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

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
3
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What did you think of Fez and Journey? Assuming you've played them of course. Those games seem to get a lot of praise, and they look pretty cool from screenshots/video tbh. Journey in particular.
(I was very glad to read your list and the effort you put into the presentation! I briefly considered writing about ME3, in defence of the ending, but opted not to. Glad you liked Stacking as much as you did--otherwise, the list doesn't surprise me too much!)

Fez would have made my top 5. It's the first game since probably Riven where I took notes, which was delightful. I had great fun solving the puzzles myself, including decoding the alphabets. I didn't experience any bugs or anything like that. I loved the ending(s). It was a visual treat. I'm a little disappointed that one of the more difficult puzzles (observatory star blinking), I accidentally solved by mashing buttons. I can't really explain how that was possible without spoiling it, but basically it's too bad, because when I later found out what the actual puzzle was, I was very impressed. If it gets a PC release or if you have some MSP, definitely play it. One word of warning: NO INTERNET. DON'T ASK FOR HELP. DON'T LOOK ANYTHING UP. DON'T WIKI IT. EVEN IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING, DON'T. A great deal of the game's enjoyment comes from the challenge of going through the game and keeping your own notes.

I'd also add that I found Fez quite literate as well, surprising in the degree that it used metaphors and references to outside works. I read Flatland (1884) last summer and was a little amused at seeing some of those similar themes from the novel exist in game form.

I didn't initially write about it because I didn't see the sense in just repeating what everyone else said. I wish I had some novel insight to contribute. The game really feels like a culmination of 5-8 years of 2D indie work (Cave Story, Braid, XBLA/PSN in general), to be honest, it really feels like the end of the era for indie games, like future indie games will be an entirely different developmental branch.

Journey I haven't got around to yet.
 

Felix Lighter

Member
Oct 2, 2007
20,750
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I've been skimming through the thread, reading about games I'm interested in but haven't played, reading the lists of recognized members, reading about games that keep appearing that I've never heard of and reading other members takes on the games I've listed. I plan on going through the whole thing. Tons of work went into a lot of these posts.
 

randomkid

Member
Feb 7, 2007
4,144
1
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(I was very glad to read your list and the effort you put into the presentation! I briefly considered writing about ME3, in defence of the ending, but opted not to. Glad you liked Stacking as much as you did--otherwise, the list doesn't surprise me too much!)
I really am very curious to know what you thought of Tokyo Jungle, or the parts you played at least. Also, your description of Psychonaughts had the right kind of shout outs (Pinky and the Brain, Warioware) to get me interested, I've got a bundle copy that I'm gonna try out.
 

Uriah

Member
Apr 12, 2011
2,801
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1. Hotline Miami ; Excellent soundtrack and gameplay
2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ;
3. FTL: Faster Than Light ;
4. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ; 2nd most played multiplayer game this year
5. Dishonored ;
6. Spec Ops: The Line ;
7. The Walking Dead ;
8. Sleeping Dogs ;
9. Natural Selection 2 ;
10. Borderlands 2 ; A fine sequel, but not enough improvements
 

Arch

Member
Feb 6, 2007
459
0
1,090
1. Mass Effect 3 ; Despite the ending, I still loved the game. It has the best combat and RPG elements of the entire series.

2. The Walking Dead ; A huge boost to modernizing and popularizing adventure games. Not to mention dealing with mature themes in a way that very few games ever have.

3. Borderlands 2 ; Not the most original game, but it's super polished and hilarious. I had a great time playing it in split-screen co-op.

4. Far Cry 3 ; It has the Ubisoft Problems, but it's still a great open world shooter.

5. Journey ; Another great experience from thatgamecompany that defies description.

Didn't have much time to play anything else. I'm sure Dishonored, Assassin's Creed 3, XCOM: EU, FTL, and Hotline Miami all would have rounded out this list.
 

Yoshi

Headmaster of Console Warrior Jugendstrafanstalt
May 4, 2005
16,312
5,761
1,875
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Germany
www.gaming-universe.de
1. New Super Mario Bros. U ; It's easy to laugh off NSMBU as "just another 2D Mario", especially coming out so shortly after NSMB2, but its level design is absolutely outstanding, the game mechanics are still perfect and the new challenge modes are a fantastic addition. It may be lazy from a technical point of view and yes, the music isn't comparable to the old classics, but it's still one hell of a treat.
2. New Super Mario Bros. 2 ; The coin collecting aspect had me totally addicted, I only finished at 9,999,999 coins. Paired with the near perfect gameplay and the varied level designs, I'm really happy for this game. Too bad, Nintendo decided to publish those two Mario games so near each other, this way neither got the chance to shine it deserved.
3. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed ; The best Mario Kart clone next to Diddy Kong Racing. I especially love the varied tracks, the high speed and the high degree of difficulty. Great game.
4. Paper Mario Sticker Star ; Quirky, creative and interesting, one great entry in the Paper Mario series. I love the willingness to try new things with this franchise and offering a great adventure-experience, instead of just repeating the same gameplay for each entry.
5. Resident Evil: Revelations ; Simply put my favourite horror game. It mixes the great playablility of the last few Resident Evil games with the horror of the first ones, leading to an incredible experience.
6. Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz ; A nice return to form. Extremely challenging and fun, although it's suffering a bit from Vita's analogue stick.
7. Sonic 4 Episode 2 ; What a step forward compared to Episode 1, fast, yet with the classic feeling and a nice soundtrack in vein of the Mega Drive originals
8. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two ; Definitely not perfect, but a great game in a sadly almost dead genre.
9. Pokemon Black & White 2 ; Itmay not have been all too fresh, but it's a welcome change to the boring third renditions. I had a lot of fun revisiting the world of B/W.
10. Assassin's Creed 3 ; Very disappointing game compared to its ambitions, but still a fun game. I'd have loved for it to be a lot better paced and not to be set in such a boring setting. The early America just doesn't lend itself to interesting climbing - which is my favourite aspect of the series. Also I think it went a bit in the wrong direction, getting even more cinemativ instead of offering deeper and more challenging climbing mechanics.
x. Rayman Origins (Vita, 3DS) ; I just didn't list it because I've listed the Wii version last year, but it's so awesome that I had no problems completing it again this year on 3DS and Vita.

2011. Ghost Trick ; Charming, creative and fun game, a great experience.
 

Sanctuary

Member
Feb 10, 2012
10,819
5
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1. Dragon's Dogma; kind of hit me from left field. Did not like the demo at all, but absolutely loved the full game despite it's many issues.

2. Borderlands 2; typically not into FPS games, but the open world/Diablo feel to the game made the gameplay very enjoyable, and it had some of the funniest dialogue in a game I'd heard in a long while. The dialogue alone made it worth playing at least once.

3. ZombiiU; almost a back to form Survival Horror game--a genre that has been desperately needing new titles since RE4.

4. XCOM:EU; just a really great strategy game. The cinematic camera also helped to make things more exciting than what you would normally see in this kind of game.
 

duckroll

Member
Jun 7, 2004
114,734
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Held off as long as I could to try and play some other games from 2012 which I didn't have a chance to. I doubt I'll be finishing up those leftover ones before the voting ends, so fuck it. Here we go!

Votes

1. Mark of the Ninja ; This is the stand out of the year for me. I played it at the end of the year but I doubt I would feel any different if I played it on Jan 1st. It's almost perfection in terms of a game which speaks directly to what I enjoy in action games. Less emphasis on combat, more emphasis on positioning, location, encounter design, and just lots of options for the player to explore based on equipped items or available abilities. Probably one of the most satisfying action games I've played since MGS1. The only thing which could have made this game better would be if there's a no-checkpoint mode, because the use of checkpoints and the lack of lives water down the challenge quite a bit.

2. XCOM Enemy Unknown ; As a big fan of the original X-Com games, the announcement that they were going to return to the original formula with Firaxis made me really happy. While the game does have some issues with the controls and UI, it's also designed with a lot of heart and definitely targeted at players who want something more strategic and deliberate. I appreciate a lot of the design choices made in modernizing the formula, and I had a blast playing it.

3. Crimson Shroud ; Matsuno is one of my favorite game designers ever, so something new from him is always a plus. While this might be a really compact digital title that has more in common with a short choose your own adventure story than a full RPG, it's still filled with atmosphere, sharp writing, and intriguing themes. The battle system is pretty fun too, and while the production values are low, it's a great love song to table top RPGs and Matsuno fans.

4. FTL ; Another huge surprise for me. Not since Infinite Space have I played such an enjoyable space "simulation" (?) game. I think there's something about lo-fi graphics and text-adventure elements in a space travel game which appeals to me a lot. The customization and combat is really impressive here, with a lot of thought put into the systems you can install on your ship, and how different combinations of weapons and systems totally change the flow of battles. Being a roguelike doesn't hurt either, since it becomes extremely replayable.

5. Binary Domain ; This is a third person shooter by the creators of Yakuza, featuring tons of enemy robots which can have their individual body parts shot off. There are huge robot bosses with weak points all over and armor parts which can be blown off piece by piece. Anyone who knows me will not be surprised this is on my list! Also, you can have sex with Laura Bailey doing a Chinese accent. I'm not sure if this is a plus, but firehawk12 wanted me to mention it!

6. Mass Effect 3 ; Yes, the ending sucked, that's why it's at #6 instead of #3. I really enjoyed the Mass Effect series overall, and despite all its faults the conclusion was still pretty satisfying to me. The eventual narrative ending might be bullocks, but I enjoyed most of the character arc conclusions, and Tali > your waifu. Dealwithit!

2011. Mighty Switch Force ; Since I can only vote for one 2011 LTTP game, I guess I'll put this over Pushmo. Both are great games, but I feel that MSF takes more risks and is a refreshing new take on sidescrolling action. Great use of 3D for both the parallax and the "pop out" effect of the blocks and the enemies getting crushed towards the screen too. Wayforward <3.



Honorable Mentions

x. Pushmo ; The best part of this game is the amount of content. Even for a puzzle game, the number of Pushmos available are really staggering. This is currently my favorite toilet game. Nothing beats clearing 1-2 Pushmos while pushing out what I ate the day before. Aaaaah. :)

x. Sleeping Dogs ; I really liked this game initially. In fact, if the rest of the game maintained the tone and direction of the first few hours of the narrative, it could well have made it into my GOTY list. Unfortunately, it takes the easy way out and devolves into a shoot-em-all gunfest like pretty much every other open world game. Good setting, great attention to detail, but just misses the mark for what I can personally reconcile as a "GOTY" title.

x. Kingdom Hearts 3D ; I'm a huge KH fan, so it would be shame not to at least mention the latest entry of the series here. After all, I bought a 3DS just to play it. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, disappointment is something we have to deal with from time to time. This game simply lacked the polish and tight game design that Birth by Sleep had. It feels more like a shallow experimental expansion-sequel to stuff introduced in BbS. Kinda fun, but very forgettable.

x. Spec Ops The Line ; I haven't beaten the game, but I think I'm half-way through it. What I like about this most is the setting. Skyscrapers are cool. Dubai is cool. Setting a third person shooter in a post-apocalyptic Dubai is cool. Playing the same old TPS game shooting 30 generic enemies at every generic encounter before moving on to do the same thing again is not cool. The story has effort put into it, but the gameplay doesn't really support it well imo.

x. Dishonored ; The art direction of Half Life 2 and the game design concept of Thief! What could go wrong? Well, not that much, since I'm enjoying it quite a bit. But since I started this really late I won't be able to finish it before the voting deadline, and I don't want to rush it. Can't give much of an opinion since I'm pretty early in the game, just thought I'll mention it though.
 

Diprosalic

Banned
May 27, 2010
22,994
0
780
UPDATE: I managed to narrow down my list, although it was difficult :(
Moving this post here (edited out my list from earlier in the thread) since I wrote the majority of it today.
your list looks awesome, i would make pretty much the same list. go play xenoblade.
 
Dec 11, 2008
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999/VLR: I don't like supernatural stuff. I don't really like Japanese tropes or anime or characters like the ones in these games. But I really loved these two games. I loved the writing, I loved the scenarios, I loved the plot twists, I had a good time with the puzzles, I loved replaying them again and again. Really great. I have a laundry list of minor gripes that I made in the spoiler threads for the two games (end-game spoilers for 999. I'm a very, very thorough guy when it comes to this stuff), but I think as a whole these are very impressive, significant games. The marriage of theme and gameplay is wonderful. The third-person narration in 999, and the first-person perspective in VLR both apparently serve no purpose, but each ends up being deeply significant to the final ending. So much love and care and thought was put into the writing of these scenarios, where every little detail matters and every possible choice changes the stakes significantly. I can't stress how well-made these are&#8230;

&#8230; except to say one thing. There's a very specific end-game spoiler for 999 (don't worry about spoiler tags here). In the climactic scene of the game's true ending, you need to play Sudoku. Yeah, Sudoku. It's a lame-ass puzzle. But there's a very specific plot reason why it's significant, and it is earth-shattering. 20 hours of the game's narrative folds back in upon itself. Everything suddenly makes sense. And one particular moment is the single best usage of the DS's dual-screen functionality. I'm telling you that this five second segment at the end of the game justifies the second screen. I truly, truly wish I could convey to you how blown my mind was and how elegant and wonderful it was without spoiling it. Play the damn game. And if you like it, which you should, play VLR too--it's pretty good.

I'll also add that both games are surprisingly literate. Many games take on philosophy or science or reference literature, but 999 and VLR do a surprisingly good job of talking about interesting and varied stuff and conveying the knowledge required to understand them to the reader. I think if you like, say, This American Life or Jeopardy! or Freakonomics or just thinking about and playing around with ideas, you'll like these games. If you're well-read, nothing will be new here (VLR centres around the Prisoner's Dilemma and talks a lot about Schrodinger's Cat--so if you're university educated or curious, you're probably familiar) but it's very neat and engaging to even achieve this level of literacy in a game. Both games also involve surprisingly extensive math, although you won't have to do any of it.

So even if you don't like Japanese games, even if you're skeptical of a text adventure, even if you don't play anything like this, check it out. I think you'll be refreshed.
What an amazing write-up for two amazing games.

 

trh

Nifty AND saffron-colored!
May 23, 2006
1,780
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1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; I could have never imagined it'd be so much fun constantly getting my ass kicked. At this point I'm starting to wonder if I should look at Firaxis as developers or drug dealers.
2. The Walking Dead
3. Borderlands 2
4. Dishonored
5. Spec Ops: The Line
6. Trials Evolution
7. Halo 4
8. Diablo 3
9. FTL: Faster Than Light
10. Deadlight

2011. Dark Souls
 

Dance Inferno

Unconfirmed Member
Dec 30, 2008
11,555
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Over the past few weeks I've had some significant changes of heart regarding my list, and I also decided to add an extra, just-for-fun set of awards, so I'm editing out my old list and posting the new one here.



1. Borderlands 2 ; If you had asked me what I thought about this game when I was eight hours into it, I would probably have placed it on my list of most hated games of all time. To put it mildly, this game and I have some serious issues. I played Borderlands 1 at release and despised it. It took everything that sucked about MMOs (repetitive fetch quests, bland story, unwieldy customization options) and stuffed it all into a $60 package. Needless to say I skipped Borderlands 2 initially, then eventually bought it when it went on sale on Black Friday. To my dismay the game managed to justify all the trepidation I had built up from the prequel. For the first eight hours or so I hated EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS GAME. I hated the aiming system. I hated how bland some of the quests were. I hated how underpowered all the guns felt. I hated how it made you trek from area to area on foot. I hated the respawning enemies. But most of all I hated how steep the difficulty curve was. It seemed like if you were playing solo and didn't get some really, really lucky drops, the game went out of its way to make you feel miserable. There was one story mission towards the beginning of the game that was so punishingly difficult that it literally had me dying every three minutes. I achieved levels of gamer rage unseen since my days of playing Pro Evolution Soccer on 5-Star difficulty, which was only compounded by the fact that game charges you money every time you die. This, to me, was equivalent to Gearbox shoving a massive middle finger in my face every time its game curb-stomped my Siren and trampled my spirit underfoot.

Yet for whatever reason I kept playing. At first it was out of pure spite: I refused to let this pretentious, terribly designed reject of a game beat me. No, fuck you Claptrap, I am the one who will come out victorious this time. So I played and played and played some more. But after a while as my rage subsided and I acclimated to the game's mechanics I realized that there was actually something else - and I don't know what it was - that had kept me playing. It might have been the art style, or the colorful NPCs, or the hilarious writing, or the way talents and loot caused you to adapt your playstyle on the fly. Whatever this Borderlands magic was, it kept me pushing through some pretty painful experiences until suddenly everything just clicked. My guns were getting better, my Siren was getting more and more powerful as I specced her talents, I was learning the strategies for dealing with the various enemies, and I was racking my brain to decide if I wanted to equip the pistol with homing fire bullets or the corrosive SMG that exploded like a grenade every time I reloaded it. That's when I realized how hooked I was. What I started to understand is that this game, unlike the first Borderlands, takes all the best parts of MMOs (the high-level loot drops, the addictiveness of optimizing skill trees, the satisfaction of taking down a particularly difficult boss) and has successfully condensed them into a workable single player game. In fact, for the past two months this is pretty much the only game I have been playing: I'm currently standing at 60 solo hours played with my Siren and another 12 co-op split-screen hours with my Gunzerker; it's a large reason why my GOTY list isn't longer.

Borderlands 2 has some serious issues, and its difficulty curve while playing solo is downright sadistic, but damn if it isn't some of the most fun I've had with a game in a very long time.



2. Resident Evil 6 ; Oh Resident Evil 6, possibly the most polarizing game of 2012, but also the game that has given me some of the most enjoyment this year (50+ hours and counting).

I have been lamenting the lack of long single player campaigns for a very long time, and out of nowhere comes RE6 with a monstrous 30-hour campaign that, in my opinion at least, is one of the best examples of how to create large set pieces in a game. Have you ever wanted to experience a mad dash through an American town that is going mad and being torn to shreds by an unstoppable zombie epidemic? Leon's Chapter 1 is for you. How about making your way through a Chinese shantytown with a small military detachment only to find your team being stalked and picked off one by one by an invisible predator? Chris Chapter 3 awaits. There is even an homage to Mirror's Edge in Jake Chapter 3. In addition to all that, this game has one of the slickest features in any co-op game to date: it allows your game to intersect with others online who are playing through the same area as a different character, seamlessly blending the two sessions as one player provides cover for the other, before sending you both off on your separate ways to continue your campaigns. And I haven't even mentioned the addictive Mercenaries mode, which alone has sucked upwards of 10 hours of my time! This game most certainly does not lack for content, and with Capcom releasing patches that address some of the biggest complaints leveled against the game (a wider FOV has been patched in and an auto-QTE option is incoming), Resident Evil 6 is a game more people should pick up; you might be surprised at how much you enjoy it. Personally, I can already tell that this is going to be one of my "comfort games" that I come back to time and time again.



3. Dishonored ; I initially rented and beat this game using some free Redbox promo codes, but I enjoyed myself so much that I just had to buy it to support Arkane. What strikes me most about this game is the extreme variety of ways you are allowed (and encouraged) to play it. To wit: my first playthrough involved shanking everything that moved, my second playthrough was committed to a completely nonlethal ghost run, and my third and current playthrough is one where I avoid using any supernatural powers whatsoever. The impressive thing about all this is that there are so many ways to approach each level that I am still discovering new approaches to the various challenges. You know how most games with nonlethal options boil down to shooting enemies with a tranquilizer gun instead of a regular gun? Yeah, the nonlethal options in Dishonored are so far removed from the lethal options you might as well be playing a different game altogether; it is the difference between jumping off the rafters and landing knife first on your target's skull, and quietly stealing incriminating evidence from his safe and leaving it conspicuously lying around for others to find. With most games leading you by the nose and slapping you on the wrist if you veer off the scripted path, it is immensely refreshing to play a game like Dishonored that encourages experimentation and replayability.



4. Mass Effect 3 ; Alright let's get this out of the way - I didn't really mind the ending. Some might say that's the reason this game places so highly on my list, but that's really not it. The Mass Effect universe might just be my favorite fictional universe, and Mass Effect 3 worked really hard to flesh out the fiction and cap a seminal trilogy. The characters were fantastic as always, and it was quite satisfying to see how every character from Mass Effect 2 found their place in the world after the suicide mission to wipe out the Collectors. Unlike Mass Effect 2, you always felt like there was a looming threat and everything you did in the game reinforced this concept. Finished a side quest? You just gained some assets in fighting the Reapers. Are you playing multiplayer? You just increased the galaxy's readiness level. This is a game that had a very clear focus and built all the game's mechanics and lore around the concept of fighting the Reapers for the galaxy's survival. It did have flaws, particularly in that some decisions from past games really did not make a lick of difference in the finale (I'm looking at you, Rachni), but overall I think this game did a lot more right than wrong, and it will always hold a special place in my heart for the experiences it gave me.



5. Forza Horizon ; Like many others I bought this game during the MS Store's $15 Black Friday sale. Now I don't really like racing games nor do I generally enjoy open-world games, but the first day I popped this game in I couldn't tear myself away from the TV for four hours. The next day I clocked in another seven hours. This game, you guys, is virtual crack. There's something truly mesmerizing about driving through an open city in Colorado with the sunlight streaking over snow capped mountains, weaving in and out of traffic, driving from race to race while a radio station plays some great electronic music to just jam out to. Sometimes a great song will come on and I'll completely ignore my destination and just drive. The feeling of freedom you get while playing Forza Horizon is unparalleled, and this may just be my nomination for "best open-world game ever." If I ever need to unwind after a long day, you best believe I'll be spending my time on the roads of Horizon, Colorado. (Also the physical game case has the best spine in gaming today.)



6. Max Payne 3 ; I got this game because it was on sale for $20 and I didn't have anything better to do that day. I popped it in on a Friday afternoon not expecting much and didn't get off my couch until Sunday evening. Now let me preface this by saying that I love long cutscenes and exposition, which is possibly why I think Max Payne 3 has some of the best storytelling in this generation. The way the narrative and the gameplay weave together so seamlessly, with a plot thread leading into a gameplay sequence which leads to a plot revelation which segues into a playable flashback which ties right back into the ongoing narrative, is genius. I'm a little embarrassed to say I had to play this game on easy since it whupped my butt on quite a few occasions, but the combat is meaty and satisfying, the lack of regenerating health is actually refreshing, and the art design of this game is quite unique. Only Max Payne 3 could make a truly beautiful and memorable level out of the gritty alleys of Hoboken, New Jersey.



7. The Walking Dead ; There's a large debate going on about whether this is a game or a non-game. Personally I think that if you were to give this to a non-gamer they would get so frustrated at the insta-fail action scenes that require quick split-second timing that they would just completely give up, which puts it in game territory for me. Regardless, The Walking Dead has one of the best stories in interactive media, and that is a large reason behind its inclusion on this list. Sure, it's not difficult or particularly replayable, but it will still keep you hooked and by God will it make you care about its characters. I have never been as attached to what is essentially an escort character as I was with Clementine. Every time she was in danger I would freak out and my heart would start racing. I wanted to protect her and see her safely through this zombie infested world, and no game has EVER made me feel that way about a character.

I think The Walking Dead is important because it represents a milestone in gaming. It shows us that plot and character development are very much in demand by gamers. This game was a pretty significant success, and if this means that developers start putting more time and effort into creating powerful, emotional stories and characters then sign me the hell up. I'm tired of paper thin plots and throwaway protagonists, I want another Lee and Clem. I want another game that will keep me glued to the TV for 12 hours straight, not because the gameplay is so engaging, but because I want to see what happens next. I want another game that can move me emotionally the way The Walking Dead moved me, and boy did it move me. There are only a handful of movies that have ever made me cry, and now after many years I can finally add a video game to that list. Well played, Telltale.



8. Orcs Must Die! 2 ; What do you do when a hurricane slams into your city and plunges it into a week-long blackout? In my case you stay at your friend's place (who still has power) and play Orcs Must Die! 2. I had never heard of this game before but my friend convinced me to get this game so we could pass the time while we wait for the rest of the city to regain power. The game is rather simple in its conception: a tower defense game in which you actively take part in fighting back the hordes. Not the most original idea all things considered, but the execution of this game is damn near flawless. We spent many an hour yelling at each other for a set of acid traps and a quick across-the-map heal. It does the Guild Wars 1 thing where you can only bring so many skills/traps to each engagement, so you spend a few minutes before the start of each level deciding whether you want to equip the expensive, durable archers, or the cheap, effective tar pits. I may not have enjoyed my time with this game as much if I was not sitting side-by-side with my friend (I have no interest in playing the game solo), but for one week in October I did nothing but sleep, eat, and play Orcs Must Die! 2, and for that it deserves a spot on this list.



9. Dear Esther ; This is not really much of a game so much as it is an experience. There is no shooting, no fighting, no enemies, no confrontation of any kind. You just wander around some beautiful, haunting environments, soaking up the atmosphere and getting sucked into this universe. Every now and then when you happen across a certain area the narrator will start talking about his past, giving you a glimpse into the surreal and yet all-too-disturbing world of Dear Esther. When you get to the end of the game (which took me all of four hours), you get a feeling not of completion but of contemplation. This game is incredibly beautiful and yet incredibly sad all at the same time. It had some perturbing and unsettling moments as well, such as the first time I walked out into the sea. To be able to achieve this without a single second of combat or confrontation is proof positive that thechineseroom can craft atmosphere with the best studios out there, and I'm not surprised at all to learn that they're crafting the next Amnesia game. I'm not one for horror games but I may just have to pick up the next Amnesia to see what they do next.



2011. Rochard ; I bought this for a few bucks during a Steam sale and have sincerely enjoyed my time with this gem. I don't generally play small downloadable titles but I'm glad I took the plunge on this one; it's a truly unique and refreshing puzzler that utilizes gravity and object manipulation in very clever and creative ways. The art style of this game is downright charming, and Jon St. John's delivery as the gruff, lovable space miner John Rochard is pitch perfect. This game is oozing with charm, and more people need to play it so that we can get a Rochard 2.


--------------------------


Additional Awards:


Jar Jar Binks Award for Most Annoying Character: Claptrap



WILL YOU STOP BEATBOXING YOU ANNOYING LITTLE FUCK.

Borderlands 2 has characters that are more abrasive than Claptrap (*cough*Tiny Tina*cough*), but the fact that Claptrap resides in Sanctuary, the main hub city where you spend a lot of time, and the fact that he has at most seven lines of dialogue that he repeats ad infinitum makes him the most annoying character this year. No, Claptrap, I do not want to hear the new dubstep song you just wrote. Please go swallow a knife.

The Constantly Constipated Award: Lee Everett



Telltale went for a stylized art style and animated its characters' faces quite extensively, but for whatever reason I always found myself puzzled by Lee's faces. It seemed like he was in a constant state of passing the most stubborn bowel movement in recorded history. I was in awe many a time at the flexibility and strength of his eyebrows, which seem to obey no biological or physical laws. Quite extraordinary.

Best Voice Acting by a Human Male: Dameon Clarke - Handsome Jack



There can be no doubt that Handsome Jack was the best voiced male character this year. Most characters that are considered well voiced have up and down moments, but there is not a single line of dialogue of Handsome Jack's that is not downright hilarious. In fact his voice acting is so good that it turns some of Borderlands 2's worst lines into some of the most memorable. To understand this just take a look at some of his lines and try reading them in someone else's voice: they would be utterly lame and cringe-worthy. Dameon Clarke absolutely nails the narcissism and ego of his character, and he makes Borderlands 2 a better game for it.

Best Voice Acting by a Human Female: Melissa Hutchison - Clementine



Clementine could have easily been a really annoying tag-along character that would have dragged down the entire game if it wasn't for Melissa Hutchison's endearing portrayal of a scared and lonely little girl. It is through her acting that you start to a develop a very powerful bond with this character, and she really knocks it out of the park. As I already mentioned there are no games where I developed an actual emotional bond with one of the characters, and while a large part of the praise should go to Telltale's writers, I also wanted to single out Melissa Hutchison for her contribution. Without her inspired performance the game would have been orders of magnitude less powerful.

Most Frustrating Bug: Mass Effect 3 Face Importing Bug



I am a huge, massive Mass Effect fan. I finished the first game four times and the second game twice, so I was understandably psyched to play the finale and finish Shepard's story. Imagine my shock and horror when I realized I couldn't import my Shepard's face because BioWare had not caught a pretty massive bug that prevented you from importing your Shepard's face from ME2 if the same Shepard had been imported from ME1 into ME2. So essentially, it was a bug that punished BioWare's most loyal customers. Way to go guys, I really wanted to spend two hours just recreating my Shepard's face instead of actually playing the damn game.

Developer of the Year: Arkane Studios



Dishonored came out of nowhere for me. It was a game that was pretty much built to my specifications: an eminently replayable stealth game with a wide linear approach, couched in an immersive Victorian/steampunk setting. This game did everything for me, and for it to come from a developer I had never heard of before was all the more impressive. I wasn't a huge fan of Half Life 2 or Deus Ex Human Revolution, and Bethesda games have been pretty hit-and-miss for me, so I didn't really expect much out of Arkane. Needless to say they set the roof on fire, and of all the developers on this list I am most excited in seeing what Arkane has in store for its next project. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be great.
 

benny_a

extra source of jiggaflops
Apr 25, 2009
17,350
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1. Journey ; One of, if not, the very first games where I had big changes in emotions while playing it.
Curiosity is not an emotion, but that's how it started. I genuinely felt scared, as I was separated at the darkest point in the game from my companion. I found a new partner and with him I weathered the storm until I felt absolute joyous at the very end of the game. Quite an experience.


2. Assassin's Creed 3 ; I'm a person that puts heavy emphasis on animation and Assassin Creed games are epitome of what it means to do animations. The game has moments that I would classify as absolutely broken, but the world it created and the fluidity with which you move through it made me play through it within one week. Rare that a game makes me go back to it each day until I'm done.


3. Dragon's Dogma ; I waited for the PC version due to the obvious technical issues the console versions have. It never came, so I picked it up for cheap.
I regret this now, because this is a game I would pay full price for, which is one of the highest honors a cheap arse gamer like myself can bestow on a title.
A RPG with fun and varied combat. I'm very impressed by Capcom and I'm absolutely looking forward to a sequel.


4. XCOM: Enemy Unknown


5. The Walking Dead


6. Mark of the Ninja


7. Persona 4: Golden


8. Spec-Ops: The Line


9. The Unfinished Swan


10. Lumines: Electronic Symphony


2011. Where is my Heart ; I have a special save just to show to other people so they can quickly see how it plays with your expectations. It's very short but I think that only adds to the play.
When this game comes out on Steam it must be played by everyone.


x. Papo & Yo ; It only has serviceable gameplay, which is a theme of many of the games in my list and of games I seem to end up liking a lot, but I just have to give credit to the way that this game tells a personal story. Has some cool moments.
 
May 16, 2012
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1. Far Cry 3 ; Amazing fun and immersion.
2. Fez ; In a word; magical.
3. Halo 4 ; Glorious return of chief.
4. Mark of the Ninja ; Stealth perfected.
5. Sleeping Dogs ; One of the best settings this gen.
6. Forza Horizon ; Open world with Forza's slendid engine.
7. Hitman Absolution ; Gorgeous with great replay value.
8. WWE 13 ; A return to the glory days of pro wrestling.
9. Botanicula ; Underrated adventure game gem.
10. Max Payne 3 ; Oozing with style.
x. Dust: An Elysian Tale ; One dude made this?
x. Trials Evolution ; More controller throwing awesomeness.

2011. Gears of War 3 ; Only game I've ever bought a season pass for, worth every penny.
 

transience

Member
Sep 23, 2011
1,530
0
510
Been putting this off for weeks!

1. The Walking Dead
2. Dust: An Elysian Tail ; I'm not sure I've played a game where you press a couple buttons and the entire screen just explodes in flames. Dust was pretty fun.
3. Asura's Wrath
4. Hotline Miami ; This mass murder simulator makes me feel really, really bad as a person. And yet the pulsing music and the precision needed makes it feel really, really good.
5. Mark of the Ninja
6. Torchlight II
7. Super Hexagon
8. The Last Story ; It makes a terrible first impression and a mediocre second impression, but push through to the end and The Last Story ends up resonating in a surprising and unexpected way.
9. Stealth Bastard Deluxe ; Smart level design makes this game stand out from the billion other 2d puzzle platformers with unique mechanics. Plus there's the fact that it relishes being able to kill you in mean and spectacular ways.
10. 10000000

2011. Cthulhu Saves the World ; (And my most disappointing of 2012 goes to Penny Arcade 3. Go figure.)
 
Oct 19, 2007
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GOTY 2012

Lots of good games played this year. Its really hard to choose but I have narrowed it down to these:

1. ZombiU ; I am not usually into survival horror games. Mainly since you never know whats coming next. With ZombiU however, I did know what was coming next generally speaking, (zombies) and was able to get into it and am so glad I bought this as my second WiiU launch title. I played about a hour each day until the eleventh day where I played four hours straight and finally beat it. Just a awesome experience that no one should miss.

2. Virtue's Last Reward ; I loved 999 and I love reading good stories so this was a no brainer to get. As with the first game, I hate the puzzles sections but I stuck through it to experience the awesome story, from beginning to true end it was non stop fun.

3. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; This games story is the most insane story I have ever seen. Even more insane the VLR. The gameplay is top notch and had fun till the end. It also has a very good multiplayer, whats not to like?

4. Gravity Rush ; Like Kid Icarus, this also has a insane story that jumps all over the place. I love it. The gameplay is awesome and Kat is a very good character to play as.

5. Journey ; This is probably the only game on my list that I would give a 10 if I was scoring them. The reason why its not #1 I guess is simply because its short and I have a much longer time with the other games so I get attached to them more. This is already the game I have replayed the most, four times since getting it at its retail release date.

6. New Super Mario Bros. 2 ; Yes  I am putting this over NSMBU. It all around was more fun to me. NSMBU seemed to take this game and make the levels longer. And this game feels different enough from NSMB and NSMBW that it stands out on its own. Plus nothing beats the Coin Rush Mode, nothing.

7. LitteBigPlanet PSVita ; The full play, create, and share off the tv? Yes please.

8. Playstation All Stars Battle Royale ; I basically bought this to have a Smash Bros. game that was portable, and had actual good online. I was not dissapointed, and love the way they change up the gameplay while still being close to Smash's gameplay.

9. New Super Mario Bros. U ; Despite feeling too samey to NSMB2, it still is quite fun and plus, it has challenges. CHALLENGES!

10. Mutant Mudds ; Very awesome game that can get quite challenging. I shall never beat the Grannie levels. I don't even wanna see the nightmare levels in the WiiU version. (But I must!)

2011: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (3DS) ;  Got this right when Giants came out. Now trying to catch up with the series. This is a very fun game and can't wait to see more of the series.

We need a thread to have the best games we PLAYED in 2012. My Shadow of the Colossus and Ico Collection is screaming to be on this list :(

Aw well. Can't wait to see the results.
 

GK86

Homeland Security Fail
Jan 28, 2008
31,877
0
0
steamcommunity.com
1. Far Cry 3 ; It was a fantastic experience. It has one of the most amazing, badass villains in all of gaming. The acting overall, was well done. Yes, the story falls apart mid-way through. But it doesn't take away from the fun gameplay, and sense of discovery.

2- Hotline Miami ; Great music, and atmosphere. You are challenged every step of the way.
 

Ataturk

Member
Aug 29, 2009
684
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Dublin
1. Mark of the Ninja ; Instantly playable but always challenging. So elegantly put together with new mechanics introduced at a good pace to keep you on your toes. By far the most fun game I played in 2012.

2. Rhythm Heaven Fever ; Air Badminton. Wrestler Interviews. Stickmen on seesaws. Awesome.

3. Dishonored ; Threatened to be GOTY level but just fell short due to its story and its repetition of mechanics. It added a lot of fresh elements to the stealth genre though which sets it apart.

4. Mass Effect 3 ; I loved it, but there weren't enough improvements in terms of gameplay or new, interesting characters added to really elevate it. Still, I was satisfied with the conclusions of most of the main plotlines and character arcs.

5. Journey ; Moving, there were times when it felt almost spiritual.

6. Fez ; Avoided most of the cryptology, even still I loved the sense of mystery that pervaded the game. The fantastic soundtrack and visual style simply made it a nice place to visit. It never really picked up any sense of momentum for me though which held it back.

7. Sleeping Dogs ; Early on promised to be the game I'd always wanted from a GTA clone. Too much focus on guns late on and the story becoming fairly standard are what stop it from being higher up on my list. The melee combat was fucking great.

8. Hitman: Absolution ; No game came close to frustrating me as much in 2012 as this. The story was stunningly awful, and the linear sections quite annoying. But when they let you play the game you came for, it's great.

9. Max Payne 3 ; Presented really well. Rockstar's insistence though with prioritizing animation over gameplay really sucks the fun out of combat, turning it into a standard cover-based shooter.

10. FIFA Street ; It's indoor football with loads of tricks, and it's fun. Felt quite bare-bones though in some respects.

2011. Deus Ex Human Revolution ; Possibly the best game I played in 2012. Simply works as a stealth game, and works as an RPG.
 

Grisby

Member
Mar 4, 2008
21,378
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1. Borderlands 2 ; Just a fun time man. The world was birghtly coloerd and each zone felt more differnt than the last. I got more out of the story and characters than I thought I would. The shooting felt nice and the rpg backings made eveyrthing sweeter. I enjoyed the origina Borderlands and loved the sequel. And this was all solo by the way. Can't wait to dig into the DLC and new mechromancer character.

2. Mass Effect 3 ; The horrible ending couldn't destroy all of the fun I had in the previous 30 something hours. All of the little character moments and resolutions to some of the series long standing dramas were awesome. Some nice missions and a fun multiplayer made me forget the lack of hubs and questionable animation system (can't holster my gun, wtf?).

3. Dragons Dogma ; I felt like I was on a real DnD adventure. Setting out at daybreak with my companions (two of them having been created by other peeps) and getting caught out in the wilderness at night was awesome. Fighting larger then life creatures with a fun and impactive combat system was great. The story and side quests were weak but I think it speaks volumes when your core gameplay mechanics can get you past all that. Looking forward to Dark Arisen.

4. Halo 4 ; The single player campaign was fun and 343 mostly retained all of the classic Hao gameplay. While there was nothing super surprising I felt that most of the combat encounters were well done. A beautiful game and some fun mp (probably the most time I've spent with an FPS online this year) rounded out the package. I have it at 4 though because the music, although good, wasn't super great and Spartan Ops is a poor replacement for Firefight, at least in execution.

5. Journey ; A short but memorable experience. I'm all about the flying and jumping in vidja games and Journey nailed it. All of the little custom animations and sparse but well crafted world made this game a hit. A very unique oniline tops it off.

6. Gravity Rush ; Great jazzy music combined with a nice painted cel shaded look. Oh, and it also has one of the best traversal methods in any open world game ever. The combat got a bit dry and the missions were repetitive but I never got over the joy of flight. Big bonus points for Kat, the main characters, who never seems to give up her care-free attitude.

7. Resident Evil Revelations ; The controls felt nice and the combat was sound. The 3D graphics were well done and the online Raid mode caused me to play for 20-30 more hours. The story was standard RE fare and featured two of the worst characters to play as yet but it was still fun.

8. Dead Or Alive 5 ; I don't play fighting games that much. I like them and buy a lot but never seem to put more than a few hours into them. DOA5 claimed almost 40 hours for me which is huge. I actually tried to learn a character and take her online. The incredible character models and accessible fighting controls were fantastic.

9. Far Cry 3 ; The technical issues were awful and the game never seemed to run above 25 frames per second. Still, the gun play was tight and the open world exploration caused a lot of little fun mini adventures. The story was better than I thought it would be and the online co-op wasn't too bad either.

10. Witcher 2 ; A good role-playing game. Early on the combat makes you approach each encounter with some thought. The mature story is well told and although a lot of the characters aren't too memorable it's still a fun time. Some great graphics on the 360 and a lengthy adventure made this game one of the few that was worth $60.
 

Mr. Fix

Member
Nov 14, 2011
5,856
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1. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; Best dialogue, voice acting, OST, characters, main villain, gameplay (imo), you name it. This game is pure ace. Leave it to Sakurai to also create a game with a huge ton of content. There's also a great amount of variety in the environments, as each chapter takes place on completely different levels. What's also great about it is that the characters are almost always talking with eachother, so there's never really a moment where you feel isolated. Unlike a lot of other games these days, KI allows for speedruns (something I've been dying for but found lacking since the MGS series and RE1-4) and having hundreds of achievements (yes, on the level of xbl achievements/trophies). The story's full of awe-inspiring and mind-blowing moments. It's pure adrenaline. Best game on the 3DS by far. The 3D in this game, and any others works brilliantly here. I hate 3D when it comes to movies and gaming, but for some reason it just clicked with this one. I got it to sync up/work for my eyes. Controls felt natural to me, but I took it with a third-person shooter approach in mind. The MP's great, and it goes hand-in-hand with the SP as it lets you use any of the weapons you create during the SP. I'd say it's surpassed SMG, but that's just me. This game is too much.

---



2. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; Best narrative of 2012. Mindfuck to be had all around. I've had a ton of fun making up theories as I went along, and it's puzzles were actually pretty difficult in comparison to its predecessor. The dialogue is also amazing, more specifically the character interaction, as well as the characters themselves. I felt so very immersed into all of that. Anyone on the fence about this should really try to play through the Zero Escape series. A fantastic visual novel, and puzzle game.

---



3. Borderlands 2 ; An awesome MP game, and I've played through it nearly 3 times with my buds. Admittedly, the story was a lot harder to keep track of, mainly because of having played in a full party. There's a lot to do, but it really worked for me in the MP. Also loot, that shit's really addicting, even turning us into fiends. We'd casually fight over loot, and the pvp's fun. Also the classes and the customization options were great!

---

x. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale ; A game that has a ton of flaws, but smooth online experience. It's kind of fun in a party, but with my group, any game that has co-op pretty much fits the bill. Despite its attempts to bring out the world of Playstation however, it's done the opposite for me and my friends, as we've come to the realization that there aren't many well known franchises (on the level of Nintendo anyway) and we've actually felt alienated from it. Spamming is aggravating and the stages aren't perfect. The worst offense however, would be the lack of content thrown into the game. The UI is cheap, the unlockables are a bit of a joke and plastic (i.e. emblems are basically random cuts from random images of the games' official artwork), the music is ripped from other games (and few to none are actually rearranged) while mixed with a bit of techno/beats, and the singleplayer is extremely weak, with a forgettable final boss. It's fun when you're just jerking around with friends, but we've acknowledged all of the flaws.

x. Kingdom Hearts - Dream Drop Distance ; Where to begin. I was a fan of the KH series from the very beginning, so I figured that it at least deserves an honorable mention, despite how far downhill the series has gone over the last couple of years. On the plus side, I actually quite liked the gameplay. While it isn't as good as its predecessor (Birth by Sleep, which was at the peak of KH gameplay, imo) it does a decent job with the abilities in how you unlock them and following TWEWY/BBS' trend with reloading your abilities. The negatives are pretty obvious however, and weigh too much for me to actually appreciate/respect the series at this point. The story has become far too convoluted. It's easy to follow, but the idea behind all of it is awful. Scenes, dialogue, and voice acting execution has turned to shit (BBS suffered from this a bit as well). The fanservice in the game has an opposite effect on myself, and I actually find it disrespectful that it's come down to this. Like BBS, the Disney worlds are shallow, making the Disney portion (the magic) slapped on for the sake of keeping the KH tradition. A shame, but I'm still here until KH3 is released, whenever that is. The story's tarnished at this point, but perhaps its return to the home consoles (and being a numbered title) will allow for scenes, voice acting, disney worlds, and basically everything but the main plot to return to it's former state.
 
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  1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; One of the best games of the last 5 years. Loved every aspect of this game from the turn-based combat to the meta game. Ironman is an ass kicker.
  2. Planetside 2 ; Never in a million years would I have thought this game would be #2 on my list, but now I have 120 hours in the game and have completely given up Battlefield 3 to play PS2. Nothing better than the epic battles that evolve dynamically. One warning sign:I do think that they need to really work on the metagame quickly or the player base will move on soon.
  3. Civilization V: Gods and Kings ; The base Civ 5 game was OK, but was a little boring. It seemed like there were way too many time where you were just hitting enter to progress your turn until your next build completed. Gods and Kings improved on a lot of the systems and added new ones that kicked things up a notch.
  4. Diablo 3 ; Really enjoyed it and put a ton of time into it. Loved the feel of the combat and the skill system. Love D2 and love D3.
  5. Mass Effect 3 ; Whatever faults of the final 5 minutes, the rest of the game was the best in the series. Multiplayer was a blast.
  6. Halo 4 ; Had a ton of fun with this one, mostly in multiplayer. I thought the campaign was good, though not a huge fan of the Forerunner enemies and weapons. Looking forward to where 343 takes the series.
  7. FTL: Faster than Light ; The classic FTL gif is so true. Great half hour time killer.
  8. Torchlight 2 ; Tons of great ideas in this one that all ARPGs should take note of in the future. I don't think the combat was quite as satisfying as D3. Loot was OK, but don't really see a huge improvement in this aspect over D3. Plus, it was kind of easy.
  9. The Walking Dead ; Loved the story, but it was so janky on 360 and I also had the save game bug which really took some shine off the apple for me.
  10. Crusader Kings 2 ; I always like the idea of Paradox games, but never really know what to do once I get into them. CK2 is a little more accessible than the others and while I haven't played enough yet to dig too deep, I feel like this will be a game I can play for awhile.
 

pants

Member
Feb 21, 2012
10,763
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1. Borderlands 2
2. PSO2JP
3. Sonic and SEGA All Star Racing Transformed
4. Binary Domain
5. Tekken Tag Tournament Two
1. Borderlands 2 - good game
2. PSO2JP - love it
3. Sonic and SEGA All Star Racing Transformed - amazing
4. Binary Domain - booooooo!
5. Tekken Tag Tournament Two - <3

OP, why are you asking me to comment on a list? I dont understand is this supposed to be a discussion thread?
 

Poyunch

Member
Dec 29, 2009
15,193
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690
So I wanted to play Journey before this thread closes but Sony's performing maintenance right now.

Thanks Obama Sony. I'll have to do it on Saturday. :/
 

Duffyside

Banned
Sep 8, 2010
5,526
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So I wanted to play Journey before this thread closes but Sony's performing maintenance right now.

Thanks Obama Sony. I'll have to do it on Saturday. :/
Is only scheduled for another five minutes. Give it half an hour if you can.

Hey, timetokill? How important is spelling? I ask because Gotham City Impostors is listed differently on the list in the OP.

Edit: Thank you!
 
Oct 30, 2011
5,686
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So I wanted to play Journey before this thread closes but Sony's performing maintenance right now.

Thanks Obama Sony. I'll have to do it on Saturday. :/
Play it all in one session on Saturday :) Easily doable, and probably the preferable way to go about the experience.

Actually, are there even any save points in Journey?
 

Riposte

Member
Sep 21, 2010
27,718
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videogames?
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There are no rules with lists being overdone right? Last year it was perfectly okay, but it would severely piss me off if all my effort when down the drain this year. (I'm not doing anything really that different.)
 

toastyToast

Member
Dec 18, 2008
23,782
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1. Persona 4 Golden ; I didn't give it the recognition it desereved the first time so consider this a pity award. Nah, actually the improvements warrant it's place on the top even having already experienced the main plot already. Despite my complete indifference towards the Marie character, this really is one of the best JRPGs on the market and the best demon trading card simulator.
2. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 ; I love this game, I really do, but due to busting my wrist I couldn't get nearly as much out of it as I wanted to when I wanted to most. This game is filled to the brim with content. Everything a Tekken fan could want.
3. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; This game is a mindfuck, well and truly. It is completely knowledgable of that fact and bases its entire premise on it. The puzzles are much improved over its prequel and are genuinely challenging at times.
4. Sleeping Dogs ; Rarely do you get to play a game wherein you are a bad motherfucker. This is one such game. The progression of the plot felt a bit rushed but ultimately I'd rather feel a longing for more than be pushed to exhaustion. Not to say I excuse it, I did feel let down in a sense. Hopefully this type of pacing issue is rectified in a sequel.
5. Catherine [PAL] ; The finest wrapping around a puzzle game ever
6. Max Payne 3 ; When the game lets me play it, it's amazing. When it doesn't... that's why it's number 6. I really wanna replay this and do New York Minute and Time Trial but the unskippable cutscenes, EVEN THEN. An infuriating oversight
7. Borderlands 2 ; Better than the first, but I took issue with the severe narrowing of the loot. Most of the time, it's boring. I've only come across one E-tech gun worth using and the blues and purples rarely ever raise an eyebrow. The game eventually came down to farming legendaries and after Diablo 3, aint nobody got time for that
8. Spec Ops: The Line ; Surprisingly solid game after the remarks I was hearing. I'm not the type to get into long ass game sessions but I flew through this in one setting. Really well done. You wouldn't think a game set in a desert could have incredibly rich art design but it does. Worth checking it for the spectacle alone
9. The Walking Dead ; I can't give this a higher place for how absurdly simple the game part of this experience is. A waste of time almost. I did like what it offered however. It'd be reasonable to say that the save issue soured my opinion of it as well.
10. Dragon's Dogma ; I burnt myself out on this and never finished it. It's a good game though.
 

Seda

Member
Mar 30, 2009
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Perhaps the thread title should be updated to reflect the approaching deadline? It might spark people who have been sitting idle to post their top ten if they are interested and haven't done so yet.
 

rdrr gnr

Member
Aug 18, 2010
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Perhaps the thread title should be updated to reflect the approaching deadline? It might spark people who have been sitting idle to post their top ten if the are interested and havent done so yet.
I was thinking this.
 

Shinjiru

Member
Aug 30, 2005
743
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1. Journey ; This is, by far, my favorite game of 2012. Without saying a word, Journey told the most memorable/meaningful story of the year. Austin Wintory's dynamic score is amazing.
2. Mass Effect 3 ; My favorite new series this gen outside of Uncharted.

x. Resident Evil 6 ; Put over 100 hours into this game. It's not without problems, but I had a fun time playing it.
x. The Unfinished Swan ; At the main menu, I wish there was an option to see the front cover of the book again after finishing the game.
x. The Walking Dead ; Performance related issues aside, I enjoyed my time with this game. I definitely don't agree with those who consider it the best game of the year.
x. Double Dragon Neon ; Loved the credits.

I couldn't decide between Catherine and Yakuza 4 for my 2011 vote. And since I didn't have time to briefly play each again to refresh my memory, I'll just not vote for either.
 

Drago

Member
Mar 29, 2012
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1. Kid Icarus Uprising ; I can't remember anything else, I didn't buy all that much this year. That and I have a terrible memory. Have to give a nod to KI:U though - seriously one of my all time favorites. Simply a wonderful game, barring the controls (if one had issue with them, which I fortunately didn't)
 

LOCK

Member
Jun 26, 2006
6,265
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In a Dream
1. New Super Mario Bros. U ; I simple had a blast playing this game. I always play my console SMB games with my Aunt, which has become a tradition. We both agreed that this Mario just had that extra something that made it special compared to the previous NSMB games.
2. Xenoblade Chronicles ; Best RPG since DQ8.
3. Journey ; This game made me cry!
4. Dragon's Dogma ; I loved everything about this game, except the ending.
5. The Walking Dead ; Technical problems pushed this down the list. However, best writing in forever.
6. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (360) ; Best RPG since Xenoblade!
7. Halo 4 ; So beautiful.
8. Dishonored ; Ended fast, but great game.
9. Mass Effect 3 ; The ending didn’t bother me as much as others, but it still left something to be desired.
10. New Super Mario Bros. 2 ; Gold baby!

x. Assassin's Creed 3 ;
x. Darksiders 2 ;
x. Far Cry 3 ;
x. Kid Icarus: Uprising ;
x. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance ;
x. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning ;
x. Nintendo Land ;
x. Paper Mario: Sticker Star ;
x. Persona 4: Golden ;
x. Pokemon Black & White 2 ;
x. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ;
x. ZombiU ;

This year the top games on my list seem leagues better than the second half, with a bunch of quality games clustered around the same benchmark. It was really hard making a list because of this, as you can tell from my honorable mentions. Any one of them could have easily made my top 10, probably depended on my mood while I made this list. Instead of having 10 spectacular games this year, we had like 3 with the rest being great. This is just how I feel at the moment.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
The list should be taken as 10 games I’ve enjoyed this year as opposed to 10 games I’m ranking (so, really, don’t pay much attention to the game in the 1 spot). I don’t feel like there has been a “standout” game that I’ve played this year, not one that I felt stuck with me and hit all the right notes. Generally I stick to platformers and RPGs, and my 2011 list is more representative of that. To be honest, though, a lot of the games I played in 2012 were older games that people had recommended me to play, or games that were stuck in my backlog for a while that I figured I’d finally clear out. I’ve imported a few things from Japan that are on my list and honourable mentions as I live in Canada.

As usual, click on the banner for tunes.



1. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward ; 999 was my 2010 game of the year because I’d valued its way of creatively using its platform, and for its gripping storytelling. 999’s puzzles could have used some work, but overall, the narrative was its strongest suit despite having some waffling issues here and there.

Virtue’s Last Reward relies on Flood, Drescher & Tucker’s “prisoner’s dilemma”. With regards to game theory, the basis of the model is that two people may not be able to work together to solve an issue or finish a problem despite it being in their best interests to do so. Tucker went further and presented the model by connecting it with prison sentences where betrayal would lead to a better outcome than cooperating. Virtue’s Last Reward is more of an iterative version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. You play the game over and over and people have the opportunity to penalize others based on the decisions they’ve made before. You come to slowly realize this as the game goes on, and it’s supported by the game’s handy-dandy way of allowing the player to skip around through various paths easily: the FLOW system. This eliminates a flaw that the first game had where you had to replay almost all cutscenes and puzzles over again to get to a branching point you needed in order to get to another ending.

The English voice acting is really good, especially for Zero III (I know everyone quotes the “SIGGY” bit from the game, and it really sounds great; captures the Oprah feel perfectly). The narrative is told in a manner that keeps the player guessing and wanting more and more, while tying aspects such as quantum mechanics, virology, superposition, and infinite worlds/timelines. The characters are also incredibly-written for the most part. The puzzles also felt more creative than the original game’s.

While Virtue’s Last Reward has a few issues here and there (ex: excessive door opening animations, lack of varied facial expressions, samey rooms, etc.), VLR comes out as perhaps the more superior game to its predecessor. I can’t wait to see more from the Zero Escape series at this rate.




2. Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time ; I had not played a Growlanser game in so long before this was released. I think this is my favourite one, even if the narrative isn’t as good as GL1’s. Sure, it may look a little rough and it doesn’t start off very quickly, it grows into something with a little more depth. The Furlough System is an excellent way of getting to know your teammates (or ignoring ones you don’t like). And in that sense, every character seems to play a decent role in the narrative, or at least the relationships they forge with Crevanille seem to be somewhat meaningful.

For the most part, I think this is the most polished GL game to date in terms of its gameplay systems. So, if you’ve ever played a Growlanser game, their systems are little unique in that it combines RTS elements with TRPG elements. You just select what you want your units to do, and then watch them execute it while intervening every now and then. Mission Completes feel very rewarding if you get them done. Sometimes you need to pull off some other objectives like trying to keep your enemies at bay or outwitting them by pulling switches to give you a combat advantage rather than rushing in with brute force tactics (or saying that they have to grind up for a battle). In that way, it teaches the player to be more of a tactician and consider the map they’re working with and which aspects of the environment can either help or hinder their attack.

And that’s what I really come to GL for. Your choices mean something, as the game has over 40 different endings. And the combat is tight, refined, efficient, and a decent way of turning some players who tend to rely on brute-forcing enemies into cautious tacticians.




3. Nayuta no Kiseki ; I wasn’t really hyped for this game at first because it looked a lot like a Zwei/Gurumin-type game and I really don’t like those games at all. But I decided to give a chance because the videos made it look better than I thought it was going to be. Nayuta actually feels like a mix of some Zwei stuff (thankfully very little otherwise I would’ve gotten tired of it), some Ys stuff with some Kiseki influences sprinkled in (especially with regards to the amount of dialogue included in the game, even with its smaller cast of playable characters). I think it’s one of the prettiest games to ever grace the PSP. I also really liked the soundtrack.

I thought the game was a good pick up and play game, because each land is divided into four stages + boss. You have an objective to complete in each stage, and you get a ranking based on how you performed in that stage (get to the end, break all three crystals, and getting the objective done). This game has jumping and I cannot stress how important that is to me. Platforming is fine for the most part. I’m just happy it’s in here, really. You may also roll to dodge things. While Nayuta’s usually the guy who goes in for the P. attack, his partner Noi uses Artes (magic attacks) to attack enemies. You can also get stuff called Gear Crafts which are new abilities that Noi can use in levels.

The game is much easier than your average Ys game, even on Hard. Once you beat the game, you get access to Infinity difficulty, which feels much better in terms of progression and challenge (seriously—infinity difficulty is pretty awesome). And there’s a bit of variance where you can change the seasons in the gameplay areas which tinkers with the environment (kinda think Oracle of Seasons), the monsters you fight, and the level objectives themselves. It’s a nice way to make the player revisit areas again to see what they’ve missed.

I thought it was incredibly fun by the time I walked into a harder second playthrough, so I kind of hope it comes out here locally in some capacity one day.




4. Dustforce ; Dustforce is one of the best platformers of this generation. Its emphasis on consistent speed, accuracy, and maintaining momentum is partially why I like it so much. Your basic goal is find the bits of dust and debris on walls, ceilings, floors, etc. throughout the level and sweep them up. You can use dash whip attacks to take out dust enemies (which doesn’t necessarily mess with your momentum). Generally, the dust is laid out in order, guiding the player in terms of easily progressing through the level. It’ll encourage you to run, dash whip, jump, double-jump, and run up walls. I feel like the controls and physics work very well in this game and nothing necessarily feels too floaty or feels as though they’re hindering the player. Because of the fluidity of the game mechanics’ execution, the player becomes more and more attuned to the levels and can play through them faster and faster. Refining your skills becomes an asset.

This is where Dustforce gets more fun. Learning how to proficiently and perfectly run through levels with quick times ends up taking the phrase “gotta go fast” to new heights. You need to explore every nook and cranny to find hidden dust as quick as possible, and memorize it every time you do something wrong. One slip-up will screw up with your times. It feels extremely satisfying to get those levels done quick and accurately after so many mistakes.

Oh, and the soundtrack isn’t half-bad either.




5. Botanicula ; So, Nert gushing about this game a lot got me to try it out and well… It’s so gosh darn adorable. Awwwwwwww. There are these thingies you click on and then cute things happen and the cute little thingies you control have such cute little animations and…

…Uh. So, uh, Botanicula is adorable. For some reason I had trouble clicking with the music, but it works very well within context. The game’s about a group of five creatures living on a tree that’s threatened by creepy gross things. The visuals are beautiful and colourful, and the game remains incredibly charming throughout. Sure, maybe its basic premise is to click here and there to make things happen, but I like how it’s designed to make the player think about his or her surroundings and try new things to see if they’ll work rather than spoonfeeding the player a hint or solution. You’re not taught how the game works; you’re taught to experiment. Do you have to push things? In what way are you supposed to solve the puzzles presented to you, and are you thinking of an obtuse way to solve them as opposed to thinking of a simple answer? Does that even matter? Sit back, relax, and just experiment with your surroundings.

Yet, even though no one says anything, the game is filled with character. The game’s quests are generally so peculiar that they end up being interesting and unique in a positive way. The game can be really funny because the animations are so good. I couldn’t really believe how nice the animations were. The sound effects and music truly complement the character animations and what happens in every screen. The world genuinely feels alive.

It’s simply a standout game of 2012 for being clever, cute, funny, and relaxing simultaneously.




6. DJMAX Technika Tune ; I’ve played other DJMAX games on portables before, and for the most part they clicked with me. Technika Tune was basically an Ouendan game you played with your fingers and felt incredibly intuitive and satisfactory.

Rather than matching up with the rhythm when you play songs, you’re filling in segments that’s missing from the song you’re playing, whether they’re harmonies, backup vocals, backing synth, main synth, beat percussion, etc. If you screw up, you’ll definitely know it as what you do won’t sync perfectly with the music (especially if you’ve listened to the tune in the game’s album option or if you’ve been listening to Kara songs for a while). While the game uses the rear touchpad, it still gives the player to omit using it if they don’t feel comfortable with it. It’s truly a nice pick-up-and-play sort of game.

I love the game’s interface, MVs, and the song selection. They’re colourful, sleek, clean, and fun. I also think, because it’s a touch-based game this time, it’s more accessible for newcomers to the series. You can simply tap, slide, or hold the notes as you go along with the song, so the controls aren’t difficult to grasp outside of learning the songs and learning the timing. It’s a game I like picking up from time-to-time to play through, gain XP, and level up while experiencing some music I like again and again.




7. Sound Shapes ; I gave this game a shot because AniHawk raved about it after E3, and because I generally like the platformers that he likes, I figured this would fall into the same category. Well, I spent hours with Sound Shapes. I think it’s absolutely beautiful, even with different artstyles and musical genres fusing into one pretty little game. The level design factoring into making every single sound that the game made tickled my fancy. Every jump you make had to be precise, especially in the game’s challenge levels. Going through the levels feels a lot like learning a song. You learn it phrase-by-phrase, recite the phrases you know, and then move on to learn more phrases until you can sing the entire song yourself. It kind of reminded me of choir. >.>

While I thought the Beat School levels were fine and easy to finish off, the Death Mode levels were… well, oddly-designed. I wasn’t too fond of the randomness that each stage presented with regards to ordering its notes around the map because it isn’t necessarily introducing trial and error, nor is the player learning and progressing, but rather, the player must try to learn each map layout right as the level starts while knowing vague points of the map itself. While some may think this is a little good in terms of game design because it teaches the player to learn the level and patterns displayed the level itself as opposed to memorizing where you’re supposed to go, I must humbly slightly disagree. Regardless, getting something done in Death Mode is extremely satisfying.

I felt like Sound Shapes’s main campaign mode was its best feature, and I with that the game was a little longer with regards to that aspect. I’d truly like to see more of this type of platformer, and more artists taking part in it.




8. The Last Story ; I was told prior to getting the game that it was unlikely to like both Skyward Sword and The Last Story, but I ended up liking The Last Story quite a bit. It certainly does have its share of flaws (the lack of colour, dealing with the AI could be a little better, sometimes it feels too easy, etc.), but I like that Sakaguchi was willing to take a bit of a risk with this game. Now, I’ve never played Blue Dragon or Lost Odyssey, but considering people say those games felt like throwbacks to the SNES and PS1 eras respectively, I can probably see an argument for The Last Story being Sakaguchi’s interpretation of current RPGs. RPGs sometimes have genre-bleeding in that some aspects of a genre bled into the core RPG genre, but it’s still considered as an RPG because it follows a base formula (that perhaps the likes of Wizardry, Ultima, PnP, and D&D have laid out). The Last Story feels like it’s Gears combined with swords. You have a cover system at your disposal and you can command your AI-controlled teammates to standby or execute the command you wish for them to do. It ends up just being fun to run around and slash at dudes while telling your teammates to cast spells to leave Elemental Circles so you can attack. It’s also nice to be the guy who aggros for once, and the bosses are very nicely designed because you need to figure out the solution to fighting them yourself.

I also like the pacing. Things just keep happening and there isn’t that much bloat and fat to contend with. I also like the characters. Even though all of them were completely different from each other, they all felt like a genuine cohesive team. Maybe Zael and Calista might be a little weak in terms of characterization, but the other ones seemed better because they all brought something nice and interesting to the table.

I just really wish it had more colour, and that the soundtrack were more cohesive and consistent.




9. Dikembe Mutombo’s 4½ Weeks to Save the World ; Yes, I am putting the Old Spice advertisement browser game on my list. Why? I had a lot of fun with it and it felt like one of the most creative games of the year. It was also one of the best-looking games of the year as the spritework was very nicely done. Clearly a lot of thought and effort went into this every single week. And I want a way to play it again!

Dikembe Mutombo was a throwback to a lot of games in other genres. You only had access to your directional keys, space, and the ability to pause. It takes a lot of its design elements for Mega Man, Battletoads, Gradius, and a bunch of other things. It goes from being a shmup to a bullet hell shmup and I adore it for that. It also relied on topical humour in a very clever way, dealing with topics from the US Fiscal Cliff to Hostess’s closing to Gangnam Style to the popularity of vampire romance movies, and it hinged on the Mayan Calendar bit as the centerpiece of its narrative. It was a mishmash of genres, popular trends, current events, and it’s just absurd and self-aware. I love this kind of stuff! It’s clever and creative.

I’m glad that Dikembe and Science were voiced as I loved their interactions and it could not be as memorable if they were silent. And I really liked the soundtrack, especially the ending song and boss themes.

Remember, we’re here for friendship! And I think this game is canon.




10. Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom ; Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom is one of the very few Idea Factory games that I like. I think they excel at this kind of stuff and should probably quit making the other games they’re making, but alas. It’s also one of the better otome visual novels I’ve played as I found the narrative intriguing, and it didn’t focus so much on romance or getting with the guy of your dreams. In fact, the romance elements were barely present in the game until perhaps towards the end. Because of that, I don’t feel like this game is exclusively tailored towards females even though it’s marketed to be that way. The character design might be, and the CGs might be, but the story, for the most part, isn’t necessarily overly geared towards females. Much of the game is refers to history, ambushes, war, military raids, and some politics, and that’s what I truly liked about the game. Every guy you end up romancing leads you down a different perspective of the war that the Shinsengumi are engaged in. I ended up having a lot of fun fully completing the game, and even enjoying the characters I didn’t think I was going to like in the end. I have to mention that I really liked most of the voice acting. I’ve written more detailed impressions here.


x. Katawa Shoujo ; Katawa Shoujo seemed like it wasn’t going to be my thing when I started it. Actually, playing this game as a female is a little interesting. While I played other VNs where you play as a guy and you have a choice of several different routes with other girls, Katawa Shoujo is, I suppose, a decent first visual novel for people to play because some of the routes are rather well-written (but this leads to the fact that some of the routes aren’t, which leads to writing inconsistencies and sloppiness). I realize that I’m treading on eggshells when I say that Hisao is a very inconsistent character (his personality changes depending in which route you pick), and that leads him to lack a defined personality, which just feels a little weird because I don’t know a thing about him outside of being easily influenced. Players can turn the eroge scenes off if they wanted to. While sometimes the CGs feature odd proportions, some of them, like some of the watercolour ones, are quite pretty. The soundtrack is relatively decent and I like some of the samples they used.

x. Journey ; I had only played Journey in the past few weeks with the Journey collection. I’m very shy when it comes to multiplayer, so this is the first time in a long time that I ended up playing online with someone else. What I like about this is that you can meet any kind of player out there. Some who are complete assholes, some who are inexperienced, and some who are the nicest and most patient players. I met all three on my journey, and it gave me a little insight into how other people played games. Do they like to do things alone? Do they learn after every mistake? Do they like to teach other players what to do? You can’t exactly talk to the other person with you, but you can certainly learn a lot from them based on what they’re doing. Partially because of that, I feel like it’s something that everyone should experience at least once.

x. Resonance ; Resonance is a point and click adventure where you play as four different characters and explore one rather lengthy mystery. The narrative is plausible and a lot of the revelations and ideas generally make sense, so it doesn’t trip over itself in an attempt to be bigger than it is. Aside from the usual point and click stuff you can use like your inventory, you have this memory recall menu which plays a little in the gameplay mechanics where character may recall long-term memories (which stick with them forever) and short-term memories (which disappear upon use). Sometimes this aspect is a little jarring and other times it’s interesting. You may swap between characters to solve puzzles or work together to solve the puzzle. I also thought the puzzles were alright, and I think it’s nice that some of them were kind of hard because they generally force you to think out of the box. I think if you dig adventure games, Resonance might be up your alley.

x. Genso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki ; I’ve written more detailed impressions here.
x. Frog Fractions ; EDIT: You can read write-ups for these games here!
x. Sleeping Dogs ;
x. Style Savvy: Trendsetters ;
x. The Book of Unwritten Tales ;
x. Lumines Electronic Symphony ;
x. Persona 4: Golden ;
x. Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy ;
x. Dokuro ;
x. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed ;
x. Treasures of Montezuma Blitz ;

2011. To the Moon ; I am so so sad that I didn’t play this in 2011. This is something I would much rather keep to myself, but since it’s relevant, my brother has autism (compounded with another multisystem syndrome). While the central focus was on Asperger’s Syndrome (Tony Attwood books being mentioned in the game), I’m a little happy that ASDs are being brought up in games and the game truly hit home for me. The writing may not be super-stellar, but I felt that the theme of the impact of medical disorders was communicated well. Particularly the theme of why communication and connections with others is so difficult for those with ASDs and those who take care of those who have ASDs. It’s easy to sympathize with the characters trying to express what they mean to each other. I can understand the messages that the creator was trying to send even though some of the messy writing, and I resonate very much with them.
 

krYlon

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Jan 30, 2011
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1. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; A worthy successor to 999 and in many ways superior to its predecessor. VLR has better developed themes and characters, more challenging and creative puzzles and a far more ambitious plot structure. Though the plot is more complex with far more branching points, you are given a flow chart of it that you as a player can explore at any time and each time you solve a puzzle room you are given a password, so unlike 999 you never have to repeat a puzzle.

The real genius of VLR is how it builds upon the mechanic of using knowledge from one branch to solve a problem in another. It basically makes the plot itself a puzzle and not just a choose your own adventure where your choices tell one story out of many. In VLR there is only one story, all the strands are part of it, and even though they exist in separate dimensions, thanks to some brilliant trickery through quantum physics and morphogenetic field theory, they exist in one non-linear timeline.
This of course brings up many questions, philosophic and scientific, about the nature of time, existence and the universe in general. I can&#8217;t think of any other videogame this year that has a mechanic that does that!

What this also means is that the protagonist at times has the same information as the player, or at least remnants, so not only do the branches come together to tell one story, it is a story that both the player and player character experience together. The disconnect between the two is usually an unfortunate necessity in branching storylines. Not in VLR!

Is the game perfect? No. Why we have to see doors open and close as much as we do I have no idea. The 3D character models are no match for the 2D in 999. The setting is far less interesting and atmospheric. And why they had to bring back the worst character, Clover, with her inane grin I&#8217;ll never know.

These faults though are but droplets in an ocean of magnificent thought-provoking, mind-bending, thematically rich storytelling that should be experienced by anyone with any interest whatsoever in interactive fiction.
Oh and I&#8217;ve said it before, and I&#8217;ll say it again, any fans of this series please read the short story &#8220;The Garden of Forking Paths&#8221; by Jorge Luis Borges.

I almost forgot, the soundtrack! One of my favourite game soundtracks in recent years. Ambient electronica at its best.

2. Ys Origin ;
3. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition ;
4. Dokuro ;

I may or may not add more later. There are so many games that I feel like I haven't played enough of to include in the list even though what I've played has impressed me (Avernum, Fez, La-Mulana to name a few) and then there are a bunch of games that I really didn't like enough to include.
 

Tomodachi

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May 19, 2006
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First of all I wanted to say I admire the effort many of you put into your votings, with deep comments, images, additional awards and such. You are what makes gaf great. I'll make sure to read every list on the thread and decide accordingly what games I should play from my backlog with more urgency than others. Thanks a lot for your work again.

Here's my tiny list, I didn't play many 2012 titles and this top 10 almost covers everything. I left out a few titles though.

1. Dragon's Dogma ; Never would expect it to be before starting the game, even in the first hours all I could see were its flaws, its lack of polish. Then, when I got the hang of it, this game basically grabbed me by force and put me into its fantastic world. This is everything that I want out of modern action rpgs: great combat, lots of exploration, epic stories, packs and packs of atmosphere.

2. Gravity Rush ; An amazing game that really shows Vita's potential and underlines the fact that technology and great ideas combined make the difference. It's so rewarding to get the hang of travelling around, flying above the cities even idly looking for gems. Visually stunning, narratively complex and deep (it tells you everything you need to know, just doesn't need to shove it into your face), with amazing characters and one of the best soundtracks of the year, if not the best.

3. Journey ; An experience like anything else. And yeah, I am one of those people, I cried through the final section for no reason at all, just amazement I guess.

4. Hotline Miami ; Skill, drugs, madness, reflexes, numbness, blood, pixels, restart, shotgun, masks, creepy. Deliriously brilliant.

5. Sound Shapes ; I really enjoyed the main campain but the game showed its brilliance right after that. Beat School is a concept I love and really wished they'd do a whole game around it. This plus Beck, deadmou5, Superbrothers, Jim Guthrie, and an amazing editor makes it one of the best game of the year.

6. Dear Esther ; More than a game, less than a game, who cares. It's yet another unique experience, with outstanding writing that you'll spend days and maybe multiple playthroughs trying to decipher. It would be worth it even as a simple walk simulator anyway.

7. Max Payne 3 ; Too many cutscenes but depicting a very good story that feels like a proper hollywood action movie. Other than that it is one hell of a shooter so if you're into that, just skip the cutscenes and have a blast. Over the top production value and top notch writing from Rockstar, once again.

8. FTL ; You know that jpg with Capt. Adama that is posted every now and then on SteamGAF? That's it.

9. The Last Story ; I was disappointed by this game. It manages to become really interesting and challenging only in the last ten hours or so and it's a pity because it had an amazing battle system, used so so poorly. Even then, now that almost an year has passed, I feel like it has left a better memory of it that I'd thought back then, and so it managed to snatch the ninth place. Great locations and likable characters kinda redemeed it in the long run, I guess.

10. Final Fantasy XIII-2 ; Yeah, yeah. WTF is this doing it, right? Well, it entertained me. Maybe having a friend playing it at the same time and being able to have a laugh about the nonsensical plot and stupid characters with him made it better. Anyway, battle system was nice, as were locations and graphics. So I guess there's that. Also, very nice soundtrack (even though many BGMs are hilarious, in the worst possible sense of the term) and the ending is one of those "so trashy/bad it's good" cases. And Noel is so hot lol.

x. Alan Wake's American Nightmare ; I expected so much more from this game. It's not bad at all but all the backtracking and definitely lazy structure really ruined it for me. But! It's a good wrapping on the first episode's story and has a great gameplay in my opinion (so dramatically improved on the first) so I guess it could make a fine honorable mention.
 

Lee Chaolan

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Dec 21, 2012
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Following in this fun trend, Click the Banner to listen to some good music. Just beware of Spoilers in youtube comments >_>



1. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ;

So many emotions with this game. It was a brilliant followup to Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors. The setting, feeling trapped, faced with such a situation is crazy, but fun to immerse yourself into. The game looks absolutely gorgeous on the Vita.

The puzzles this time around were a little trickier, but overall very fun to complete. The English voices were amazing. I loved just about everyone's voice. The music, once again Phenomenal. Blue Bird Lamentation is linked on the picture.



2. Dragon's Dogma ;

The Wind is Pushing me! It's hard for me to start a new RPG and really stick with it. Dragon's Dogma helped with it's amazingly fun combat system, it's many available classes, and that soundtrack. Scaling Trolls and cutting them down has never been this fun.



3. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 ; Loved Tekken since I was younger, everything you could want in a fighter, and excellent net code!



4. Warriors Orochi 3 ; So much content for your buck. Over 100 warriors to play as. Musashi Miyamoto is always to be found on my team! This would be rated higher if not for it's terrible option of not allowing you to online co-op with somebody UNLESS they've already cleared the stage...What's the point then?



5. The Witcher 2 ; Geralt is a Boss. All that needs to be said. :)



6. Xenoblade Chronicles ; It takes a mighty fine game to keep me glued to my Wii for so long! Love that opening theme.



7. Rhythm Heaven Fever ; See above. The soundtrack alone makes the top 10. The simple yet trying gameplay has you coming back to improve your score. Love the Pink guys. xD



8. Resident Evil 6 ; Yes, it's no longer survival horror. What it is, is a damn fun online co-op 3rd person experience. Played it with my Brother and loved every minute.



9. Tales of Graces F ; Kudos to Namco Bandai for localizing this. Fans want more Tales!



10. Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?! ; Like, Oh my Glob. I wish this game were longer!

x. The Walking Dead

x. Assassin's Creed 3



2011. Catherine ; Loved this game! My first venture from the Persona team. Difficulty was hard, but loved the interactions at the Stray Sheep Bar!
 

ZeroRay

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Feb 10, 2009
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1. Hotline Miami ; My favorite part of Hotline Miami isn't the lightning-fast, crunchy gameplay, its unique visual style, nor its amazing soundtrack. It isn't the way all these elements combine, driving you to a near hypnotic blood-rage, putting the player in what must be the same mindset as the avatar they're controlling. No, my favorite part about the game is when it all falls apart. It's that feeling you get when you cleared a room with more than half a dozen enemies in mere seconds, cleared the second room with the same ruthless efficiency, your nerves are pulsating, it feels like adrenaline is being pumped straight to your heart by the gallon. You make it to the third room and take out two enemies. You wait in the corner for the third to expose himself, you crack his skull with a baseball bat and go back to co- BOOM! You were hit with a shotgun blast offscreen and all that adrenaline explodes out of your still thumping heart. This happened to me several times throughout the course of the game; from when I was a noob, to the later levels, to when I was just replaying the game for fun. All I could say after that every single time was..."That was fucking awesome." Then I press 'R' to Restart.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles ; Best JRPG since FFXII. Best JRPG since&#8230;well...maybe ever.

3. Mark of the Ninja ; Haven't beaten this one, but for my money, it is the best stealth game ever when mechanics are concerned. Kiei always struck me as a studio who prioritized deep gameplay, even if the Shank games weren't substantial. I'm glad they're finally getting the recognition they deserve.

4. The Walking Dead ; Emotion in games is often hard to do. Usually the best way to make the player feel something is through the gameplay itself, rather than through the use of the story. Theres a reason for that, as most developers usually cannot create a great story interwoven with great gameplay. Telltale decided to go the opposite route and make what amounts more to a visual novel than an adventure game. Even if the story was not fully to my liking both from a narrative and a writing standpoint, Telltale still managed to make something incredible. Making me care deeply for the protagonist (and I'm referring to both Lee and Clemantine as a singular protagonist). After mulling over it for a month and a half, I really appreciate the way they handled the ending scene of the game. It's been said many times over about how emotional it was, but what really struck me was how all of episode 5 was more subdued and less "epic" than I imagined it to be. And I really wouldn't have it any other way.

5. Dishonored ; Here was a game with significant potential. Best level was the first. As you got stronger, the challenge and satisfaction got much weaker. To put it bluntly, they didn't scale up the difficulty as your player skills and in game abilites improved. Being creative is great, but only when faced with significant challenge does creativity breed excellence. In the end, questionable design decisions prevent Dishonored from being an all time great. So you can imagine how great the game still is being number 5 on my list!

6. Journey ; Honestly, a lot of it felt very forced, even with the inclusion of other players. And I was someone who was really positively affected by Flower too. Still, the final two parts transcend those opinions by featuring the most intense and satisfying segment ever put into a game. (well, if you're with a partner that is) Me and him/her nearly got separated before the end. :( But we reunited in time to reach the summit of our Journey.

7. Spec Ops: The Line ; The only way to win is not to play.

8. Asura's Wrath ; It's like one of my Japanese Animes.

2011. Rayman Origins ; It's an audio-visual pleasure drug mixed with some pretty good platforming. What's not to love?
 
Oct 19, 2007
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Aw snap
I'm squeezing in my votes at the last minute. There's still a ton I wish I played but it was a busy year. Hopefully 2013 allows me to catch up with everything I missed

1. Sound Shapes ; I'm not a musically inclined person and I'm more likely to listen to a podcast while playing a game than the game's soundtrack. Despite this, Sound Shapes' excellent soundtrack drew me in and kept me playing. The game also has some of the best user generated content I've come across. Even from day 1 I was impressed by the levels and whenever I come back I find something even better. Also, fuck death mode. Seriously.

2. Mutant Blobs Attack ; This is the game I played the most when I got my vita. I don’t really have anything to say other than the game is fun. Simple pure fun.

3. Crimson Shroud ; MATSUNO ::swoons:: Looks great, plays great, makes me wish Matsuno had a real budget and a desire to make another full sized game.

4. Thomas Was Alone ; Claire, the fat blue square, is the character of the year. Forget your Walking Deads and Last Rewards! Claire, an amateur superhero who saved the day by floating on water, moved me more than any dialog tree ever could. But seriously, how in the world did this game make me care about colored squares?

5. Gotham City Imposters ; I'm not much for multiplayer shooters but I really got into this at the beginning of the year. The wide range of movement options is what really hooked me. I could go stealth, glide through the air, zip across the ground, or swing around like spiderman. Even when dying and coming in last place (which I usually did) I still had a great time.

X. Asura's Wrath ; I could easily put this first, but I didn't actually buy it (I watched a play through on youtube) so I'll just give it an honorable mention. Asura is basically everything I want from an anime. It's S.Cry.Ed without the annoying girl. Gurren Lagann without Nia's weird flower eyes. G Gundam without the terrible stereotypes. Just one father's quest TO SHOUT UNTIL HE BURSTS AND KICK ASS. OH GOD MY BLOOD IS SO HOT RIGHT NOW R2 R2 R2

X. Torchlight 2 ; Great game but I'm really too early to give it a fair shake. I don't think it will hook me for 100s of hours like loot action rpgs do for some people but I'll play through the story with my cute dog companion and I enjoy every minute of it.