2012 Game of the Year Media Picks Thread

If you find a new GOTY, please post in this thread. Thanks!

Archive: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

Current standings:

The Walking Dead - 29
Journey - 19.5
Dishonored - 17
Far Cry 3 - 15
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - 11.5
Mass Effect 3 - 11
Borderlands 2 - 10
Halo 4 - 8
Assassin's Creed III - 7
Guild Wars 2 - 4
Fez - 1
Gravity Rush - 1
Gunlord - 1
Hitman: Absolution - 1
Max Payne 3 - 1
NHL 13 - 1
Resident Evil: Revelaitons - 1
Sleeping Dogs - 1
Trials Evolution - 1
The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition - 1
Xenoblade Chronicles - 1

[360][PS3][NWU][PC] Assassin's Creed III

4News (Italy)

Baixaki Jogos (Brazil)
Connor achieved what many thought was impossible: to overcome all his predecessors and create a new experience within that universe. And no wonder that Assassin's Creed 3 is the best game of 2012 because he managed to enjoy everything that had worked in previous games and show significant improvements in what still needed to be polished.

With a refined mechanics, new possibilities for exploration and a huge world to be explored, the title holds your attention for dozens of hours without you tired of climbing trees, of infiltrating cities or sail the seven seas in search of treasures.

And the award would not be complete without the history and ambiance. The construction of the colonial period of the United States, together with the excellent development of the main character, proved that the American Revolution is not synonymous with patriotism, but the ideals of freedom that fit perfectly within the proposed franchise.
Fnac Gaming (France)
François Moreau said:
For his third album numbered, the legendary series of Ubisoft takes us in North America during the War of Independence. The opportunity to play Connor, a new Assassin son of a local Mohawk and a British colonist. In addition to the usual vicissitudes (spinning, spying conversations, assassinations discrete leap of faith, acrobatics and stuff), this new installment introduces the ability to move seamlessly through the trees, hunt many animals, as well as manage a domain and its resources. Add to this the realization of high quality, and you definitely THE game not to be missed at the end of the year.
Anthony Severino said:
Very few franchises with annual release models do much to improve upon the formula. And none have done so nearly as much as Ubisoft has with ACIII. Connor’s tale is one of bravery, hope, and deceit. The dynamic relationship between Connor and Haythem, the Assassins and the Templars, the Colonists and the British, even Desmond and Abstergo, helps to drive an unforgettable story. A story that is layered over America’s early history, rich with authentic heroism.

It’s not perfect—as no game truly is—but in the end, the wealth of content and the quality and attention to detail found throughout the experience, earned Assassin’s Creed III GameRevolution’s prestigious Game of the Year award for 2012.
Golden4Games (Saudi Arabia)
Series long done the company Ubi Soft to see with our own eyes that every part of it is very special in terms of graphics and sounds and style wonderful that characterizes the series, and did not depart this part of the previous sections went our best suit but drool some impurities especially in terms of graphics, but the story of the game. Add fun and exciting about Connor relationship with his father Haytham, which made ​​a great game check guest of most of the sites so deserved the game to get the first place in a referendum this year.
Knack.be (Belgium)

Le Canada Français (Canada)
Pierre Olivier Hamel said:
This is the game of the year. Assassin's Creed III has fulfilled its role perfectly with a perfect stage, spectacular graphics as well as detailed and constantly evolving action. Missions offer variety and good challenges. It should be in your collection of game 2012 was his year.

He had to make a choice among countless video games that have come out this year. 2013 will also be a lot of glitz and create new frenzy enthusiasts. Good time for all parties.
[360][PS3][PC] Borderlands 2

Battle Creek Enquirer
Marcus Anderson said:
“Borderlands 2” took an excellent game and made it better in every way. The writing is top-notch, as the villain Handsome Jack made me laugh out loud many times. With all of the additions and tweaks to this sequel, it is easy to pick this robust title as my top game of the year.
Freakin' Awesome Network
Koda Kazar said:
For the second year in a row the voters have picked a game with brilliantly written comedy, tight gameplay that vastly improved on their respective predecessors, had excellent voice acting, sharp visuals, and above all else was insanely fun to play. Congrats to Gearbox Software for creating such an incredible game.
games™ (UK)
It’s hard to think of another game in the last few years that has so fervently nurtured cooperative gaming to such sublime depths. Gearbox Software’s sequel has no less than reinvigorated the first-person shooter, shifting the focus away from scripted sequences and linear pathways, instead delving into the multiplayer side of the genre that doesn’t involve getting n00bed by a ten-year-old. It’s not just the added incentive of working together for extra XP boosts that compels players to continue exploring Borderlands 2, but the richly detailed world so affectionately drawn that it’s almost impossible to resist its many splendours.
AaronFlux said:
Since 2009, I have been not so patiently waiting for the sequel to my video game obsession that was Borderlands. Well, the long await ended this year with the amazing follow up, Borderlands 2 (duh).

For those of you out there not in the know, Borderlands 2 is first-person shooter/action/RPG mashup of a video game that was brought to us by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. Much like the first game, Borderlands 2 has players take part in a campaign consisting of main quests and optional side-missions. You have your pick to be one of four vault hunters (I’m Salvador, pendejos!) on the crazy planet Pandora.

The features that made the original game such a hit like the collaborative multiplayer option, the large variety of weapons, the skill trees, character mods, the sense of humor throughout, and the loot…THE LOOT…they’re all still here. As are characters like Moxxi, Doctor Zed, Handsome Jack, and your beloved ClapTrap. But there’s a whole bunch of “new” that has been thrown into the mix. Better weapons, bigger bad guys, and amazing new DLCs are just a few of the things available in Borderlands 2 that has continued my crazy video game addiction that I thought I kicked a few years ago.

It was really no surprise to me when Borderlands 2 was named “Best Shooter”, “Best Multi-Player Game”, “Best Performance By a Human Male”, and “Character Of The Year” at this year’s Video Game Awards. And…uh….sorry I need to stop typing. I have bullymogs to kill!
InsideGames (Netherlands)
Choosing the best games of the year is not easy, let alone identifying the number 1! Yet could the entire editorial endorses the choice for the best game of 2012: Borderlands 2. Why? First, because this game is the epitome of the perfect sequel. The original and fresh approach of the original is in great way by put in part two, which all highlight flaws of the first part are eliminated. Still provide the various playing styles (thanks to the interesting new classes), the numerous quests and of course the trillion-fifty-thousand-zillion-billion-million weapons us easily more than a hundred hours of play. And thanks to the fine in another stabbing DLC packs we play the game today still with pleasure.

Addition is also the story a lot better this time together, especially when bad-guy Handsome Jack steals the show with his sometimes ridiculous but very entertaining one-liners. But it is especially those oh so addictive cooperative gameplay that justifies the first place. Yes, Borderlands 2 plays borrows from a lot of other franchises (even some of these top 50), but combines these elements in unprecedented fashion to a total package that best comes into its own when you're on the go with your friends. And that's still one of the most important parts in games.
Darryn Bonthuys said:
Never before, have we managed to play a single game that the entire crew loved unconditionally. The loot and shoot sequel improved massively on the original game, from pacing, focus and characters, through to addictive gun collecting and character building.

And it did all that, in one massive experience that kept us hooked all the way through. I’m not joking, as a look at my stats reveals that I have literally sank three days worth of gaming into this title. And I’m not the only one.

So well done Borderlands 2 and Gearbox Software, you’ve given us a game that delivered on its promises, made us hate stairs and gave us one of the best villains of all time. And a butt stallion of course.
Press Play
Nick Hawryluk said:
I had a hell of a time with the original Borderlands, but I was tentatively excited about its follow-up this year. I’m glad to say that not only was I satisfied with Gearbox’s latest effort, but it sucked me in like a freaking wormhole. Entire chunks of my life were consumed, and before I knew it, I had spent 52 hours in this game within a week. I tell myself it was because I was tasked with reviewing the game, but I’m not convinced it would have been different if I wasn’t playing for work. Borderlands 2 improved every problem I had with the first game, and if you really want to hear what I think of it you can read my review, but more than anything else there’s just this magical feeling to the world of Pandora that was successfully transferred from the first outing. Whether it’s the fabulous gunplay, hilarious characters or absolute overflow of pop-culture references & easter eggs, Borderlands 2 is blessed with a world that I just WANT to be a part of. With two great DLC campaigns and a fun new character class released post-launch, I’m willing to follow Gearbox’s franchise to the ends of the earth at this point. Borderlands 2 is a great sequel that didn’t change major facets of the gameplay its series is known for, and it’s really nice to have a franchise that sticks to its guns for once. Heh.
Respawn King said:
For me, 2012 was the first year in my life that I was able to pick the top game of the year in less than a matter of seconds. Gearbox’s sophomore entry in the loot shooting series is nothing shy of gaming nirvana. The FPS gameplay quality is beyond measure, the customizable offensive options are deliciously plentiful, the humor is laugh out loud funny and the co-op joyride is a bromance to be remembered. There is no reason you shouldn’t arm up and raid the vast lands of Pandora today.
TechCentral (South Africa)
Lance Harris said:
The follow-up to Gearbox’s “role-playing shooter” is a master class in how to do a sequel right. Borderlands 2 offers a stack of improvements and enhancements over its predecessors, including new character classes, improved artificial intelligence and a more expansive and customisable set of weapons. But it stayed faithful to the same single-player and cooperative looting, mayhem and twisted humour that made Borderlands the surprise hit of 2009.

Gearbox deserves a special hat tip for the effort it invested in making the PC version definitive when lazy ports from the ageing consoles to PCs have become the norm. And if the core game wasn’t enough, Gearbox also delivered a couple of meaty expansion packs for the game that put the quick-and-dirty cash-in “DLC” that most developers release in the wake of their games to shame.

[360][PS3][PC] Dishonored

3DJuegos (Spain)

Associated Press
Arkane Studios' revenge drama combined a witty plot, crisp gameplay and an uncommonly distinctive milieu, setting a supernaturally gifted assassin loose in a gloriously decadent, steampunk-influenced city.
Attack of the Fanboy
Dishonored is a game that simply must be played more than once to truly be appreciated. There are so many ways that missions can be accomplished, that you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t see at least one alternative. Which is the trick that a lot of single player games can’t pull. Because of there’s so few game developers with the talent to do that, it’s amazing that a game like this even gets the green light in this day and age.

Dishonored is refreshing, thoughtful, measured, and unique. It’s a reason for gamers to keep supporting developers that are willing to go out and try new things, to tell stories that haven’t been told a thousand times before, even if that is through unconventional mechanisms.
The Bitbag
Sharizan Abdullah said:
Developed by Arkane Studios for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360; it’s a first-person stealth action game where you play a former bodyguard to the Empress turned assassin as you seek revenge against those that framed you for the murder of the Empress. You have at your disposal magical powers such as blinking (short-teleportation) and summoning rats to help you in your quest. With multiple ways to go through any given level and the choice of going on a murderous rampage or a no-kill run which will affect the game and story, this is game that everyone needs to play.
Jeff Bakalar said:
Only one game can be crowned the year's best, and this time it's Dishonored that takes first prize. Above all, originality gets top reward here and the unique concoction of multiple gameplay styles that is Dishonored has won out in 2012. Combining the genres of stealth, action, first-person shooter, strategy, and more, Dishonored constantly reminded players that this was a game they'd never experienced before. Arkane Studios took gamers to the fantastic fictional city of Dunwall, with a bevy of supernatural powers at their disposal, to play out a tale filled with betrayal, revenge, and murder.
Larry Frum said:
Set in a rotting, alternate-universe world where steampunk visuals blend with advanced technology, "Dishonored" forces you to seek revenge for being framed for a murder you didn't commit. As you set out to assassinate your enemies, there are two extreme modes of play -- stealth or combat -- and you can choose between the divergent styles as you see fit. The pacing is your own. The decisions, for better or worse, are yours to make. But they will have consequences along the way, so choose wisely. With a fantastic setting, an excellent storyline and the ability to make the adventures your own, "Dishonored" is my choice for the best game of 2012.
Alex Knapp said:
When the trailer for Dishonored was released at E3 earlier this year, Dave Thier said that it was the “most promising game” there. At PAX Prime 2012, Dan Tack’s hands-on with Dishonored left him “craving more.” The title has more than lived up to those expectations. Bethesda’s latest game is not only at the top of our list, but it’s the only game here that is completely fresh – it’s neither a sequel nor linked to any other IP.

Dishonored‘s gameplay is “intricate, rewarding, and open” raved Dave Thier in his review. Although it can theoretically be beaten in a few hours, Erik Kain believes that doing so “would be a horrible shame.” That’s because, Kain says, the game is full of “little, lovely, horrifying moments. Sometimes that horror preceded me, sometimes it was horror wrought of my own hands.”

The bottom line comes from our official review: “Dishonored is a game that gives players choices and places its highest priority on solid, fun gameplay.”

What more can you ask for?
It’s impossible to celebrate Dishonored without appreciating the world in which it’s set. Dunwall is lavishly built, with visual imagination attending to every tiny detail and expansive vista, and level design that always presents you with interesting choices and meaningful consequences. It’s populated with unforgettably grotesque characters and a sense of their unnerving culture. Its melancholy score hangs in the air like the smog in its streets, and it’s all articulated by Corvo’s fluid controls. Every part of Dishonored works in exquisite concert, every system complementing the others with a graceful cohesion that speaks of Corvo himself, and of the generosity in freedom and participation Dishonored extends to its players. Few games burst as fully formed from the ether – perhaps Dunwall’s most remarkable achievement is that it feels so inevitable.
The Guardian (UK, tie with XCOM)
Keith Stuart said:
The art team behind Dishonored spent almost four years devising and concepting Dunwall – it seems that not a moment was wasted. This is one of the most fully realised fictitious environments that gaming has ever seen, a plague-ridden Victorian hellhole of warring artistocrats, moustached gangsters and blood-vomiting paupers. Into this Dickensian nightmare strides Corvo, and assassin who is not an assassin, who doesn't need to kill; who can slink silently along the steaming pipes and slated rooftops of this festering city. The effect is Batman re-housed in industrial Britain – a game of cat-and-mouse plotting, patience, deviousness and occasional bursts of sword-swirling violence. It is an engrossing, consuming game, beautifully made, deeply cared for and swaggeringly confident. It is a joy.
Jugaccino (UK)

MeriStation (Spain)
Dishonored is a special game and it is perceived from the start. The gloomy atmosphere is captivating Dunwall Victorian, with some streets where poverty and ostentatious grandeur naturally share space to form a coherent and credible. The story and characters also call our attention gradually, with authentic touches as teachers narrative that heart that our protagonist can use to know the darkest thoughts of the people around you. But where we really earn Dishonored is with his masterful design, with the freedom to approach each mission and objective way we want or we can, with the generous range of powers with which we can infiltrate through the most unusual situations and resolve always different ways if we wish, by the great performance of its subsystems makes all game actions are entertaining and are full of possibilities for your interest in falling upon us the burden of our actions and these are reflected in around us. Dishonored is not "merely" a shooter, or a shooter, role or infiltration, is all that and much more, a title created under a philosophy that does not believe in genres or pigeonholing but chasing a total and complete interactive experience. Arkane's work has surprised and impressed us more than any other game of this magnificent 2012 and why we believe it is worthy of this distinction for us.
MGNews (Russia)
The leaders of this time was a project, not to participate in and then flare up scandals. Gently beating top graphic frills theme, the creation of Arkane Studios revealed that the gameplay and atmosphere is still important. Gameplay, offering players improvise, it certainly gain in this age of the shortest distance from point "A" to point "B". Those who campaign seemed too short, promised several plot additions, but that's another story...
Mirror (UK)
Dan Silver said:
It’s the sense of freedom that you’ll come to love the most. Plenty of story-driven shooters provide the illusion of choice, the promise of multiple paths and the suggestion of persistent morality. But you’re still merely selecting from a limited number of scenarios predetermined by designers. In Dishonored it actually felt like you could do anything. It’s an intelligent and forward thinking take on first-person gaming. In short, a masterpiece.
MundoGamers (Spain)
Dishonored The good thing is that beyond the amazing world built by the guys at Arkane, is a title you can play as you wish. That sense of freedom and face a situation any way you want, combined with the powers of Corvo, is the foundation of a great game. Furthermore, fluent language, as they did in the past Bioshock or Half-Life 2. There is no better feeling than to feel powerful not because they say so or because you're almost invincible, but through a perfect mechanical and environmental domination. Such rewards are seeking a player and so today, we are in this video game. And so is the game Dishonored year MundoGamers.
Netmedia (Mexico, tie with Journey)
Carlos Fernández de Lara said:
Now let's talk about Dishonored, the game of the year, for those who are gamers. Like Halo, Far Cry or ME3, Dishonored is also an FPS with RPG touches. their graphs are not real as humanly Far Cry or ME3 and his world is not as vast as that of Halo. But Dishonored complies in every respect with the players.

It's fun in every aspect, is complex and challenging, offering multiple possibilities of development and has a great story (with a huge cliché) but very well told. You can be a silent murderer, a blood thirsty warrior or a clever thief. All in a social environment of decadence, of knights and maidens, ravaged by a disease such as the bubonic plague and top it off with zombies.

Unlike many other titles on the market with pushy budgets as CoD or Halo 4, Dishonored is a game that knows meet their budget constraints and that makes it clear that, often, what they want most gamers are good experiences and not only great stories and stunning graphics and dozens of game modes.
Phoenix New Times
Alex Weiss said:
We're rarely good enough at a video game to truly roleplay a supersoldier, but Dishonored tries its damndest to cast us as one. The game is almost unbalanced in how much control it gives players with powers that allow them to fly across the map at the touch of a button. Powers translate to control and planning, however, and the game's design is such that the player is essentially a Batman figure. The difficulty does not come from actually beating the game, but how cool we can look while we do it. Oh yeah, the plot, visual design, and almost everything else is really great too.
VGTV (Norway)

The Wall Street Journal
Adam Najberg said:
In a year where rhetoric far outstripped results, this game is an epic. As I noted in my full review, Dishonored’s most-interesting feature is its Chaos game engine, which introduces subtlety and nuance into gameplay. Your actions and choices — to kill or not to kill, to kill violently or to use poison, for example — affect the twists and turns in your storyline. Dishonored seldom plays the same way twice. It’s hard to put down the controller once you’re in the middle of the story, perhaps the highest compliment you can give a game. It’s rare to find one that gets you as white-knuckled from sneaking around stealthily as blasting away at enemies. While graphics aren’t spectacular, the dystopic, steampunk world of Dunwall is well-done. Dishonored’s engrossing gameplay had overtones of my favorite game of all-time, Skyrim.
[360][PS3][PC] Far Cry 3

All Age Gaming
What a year we have had with games! But alas, with all the great games that have graced our systems this year, there has to be one overall winner chosen. And for us in 2012 it happens to be Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 that put its nose in front right at the finish line. With Far Cry 3 winning both our “Best Action Adventure Game” and “Most Visually Impressive Game” awards, it was clear that Far Cry 3 is a favorite amongst the AAG team. I think our very own Charlotte Grace summed up why Far Cry 3 wins our overall Game Of The Year in the last sentence of her “Best Action Adventure Game” category write-up which described Far Cry 3 by saying:

“The graphics, design, sound and the way you are pulled into the story is just outstanding.”

When you have a game that ticks those boxes you have a definite overall Game Of The Year winner on your hands. Congratulations to the team at Ubisoft for bringing to us gamers a truly outstanding game this year!
Contra Costa Times
Gieson Cacho said:
Arriving without much fanfare, this sequel fulfills the promise of the underrated "Far Cry 2." It polishes a solid formula, bringing a great stealth system and unpredictable environment to a shooter. But what puts it over the top is a compelling story that takes players to the darkest parts of an island jungle and back.
Brandon Justice said:
This year’s Game of the Year was packed with viable contenders, but none brought it better than Ubisoft Montreal’s Far Cry 3. And while open-world action is nothing new, the way in which FC3’s tale of vengeance, salvation and good old-fashioned ass-kicking insanity blended memorable performances, a tightly scripted campaign and meaningful side content into one solid package was a bar-raising effort that would have stood out against anything this generation had to offer, making it an easy pick for our top title of 2012.
Game-Focus (Canada)


HunGamer (Hungary)
Made its debut in 2012, not a few evil people in the game world. However, not many of them were really memorable, so it was not really too difficult to choose the most original thing. In 2012, the year could not be other than Far Cry 3 anti-hero himself Vaas, who is unpredictable, almost crazy sadistic to beat Borderlands 2 Handsome Jack, Jet, Mr Scratch was (Alan Wake American Nightsmare) and Satan Lucius was a true successor.
IGN (Benelux)
Far Cry 3 looks great, has a huge amount of choice and is altogether above a complete game. Well, the co-op and multiplayer might not jump out, but with these modes is nothing wrong and they do not detract from the whole experience. That experience is what we are concerned, the most impressive of 2012. And ... The first person shooter has easily the most impressive bad ass of 2012, the heavily disturbed Vase. Throw in a level editor in and you can certainly not complain that Ubisoft has done half the job. Far Cry 3 takes place with a right to the throne in 2012.
INFO (Brazil)

La Presse (Canada)
Kevin Massé said:
A huge island where you can wander as we see fit, a wildlife can be prey or predator, bloodthirsty pirates without morality, that's what Far Cry 3. A crazy adventure to free our fellow prisoners without legal guardians. All this supported by a scenario intense and unsettling performances from the actors. Far Cry 3 gives us the largest and most impressive playground of the year.
The List (UK)
Murray Robertson said:
Third time’s a charm for this open-world shooter series. Far Cry 3's emergent gameplay makes every encounter a fresh experience as you explore one of the most stunning landscapes ever created. The collection of tropical islands is stunningly rendered, creating an atmospheric shooter with freedom in spades and the technical prowess to bring everything together.
David Hilton said:
Though this may come as a bit of a surprise, Far Cry 3‘s mix of open-world beauty and sandbox gameplay, as well as the basic The Beach meets adult Lord of the Flies scenarios, makes this a game quite unlike any other for sheer crazy fun.

Others may have more innovation, serene beauty, compelling storytelling, or amazing multiplayer, but this game scored enough points from our combined staff to make it stand out just ahead of Mass Effect 3.
Paraiba (Brazil)
Epic and exciting. That's how you set the last major release of 2012, and also the best game of the year.

Jason Brody is the protagonist of the third game in the franchise. The boy pampered son of wealthy parents, meet friends decide to travel to the Islands Rook, a heavenly place, perfect for vacation, but it also serves as a haven for smugglers and mercenaries. One of these criminals is Vaas, a pirate sadistic, insane and reckless youth who kidnaps and holds captive the sheer pleasure of torturing them. Brody is the one who manages to escape, and that is where the action begins as he must free his friends and find a way to escape Islands.

Produced by Ubisoft, Far Cry 3 brings a vast archipelago to be explored, where it is almost impossible to spend more than 10 minutes without a mission. Are forests, rivers, lakes, caves, villages, ruins and destroyed a lot of scenarios that bring together puzzles, local activities, collectibles and small goals, such as free radio towers and enemy bases. Wildlife and vehicles like cars, jeeps and boats are also on the way.

Another highlight are the co-operative and multiplayer modes. The first allows up to four players to enter the contest and work together to escape from a pirate ship. Since the multiplayer brings the classic playoff contention and territories, but allows the character to evolve their skills over the gambling.

Far Cry 3 is definitely one of those must-see games that should be on the shelf of any player.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Jim Rossignol said:
2012 has been a magnificent year, and yet the majority of games that have disgorged their gameplay into our leisure-time digestion seems to have come with some kind of issue or related difficulty that has left us indignant and hissy. Not all, perhaps, but most And that’s true of Far Cry 3, of course – there’s a myriad of wonky or downright ugly bits under the hood, not to mention all that mystic bullshit – but, somehow, miraculously, that hasn’t dulled its edge. It’s a rich, noisy fanfare of a game. It’s a razor-sharp cleaver, lopping off the end of the year for itself. It works hard to make an open world actually mean something, and to really let us make the most of what huge horizons and seething jungles can offer.

It’s also absolutely an antidote to so much else that I’ve played this year. It’s as if the bright beaches and absurd fire-propagation were dissolved in a glass of tropical fruit juice to clear the hangover of a prodigious and sleepless year at the keyboard. It’s not grimdark, but it does have sex and gruesomeness. It’s ultra violent, and still manages to give us comedy bear-attacks. It’s unflinchingly unrealistic – with tigers fighting Komodo dragons, and it has hang-gliders parked at pretty much every location where it might fun to fly off the edge of a cliff, and genuinely terrible hallucination sequences – but it remains electric and terrific fun throughout.

I think it’s the pitch and structure of it that impressed me most of all. It’s a broadly mainstream, accessible shooter, and yet unlike anything else this year.

The idea that games are theme-parks is often used as a criticism, but I think here it is a positive analogy. Far Cry 3 is as moronically dumb as the experience of theme-parks, and just as clever in the construction. It knows, and it enables us. It’s an engineered marvel, and at the same time nothing more than a wide-open shooting gallery. It’s never real for one moment. It’s seriousness only underlines how much the game can’t actually be taken too seriously. And that’s a good thing.

I’ve waited a long time for a game to throw me quite this much rope. Time to do something stupid with it.
Spaziogames (Italy)
Aligi Comandini said:
And here we are, to reward the best title of the year. The absolute king of 2012 is ... Far Cry 3. Ubisoft's work is excellent in every aspect, able to eliminate most of the typical problems of free-roaming gameplay and features as varied as exemplary. A victory difficult with so many great releases, but well deserved.
Chet Roivas said:
Unpredictable, extravagant and packed with so much content that it’s hard to believe that it all fits onto a single disc, Ubisoft’s open-world opus showcases precisely why the publisher has reigned supreme in 2012. The co-op campaign is fun if slightly disposable and the multiplayer is an adequate blend of Battlefield and Call of Duty, but the breathtaking campaign is worth the asking price on its own. An intensely memorable and very lengthy adventure, Far Cry 3’s near-faultless AI means that no battle is ever the same, and it’s all too easy to get willingly lost – for hours on end – in its utterly captivating world. A masterpiece, no question.
[360] Fez

Simon Parkin said:
But all this surrounding bluster was silenced by the game's arrival. It's a crucial, historical game in more ways than one. It's a celebration of the medium's formative years, where clues to the game's heritage etch every wall. Tetris squares, Triforces, a smile-eyed celebration of the Nintendo childhood, here repackaged, repurposed in a living museum of pixels and ideas. The knotted conundrums, secret rooms, locked chests, arcane treasure maps and rabbit holes that lead you on and on through clockwork contraptions are from an earlier, purer time - even if their expression is vibrantly current.
[PSV] Gravity Rush

Red Sun Gamer

[PC] Guild Wars 2

Combo Caster (Portugal)
Tiago said:
Guild Wars 2 marked the world of MMO this year, innovating a genre that badly needed new mechanics and new ideas or was destined to die. WoW continues to be one of the best in the genre but it starts to become dated and Guild Wars 2 brought with current ideas of certainty that will be used in upcoming releases and rightly so.
Gamer.nl (Netherlands)
MMOs fall over each other in recent years and also knew but no real impact. It remained hanging in all good intentions, a few simple twists on proven recipes and that's it. Guild Wars 2 breaks through all barriers and knows his dynamic world a much livelier and more organic feel to the usually static MMO what to give. The fights are very interesting as character levels are scaled to the area, making even a veteran in a starting area on his guard. Therefore there for both newcomers and veteran (even together) enough to do in the fanciful online world of Tyria. And so we would still have dozens of improvements, innovations and changes can name. It would have been dozens of confirmations of a fact: Guild Wars 2 is the best game of the year 2012.
Quarter to Three
Tom Chick said:
I am not an MMO player. I am strictly a dabbler. Guild Wars 2 changed that. This is the game I’ve played the most this year, and not because it’s an effective time sink (hi, Diablo III!). It’s the game I’ve played the most because it’s the game I’ve most wanted to play. And it shows no sign of letting up. Whatever you have in store for me, 2013, you’ve got a tough ongoing act to follow.

…I can count on two hands the games I’ve loved as much as I now love Guild Wars 2. This isn’t just a great example of the genre and arguably the Second Coming of MMOs. It isn’t even just one of the best games I’ve ever played. This is what happens when a group of talented, smart, dedicated, imaginative, bold, consumer-friendly creators get together and spend years solving problems and making something wonderful.
Matt Peckham said:
Guild Wars 2 is one of those rare games that unexpectedly knocks your life off-kilter, like a meteoroid banging into a satellite. Call it the pinball machine of MMOs, devoted to keeping you entertained by the minute, whatever you’re doing. You’ll get into snowball fights, go on scavenger hunts for eggs, play catch with barrels, defend homesteads from ice worms, protect towns from bear hordes and knock out enemy portals that spawn creatures like the Chitauri in The Avengers. All those events and hundreds more play out in real-time — with, as Bono would say, or without you, lending Guild Wars 2 the feel of a living world, and the sort of compulsive anywhere-you-go playability other MMOs only dream of.
[NEO][SDC] Gunlord

Classic Game Room

[360] Halo 4

Canada.com (Canada)
Patrick O'Rourke said:
Cortana’s performance over the course of Halo 4 is breathtaking.

The Halo franchise catches a significant amount of flack, but 343 Industries’ first foray into the series, Halo 4, is the most polished and quite possibly the best game in the Halo series yet. It removes many of the complicated elements that made Halo: Reach and Halo 3 less fun than earlier entries in the series, and brings the franchise back to its roots.

G3AR (South Africa)
Dawid Venter said:
Quite a bit had to be taken into consideration for the Game of the Year award. The game that provides an engrossing experience but also one that has long-term appeal, balance, the looks, a joy to listen to and most importantly is first and foremost the most fun you can have.

Halo 4 ticked all these boxes.

If you’ve never played or attempted playing a Halo game this in indeed a great one to start with. The campaign is stunning, the multiplayer never stops giving, the co-op is versatile (online and offline), some might mistake the visuals for a PC or PS3 game and the orchestrated soundtrack will give you goose bumps. This is not to say Veterans were left out. The SmartGlass integration supplies stats on demand and much fan service was provided by the Forward Unto Dawn movie leading up to the launch of the game.

This is a production that left no stone unturned and the one shining light for the Xbox 360 in a year that provided little else exclusively. 343 Studios defeated their critics with a gem that simply must be played by you.
Machinima Inside Gaming

The New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Troy Rawhiti-Forbes said:
New developers 343 Industries were put under immense pressure, and in turn they produced a diamond. The Master Chief's first new adventure since 2007 is a daring leap forward for the ageing series, delivering graphics that look convincingly next-generation, a near-faultless soundtrack by Massive Attack mastermind Neil Davidge, and a love-centred plot that had some players reaching for their tissue boxes.

Halo 4 succeeds in looking and playing like its predecessors, so anyone with experience can jump in and feel at home, but it feels so very different. This is due in part to innovations in gameplay, both in the single player campaign and in the multiplayer modes, and in the elements borrowed from other first-person shooters including an increased emphasis on cover-based combat, thumbstick-controlled running, and multiplayer mode loadouts.
Radio Times (UK)
Strap on the Master Chief's battle armour in this hotly-anticipated XBox-only first person shooter, which sees Microsoft take over development duties on the series from Bungie. Set five years after Halo 3, the game boasts both a huge single-player campaign and groundbreaking new multiplayer modes. Lock and load!
VideoGamer (UK)
One fact is clear: this is no longer Bungie's Halo, but much of what made the series such an irresistible proposition has remained intact for this new beginning. Rich, lavish and often spectacular, Halo 4 is an encouraging first effort from 343 Industries and a deserving entry into one of gaming's most beloved franchises. Master Chief didn't need to reawaken so soon, but I'm certainly glad he did.
Halo 4 brings back Master Chief in brilliant new armor, and caters to hardcore fans and newcomers in terms of a first-person shooter that delivers nostalgia and the evolution of a series to a new destiny. The multiplayer is incredible like prior titles, the single-player campaign is just as redefined, and the action is unceasing to earn Halo 4 WhatIfGaming's Best of 2012: Game Of The Year Award
[360][PS3][PC] Hitman: Absolution

XGN (Netherlands)

[PS3] Journey


AnaitGames (Spain)
The Arts Desk
Helen K. Parker said:
Your avatar arises in the desert, without a face or visible identity, you travel from A to B to C. But in the two or three hours the game lasts you will experience the entire gamut of human existence. From that moment in the desert, you know that your journey’s end is on the mountain top. But in getting there, you will discover knowledge, revere a godhead which imparts wisdom and salvation, you will travel alone, and be overwhelmed with nervous joy at the discovery of a partner.

In the absence of names, genders or voices, the only way to communicate with your partner is through a chirruping song, whose meaning you can only interpret emotionally. And with all barriers of language and culture removed, you're allowed to simply run around and play. An experience that will set your spirit alight and break your heart all at the same time, Journey is exactly what is says on the box. Even as we strike out on our own, to find our own path, the sight of each other on the horizon literally makes us sing.
The Denver Post
John Wenzel said:
From the same developer that brought us the brilliant Flower comes Journey, a downloadable game in which you play a nameless traveler in a vast, stark landscape. There are no points, dialogue or beat-you-over-the-head plot points, just a subtly directed, interactive experience that rivals novels and films in its emotional impact. Bonus points for the hypnotic score from Denver's own Austin Wintory — the first to ever be nominated for a Grammy award.
Entertainment Weekly
The result is an epic that makes the typical 70-hour mainstream game look puny by comparison.
Eurogamer (Spain)
Xavi Robles said:
Journey has taught us that video games are much more likely beyond the joke and throws a great allegory of the way of the hero and the tragic process we all follow in this life. With a minimalist design and deeply intelligent have gotten us to get excited about this trip all, some have done alone, others have found partners who still remember. Thatgamecompany has managed to get to the essence of communication without words, icons or names, and made it a genuinely playful narrative: I decide to go with, I decide to leave, I decide to help, you leave, you lose, I seek, help ! You establish an emotional bond with your partner deeply memorable trip, and images of this ride-wise, beautiful, bright, and remain forever in the history of video games. Journey is a reason to be optimistic, to think about yourself but, above all, to keep believing in videogames. A masterpiece.
Gameblog (France)

GameCity Prize
Lord David Puttnam said:
Journey was a unanimous choice for the GameCity Prize 2012, many of the jurors were un-experienced in playing videogames and it confounded their expectations of what videogames were. Of all the shortlisted titles, Journey presents the player with an especially coherent vision, simultaneously fantastic and familiar.

All of the Jury commented on the art direction in particular, the extraordinary sense of size and scale it portrayed. Whilst it was a short game, it was in no way small. It’s a focused, detailed piece of work – challenging you to measure it in terms other than just the length of gameplay. One of the jury commented that it was like a favourite place, a walk in the country, that she would love to go back and revisit. In particular, Journey was a videogame that had been created by artists immersed in a broad culture. Both obviously a game, but challenging of what a game could be – it displayed an extraordinary level of care and attention.
Gamepur (India)
Shaikh Sehran said:
ThatGameCompany (developer behind award winning PSN game "Flow & Flower") challenged traditional gaming conventions with "Journey". The game delivered simple gameplay and accessible controls in a rich interactive environment that invited gamers to explore and experience emotional chords that are still uncommon in video-games.

Journey was an exotic adventure with more serious tone. It presented a unique vision of an online adventure experience. Awakening in an unknown world, the player walks, glides, and flies through a vast and awe-inspiring landscape, while discovering the history of an ancient, mysterious civilization along the way. Journey included an innovative approach to online play which encouraged players to explore this environment with strangers who cross their path from time to time. By traveling together, they can re-shape the experience -- creating authentic moments they will remember and discuss with others.
Gamereactor (Norway)
We were never in doubt about what was the game of the year 2012. It is not often that the editors agree that Journey was a worthy winner, but we were therefore this year - a feat in itself. We love ourselves completely in the Journey, a living proof that it is possible to create games that challenge the conventions that limit and make the game medium repetitive. Journey did so many different things, and absolutely correct. The short playing time was refreshing as a whole felt so powerful.

Riddles was in its simplicity intuitive, yet engaging and rewarding. The sound and graphics are still left to be among the most beautiful we have ever experienced in a game. The way you communicate with other travelers along the journey was a clear hint as to how the game medium can be social, even without the big competition drives. But perhaps the most beautiful of all with Journey was whole, the journey towards the mountains in the distance, which in many ways affected player in all its simplicity. Travel many interpret as a metaphor for life itself, was experienced as a story, a story was told without a single word, but only through the game medium definitive strength, namely the interaction.
Gamereactor (Sweden)
The allure of travel is not just to see something new. The realization that the old and familiar is not blameless, also plays a role. In an age where multi-million projects, explosions and breathtaking multiplayer options are needed landscape game that takes us on a journey. In Journeys case to a quieter place. Here was a hotbed of a bond between the protagonist and player to emerge - with no help from either the voice actors or between sequences. Here we were concerned. Not just stunned.

That said, Thatgamecompanys game lacked the production values. On the contrary, the game world a graphic triumph and we techies could admire both light effects and elegant dancing sand particles. The orchestrated music, deserved the Grammy-nominated, osade big production. We found even a multiplayer mode, but not of the kind we were used to. Chat features and ugly user tiles were peeled away, which made the sight of a sudden teammates even more tantalizing fantasy.

The man in red hero's journey in the Journey, by inspiring introduction to the bittersweet end, was the year's best experience. It brought immense joy of discovery, struck dozens emotional strings and - we hope - inspired more games makers to dip your toes into similar waters. Journey took a big step in the gaming medium's journey toward maturity. Who knows where we end up?
Jane Douglas said:
It's a real accomplishment that Journey draws together so many conventional game elements, and so well, and still feels like the art piece we expect from the makers of Flow and Flower.
GIGA (Germany)


Netmedia (Mexico, tie with Dishonored)
Carlos Fernández de Lara said:
Yes and no way tie. The reality is that it is difficult to know where to put a title like Journey. If you have played know who deserves to be the best game of 2012 and one of the best games of all time. But if you have played know that in essence is not a game as such. That is, use your control to handle it, and your TV to view your console (PS3) to work, but Journey is not a game, not something that you put a challenge, is less extensive than an episode of Dr House and have those moments of frustration and anger that every game generates. If we define the category play Journey's interactive digital art.

It is a game that will take away a lot of time, but once you take control of the character is something you can not stop playing. The music is exciting, the graphics are beautiful and the story is inspiring. Journey deserves to be game of the year because it is an experiment, Okami style or The Last Guardian, which deserves all the recognition by proposing something different in an industry that now seems to be taking shape and whose only desire is to generate money and not experiences profitable.

Push Square (UK)
Sammy Barker said:
As a huge fan of flower, I knew I was going to enjoy Journey – but what thatgamecompany delivered blew me away. I remember receiving my review code early one morning and downloading the title while I ran some errands. When I returned, the game was ready and installed, and I booted it up intending to play the first few minutes before getting back to work. I ended up playing through the whole game twice and writing our review in a single sitting.

I often prefer to ruminate over a game before I put pen to paper, but in this instance I was worried that if I didn’t jot down my thoughts immediately, I’d struggle to do the game justice. Looking back on it now, I’m confident I captured the essence of the experience. It will go down alongside Shadow of the Colossus as one of my favourite games of all time – and that makes it a natural fit for our overall game of the year.
Revision3 Games

Sound and Vision Magazine
Geoffrey Morrison said:
Journey is an experience, in the guise of a game, wrapped in a haunting and lavish (and Grammy-nominated) score. While Planetside 2 is the traditional done right, and The Walking Dead is a leap forward in game-as-storytelling, Journey is a sliver of beauty that evokes wonder and emotion like few other games.

The more I explain about it, the more moments I’d take away from the experience. So instead, you can read my no-spoilers review, listen to the score, or better yet, go to your Playstation and just download it. Best $15 you’ll spend all year.
Did you really think Marc would let us not have this at #1? thatgamecompany‘s final game for Sony held up to the lofty standards of its predecessors, Flower and Flow. Journey‘s incredible aesthetic design wowed players worldwide, and its innovative multiplayer mechanic created an environment where playing with random gamers on the Internet was not only fun, but preferred. That’s almost enough to earn it a Game of the Year nod as is. 2012 has given gamers emotional experiences, but nothing matches the ethereal elegance of Journey. From the shimmering sand dunes and the faux-underwater areas to the final snow-covered hell and eventual ascent to joy, Journey gave gamers a lifetime of memories in a taut 2 hour package that constantly provided something new for players to see and do. It’s an achievement in art and design, and we are happy to name it our 2012 Game of the Year.
[360][PS3][NWU][PC] Mass Effect 3

ABC Television (Australia)
Hex said:
The combat is deep in strategy, the music wonderfully spacey and atmospheric, the grand visuals are drool worthy, and co-op multiplayer was just icing on the cake.
All Around Gaming Hub
I don’t even want to hear from the fanboys who clamor that they didn’t get the ending they wanted from ME3. It drives me crazy that people got so riled up over the ending of a game that they insisted that the Bioware change the ending to make it more ‘palatable.’ What gets lost is that Mass Effect 3 was a great game. The ability to play it your way by changing the level of story vs. action was genius and the characters are up to your typical Bioware standard. I enjoyed the previous two titles but ME3 is the high water mark for me, as well as our 2012 Game of the Year.
Game Informer
All of your choices in the Mass Effect Series over the last five years led to this thrilling culmination of Commander Shepard's actions. In addition to presenting the consequences of your previous decisions, the final chapter sports numerous gameplay improvements. Refined gunplay, a renewed focus on RPG elements, and improved encounter design put Shepard in top form for the war against the Reapers. BioWare also added a fantastic multiplayer mode that it supported with free updates all year. Mass Effect 3 is the complete package -- an ambitious, genre-crossing adventure that demonstrates the best of what games can offer.
Gamereactor (Germany)
Bioware has opened with Mass Effect 3 is the last chapter, the triumphs, where so many others fail at the finale. It is at the end of an experience, which is the previous parts, both in terms of game mechanics, but also in terms of the history in the shadows. Mass Effect is probably the best game trilogy ever made and the best part of the series Mass Effect 3 is something special.
Gamereactor (UK)
And in every journey, there's an ending. By credits roll, we've spent neatly one hundred hours in the company of the Normandy and her crew, and been rocketed through the emotional spectrum. Mass Effect was what you made of it. Whether you favoured Renegade or Paragon, you lived in the vast expanse of greys between the Red and Blue. Fantastic spectacle from the start (Reaper invasion, dust storms boiling on the surface of Mars) tight combat mechanics (that funnelled into a surprisingly great multiplayer) and arguments of the conclusion aside, Mass Effect 3 contained a multitude of endings, goodbyes and betrayals throughout that were the real payoff for fans.
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
The best game of 2012 is also its most controversial. But even if you hated the ending the sci-fi role-playing saga’s concluding chapter was still outstanding in every other way. From incredibly imagined (and rendered) alien worlds to excellent sound design and voice acting and tremendously engaging gameplay, BioWare nailed every technical aspect, all of which meshed with its traditional strong suit: storytelling and characterization.
Horrible Night
Horrible JDevL said:
It wasn’t easy, Shepard, but you really did it this time. The most talked about and targeted game of the year made it easy to forget all of the things that made Mass Effect 3 incredible. In fact, it is because of those things that the game conjures up so much passion from its fans and detractors. The best playing / looking Mass Effect game yet managed to finish everything that Commander Shepard started while providing some of the most awesome set pieces of the series so far. Add in a stronger-than-it-needed-to-be multiplayer experience, ongoing DLC that continues to flesh out even more of the universe, meaningful conclusions to your favorite side missions and characters, on top of the borderline addictive level of replayability and Mass Effect 3 stands tall as our game of the year for 2012.
New York Daily News
Ebenezer Samuel said:
The early-year uproar about Mass Effect 3’s ending threatened to destroy three games’ worth of tremendous writing from Bioware, but it also underscored just how brilliant the entire epic truly was. Plenty of games lack high-impact endings, but the Mass Effect saga was simply too good to not get its proper due.

And once Bioware reworked the final moments of its epic, the gameplay in this third outing shined. You appreciated the new taut shooting, the excellent Kinect integration that made commanding squadmates so easy, and the weight of your decisions. Few games simulate a galactic conflict better than this trilogy.
Security Magazine
Adam Jones said:
The WINNER, the WINNER! The Reapers are back to destroy earth, well the advanced life forms, humans, politicians and lawyers, not so much. If you want a third person shooting experience or an intelligent character-driven adventure, or even an epic role-playing experience this games hands to you on a platter.

Fans will love it as it draws the entire epic to a conclusion that ties the previous stories together seamlessly. But newbies will also be dragged along for the ride and will enjoy it just as much. But like any series it is a shame to join it at the end. Even the multiplayer pulls it off, with the team taking on six new maps.

One of the best games on the market!
The Times-Picayune
Doug Elfman said:
This adventure is as big as three novels or 20 sumptuous movies. It took me 55 hours to reach the climax. I loved every moment.

You portray Commander Shepard — as a man or a woman (that’s your choice). You command a space ship in a sci-fi future war against a sentient robot race and others.

You choose dialogue options and kill-targets; form alliances and demolish villains; engage in cover-shooting battles; and seduce underlings on your spaceship. It is epic good times.
Virgin Media (UK)
Considering all the negativity that surrounded Mass Effect 3, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's bad game. It's not. It's a brilliant game that completes an amazing trilogy that is home to some of the most memorable characters of all time. We've all got a few problems with how BioWare handled Mass Effect 3, but we've also all got loads of stories to tell and characters to think about. It's our favourite game of 2013 [sic] and one of the best trilogies ever released.
[360][PS3][PC] Max Payne 3

Ed Smith said:
The best game of 2012, Rockstar's Max Payne 3 is also the best third-person shooter ever made.

With the superlative RAGE engine humming away under its hood, Max Payne 3 recreates the violence and chaos of a John Woo shootout like no game before it, with bullets tearing through cover and bodies tumbling over in horrific gory detail. Essentially a game about shooting bad guys, what Max Payne 3 knows better than any shooter is that pulling the trigger isn't the fun part; it's more about flanking, manoeuvring and dodging bullets.

The entire game is gorgeous. Based in Sao Paulo, Max Payne 3 moves from one beautifully designed shooting gallery to the next, with standout missions inside a busy nightclub and a locked down police station.

The story's not so hot, relying far too heavily on Tony Scott movies and abandoning most of the Max Payne lore. But the performances are rock solid, with James McCaffrey proving a best of the series turn as the eponymous Max Payne.

Violent, stylish and sometimes very exhausting, Max Payne 3 is an absolute must-own for Christmas this year. Go get it.
[360][PS3] NHL 13

It only took me about a week to figure out the way they have you skate and shoot, but once that learning curve was overcome, everything became second nature. As with all my reviews and decisions, the reasons I typically pick stuff is for how FUN they are, I almost never grow tired of playing this game, usually only the restraints of time are what make me stop.
[3DS] Resident Evil: Revelaitons

Kevin Beissel said:
The storyline will please long-time fans without boring or (overly) confusing new ones. The scale of the actions scenes is incredible, with humongous action set pieces that are memorable even on the tiny 3DS screen. Some of the hardest textures to do well, like water, smoke and fire, all look amazing here.

‘Revelations’ also provides a large amount of content, rivaling that of most console releases. It’s possible to spend around 30 hours between the campaign (which features a worthwhile ‘New Game+’ mode) and the new ‘Raid’ mode. The action-oriented ‘Raid’ mode is also multi-player.

There are a few issues, like the lack of a health meter. ‘Revelations’ instead smears increasing amounts of blood on the screen to indicate damage. If you find yourself far away from any health items, you will have to walk around with almost the entire screen obscured, reducing your vision to a one-inch rectangle in the middle of the already undersized screen. If you have a 3DS XL this problem is likely less bothersome.

If horror games are not your favorite genre, there are dozens of excellent titles to choose from. But missing out on ‘Revelations’ would be a shame for any gamer. Seeing an important franchise handled with such care is heartening, so if you can, send ‘Capcom’ a message with your wallet and pick up a copy of ‘Revelations’ as gift.
[360][PS3][PC] Sleeping Dogs

The Sun (UK)
Lee Price said:
IT could’ve been any of the top three, but Sleeping Dogs snuck it for us.

Written off as “GTA-lite” prior to release, it proved anything but. Setting a high standard in the open-world stakes for GTA 5.
[360][PC] Trials Evolution

Kotaku (Australia)
Mark Serrels said:
Trials Evolution perfectly represents that elusive mechanic: the skill that’s easy to pick up and impossible to master. Anyone can play Trials, anyone – but getting good at Trials Evolution requires practice. Things that initially seem impossible become workable through practice, and the acquisition of a genuine skill.

Make no mistake — Trials Evolution is brutal, but it’s never unfair. Never. It’s rule set is rigid, but flexible enough to reward creativity. Trials Evolution can be a performance, like shuffling across a tightrope. You can dazzle people in Trials Evolution. There were points where I would show a friend or a member of my family how to complete a certain section of a track, they couldn’t understand how it could be done. They simply hadn’t learned how to do that particular thing yet. Top players have made me feel the same way. How is that possible? How can these things be achieved with just two triggers and an analogue stick.

Trials Evolution has the deepest set of controls I’ve ever used, but on the surface they are so simple. And that is the foundation of one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had as a gamer.
[360][PS3][PC] The Walking Dead

Arcade Sushi
John Llewellyn Martin said:
With its brilliant storytelling, highly-anticipated episodic releases, and excellent voice-acting, Walking Dead – The Game makes it to the very top of our list. The journey was long, but it was definitely one worth taking. Trying to keep Lee Everett, Clementine, and the rest of survivors alive in the zombie apocalypse proved to be an enjoyable, if not wholly bittersweet, experience for many gamers across many different platforms. It’s a best game contender in a lot of books and is the ultimate winner in our Top 25 Games of 2012 list.
The Boy Howdy Podcast

Cheat Code Central
Some would argue that it’s hard to call Telltale’s The Walking Dead a true video game. But we’d argue back that this is one of the things that makes it so intriguing to us: It blurs the lines between storytelling and gameplay in a way that feels new. And the story is more engrossing and heart-wrenching than just about anything we’ve ever seen in a video game.
So we proudly proclaim The Walking Dead our 2012 Game of the Year. Good on you, Telltale. Good on you.
Larry Hester said:
After much deliberation, we finaly came to the decision of giving our number one spot to the title that snuck up and sucker punched us into fandom. Telltale's zombie slaughterfest had us redeyed and nerve shattered the most. Though one would assume it to be impossible to breathe new life into the pile of undead-themed video games, The Walking Dead reinvisioned our entire view of the beloved sub-genre.
Erik Norris and Joey Davidson said:
The little point ‘n’ click that could. Telltale’s The Walking Dead has cleaned up all over the internet this awards season, and we obviously feel the praise is deserved, hence, it’s taking our Game of the Year in 2012. Telltale has crafted an emotionally rich story with some truly memorable characters that you will come to love and love to hate. As is the case with The Walking Dead franchise as a whole, this game is not about the zombies that yearn for flesh, but instead the people trying to survive against insurmountable odds. Not many games bring our staff to tears, but Telltale’s The Walking Dead did just that. We need more!
Dale North said:
I love it. A downloadable, episodic series beats out mega franchises and big-budget releases as our Game of the Year.

What does this say? Well, it says that good writing and a good story mean more than big budgets and fancy graphics. It says that games don't have to be blockbusters to be successful. It says that someone out there can still make scary games. It also says that point-and-click adventures are here to stay. Oh, and it says that we still love zombies.

If you haven't played The Walking Dead yet, you're not going to understand why it is our 2012 Game of the Year. And that's on you. If you haven't played it yet, you're really missing out on something great.
Digital Spy (UK)
Matthew Reynolds said:
The Walking Dead: The Game got off to a great start with its first episode, and over the following four chapters it went from strength to strength. The character depth and dramatic storytelling made this every inch a Walking Dead experience, but it was the impossible-to-make choices that decided the fate of the cast which set it apart - offering some of the most intense, panic-inducing and heartbreaking moments we've had all year. It's peerless video game storytelling, and possibly the best licensed game ever.
Digital Trends
And finally we come to our game of the year. There was a great deal of discussion over this category. We all had our favorites, not to mention our personal biases, but when all was said and done there was no question that The Walking Dead deserved the honors. You can justifiably criticize several aspects of what you could call a fairly simple game – at least in terms of gameplay – but the fact remains that no game moved us as much this year, no game had us talking more, and no game made as deep a mark on the future of the industry as The Walking Dead. It is a masterpiece of gaming, and something that will be remembered for years to come.
E! Online
You can play this version of the hit zombie comic on a console or mobile device, either way you'll be emotionally wrecked, making hard choice after hard choice. You play Lee, a convict on his way to the big house when the undead take over Atlanta. Six-year-old Clementine is under your charge as you stop at a farm, race on a train and wrestle with a blood-pumping finale we won't spoil. Imagine a zombie game where killing zombies is an afterthought, and you're getting close to why this story has grabbed everyone who's played it.
Phil Hornshaw said:
As Ben Richardson remarked this week, The Walking Dead is a game that does a commendable job with an element that many games gloss over or outright fail to deliver: Story. Telltale Games’ licensed title based on the Robert Kirkman comic book series tells a story of survival, hardship, friendship and redemption as few games have ever done before, and it does so with intelligent writing that is really affecting. Finishing The Walking Dead and shedding a tear or two is a common occurrence, and that’s why we loved it this year.

Not only is The Walking Dead emotionally affecting, it’s deeply engaging. The game does an amazing job putting players to moral choices and into bad situations with no easy solution. There are no “wrong” answers in The Walking Dead, and often the options presented to players are equally dismal. With a phenomenal cast of three-dimensional characters to round out the cast, question players’ decisions and demand players’ loyalty, The Walking Dead arrested players and grabbed their attention in a way that no other title did this year. And it did so despite being a member of a thinning genre traditionally billed as relatively unpopular: the adventure game.

The Walking Dead is truly something special, and raised the bar for game stories to a remarkable new height. And that’s why it’s our Game of the Year.
Gamereactor (Denmark)
Telltale Games is not a big developer, they do not have an explosive budget and an overwhelming number of famous actors with the means of production. They have not even a technically impressive engine. But they know how to deliver a story that captivates and dig deep into your skin like a festering zombie bite.

For years we have talked about the game and their inability to tell a good, credible and especially captivating story. We complained about the paper thin person galleries and incredible voice acting. We have moaned about how a game on multi-format always limped after, because one platform was not used wisely. All these criticisms were brushed aside with the episodic game series The Walking Dead.

And no matter who the editors who subsequently reflected on the five sections, and which was the best responses have been different for various reasons. Familifædre chose the third part, horror fans often chose the second section, puzzle fans first, while all agreed that the fourth featured the world's most unpleasant cliffhangere, and the fifth completed series so masterfully that you may wheeze, while impressions were processed. Telltale Games has not only surprised, they have also redefined the adventure genre and shown how to make games with episodic content. Bravo.
Yes, a licensed zombie game by the developer of those Sam & Max games is the best game of 2012. No, we didn't see it coming, either. We didn't expect to be immediately drawn into the crumbling world. We didn't expect to to think that the choice-driven gameplay would be incredible alluring. We didn't expect to find Lee Everett, convicted killer, to be interesting, complex and relatable. And we didn't expect to care for Clementine more than we had ever cared for a video game character.

Telltale's The Walking Dead is a triumphant leap forward for storytelling. Not just video game storytelling, mind you--all storytelling. The Walking Dead is a game that should inspire the industry, proving just how well the medium can be used to craft a compelling narrative even when it leaves big action behind. Though games like Journey, Dishonored, XCOM, and Halo impressed us in 2012, none were as powerful as Lee and Clementine’s relatable tale of survival.
Tate Steinlage said:
It’s a game marked by emotion and relationships. A game where zombies take a backseat to the decisions and behaviors of characters both new and old. A game that shouldn’t be missed by anyone. Telltale Games have crafted a gem that’s impact will certainly be felt for years to come, as downloadable titles load up to duke it out with the “big boys” in gaming – a gem that’ll leave you in tears (trust us).
Video games and zombies have a long history. But what makes Telltale's The Walking Dead special has little to do with the undead. Here the zombies serve less as target practice, and more as a backdrop for humanity, relationships, and agonizing moral decisions.

The breakthrough adventure game borrows heavily from 2010's Heavy Rain, but Telltale hits the marks that Quantic Dream's title missed. The Walking Dead's dialogue options, puzzle solving, and QTE (Quick Time Events) blend seamlessly with stellar writing and voice acting. It's storytelling at its finest.

The Walking Dead is also significant as the first Game of the Year that you can play not just on PC and console, but also on iPhone and iPad. Mobile gaming has come a long way from Doodle Jump.

If you haven't played The Walking Dead yet, you're missing out. This masterpiece will be remembered – and likely emulated – for years to come.
God is a Geek (UK)
Robin Parker said:
No other game this year has kept me hanging on every action, every line of speech and every cutscene like The Walking Dead. Perhaps no other game ever has had quite the emotional impact that this one did. When it was announced, people had low expectations; a licensed point and click game perhaps?

But what it turned out to be was a title unlike any other. The game is almost a moral barometer, forcing split-second dilemmas and measuring up the decisions and actions of the player. Every action had a different result and your choices really felt like they had a big impact on the outcome of the game. But it is the inter-character relationship between the two main characters that was so successful and has forever changed the emotional impact we can expect from games.
Josh Hamel said:
Throughout the five episodes that make up the first season of The Walking Dead, there isn’t really much gameplay, and the puzzles that are present aren’t the most mentally taxing. Users have also experienced an array of technical issues like saved games missing, especially for those who chose the PC version. When the closing credits roll on the final episode, though, none of these problems really matter.

What did matter was that developer Telltale Games managed to craft a narrative that was emotionally engaging and seemed unique to each player, even if it wasn’t. Over the course of those five episodes, a world of desperation and characters placed in that world that you genuinely cared about was masterfully realized. Each decision the player faced in this apocalypse, no matter how minor, felt important, like it could be the difference between life and death and was the cause of much handwringing and second-guessing.

Telltale took what is commonly forgotten in the modern video game landscape, character and story, and made it the very core of The Walking Dead. When players look back at 2012, they will see just how daring this was, and with any luck, just how much influence it had.
Just Push Start
The Walking Dead: The Game may not have the prettiest graphics, explosions every 5 seconds or the most in-depth gameplay, but it is proof that you don’t need these things to have an amazing game. The Walking Dead: The Game provides an excellent narrative and makes you feel for these characters as you take them through their story of survival. Your choices directly influence Lee Everett’s actions throughout this 5 episode adventure. Telltale stepped it up from its previous games and made something that fans of the series and adventure titles alike can love. By then end of it all, you are left with one of the most powerful games that we have seen this year.
The Married Gamers
Chris Brown said:
One could say that, in videogames, this was the year for the survivor. 2K’s Spec Ops: The Line showed a protagonist barely hanging onto his humanity in the midst of a chaotic war and natural disaster. EA’s Mass Effect 3 had Commander Shepard fighting against insurmountable odds from an ancient threat that could annihilate entire galaxies. Yet, somehow, it was a young girl name Clementine that affected the staff here at The Married Gamers the most. This year we yearned and ached, quivered and feared, for her survival in Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead.

Based on the popular Robert Kirkman comic book and AMC television show, The Walking Dead is set in an apocalyptic universe in which the undead walk the Earth and the living slowly lose their humanity in order to simply survive. It is in this world that young Clementine, the heart of this small, yet thrilling story, finds herself in. She is cared for by her guardian, Lee Everett, a convict who stumbles upon Clementine after narrowly escaping with his life. Lee and Clementine find themselves a part of a ragtag bunch of fellow survivors in which the gamer (as Lee Everett) must navigate the social waters of being both leader and protector of this thrown-together tribe of scared and shell-shocked subsisters.

While many games based on a movie or TV show often become shallow regurgitation of the breadwinner’s stories, Telltale’s The Walking Dead crafts a story that is its own person. Told in five episodes, the plot is one of survival and escape, but like the chaos that surrounds them, it too takes many twists and turns; each one fraught with nightmarish terror. Nearly all the characters are new to this borrowed universe, and each feel whole and real with their own goals, dreams (what’s left of them), and fears. Even the gameplay adds to the tension of the game whether it’s quickly deciding what dialogue Lee says (which impacts how the group feels about him throughout the game) or lining up killing blows to an incoming walker (TWD’s version of the zombie). The spine-tingling story, the affected and absorbing characters and the terrible world that they inhabit makes The Walking Dead our favorite game this year.

The Walking Dead is The Married Gamers Staff Pick for Game of the Year.
Megazine (Sweden)
Robert Elander said:
The Walking Dead. Adventure game, developed out of Telltale Games, a studio whose reputation in has been in the top for the bottom titles such as: Jurassic Park: The Game, and Law & Order: Legacies. Many were filled out doubt when you were told that the studio has got hold of the scorching license with just The Walking Dead fans out comic series thought it would get similar "treatment" Jurassic Park: The Game part of. This was not the case. With The Walking Dead as they learned out their mistakes and created a work that is not only worthy of the license itself, but also a game that is a milestone in how to tell stories, how stories in video games could be.

Above all, it was The Walking Dead who revived "point and click genre" (Away from the dead), a genre that has been underrepresented in many years but have been given a fresh start. A respectful have come from players and gaming press. Point and click games have been introduced to a new generation of players. Zombies have regained the respect that has been lost due to all cash movies / games in recent years.

What I love most about The Walking Dead is the story, dialogues and how to play the game itself. It's no spoiler that the zombies in the game is secondary. The greatest benefit is to see how the characters develop in such grotesque circumstances. You get to see and shape how a group of people live and develop in a reality that I hope no one will ever have to experience.
This has been one of the few games where I really lived myself into the characters' fates, one suffers with them and feel bad when you have to choose between option where you do not know which one is right .. It's the best thing about The Walking Dead, the fact is that there are no right choices. There are only shades of gray, and when all the dialogues have a deadline and you have no time to think strategically, but you always have to make choices based on how you are as a person.

The Walking Dead is the year's best games without hesitation and with its low price, so should all serious players test this.
Paste Magazine
Keith Veronese said:
Telltale’s The Walking Dead is one of the best licensed games of all time because of the way it re-creates the pacing and feel of the comic series. It’s heavy on character interaction and suspense, like the comic and show, and light on puzzles and item hunting. Action sequences are spread out; this is not Left 4 Dead or Dead Island but a character-driven game with action elements only added in when completely necessary. Think of The Walking Dead as Maniac Mansion and a poor man’s version of Heavy Rain put into a blender containing 10 or 15 issues of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s comic—a nice mix, especially for the episode price of $4.99.

RedEye Chicago
Ryan Smith said:
If watching the characters from AMC's "The Walking Dead' get eaten by zombies wasn't harrowing enough, try the video game. In this stylized adaptation of Robert Kirkman's comic series, you often are confronted with impossible decisions in choose-your-own-adventure fashion. Do you save the intrepid journalist or the nerdy whiz-kid from certain zombie death? Do you feed the children with your limited meals or should you save the food for yourself? "The Walking Dead" sinks its teeth in from the beginning, and never lets you go.
Spike TV

Stevivor (Australia)
Steve Wright said:
Now, I honestly thought I was done with reviewing the episodic Walking Dead series by Telltale Games after writing up the second story and playing through the third. The series launched with grand ambitions in the first episode, fixed up what they didn’t quite hit by the second episode, and really nailed it with the third. It’s a great series that you should definitely buy. Heck, I’m considering it for a “Game of the Year” gong for 2012, and in my peer group, I’m not alone.
The Telegraph (UK)
The Walking Dead is a zombie game that's more concerned with the living. Rather than shuffling monsters, it's the relationship between protagonist Lee and 9-year-old Clementine that drives this game on, casting you as paternal protector to a lost young girl amongst the madness of a zombie apocalypse. As the pair make their way across an infested America in search for Clementine's family, they meet a eclectic bunch of survivors. Every one of them is memorable in their own way, written and performed with sharpness and sympathy.

While a story that betters the TV show and comic book that served as its inspiration will grab the headlines, The Walking Dead's true brilliance comes in how that script is weaved into an interactive narrative that values our every input. Dialogue options and integral, heartbreaking decisions are heavy with the burden of responsibility. Action scenes, meanwhile, are few and far between but are tense, terrifying affairs that place emphasis on frantic survival rather than focussed aggression.

The Walking Dead is also the first video game to truly capitalise on the advantages of television-esque 'episodes'. Each of its five episodes are brilliantly paced and have their own story to tell, while constantly pushing on the game's main narrative arc. It's a phenomenal, important piece of work and a clear choice for 2012's best video game.
Shane Ryan said:
The Walking Dead captured its audience in a way no other video game has before and is far superior to its filmed TV counterpart, perhaps another first for this medium. By creating a story first and then putting in game mechanics where they fit, rather than vice versa, Telltale Games’ episodic series was both mature and well written. The wait between each episode led to us booking a night out once the next release date was announced. Tear-jerking, tense, humourous, captivating, and with a pitch-perfect musical score, The Walking Dead is our Game of the Year.
Stefanie Fogel said:
After the lukewarm reception for Telltale Games’ previous licensed titles, Jurassic Park and Back to the Future, expectations weren’t exceedingly high for The Walking Dead. So it was a pleasant shock when the video game turned out to be one of the best examples of interactive storytelling we’ve seen all year.

The Walking Dead (for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, and iOS devices) is a classic point-and-click adventure game, its simple puzzles interspersed with light action sequences, quick-time events, and tension-filled decision-making. But it’s the story, not the gameplay, that makes it so compelling. At its core is the relationship between the hero, Lee Everett, and Clementine, an 8-year-old girl he befriends while seeking refuge from zombies in the Georgia suburbs. Over the course of five episodes, the game tells a grim tale of survival and morality, but none of it would have been nearly as effective if Telltale hadn’t done such a wonderful job in creating a cast of believable, relatable characters.

Children are often difficult to portray in video games or other types of entertainment media, but Telltale nails it. Clementine is both vulnerable and courageous. She’s innocent but not cloying. The game’s writers could’ve easily turned her into an annoying albatross, a character in need of protection and little else (see: the television show’s Season Two Carl). Instead, she’s a capable sidekick (see: Season Three Carl) and moral compass. Years from now, developers and critics alike will point to Clementine as an example of how to do a child character right.

Telltale Games' The Walking DeadMany of the game’s adult survivors are just as well-rounded and interesting to interact with, which makes it all the more gut-wrenching when you lose one. Telltale pulls no punches, offing its main cast in shocking and gruesome fashion. I lost track of the number of times such a moment made me gasp out loud, curse at the screen, or even cry. And judging from comments made around the Internet, I’m not the only one. It’s rare for a game to evoke such a visceral reaction in players.

The Walking Dead is by no means a perfect game. The puzzles are a little too simple at times, and the game suffers from some nasty bugs and framerate issues. But what it lacks in technical polish it more than makes up for in emotional, stress-inducing storytelling. For years, people have wondered why video game narratives don’t seem to have the same maturity and depth as films. While The Walking Dead has little in common with the latest Oscar contenders, it’s proof that we, as gamers, are ready for more than bombastic summer blockbusters. We’re ready for games that push the boundaries of storytelling — ones that move us and make us think. Many triple-A publishers have attempted it, but to see an indie studio accomplish it in a $25 downloadable episodic title is laudable. And that’s why The Walking Dead is GamesBeat’s 2012 Game of the Year.
Chris Kohler said:
The Walking Dead isn't just the best game of 2012, it's the game that defined 2012. There was nothing else this year like it. I don't think there's ever been anything like it at all.

This five-episode tale of two survivors, an escaped convict and an orphaned little girl, desperately trying to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic American South, is a must-play. If you haven't, you need to. If you don't like zombie games, this isn't a zombie game, it's about people -- people who feel more real than in almost any other game you've ever played. Not because of motion-captured facial expressions or any sort of technological gimmickry, but because of solid writing (and, it should be said, a comic-book visual style that runs in the other direction from the uncanny valley).

This Xbox, PS3, iOS, and PC game is a triumph for Telltale Games in a variety of ways. I've been covering the company since its inception, and though I've always enjoyed its games, all revivals of the point-and-click adventure genre, the studio never seemed to be getting the traction it was hoping for. Each big new license it acquired never really stuck, from Wallace & Gromit to Back to the Future. It had its core group of fans and didn't seem like it was ever going to break away -- until Walking Dead.

It's not just a triumph of the content, but of the delivery method. Telltale, for the last 8 years, has doggedly stuck with its core idea of delivering episodic content, a smallish chunk of gameplay every month or so. Before Walking Dead I was starting to think it wasn't really working, that gamers didn't really want to play that way. But Walking Dead proved why episodically delivered games can be a powerful thing, especially in the age of social media. My Twitter feed lit up every time an episode was released and people had to share their latest thoughts and feelings on what happened around the virtual water cooler. By releasing episodically throughout the year, Walking Dead dominated the discussion for six months as other games came and went.

Also, as a fan of point-and-click games going back to the earliest games in the genre, it's great to see the formula get a revival that plays to more than just the fans nostalgic for King's Quest. To see an independent studio elbow the lavishly funded triple-A games out of the way. To pull off the emotional attachment to characters that Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire tried to do but fell short of. Walking Dead is not a difficult game to finish, but to be happy with the results you'll have to make tough choices, and that's where it hooks you. Some games test your twitch reflexes. Some test your wits. Walking Dead tries your heart.
As with most zombie epidemics, no one saw The Walking Dead coming. An episodic game based on a licensed property? And MORE zombies? It could have spelled disaster, but Telltale proved everyone wrong by consistently delivering the most captivating video game experience of 2012. For five episodes we made gut-wrenching decisions in the name of survival, doing terrible things to protect an innocent girl from a world turned on its head. Emotionally draining but immensely rewarding, The Walking Dead found humanity in the unlikeliest of places, building to a crescendo that resonates long after the game is completed. This one's for you, Clem.
[360][PC] The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition

Joe Martin said:
We admit, when we first drew up the list for voting this year we were in two minds over whether to include The Witcher 2 or not. It did technically come out last year, after all. It's only the enhanced edition which crept out in the last twelve months, bringing the game to consoles for the first time, along with some substantial performance and content updates for all platforms.

In the end though, we're glad we included it. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was flatly one of the best RPGs we've ever played, building on the compelling fiction of the Polish novels to realise a world where there is no black and white - only shades of grey. Casting players as monster hunter Geralt of Rivia once again, The Witcher 2 forced you to explore those shades and uncover the truth within as you attempted to prove yourself innocent of regicide.

It's not the plot itself which is the main draw here though, but rather the panache and brutal maturity with which it's presented. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings constantly surrounds you with tough choices and causes Geralt doesn't believe in, but which you're forced to go along with because of the circumstances. The result feels like a constant negotiation between the desire to choose a lesser evil and the wish to maximise reward.

That's all old news though and instead it was the main success of The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition to translate that previously PC-exclusive experience to a wider audience. This was the first time that console gamers got a chance to play as Geralt and, while developer CD Projekt RED is now working on new RPG projects, we hope it won't be the last.

That's not to say that The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition was a console-focused offering, however. The release also bought free upgrades for PC users too, adding in a new Dark Mode option that included some extra-hard quests and ultra-rare rewards for those who pursued them. It's been the latest in a series of PC friendly moves by CD Projekt RED, which remains closely partnered with our favourite retro game store, GOG.com.

In fact, with CD Projekt rapidly becoming one of the most successful and most popular studios across all platforms, other publishers would do well to take note. Not only has The Witcher 2's re-release managed to outshine everything else this year, but this is also only the second game CD Projekt has ever made. We've got high hopes that the studio's next game will be made of similarly award-winning, Game-of-the-Year material!
[360][PS3][PC] XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Uros "Vader" Pavlovic said:
Most of you may not agree with us on this one, but we have very good reason to name this the best title of 2012. Firaxis Games managed to deliver a terrific strategy experience. Mixing intelligent turn-based gameplay with great visuals and a tough, reasonably lengthy single-player campaign, the developers made this a joy to play. The class and upgrade system makes you care about the life of each and every one of the troops you send into battle.

This is a fine turn-based strategy game that captures a bit of the spirit of the old XCOM games.
AreaGames (Germany)
Alexander Voigt said:
It was a tough head to head race between "The Walking Dead" and "X-Com". And even if we have the story of The Walking Dead several times deeply shocked and moved to tears as X-Com is still the better game. Despite all the love for The Walking Dead, with a few clicks and decisions of the players is rather doomed to watch and listen. Quite different X-Com, which the player moves cautiously in strategically challenging tactic game with tremendous depth of play. The paradox of X-Com: Actually, we had an ambitious remake of a classic tactic from the 90s rather than suspected Kickstarter project and as a PC exclusive affair. Instead, shows Firaxis, the exciting turn-based strategy is also on all video game controllers at home. And it deserves our eternal thanks 2K and Firaxis. And this award!
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It’s difficult to pick a “Game of the Year,” but “Enemy Unknown” successfully blends turn-based strategy and combat. Winning here requires more than an itchy trigger finger. Players control the Extraterrestrial Combat (XCOM) headquarters that is used to develop super soldiers, research new weapons, interview alien captives, select missions, build new facilities and more. The strategic depth may drown inexperienced players, as will the turn-based combat during missions that requires patience. For those who enjoy a challenge, there’s nothing that surpasses this retooling of the 1994 cult classic.
The Charleston Gazette
Nicholas Ransbottom said:
A remake of the 1994 cult classic "UFO: Enemy Unknown," this turn-based strategy game should contain a warning label to caution players on how easily addicted they can get.

Wisely managing your funding and development of XCOM, a group formed by the world after an alien invasion, is surprisingly fun, as are the actual battles with the aliens ... until you realize that character deaths are permanent. It's easy to grow attached to a character you've developed for six hours, only to have them killed off in a flank maneuver from the enemy.

"XCOM: Enemy Unknown" is built entirely on a risk/reward system, and your choices either result in a white-knuckle victory or a fiery defeat. If you don't have this one in your collection, you seriously need to rethink your gaming choices.
Game Rant (Canada)
Anthony Taormina said:
What we said: "XCOM: Enemy Unknown presents players with a phenomenally entertaining and challenging experience from start to finish. The ultimate end product is a highly strategic combat game with consequences that will leave players on the edge of their seats for most battles, whilst actively proving to the world that turn-based games still have a rightful place in modern gaming itself."

Why you should play it: At the end of the day XCOM is just so much fun to play, and that's why it is our top game of 2012. Endlessly addictive and extremely challenging, there's nothing quite like Firaxis' product out there. Throw in the chance to hop online and test your mettle and the game becomes an entirely different, but still excellent, experience. There is nothing quite like XCOM out there. We'd tell you more about why it's great, but we're itching to get back and play more.
Game Republic (Italy)
There are ideas so powerful that they can fearlessly face the waves, merciless, of time. XCOM: Enemy Unkown is an act of love, yes, but also an ingenious, which revives from cryogenic sleep gameplay still steel and monumental. Certainly not a slave to the dictatorship hardcore, heaven forbid, but even nell'istupidimento mainstream. Each element is fully wedged in place, without a millimeter of imprecision. Pure rigorous, almost scientific but never sterile. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the second Game of the Year Game Republic, unsurpassed power test of the human intellect applied to game design.

Giant Bomb
It's pretty stunning that XCOM: Enemy Unknown exists at all. Considering the challenges that face game developers, this is generally true of most games that actually get published, but it's doubly true here. The original X-COM: UFO Defense came out in 1994, making it an ancient property by video-game standards. Its hardcore fan-base, the people who would actually appreciate an X-COM revival, would accept nothing less than the same level of merciless turn-based strategy that made the original so brutal, and so, so addictive. So why remake a game whose maniacal fan-base would burn it in effigy if it was anything less than blindly faithful to the original?

For whatever reason, 2K went ahead anyway. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Firaxis--the developer of the equally revered Civilization series, as well as Alpha Centauri, SimGolf, and about a dozen other more-obscure but still fondly remembered strategy games--was at the helm. And if there's a developer in this world today with the gravitas and the intimate understanding of the one-more-turn appeal of a great turn-based strategy experience, it's Firaxis.

This is the genius of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It rounds off the sharp edges for folks who might otherwise be intimidated by such a complex system as XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but it doesn't sacrifice much of that complexity to get there. We could go on and on about the balance between the resource-management meta-game and the on-the-ground tactical combat, the way the game lets you fill in your own stories for your squad, the satisfaction of running a perfect op, and the sick relief of getting out with just one of your troops still alive...

We could go on, but we'd rather be playing XCOM.
The Guardian (UK, tie with Dishonored)
Simon Parkin said:
Countless alien invasions later and still we are drawn to save the world. Our stories reflect our collective fears: the fear of not being alone in space; the fear of being alone in space. XCom is an evergreen cliche then not least in terms of its aesthetic, which chooses the unfashionable get-up and colouring of 90s sci-fi b-movies. But in play never has the strategy game seemed so vibrant, malleable, resolute. It's Advance Wars, in essence, but where line of sight, weapon choice and human fallibility all play their disruptive part. And in the opportunity to name each soldier, we have have the opportunity to name the ways our hearts break when the worst happens on the battlefield – at least till the next conscript turns up back at the base.
Hooked Gamers
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a thrill-inducing game in which players save Earth from an alien invasion, one turn at a time. The first time that we played XCOM we were practically in diapers but the 18 year old concept stands as proud today as it did all those years ago. Firaxis, respectful of the original games, re-imagined that concept bit by bit and making it their own. The result is a bar-raising Turn-Based Strategy game that not only reinvigorates the genre, but also offers the kind of nail biting experience normally only associated with shooters. A tribute to its predecessors and a genuine pleasure to play, XCOM: Enemy Unknown captured our hearts and challenged our minds making it Hooked Gamers’ game of the year.
Level 7 (Sweden)
Erik Hansson said:
Not even 2K Games themselves believed in a remake of XCOM. But oh so wrong they were. Enemy Unknown was a merciless action strategy game with tough decisions and an engaging storyline. It had its flaws, but it was well done, uncompromising, and important.
Metro (UK)
The tensest, most exciting release of 2012 is not an action game but a turn-based strategy – one that dares not to talk down to its players and yet is instantly accessible for anyone.
[WII] Xenoblade Chronicles

Slant Magazine
Mike LeChevallier said:
The Wii is dead. Long live the Wii U. Yes, the Nintendo Wii only gave us a handful of bona-fide masterstrokes, but each and every one of them is a game that doubtlessly invites multiple replays. How suitable is it that the Wii's tenable swan song also single-handedly revitalized the vintage JRPG subgenre? Xenoblade Chronicles, like fellow 2012 JRPG revivalist Final Fantasy XIII-2 (which, like so many other games, owes a debt to the seminal Chrono Trigger), cleverly uses the thematic components of shifting destinies and humankind versus higher powers as manners by which to depict the oscillating mental states of its central characters. This year, you won't be likely to find a more fleshed-out batch of heroes than 18-year-old sword-swinger Shulk and his ragtag group of Mechon-battlers. Writer-director Tetsuya Takahashi (Xenogears, Xenosaga) has been in this market for quite a while, and clearly understands that a great RPG starts and ends with its cast, and how well players can identify with their specific, often extrinsic, ambitions and dreams. Monolith Soft's ambitious epic is boundlessly beautiful, challenging, emotionally gripping, and most distinguishably of all, effortlessly transporting.
A few head scratchers with G4

- TTT2 not being nominated for best fighter
- Hitman winning best animation over Skullgirls
- Fez = best platformer
- Xenoblade in most original game? wut?

Other than those, good picks. Nice to see The Witcher 2 not get ignored for being a console re-release and Sleeping Dogs won something.
G4's picks are pretty fantastic all around.
I am actually a major fan of G4's pick too. I wasn't expecting to agree with a lot of it.

Though, Virtue's Last Reward should have nominated (and won) best writing, but hey, America doesn't believe in portable gaming, particularly JRPG/VN on a handheld, as something legitimate.
For me the best 2 games I played last year are the best 2 games I played this year.

Dark Souls - PS3
The Witcher 2 - PC

Dark Souls - PC
The Witcher 2 EE - PC

They probably wouldn't be eligible for most media awards.
Xenoblade is pretty original I think. It's not experimental, exactly, but it moves the JRPG forward more in one game than nearly the whole procession has in the last 15 years.

EDIT: Uh, incidentally, Xenoblade is definitely my top for the year so far. Walking Dead, Borderlands 2 and Journey are some other highlights. Maybe FarCry 3?...
I'm making a game out of this and seeing how far along the deterioration of game criticism is. Journey winning GotYs is the canary in the coal mine.
A few head scratchers with G4

- TTT2 not being nominated for best fighter
- Hitman winning best animation over Skullgirls
- Fez = best platformer
- Xenoblade in most original game? wut?

Other than those, good picks. Nice to see The Witcher 2 not get ignored for being a console re-release and Sleeping Dogs won something.
yeah the only thing original really about Xenoblade is that it's a new IP, luckily Journey won
G4's picks are pretty fantastic all around.
Really cool seeing them give VF5: Final Showndown Best Fighting Game. That one usually gets overlooked entirely in these things.

And, as always, they gave the Ratchet & Clank series a nod. They've always been big fans, bu it's probably deserved given how good the PS2 R&Cs are.

A nomination would have been in order at least. Game is deep as fuck and the possibilities for experimentation are insane. You can not like the Tekken formula but, to say that it's fighting engine isn't one of the best around is pretty crazy. A shitty game series would not have been prolific for so long and this is probably its best entry.
Hope to see Journey & The Walking Dead get some love. Don't think Journey will get as much as it should given how long it has been since release though.
Journey, Walking Dead, and late entry to the race Hotline Miami should hopefully get some love. The first two more likely than the last though if I'm to be realistic.
I wonder if Tera pops up anywhere. Its seems like I heard nothing but glowing impressions of it, followed up with "but it has a monthly fee so I stopped playing." I almost jumped on it during Black Friday for $5 but I figured the download size was huge. Now the retail version is $10...
A few head scratchers with G4

- TTT2 not being nominated for best fighter
- Hitman winning best animation over Skullgirls
- Fez = best platformer
- Xenoblade in most original game? wut?

Other than those, good picks. Nice to see The Witcher 2 not get ignored for being a console re-release and Sleeping Dogs won something.
How does anything this gen top Skullgirls for best animation? It was all literally frame by frame traditionally animated and absolutely loaded with character.
Xenoblade is pretty original I think. It's not experimental, exactly, but it moves the JRPG forward more in one game than nearly the whole procession has in the last 15 years.
The only way you could say that with a straight face is if you haven't played many JRPGs in the past 15 years.
Game Informer said:
All of your choices in the Mass Effect Series over the last five years led to this thrilling culmination of Commander Shepard's actions. In addition to presenting the consequences of your previous decisions, the final chapter sports numerous gameplay improvements. Refined gunplay, a renewed focus on RPG elements, and improved encounter design put Shepard in top form for the war against the Reapers. BioWare also added a fantastic multiplayer mode that it supported with free updates all year. Mass Effect 3 is the complete package -- an ambitious, genre-crossing adventure that demonstrates the best of what games can offer.
Oh, they have joke Game of the Year features now?

When are they going to put up the real ones, then?