year but was not released this year. I’ve been trying to catch up on games I may have missed out in the past because I either didn’t have the system or just flat out didn’t know about it. Splatterhouse is one of those games. This is a title that is definitely not for everyone and has its fair share of flaws but if you want a horror game where you get to beat the shit out of everything and just take out your angry and frustration, nothing does it quite like playing this game. Splatterhouse holds the title of being one of the bloodiest and goriest games ever made. But it’s not all shock value. It does have a simple but well done story, great voice acting, and a twisted sense of humor. Plus it has all three original Splatterhouse games on the disc to unlock. I highly recommend looking up the Happy Video Game Nerd review of the game on youtube. If you like what you see, consider picking it up as you can find it really cheap online these days.
Coolest Sequence: Naval Battles (Assassin’s Creed 3)
Of the many things that did not live up to the hype in this game, the promised naval battles did and they were awesome! They made for really fun and epic side missions and main missions. The ships were a lot of fun to control and maneuver in combat. All the orders being yelled, the cannons blazing, shots flying over the bow, and all happening in real time game play, no QTEs or anything, made for some truly epic battles and easily the best parts of the game. This mechanic was so good that I would love to see an entire game built around this naval battle system.
Worst Sequence: Final Chase for Charles Lee (Assassin’s Creed 3)
Assassin’s Creed 3 has the dubious honor of also having the worst sequence of the year. The final chase for Charles Lee resulted in me almost breaking my PS3 controller in rage out how insultingly hard, staged, and confusing this last chase is. If you’ve played it, you know. OH you know. I won’t go into anymore about it but I can tell you that Kotaku wrote up an article about how bad this sequence is. I suggest reading it.
Coolest Attack/Weapon: Rat Swarm (Dishonored)
Want to kill your enemies in a horrific way? Why not conjure up a horde of rats to devour them alive. Of all the ways to kill foes in Dishonored, rat swarm is the most satisfying and most disgusting way to do it. Just make sure they don’t turn on you when their done feeding.
Best Soundtrack: Lollipop Chainsaw
A game with a music theme has to have great music right? Lollipop Chainsaw delivers with a very ecliptic soundtrack with lots of license music by bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Toy Dolls, Dragonforce, Children of Bodom, The Chordettes, Dead or Alive, and Joan Jett just to name a few. Plus some great original music by Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence and famed video game composer Akira Yamaoka with some great pop punk type music which strangely gives me nostalgic feels for the music that was popular during my high school days. You can tell music was a bigger theme in this game than zombies.
Best Graphics: Halo 4
Right from the opening cut scene, where it took me a minute to realize I was watched something game render and not live action, I realized this was going to be a beautiful game and it did not fail. Halo 4 is not just the best looking game of 2012, it is the best looking game on the Xbox 360 I’ve ever seen period. Bravo, 343 Industries!
Runners up: Mass Effect 3, Dead or Alive 5
Game that wasn’t as bad as everyone said: Resident Evil 6
RE 6 got a shellacking from the critics when it came out, some going as far to call it the death of the franchise. While it’s no game of the year by any means, it wasn’t THAT bad. With its four campaigns having their own feel, I think there is enough in this game for everyone to like some part of it and that’s what Capcom was going for I think. Problem is that means most people will probably not like the game as a whole, just parts of it. This is what happens when you try to please everyone at the same time. In the end though, I found myself enjoying this game more than RE5. Not too bad, Capcom but you need to step up your game.
Most Disappointing Games of 2012
Assassin’s Creed 3
This one honestly makes me sad. I was really, really looking forward to this game all year. The American Revolution was an excellent setting and had so much potential. But sadly, this game was a massive let down. The tons of hype building up to this game only amplified the disappointment. While not all bad, there were just too many little things that added up to ruining this game for me. The glitches, frame rate drops and slow down, the new combat system with a frustrating camera, the misuse and missed opportunities with the time period setting, boring and usually pointless side missions, an uninteresting main character, a horrible chase sequence (mentioned above), and a disappointing and weak ending all added up to make AC3 one of the most disappointing games of the year. I have no idea how this game got the 9.5 scores it received from mainstream critics.
Sniper Elite v2
This is a game I felt needed and deserved a sequel. What we got was more or less a remake, a very poor excuse for a remake. They stripped away everything good about the original game just to improve the graphics and the bullet kill camera. The interesting story, characters, and stealth system were all taken away. Do not play this game, find the original Sniper Elite and play that instead.
Worst Game of 2012: Star Wars Kinect
This is another game in a growing library that proves that the Xbox Kinect is only useful for dancing games. This game has been delayed over and over again since the announcement and release of the Kinect and those who were actually looking forward to this game must felt like getting a kick in the balls from Lucas Arts after buying and playing this piece of crap. You’d think that standing there pretending to use a light saber with your hands would be fun in a video game but due to the extremely poor recognition and sensing of the Kinect, it just ends up being unresponsive and frustrating. Vehicle levels also provide the same amount of frustration. The Racor level was actually pretty fun where you stomp around like Godzilla and destroy Mos Eisley but its fun for like five minutes. Sadly, the most entertaining mode in the game is the dancing game mode and that’s because you’ll be laughing so hard at how stupid it is. Seeing Darth Vader and the Emperor dancing to Deadmau5 makes it somewhat worth it and hearing the reworked licensed song lyrics to make them Star Wars related. You’ll be laughing your ass off but the Star Wars fan inside you will be hanging itself seeing that this is what the franchise has degraded to. You are better off going to the toy store, buying a toy light saber and running around swinging that around. Do not play this game or buy a Kinect.
Top 5 Games of 2012
Five: Sleeping Dogs
This game is a must play if you’re a fan of GTA style games and cannot wait till GTA5. Part of what makes this game work is the Hong Kong setting and dealing with Chinese Triads. Wei Shen makes for an interesting protagonist as he deals with gaining the trust of the Chinese mafia as an undercover cop. While not the greatest sandbox crime game ever, it’s one of the best GRA style games this year.
Four: Far Cry 3
Ubisoft snuck this one end at the end of the year but it should not be over looked. Being the first Far Cry game with a strong story and characters and having a hunting and gathering survival system that really matters, Far Cry 3 is a lot of fun to explore and experiment with. The beautiful island setting is both beautiful and dangerous at the same time with both human and natural dangers. The game also has one of the best villains I’ve seen in a long time with Vaas who is just creepy yet mesmerizing to watch. Far Cry 3 is a must play for FPS fans who love realistic shooters but are tired of all the military shooters out there.
Three: The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings Enhanced Edition (XBOX 360)
Technically this game out last year, however, the version I am talking about specifically wasn’t released till this year. One of the grittiest RPGs I’ve ever played, The Witcher 2 is a lot of fun and has a very immersive world. A great cast of characters, an interesting and fun action combat system, a complex and very adult storyline make for a must own RPG title. CD Projekt did an excellent job porting this game to the 360. While it looks a lot better on PC, it plays better with a controller as that’s what it was originally designed for. If you’re a fan of Euro-RPGs and you haven’t played Witcher 2, you’re missing out.
Two: Mass Effect 3
I really wish I had gotten into Mass Effect sooner. This game was amazing and one of the most powerful gaming experiences I’ve had in years. This game was so good; I had to amend my picks for 2012 as it definitely deserved a spot. I’ve played many games where the fate of humanity is at stake but this was the first game to make me truly feel the weight of the situation at hand. With the amazing cast of character that fans have come to know and love, multiple story paths and decisions, and epic battles and missions, this is an excellent finish to what is known as the Mass Effect Trilogy… Except for the ending… The massive let down of an ending and a few other little problems keeps this from earning my game of the year award but it comes damn close. I did recently view the DLC ending and I did like it better than the game’s default endings but why couldn’t they just go with that in the first place? Regardless, this game is a must play but only after playing Mass Effect 2. I can’t say this game stands as well on its own without experiencing the previous titles (or at least ME2) before playing to get the full effect.
One: Borderlands 2
This game surprised me with how addicting, funny, and entertaining it is. The nearly perfect mix of an FPS game and an RPG with a great story, even better characters, hilarious and witty writing, huge areas to explore, it’s sci-fi western setting, and tons of guns to experiment and play with, Borderlands 2 is a gaming experience you should not miss. A must play if you are tired of all the Call of Duty wannabe shooters that have flooded the market over the past few years and the best co-op experience since Left 4 Dead. I proclaim Borderlands 2 as the best game of 2012.
Thank you for reading! There are a lot of games coming out in 2013 that I am really looking forward to, even more so than in 2012. Be on the lookout for my upcoming reviews of DmC (Devil May Cry 5), Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Metal Gear Rising: Revengence, Rainbow Six: Patriots, The Last of Us, the Tomb Raider reboot, and more!