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


Dec 22, 2004
(Before I get started, why is Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP up for awards this year? That was a 2011 game with no major differences in its PC/Mac/Android releases from its original. Not that I'm complaining…it was my GOTY last year, but I'm just curious what gets it exempted from the "ROM dump/HD Version" rule.)

1. Fez ; It's really too bad that so much controversy has taken away from such a genuinely good experience. Playing Fez is an experience that is unlike so many in an age of GameFAQs, video walkthroughs and the like. The game can be simple - just hunt for the cubes! - or it can be further and further complex, with coded alphabets and hidden items. As you start to find the hints that point to the crazier puzzles, you feel more rewarded. Despite little text, Fez is awesomely charming with gorgeous pixel art and a superb soundtrack. More than anything, it is a game I can recommend to almost anyone, and that's what puts it at the top for 2012.

2. Analogue A Hate Story ; One of only a handful of games I've ever played that made me want to do further reading into its inspiration. Analogue is not for everybody - it's a visual novel; I'm sorry - but it is a game that everybody should play. The game has you exploring the records of a civilization on a spaceship lost for hundreds of years, whose society underwent some transformation after losing contact with Earth and came to resemble the institutionalized patriarchy of feudal Korea. The story that unfolds as you peer through the messages the ship's inhabitants left behind is tragic, stunning and shockingly less extreme in ways than its inspiration. It's amazing what Christine Love accomplishes where entire teams of writers can't.

3. Super Hexagon ; I've spent more time playing this than almost anything else this year. Obscenely simple and impossibly frustrating. A game that constantly makes you punch yourself for losing; this is the arcade gameplay style's answer to Dark Souls.

4. Halo 4 ; No matter what HaloGAF thinks, I loved every minute I spent with this game. The campaign is just surprising enough, with the sandbox encounters that are why I love Halo; the multiplayer is the most fun I've had with Halo multi in a long time. I can't complain about too many choices, but I do wish campaign scoring was in.

5. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy ; I can't believe I can score a fan service-focused Final Fantasy title this high! Theatrhythm, while infuriating to type, has tons (tons!) of content in its 3DS incarnation and controls perfect on iOS. Anyone who has enjoyed a Final Fantasy game and a music game can and should get into this, but I understand if you're not a Final Fantasy fan that it loses a lot of appeal. Still, the sheer amount of fun packed into that 3DS cartridge overrides any need for prior education and gets it a spot on my list.

6. Persona 4 Golden ; 2008 strikes back. There still hasn't been a better Japanese RPG since Persona 4 and at the rate things are going there may never be. Persona 4 Golden makes a must-play literally mandatory if you can breathe and like RPGs. Sell your kidneys for a Vita and play this. It only places 5th because it's still a remake, but it is probably the best remake I've ever encountered. And if you need more convincing it seriously references NeoGAF within the first four hours.

7. Sleeping Dogs ; Another pleasant surprise, and one not without its flaws, Sleeping Dogs is a hell of a game. Hong Kong is a fun backdrop and the driving in particular stands out among others in its genre. Loads of personality help the game feel unique in a landscape dominated by Grand Theft Auto and Saint's Row.

8. Persona 4 Arena ; Guilty Gear - a bunch of characters + Shoji Meguro - Daisuke Ishiwatari + a lower bar of entry + a story that almost kind of a little bit makes sense = an awesome fighter. Game is phenomenal fun, limited only by its small cast.

9. Mass Effect 3 ; ME3 isn't as good as ME2, but when it shines it shines brighter. The big set piece events - taking down the Reaper on Rannoch, for example - are tense and memorable. It's a pity it didn't live up to ME2 but that doesn't need to take away from the fun ride that it is.

10. Tokyo Jungle ; Awesome awesome awesome. Just buy this.

x. Journey ; Journey is a game I have such a hard time with. It's very memorable, enjoyable, and moving. It's just the right length and is gorgeous both in appearance and audio. The game is unlike any other online multiplayer game. But playing Journey is, in the end, not that different from watching somebody -else- play Journey, and this is why I can't say it's one of the ten best games released this year. The actual play mechanics in Journey are, well, disappointingly average; very few of the feelings Journey evokes are caused by having the controller in your hand. It is still worth playing and will be a game remembered for a long time, but sadly, not for being fun or interesting to play.

x. New Super Mario Bros. U ; Yes, it's another NSMB game, but it's absurdly fun, challenging, and is packed full of things to do. In a game that had less memorable releases would easily have charted.


erotic butter maelstrom
Dec 15, 2008
(Before I get started, why is Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP up for awards this year? That was a 2011 game with no major differences in its PC/Mac/Android releases from its original. Not that I'm complaining…it was my GOTY last year, but I'm just curious what gets it exempted from the "ROM dump/HD Version" rule.)

I believe Superbros would fall under the 'next year port' rule, which is why you're seeing votes for games like Dark Souls on PC and Rayman Origins on Vita (or also PC).


Oct 19, 2004
Los Angeles, CA
I believe Superbros would fall under the 'next year port' rule, which is why you're seeing votes for games like Dark Souls on PC and Rayman Origins on Vita (or also PC).

Basically. We want to allow people to vote for games that game to their platform of choice/possession but were just on the other side of the new year, but not allow people to just vote their old favorites because they keep getting re-released.


Oct 19, 2004
Los Angeles, CA
Can you make a detailed list going from 10 to 1 and then just post it afterwards 1-10 with a comment to have it counted? I find it easier to write them that way.

I'll have to check with Cheesemeister, but I believe that duplicate numbers in the same post cause a ballot to be thrown out by the parser. so you'd have to make two separate posts to do what you're talking about.
1. The Walking Dead

When Telltale’s The Walking Dead was announced I was not interested in it. I was so bummed out with the disappointment that was Jurassic Park that I was worried The Walking Dead was going to be same. This is certainly not the case and what has appeared is one of the best adventure games I have played for a very long time. As a game, this is a somewhat similar situation as Virtue’s Last Reward, in that the gameplay itself is not exactly fantastic, but the dialogue options, story and the feeling of creating your own persona in Lee is what makes The Walking Dead shine. It’s a raw tale that will bring all sorts of emotions out of the player during the five episodes. In a year where endings were detested by fans, The Walking Dead finishes with a brilliant closure that makes you look back on your own experience with the game - like Virtue’s Last Reward - discussing with people your adventure and what choices you did in this quality written story.

In an industry where zombies have become used to the point of becoming boring, The Walking Dead shows us that zombies aren't the enemy, we humans are, oh and the fact that someone somewhere can write a child character that I want to care for is a miracle. For Clementine!

2. Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 does so much right for the MMORPG genre. The world feels alive, with dynamic events that appear out of nowhere as you go around exploring. It’s the fact that the game rewards players for exploring that makes it so rewarding to discover these huge vistas and take back in the lovely graphics. No matter what style you want to play in this game, you are compensated, go PvP, do the quests, create things, whatever you do you feel like you can progress in the game. The fact that each race has its own story is a huge plus, and with small choices in character creation that change bits of the plot it feels like you are having your own adventure compared to being a sheep and having the same story experience as every other player in the game. And best of all? No subscription, which allows people to play at their own pace. A massive achievement from ArenaNet and I cannot wait to see what content comes next year.

3. Journey

I did not get to play Journey until just a few weeks ago. What a great way to come into the last month of the year with such a magical and heart-warming experience. Journey is a one-of-a-kind game, a game that forces you with a single objective to climb up to the top of a mountain. On your way you will meet with other anonymous pilgrims, coming together to find secrets and helping each other by signalling with the only communication tool of a glowing symbol that somehow manages to work. You will see pilgrims come and go. You will see them blown away, frozen or attacked by strange beings, and even though you do not know these fellow pilgrims, you still feel a sort of sadness develop for them. This is a passionate game with a great soundtrack that is unlike anything else this year.

4. Dragon's Dogma

Dragon’s Dogma ended up being one of my favourite new RPGs of the year. There is something amazing about taking a group of pawns and bringing down giant mystical beasts. Just seeing a Griffin swoop down for the first time and steal your pawn is such a “what the fu!” moment. It had a great combat system that lets you climb up these enormous monsters and stab them in the eye (or butt if you so wish to take that route), along with good AI for your companions and a cool online pawn sharing system - your personal pawn would gain more knowledge about quests and the world of Gransys when taken on adventures by other players. Oh, and we can’t forget about that ‘ending,’ can we. Awesome game that shines with its own style.

5. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward

I was a huge fan of 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, so you can imagine how happy I was to get the sequel and for it to actually get a UK release this time. It’s a visual novel, which has probably just sent 90% of the readers away, but if you don’t mind reading then you owe yourself to check this out. Virtue’s Last Reward creates a story that is so absorbing, so full of surprises and tension that you won’t be able to put it down. After finishing it you will want to discuss it with people for hours. The game also manages to make improvements mechanically over 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and blending them in as part of the plot is brilliant. Bring along better puzzles and a longer game, and you have a near perfect follow up to one of my favourite visual novel games.

6. Far Cry 3

Talking about getting lost in a virtual word, Far Cry 3 just shouts for you to explore its open tropical island and find hidden secrets, fight knife in hand against a bear or take a hand glider and float across the tree tops of this stunning looking canopy. Not to mention that after the intro and getting face to face with Vaas and his psychotic nature you just know this guy is going to be one bonkers, but memorable villain, and one of my favourite new characters of the year - shame he doesn't get the sending off he deserves. Far Cry 3 is jam packed with variety and it exposes it for you to just have fun in its world. Even the story missions are fairly enjoyable for the most part. Let’s burn fields of weed and put on some Skrillex - wub, wub, wub.

7. Sleeping Dogs

It seems game developers have been nice to me in the past two years, because I have had the pleasure of playing some of the best criminal open world games – Saints Row: The Third from last year and now the surprisingly awesome Sleeping Dogs. Mechanically, this game hits it out of the ballpark with top-rate animation, a Batman blended kung-fu melee combat system, respectable third-person shooting and easy to use free running. Wei Shen makes for a very likeable main protagonist and is surrounded by a worthy cast of characters. The story is interesting, especially if you are into the whole Triad gangster plot lines, and features a very unique setting, Hong Kong, which has yet to appear in an open world setting. Also, if you played it on the PC, then wow, what a brilliant looking game.

8. Forza Horizon

When Forza Horizon was first announced I was a little worried what was happening to the realistic driving franchise. Was Microsoft really making an open world racer that seemed to drop everything that made Forza awesome, changing the game to a more arcade-like experience to pick up extra sales from the Need for Speed crowd? Eventually I gave in and bought the game about a month after its release, and man, I am so happy my worries with the game were completely incorrect. This is an amazing racing game that feels fantastic to play and looks absolutely stunning. It manages to still feel like Forza - keeping all the customisation and classy style the game is known for, but throwing it into the beautiful open environment of Colorado that makes for some refreshing, thrilling and blissful drives across the dusty canyon. This is the racer of the year for me.

9. Torchlight II

While I played both Diablo III and Torchlight II extensively this year, I have to give my vote to Torchlight II being my favourite of the two games. The main reason is that it came with so many improvements over the original title that it truly felt like a sequel that was doing its best to appease everyone who had problems with the first game. For me, it was one of the best examples of a dungeon raiding; isometric loot game that kept the old classic approach instead of changing itself for easier gameplay access, one thing that I felt Diablo III was going for to bring in the World of Warcraft players. If you are looking for one action RPG this year you should make it this one.

10. Resident Evil: Revelations

In a year where the Resident Evil franchise has either been disappointing in survival horror or plain average as a game, thanks to Resident Evil 6 and Operation Raccoon City, it was nice to have at least one Resident Evil game that was great to play and felt that it still kept the survival horror intact. Of course, this just happened to be on Nintendo’s 3DS system, but even so, it had quality production values and an eerie soundtrack that needed you to sit down in a room and put on some headphones. This is a game that successfully captures the spirit of the franchise, but modernises it successfully at the same time. Resident Evil: Revelations is my favourite 3DS game of 2012.


Aug 16, 2006
1. Gravity Rush ; Moving around the different parts of the floating city of Hekseville by literally bending the laws of physics is so much fun that it's all too easy to forget that Gravity Rush features both a genuinely likable heroine and and an interesting story with more than a few twists and turns. Gravity Rush remains a very divisive game but it's unique take on the open world formula kept me hooked from start to finish. It's easily my favorite game of the year.

2. Fez ; Fez is much more than a charming indie platformer with a clever but somewhat familiar perspective-shifting hook. I realized this when I found myself deciphering abstract symbols using pen and paper to find one of the dozens of anticubes hidden in the game's vast and colorful world. I also realized that I haven't liked a video game soundtrack this much in a very long time.

3. The Walking Dead ; Let's get this out of the way first: I shouldn't have to copy save files, change their names and timestamps and move them all over the goddamn place just to play the game the way it was meant to be played. From a technical perspective, The Walking Dead is an absolute mess across all platforms. However, it is also one of the most engaging stories I've ever experienced in a videogame and the way it handles choice (or lack thereof) is truly remarkable.

4. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; The direct sequel to 2010's visual novel 9 Persons 9 Hours 9 Doors had a lot to live up to, especially in terms of story. From the improved production values and the incredible voice work to the convenient visualization of previous decisions and playthroughs I prefer pretty much every aspect of Virtue's Last Reward. Expect for it's story. It just doesn't leave as much of an impression as the self-contained 999, which is mostly by virtue of it being the trilogy's middle chapter.

5. Super Hexagon ; Super Hexagon has replaced Canabalt as my favorite mobile timesink. Sure, you can play it on PCs and Macs but is clearly meant to be played on the go, whenever you've got a couple of minutes or even seconds to spare. People like to make fun of games on iPhone controlling like garbage but Hexagon's twitch-controls are about as close to perfection as you can get.

6. Hotline Miami
7. Journey
8. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
9. Sleeping Dogs
10. Binary Domain

2011. Dark Souls

Blue Ninja

Dec 5, 2009
1. Gravity Rush ; Moving around the different parts of the floating city of Hekseville by literally bending the laws of physics is so much fun that it's all too easy to forget that Gravity Rush features both a genuinely likable heroine and and an interesting story with more than a few twists and turns. Gravity Rush remains a very divisive game but it's unique take on the open world formula kept me hooked from start to finish. It's easily my favorite game of the year.

2. Fez ; Fez is much more than a charming indie platformer with a clever but somewhat familiar perspective-shifting hook. I realized this when I found myself deciphering abstract symbols using pen and paper to find one of the dozens of anticubes hidden in the game's vast and colorful world. I also realized that I haven't liked a video game soundtrack this much in a very long time.

3. The Walking Dead ; Let's get this out of the way first: I shouldn't have to copy save files, change their names and timestamps and move them all over the goddamn place just to play the game the way it was meant to be played. From a technical perspective, The Walking Dead is an absolute mess across all platforms. However, it is also one of the most engaging stories I've ever experienced in a videogame and the way it handles choice (or lack thereof) is truly remarkable.

4. Super Hexagon
5. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward
6. Journey
7. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
8. Sleeping Dogs
9. Binary Domain
10. Alan Wake's American Nightmare

Yeah, you definitely have a point there. I had to replay the first two episodes because the game randomly decided to load up Episode 1 instead of 3. The fact that it still scores so high everywhere, even with those rampant issues, tells me it's something pretty special.


Jun 7, 2004
1. xenoblade chronicles ; i didn't think much of it when i first started playing. it trudges on a long time with story drama, and i couldn't really care, and then i'm suddenly thrust into an adventure and wow- i'm actually thrust into an adventure. xenoblade chronicles elicited the same feeling i had when i explored hyrule field from ocarina of time the first time. it reminded me that i used to play video games to explore their worlds and find treasures and fight monsters. and that's exactly what i did. i was so compelled to see what this game had to offer that i tacked 35 hours onto what would have normally been the endgame. i wanted to rebuild towns, conquer creatures that had been mocking me, and discover as much as i could about the bionis. it doesn't hurt that it had one of the best soundtracks i've heard in an rpg in some time, or that it was a lot of fun to switch between characters, each with their unique play styles. 125 hours marks the most time i've ever put into a single-player experience. i don't know when that will be matched, but it would have to be that year's best game.

2. sound shapes ; at this point, i've played so many platformers that it's getting more and more difficult to surprise me. sound shapes surprises me by being a 2d collectathon platformer where the collectathon element is immensely satisfying. the better you are at a level, and the more complete the song is. that's a simple concept pulled off incredibly well. the level design and the platforming mechanics are well done, and everything culminates in the beck levels. my only complaint is that the first beck level is the best thing in the game, and i'm left wanting more just like it. still, it's my favorite platformer of the year.

3. virtue's last reward ; make a story in a video game, and it damn well better have a purpose. a common dilemma is how game design and story don't get along. instead, virtue's last reward intricately weaves the story into the game design. it's playful with video game tropes, and all more worth the while for it. virtue's last reward is not the game its predecessor was- the story isn't as unique, nor are the stakes as high, but it's still one of the best examples of how you can tell a story in a game where dialogue and game design can ally with and not betray one another.

4. new super mario bros. 2 ; the presentation of nsmb2 is not its strong suit. no new music and barely updated graphics do it no favors. however, the level design is immensely satisfying. this time, there was a lot of thought given to the world map and how everything connects. it's the best platformer on the 3ds.

5. need for speed: most wanted ; i've wanted a sequel to burnout paradise for a long time, and i was so glad to get it. the added element of cop chases is a welcome one. more than just a racing game, it's an adventure game with a car.

6. dishonored ; another game where choices don't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but the toolset you're given is pretty large, and there is a lot of variety each mission. good art direction and level design go a long way.

7. journey ; i completed my pilgrimage with just one stranger. it brought a smile to my face when we skated down sand dunes, made me worried when they were attacked by monsters, and made me glad when i found them safe again. we helped each other find secret areas and protected each other as best we could, as long as we could. video games aren't art, but journey shows video games can be just as beautiful.

8. paper mario: sticker star ; this is more of a paper zelda game than the paper mario people were expecting, but i like that. the turn-based battles are unnecessary a lot of the time, the game is split into easy-to-access nodes ala super mario world, and there are some puzzles that require thinking outside the box. it's still paper mario, so it can be funny when it needs to be, and it can drag a bit too, but i found this one of the year's most pleasant surprises.

9. nba 2k13 ; every four or five years i will get a sports game and play the hell out of it. this was one of those years. 2k13 has a lot of different modes and customization, but it also has some of the longest load times in recent memory. some of the presentation leaves a lot to be desired- particularly voice acting of general managers and the main player in career mode- although it's not really that important since it's not the main focus of the game.

10. pokemon black 2 ; if i was still 13, i'd probably have this at #1. a direct sequel to a pokemon game? holy shit! well, i actually didn't pay attention in the first pokemon black, and i didn't pay much attention here. it was good ol' addicting fun, though, and it was great having all my guys from the previous game at the start instead of waiting until the end of the game like what usually happens because gamefreak is full of dicks.

x. the walking dead ; probably gets the award for best script and not much else. it was really cool to be making decisions in a zombie apocalypse world. it was really disappointing that you don't actually make any decisions that matter. there was some debate over the walking dead being a game, and it obviously is, but it's just a really bad one with some interesting characters.

x. mass effect 3 ; after mass effect 2, i think it was too much to expect bioware to deliver on the promise me1 had for the trilogy. still, it was disappointing when the ending happened and i didn't even get an 80s montage following up on characters and events of the game. there were a couple events that did work depending on what you did in me1, 2, and 3, and that was cool to see. just a shame what happened to the series.

x. kid icarus: uprising ; i played only 13 games from 2012, and this is easily my least favorite. the controls make it hard to play, and the on-foot level design makes it almost unplayable. somehow i managed to get through all of it thanks to a surprisingly humorous script, some good voice acting, and really great music. also, the on-rails flying stuff was pretty good so i can't complain there.


May 9, 2012
1. HALO 4; Amazing game, amazing story, and great multiplayer.
2. The Witcher 2; I played last year, and played it again on the 360, just fantastic.
3. Sleeping Dogs; Great game and a AMAZING combat system, little broken, but is ok made me feel like Jet li.
4. Footbal manager 13; meth in form of a game.
5. X-COM; How I can love so much a broken game...it's X-com!
6. FTL; That image of the dog to the ship blowing up says all.
7. Max Payne 3; Best TPS this gen.
8. FIFA 13; Getting better every year.
9. The Walking dead; More like a interactive movie but ok, and that end, awesome.
10. Dishonored; Good game, the sequel has lot of potential.

x. Dark Souls; Don't get a place in top 10 for the port been so bad.
x. Tekken Tag 2; Best fighting game of the year, but to fuzzy sometimes.


Mar 20, 2009
I guess I will finally take part in a GotY thread:

1. Warriors Orochi 3; My most fun game all year. There isn't much I can say except that I love the Musou games, especially the Orochi series. The characters from both Samurai and Dynasty Warriors (and so fucking many of them at that) together whooping ass and killing tons of dudes. It kept me playing for so long and it made me wish that the 360 version had a timer to see how many hours were sank into it.
2. Dragon's Dogma; I had a blast customizing my character and pawn. I would have to type a very long post describing the cool moments I encountered in combat, but there were a lot of them. Times when I sat back and said aloud "I can't believe that just happened!"
3. Sleeping Dogs; The game feels like every one of my favorite HK movies. Combat is the Arkham-style combat of counters, but the moves you pull off and string together look so cool and punishing. The main character is slick as hell and the open-world environment is great.
4. Lollipop Chainsaw; It's Grasshopper, how could it not be good? The soundtrack was something I really liked and I enjoyed the combat as well. The sense of humor was certainly good. The game has a good number of unlockables that add replayability, in addition to trying to get high scores. Then again, I knew I had to have the game as soon as it was announced that Jimmy Urine was involved.
5. Forza Horizon; This came out of nowhere for me. I was looking forward to NFS: Most Wanted all year and only grabbed this on BF because it was cheap and I buy any and every 360 game I can. The game looks incredible and the environment is perfect for just cruising around in. The soundtrack is killer as well. I prefer straight-up arcade racers, but this has just enough 'sim' to it that I am still enjoying it. I just wish I was better with the wireless speed wheel; I've always used standard controllers for racing games.
6. Darkness 2; The sequel to a game I loved. The cel-shaded graphics looked great IMO and really added to the game. The controls were really good; quad-wielding felt so natural and it was easy to pull off really destructive combat.
7. SSX; This was my go-to game for just relaxing and zoning out. I had my songs in the game that I liked and would drop onto a mountain and just cruise on down. I was never that big an SSX fan before this gen, so I guess I didn't have much to be disappointed about.
8. Dead or Alive 5; The game looks fantastic. The character models all look incredible, as do the stages. Though I am mainly a 2D fighter fan, DoA is my favorite of the 3D fighters and I knew I would love a new game in the series. It was a long time since 4 came out.
9. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning; I thought this game was great for being a first game. Everything that happened surrounding this game was a damn shame, because I would have liked to see what else could have been done with the game world. I liked the game's visuals a lot, the scenery and world they created.
10. Asura's Wrath; This game felt like every shōnen anime I ever watched when I was 15. It had so many badass moments that left me sitting there with my jaw on the floor. The characters and story really drew me in as well.

I feel bad if anyone reads those comments, because I ended up typing a lot of words that pretty much said "This game is on the list because I liked it and thought it was cool." But yeah, those are my favorite games of the year. I haven't dug fully into many of the games to release in the last three months yet; hazards of having hundreds of games in my backlog and trying to juggle a dozen or two at the same time. So maybe I will end up liking Dishonored more than one of those games, or Spec Ops or something.
But it was an easy choice for me to say that Warriors Orochi 3 was my GotY. Like the Orochi games and Gundam Musou titles before it, I did not get much sleep at all the week that came out. I wasn't working when that released either, so I'm pretty sure I was able to beat my '50 hours the first week' record that Gundam Musou 2 held.

Now to decide if I want to track down the 'Biggest Disappointments 2012' thread and rant about Assassin's Creed 3 all morning or if I want to get to sleep for work tonight...
Feb 22, 2009
1. Legend of Grimrock ; Atmospheric, demanding and just a great RPG adventure in the broken tradition of great computer RPGs. A wonderful modern reboot of the genre to introduce young gamers to, like everyone below 30.
2. Hotline Miami ; This game is like Halo only better. A few seconds of fun over and over again except now that fun is more intense. The music sucks which almost makes it not worth playing although you can turn the sound off.
3. Mount & Blade: Warband - Napoleonic Wars ; A brilliant multiplayer shooter with guns that cannot hit anything most of the time and take 30 seconds to reload between shots. Includes musicians who play music badly. Engineers who dig holes instead of planting ammo. No XP, leveling up, microtransations, unlocking but you can play on 200 man servers. Highly recommended.
4. Warlock: Master of the Arcane ; Compared to the Firaxis games that it competes with it feel light on feautures and has gameplay that seems to free flowing with a lack of critical key decisions to make. But still it manages to put up a good fight and is very
5. FTL: Faster Than Light ; A great spaceship combat and exploration game. My only problem with it is that sometimes it feels a bit too much like there are not enough builds that are as viable as the best and it relies a bit too much on replaying to get the right lucky events to unlock things and get what you need.
6. Quantum Conundrum ; Has some really great environments and puzzles to solve. Not enough challenging ones or the wrong sort of challenge sometimes? Maybe, but when it works it is a really satisfying game.
7. Planetside 2 ; At it's best it generates some unpredictable large scale combat encounters.


Oct 22, 2007
1. XCOM Enemy Unknown ; XCOM Enemy Unknown is to be played on Ironman Difficulty. There is no other option. On this difficulty, It’s the kind of game that when I’m not playing it I’m just constantly thinking about playing. It’s so engrossing that it actually infected my dreams for two weeks changing most of them into turn based affairs involving ant farm side views, aliens, laser guns, movement limits, and constant bizarre deep voice narration from a shadowy figure. Because of Iron Man mode, every single decision becomes intensified. Suddenly, that decision to build another medkit or save the money for after your next mission becomes the most pivotal decision of the game. Iron Man causes each trooper you have to become exceedingly precious to you, especially when they level up enough to get nicknames. Iron Man causes you to agonize over every single dice roll during combat, and even then know exactly the mission where it all went to hell. Iron Man causes the game to have an actual “Game Over” screen where the countries of the world decide you can’t protect them, withdraw from XCOM, and let the aliens win. The best thing about XCOM, though, is that even in this time of crushing defeat, where you team has been wiped off the face of the earth, you then rush back to start a new game with a new plan, ready to kick some alien ass. I love strategy games, and XCOM is easily right up there with Valkyria Chronicles as best of the generation. I can’t wait to play this game again in 5 months when I get bored one afternoon.

2. Ys Origin ; I love, love, lovelovelove Action Role Playing Games, and I completely forgot how much I did until I played Ys Origin. There is nothing better in gaming then pulling your shit together, memorizing a boss’ patterns, and finally cracking it’s skull open by dodging attacks and hitting it at the right moment. Sure, you could just pop out and grind the one level you need to fight him/it/her comfortably, but fuck you I have the skill, and that mother-F-er is going down! Also, the music in this game is beautiful, exciting (Best Rocking Guitars of the Year!), tension building , and Boss perfect . I could link almost every song in the soundtrack, that’s how great it is. Ys Origin, thank you for making me remember how much I love ARPGs. Because of you, I bought and loved, loved, lovedlovedloved Ys: Oath in Felghana. Although both were “released” on Steam this year, Origin gets the nod a) because I like the tower structure a little better than running back to town, b) I liked replaying the game as multiple characters to get different perspectives, and c) because I played and remember Ys 1 and 2, which Origin references a lot. Speaking of (b), I know a game is good when I instantly want to play it again after I beat it, and then a 3rd time after that.

3. Tokyo Jungle ; Tokyo Jungle is just a game, and unabashedly so. It’s a ridiculous concept in a ridiculous setting with ridiculous mechanics, and it’s so much damn fun. The quickest way to play the game is to pick an animal and immediately try and unlock the next animal, which can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes of doing the starting challenges. The actual way to play the game is to unlock the next animal, and then for some reason try and survive as long as possible against the insane odds the game throws at you. The beauty of the game ends up being the crazy stories that you tell your buddies: “Oh man, yesterday I got my baby chick to level 65, outran a pack of raptors in the park, managed to mate with another chicken to extend my lifespan, and then accidentally dropped down a manhole only to be ripped apart by a pack of sewer alligators.” The icing on the cake is that the story mode in the game, while silly, actually explains what the hell is going on and in a really fun way. That’s right: it actually makes sense why there are pomeranians, bears, lions, and raptors running around with no humans anywhere. If that’s not an accomplishment, I don’t know what is.

4. Double Dragon Neon ; Wacky 80’s fun that plays hard on nostalgia for everything that made the era great, but wins every single time it does. I downloaded this with almost no hope for it being good (free from PSN+) and ended up having a blast playing through solo. I couldn’t believe that I was having fun playing a beat-em-up in 2012, actually enjoying the combat and its mechanics, and completely loving the hell out of the music, style, and general 80’s stupidity in game. And man, can I just point out how much I love the music? I must have spent an hour on the mix tape screen alone once I unlocked them all. When a game makes you go from apathy to genuinely loving it you know something was done right. Also, Props to the best ending song in a game (“Dared to Dream”) since “Still Alive” from Portal. Yes, I think it’s just as good. I have no idea how it holds up if you haven’t played the game, but by the end of the game my feelings had completely flipped on Skullmageddon (the silly looking skeleton boss) from “stupid enemy” to “He’s like the Monarch from Venture Brothers!”, and the final song fit so perfectly.

5. Black Mesa ; You would think that when Half-Life 1 is one of your favorite games of all time you would avoid a remake by an unknown team that has nothing to do with Valve at all costs. Instead, I downloaded and played through Black Mesa when it was released and was blown away. Even with the amount of time it’s been since I played the original clouding my judgment as to how good it originally looked and played I still LOVED this remake of it. It somehow captured everything about the original that made it wonderful and brought those feelings flooding back. The greatest compliment I can give this is that I can seriously say that If I ever want to play HL1 again, I can instead play Black Mesa and feel completely satisfied. Hell, not having Zen in is sort of a bonus. Now who do I have to sleep with to get these guys to remake Half-Life: Opposing Force?

6. Vessel ; A fluid mechanics puzzle platformer that is mostly puzzling (in a good way!). Vessel struck that wonderful balance that all puzzle games hope to achieve where you wander into a room and think “Oh god, how am I going to do this”, but then screw around for a bit and easily figure it out on your own. Also, it does a great job of slowly adding new items, wrinkles, and objects that change the puzzles and how everything interacts. It starts off so simple with water and one “eye” type, and by the end of the game you are finding ways to create Fluros of different elements and temperaments so that they will run into each other and explode, or light up a dark area, or turn into steam, or even turn a generator somewhere. God, it’s just so much fun!

7. Spec Ops: The Line ; The gameplay in this game (the cover, shooting, weapons, etc…) are all incredibly mediocre and serviceable, but the reason this game ends up on my list is because after everything is said and done, that’s kind of what the game is about in the first place. The greatest amount of praise that I can give Spec Ops is that it’s a game I thought about more after I finished it. I don’t mean this in a Bioshock way where it was just a “Oh man, what a twist”moment. It’s more along the lines of coming to the climax, thinking “That…was a neat twist”, and then starting to think what everything meant outside of the game. Spec Ops did the thing I love most from any media I absorb: cause me to seek out discussion on it. The most fun I had with this game was reading everything after I turned off the game: the message boards, the interviews with the developer, and the breakdowns of specific moments on Youtube. If I could wish for one thing, it would be a Developer’s Commentary mode like Starbreeze did in Escape from Butcher Bay or Valve did in Teamfortress 2 and Half-Life 2 + Episodes.

8. Asura’s Wrath ; QTE’s the game. No, that’s a good thing. Not only do I love the sheer insanity of what happens on screen, I love the lengths the game goes to in order to present it: giant button prompts, crazy prompt locations, late title cards, “Next time on Asura’s Wrath!”, etc…. I’ve read the argument that watching someone else play is just as good as playing, and I can’t disagree more. My only proof is that I was too cheap to buy the true ending of the game (sub note: awesome job on a DLC plan there Capcom) so I instead opted to watch it on Youtube. While insane and fun, I was more bored watching that then I was playing any part of the game itself. There is just something much more fun about hitting that giant flaming X prompt, or mashing the buttons to B U R S T than watching someone else do it.

9. Botanicula ; A beautiful storybook with puzzles, humor, and all around zaniness. Another type of game I never thought I would like, but ended up finishing in one sitting. I loved constantly being surprised by what was on each screen, by how you interacted with the world, by how much charm each and every bug and flower in the game had, and by how much I cared about a bunch of bugs saving a seed from a giant soul-sucking spider.

10. Torchlight 2 ; Disclaimer: I’ve only played around 5 hours and am just getting into this game, but I can already tell it’s exactly what I wanted from Torchlight 1. Thus far, the Multiplayer has been great fun and there has been tons of loot. If anything, there is almost too much damn loot. Nothing kills the fun like opening my inventory only to have to spend the next 5 minutes sorting through items.

x. Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery EP ; Great art, great music, great exploration, great fun. As someone who generally kind of hates adventure games and pixel hunt mechanics, I was blown away by how much I liked this game. It makes me wish I had a tablet, as I’m sure it’s the best platform to play on.

x. Orcs Must Die! 2 ; It was more Orcs Must Die. Yes, that was fun and great, but at the same time…. It was just more Orcs Must Die. I still had a blast playing through it with a friend but I have 0 urge to replay through solo or beat my old high scores. I’m hoping that when I get bored over the summer I’ll come back and give it another try because I can tell it’s great game, it just hasn’t grabbed me.

x. Planetside 2 ; This game would have been on my list if the F2P treadmill wasn’t so insane, and I say this as someone who subscribed for the first month! It just takes way to damn long to get anything substantial (new guns and weapons in particular) without spending money, and even then things are just a little too expensive (the 500 points I got for my month of subscribing got me 0 items I wanted for the three classes I played). I would have gladly paid for this game at release and yet it really irks me that I backed that up by subscribing for a month only to feel like I got nothing out of it. Other than it being F2P though, it’s the most fun I’ve had playing an online shooter since Teamfortress 2.

x. Frog Fractions ; What. The. Hell. If you read this far and don't know what the hell Frog Fractions is and have 15 minutes to spare, click this link --> http://twinbeardstudios.com/frog-fractions <-- right now. A little hint, there is more to the game then just a joke at the expense of 80s learning software and a bad Missile Command clone. It goes deeper, and gets insane.

x. 2011. Q.U.B.E. ; After the utter disappointment that was Quantum Conundrum, I picked up Q.U.B.E. on a sale having almost no hope for it. What I discovered is that a first person puzzle game with no narration, or story, or really anything other than rooms connected with doors is still an awesome game. Aside from some silly &#8220;in the dark&#8221; puzzles, Q.U.B.E. made me happier and feel smarter than QC did at any point during it.

Whew.... that was a lot, but a lot of fun to reflect back on. Time to read the rest of the thread that I missed!


Feb 9, 2010
1. Tribes: Ascend ; A return to pure adrenaline FPS with a great free to play model.
2. Guild Wars 2 ; Finally an MMO that made every aspect of the game fun, even the combat.
3. Hotline Miami ; This is the first time where art direction and soundtrack actually made me enjoy the game more.
4. Persona 4 Golden ;
5. Crusader Kings II ;
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 ; PC matchmaking based on a modified ELO system is always welcome.
7. FTL: Faster than Light ;
8. Torchlight II ;
9. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ;
10. Borderlands 2 ;


Jan 1, 2011
I've gotta say, I really enjoyed reading this list and that's with only one game here (possibly) matching up to my own choices when I finish my write ups, if I had to explain why i'd say something like that it had a fair bit of charisma to it.


Oct 22, 2007
I've gotta say, I really enjoyed reading this list and that's with only one game here (possibly) matching up to my own choices when I finish my write ups, if I had to explain why i'd say something like that it had a fair bit of charisma to it.

Hah, thanks! I'm just glad someone read that huge text dump at all.

I'm not too suprised if your choices don't match up. Due to a bout with unemployment during this year, I really didn't get to play a ton of $60 games. With that being said though, I'm not sad at all that most of my games this year are smaller affairs. I'm really, really looking forward to getting a few paychecks in the bank and catching up on all the games that everyone is listing.


Jul 4, 2010
1. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; A challenging, content-rich experience that exemplifies Sakurai's unique style.

2. Frog Fractions ; Subversive, hilarious, and sublime. An amazing parody of various video game tropes that manages to have a few breathtaking moments in its own right. I smiled from start to finish.

3. Borderlands 2

4. Guild Wars 2

5. Planetside 2

6. Darksiders 2


Dec 16, 2008
Ontario, Canada
Didn't play very many games this year, but here's my (short) list. Also, I have to preface this by saying Dota 2 would be my #1 if it were allowed, as I've invested 1000+ hours into it and absolutely love it. So next year it will likely top my list.

1. The Walking Dead; incredible achievement for storytelling and character development in games. I've never played anything like it, and have never before been so emotionally invested in a game. Shame to hear about the glitches/bugs some have experienced, but I was lucky enough to have a bug-free playthrough that was amazing throughout. Needless to say season 2 is a day 1 purchase for me.

2. Hotline Miami; not perfect, but a damn fun indie game with exciting and fluid gameplay. The music was also top notch. The story left a bit to be desired, but it was a good effort.

3. Guild Wars 2; I didn't actually finish the main story, and haven't touched the game in months. I was really hyped for the game leading up to its release, but it came out at the start of my school term and I just didn't feel like investing a lot of time into an MMO. However, I played it enough to know that they did an amazing job in terms of world building and art. I disagree with some of the mechanics they introduced, but it's still a good game that I hope to get back to eventually.


Jun 7, 2004
1. FTL: Faster Than Light ; Being a complete sci-fi nerd, this game perfectly captures the feeling of being a starship captain navigating in hostile space. A really amazing indie game with lots of hidden depth and replay value thanks to the randomly generated universe each time you play. Definitely the best game of the year.
2. The Unfinished Swan ; The most creative game I played this year. I think I had a smile on my face the entire time I played it. It also earns points for proving that games can be artistic and still have, you know, actual gameplay. I do however wish the mechanics were fleshed out a bit more, at times this game feels like it's on the verge of becoming a portal esque puzzle platformer masterpiece but sadly it never quite gets there.
3. Hotline Miami ; This game is basically the Super Meat Boy of twin-stick shooters. Great soundtrack, solid simple gameplay mechanics that are done really well, and constantly getting your ass handed to you on these tiny little levels until you finally get it right and all you can say is "f yeah, bring on the next one!". Add it all up and you have a tremendous game. I wish there was co-op play though, as the game is begging for it.
4. Quantum Conundrum
5. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 ; Ok, ok, I know. The single player campaign is shit. The multiplayer is shit. But good lord man, zombie mode? It's freaking fantastic! And when making this list I realized that's good enough for it to be one of the best games of 2012.

2011. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; Great linear-sandbox gameplay, and the terrific art direction and music created a fantastic atmosphere. It would have been #2 on my list for 2011 (after Portal 2) if I had gotten a chance to play it last year.

There were some other games I played this year, but those are the only ones I think are worthy of any recognition. Pretty pathetic year really, thankfully 2011 was ridiculously overflowing with quality so I spent much of my game playing time this year catching up on games I missed. I still have Dishonored and Far Cry 3 in my backlog, so if both of those live up to the GAF hype (lol) they might possibly salvage this year however.

We really need new systems at this point so we can get some new AAA IPs, looking forward to 2013 and sweeping 2012 under the rug like it never happened. :)


Nov 10, 2007
Owensboro -- really awesome job you did on your list. Mine will look a lot different, but I loved reading your opinions. Also, I'm really curious about Frog Fractions now. :)
Jul 15, 2004
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 ; Snobs won't like this pick, but for all its aim assist and hilarious campaign that borders on parody, this series has the sheer user base and funding behind it to keep it a compelling series worth playing. Its big and its fun and there are loads of people playing it to have fun with. Zombies is great. I know I'm not in love with it but I've logged way too much time with it on both 360 and Wii U now not to acknowledge it.

2. Sonic & Sega All Star Racing Transformed ; The next Mario Kart has a lot to live up to. Sadly not had too many opportunities to play it repeatedly in local multiplayer but it was great when I did and the wealth of modes and challenge in the game is great. Unlocks in recent MK games are a chore... This is always fun. Probably the best new kart racer since DKR and Crash Team Racing

3. Sleeping Dogs ; I liked the True Crime games, but they were in many ways - pretenders to GTAs throne. Like Saints Row, the developer and Squeenix managed to make something that feels like its own thing, and not a me-too title.. I love kung fu movies and this felt like a worthy videogame equivalent, even with a bit of hard boiled and infernal affairs thrown in. The last game aside from the arkham games to make me feel like I was playing a fun character in a world rather than a marionette in a game with superficial gameplay. Other games try to be movies, this just pays homage to its inspirations.

I think Journey is getting a lot of justified votes, and for myself I've played a lot of the likes of fallblox and new art academy. The games I expected to love this year were, surprisingly, not as great as I'd hoped (Darksiders 2) - and other games I've really enjoyed are ones I've actually been quite LTTP with.

I thought NSMB2 was terrible to be honest, and while I have just finished NSMBU and loved it, I know the best is yet to come from Wii U... In fact, whatever the best is, it hasn't been announced.

I was glad to see Rayman Jungle Run get a mention... And there's a lot of games listed here I'll have to add to my backlog

I'm looking forward to Rayman Legends, The Cave, Runner 2 and whatever surprises E3 and future Nintendo Directs may bring.


Nov 12, 2009
1. Journey ; It was such a unique and fantastic experience.

2. Diablo 3 ; Cant think of a game this year that I have spent more time playing(league of legends comes close). I got to level 40 then quit, picked the game up after 1.04 and became addicted. Then I met some gaffers and well... thats all she wrote

3. FTL ; the first 5 minutes were somewhat dull so I dropped it. Picked it up a week later and became hooked. Still havent beaten it but its always fun to get a difference crew and different results.

4. The Walking Dead ; gave me the same kind of engaging ride that I got from heavy rain.

5. Mass effect 3 ; The game was probably too ambitious for the amount of time that they had to complete it. I was able to enjoy the game a bit despite its glaring flaws and poor ending.

6. Asuras wrath ; It was like having a high budget interactive anime on my tv and I really enjoyed it.

7. Warriors Orochi 3 ; It was my return to the musou franchise and it didnt disappoint. Spent quite a bit of time playing this

8. Hawken ; fun mech game

9. Guild wars 2 ; it was not what I was expecting

2011. Dark Souls ; Still playing it

A Pretty Panda

fuckin' called it, man
Jul 5, 2010
I don't play a lot of video games

1. Sleeping Dogs ; FUCK

2. Angry Birds Star Wars ; The only Angry Birds game I have played to completion. I'm not even a hug Star Wars fanatic either. It's the new SW-related powers each bird gets that make this game so fun. Aiming your red bird then tapping the screen to have your lightsaber come out as a spiral of death is pretty satisfying.

3. Double Dragon Neon ; They make a reference to Bimmy and Jimmy Lee

2011. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 ; I think I put like 1200 hours into this game.

Most Overrated:

Sleeping Dogs
Really, GAF? If the story was typical gangsta or mafia instead of kung fu movie I think a lot of you would hate this sloppy game.

Yeah that's precisely it.


Dec 25, 2008
1. Dark Souls Durante Edition (it's like a new game in this resolution and fr stability!!)
2. Mass Effect 3
3. Journey


Oct 2, 2006
I didn't play too many games this year but I liked most of them. Only Yakuza Dead Souls and maybe Resonance dissappointed me.

1. Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown ; Sega did a wonderful job with this port. Online worked really well, the trainning mode was superb, Sega's youtube tutorials were a nice addition, the inclusion of 7 soundtrack from the previous titles was a great idea and graphics and gameplay were really good. The only thing I hate about this game (and other fighting games nowadays) is that in the end you can just play with one or two characters if you want to do it well.

2. Botanicula ; Really nice game. It's awesome sound-wise and I loved it's humor. I liked the pace of the game too.

3. The Walking Dead ; Telltale did a great job with this license, as usual. The graphics were better than I expected and the story worked really well. They will have a bad time while trying to surpass what they achieved here. It'd be probably in the first position if it wasn't for the unforgivable saving errors.

4. Dear Esther ; Interesting story, great graphics.

5. Tribes Ascend ; I mostly played when it was still on beta, but loved its solid and unique gameplay.

6. The Unfinished Swan ; I usually don't like stories for childs but still liked the game for its graphics and some nice gameplay ideas.


Apr 17, 2009
1. The Walking Dead ; Nice story.
2. Journey ; Made me feel like an 8 year old with such wonder
3. Borderlands 2 ; Had a blast playing that game from start to finish with 3 friends.
4. Hotline Miami ; That soundtrack.
5. Dishonored ; Great new IP.
6. Torchlight 2 ; Great ARPG.
7. Fez ; Such a hidden master piece.
8. Rayman Jungle Run ; Mobile game made good.
9. Spec Ops: The Line ; Nice character development.
10. Counter Strike: Global Offensive ; That MP is still epic.

2011. Batman: Arkham City ; These games are truly games and epic.


Jan 10, 2010
Most of the PS3 games I've played this year (Uncharted 3, Arkham City etc...) were older titles, so this is going to be quite a Nintendo-heavy list.

As for Xenoblade, I voted for it last year so it won't make an appearence.

1. Last Story ; Beautifully streamlined JRPG. Original and nostalgic at the same time. Perfect for someone like me who hates bloated RPGs.

2. ZombiU
; Glorious return of true survival horror. Also proves that the features of the Wii U gamepad can have a really big effect on the gameplay experience.

3. Kid Icarus: Uprising
; Ridiculously packed full of content. The simple, yet deep controls and game system are clearly a result of very smart, elegant design.

4. Pandora&#8217;s Tower
; Given it's low production values, I'm not expecting this to appear on anyone else's list. But I loved it. We don't get this kind of Japanese dark fantasy nearly often enough. The core concept of the game is very original too. Makes great use of the Wii pointer controls as well.

5. Gravity Rush
; Beautiful presentation. This is the kind of original, ambitious game we used to get from Japan more often. Shame that the combat system could have clearly used some refinement. Maybe in the sequal?

6. Fire Emblem: Heroes of Light and Shadow ; A great return to form for the series after the dissapointing Shadow Dragon. Shame it was never released in the West.

7. Nintendo Land
; I was really sceptical of Nintendoland when I first saw it, but after actually playing it, I quickly changed my mind. Lovely presentation. Some of the games are pretty satisfying as single player experiences too.

8. Resident Evil: Revelations
; A game of two halves. The parts that feel like classic RE are great. Some other parts are not as good. The story is completely nonsensical and stupid.

9. Project Zero 2: Wii Edition
; Not as good as Project Zero 4, but still a tense, classy horror experience. Can't wait for the inevitable Wii U game!

10. New Super Mario Bros U ; It was definitely enjoyable. Some other year it would have been higher on my list, but I guess I'm just kind of bored with the series now.


Aug 5, 2011
1. Journey ; The equivalent of the little film that delivers an experience beyond the big budget explosions of the usual blockbuster suspects. Loved it from start to finish over multiple plays both alone and with others. As a side note was there ever a game where you felt so close to someone else only to be amazed when you saw some of the nametags? I loved discovering someone called KillYouOften666 was willing to spend ages being patient and loyal with you across multiple levels.
2. Dishonored ; I love great worlds delivered via SP experiences. I love multiple approach gameplay with emergent experiences. I love stealth and finding out hidden back-stories. I love Victorian and Steampunk trappings. Clearly there was a lot for me to love in Dishonored.
3. Planetside 2 ; Sometimes more really is better. I don't play much MP but hey, if your're going to go into battle online why not have a lot of company? I have no idea if its balanced or not but I love the experience when it's going full blast
4. Dear Esther ; A very different feel from Journey but another great experience for me. The mood and tone were great and the levels astonishing in their sense of place. Would have liked a tiny bit more interaction - but then that might have spoiled one of the interpretations. The final moments were quite something.
5. Gravity Rush ; Loved the setting and the mechanics. Would have liked a little more ground covered narrative wise but overall my favorite RPG experience for a while and a place I still return to when the mood takes me.
6. Uncharted Golden Abyss ; more of the same really, but it's a well I enjoy every trip to so it still delivered for me. Liked some of the new mechanics (taking photos, dusting off stuff, etc) and enjoyed the trip as always.
7. Borderlands 2 ; bigger and better in all the right ways and a blast to play
8. Sleeping Dogs ; not normally a fan of the GTA style but the setting and approach worked for me and I enjoyed it a lot
9. Tokyo Jungle ; simply batshit mad who thought of that madness that I enjoyed a whole lot despite the somewhat shallow mechanics
10. LittleBigPlanet Vita ; It felt fresh, the touch input made a ton of sense for this IP and the art style entranced me as always.
Apr 18, 2010
Played exactly 10 games that were released in 2012.

1. Journey; A perfect blend of visuals, mechanics, music, and premise. We all have a Journey co-op story because it was such a great idea used perfectly to enhance the experience. A transcendent game filled with beauty, heartbreak, and triumph. Sand surfing is an all-time moment for me.

2. The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition; Pretty much the polar opposite of Journey while still being a tremendous experience. Compelling (while also complicated and confusing) adult story that is genuinely affected by decisions you make. A fantastic world filled with great characters and great writing. The best looking game I have seen on 360.

3. Assassin's Creed III; I was all in once the time period was announced. Not all changes were for the better and most of the side content was filler but walking around Boston Harbor, running through the snow in the Frontier, and steering my ship in the Caribbean while cannons boomed around me more than made up for it.

4. Nintendo Land; Tons of great content for both single and multiplayer. Filled with typical Nintendo charm. Surprising amount of content and depth while also being newcomer friendly. The only game my wife has wanted to play with me. Great use of the GamePad and illustrates its capabilities. Might not set the world on fire like Wii Sports but is infinitely better.

5. ZombiU; The best game featuring zombies this year. Uses the GamePad in very novel ways that enhance the gameplay and tension. Legitimately terrifying at moments and leaves you on your toes. Punishing gameplay requires strategy and preparation.

6. New Super Mario Bros. U; Probably the best 2D Mario game ever. Seemless overworld map, secret exits, power-ups, and Challenge mode improve upon NSMBWii in every single way. Looks so smooth and great in HD.

7. The Walking Dead; I feel that The Walking Dead TV show is merely a good show that gets by on its premise more than its characters or writing. While the game certainly solves those problems, I went in thinking I could finally make decision and affect the outcome that usually leave me frustrated with the direction of the TV show. When I realized my choices were more for emotional differences rather than story differences (a specific example is a shocking, unavoidable moment in Episode 3), the game dropped quite a bit on my list. Still a tremendous achievement but would actually benefit at times from having less gameplay.

8. Resident Evil 6; My analogy for RE 6 is that of a band releasing a double album. Messy, chaotic, abrupt shifting of styles, would have been better if it were edited down, but still filled with some great moments. Not nearly the mess reviews would have you think but certainly not up with the best in the series.

9. Little Inferno; A great little experimental game that may just be about burning things but is very addictive. You will want to find all 99 combos. Nice art style, music, and little touches to items that you burn. Enjoyed the story, too. Sugar Plumps and The Weather Man were both great.

10. SSX; My first SSX game so I came into this with no expectations. The Deadly Descents premise was certainly hit or miss and the bottomless pits were frustrating but once you got into a groove and were working your Tricky it really was a lot of fun. The Global Event online integration was a great way to compete with your friends and people around the world.

2011 - Rayman Origins; Great cartoon visuals, tight controls, zany music, and interesting levels make it a top-tier 2D platformer. Bring on Legends.


fired zero bullets in the orphanage.
Sep 1, 2007
I'll have to check with Cheesemeister, but I believe that duplicate numbers in the same post cause a ballot to be thrown out by the parser. so you'd have to make two separate posts to do what you're talking about.

Later votes overwrite previous votes. If the overwriting ones don't have any comments, it'll be disqualified.

Thanks. Think I figured a decent way to do it, typing it out as ten, nine, eight, etc. and then actually using the numbers in the proper order with cliffnoted comments afterwards formated for the parser.


Oct 13, 2007
Miami, FL
1. The Walking Dead ; It is my firm belief that Season 1 of Telltale's The Walking Dead will be remembered as a catalyst for the evolution of the medium, in no small part, thanks to how it was initially distributed. Where Valve and others have failed, Telltale succeeded: The Walking Dead serves as a shining example of how to handle episodic content right. With The Walking Dead, Telltale managed to keep players interested in episodic content like never before, creating true "discussions around the watercooler at work" moments once only the realm of television and film. But all that aside, in The Walking Dead, an immaculately paced and heart-wrenching story collides with some of the most lovingly crafted characters to ever appear in the medium. At times, it's uplifting and even cathartic, but most of the time it's dark, tense, dramatic, frightening, and downright depressing. Its more poignant moments nearly brought me to tears. Easily the Game of the Year in my eyes.

2. Persona 4 Arena ; Persona 4 is one of the greatest RPGs ever made. Its cast is endearing, charming, and relatable; its story is quirky, engrossing, and unconventional; its gameplay is forward-thinking, addictive, nonlinear, and cohesive; and its visual and audio presentation is second to none, featuring some of the most sytlish menus and catchty tunes ever committed to the genre. It's also 80-100 hours long, but I enjoyed every single second of my time with the game. Golden is the definitive version of the game, addressing nearly all the issues with the original game, transforming it into a bonafide masterpiece in my mind.

3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; While I can’t speak to how the game holds up to the revered original, I can speak to personal experience: for me, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is right up there with the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics, the Fire Emblem series, and Valkyria Chronicles in the high tier list of excellent turn-based strategy RPGs. Not since the aforementioned Valkryira Chronicles back in 2008 have I been this addicted to a game in this genre. With Enemy Unknown, Firaxis Games have brought their trademark “one more turn/game” seductiveness to a grueling, albeit immensely satisfying, game about humanity fighting off an alien invasion.

4. Xenoblade Chronicles ; With the lone exception of Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei series, I'm of the opinion that Japanese RPGs have stagnated in recent years. Current generation entries in the Final Fantasy and Tales series, for instance, just haven't grabbed me like previous iterations from generations past. Fortunately, Xenoblade Chronicles is the personified antithesis to the modern big budget Japanese RPG. Completely uncompromising in its artistic vision, Xenoblade Chronicles don't give a damn that it is on the Wii. Xenoblade Chronicles is a game that combines the sensibilities of Western and Easter game design, nearly perfect in its marriage of the two philosophies. Not only is it the best Japanese RPG on the system, in my humble opinion, it's the best Japanese RPG of its generation of consoles (Wii, 360, PS3). If you're a fan of the genre, you should absolutely play it.

5. Journey ; While it may not be my favorite game released this year, thatgamecompany's Journey is probably the closest thing to a perfect video game on this list. There are no "Unfortunately"s or "However"s with Journey, unless of course you think it's strange to pay ~$15 for a 90 minute experience, which to that I say: "People pay $10-15 every week to see films that don't even invoke an iota of the emotional response that Journey does." In Journey, the aesthetically pleasing visuals and the moving score work in perfect tandem to deliver an experience that I won't soon forget. But where it truly shines is the experience of actually playing it: the mere act of jumping, floating, and chirping your way through Journey's gorgeous and meticulously crafted world was enough to invoke feelings of joy and happiness from within me.

6. Borderlands 2 ; Borderlands 2 feels like someone at Gearbox sat down, built a checklist of all the first game's issues -- a forgettable story, a terrible final boss fight, idiotic A.I., the lack of a trading system, the overuse of the color brown -- and set out to fix them. As a whole, the game definitely feels more reactionary than evolutionary to me, which is totally fine, because personally I was totally down for more Borderlands.

7. Spelunky ; Like Super Meat Boy and Mark of the Ninja, Spelunky is one of those 2D games with perfect controls. Spelunky is an abject asshole of a game at times, but it's kind of why I love it. It's probably the one game I've sunk the most time into this year.

8. Mark of the Ninja ; From Klei Entertainment, the creators of N+ and the visually-striking but ultimately forgettable Shank series, comes Mark of the Ninja, one of the most mechanically-sound, playable, and downright fun 2D stealth games I've ever played. To be perfectly honest, the only reason the game isn't higher on my list is because the story, while somewhat interesting at points, is pretty throwaway. But a forgettable story is no reason to disregard one of the best downloadable titles -- nay, games -- released this year. Mark of the Ninja is a true triumph for the pure stealth genre: not since Arkham Asylum's "Predator" scenarios have I gotten such a rush out of clearing an entire room of witless guards without a single thing going wrong.

9. Dishonored ; With Dishonored, Arkane Studios have crafted another great stealth-action RPG very much in the vein of games like Deus Ex, Thief, and even the original BioShock. Unfortunately, the narrative half of Dishonored is where the game stumbles a bit for me. But story disappointments aside, it’s a fun and accessible game -- not to mention a praiseworthy achievement for a new IP (that has no multiplayer of any kind!) arriving so late into a generation. Can't wait to see what Arkane Studios do with the setting next.

10. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; Easily the funniest game of the year. I've long since lost count of how many times I busted out laughing at its unique brand of 4th-wall breaking, referential and self-referential humor. But it's not just smart writing and fun dialogue that sells it: it's the incredible voice cast, especially Ali Hillis as Lady Palutena and Stuart Scott Bullock as Hades. If you've got a 3DS or plan to pick one up eventually, don't let the game's idiosyncratic control scheme deter you from giving this game a shot. Kid Icarus: Uprising is a triumphant return for Pit and the franchise, and I can only hope we won't have to wait 20+ more years for the next game in the series.


Apr 25, 2006
1. Journey ; One of, if not THE most enjoyable gaming experience I've ever had. Such a wonderfully designed game with a truly moving soundtrack.

2. Persona 4: Golden ; I love this game. Love it.

3. Gravity Rush ; Wonderful mechanic and main character.

4. Borderlands 2 ; Fun co-op and enjoyable writing.

5. Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP ; I will buy anything these guys make.

6. Tales of Graces f ; I enjoyed the shit out of this one. Not my favorite Tales game, but it had a great localization and enjoyable battle system.

7. The Last Story ; Proof that The Gooch can still make an excellent game.

8. Persona 4: Arena ; More Persona is always welcome. Mostly ham fisted stories (with some intriguing threads) and the mechanics were really fun.

9. Theaterhythm: Final Fantasy ; This one played on my nostalgia and I'm cool with that. Cute character designs to boot.

10. Xenoblade Chronicles ; Had to include it on my list again this year because of the NA release. Still amazing, still want it to have my babies.


Oct 23, 2011
1. Max Payne 3 ; This might be my favorite third person shooter of all time. I can't think of one other third person shooter that feels as good as MP 3. My only complaint with it being the unskippable cutscenes, but in retrospect they didn't bother me very much considering I played through the game 5 or 6 times.

2. Mass Effect 3 ; I've always been more invested in the characters of the Mass Effect games rather than the overall story. That's why I didn't come from Mass Effect 3 disappointed. It has the best gameplay of the whole series and most of the characters have great endings.

3. Far Cry 3 ; Loved the gameplay, only wish the story was better. Ah who am I kidding, the story doesn't matter when you can punch sharks and set cheetahs on fire.

4. Assassins Creed 3 ; It's the first AC game that clicked for me and I enjoyed the story quite a bit (mostly due to Haytham Kenway).

5. The Walking Dead ; Could have been my GOTY if more of the choices had an effect on the story, but I still loved the characters and story.

6. Borderlands 2 ; It's more of the same but very few games hooked me as much as this did this year.

7. Syndicate ; I'm not a coop guy at all but I loved everything about Syndicate's coop. It's one of the most intuitive shooter's out there and the shooting is fantastic.

8. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; A fantastic turn based strategy game that got me excited to play while also being scared to play it.

9. The Darkness 2 ; Some of the most fun I've gotten out of a FPS in a long time, and it's one of the few shooters that is more about giving you options during combat rather than before.

10. Forza Horizon ; Combines my two favorite racing games, Burnout Paradise and Dirt 2, with great results and it's the only racing game where I had fun just driving around the open world.


Aug 16, 2006
Yeah, you definitely have a point there. I had to replay the first two episodes because the game randomly decided to load up Episode 1 instead of 3. The fact that it still scores so high everywhere, even with those rampant issues, tells me it's something pretty special.
I think it really is. And I think I'd be okay with it taking the number one spot this year. But not without a disclaimer.


Jun 29, 2008
Can we please avoid spoilers in the descriptions, like the one for Far Cry 3 a bit above here? It's a recent release that I just started playing.

Mizzou Gaming

Jan 1, 2010
1.HALO 4;Bungie who? 343 Delivered in every key area and up against all odds. HALO 4 looks, plays and sounds PHENOMENAL.
2.MASS EFFECT 3;Caving to outside demands to alter ending cost this game Game of Year Honors
3.BORDERLANDS 2;Also doubles as a complete manual on how to properly do a sequel. Without a doubt the best co-op game of the year, maybe the entire generation.
4.FAR CRY 3;Amazing characters in an amazing open world
5.FORZA HORIZON;Easily the surprise hit of the year. Gorgeous, fun and it completely ruined Criterion's Need for Speed for me.
6.ASSASSIN'S CREED 3;Super ambitious title that delivered far more than it disappointed. Expect this game to garner more respect a few years down the line.
7.THE WALKING DEAD;Great Story and characters we grew to actually care about. Still though, a tad-bit overrated.
8.MAX PAYNE 3;Killing people in Bullet Time seriously never gets old and neither does RockStar story tellin'.
9.BATTLEFIELD 3 PREMIUM;Each one of DICE's themed expansions have brought fresh changes to what is this generation's best multiplayer game.
10.JOURNEY;Let's not start sucking each other's dicks just yet, Journey is by far this year's most overrated game as well too. Unfortunately this is also the game we see every year that shows up on everyone's top ten list to try and bolster our game critiquing abilities but deep down we all know it really sucks.


Sep 15, 2011
1. FarCry 3 : Thank you Crytek, you have nailed the formula, and i hope you stick with this into the next gen. The tropical settings, the incredible intro, and the best shooting mechanics in a first person ever. Far Cry 4 will suffer if it is a collect-othon, however as far as I am concerned no one comes close to this kind of immersion in an FPS, and I have played them all this gen. I played with the audio off too, not sure how much that changes things, but good lord did it put me into the world.

2. Disnhonored : It puts you into a world that is reminds me of Bioshock in how it is told. This is a "sandbox" stealth game with super natural elements. It's a gamers wet dream on paper and plays beautifully. Ai can be a bit retarded though

3. Halo 4 : The boots to fill were huge, and they hit it out of the park. It's the best of halo put into a blender, and I dont think many people gamers could be pissed about that.

4. The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings : Much like the guys at Crytek - You can tell this is a game made by the fans of the genre. This series deserves so much more credit and recognition for what it has produced. Top notch, and if given a proper budget - mother of god.

5. ZombiU : For as much crap as the Wii U gets on this forum, the graphics are pretty damn stellar and the lighting matches the atomsphere beautiful. Love the survival horror elements, and hope more games take notes on what this game does right.

6. LittleBigPlanet Vita : It saddens me about the hate for vita. Playing LittlebigPlanet 2 while I am taking the train makes the shittiest ride awesome.

7. Gravity Rush : So damn creative in the gameplay, and the presentation is awesome. And I can take a dump while I play - Fuck yeah! (also: see 6.)

8. Twisted Metal : Ironically, I mentioned this as one of the biggest disappointments of 2012 as well, but this is the twisted metal I remember as a kid growing up - less the amazing character story lines and somewhat odd themes racing levels. They really, really dropped the ball on that one. Sweet Tooth is great, but way too much focus. If they crafted Twisted Metal in the likes of 2, I think this could of had Action Game of the Year potential.
Apr 6, 2009
Sweet, didn't even realize this was going on. Alright, games of the year. Took a bit of introspection to come up with my final list, but I think I'm okay with it.

1. Max Payne 3 ; The Max Payne series is one of my all-time favourites. I love its relentlessly grim and occasionally goofy storylines and beaten down protagonist. So I was very excited when the third game was announced as finally coming. And after playing it, I was not let down. It's a beautiful looking game with a great sound track and sound effects. And while the story line is more Man on Fire/Die Hard than traditional Max Payne, I had a blast playing through it as Max got more and more furious and angry over the course of the game blowing through his continued failures with a fusillade of gunfire and blood and odd monologues. This is a game about failure. About being broken down and addicted and being pathetic and simply doing what it takes to make something useful out of the mess that is your life. I loved it. Plus, James McCaffrey was fucking awesome. No, it's not as poetic as Sam Lake's work, but I was okay with that. I know the Houser's sensibilities. And I loved the end result. Never has the very horrific act of murder ever felt more... sickly joyous. The animations, the controls, the weapons, everything works in perfect harmony to showcase death.

2. Spec Ops: The Line ; Kind of the flipside of Max Payne. As a third person shooter, it's mediocre. But unlike Max Payne, which revels in the violence and chaos, Spec Ops turns it around and makes the player sicker for it. While the gameplay is serviceable, the story is truly brilliant. One of the best this generation. Dark and subversive and anchored with a fantastic performance by Nolan North as a soldier falling apart under the strains of horror and war, this game sticks with you after the credits have finished rolling. Visuals are quite nice, sound is great, and the game is very atmospheric. Deserves a lot more plays. A fantastic subversion of video games that to a degree fetishize war and violence.

3. Dishonored ; A fantastic stealth game. I'm not much of a stealth gamer, but this is one game where I felt like I had to be stealthy, not cause the game was punishing me, but because I wanted to be the badass avenging angel of Dunwall. A silent ghost in the night. While the story's a bit weak, the game's world feels incredibly unique and lived in. The combat is great. Visuals are nice. Voicework is also splendid. Would love a return to this grand city.

4. Alan Wake's American Nightmare ; I fucking love Alan Wake. Seriously. So when American Nightmare was announced, I was incredibly excited, and it did not disappoint. It might be a side story, a sequel, imagination, I don't know. But it's a fantastic look at what kind of improvements in combat and atmosphere we'll see in Alan Wake 2. A nice short story to Alan Wake's novel. Visually and in terms of atmosphere, it's great. Short and sweet, it doesn't wear out its welcome. New enemy types and awesome weaponry are a welcome addition. The growth of Alan's character is also awesome. This awesome little game is anchored by the fantastic performances by Ilka Villi (physical acting) and Matthew Porretta (voice) as the antagonist, Mr Scratch. A wickedly funny and deranged serial killer, he is one of this generation's most memorable villains.

5. Far Cry 3 ; A huge step-up from Far Cry 2 in my opinion. Great atmosphere, lovely visuals, great voice acting. The gameplay is superb, allowing you all manners of gameplay styles. While aspects of the story are interesting, it becomes quite a mess by the third act, but the great antagonists kept me interested in how things were gonna turn out. The Rook Islands is a great environment and combat there feels fantastic.

6. Hitman: Absolution ; Definitely a different direction from previous Hitman games, there's no doubt about that. However, I had a ton of fun with this game. First off, it looks beautiful. The art direction and graphics look incredibly lovely and give it a great atmosphere and mood. It's very rare that I'm struck by how nice a game looks like I was with this game. The gameplay is fun, I like being a stealthy assassin, but I also kind of loved going crazy and forcing violent confrontations when necessary. Gunplay feels good. The story's hilarious pulp, but it's fun and it kept me engaged enough. Great game.

7. Sleeping Dogs ; Surprisingly awesome game about being undercover in the Triads. While the story's pacing is a bit wonky, it's pretty good stuff. The combat system is great and functions very well. The acting is really good. Game looks fantastic... feels like it looks next-gen sometimes.

8. Assassin's Creed III ; This should have ended up ranking higher on the list, but it's ending left a very sour taste in my mouth. Five years I've been eagerly addicted to this series and anxious to see how the modern-day outcome would end and that's what I get!? Biggest let-down ever. The modern day sections, like in ACR, were a sore disappointment, but this time it feels more sucky. Ultimately, that's the main reason it fell so low on the list. So many missed opportunities. Having said that, it does a lot of great stuff in the historical portion. Connor's story is pretty interesting, some wonky story bits aside. Great voice acting. The game looks beautiful, the Frontier is fantastic. The combat is great fun, I love how brutal it gets at time. Heytham Kenway is a nice change of pace as an antagonist from the supervillain Borgias, but I wish we interacted with him more. The animation is superb. Game looks great. Fantastic soundtrack. Worth playing, but the modern-day portion does disappoint so much that it knocked it down a few spots. Had it been a satisfying ending (hell, if they hadn't fucked up the whole modern day section), could easily have been third on my list.

9. The Darkness II ; The Darkness II deserves more love. While short, it is very sweet, as in awesome. Quad-wielding is a great mechanic. Game is very responsive. Great story! I hope we see a Darkness III sooner rather than later, because I need to see what happens next. I'll get it Day 1. Digital Extremes did great work with this game, a much superior work than their previous game, Dark Sector.

10. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 ; Yup. This game cemented it, Treyarch's CoD games are superior to Infinity Ward's. The gameplay is standard CoD, so I won't delve into it, but I love how Treyarch just went crazy with future warfare. It just feels fantastic. The past portions are great too. Story's really good as well with a great antagonist. While it doesn't get quite as crazy "WHAT DO THE NUMBERS MEAN", it's still a great game. Had a ton of fun.