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GAF Games of the Year 2012 - Voting Thread, now closed. Thanks for all the fish.

Another year, another thread for GAF to vote on its Games of the Year for 2012!

Cheesemeister and I will again be hosting this fine GAF tradition. The rules are the same as the last few years - You vote your Top 10, youi can do honorable mentions, and you can vote for one game as your "LTTP" vote. Official rules and a sample ballot are below. If you're a regular, feel free to vote now!

2012 Voting Rules
  1. List up to 10 games, in order from 1 to 10. Follow the format below (you don’t have to be absolutely perfect, but you do need to follow the general rules: you must number your entries, must have comments follow your game nomination on the same line, etc.)
  2. You can use the nominations list in post #2 to help you remember this year’s games. This list is NOT comprehensive. Don’t see your favorite game on there? Put it in your list, and we’ll update the games list with your nomination.
  3. You may list Honorable Mentions if you wish to. These must be indicated by a “x.” in your ballot.
  4. Add your thoughts! Put a semicolon (;) after each game and write what you thought. Choice thoughts will be used in the results thread. Your thoughts make this thread a lot more interesting for everyone else, so please do this. NOTE: A COMMENT IS REQUIRED FOR AT LEAST ONE TITLE ON YOUR BALLOT OR IT WILL NOT BE COUNTED!
  5. You may vote for ONE (1) game from last year as a “LTTP” type of vote. Did you play a game this year that would have been on your ballot last year if you’d played it on time? You can vote for it by using the number “2011.” Check the LTTP voting rules below.
  6. Non-consecutively numbered entries will not be counted.
  7. Multiple votes for the same title will disqualify your entire ballot.
  8. Each user may only vote once, but you may edit your ballot as often as you like until the deadline.
  9. Discussion is encouraged! Want to talk about another poster’s list? Quote it. Any unquoted ballots (those outside a quote block) will overwrite your own previous vote.
  10. Voting Ends Saturday, January 19th at 11:59pm, PST

LTTP Voting
You may vote for ONE title from 2011 that you wanted to vote for last year but didn’t get a chance to. You must not have voted for this game last year. Important: This game must have appeared on the Nominations List from 2011. Format these picks by using the number “2011.” before your vote. See the sample ballot below for an example.

Sample Ballot
Please follow this format as closely as possible. This lets us avoid significant problems with the parser.

1. Game A ; Your thoughts on Game A.
2. Game B ; Your thoughts on Game B.
3. Game C ; Your thoughts on Game C.
4. Game D ; Your thoughts on Game D.
5. Game E ; Your thoughts on Game E.
6. Game F ; Your thoughts on Game F.
7. Game G ; Your thoughts on Game G.
8. Game H ; Your thoughts on Game H.
9. Game I ; Your thoughts on Game I.
10. Game J ; Your thoughts on Game J.
x. Game K ; Your thoughts on Honorable Mention Game K.
x. Game L ; Your thoughts on Honorable Mention Game L.

2011. Game M ; Your thoughts on Game M from 2011.

Game Selection
Thanks to the hard work of Cheesemeister, you can list your games pretty freely, as long as you try to avoid confusing abbreviations. If there is an ambiguous title listed, it will not be counted! Use the full name of the game to avoid confusion. Don't do what Donny Don't does!
  • Donny Do: Far Cry 3, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Mass Effect 3
  • Donny Don't: FC3, EM2:TPoT, WoW:MoP, ME3

1. Game A ; 4 points
2. Game B ; 3 points
3. Game C ; 3 points
4. Game D ; 2 points
5. Game E ; 2 points
6. Game F ; 2 points
7. Game G ; 1 point
8. Game H ; 1 point
9. Game I ; 1 point
10. Game J ; 1 point
x. Game K ; 0 points
x. Game L ; 0 points
2011. Game M ; 1 point for LTTP Bracket

Honorable mentions will not receive points, but they will be tracked, assuming you list them appropriately.
LTTP votes will be counted separately and will each receive 1 point for the LTTP results.

What Games Count?
  • New games released to your region this year (can be retail only or downloable)
  • Voting for imported titles is allowed. If you list an import game, please mention which country you are from. Otherwise I will assume you didn’t read the rules and the vote will not count.
  • Remakes and significant upgrades to games count too.
  • Revisions released for the first time on a console or handheld this year (must be a retail version and not downloadable)
  • Ports that amount to “ROM dumps”, i.e., ports with no additional content or significant changes, are not allowed.
  • Ports that are basically “HD ports” of existing games with no changes besides upscaling the game do not count.
  • New expansion packs to MMOs and other games count, but not the original game unless it too was released in your region this year.
  • If you’re unsure about a game, just ask!
  • Asked about games that are allowed: Machinarium (PSN), Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem/Heroes of Light and Shadow (DS, english patch), Alan Wake (PC version), Dark Souls (PC version), Under Defeat HD Deluxe Edition
  • Asked about games that are not allowed: DayZ, Mushihimesama, Dota 2
  • If you voted for a game in a previous year, you cannot vote for it again this year, even if it is on another platform.

Happy voting, everyone!
THIS LIST IS NOT COMPREHENSIVE. If you don't see your favorite game on this list, and it fits the necessary criteria, vote for it! It will be added to this list.

Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!
Alan Wake's American Nightmare
Assassin's Creed 3
Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation
Asura's Wrath
Avernum: Escape From the Pit
Binary Domain
Blacklight: Retribution
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend
Borderlands 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Code of Princess
Dance Central 3
Darksiders 2
Dear Esther
Diablo 3
Dillon's Rolling Western
Dragon's Dogma
Dust: An Elysian Tail
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion
Escape Plan
Fable Heroes
Far Cry 3
FIFA Street
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Football Manager 2013
Forza Horizon
FTL: Faster Than Light
Gotham City Imposters
Gravity Rush
Guild Wars 2
Halo 4
Harvest Moon: A New Beginning
Heroes of Ruin
Hitman: Absolution
Hotline Miami
Hustle Kings
I Am Alive
Just Dance 4
Katawa Shoujo
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Little Deviants
Lollipop Chainsaw
Lumines Electronic Symphony
Madden NFL 13
Major League Baseball 2K12
Mario Party 9
Mario Tennis Open
Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect: Infiltrator
Max Payne 3
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D
MLB 12: The Show
ModNation Racers: Road Trip
MotorStorm: RC
Mutant Mudds
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
NBA 2K13
NCAA Football 13
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
New Super Mario Bros. 2
New Super Mario Bros. U
NHL 13
Ninja Gaiden 3
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus
Nintendo Land
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Papo & Yo
Penny Arcade Adventures – Episode 3
Persona 4 Arena
Persona 4: Golden
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
Pokemon Black & White 2
Pro Evolution Soccer 2013
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Prototype 2
Quantum Conundrum
Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault
Rayman Origins
Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil: Raccoon City
Resident Evil: Revelations
Resistance: Burning Skies
Retro City Rampage
Rhythm Heaven Fever
Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure
Rift: Storm Legion
Scribblenauts Unlimited
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2
Shoot Many Robots
Silent Hill: Book of Memories
Silent Hill: Downpour
Sine Mora
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
Skylanders: Giants
Sleeping Dogs
Sniper Elite V2
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Soul Calibur 5
Sound Shapes
Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir
Street Fighter X Tekken
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
Tales of Graces f
Tales of the Abyss
Tekken 3D: Prime Edition
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
The Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb
The Darkness II
The Last Story
The Unfinished Swan
The Walking Dead
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (360)
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy
Thirty Flights of Loving
Torchlight 2
Touch My Katamari
Trials Evolution
Tribes: Ascend
Trine 2: Director's Cut
Twisted Metal
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Unit 13
Warriors Orochi 3
Wipeout 2048
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Xenoblade Chronicles
Yakuza: Dead Souls
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward


works for Gamestop (lol)
1. Journey ; A great experience with a co-op mode like none other, soundtrack was awesome as well. I feel good.
2. Sound Shapes
3. Super Hexagon
4. Sleeping Dogs
5. Rhythm Heaven Fever
6. Max Payne 3
7. Hotline Miami
8. Binary Domain
9. Dyad
10. The Walking Dead


1. Dishonored ; Loved everything about it, thief meets bioshock, the story was good and the level design was great. My only complaints was the game was fairly easy and that there were not more skills to choose from.

2. Sleeping Dogs ; Was really suprised by this game, sleeper hit of the year. Looks amazing on PC and plays better than any of the GTAs.

3. Far Cry 3 ; Just got done playing this game which could inflate it's ranking, but my favorite FPS of the year. I enjoyed the main villians even though the story leaves alot to be desired. The gun and melee mechanics are great and the crafting is decent. Plus the whole world is dangerously flammable.

4. The Walking Dead ; Best writing of the year, also best main character of the year.

5. Risen 2 ; I played it before the blocking patch so the gameplay is better now than it was then, however I still really enjoyed this game even though it is not nearly as good as the first risen. It is a pirate rpg which gives it major bonus points.

6. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
7. Saints Row: The Third
Don't do what Donny Don't does!

1. Final Fantasy XIII-2; I had little issue with FFXIII's linearity, but compared to that, XIII-2 is quite freeing, in more ways than one. Areas focusing more on exploration, tons of customization options, a bigger focus on sidequests/optional areas, a crystarium with far more options to build party members, etc. pretty much secure it as what XIII should have been. An improvement over it in every way, barring a few performance issues. Noel is one of my favorite protagonists in the series; Confident, likeable, great voice acting/backstory, and some kickass battle animations. The battle system is largely the same with only a few (very welcome) changes. The monster-raising system in particular is my favorite addition to it. I'm a huge Pokemon fan and this appealed to me in the best way. I don't think I've ever had so much fun scouting down different colors of Chocobo to add them to my team before. The soundtrack is likely the highest point of the game. An incredible amount of variety and production values abound. From progressive rock, to trance, to electronic, to metal, there's a lot to enjoy here. Naoshi Mizuta completely blew me away, which is something I didn't expect at all, given his tepid track record. All in all, XIII-2 shaped up to be my favorite RPG of the year, and by far my favorite Final Fantasy game. When an RPG has me beating it 3 times in 8 months, that's probably a sign that it's GotY material! If Lightning Returns is even half as good, 2013 is gonna be a great year.

2. Kid Icarus Uprising; Oh my, where to begin. Oh, I know: SAKURAI IS A FUCKING GENIUS. By far the best 3DS game on the system, and further proves that handheld games can match (or even exceed) console games in production values and content. Some of the best new characters introduced this gen, all of them overflowing with personality and life (and some great voice acting, to boot; this sure as hell ain't Star Fox 64!). A Saturday morning cartoon story filled with increasingly AWESOME events and quite a few HOLY SHIT moments, a great sense of humor that isn't the least bit afraid of poking fun at itself... the game is an all-around joy to experience. A deep weapon crafting system combined with TONS of collectibles (This IS a Sakurai game, of course!) kept me coming back for more, long after I'd beaten the main story. The soundtrack is also phenomenal, bringing in an all-star team to show off just what the 3DS can do in the sound department (HOLY SHIT YUZU KOSHIRO AND NORIYUKI IWADARE FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF). The game is friggin' gorgeous as well. I had no idea the 3DS could pull off such stunning environments (Chapter 8 in particular blows me away every time I play). It uses practically everything the 3DS has to offer and then some, and it shows. This is a lovingly-crafted Sakurai game through and through, and any gamer worth their salt owes it to themselves to give it a shot. HANDHELD GOTYALLYEARS

3. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance; One of the 3DS's most impressive games, both on an audiovisual scale and through gameplay. Flowmotion is one of my favorite new game mechanics introduced this year. Zipping around through worlds like a magenta bullet was a blast, once I got the hang of it. Speaking of the worlds, they're bigger and better than ever. Packed with detail, especially compared to the relatively flat and empty worlds of previous games. Symphony of Sorcery in particular is a visual feast, especially in 3D. Had me fucking drooling the entire time. The music is wonderful (as usual) and the faster combat system was a much needed addition. Dream Eaters are adorable and it was a great idea having abilities tied to them, making sure that I'd get some use out of each one. Incredibly addictive system, and I hope it returns in some fashion for the next KH game. It also cements my opinion that Riku is a total fucking BRO, and arguably the most nuanced and developed character in the series. The plot also continues to cement itself as one of the only ones I care about in gaming and the sheer amount of FEELS.jpg I got from the last two hours of the game are some of the most memorable moments I've had this year. ;____; All in all, KH3D is a pretty fucking awesome game and deserves every bit of praise I give it.

4. Pokemon Black 2 & White 2; Gamefreak tried out something new and it worked wonderfully. Eschewing the usual third version for a sequel with twice the amount of content than usual was a brilliant idea. The regional Pokedex is incredibly varied (Riolu and Growlithe in the first few routes? Holy shit!) and the new interface features are decidedly convenient. Auto-replenishing repels is something that should've been added years ago, and the habitat system (which chronicles which Pokemon are in which area and whether or not you've caught them yet) makes it much easier to complete the Pokedex. The soundtrack is the best the DS has to offer with a variety of styles and some great sound quality. The new areas are expertly made (Reversal Mountain and the Pokemon World Tournament are among my favorites) and the game as a whole really comes across as an attempt to shake up the formula a bit. AND THERE'S A HARD MODE THAT'S ACTUALLY HARD, YES. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some rage to unleash.

5. Resident Evil 6; RE6 is really, REALLY fun. 4 awesome campaigns, incredibly fun combat, intertwining stories, etc. I thought it was a blast to play through. Increased focus on melee combat honestly has me considering doing a melee-only run. Hell, the depth of the mechanics packed into the game is extremely impressive. Hiding behind cover to replenish stamina faster, quick shots, melee combo chains, a ton of context-specific melee attacks, sliding, spinning 180 degrees mid-slide to shoot opponents behind you, counters, etc. It's friggin' crazy! I don't think I've ever seen Resident Evil this... mobile, but I LOVE it. It's an incredible feeling, dodge-jumping backwards from an enemy, shooting it mid-jump, rolling out of the dodge, quick-shotting 3 enemies in a row, and meleeing a 4th. It's like a symphony of death. No other game has given me that feeling before. It's incredibly difficult going back to any older RE game now, as I feel bogged down by sluggish controls after spending so much time with this. The game is packed with content (with more on the way), has some very fun boss fights, and has generally given me 25+ hours of great fun so far. Also, Ada + Sherry. Instant best RE game. I mean, come on. One of the best action games I've ever played.

6. New Super Mario Bros. U ; I can safely say that NSMBU is everything I want from 2D Mario. Rock-solid physics, gorgeous visuals (unlike some people, I've always been a fan of the NSMBU art style. It brings to mind the CG renderings they use for promotional art and I find it really great to look at), tons to do, and is a blast to play. All of the nods to Super Mario World make me very happy, the seamless world map
and a certain Superstar Road
in particular. The difficulty curve is perfect, and I found myself being challenged as early as the second world. Star Coins are craftily hidden, the new powerups are very useful (fuck the Cape, SQUIRREL MARIO 5EVAH), and Challenge Mode is the best addition to the series, bar none. Easily the best of the NSMB games. Hell, it's already my favorite 2D Mario. It takes everything I love about 2D Mario and polishes it to a sheen. One of the best launch titles around, and a perfect example of why I love Nintendo.

7. Paper Mario: Sticker Star; It took entirely too long to get this game into my hands, but the wait was so worth it. The revamped art direction is incredible and it really makes it feel like PAPER Mario. Enemies crumple up when hit, backgrounds collapse like cardboard, etc. It's the first in the series that I can say takes advantage of its namesake. The Paperize mechanic is incredibly fun, letting me interact with the environment in ways I couldn't even imagine. It rings to mind Okami's Celestial Brush, which can only be a good thing. The sticker system is quite fun, and brings a lot of strategy to battles that hadn't been there in previous Paper Mario games. There's much more variety in what you can do in battles and it keeps them from becoming stale. Indeed, there wasn't a single point in the game where I ran past enemies just because I didn't feel like getting into a fight. Battles remain fun throughout and that is a HUGE plus for a game like this. I found myself judging each individual encounter and acting accordingly rather than simply spamming Power Bounce as I would have in any other Paper Mario game. The enemy variety, while slightly lower than usual, is filled with enemies that have never seen the light of day in Mario RPGs until now. Ninjis, Podoboos, Scuttlebugs, etc. The soundtrack is amazing, filled with jazzy tunes, both original and arranged alike. It's a pretty awesome moment when a jazzy arrangement of Waltz of the Boos, of all things, rears its beautiful head. The humor is classic Paper Mario, though more focused on visual humor this time around. The Thing stickers in particular are some of the funniest bits in any of the games. Ditto with the Sticker Museum entries. I'm already planning my second playthrough, and that's a pretty obvious sign that this game is AWESOME.

8. New Super Mario Bros. 2; I was a bit iffy on the coin mechanic at first, but it works quite well in practice. They're fun to collect and lead me to discovering parts of levels that I never would have found at first. Otherwise, it's good ole' 2D Mario. The level design is great, Coin Rush is hella addictive (and I hope more DLC is on its way), and it's a generally great game. There's not much new here, but it's fun as hell, and that's all I really want from a game. I want to see more from the new team that developed this, as I see a lot of potential for a dedicated handheld Mario team. The Coin Rush DLC in particular gives a ton of variety to the game, and adds a lot of replayability. Doing DLC right.

9. Resident Evil: Revelations; I'll be perfectly frank. I'm not an old RE fan. Cannot stand anything before 4, and I am probably the type of person that HARDCORE RE FANS hate the most. That being said, RE: Revelations is probably the perfect blend of old school and new school Resident Evil. The ship that most of the game takes place on has an incredibly creepy atmosphere and kept me suitably worried about what was hiding around the next corner. The game gets a bit less atmospheric later on while amping up the action, but it still manages to be a fun time. The final chapter in particular is just hauntingly atmospheric. It's also one of the most gorgeous games on the 3DS and the soundtrack is surprisingly NOT filled with the usual gurgling ambience, which is a big plus for me. Parker is an incredibly cool character (the other new guys, much less so), and I'd love to see him in future entries, Mercenaries or no. Also, Jill's ass in spandex. It creaks, you guys. It literally creaks. Ass of the Year.

10. Nintendo Land; One of the most surprising games of the year for me. I expected nothing more than a shallow collection of Wii Sports-like video games, and I got a love letters to Nintendo with surprising depth, incredible music, and one of the most gorgeous games on the system. The minigames make use of the gamepad in creative ways, really showing off what unique mechanics the system is capable of. The visuals are PHENOMENAL. For Nintendo's first HD effort, it's still one of the best looking games I've ever played. Lovely textures, delicious lighting and shading (I activate evening in the plaza just to sit and stare at the sky), and Miis have never looked better. Makes me drool, wondering how good the rest of Nintendo's first-party stable are going to look with the extra power the Wii U affords them. The music is great, especially the rearranged pieces from various franchises. Last Battle from OoT? HNNNNNNNNNNNNG. I'll be it's great fun to play with friends, but I have yet to find any. ;-; In any case this, alongside NSMBU, are the prime reasons to get a Wii U at launch, and I'm glad to have made the purchase.

x. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy; The perfect compliment to Dissidia, filled with music both old and new. It's a nostalgic trip down memory lane with some great mechanics to back it up. Tons to collect, addictive RPG elements, and an adorable art style. I wish that there was more DLC, but I can't really complain, given how many songs that there are here. I've never been a fan of rhythm games, but Theatrhythm is a notable exception. Onward, we weep, forever, in eternity!

x. Asura's Wrath; “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA! MITHRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” ...In all seriousness, I was very shocked by Asura's Wrath. Didn't like the demo AT ALL. Heard a bunch of praise for it and decided to pick it up for $20 one day. I was blown away. To be perfectly frank, I can't really describe why I like it. It seems to go against everything I like in a game, and yet... I found myself incredibly attached to it. I guess that's all I have to say about it. ._.
I didnt play many games this year, at least not many 2012 releases, but I will name my number 1 anyways:

1.Borderlands 2 : I'm having a blast playing co-op with my SO. So much fun, love the leve design. My main gripe is that usually story line dialogue happens when something is about to kill me, so I cant pay attention to the text, but other then that, I'm in love!
2. Tokyo Jungle: Never thought I'd play this game as much as I have. Absolutely loved the game, the story, absolutely everything about it.

2011 Game: Dark Souls: I'm absolutely terrible at this game, but I've never had so much fun dying and rolling.


Tomodachi wa Mahou
1. Persona 4 Golden
2. Journey
3. Dragon's Dogma ; It's a shame this game didn't do all that well. For all its technical faults this is just -fun- to play. Something I can't say about many games of this ilk.
4. Sound Shapes ; The Beck tracks were phenomenal. Really love this game, kind of disappointed by the lack of official DLC support although there is a lot of good user made content.
5. Gravity Rush ; Kat is moe. Game is a lot of fun, really hoping for a sequel.
6. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
7. Lumines Electronic Symphony ; I loved the hell out of the first Lumines. The second one was just terrible but this one was a return to glory. It's also a game I can really only enjoy on a handheld for whatever reason.
8. Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 ; Sequel to a game I really did not enjoy all that much. I enjoyed the hell out of this one.
9. Final Fantasy XIII-2 ; Sequel to a game I really did not enjoy all that much. I enjoyed the hell out of this one.
10. Dokuro


1. Borderlands 2
2. Dishonored
3. Sleeping Dogs
4. Far Cry 3
5. Dear Esther
6. Mass Effect 3
7. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
8. Syndicate
9. Kingdoms of Amalur
10. FTL
x. Max payne 3
2011. Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D


1. Sleeping Dogs; Open World was a dead genre for me. But this changed as soon as I started up Sleeping Dogs which offers a nice and fresh setting, pretty graphics and an interesting story on top of it!

2. Football Manager 13 ; If Crack would be a Video Game, it would be FM 13.

3. Max Payne 3 ; My first Max Payne game ever. And after playing this awesome piece of software I hope there will be some more.

4. FIFA 13 ; Love it or hate - But you will always come back to it!

5. The Walking Dead ; #ForCleme - Great experience which totally surprised me after the piece of crap that was Jurassic Park - The Game. Can't wait for Season 2.

6. Far Cry 3; FC3 delivered. 'Nough said.

7. Binary Domain ; And people said japanese developers cannot make shooters? Well, Binary Domain showed the opposite. Good Job, Good Effort.

8. NBA 2K13 ; Making a good game even better! 2K delivered.

9. MGS3 3DS ; It may not be perfect but it's still an awesome game.

10. F1 2012 ; Annoying bugs in the beginning, a solid racing experience a few patches later.


1. The Walking Dead; a prime example of when storytelling in games can be done right, I even admit that I did cry at the ending scene.
2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
3. Dust: An Elysian Tail
4. Thomas Was Alone
5. Mark of the Ninja
6. Dishonored
7. Forza Horizon
8. Call of Duty: Black Ops II

2011. To The Moon

I'm trying to come up with 10 but really can't get 10 stand outs so I'm leaving it at that. There are a few games I still want to play from 2012 I haven't got to yet and/or waiting on Mac support for.
1. The Walking Dead; Fantastic adventure with a story as engaging as 999's.
2. The Witcher 2 Enhanced edition
3. Guild Wars 2; Not quite as good as I expected but it served me well enough.
4. Super Hexagon; Best iOs game I've ever played. Time hunting in SH reminded me of Trials HD.
5. Hotline Miami

That's it frankly.

Edit: 2011 Dark Souls


1. FTL: Faster Than Light ; Restrain is a quality that has become far too rare these days. Most games are content with delivering a perfunctory level of player agency in their core mechanics and mask it by adding unnecessary progression bars, boring loot-tables and/or half baked social integration.
FTL is pure, uncut decision making. It enters into a dialog with the player to create story and doesn’t rely on 1,000,000 acres of wasteland (like most sandbox games) to bore you into a state of mind, in which even homeopathic doses of incidental storytelling become epic sagas of emergent narrative. No fat, no bloat, no frills, just interactive entertainment of the highest caliber.

2. Trials Evolution ; If any game was deserving of a stellar sequel it was Trials HD. This game goes right to your limbic system and inserts the most sadistic positive feedback loop into it. Dead simple, incredibly hard and now more than feature complete.

3. Gravity Rush ; Ambition is a quality that is severely lacking in the portable game space right now. This game shouldn’t exist. A big new IP with a female lead on a portable from a Japanese studio. This game resonated with me strongly. The characters, art, set pieces and movement mechanics put me in a state of bliss. I’m sure nostalgia is a component but I don’t care. This game also makes me angry at devs (especially Japanese) being so goddamn content with their current situation. Most either go for the waifu crowd and cheapen good games like the Atelier series in the process. Others make one button, “30 seconds of (non) fun” dreck. It just is a good game without any caveats. I want more of those.

4. Mark of the Ninja ; After two stellar “Eets” Puzzle titles Klei explored a less cerebral and in my opinion less enjoyable genre with the Shank series. But looking back at those titles now they seem necessary. They are one part of the almost perfect marriage of both cerebral and action based gameplay. AI routines are laid bare giving the designers more tools to create “puzzles” and action is presented in quick and not as mastubartory as in Shank. Klei finally has created their masterpiece (minus some art problems but who cares).

5. Fallblox/Crashmo ; I have had enough bird flinging and 3 pair matching to last me a lifetime. This game follows a more rich tradition of handheld puzzlers that includes titles like Denki Blocks, Guru Logic Champ and the Picross series. The game fixes the tutorial problems the first title had and gives the player more content and a more robust editor on top of that.

6. Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy ; It’s fanservice and nostalgia. Thankfully I have/want both for the Final Fantasy games. I also welcome anything resembling a EBA title with open arms. Kingdom Hearts title please. Also rip of EBA more Square Enix, Thank You!

7. Botanicula ; If FTL is on one side of the agency spectrum Botanicula is on the other side. Thankfully it doesn’t pretend to be anything else and exploits the strengths of player limitation to tell a small personal story. It is proof that strong player agency isn’t an inherent need for a quality game.

8. Civilization V: Gods and Kings ; This expansion turns Civ 5 into the game it should’ve been. Better late than never.

9. Okami HD ; My first contact with this often re-released title. Beautiful visuals paired with pantheistic themes of deity/mortal interaction that feels fresh in a world of overly serious monotheistic treatment of higher entities. The scenes leading up and including the Kyuubi fight will stay with me for a long time. The meager (in comparison to the best LoZs) dungeons unfortunately won’t. Also credit has to be given to Hexa Drive for delivering on of the few Full HD titles of this generation.

10. Dustforce ; Super Meatboy light. While this may sound like an insult at first glance, it shows only that this game only pales in comparison to one of the most transcendental titles of this generation, maybe ever.


01. Persona 4: Golden ; Everyday's great at your Junes~
02. Journey ; Great Visuals and a fantastic Soundtrack. It just was something new.
03. Tokyo Jungle
04. Ōkami HD
05. The Walking Dead
06. Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown
07. Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
08. Tekken Tag Tournament 2
09. Zen Pinball 2
10. Fez


1. ZombiU ; Really struck me with its faithful survivor horror, inventive GamePad use and low-fi "28 Days Later" vibe. Just ticked every box for me.
2. The Walking Dead
3. Hotline Miami
4. Natural Selection 2
5. Borderlands 2
6. Wipeout 2048 ; The game I miss most by no longer owning a Vita. Farewell, Studio Liverpool.
7: Super Hexagon ; Addiction defined.
8. Theatryhthm Final Fantasy ; My most played game this year. Very addictive and a ton of fun.
9. Kid Icarus: Uprising
10: Max Payne 3

LTTP: Dark Souls
Ah yes, this will be interesting to follow. I might vote later, but I always feel disqualified. I'm a cheap arse gaffer, and only buy games later when they're cheap, and I also don't have all that much time due to studies, so there are many awesome games like AC3, Dishonored, Paper Mario, Walking Dead, Borderlands 2, Dragon's Dogma and FC3 that I haven't played yet. I might vote later but I don't think so. In theory the only people who should be allowed to vote are those who played every single game, but of course that's impossible.

But yeah, it's going to be interesting to find out which game wins.



1. Mark Of The Ninja ; The finest stealth game released this gen, maybe ever. Stealth mechanics, usually so obtuse and finicky, are presented here in the most clear and precise ways I've ever seen. Everything seems finely tuned to encourage experimentation, and improving your play style, even right down to the game's Xbox achievements. An awesome art style, responsive controls, and a great ambient soundtrack all work together in harmony in a game that's worth 3 times what you'll ever pay for it. As perfect a video game as I've ever played.

2. Spec Ops: The Line ; Spec Ops does more for storytelling in video games than any other title ever released. A better argument for games as art than Journey, and just as beautiful, yet you might be hard pressed to even notice until you're well into it's runtime. Nolan North, the seeming voice of all modern video game protagonists, gives his career best performance here. What at first appears lazy imitation, can be interpreted as subversive commentary. Even the functional nature of the game's shooting mechanics serve a purpose in the narrative. It's not just a tale well told "for a video game", but because it is a video game. It uses all the tools the medium allows, even some that nobody ever thought of before. It's a trip into madness and hell so well realised, that I want to take it over and over again. I've revisited Spec Ops many times this year, and I find new things every time I do.

3. Sleeping Dogs ; Succeeds where all other open world games fail, by making each of it's core mechanics as fully realised as those in games where they're the sole focus. Every aspect of the game benefits because of it. A few rushed/glossed over areas in the narrative, and a slight lack of meaty side content are more than made up for by the great Hong Kong environment, and a hugely likable protagonist in Wei Shen. It all works together to make a whole greater than the sum of it's parts, giving Sleeping Dogs it's own unique feel that I absolutely loved.

4. Syndicate ; The best co-op FPS experience I've ever had. The weapons all feel punchy and sound great, the immersion in the first-person perspective is as good as anything Starbreeze has done before (if not better), and the cyberpunk aesthetic and attention to detail are mind blowing. The SP campaign is better than anything COD has ever produced (even if it copies it's structure rather shamelessly), but it's not really the highlight. Oh, and Michael Wincott, if you could voice a character in every video game released from here until the end of time, that would be just fine in my book.

5. Resident Evil 6 ; RE6 makes an awful first impression. In many ways it would make a good case study for everything wrong with modern video gaming. However something redeems all it's badly implemented QTEs, linear vehicle sequences, and lack of explanation for almost anything it does. That something is it's core combat mechanics, insanely deep and rewarding to master, they're a joy for any action game fan. RE6 is the God Hand of third-person shooters, underneath all it's co-opted Call Of Duty style extravagances, and wrong headed design decisions, hides an unpolished gem.

6. Binary Domain ; Play this game, everybody. See how all the things games usually do so poorly (set pieces, boss fights, on rails sequences, pacing, characterization, French Robots) are done right. You owe it to yourselves.

7. Alan Wake’s American Nightmare ; With this downloadable mini-chapter in the life of their writer hero Remedy focused on the area of Alan Wake that I liked the least, the combat. Smart changes were made, small things fine tuned, and a wider variety of enemy types and weapons added, turning Alan Wake's style of gunplay into something I really enjoy. I sunk a lot of time into the game's Arcade mode, it's addictive and tense in ways I hope Remedy can apply to the campaign of Alan Wake 2. The campaign here is short, rather easy, and quite repetitive (I mean, like, really repetitive), but in a clever way. The Twilight Zone flavour given to the proceedings is super cool, and I hope things continue in that direction. Overall American Nightmare ended up being a better Max Payne game than MP3, it's honestly that good. Even if you didn't really love Alan Wake, give this a shot it might surprise you. Also, I could watch Ilkka Villi do his Mr. Scratch schtick all day long, guy is awesome.

8. Dishonored ; I don't like steampunk. In fact, I kind of hate steampunk. I like whatever Dishonored is though, I really do. It builds a world more effectively in one (relatively short) game than most franchises manage with multiple, sequels, spin-offs, books, and other media. All the expensive voice talent doesn't add as much as it could, and the actual main storyline is rather lacking. The gameplay is what maters most however, and it's where Dishonored really shines. With human Revolution last year, and now this, we're finally getting spoiled with great open ended stealth action titles, and I hope the trend continues.

9. Double Dragon Neon ; Due to some mixed reviews and negative chatter on the internet, this is a game I nearly didn't play at all. I'm glad I rectified that mistake, because Neon is one of the best Beat 'em ups I've ever played. Fantastic art design, smart additions to the classic gameplay, a great sense of humor, and an awesome 80s style soundtrack combine perfectly in a modern take on a genre I thought was long dead. Now if only WayForward would patch in that online co-op they promised...

10. Borderlands 2 ; More Borderlands, but better. The next game needs to be more of an evolution (Borderworlds hopefully), but this one really hit the spot. Everything I loved about the first game with a lot of smart little additions. I played as Zer0, and I bought the season pass before I'd even finished my first playthrough (I know, I'm part of the problem).

x. Mass Effect 3 ; Improved combat almost makes up for all this game's inferiorities to ME2, until that ending. Fuck that Ending. Great, free co-op support keeps me revisiting this title. It still gets an honorable mention even though it's destroyed most of my interest in this fantastic universe Bioware created. With 6 additional months development, ME3 could have been so much more, maybe that last SP DLC will be awesome.

x. Asura's Wrath ; Less a game and more an insane anime series obscured by QTE prompts. Still, it was one of the most enjoyable and worthwhile gaming experiences I had all year.

2011. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; Even the awful, outsourced boss fights do little to tarnish this Cyberpunk masterpiece.
I'd vote in this now, as I already have a top 10 of games I thoroughly enjoyed this year, but I'm gonna hold off because I'm getting about 5 or so games as gifts for Christmas (Spec Ops, Dishonored, LittleBigPlanet Karting, Need For Speed Most Wanted and Virtue's Last Reward) and I want to play through them all before I finalise anything.

Will the PSN version of Machinarium be eligible?
1. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations ; Fighting game of the generation hands down with gorgeous visuals, good music, catchy and deep gameplay, and my favorite Ninjas, Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, Suigetsu, and Kiba.
2. Tales of Graces F ; Best JRPG since Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope International and Resonance of Fate, with my favorite video game character of the year, Asbel Lhant and Richard, best character interaction between them, and a catchy battle system. OP song is quite memorable and swimsuit for Asbel was one of the best in a game this year.
3. Need for Speed Most Wanted ;
4. One Piece Pirate Warriors ;
5. Disgaea 3 Absence of Detention ;
6. Persona 4 Golden ;
7. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance ;
8. Final Fantasy XIII-2 ;
9. Assassin' s Creed III ;
10. Mass Effect 3 ;


1. Journey; Best experience this year, no matter how short it may be.
2. Persona 4 Golden; One of the best RPGs was somehow made even better.
3. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward; I could not put this game down once I started.
4. Sleeping Dogs; Favorite open world game this generation with a great voice cast and good story.
5. Sound Shapes; Few games can put a smile on your face while playing the way Sound Shapes does.
6. Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy; This game was my only reason to own a 3DS this year and it didn't disappoint.
7. Xenoblade Chronicles; Best JRPG this generation.
8. Dishonored; Great and interesting game, even if I didn't like it as much as others.
9. The Walking Dead; Great characters, great story, I just wish your choices felt like they mattered more.
10. New Super Mario Bros. U; Challenge Mode and Time Trials breathe a new life into this game and the stages actually feel like they tried as opposed to New Super Mario Bros. 2

x. Gravity Rush; Really good game, but it could use some more polish. Really good presentation though.
x. Borderlands 2; Great game if you have friends to play with. I hated playing it alone though.
1. Journey My personal GOTY, unique experience
2. Sound Shapes great overlooked platformer
3. Gravity Rush Kat is sexy
4. DOA5 underappreciated 3D fighter
5. Uncharted Golden Abyss Better than UC1
6. Borderlands 2 best shooter of the year
7. The Unfinished Swan Short but sweet
8. The Walking Dead great game
9. Mutant Blobs good platformer
10. Papo&Yo special game


1. Persona 4: Golden ; One of the great RPGs. Characters that resonate. Great soundtrack. Some of the streamlining seems to have defanged P4G's difficulty curve a bit vs. the original.

2. Sleeping Dogs ; Caught me out of nowhere. It's basically the fusion of the first The Fast and the Furious film and Grand Theft Auto.

3. Borderlands 2 ; I never played BL1 so I didn't experience the Borderlands fatigue described by many. I thought it was a lot of fun, it looked gorgeous on my PC, and it just felt good to play.

4. ZombiU ; Another surprise. Was originally at the #2 position on my list but it slipped a bit because there are times where losing everything you've carefully accumulated and cautiously protected because of jank (or a scripted zombie attack) isn't cool.

5. Far Cry 3 ; It's really good but the story falls off and it becomes monotonous at times.

6. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 ; Player decisions (or indecision) directly impact the outcomes in both subtle and major ways. More so than certain franchises that have failed at this despite supposedly being built on the concept *coughmasseffect*

7. XCOM: Enemy Unknown It's great to have XCOM back and while this game is good it's got some rough edges and bugs that kept it from being higher on my list

8. Dishonored ; This game is a good example of getting out what you put into it. It seems like people who barrel through Dishonored come back feeling like it was superficial and people who invest a lot of time into being meticulous with completing their missions get a lot out of it. I think it was pretty good though in full disclosure I haven't finished it yet.

9. The Walking Dead ; pending finishing the last 2 parts before the deadline this might move up

10. New Super Mario Bros. U ; A big surprise to me, it was basically an impulse buy because I haven't played a 2D Mario game in years. Again, my lack of franchise fatigue worked out well. I've had a lot of fun with it, perhaps the most since SMB 3, which is the last 2D Mario game I played more than a little bit. The challenges are a lot of fun, too. Boo Ballet for life.

By the way - if you had told me a year ago that my 2012 GOTY list would be topped by a JRPG, would include a CoD game, and that Assassin's Creed 3, Mass Effect 3 and Halo 4 wouldn't even have come close to my top 10 I would have thought you were on drugs.
Ah sweet, this will be interesting to follow. I might vote later, but I always feel disqualified. I'm a cheap arse gaffer, and only buy games later when they're cheap, and I also don't have all that much time due to studies, so there are many awesome games like AC3, Dishonored, Paper Mario, Walking Dead, Borderlands 2, Dragon's Dogma and FC3 that I haven't played yet. I might vote later but I don't think so. In theory the only people who should be allowed to vote are those who played every single game, but of course that's impossible.

But yeah, it's going to be interesting to find out which game wins.

You should vote. As you said, nobody can play all the games. This includes the people at big media sites, this includes critics in every medium, etc.

This thread is for fun and a great way to put the year in a retrospective. This means every GAFfer's opinions are useful. I know that for me and many other people, this thread (and the Results thread) serve as quality reading and a way for us to discover games we may have passed on but try out later based on the recommendations in this thread. To this end, every voice is useful.

Nobody here is the authority on games, but by participating you can help make this thread more interesting, compelling, useful and complete.

Just my two cents on that :)


Fallen Xbot (cannot continue gaining levels in this class)
1. Halo 4 ; Fairly flawed, quite buggy, but its definitely halo and is still, by far, my most cherished franchise in gaming. anytime there is a (fps) halo release, its my game of the year, and halo 4 is no different.

2. Forza Horizon ; Open world colorado with familiar (though simplified) forza handling is a match made in heaven. the game is a blast, plain and simple. its stunning and a technological accomplishment. the only negative is horrific ai rubber banding - but racing against the ai is only a small fraction of why i play racers. to think this is the team's first entry in hopefully an ongoing franchise has me excited for the future.

3. Alan Wake's American Nightmare ; bit repetitive, but its alan wake and its still fantastic. the combat was more in depth with great new enemies and loads of fun new weapons. arcade mode was a blast.

I played several other games this year, but none of them particularly stood out as deserving to make a top 10 list, so i wont put them in mine.

1. The Walking Dead ; In spite of all of the technical issues I had on the 360, mostly that it chugged along, no game has ever had me as emotionally invested on a minute-by-minute basis than The Walking Dead. It's surprising to me that a game with such glaring problems on the technical side of things, in addition to being a game that's extremely light on actual gameplay, would make my Top 10 (let alone be my GOTY). That's a testament to the strength of everything else. Nothing else in 2012 got my heart pounding harder or faster more often than the 16-or-so hours I spent playing this. Playing this over the course of just 5 days, the number of successive gut-punches delivered in such a short span really put me into a dark place, all the while feeling regret over not doing something differently. And that speaks volumes about what video games are truly capable of; when it comes to interactive storytelling, the industry could take plenty of notes from TellTale's achievement. (Telltale Games, Xbox 360)


2. Mark of the Ninja ; If we were voting purely on the best gameplay of 2012, Mark of the Ninja would win, hands down. For this game, Klei combines stealth and puzzle-platforming into a package that is as rewarding as any I've played in 2012. The ways in which it portrays information to you based on your line of sight are incredibly novel, and it gives you the right amount of observable data that a master ninja would make use of, without putting the enemies at too much of a disadvantage. The game rewards you for trying new and different approaches to stealth (i.e. trying to complete the optional objectives), exploring different paths (really clever challenge rooms), and playing well overall gives you plenty of neat upgrades to make use of (which also emphasize different styles of playing a certain level). The game is every bit as enjoyable and satisfying when taking enemies out undetected with a wide-array of executions, as it is when passing through a level undetected and without killing anyone. And it also has a gorgeous art-style. Mark of the Ninja gave me just about everything I would want out of a stealth game. (Klei Entertainment, Xbox 360)


3. ZombiU ; Where Mark of the Ninja and Dishonored restored a little luster to the long-declining stealth genre, ZombiU gives survival horror a much-needed jolt, in what is my surprise game of the year. A title that I fully expected to suck back when it was announced at E3 (The recipe for disaster: A Nintendo-exclusive, first-person, Ubisoft-developed launch title? That was changed mid-development into a different game? Called "Zombi U"? BWAHAHAHAHA!), ZombiU is everything you could have wanted, both from a Wii U launch title and from a modern-day survival horror game. Boldly, but smartly, Ubisoft eschewed making a FPS altogether and went with pure survival horror more in the vein of Condemned. ZombiU sets the ground rules early on, punishing you for failing to survive, and is relentless in this approach. When you screw up really badly, you won't want to make that mistake again. Improving your strategy and surviving for longer stretches becomes incredibly rewarding, but knowing that one mistake could undo much of that work turns confrontations with multiple zombies into an incredibly stressful experience. The game does an excellent job of making use of the Game Pad, and turning it into something that you become heavily reliant on (a concept that comes into play brilliantly at times). The result is a tense gameplay experience that brings forth situations of intense panic, and at times the game features some of the scariest sequences I've played in a game all year: the recipe for a good survival horror game. Also, killing zombified versions of your friends for loot is AWESOME. (Ubisoft, Wii U)


4. Far Cry 3 ; Far Cry 3 represents some of the most fun I had in an open-world game this year. Whether it was finding and climbing the next radio tower, stealthily clearing out the next outpost or just letting all hell break loose in between, I had a great time exploring the game's tropical island setting and embracing the chaos when it presented itself. The story was also a great time, to a point -- it doesn't conclude in as satisfying a way as you would hope, considering all of the promise. Vaas is awesome, though! (Ubisoft, Xbox 360)


5. Dishonored ; I considered putting Dishonored as high as #2, because I really enjoyed playing most of this game. It's just not as consistently strong as the games listed above, and at a certain point, the game falls apart. It's no coincidence that this happens about the same time that the storyline takes a turn that is best described as DUMB. I knew from the moment that this game got going that it might end up going where it did, which is incredibly lame because 100 other games have used the same plot device already this generation. I admit that I started to lose interest in what I was doing at this point, and combined with the last few stages not being as strong from a level design and mission standpoint as earlier stages, it got to a point where I just wanted to get things wrapped up. It's really a shame that they were so lazy with the writing, because it really diminished what Corvo's motivation (and by extension, mine) was going forward. That being said, it's in my Top 5 for a reason. It combines elements from a number of great games I really enjoyed (Deus Ex, Half Life 2, Bioshock). I played the game stealthily and hardly ever got into any combat situations, which is what I wanted out of it. The game allowed me to play exactly the way I wanted to with my own personal style of stealth, which is what any good stealth game does. The powers that you get in the game (such as Blink, Shadow Kill and Devouring Swarm) are awesome, and give you a lot of incentive to mess around and try different things. But Dishonored isn't quite as good of a stealth game as Mark of the Ninja because (a) it discourages stealth kills, but the game isn't nearly as fun or rewarding by playing non-lethally. Not to mention that many of the game's powers make stealth kills a hell of a lot more fun, but in the back of your mind you want to avoid doing it. And that leads into (b), that Corvo has too much of an advantage over the enemies that going completely silent and non-lethal is too easy, such that going out of the way to kill enemies makes the game much more interesting, but is discouraged. Still, upon finishing it, I immediately wanted to go back and replay it, this time focusing on different skills/abilities, making different choices, taking different paths, etc. That says something. (Arkane Studios, Xbox 360)


6. New Super Mario Bros. U ; After playing Super Mario 3D Land in stretches last year, as well as playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii for the first time last year, I was on Mario overload and am stunned that I enjoyed this game as much as I did. But I'm not going to lie -- NSMBU was a blast. Maybe it's not saying a lot, but it's the best of the NSMB games. And with the absence of horribly tacked-on motion controls, it's so much more fun to play than NSMB Wii (even though it laughably recycles almost everything from that game). When you boil it down, it's just a better designed game than its predecessors. It still may not be an A-team effort, but they've taken strides here and there. Some levels start to branch out with a distinctive art style, while other levels aim for a more creative overall design. Some of the star coins are very well hidden, and going out of your way to find all of them in a level is more enjoyable here than it has been; in the Wii edition, I skipped most of these altogether. In the end, fun won out over originality here.
I hope they don't make another one for a long time, though. And when they do, change EVERYTHING about the audio and visual aesthetic!
(Nintendo, Wii U)


7. Journey ; Journey is not much of a game, but I'm okay with that. thatgamecompany smartly takes a minimalist approach, by simplifying the experience through removing complex gameplay that could get in the way of what they wanted players to get out of it. Unlike a similar-themed game like Ico, which came close to being completely ruined by some of the worst combat I've ever seen in a game, Journey avoids these pitfalls by eliminating the possibility for frustrating emotions. Instead, the emotional response to the game is generated through the gorgeous visuals, beautiful music and its interesting approach to co-op gameplay. It was something I may have laughed about in advance, but there's just something different when you're playing with another human that just cannot be replicated by AI, even when both are every bit as anonymous and silent. And for that reason, I felt naturally compelled to care about my companion more than I ever would have if it was the AI. I can't really explain it, but the "journey" I went on was really something. There's not much to it, but I feel like that's a large part of what made Journey the most unique and memorable gaming experience of the year. (thatgamecompany, Playstation 3)


8. Sleeping Dogs ; This is just an all-around, solid open world game. On the surface, it's your typical open world stuff: the story and characters wouldn't be out of place in GTA, the mission structure as well, the way treasure is spread across the map is very much like Assassin's Creed. The story is decent -- it doesn't do anything mindblowing, but it's never bad to the point of insulting either. It doesn't do any of the usual open world features spectacularly, but it does everything well enough. What sets Sleeping Dogs apart is its combat, which is very fun and is second only to maybe Arkham City as far as open world games. Think about that -- an open world game where you don't want to use guns. Combat is a lot of fun, and the environmental kills are always really cool to pull off (some of these are the most brutal I've seen in a game since The Punisher). The RPG-esque upgrade system really works here, and the perks make the combat even better and make you want to vary your moves. Also, while the controls for it are pretty janky, pulling off an action hijack to steal a car is awesome...and then returning it to the black market dealer, so that you can then buy that car and have some lackey deliver it to you out in the middle of the highway, use it to drive to a drug bust, grab a tire iron out of the trunk and beat up a bunch of thugs before door-slamming a few of them and throwing one of the thugs back into the trunk of the car you stole but now own...short version: it's great. Maybe it's not mayhem on as large a scale as GTA, but I had a lot more fun creating mayhem on a moment-to-moment basis in Sleeping Dogs than I did in GTA IV. Beyond all of that, the game has a nice visual style (particularly the look of Hong Kong at night) with a great soundtrack that always seems to set the mood perfectly. (United Front Games, Xbox 360)


9. Spec Ops: The Line ; I enjoyed this game for making something out of a genre that I've lost almost all interest in. By taking all of the in-game killing that you (as the player-character) carry out, and turning it into the central theme of the game, Spec Ops goes to a dark place that many better, more popular shooters stay away from. And ultimately, it allows what is by comparison an average shooter, to stand out among its peers. (Yager Development, Xbox 360)


10. Resident Evil: Revelations ; Is it everything I ever hoped and wanted? No. But RE: Revelations is still the best Resident Evil title since RE4, and the first survival horror entry into the series since 2002. It tries to hearken back to the days of classic RE, with the number of enemies greatly reduced and ammo in much shorter supply. It's very much an old-school RE experience with a new-school camera, even if the game does fall victim by trying too hard to cater to the fans introduced with RE4 and subsequent games. While the Queen Zenobia has the look and feel of a classic RE locale, it never feels anything like the intricate maze of the Spencer Mansion or RPD Building. There's some backtracking when finding keys to locked doors, but it usually only amounts to a couple of ammo rooms here and there (nothing that really impacts the story progression). You're never presented with more than 2 paths on where to go, and usually one of them is conveniently blocked; regardless, in case you somehow got lost, there's always a nice hand-hold-y waypoint telling you where you need to go. So, it's more like watered-down classic RE, but hey, you gotta take what you can get. Aside from things designed to be more accessible, it still does a lot of what you'd expect from a classic RE. Boss fights are battles of attrition again, where you just hope to have enough ammo and health to survive. While I'm perfectly content with the majority of the game, which is Jill's scenario, it is interrupted by a number of poorly-thought out action and/or escort sequences that take place elsewhere. These are the worst parts of the game, and in a case of addition by subtraction, this would be a much better game if those weren't there. The standalone story is laughable, with 50 too many plot twists (49 of which I didn't care about at all)...the "revelation" is that there were no revelations! On the plus side, there's a ton of replayability (Hell Mode difficulty is the closest thing we may ever get again to the "good old days") and Raid Mode is incredibly addicting. It's a mixed bag, and overall I'd rank it somewhere near the middle when comparing it to all of the main RE games. But that first playthrough, playing it in the dark with headphones on, brought back that tense feeling of early RE and provided a few genuinely scary moments. (Capcom, 3DS)


2011. Rayman Origins ; Gorgeous, fun, addicting -- 2D platforming goodness. Great game, would have made my Top 3 of 2011. Can't wait for Legends. (Ubisoft, Xbox 360)



1. The Darkness II ; Definitely my game of the year, if not generation. Best gunplay in any shooter I've ever played. It's like the 360 controller was designed specifically around controlling two weapons and two tentacles at the same time, it felt incredibly natural. The story was great too. The asylum parts of the game were done very well and very convincing. I was honestly wondering whether or not Jackie was really insane and that everything was just a dream. The artstyle was also very cool. The game was so much fun to play that I played through it within a day and replayed the entire thing again the day afterwards. If only it was longer.
2. The Walking Dead ; While the game ran like crap on the 360 it was still one of the more engaging games of 2012 for me.
3. Trials Evolution ; Challenging, fun gameplay with an endless amount of user created content to boot!
4. Spec Ops: The Line ; Probably one of the most brilliantly executed games I've ever played. The entire idea behind it is amazing.
5. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP ; Very original game. I liked how it didn't hold your hand and you had to explore and figure out things yourself which was really satisfying. Artstyle is a major plus too.
6. Assassin's Creed 3 ; While I wish it had more actual assassination mission I still very much enjoyed the game. Freerunning through the trees was awesome.
7. Far Cry 3 ; Enjoyed playing stealthy and using all kinds of different means to take over camps. The game had some great, but not fully utilized characters. Wish it was less arcadey. Something in between Far Cry 2 and 3 would be amazing.
1. Dragon's Dogma; This is a very rare game that has that mysterious feeling of playing something new and fresh, like a D&D PC game from the late 80's when I was a kid. The last part of the game especially. Technically disappointing, but everything else makes up for it.

2. Journey; Dead easy, short, not very replayable- but that one time is truly spectacular.

3. Mass Effect 3; As with the previous ME's, the music and atmosphere make up for shortcomings elsewhere. Mass Effect doesn't fake the funk where it counts.


What about DayZ? It has a proper release coming sometime next year, but I doubt it will ever be as relevant as it was this summer.


1. XCOM ; Nailed it totally and made by a true XCOM fan. Tension and strategy in abundance. MP was surprisingly brilliant as well. This game won't win GAF GOTY, but Firaxis should be commended.
2. Dishonoured ; Fair play to 2K for creating a franchise like this so late on this gen. Great, smooth game play. You felt like a bad-ass with every successful stealth take down.
3. Hotline Miami ; Indie brilliance, highly re-playable with the best soundtrack EVAR

Everything else was just filler. A poor year.
1. Xenoblade Chronicles ; What a game. If it didn't have such a staggered release throughout the world, there's no doubt it would win game of the year. It's a near-perfect JRPG. Fantastic characters, music, and the world is simply breathtaking at times. It's amazing that the Wii hardware was able to produce scenes that literally made my jaw drop. With tens of hours of gameplay that never feels boring, it's impossible NOT to recommend this title.
2. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; I absolutely loved 999 (It was my game of the year in 2010), and while this game doesn't quite match it's intensity or story-telling, it's still absolutely stellar. It has a great twist at the end, and how it involves the player's observation of the story INTO the story is genius and something only the gaming medium can produce. Add a great soundtrack and you have the making of one of the best games of 2012.
3. Kid Icarus Uprising ; Easily the most feature-packed game on the 3DS. Definitely surpassed my expectations. The controls are perfect once you get used to them, and it has my personal favorite soundtrack of the year.
4. New Super Mario Bros. U ; Challenge mode. Enough said.
5. Crashmo ; Best puzzle game of the year.
6. New Super Mario Bros. 2 ; Nintendo simply has the best level design when it comes to 2D platforming. The only reason it's not higher on my list is due to its lack of innovation...at all.
7. Pokemon Conquest ; The best spin-off Pokemon game ever made, without question.
8. Nintendo Land ; One of the best party games I've ever played. Get some friends and/or alcohol together and it's an absolute blast to play.

2011. Arkham City ; This would probably be my game of the year had I been able to include it in my list. I have a hard time believing their will be a superhero game this good anytime in the near future.

I've had a very....Nintendo filled year.


1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown; Yeah it's short if you know what you're doing, but even after 60+ hours I still enjoy getting disappointed at an Ironman run and starting all over.

2. Far Cry 3; This is the first year an Assassin's Creed game isn't my GOTY. Far Cry 3 is more Assassin's Creed than Assassin's Creed 3.

3. Binary Domain; After the horrid demo, I had no interest in this game. It was included in a cheap Amazon DD Sega bundle and after playing it, I touched nothing else until it was completed and forced all my friends to buy it.

4. Darksiders 2

5. Resident Evil: Revelations

6. Tales of Graces f

Honorable mention: I'd of course put Witcher 2 at the top of the list but I count it as a 2011 game.
1. FEZ; music alone sends shivers down my spine. 'Forgotten' is just amazing
2. Journey; really emotional ending
3. The Walking Dead; new benchmark in story telling
4. Spec ops The Line; getting involved emotional
5. Sleeping Dogs; open world games are normally not my thing, but this...wow
6. Mark of the Ninja; the feeling I'm playing this in an arcade
7. HALO 4; return of the Chief
8. ZombiU; perfect fit for Gamepad
9. NFS Most Wanted; just one more go...
10. Sonic & Allstars Racing Transformed; fun with family and friends


My QB is a Dick and my coach is a Nutt
This should be interesting to see the opinion of people on GAF, since I don't think there is any clear Game of the Year front runner like in normal years (although I was pleasantly surprised that Portal 2 won last year). I have my list of games ready, I just haven't decided on the order for a few of them.

I also want to say thanks for adding the comment requirement. I (as well as others I am sure) am much more interested in seeing why someone chose to rank something the way they did more than the actual ranking itself.


1. Hotline Miami ; I originally wrote 'Hotmail'. Also this game is insane.
2. Fez ; I don't think a game has nailed the pure application of aural & visual rewards since SNES era Nintendo. Getting a cube fragment is crack. The game is a love letter & it shows.
3. Minecraft ; Xbox 360; It makes sense how this is a phenomenon. Probably will rank higher in GOTG whenever that happens.
4. Black Mesa ; There are some tweaks that the soldier AI needs, but otherwise this is a fantastic, improbable remake. Pleasantly surprised.
5. Mass Effect 3 ; Most disappointment in a game ever. The highs are still magnificently high though.
6. Penny Arcade Adventures - Episode 3 ; I really appreciate Zeboyds efforts.
7. Botanicula ;
8. Quantum Conundrum ;
9. Superbrothers Sword & Sorcery ; PC ; From Toronto Yah!.
10. Street Fighter vs Megaman ; Why the hell not.

I didn't really play a lot of new games this year. Spent the first half going through 3 years of backlog , then moved countries, so its all steam and my laptop is a little slow. Also, the shift to majority DD is pretty much complete at this point, only 1 retail release.

Edit: oh yeah, I played the game of the generation in 2012: Red Dead Redemption. wow.
1. Journey ; Introduced me to a form of multiplayer I had no idea I wanted. I can't imagine my life without the experience that Journey gave me. I only ever played it once, all the way through in one sitting, and will probably never play it again, but the emotions it elicited were something I will never forget.

2. Mass Effect 3 Getting the crew back together for one more shot at saving the universe. Tying up conflicts (Quarian/Geth, Salarian/Krogan), meeting up with old squad mates and taking on a huge variety of new missions is all I wanted out of a Mass Effect sequel and they fully delivered on that end.

3. Mark of the Ninja ; Best stealth game this gen,period. And I don't care for stealth games.

4. X-Com: Enemy Unknown ; I've started a new game twice now and part of me feels like I'll never actually beat the game, but it is my favorite Turn Based Strategy game ever. The overarching strategy combined with the tactical gameplay makes it one of the deepest games to come out in 2012, and one I'll certainly be continuing to play throughout 2013.

5. FEZ; I don't know if I've ever done anything in a game that comes close to cracking the codes in FEZ. The music, the beautiful artwork and the tight platforming don't begin to exemplify what makes this game so special. I would have happily put this at the top of my GOTY list if it weren't for Phil Fish's blatant disregard for the people who paid their hard earned money for his game in terms of not releasing a patch that would address the issues people were having with it. It was greedy, underhanded and made me not think very highly of him at all, but damn if this game isn't amazing.

6. Halo 4
7. Max Payne 3
8. Tokyo Jungle
9. Trials Evolution
10. Dishonored

x. The Walking Dead ; Arguably this would be right near the top of my list, but since I've only played the first chapter, I'm not comfortable giving it my accolades quite yet.

x. Persona 4: Golden ; Same as Walking Dead. I'm just not far enough into the game and since it is so reliant on it's story, I can't judge it until I'm done.

2011 - Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ; Basically the game that I played all the way up until the release of Mass Effect 3. I actually pushed myself to finish the main quest, (after 100 hours) the day before ME3 came out. Haven't gone back to it since, but I fully intend to once we get into that summer lull this year.


1. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; Sakurai's still got it. Once the controls click, the whole thing becomes sublime: lots of variety/content, hidden depth to the mechanics, great music, endearing story and characters. And the whole game keeps finding ways to escalate, which makes it hard to put down. Probably the first Nintendo game since Galaxy that's blown me away.

2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; Just beat this last night. Addictive. It's good to have such as solid strategy game with these production values in this day and age. Just like Civilization, Firaxis nailed that "one more turn" feeling with this game, with enough difficulty and options that will make future playthroughs really interesting, if I can ever find the time.

3. Hotline Miami ; One of the few games out there that manages to seep into your brain and put it into a trance. It's a weird, dark, disturbing journey with an original vibe that scratches an itch I never knew needed scratching.

4. Nintendo Land ; The fact that NL is even on this list is an accomplishment, after the showing it got at E3. It's good to see the difficult, "arcade Nintendo" return with this game. Calling this a minigame collection is a little unfair; while there might be a few simplistic clunkers, most of the games in this package are much deeper than they appear.
1. Binary Domain
2. Asura's Wrath
3. Journey
4. Ryu ga Gotoku 5 (JP)
5. 2nd Super Robot Wars OG (JP)
6. E.X. Troopers (JP)
7. Tales of Graces f
8. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (JP) ; Developed by FROM Software, the game is much more like the PS2-era Another Century's Episode games than the PS3 disaster that is known as ACE R. It was released at a lower price point than most PS3 titles, but in truth it's a complete game with lots to do. You can follow the storyline via numerous characters, as well as a Custom Cast mode where you put together a small battalion of mobile suits and a warship. The combat is competent and the controls aren't as janky as I like to joke.
9. Mass Effect 3
10. Final Fantasy XIII-2
1. Journey ; a perfect creation, in all it's facets. Is it possible to view this game in any other way? The shortness is the only factor that brings it down. Is this why it's so good? Would perfection still exist if they'd make a longer and thus more unrefined game? thatgamecompany have made the best game of the year, an audio-visual beast.

2. Diablo 3 ; Destined to be a classic. It turns out to be something different. A lot of crap exist within Diablo 3 and what have made its predecessor so great has been lost. Unforgiving. Yet Blizzard has made the most refined game in the gameplay department. It's responsive, fluid and the animations are immaculate. Diablo is something to behold when you're plowing through legions of hellspawn at high velocity. That is what I felt during some special coop sessions. Special enough to not be fully disappointed.


Knows the Score
Ah, was wondering about this. Let's see...

1. FTL ; Probably my most played game this year, still awful at it but it's a buzz every time.
2. Sleeping Dogs ; Got into a car for the first time, a Four Tet remix of Antipop Consortium starting playing and I knew we were going to be good friends. Not to mention the fighting was actually enjoyable.
3. XCOM : Enemy Unknown ; Picked this up from GMG recently as I didn't quite get into the demo, wish I hadn't left it so long.
4. Frog Fractions ; Absolutely loved this. Seriously.
5. Asura's Wrath ; Not sure if this is actually a game or a video but the brief combat is fun and it looks gorgeous.
6. Lego Batman 2 ; Played this in co-op with my 5 year old, great fun.
7. Yakuza : Dead Souls ; Ropey in parts, controls don't always suit the game but wandering around an abandoned shopping mall with Daigo Dojima in drag still makes me laugh. Also, Goro Majima is still my favourite character in any game.
8. Max Payne 3 ; For Tears in the Airport.
9. Lollipop Chainsaw ; Good and bad in parts, but anything with Sleigh Bells - Riot Rhythm on the soundtrack deserves note. And the boss fights were great fun.
10. Assassin's Creed 3 ; I liked it mostly, but the glitches were silly (It rained horses outside of one of the forts I was trying to capture) and the game went on for too long.

Honourable Mentions

x. Hotline Miami ; I'm really terrible at this as I can't WASD but the music and atmosphere is engaging.

x. Mass Effect 3 ; Again, good in parts but I was sad to see some of my favourite characters from the series disappear. Also, I was blind drunk during the ending so I found it hilarious.

2011. Where's My Water? ; Most played mobile game by far, especially liked the Mystery Duck stages which came this year.

I was disappointed by quite a bit this year, haven't opened the Wii U yet so things might change before the deadline.


1. Spec Ops: The Line; this game just blew me in a way that I did not even expect this year. I had never even heard of it until the day it came out on Steam and after my first hour with the game I was totally willing to write it off and never play it again. Until I heard the Giantbombcast discuss it. Then I found it intriguing enough to go back and finish and I'm immensely glad that I did.

2. League of Legends; I've always been more of an RTS gamer, not a MOBA fan. I grew up playing StarCraft 1, WarCraft II, and Age of Empires. But I decided to check out LoL this year and I have been so fucking addicted it's ridiculous. The champion design is by far the best part of the game, you get a real sense of attachment to all the different characters and their personalities. It's just a fun, casual game to play when you have an hour or two to kill. Just avoid ranked solo queue, it's the worst thing ever.

3. Hawken; Another surprise PC F2P title. I was lucky enough to get into the Alpha several months back, so I've had more than a week to play this title. I love it, the sense of immersion in the cockpit, the feel of movement and shooting. This game feels unlike any other first person shooter recently and I really appreciate it.
Question. Do games available for the first time in English, even unofficially count? Want to know if Fire Emblem 12 is valid since a translation patch just released.


1. Max Payne 3; An incredible campaign with a superb ending that led you from interesting locale to interesting locale. Gameplay plays great, looks beautiful and the euphoria engine shines. The AI is top notch on even the normal difficulty. It's sets a bar for it's campaign that all shooters should look for.

2. Halo 4; A fine campaign with a fantastic multiplayer. While 343 doesn't reinvent the wheel, it simply does each component well. Some mechanics hold it back but 343 knocked the majority of it's gameplay mechanics out of the park. While story was well-crafted, the multiplayer is where it hit homes. Halo 4 reaffirms why the Halo series is one of the king's of multiplayer.

I wish I could add more but IMO, none of them would reach a top 10 or should be nominated for a GOTY. Global Offensive was okay. NHL 13 certainly isn't a GOTY. I'll edit my post as I play games over Christmas but it was a bleak year for me.
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