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

Arlecchino

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Feb 22, 2011
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10. Binary Domain (PC) ; Preface: Response: Damn!

This is the only game on the list I bought purely on hype and recommendation. First off, the voice stuff was pretty terrible. I’m not even talking about the implementation of the actual voice into microphone part, though that wasn’t great either. I’m referring to the dialogue options you get when you respond to your pals. I suppose we’ll just chalk it up as bad localization.

Up until the point where you find the guy you’ve been looking for nearing the back third or quarter of the game, the game didn’t necessarily grab me. Had it continued along the path it was going, it would just be another mediocre shooter with a seemingly shallow but surprisingly engaging dismemberment mechanic. Then the story started ramping way up and I was definitely engaged. For the lack of a better term in my noggin, shit started to get real. The ramped up story plus some stand out characters with Big Bo and Cain earns this game a spot on my list.





9. Mass Effect 3 (PC) ; Preface: I didn’t think ME2 was that great. Also, played it at release, so no Leviathan/Extended Cut/etc.

At a certain point, what needs to be said on this game? I am most definitely not the well-spoken arbiter(on any subject really) I wish I was, so what ground hasn’t been trodden? Well, how about this? Hows abouts I throw my opinion in the ring at post 1xxx? Great idea.

The biggest problem with the game for me was simply wasted potential. They definitely delivered on some aspects, (the Genophage comes to mind) but for the most part, it fell flat. The dream sequences with the kid really come to mind here. You come to me and tell me for the third game you want to introduce some PTSD-like issues with Shepherd based on his past actions, and I say. “sure, that sounds pretty interesting” What I didn’t green light as the hypothetical manager of the franchise was this terrible, manipulative set of sequences that I couldn’t help but laugh at, at the end. There was so much they could have done with that concept, and that right there is most of this game in a microcosm.

I rarely get out right offended by games; I generally accept the developers’ decisions no matter how off-the-rails the audience finds it sometimes. That combined with my “not love” of Mass Effect 2 combined to result in me not having even close to the vitriol that some had for Mass Effect 3. Sure, I can look back academically on the game and ramble on for more paragraphs than anyone should read, but overall the parts that I did like in ME2 were in here as well. The combat is enjoyable, the dialogue writing has always been stellar, and the overall experience of playing Mass Effect games start to finish, especially when they improved the combat from ME1, is something hard to not like. Even a phoned in version of these games I believe is worth playing.

Also a random thought: something that I never saw being talked about, (though based on the amount of words typed relating to this topic, I’m sure it came up eventually) was the stuff in the overworld. When you’re being chased by the reapers, remember? It was definitely said how terrible the gameplay for it was and how there were ways to game the system that I can’t quite remember. But the reason I bring it up, is because narratively, this was the biggest thing that baffled me. All I could hear was yakkety-sax music when this was happening. This serious, horrific war is going on and we’re on the brink of extinction, but let’s fly around this world map in a ridiculous fashion making a laughing stock of these enemies we’re spending the whole game propping up on this unseeable pedestal. No really, I did like this game, I swear. It just has a lot of problems.





8. Journey (PS3) ; Preface: Haven’t played thatgamecompany’s previous games.

My experience with Journey certainly wasn’t an unique one and based on some of the experiences of others I’ve read in this thread, it definitely wasn’t as transformative. As someone who has spent little time with “artsy” games, it’s hard for me to really grasp how I feel just yet on the genre. I couldn’t help but cynically point out parts in it where I felt the game was just lavishing in its obliqueness. Whatever. That’s just a disagreement with its style. And just as a quick aside, during the infamous “sand surfing” sequence, I couldn’t help imagining the developers screaming “Look how pretty our game is! Look at it!” They were right, it was beautiful. The whole game is, it just lacks substance for me at times.

The key thing in this game for me however, was the co-op. Hell, that was probably the most “artsy” thing about the damn game. (Okay, I’m going to stop saying artsy; I don’t think I even know what it means at this point.) I don’t know if it was because I played it late, (December) or because I was lucky, but I was able to complete the game with one person. And all I had to show for it at the end was his “Gamertag”. This surprised me because having heard of examples of people beating the game and a list of 5+ people showing up when it felt so seamless and they were none the wiser, I was sure there were times when that happened to me.

Travelling the world on an adventure with your buddy was something I absolutely expected; I knew what I was getting into. I just wasn’t ready to find out how much I would love that experience. At first, I was skeptical hearing about the feeling a sense of loss when you possibly lose your partner. But that very thing happened to me. And when the lone name showed up at the end, I smiled at the thought of all the times I had temporarily lost him/her only to reconnect, but with a sense of doubt that it was a different person. The game needs to be played online, I don’t care how pretty it looks.





7. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PC) ; Preface: First game of the genre I’ve played

I feel like the reception with Enemy Unknown was so favorable because of the expert combination of that old XCOM you know, with an attention to make the game more accessible. Now of course this is me regurgitating that idea as I have no context for this series nor genre, so it could very well be the opposite for some. What I do know is, is that the fervor surrounding this game didn’t hit me nearly as hard as I heard it had for others.

The fact is, that this game is a solidly made, fun, addictive turn-based strategy game. Alright, that sounds awesome; why isn’t this number one? Firstly, the metagame aspect was mediocre for me. It’s akin to glue that is needed to hold everything together. I can’t deny the intensity of having every country in the red, with my first satellites on their way, parts of Africa already gone. And somehow, pulling it together and trekking on despite our lack of African friends. Maybe that’s all I was supposed to get out of it. I just felt that it left something to be desired. Also, the inventory management stuff is terrible.

But my tepid reaction to the metagame isn’t detrimental enough for me to dislike the game. The combat in the game is great and what makes it so addictive. It’s punishing, (not hard, though) at times exhausting, and that feeling of losing that dude/dudette who you worked so hard on is brutal, and at times, I couldn’t help but reset my save if I died because of a 90% shot missing. I loved the interaction between the classes. I loved naming them after friends and sometimes having to inform them that their alter-ego died because of my poor play. The part of the combat that breaks down for me is the “out of combat stuff”. When you’re looking for enemies, it’s really unfortunate. You have to leapfrog your whole team across the map hoping to eventually run into one of them. If you’re one to not reload your saves, you have to be really cautious too, in the early game at least because it can get real rotten. There’s also a certain issue where if you spot the enemies on one of your last squadmates for your turn, as per usual they’ll scatter, but afterwards, if they happen to scatter to surround one of your guys, it’ll be their turn next and they’ll decimate whomever they’ve surrounded. It’s hard for me to hate on a game for anecdotal scenarios and I really wish I could articulate my problems with these parts. I just personally find whenever there’s a lull in combat unfun. But the rest of the game (hell even the metagame portions) is a total strategic joy.





6. Dishonored (PC) ; Preface: Dark Messiah Might and Magic is terrible.

This is the one game on my list that is somewhat of an enigma to me. I have this feeling in the back of my mind that there is a critique out there, I don’t know where but the critique of it would speak to me so well, that I’d be forced to dislike this game.

Everybody confused? Perfect. It’s almost as if I have this idealized idea of what this game is, when the reality is much less remarkable. Putting all that aside, this game makes it on the list because ignoring all dissonance, I still enjoyed the raw experience of exploring the world and playing through the story. No, the story wasn’t great, or even good, but it was enough of a vessel to push me through the world. The best part of the game for me was definitely the non-lethal way of killing the “bosses”. It was an amazing idea and brought light to an infinite possibility within a concept.

Dishonored shares similar problems with other games of the stealthy variety that once shit hits the fan, the gameplay goes with it. Yes, I’ve seen the clips of the insane, super lethal, impressive displays of skill and that brings me to this caveat: I applaud the fact that there are the tools within the game to make lethal fun and that the controls are good/fun enough to not completely hamstring you. The problem is the general swordplay/gunplay isn’t good enough in my opinion despite the fact that it can be used to make you look awesome in the best hands.

So we revert back to the first paragraph and reiterate this odd feeling I have with this game. Maybe it’s just that it’s forgettable or it’s not as good as the sum of it’s parts. It’s similar to XCOM, not on how I feel about it overall, but how the core mechanics and combat are enough to drive this game forward and make it really enjoyable. Yeah...I think that’s a better summation than just saying “I have no fucking idea what is going on, pls send help”





5. Gravity Rush (Token Vita Game) ; Preface: Dusty is the best character of this generation, perhaps ever.

“Sony! Sony! Sony!” The crowd chants as the one Vita game is revealed in the middle of the list. “A Vita game has been rewarded! The Vita is saved!” Okay, not really. If there were complaints to put upon the Vita, they wouldn’t be in this part. I’m not invested enough to care enough one way or the other. Gravity Rush I do care about however. It’s probably my favourite open world game I’ve played ever. Now you may be saying, “Uh, idiot, I can SEE Sleeping Dogs under this, what the hell are you smoking?” You’re right, I don’t like Gravity Rush more than Sleeping Dogs. Hell, I don’t even like it more than Red Dead Redemption, or even the Infamous games. I’m more talking about the actual open world aspect. I love flying around the city and even if there isn’t much to do in it, that really is enough for me to like it over the other games. It was that fun for me.

G-Rush as nobody calls it is pure cheeriness for me. Even with Kat’s naivety (and that’s being generous) making me roll my eyes throughout the story, I couldn’t help but find it endearing. For god’s sake, Dusty the cat just meows through the whole story. What the fuck is that? Adding ellipses within the sentence does not make it better. Neither do italics. But I love it. I don’t even care. The Vita probably sucked my brain out and put it back in with the implanted idea of how great this game is. Inception.

I can definitely see this being frustrating for some, but I loved the feeling of having trouble with the gold challenges during the beginning parts, only to destroy them after I got all the upgrades. It was completely satisfying even if I’m giving it a pass on a questionable design choice. I still don’t even care. It’s just all fun. Fun fun fun fun fun. Also, the finisher cutscenes on bosses reminded me of Sailor Moon. I haven’t even seen that in 10 years, but you know, right?





4. Max Payne 3 (PC) ; Preface: Haven’t played the first two Max Payne games. So y’know, I liked it.

Okay, let’s get a couple things out of the way first. I didn’t hate the number of cutscenes. As I discussed in the Mass Effect portion, (at least I think I mentioned it, it’s been so many words ago) I’m generally pretty amicable when it comes to design choices. If they want to put a bunch of cutscenes in it, good for them. That’s their decision. And likewise, if the people playing it end up hating that portion, well, that’s their decision too. I have this belief that every design choice(okay, maybe not every), no matter how against the grain it is, has a possibility of being amazing. Asura’s Wrath and QTEs is a good example.

With that housekeeping out of the way, we move forward. So beyond the amount of cutscenes, what did I actually think of the cutscenes themselves? Eh... I liked the showing of different angles and such. I’m sure there is a word for it but with the lack of the word in my brain for it, I’ll just say “quartering off the screen to show different stuff at the same time”. It wasn’t impressive or anything, (especially once you keep seeing it) it was just fresh and I thought it was well executed, so I liked it, that’s all. Some of the effects used during the cutscenes however, were incredibly grating. They turned the dial to 11 in some parts with all the flashing and flickering and shtuff.

The shooting is not surprisingly the real draw of the game and it’s probably the best overall gameplay of this year for me. The animations, the feel of the shooting, (other than being forced to kill the guy that “killed” you) the ridiculous moments you can create with the slowdown mechanics. It all leads to an overall package that combined with a story good enough for me to be interested in, allows me the opportunity to hate the game once I embark on trying that Hardcore New York Minute stuff. What will annoy me first, the dying and having to restart the whole thing, or the unskippability of the cutscenes? Trick question: I’m already annoyed at the unskippability.




3. Sleeping Dogs (PC) ; Preface: Witcher 2’s Looker of the Year award. DAT RAIN

I think back on Sleeping Dogs. A game I beat 100%. A game I enjoyed from beginning to end. (Except that gambling achievement part, fuck cock fights) It wasn’t anything amazing, but I guess what I can say of note about the game for me personally, is that I feel it bridged the gap perfectly between Saint’s Row the Third and GTA 4.

Now I could start on how it runs amazing on my PC unlike the other two and on top of that, looks better than both of them combined. That’s just a personal grievance though. The actual gap I’m referring to is more so the story. It has goofy parts, but’s not nearly as stupid as Saint’s Row. (To be clear, I enjoyed it in SR3 for the most part) It feels more organic and led to me enjoying it more than I expected, as a result. It also knows when to take itself more seriously and while I don’t think it deserves any awards for originality or execution of the overall story and tone, as a whole, I can look back on that experience of me roaming through Hong Kong, telling Wei Shen’s story, as a great one. Just maybe not with any specifics.

Speaking of Hong Kong, how about those visuals, huh? Look, I’m not the biggest graphics whore on the planet and while I’m trying my best, it’s hard for me to look at an image of a game, and be able to pinpoint certain graphical effects. I wish I was able to critique graphics at an intellectual level, but I first have to be able to distinguish what tessellation and SSAO does first. Basically, I need to know what looks “bad” in an image. But all that pointless uninteresting blog post about me aside, this game looks amazing. You’ve seen it? Well then you know what I’m talking about, next point.

In terms of the combat in this game I played it at my desk with controller in hand. Whenever there was a shooting sequence? Put the controller on my lap/table, and start Mouse/Keyboarding it. It worked well enough and allowed me to not be annoyed with playing a shooter with a controller. The Arkham-esque combat was well implemented but at the same time, nothing to really praise, other than the fact that most melee combat in these games are garbage so good on ‘em!

Normally, I don’t subscribe to taking issue with the dissonance between how characters act in cutscenes and gameplay but you wanted to make Wei Shen the posterboy for that, I might just start. Man, some of those execution-like kills on your enemies are unbelievably brutal. To be clear, I’m not actually bothered by it, there’s just such a stark contrast between the brutality and literally everything else you can do gameplay wise in Sleeping Dogs. As far as I can remember...

This is one of those games that I’m glad I played, I’m glad it exists but it didn’t do anything exceptional to top the list. Including Emma Stone doesn’t count.





2. Spec Ops: The Line (PC) ; Preface: Didn’t read Heart of Darkness/no awareness of the parallels until after I beat it and read up on the reactions to the game

Quick, guess what I’m going to say about it. “The story was good, the shooting was bad” This is the part where I hit the buzzer indicating that you were incorrect in your assumption. No, calm down, it’s not reversed, I just didn’t hate the shooting nearly as much as most did. Maybe because I was playing it with mouse and keyboard? I don’t know. I just thought it was a solidly made shooting experience that at no point was holding me back from finishing the story. I even enjoyed the stuff with the squad commands where you have basic commanding control of your teammates’ sniper rifle and grenades.

So now the story. I so wished I had heard nothing on this game before I played it. If I had a regret this year, it would be that. It may have been my game of the year if the surprise of what all goes down was genuine. Though, I probably wouldn’t have bought it had I not heard the enticing things I heard about the game, so I guess I solved that personal issue of mine on my own in this very thread, thanks internet! The whole execution of the spiralling down of the characters is sublime. To really see this, once you’ve beaten the game and seen the credits, immediately restart the game and experience the beginnings parts again. It’s not like it’s so subtle that you absolutely need to do this to understand it, but for me, it really hammered the point home. There are many parts story-wise I loved about this game. The loading screen messages later on the game, the scene after the infamous bombing scene where there’s a close up of the main character with his fellow compatriots arguing in the background, all the stuff with the radio DJ, and perhaps best of all, the ending where you’re being rescued, and you have the option to just gun them all down. Powerful.

And by powerful, maybe I’m overstating it. I don’t think it’s some unbelievable incredible story that will revolutionize the industry. But, the writing had a motivation. They(He?) set their sights on a commentary of the modern military genre, and you know what? They absolutely nail some parts, they falter on others but most importantly for me, they create a much needed breath of fresh air and I hope others carry the torch further at some point. A really promising endeavor.



1. The Darkness II (PC) ; Preface: Didn’t play the first game.

The absolute surprise of the year for me. It wasn’t the actual game that surprised me as much as the fact that not many other people liked or mentioned it. And then it went from surprise to sadness. I applaud anyone who gave it a chance and enjoyed it as much as I did, if only to insure myself that I’m not fucking crazy.

So because this is my number one game, that means I can’t say anything bad about it. Ah, fuck it. Sometimes having to shoot the lights out is irritating, and I’ll gladly accept the argument that it’s too short, though that didn’t bother me. There, done. Okay one more, the sequences with the Darkling were pretty lame and I actually had a bug that impeded me from progressing through the vents. Dammit, at first I was kidding with the one more, but I just remembered that sometimes picking up hearts would be an ordeal when there was a weapon in the way. That was a small one though, on to the good stuff.

The combat in the game is a blast. Controlling the darkness with the mouse is probably suboptimal, especially starting out on the hardest difficulty, which limits your ability to be out in the open that long. But overall, the mixture of the darkness, the guns, and the darkness abilities makes for a fulfilling combat loop that holds it’s own with the best single player shooters out there. This especially holds true when you bump the difficulty down as I did on my New Game+ runthrough to really break loose and allow yourself to explore more of the possibilities the combat offers.

Combat aside, the reason why I fell in love with the game were the characters and the relationship depicted between Jackie and Jenny. At first I thought it was laid on a little thick. Hell, maybe it is, but the point is I didn’t like the fact that it was. It got to the point where I got up after my first play session late at night, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and it impeded my sleep. The writing is constantly hammering in the anguish he feels because of what happened in the first game. The writing is really good, and the voice acting is impactful. Now I loved how they executed the relationship between Jackie and Jenny in this game. But then they make it even deeper. So you’re trying to save this girl who you owe your life too, right? But then, they introduce this idea that it’s all in your head and that you’re actually some inmate in a mental hospital.

This concept in theory is pretty stupid, and even though it’s pretty clear that it’s not your true reality, for me, it got a reaction of pure marvel. I loved that they introduced this idea that there’s a psychiatrist in this ward trying to help you, and you’ve created this whole reality within your mind that you need to save her and the reality that she knows is just a construct that she also needs saving from. The whole thing is so tragic, and I can’t do it enough justice with my own words. No, really. I just reread this and I am tempted to erase it.

Two final things on this game before I close out my boring thesis on all the games I played this year. The ending of The Darkness II was the most satisfying thing I’ve experienced all year. And I loved how they split the ending of the game with an addendum to an ending that happens right after that is sort of the obligatory “there could be a sequel” you see in games and movies. I thought that was a great decision. Also, Johnny Powell is the actual best character this year. Sorry, Dusty.
 

Arlecchino

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Feb 22, 2011
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Okay it really got to the end of the wire with that, filled that 24k to the brim. So now that’s done I can say that this theme in terms of gaming for me was definitely patience. Now this idea was typed out before I did the list, so now that I have to move this to the second post I can say that patience extends to writing this list. Anyway, I’ve never really been Mr. Buy everything I’m interested in at $50/60, but this year I exercised more restraint than usual despite because really interested in the very games I’m restraining myself from. So obviously my above list reflects omissions that I’m positive would have placed somewhere on the list. I wish that 2013’s 2012 GOTY held room for more than one because that’s going to be a tough one)

The other thing of note is that this list more so than a clear, concise dialogue on my thoughts on games is more of an exercise on getting better at being able to talk on a game well. I hold a lot of respect for people in this very thread and game reviewers in general who are able to do that, and this act of just doing it has been challenging, especially looking at some of the great acts I’m following. It’s been fun for sure.

Anyways, so hopefully this second post should overwrite the previous and this will be for the actual tallying? Also, I have a couple thoughts to add. Edit: Oh shit, last thing probably. The granularity of some of the placings at a certain point was too ridiculous to think too hard over. XCOM and Dishonored for example. I just kinda went with my gut and stuck with it.



1. The Darkness II ; The artstyle didn't do anything for me one way or the other
2. Spec Ops: The Line ; Great voice acting performances in this game
3. Sleeping Dogs ; Ditto on the voice acting. I also think the Karaoke mission where you have to deliberately fail is a good example of what I'm talking about with the silliness.
4. Max Payne 3 ; This game is also a looker along with Sleeping Dogs
5. Gravity Rush ; I loved the music in this. So did Dusty
6. Dishonored ; The similarities between this and HL2, art wise is unsettling especially the things that look like Striders. What's up with that?
7. XCOM: The Enemy Unknown ; I regret not beginning with ironman when I started on Classic
8. Journey ; Turns out music was not on the brain while reviewing the year, great in this too
9. Mass Effect 3 ; I regret not taking a screenshot of my guy for the picture before uninstalling
10. Binary Domain ; The mouse controls are totally fucked but I also want to reiterate that I really liked the back third/quarter of this game

x. Orcs Must Die 2 ; Okay, I suppose I should reserve myself on these ones, huh? This was number 11 for me. I loved loved loved the first one, and this was better than that. It’s a more refined, just overall better game and adding the only thing the first one needed with co-op. I just wanted to showcase more original games, I guess. Maybe in a week I’ll regret it.

x. Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb ; This is here as it’s the only way I can show my love for both this and my 2012’s 2011 GOTY. Just like Super Meat Boy from last year’s GOTY from the previous year award,(yikes, that’s a mouthful) Team Meat is representing in hooking me in for hours upon hours upon hours. I love binding of isaac. I don’t think it’s a great game. I just think it’s a really fun game, and a great thing to play whilst listening/catching up on podcasts.

x. Dustforce ; Speaking of Super Meat Boy, this is another great platformer. It didn’t grab me as much as Super Meat Boy and I feel the skill ceiling is too high for my tastes. But I love how the overworld has challenges to actually even get to the levels and it’s a game I definitely want to invest more time into as it’s very satisfying once you nail a level you’ve been having trouble with.

x. World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria ; I played in the early stages of the expansion, with no intention of anything but and I enjoyed the heck out of it. The game keeps getting better and better in my opinion, I just don’t have the interest to play it like I used to.

x. Diablo 3 ; This is actually kind of similar to WoW in which I bought it with the intention of going through until I wasn’t interested in the game anymore and was fine when that time came. I’ll theoretically always have a license to play it and can go back at anytime and that’s fine with me. Though, I suppose I could cynically bring up the fact that the servers will be down sooner, rather than later. I didn’t go in with the nostalgia of D2 and found the gameplay tight and amazing feeling wise. The rune system was interesting enough and it felt like an overall polished, fun experience. Yes, I rolled my eyes at the story. The AH is in my opinion a necessary evil, and early on, Inferno was pretty brutal. But I got every class to 60, I had a great time, and I don’t regret a thing.

x. Torchlight 2 ; So unfortunately for this one, I started playing it pretty soon after my interest with D3 had waned. I could definitely see the good in parts of it, and eventually, I will go back and give it more of my time. I will say that just the feel of the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired compared to D3.

x. Offspring Fling ; A cute indie platformer that not many have played I don’t think. I highly recommend it. A whole lot of fun and the developer’s times are very challenging.

x. Persona 4 Golden; I didn’t beat the PS2 version, I’m still getting through the Endurance Run, and now I’m going through this. Even with that it’s still one of my favourite games of all time and I will definitely beat this eventually, once I get rid of my PS Vita backlog due to PS+

x. Retro City Rampage ; I don’t think this is a great game. But I’m thoroughly impressed at one dude basically making it all. A true labor of love and I think that’s worth recognizing.

x. Sound Shapes ; Now, based on my early experience with the game, I was planning to just platinum it and move on. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t blown away. But I need to put it on here for the Beck levels. That first Beck level is incredible and perhaps worth the $5 I spent on the game.

x. Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack ; I’m actually not sure what to say about this game. It’s just really fun. And does what it’s trying to do well. And the levels are fun to go through and well-made.

x. Frog Fractions ; You had me at the boxing explanation. That’ll do frog, that’ll do.

x. Tokyo Jungle ; I’ve only unlocked a couple new animals and I’m absolutely loving the originality in this game. I wish I could have played it more before the deadline.

x. Awesomenauts ; Welp, this is a late addition 5 minutes before deadline. I totally forgot this as I got it through PS+, and didn't check my PS3 library before voting. This game is a total blast and even ignoring the obvious, and pointed attempt at creating a MOBA clone for consoles. It's a really fun, but basic game that I really need to buy on PC as I think the community is still rolling on it.


2011. Payday: the Heist ; It’s like Left 4 Dead, but the shooting is good. I love the feel of this game. The shooting, the running around, everything. The subject matter is unique and interesting. Heat: The Game. Fuck yeah.



Games I didn’t play but plan to play this year when the price is right(i.e. stuff on the top of my head that I think could've contended)
-Assassin’s Creed 3 ; This is my franchise of the generation and it pained me to not to play it
-Borderlands 2
-Darksiders 2
-Far Cry 3
-Hitman: Absolution
-Hotline Miami
-Mark of the Ninja
-The Walking Dead ; Technically played the first two because of PS+. Thought it was okay so far.
-You know what? That Sonic kart racer thing looks awesome. I don’t even like Sonic.

There’s probably more, but those stood out as the games I was upset to not play this year.

Games I didn’t play through due to platform
-Any 360 exclusive games (Spelunky, Trials, Dust, Halo, etc)
-Any DS/3DS exclusive games (Kid Icarus, I’m sure there was a layton game, etc)
-Any Wii-U exclusive games (Zombi-U, etc)

About 5500 words total, oh my god what have I done?!
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
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The Land of Bagged Milk
Papercuts: I enjoyed your list. You should be more confident in your writing because I felt that you adequately reasoned out why you loved your choices!

Arlecchino: Don’t apologize for writing more! (I was reading before you edited your second part in.) This is the kind of stuff I go for in these threads. Your list was a pleasure to read. :)

Honestly, thanks to everyone who’s been going above and beyond. I’m learning a lot about games that I otherwise wouldn’t play or wouldn’t have known about. Or I’m getting to see different perspectives on games that I probably didn’t like or found flawed. This is truly how I feel list threads should be like on GAF.

----

I would like to say that this is not a ballot. It’s merely an expansion of my original vote here, just because some people felt I should’ve completed my honourable mentions section.

Honourable Mentions

Resonance, Journey, and Katawa Shoujo’s writeups were included in my list proper.

Dokuro (Vita)



I really wanted to play this much earlier than I did, and boy do I wish I’d played this earlier. It is so adorable. I love the charcoal artstyle, and I love the colours used for the two main characters (their colours stand out because the rest of the game is tastefully done in black, white, and grey). It is such a fascinating puzzle-platformer with the right amount of difficulty. I haven’t finished it yet, but I like it so much that I want to put it on my honourable mentions list.

Dokuro is about a little skeleton working for this huge Dark Lord. The Dark Lord falls for a princess and subsequently captures her. The little skeleton protagonist, who was originally handsome human prince, doesn’t take too kindly to folks to kidnap girls, so he goes through the process of freeing her. The game takes these little narrative tidbits and forces them into game concepts. For example, you may drink potions which allow Dokuro to transform into his princely form for a while in order to get through puzzles he cannot otherwise get through when he’s a small little skeleton. Thus, the game requires the player to ration how long he or she may use Dokuro’s transformations for, and how he or she may be able to utilize both forms to get through levels as efficiently and quickly as possible (while trying to collect little coins).

Throughout each stage, Dokuro must go through puzzle-platforming and light combat in order to protect the princess who Dokuro seems to adore. The princess will walk through any path you lay out for her, or run when confronted with an enemy, and it’s up to you to prevent any mishaps from occurring. She won’t walk into pits. Sometimes you need to use chalk colours to create ropes or other things to get through a stage (which is done using the touch screen). Sometimes you need to switch into the princely form to carry the princess to safety bridal-style.

If you feel like you aren’t doing a good job with a puzzle, you can always restart. You can also skip ahead if you feel like you’re stuck on a puzzle. While it’s a critical thinking-oriented puzzle-platformer, it still allows players who don’t feel that they’re up to the challenge at that point in time to skip ahead. It’s accessible without dumbing down its base formulae. It’s cute, it’s quirky, and it provides the right amount of challenge. The controls are tight as well.

Oh, and the soundtrack? I realize what GhaleonQ was trying to emphasize in the SotY thread now. Yasuhiro Kawasaki, the composer for the SNES classic Illusion of Gaia, composed the soundtrack, and you can probably hear the evidence for that too. Lots of whimsical piano and recorder stuff and it’s so gosh darn cute.

I realize that this comes off as a genuine writeup for a GotY contender, but I’m simply so sad that I didn’t play this before and I enjoy it very much that I would have added it to the list in some capacity. I think it’s one of the most underrated games of 2012.

Every single Vita owner should play this. Every single one.​


Sleeping Dogs (PS360/PC)

Shleepy Dawgs was a genuine surprise for me and it was fun from start to finish. I don’t play these kinds of games very often. I’m not a huge fan of the sandbox genre, but I like watching my boyfriend play it because he gets such a kick out of these games. I play them, but I don’t get very in-depth with them unless they suck me in. I haven’t played True Crime either, so I don’t have anything much to compare Sleeping Dogs with. While the narrative is rather by-the-numbers, the combat is fun, and the atmosphere of Hong Kong is nicely executed. The developers were clearly influenced by films like Internal Affairs (and by extension, The Departed) and Exiled.

Sleepy Dawgs’s strengths aren’t really its story or its gunplay or whatever. Its general strengths lies in its atmosphere, the melee combat, how you could take advantage of the environment to attack, and some of the open-world content. It’s just fun to turn your brain off and mess around in Hong Kong for a while sporting a Bruce Lee jumpsuit.​


Style Savvy: Trendsetters (3DS)

This isn’t my sort of game (I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot to myself when constructing my GotY list). I’m not too good with fashion. I just know what coordinates well for the season, what hairstyles are in fashion, what looks decent when looking in the mirror, or whatever things go well with my figure. That’s the end of my fashion knowledge. SS:T made me look at brands, other aspects of coordination, the names of fashion styles (I didn’t even know these were an actual thing), and it threw in a lovely little fashion etymology dictionary for my perusal! Even if they’re words that are related to things that I’m not necessarily interested in, I love etymology. I like checking the designs on the clothes and seeing whether or not they’ll clash with what customers are wearing.

I can’t help but to feel like the Search engine that the game provides makes things too easy, though. It also tends to be a little repetitive, with some customers coming in more frequently than others, you do fashion show events over and over, sometimes you feel like you’re doing some of the same things repeatedly, etc. It’s also a little odd that even though I can pick the correct fashion label for someone, I can give them a bag or a shirt or a pair of pants that completely clashes with the rest of their outfit and they’ll be completely fine with what I give them even though they look like a fashion nightmare. I hope when they make a new iteration in the series, they fix this issue. This shouldn’t happen, and the player should get penalized for it.

Otherwise, it can be a little addictive, and taking the time to step out of my comfort zone isn’t too bad.​


Genso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki (PSP)

Don’t say this I’m putting this just because it’s my favourite series. It’s an incredibly mediocre game, and it’s not that great to look at either. It truly does come off like a budget title that Konami just released for the sake of releasing it.

2012 felt like it was the year of the Time Travel/Time Manipulation Story. Final Fantasy XIII-2 had it, Tales of Xillia 2 had it, and Suikoden PSP has it. And it does an alright job with the mechanic. It shows that the game’s primary conflict has a larger scale than we had originally realized, and timelines are discarded so it’s more of a forgiving version of changing time. The narrative isn’t impressive or anything, and it isn’t what I want from a Suikoden game, but it gets its job done, and I felt it was a slightly better effort than Tierkreis was, albeit average.

But it has a lot of new ideas and offerings that I wished was in the mainline series from the beginning. For example, there’s an instance where you may have dinner with some of your Stars of Destiny living in your castle, and it ends up giving some stat buffs to the player. There’s also some optional stuff like hunting, challenge battles, crafting (which forces you to learn which characters are proficient at what), and cooking (which character specializes in cooking whatever). I felt that some of this stuff worked rather well in the game and I’d like to see more of it in the mainline series. Although it certainly isn’t the game I wanted, and even though it’s really easy, I liked some of the changes. I’ve written more detailed impressions here.​


Persona 4: Golden (Vita)

The original Persona 4 was my 2008 game of the year. I loved almost everything about it: the characters, the music, the dungeon aesthetics, and skill usage. I did think it needed some tweaks and work, though: fusion really needed some streamlining because I don’t want to be sitting there pressing X/O to get the skills I want, dialogue tends to repeat a lot (thus the game’s script becomes incredibly bloated and inconsistent), some of the graphics are washed out, I thought the game could stand to have some sort of harder mode, and other things. But playing Persona 4: Golden made me fall in love with it all over again, and it fixes a lot of the issues I had with the original game while including some extra content that generally blends in well with the original game.

I’m not sure if the new addition of Marie adds a lot of nice characterization to the game (to be honest, I don’t really like her type of character that much), but some of the new social links, the new dungeon, the new Very Hard difficulty, and the new events add so much to a game that already felt as though it was complete.​


Frog Fractions (PC; browser-based)

I don’t even think I can explain this game. I didn’t try it out until late last year when I was playing stuff in a hurry to get enough games to put on my GotY list, and Frog Fractions was one of them. When I first started it, I had to wonder what the heck people saw in this game. And then I realized what the heck people saw in the game. It’s hilarious, and is a fine acknowledgement of various ideas in video games and edutainment.

I think you should just play it yourself to understand why people like it so much.​


The Book of Unwritten Tales (PC)

The Book of Unwritten Tales is a point and click adventure game for the PC. You encounter a goblin (hilariously named Mortimer MacGuffin—and for some reason I am instantly reminded of Kingdom of Loathing) who tells you that you must complete his quest and save the world. You see, what I find cute about this game is that it just keeps poking fun of regular RPG tropes. You could swear that you’re playing a classic RPG with wizards and warriors, but you’re not. You’re playing a point and click that makes fun of it. It’s chock-full of references to LotR, Gremlins, etc.

While the puzzles aren’t that difficult (which I find a little unfortunate), it’s still nice to switch between characters in order to get something done in a certain situation. Characters animate nicely. Regardless, the dialogue tended to be witty, and the references to various series were welcome to read.​


Lumines Electronic Symphony (Vita)

If one hasn’t played Lumines before at all, they’ll assume that you’re playing Tetris. But the mechanics are different, as Tetris relies on crafting lines based on the player’s quick-thinking skills and spatial sense, Lumines takes a semi-Columns approach and makes the player match block colours in squares/rectangles while keeping pace with the BGM’s rhythm. This version of Lumines adds Avatar abilities and shuffle blocks in order to switch up gameplay in single or competitive modes. The special blocks can do you a favour like changing colours of the blocks for combos or they can delete blocks of a colour. Avatar abilities just allow you to use certain abilities like slowing down time for a while when they’re touched if they’re filled up. You can recharge them by tapping the back touchpad. It also looks incredibly pretty. I am a little disappointed less mods than other versions of Lumines.

I’m pretty sure if I look back on this game a few years from now, I’ll remember it as “the game I played while I waited at the doctor’s office for an hour each time I went”. I’m passable at campaign mode, but man, am I awful at the other modes. But I don’t care because I’m having tons of fun.​


Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy (3DS)

At first, I didn’t want to include this on my list because I felt that after a few weeks with it, it outstayed its welcome and lost much of its lustre (especially since I was not purchasing the DLC for it). But then I remember my honeymoon phase with this game. You see, I played this game a lot with my brother watching (I play a lot of games with my brother watching, but this one’s interesting). My brother can’t hear the music, but if I hook up the right speakers to the 3DS, he can feel the bass if I put his hand up to it. I did this because my brother watched me play through most Final Fantasy games in some capacity. We used to have one of those floor-model TV sets with the knobs and everything, and he used to lie or sit on the floor and listen to the TV with the sound vibrations. So, I guess it was some sort of weird experiment of mine to see if he remembered anything in terms of the sounds with Theatrhythm. To be honest, the experiment didn’t exactly work as intended (I think he’s only had music therapy just a few times, so that might explain it), but he seemed to have remembered a lot of the Final Fantasy X scenes when I played through that portion of the game.

With that said, while I find the game somewhat flawed, I feel like its purpose as a reflective look at the Final Fantasy series via its vast musical history with some RPG elements was nicely-executed for the most part. And that’s what Theatrhythm was for me: a walk down memory lane. Not just with Final Fantasy’s soundscape, but with my brother in tow to experience a segment of the game’s stories again.​


Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (everything)

I’m not a huge fan of the racing genre. Sometimes it makes me incredibly nauseous, or I just don’t feel attached to the mechanics of the genre at all. All-Stars Racing: Transformed, though, feels a lot like a combo of arcade racers and kart racers and benefits a lot from that. I say it a lot, but the game truly does feel like a SEGA Anniversary game, even if its roster and selection of race tracks don’t seem like they’re completely representative of what the company brought players. Transforming your mode of transportation is executed rather well in water and in air, and having to adjust to newer terrain and some newer physics keeps the player on edge all the time rather than relaxing and feeling that they’re safe to win. I suppose the rubber-band AI help with that too, but if you’re not accustomed to the track and physics changes, you could slip up and be in danger of not crossing that finish line at the time you intend to. It’s also very nice to look at and the soundtrack consists of good remixes arranged by Richard Jacques.

ASR:T has a few flaws such as: oddly-implemented drifting, lack of options that were in the original game, using star progression rather than miles, the character roster could stand to be better than it currently is (especially with that Danica Patrick inclusion because yikes), and it has quite a few bugs and glitches (I’ve encountered the Skies of Arcadia glitch that a few people were talking about, and there’s an interesting NiGHTS/Reala bug in the game). But otherwise, it’s fun.​


(One that I missed in my list proper but playing it today made me realize that I’ve played this game a lot, and I’ll edit it back in…)

Treasures of Montezuma Blitz (Vita)

When I was in high school, I became fairly enamoured with Bejeweled. Not exactly addicted, but I played it a lot more than I’d expected to. When I was little, I played a lot of these sorts of games. I loved Tetris, Columns, Super Columns, Tetris Battle Gaiden, PuyoPuyo, Bust a Move, Magical Drop, Squarez, Puzzle Quest, etc. So don’t give me a puzzle game because I will play it for hours, and it’s probably one of the few genres that I get very competitive about. That’s sort of why I try not to play a lot of them.

Treasures of Montezuma Blitz is a free to play game. I didn’t download it because I heard it had trophies. I downloaded it because it was a free puzzle game. I started understanding what the mechanics were behind it being an f2p product (because you ran out of lives quickly at the beginning and you didn’t have enough in-game currency at your disposal for all of the powerups you can use). Even so, letting the game sit for a few days then coming back for extra crystals and currency helps in building up the length of time you can play the game for. Because I’m not paying for any of the DLC perks, it’s a nice way to manage how long I spend with the game without going crazy and playing it for hours. Basically, it plays a lot like Bejeweled. It’s not the best puzzler I’ve played (loading times, connecting to PSN a lot, the overall business model for those who really get addicted to it and choose to spend their cash on perks which should be in the game proper, the XP balancing, etc), but I feel like it does its job in terms of occupying my lunch breaks.​

There. Now I feel like my list is complete (though the original top 10 entries should probably be beefed up, but meh.)
 

Sendou

Member
Aug 8, 2011
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Finland
1. The Walking Dead ; Wonderful experience which really shows that there is demand for story-driven games even these days.
2. Hotline Miami ; Unique artstyle and music all tied into a extremely solid core gameplay.
3. Legend of Grimrock ; Prime example how you can take a "dead" genre and make it relevant again.
4. Journey
5. Katawa Shoujo
6. Alan Wake (PC) ; Atmospheric forests on top of a great game. What's there not to like?
7. Uncharted: Golden Abyss ; My favorite Uncharted. This was the game that made me realize what you can do with shooters on Vita.
8. New Super Mario Bros. U ; 2D Mario still works.
9. Sound Shapes ; 2D platformer that tried something else. And it worked.
10. Guild Wars 2 ; It tried something different and it didn't work out perfectly. Still the world and the stuff it did right made it a fun experience. A game where you put 200 hours in cannot be that bad after all.

2011. To The Moon ; Simply beautiful experience. Gameplay is very lackluster but in the end story is all that mattered in this game.
 

GhaleonQ

Member
Aug 24, 2006
11,572
5
1,260
Milwaukee/Wisconsin Rapids/Hanover
Dokuro (Vita)



I really wanted to play this much earlier than I did, and boy do I wish I’d played this earlier. It is so adorable. I love the charcoal artstyle, and I love the colours used for the two main characters (their colours stand out because the rest of the game is tastefully done in black, white, and grey). It is such a fascinating puzzle-platformer with the right amount of difficulty. I haven’t finished it yet, but I like it so much that I want to put it on my honourable mentions list.

Dokuro is about a little skeleton working for this huge Dark Lord. The Dark Lord falls for a princess and subsequently captures her. The little skeleton protagonist, who was originally handsome human prince, doesn’t take too kindly to folks to kidnap girls, so he goes through the process of freeing her. The game takes these little narrative tidbits and forces them into game concepts. For example, you may drink potions which allow Dokuro to transform into his princely form for a while in order to get through puzzles he cannot otherwise get through when he’s a small little skeleton. Thus, the game requires the player to ration how long he or she may use Dokuro’s transformations for, and how he or she may be able to utilize both forms to get through levels as efficiently and quickly as possible (while trying to collect little coins).

Throughout each stage, Dokuro must go through puzzle-platforming and light combat in order to protect the princess who Dokuro seems to adore. The princess will walk through any path you lay out for her, or run when confronted with an enemy, and it’s up to you to prevent any mishaps from occurring. She won’t walk into pits. Sometimes you need to use chalk colours to create ropes or other things to get through a stage (which is done using the touch screen). Sometimes you need to switch into the princely form to carry the princess to safety bridal-style.

If you feel like you aren’t doing a good job with a puzzle, you can always restart. You can also skip ahead if you feel like you’re stuck on a puzzle. While it’s a critical thinking-oriented puzzle-platformer, it still allows players who don’t feel that they’re up to the challenge at that point in time to skip ahead. It’s accessible without dumbing down its base formulae. It’s cute, it’s quirky, and it provides the right amount of challenge. The controls are tight as well.

Oh, and the soundtrack? I realize what GhaleonQ was trying to emphasize in the SotY thread now. Yasuhiro Kawasaki, the composer for the SNES classic Illusion of Gaia, composed the soundtrack, and you can probably hear the evidence for that too. Lots of whimsical piano and recorder stuff and it’s so gosh darn cute.

I realize that this comes off as a genuine writeup for a GotY contender, but I’m simply so sad that I didn’t play this before and I enjoy it very much that I would have added it to the list in some capacity. I think it’s one of the most underrated games of 2012.

Every single Vita owner should play this. Every single one.​
*grins* I know, right? I'm not going to pretend that it's everyone's favorite game, but it feels so well-conceived and it fills a space that nothing else has in the past few years, so I've gotten on a soapbox about how everyone should at least TRY it. And I'm glad that you got to hear the soundtrack in context! Again, it's totally "of a piece;" there's nothing out of place in the whole game, musically or otherwise.

You'll very much enjoy the endgame, so don't even fear that it drops off.
 

Creamium

shut uuuuuuuuuuuuuuup
Mar 10, 2005
19,206
0
1,640


1. Transformers : Fall of Cybertron ; With this game High Moon proved that they could improve on the promising War for Cybertron. The best choice they made for the campaign was to center each chapter around one character, not letting you choose anymore. This makes for a more focused experience both in gameplay and story. The first chapters are okay, but nothing special. Then it all starts to ramp up, and what you're left with is an incredibly satisfying experience, with a final level that's as close to perfect you can get. For me, this wasn't only the best Transformers game, but also the most enjoyable game I've played in 2012. This is a Transformers fan's wet dream, but I'm pretty sure people not familiar with the franchise would like this as well. Played through this with a friend in one sitting and he got a kick out of it as well.
Didn't even play the multiplayer. Campaign was enough to deserve my n°1 spot.
2. Binary Domain ; Surprise of the year. Played it only because of the praise it got here, and initially I didn't see it. But if you keep playing the zany story and characters really grab you.
3. Halo 4; I was a bit disappointed at first that 343 didn't change the formula as much as I'd hoped. The new enemies and weapons were the only new and refreshing additions to the game, and even then fighting the Covenant is still more fun than battling the Prometheans. Still, the campaign and mp are a lot of fun. They stuck to the basic Halo formula, but maybe for a reason... It's hard to beat it after all those years.
4. Dust : An Elysian Tail ; Dust mixes influences from some great games into a great 2D metroidvania action hybrid. Combat isn't overy complicated and feels great, exploration's fun and colorful visuals are a treat as well. Most of all it's really addictive. I didn't stop playing til I found every secret and got the best gear. The character design is the only thing I didn't like.
5. Journey ; One of those games you can't stop thinking about the day after you've completed it. What I liked most was the anonymous drop in&out co-op. Visually, this game is mighty impressive and seems like one of those titles you replay now and again, just to soak in the atmosphere.
6. Diablo III ; I never played a lot of Diablo II, so I don't see what was supposed to be so bad about III. I sank a lot of time into it. Playing as the different classes made it feel like a new game each time. It felt like they really spent a lot of time making every class fun and rewarding to play.
7. Trials Evolution ; Trials HD made even better. It's a game you can just keep on playing. So. much. content.
8. Darksiders II ; I was really disappointed with this game as a whole, but the first 10 hours or so reminded me why I liked DS I so much. And that's why it's on the list. But it just keeps going and going, without offering anything fresh, with more samey dungeon designs and bland looking worlds. It gets even worse the closer you get to the end. This is why you should always focus on making a consistent game, and not necissarily a long game.

Disappoinment of the year : Max Payne 3.

That's it for me, didn't play enough this year to make a full top 10. When I look at the games I still want to play (ME3, Walking Dead, Hotline Miami, Mark of the Ninja, Sound Shapes, Tokyo Jungle) I feel like my list could be drastically different in a few months, but here it is.

Fall of Cybertron surprised me in a big way though, don't think enough people played this game.
 

Chinner

Banned
Mar 14, 2007
27,892
0
0
i still have too many games to play to make a list. can we extend deadline till sometime in march please?
 

Pachimari

Member
Apr 28, 2007
40,404
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There's a lot of games I didn't get around to in 2012, like Dead or Alive 5, Halo 4, Forza Horizon, Sleeping Dogs, Spec-Ops, Lumines, Rayman Origins, all the Wii U games etc. and some games I didn't get to have much time with but based on that limited time here goes my top 10:

1. Journey; Beautiful. Majesstic. And yes, it IS a game.

2. Tekken Tag Tournament 2; Tekken nirvana. Fan service. It almost gives me everything I could have asked for. What a special feeling having played the series since the first one in the 90s, this adds up all of it in one mega pack! Has also been the most popular game when guests are around.

3. FIFA 13; It's Fifa but with close control it makes it better. Still as addicting online as ever.

4. Uncharted: Golden Abyss; One of the best in the franchise which took me by surprise. Still the best game on Vita and true to its roots.

5. Unit 13; Sadly ignored by the masses but this one has the finest controls and stealth elements of any new retail game in 2012.

6. Everybody's Golf; Never thought I would be addicted to a golf game but this is addiction.

7. The Walking Dead; A limited run. Played it a bit on iPad Mini and then got all the episodes on Xbox 360 but haven't completed chapter 1 yet. Though it really sucked me and my girlfriend into the narrative.

8. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale; I also had a limited time with this one on Vita but it's a long-time dream come true seing all of my favorite PlayStation icons battle it against each other. Of what I have played, it seems like a ton of fun.

9. Dance Central 3; I had a limited time with this one but greatly enjoyed it with fellow people. I love this franchise.

10. Mario Kart 7; Best Mario Kart since Mario Kart: Super Circuit on the Game Boy Advance. And it has online play, woohoo.

Honorable mentions:
x. The Unfinished Swan; What an interesting concept and one for PlayStation Move that is. Haven't given it enough time yet.
x. WipEout 2048; Probably the greatest racer on PS Vita if not all year. It's Studio Liverpools swan sang and it deserves to be.
 

Phonomezer

Banned
Jun 3, 2010
16,478
0
0
Under your desk
Ooooh I forgot all about this.

It's a shame I haven't been able to play much this year...

1. FEZ ; Amazing art, amazing music, amazing puzzles, amazing atmosphere, amazing everything. A real "gamers game", if you know what I mean.
2. The Walking Dead
3. Binary Domain
4. Mass Effect 3
5. Dust: An Elysian Tail
6. Dragon's Dogma
7. The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition
8. I Am Alive
9. Deadlight
10. Spelunky

x. Resident Evil 6

2011. Resident Evil 4 HD
 

Herla

Member
Jan 13, 2011
1,303
0
0
1. Sleeping Dogs ; This game is far from perfect, and it's been in a much lower position for a long time before I decided to put it at number 1. What made me change my mind was how every other game disappointed me in some way, but also how well put together and surprising this game actually was. Sure, for an open world game the side content is a bit lacking and the world is a bit on the small side, but the focus on story, characters and combat gave it the boost that it needed. Also, it has some of the best performances I've ever seen in a videogame: for once, famous actors are there to be characters, and not just a name to put in a promotional trailer. Can't wait to see more of it.

2. Dishonored ; I love Dishonored, and yet I hate it so much. It should've been my number 1 game, but kept changing position in this list. In the end, I couldn't bring myself to put it lower than 2. The world Arkane created is fascinating, the combat satisfying, the level design stellar and the mechanics allow for plenty of playstyles. There's one big problem, though: IT'S TOO FUCKING EASY. I played it on the hardest difficulty level, and playing stealthy without killing anyone is almost like cheating. The AI is dumb as a brick, the secrets are handed to you almost immediately thanks to the heart, and the powers are just...overpowered. But there's a lot of love in this game, and you can see what Arkane wanted to do and why it could've been such a masterpiece. Good game and "Immersive Sim", terrible stealth game. Here's hoping for a better sequel.

3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; I never played XCOM, but fell in love with this version almost immediately. Like Dishonored, this had the potential of being number 1: it's fun, complex enough, has a lot of replayability and it's addictive as hell. But it's a buggy mess. Now, most of my posts on GAF are about me defending Obsidian, but this is another level. I'm okay with bugs and glitches, but making half my squad stuck and unable to move on a fucking corridor (!?) for no reason on the last mission on iron man mode is too much. Fuck this good, fun game.

4. Mark of the Ninja ; Now this game out of nowhere. Where Dishonored disappointed me, Mark of the Ninja came to the rescue. It's still easy as hell, but rewarding at the same time. The only reason this is not my GOTY is that...it's nothing more than what it is. I know it sounds pretentious, but I felt it lacked...something. It's just pure gameplay with a setting and a story applied on it just because it feels necessary to have one. It has the best gameplay of the year, but it's not the best game.

5. Guild Wars 2 ; Here's another game that swapped position multiple times! I must've played 150 hours of this game and loved every minute of it. And then I stopped playing. For every other game this would've been an incredible feat, but for an MMO...it's kinda disappointing. And no, it's not the "lack of end game" many people talk about. I don't care about PvE, dungeons, raid, bosses...whatever. What I cared about was what I thought would bring me back to the good old days of Dark Age of Camelot: World vs World. Sadly this is exactly what disappointed me. While good and fun, it failed to be the recreation of DAoC's RvR I hoped it would be, for several reasons. Hopefully 2013 will change that. Apart from that, Guild Wars 2 achieved what it was supposed to achieve: be a great, solid MMO without monthly fees. For that, I can't recommend it enough.

6. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare ; This game is just too much fun. The lack of directional attacks made me skeptical, but the way it handles stabs and overhead swings with just the mouse wheel made it for a more fast paced, chaotic and satisfying combat than I expected. Also, for a multiplayer deathmatch game, the community is suprisingly good: compliments, gentlemanly duels and tips are not uncommon, and the few idiots that whine here and there only make the game more hilarious. Don't forget to spam the warcry button, it's half the experience.

7. Binary Domain ; Another game that came out of nowhere. Sure, I love the Yakuza series, but I never would've expected a shooter with such satisfying gameplay AND interesting, charming story and characters. Underdog of the year, both in reception and, sadly, sales.

8. Planetside 2 ; This game is free to play? Holy crap. It's Battlefield on steroids in a sci-fi setting. This is another game that would've been higher on this list but, sadly, it still feels incomplete at times. The mechanics are solid enough, but there's not enough of an incentive to take part in this war instead of casually playing like a normal multiplayer shooter. Also the way the cash shop is handled is not exactly balanced. Still, the potential is huge, and I can't wait to see what this game will become in 2013.

9. Spec Ops: The Line ; I'm pretty sure that everyone that has this game on their list already explained why it's there. And I don't have much to add. It's not a good game (although it's competent enough and even fun at times), but the way it handled its story and characters is something that will be difficult to recreate. It might not have pulled my heartstrings like it did for others, but I still greatly appreciated its Storytelling.

10. Torchlight 2 ; This game was way, way higher on my list initially. The beta test was a blast, and the potential was immense. But when the actual game came out I felt fatigued, and didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. Also, while playing, I started to feel pain in my hand and stopped playing immediately. A shame, for this is a really good game that every fan of the genre should play.

x. Legend of Grimrock ; This is a fantastic game that I didn't put on my list for one simple reason: it's not exactly for me. I love RPGs, and I overall liked this game a lot, but I'm not a guy that can appreciate the complexity of the puzzles Legend of Grimrock constantly throwed at me. For once, I felt overwhelmed. It's a good feeling to have these days, but not enough to make me put it on the actual list. You should still play it, though.

And I thought I would write just a sentence or two for each game...here's hoping my (lacking) English skills didn't fail me in the middle of the whole thing.
Also, if it sounds like I hated most of the games on the list...that's how I show my appreciation. Usually.
 

Nocturnowl

Member
Jan 1, 2011
27,453
2
0
I made the Stump list, clearly this is the big time.
When it rains it pours, in come the super lists, hmm the doubling up format that Riposte, Papercuts and Arlecchino (i'm not sure how you managed to squeeze the main 10 in that one post!) used is one i'll keep in mind if I get too verbose next year but I think i'd probably do better keeping it more compact, maybe more like EatChildren's list.
All good lists as well, makes me wish I had tried out some of the games I meant to at the during this month before deadline but i've felt all "gamed out" this month so I never got around to it, well it's better on my wallet this way.

Riposte, you couldn't pull the wool over my eyes when I first scrolled down to see a journey screenshot, considering I have somewhat similar sentiments to yourself regarding it, did make me chuckle though.

Nocturnowl calls the stuff I omit and post later "Ending DLC"/Game of the Year Editions, and it wouldn't be a running joke between us if I just write whatever I want and multipost without worrying about limits.
I'm glad to see it here complete with naming, i'll make it my afternoon reading seeing as i've only just passed through my morning reading that is the big list deluge that all happened while I slumbered.
I'll throw my own game post of the year edition in later but it's actually pretty short description wise so it's more like the DLC that rips you off.
 

tusken77

Member
May 10, 2010
2,093
0
645
1. Journey ; Delivered an emotional experience unlike any other this generation.
2. Uncharted: Golden Abyss ; Absolutely loved it. My second favourite Uncharted after U2: Among Thieves.
3. Gravity Rush ; A little gem of a game. Wonderful soundtrack, too.
4. Lumines: Electronic Symphony
5. Binary Domain
6. Everybody's Golf
7. SSX
 

Felix Lighter

Member
Oct 2, 2007
20,750
1
0
I like to see that there some more last minute Chivalry votes. Its multiplayer only PC exclusive status will keep it from ever getting very high in the overall list but I like seeing it pop up on individual lists. It has more hilarious charm than any multiplayer only melee combat focused game has any right having and its mechanics are accessible but also deep enough to feel really satisfying when your getting it right.
 

Scipius

Member
Oct 11, 2007
1,447
0
850
1. Diablo 3 ; The GAF OT title that said "Finally out of beta" after patch 1.04 had it right; this game should have remained in the cooker for a while longer. That said, there is a good game at its core, though with some flaws. Recent updates are still showing improvement, so the game will probably be more deserving of a GOTY title long after its year of release.

And that's it. Not because D3 was such a great game, but simply because it's the only 2012 game I've played in 2012. I suppose that this year I can finally leave the cesspool of mainstream gaming behind; luckily the backlog is large enough.
 

HocusPocus

Member
Oct 19, 2005
3,405
1
0
Repost as I didn't use the ; . My original list won't be counted due to it.

1.) World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria ; Their best expansion yet.
2.) Mass Effect 3 ; What a great game, so much complaining about the end *shrugs*.
3.) Borderlands 2 ; best cel shade game ever, loads of fun.
4.) Halo 4 ; most graphically impressive game of the year.
5.) Diablo 3 ; loved it until I found I had to buy my loot.
6.) The Walking Dead ; Best Tell Tale game yet.
7.) XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; Fun but brutal.
8.) Dishonored ; Surprised by it so far.
9.) Mark of the Ninja ; Best downloadable game of the year by far.
10.) Dust An Elysian Tale ; Really impressive for one guy to have done.
 

Baleoce

Member
Jan 15, 2013
10,487
4
555
Hereford, UK
1. Persona 4 Golden ; A +1 version of a masterpiece. You need to play this game.
2. Rayman Origins ; Beautiful art, gameplay, music. It's the complete package. Cannot wait for Legends to come out.
3. The Walking Dead ; GOTY on many publication lists, and for very good reason. Compelling story, sends you through all emotions, play it.
4. Journey ; Simply beautiful. An experience fit for any level of gamer (and even people who wouldn't consider themselves gamers).
5. Borderlands 2 ; Does what any proper sequel should, and expands on the potential of the first in every concievable manner.
6. Hotline Miami ; A game so comfortable in its skin, it's just a joy to both play/look at and listen to.
7. New Super Mario Bros. U ; The complete and definitive version of NSMB (and frankly, what it should have been from the start).
8. Retro City Rampage ; Adored it. Love the pop culture references. Soundtrack and gameplay top notch.
9. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy ; A brilliant sleeper hit for 3DS. Got so much enjoyment out of this game.
10. Hustle Kings ; I play the hell out of this on my PS3 and Vita. Very addictive.
 

Vodh

Junior Member
Aug 4, 2011
2,424
0
0
Edinburgh
1. Diablo 3 ; when it came out, the first playthrough through the entire game as well as Nightmare and Hell was easily the most enjoyable 20h+ gaming experience I've had in years. I've waited a long time for this game, and the first instance when I've felt any kind of disappointment was when I hit Inferno - and most of my complaints from back then have been adressed. The game is indeed out of beta and it's an amazing experience - and I've been a Diablo 2 fan for a long, long time.

2. The Secret World ; an MMO that truly defends itself as a single player title. Amazing mood and theme.

3. Soul Calibur V ; Once you're able to get past the roster changes, it's easily the best Soul Calibur game created. And it's been an amazing series.

4. Journey ; the most beautiful and enchanting gaming surprise ever. The only reason it's not my GotY is because it was so short. Not that I think it should have been longer, it was perfect. But still, the whole experience qualified more for the best movie of 2012 rather than the best game.

5. Guild Wars 2 ; it deserves its place. The freshest MMO experience since WoW mechanic-wise.

6. Sound Shapes ; love me some good music that compliments the gameplay, and in SS, music *is* the gameplay!

7. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 ; best Tekken since 3. 'Nuff said.

8. Borderlands 2 ; need to get back to this game!

9. Gravity Rush ; Right after Sound Shapes, the best Vita game I've got.

10. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale ; a fun and interesting take on Smash Bros, only with better cast.

Edit: replaced all the '-' with ';'...
 

Flying Wonkey

Member
Apr 10, 2011
1,912
0
705
1. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 ; This really seals the deal for me in terms of overall package. I was once fine with a console port of TTT2 arcade version but it added a lot more in terms of content then expected. A bountiful roster that keeps me interested and always something to do and explore, a robust online experience that works well (I'm getting some decent matches with some US people and I'm in AU) with WTF that I find quite resourceful, plenty of other useful features and modes and mechanic refinement and polish to the game that makes this one of the most balanced Tekkens yet. This game will have no problems keeping me entertained for years. PS: Tekken Tunes needs to be a regular thing in fighting games.

2. Darks Souls (PC) ; This game somehow found out how to be both aggravating and fun at the same time for me. An expansive world that I found to be absolute fun to explore and be in awe at, good customizable weapons and skill paths that keeps me trying new builds in each playthroughs and some fun times in multiplayer (When it works).

3. Soul Calibur V
 
Nov 16, 2007
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1. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward; An extremely worthy successor to 999. Virtue's Last Reward is video game storytelling at its best, combining the game's multiple endings and plot details in with game mechanics in a way that is both inventive and meaningful. This is form and function working together in perfect harmony, the likes of which you won't get just about anywhere else. The game's cast of characters are largely well developed, the music is great (even if it does lean rather heavily on the first game), and the puzzles, while not anything revolutionary, are certainly pretty fun to play through. The feeling of finally solving a difficult puzzle and moving on with the story is great. Aksys also gave this game a top notch localization, and the English voice cast is excellent.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles; Xenoblade might have been in its third consecutive year of release, but it still managed to feel fresh and innovative in all the right ways. The world is vast and incredible, and the combat system is a lot of fun, and the depth of it really comes out when you try utilizing all the different characters and play with a number of different parties. It really does become a completely different game. Exploring the world was so much fun that I would often just load the game up and run around for long stretches of time, exploring the large areas, listening to the gorgeous soundtrack, and seeing what quests I could find.

3. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance; It's Birth by Sleep with Pokemon. If that doesn't sell you on the game, I don't know what will. The overall game isn't quite as polished as BBS, and I definitely missed features like the command styles and shotlocks, and it had the ridiculously idiotic drop system, but it's still a really rewarding game. The flowmotion system was a great addition to the game, making traversal a lot more fun and enhancing the combat experience, too. On top of that, the worlds were bigger than ever before, which meant that you could really use those exploration abilities and be rewarded. It was a big improvement from Birth by Sleep's tiny worlds that you could cross in about 2 minutes.

4. Final Fantasy XIII-2; The combat is still amazing. The story was intentionally funny when they tried to be lighthearted and unintentionally funny when they tried to be serious. The music is still amazing. There's at least some more exploration to be had this time around. If you didn't like XIII, odds are you won't be a huge fan of XIII-2. I loved XIII, if for no other reason than the amazing combat system, and I greatly enjoyed XIII-2. It's not as good as the original, but it was still a pretty enjoyable 60 hours or so.

5. Persona 4 Arena

2011. Super Mario 3D Land
 

SolidusDave

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,169
0
0
Germany
1. Journey
2. Catherine [PAL] ; Finally was released in my region and I enjoyed the puzzle gameplay more than I've thought. Very funny story, too.
3. Tokyo Jungle
4. The Darkness II
5. Syndicate

x. Silent Hill: Downpour ; Haven't finished it yet.


2011. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception ; Skipped it last year because I didn't feel like it will be as great as U2 (and I was right, but the desert and childhood stuff was still very great).




Didn't really buy a lot of the newer games and might have spend the least time gaming this year since ever. But I have more 2012 games on my list and I was playing quite some games that aren't counted here (MGS, GoW, ZoE HD collections etc.).


btw. I think every year it's stated that the nomination list would get updated as people vote but it never happens :p
 

StevePharma

Member
Jul 27, 2009
5,144
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695
Holland
1. Gravity Rush ; The PSVita, although mocked and laughed at on these boards a bit too much, defined 2012 for me. The system is basically all I want from a handheld. Gravity Rush became it's killer app for me, and you can even get it for free on PSPlus. I was incredibly charmed by the world Team Silent created, the main characters were well realized and the game mechanics a refreshing take on world traversal. It feels so good to just float all the way up to the world and drop kilometers down in a matter of seconds. And all of that in the palm of your hand. Kohei Tanaka also did a brilliant job with the music. Everything came together for me in this game, therefore I rank it #1.

2. Dishonored ; This game is one of the main reasons I play videogames. Immersion, interesting play mechanics, the freedom of tackling situations and getting different outcomes. I wouldn't mind if these Deus Ex style games were made ad infinitum. Arkane did a marvelous job on it. Would be my #1 if not for Gravity Rush.

3. Journey ; Lumpy throat at the end. Feels were had. A marvelous experience, perfect length, and a take on multiplayer that was bold but worked surprisingly well. I hate multiplayer with a passion, so TGC should be applauded for designing a multiplayer experience that I enjoyed. I played it at a friends house in one sitting, I still need to finish it up on my own PSN-account.

4. Max Payne 3 ; Rockstar. One word that describes quality. One of the few shooters where you actually see and feel the impact your body and bullets have on the environment and other characters. The soundtrack choice was bold but worked tremendously well with the game. After playing for awhile you feel it's a crying shame RAGE and Euphoria aren't used in more games.

5. Need for Speed: Most Wanted [PSVita version] ; I'm not the biggest NFS fan on consoles but this game hooked me to my Vita. Some people seem to look down on "the console experience" on a handheld but Most Wanted nails it. Great SP-campaign to be played in short bursts and the MP-setup is one the best you can get in arcade racers right now. It looks pretty great too.

6. Persona 4: Golden ; Seriously, another Vita game? Yes. P4 was one of the best RPGs on PS2 and this enhanced version does everything right. I imported it from the US because Atlus decided to disown us Europeans in 2012. The game loads fast, fusion has been streamlined amazingly well and the artstyle is perfectly suited to be watched on a small screen. Definitely one of the most appealing games on Vita.

7. Sleeping Dogs ; Wei Shen was a great character. The Asian open world urban environment was very well realized. Gameplay itself was a little shallow but there was always something interesting to do. Very interested to see what the studio comes up with next.

8. Syndicate ; I'm a sucker for Starbreeze, especially the full body awareness in their games. Too bad it didn't sell well.

9. The Darkness II ; A very personal choice. Due to the setting and mood the first Darkness game remains one of my favorite games from this generation. At first I was very skeptical if DE could realize something that could match the original game, but they most certainly came very very close. When I was dancing with Jenny in the diner I knew I was playing something special. Gameplay wise the quad wielding gave an interesting twist to the combat encounters, and the artstyle worked very well. Game was also optimized really well and ran like butter on my PC.

10. Thirty Flights of Loving ; Three words: Jeff Goldblum mode. EXUBERANT! Short, expressive and intriguing, Blendo games knows how to interest a player.

x. Far Cry 3 ; Just played it in December. Vaas was on another level. Gameplay mechanics were fun. Not sure how I will remember it but for now the game itself left a very good impression. The over the top rich jerky kids were very well realized. Its fun to play the douche for once. Burning weed on a Skrillex track, feels were had... ;)

x. The Walking Dead ; I loved the game for the story, but the game itself was whack and actually hindered my experience a bit. A save game bug, janky controls, screen stills after changing camera perspective, the abysmal shooting sections, it took me out of the immersion a bit. I also was a bit disappointed that the game didn't feature multiple endings, and puzzles were pretty much non-existent. Nonetheless Telltale shows they can tell a story. Now they just need to get their tech in line to make a truly interesting game.

2011. Rhythm Heaven Fever ; imported from JP last year because I had zero confidence in Nintendo bringing it over. The artstyle is one of the best in Nintendo's latest offerings and does an amazing job in providing good tactile feedback on the rhythmic sounds and button inputs you have to do. There's a reason the wrestler interview became a big meme in Japan, this game is the definition of style married to well thought out and responsive play mechanics. Now let's hope Nintendo brings over Kiki Trick as well, although I doubt it.
 

Necrovex

Member
Jun 7, 2010
9,356
0
0
I love seeing all of these Darkness II nominations. This was probably my biggest surprise of the year, particularly since I dislike the FPS genre.
 
Mar 3, 2010
17,371
0
0
1. Diablo 3 - when it came out, the first playthrough through the entire game as well as Nightmare and Hell was easily the most enjoyable 20h+ gaming experience I've had in years. I've waited a long time for this game, and the first instance when I've felt any kind of disappointment was when I hit Inferno - and most of my complaints from back then have been adressed. The game is indeed out of beta and it's an amazing experience - and I've been a Diablo 2 fan for a long, long time.

2. The Secret World - an MMO that truly defends itself as a single player title. Amazing mood and theme.

3. Soul Calibur V - Once you're able to get past the roster changes, it's easily the best Soul Calibur game created. And it's been an amazing series.

4. Journey - the most beautiful and enchanting gaming surprise ever. The only reason it's not my GotY is because it was so short. Not that I think it should have been longer, it was perfect. But still, the whole experience qualified more for the best movie of 2012 rather than the best game.

5. Guild Wars 2 - it deserves its place. The freshest MMO experience since WoW mechanic-wise.

6. Sound Shapes - love me some good music that compliments the gameplay, and in SS, music *is* the gameplay!

7. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 - best Tekken since 3. 'Nuff said.

8. Borderlands 2 - need to get back to this game!

9. Gravity Rush - Right after Sound Shapes, the best Vita game I've got.

10. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale - a fun and interesting take on Smash Bros, only with better cast.
You should use ; instead of - or else it won´t count.
 

Firebrand

Member
Apr 27, 2007
5,169
0
0
1. Dark Souls (PC) ; An amazing sense of exploration and atmosphere is mainly what makes this my probably favorite game of the past year. Considering the freedom you have in building your character the game could certainly do a much better job explaining its game mechanics, but otherwise the lack of handholding and not knowing what's coming up ahead makes exploring the game so satisfying. I feel that the's game difficulty has been a bit exaggerated; it's certainly not an easy game, but it just takes some patience and observation rather than twitch reflexes.
2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; The strategy layer could have had some more meat to it, but the tense tactical combat more than makes up for it. The replayability is hurt a bit by the lack of randomized environments, in particular the story missions lose most of their tension on a second playthrough because everything is in the exact same spot, but that first playthrough was fantastic.
3. Binary Domain ; Great pacing, interesting story and peeling off layers of scrap from your robot foes is just so satisfying. Having trust levels go and up down not just through your dialogue choices but how you act in combat is interesting, it's a shame it doesn't has that much of an effect outside of a handful of key sequences. Having the story and level progression branch depending on your selected squad's abilities and trust levels would have been great. It's a really good-looking game as well, perhaps not technically but effects such as bloom are used responsibly and as you progress deeper into future Tokyo the environments get progressively more colorful and shiny.
4. Mass Effect 3 ; I was a bit hesitant to add this at all. The original ending was really bad, the combat is still as clunky and non-tactical as it was in ME2, but even with some limited dialogue choices I did enjoy seeing some of the major plot threads from previous games resolved. The multiplayer was surprisingly decent as well.
5. Iron Brigade (PC) ; *salute*
6. Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PC) ;
7. Crusader Kings II ;

2011. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; I've never liked stealth games or segments in other games, so at first I planned on just playing this an FPS between the RPG bits I was really there for. Instead I ended up using stealth as much as I could, even if it meant a bit of savescumming when things went really bad. Great soundtrack and clean visuals.

There's a whole lot of games I wish I had gotten around to playing that probably would have qualified for my top 10, most notably Sleeping Dogs and Mark of the Ninja. Something for the "2012" category next year I guess!
 

McNum

Member
Jul 6, 2009
8,127
1
0
McNum - Voted for two The Sims 3 expansion packs
I was kind of padding to get to ten games, but I do believe that Sims 3 Seasons was good enough to make the list. The snow effect is just so well made. The other is just an honorable mention for having the coolest save destroying bug in 2012. Save corruption by means of Zombie Apocalypse. That's just too funny. Although, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm one of the few people on GAF who actually likes The Sims. Or if I'm just one of the few admitting to it.

I wonder how clear-cut this year's winner will be. Glad to see so many mentions of XCOM, though. I hope it does well.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
3
0
Dark Schala said:
At first, I didn’t want to include this on my list because I felt that after a few weeks with it, it outstayed its welcome and lost much of its lustre (especially since I was not purchasing the DLC for it). But then I remember my honeymoon phase with this game. You see, I played this game a lot with my brother watching (I play a lot of games with my brother watching, but this one’s interesting). My brother can’t hear the music, but if I hook up the right speakers to the 3DS, he can feel the bass if I put his hand up to it. I did this because my brother watched me play through most Final Fantasy games in some capacity. We used to have one of those floor-model TV sets with the knobs and everything, and he used to lie or sit on the floor and listen to the TV with the sound vibrations. So, I guess it was some sort of weird experiment of mine to see if he remembered anything in terms of the sounds with Theatrhythm. To be honest, the experiment didn’t exactly work as intended (I think he’s only had music therapy just a few times, so that might explain it), but he seemed to have remembered a lot of the Final Fantasy X scenes when I played through that portion of the game.
I dated a girl with a deaf sister for a few years, and I was endlessly fascinated by how her sister had favourite bands/music, even though she couldn't hear. Really gave me some perspective. It's always neat to read people's unique personal experiences with games, though, so I'm glad you wrote this.

That being said, I'm definitely not very positive on Theatrhythm. The presentation is good, the stock song list is good, the different modes are good, but I have two major problems: The first is that the DLC pricing scheme is pretty crummy and the 3DS doesn't exactly make it convenient, and the second is that the scoring/gameplay system just doesn't work. They build up this big ado about levelling up, character equipment and skills... and then basically those only matter if you would have otherwise had a marginal pass. If you're going for optimizing your score, which is the vast majority of any rhythm game, you ignore all those systems. It's really too bad. I think the iOS version, despite having a much worse pricing model and less content, does right by excising a lot of the actual "game" from the 3DS version, which ended up being superfluous anyway. I played 20 hours and had a great time, but in retrospect it's a little bit hollow.
 

TalesOfWin

Banned
Sep 27, 2012
2,134
0
0
Sweden
sorry i cant list 10 games, these are the only games i enjoyed last year:

1. Dark souls prepare to die edition (PC); One of the best games I ever played

2. Xenoblade (US release); best jrpg since ps2/gamecube days

3. NSMBU; solid mario game
 

eot

Member
Apr 13, 2012
12,026
3,378
800
I still haven't had time to play several of the 2012 games I think I'd love but here goes:

1. Binary Domain; THAT WAS SWEEEET.
2. Black Mesa; seeing HL1 environments reimagined that well was a real treat.
3. Mass Effect 3; it's the worst game in the series but still has some of the best moments.

Honourable mentions:
The Walking Dead; I liked it but I still had a lot of problems with it.
Dustforce; really got into it for a while but sadly it was no Super Meat Boy.
Skullface; surprisingly good browser based platformer.
Diablo 3; I guess I enjoyed it. Or did I?
Spec Ops: The Line; it was worth experiencing but it didn't hit me like it did some people.
 

MR BLACKMAGIK

Member
Aug 11, 2011
1,317
0
0
1. Assassins Creed 3; I love this game. Aside from the few glitched I encountered, this game was amazing. From the incredible scenery of the frontier, to the wild and crazy naval mission which I thought I would hate. This game had everything. I don't know how much hours I spent running around stealth hunting animals. New York and Boston may not have been the most fantastic places to look at, but they both had plenty to offer.

2. Hitman Absolution ; I didn't like this game as much as Blood Money, but nonetheless, it was great. I've always enjoyed Hitman's approach to stealth: Hidden in plain sight. It felt good throwing on a costume and creeping my way through levels like I was mean't to be there.

3. Mark of the Ninja ; A true stealth game. This type of game is a dying breed, it's sad. This game gives me hope that future stealth games don't have to follow their AAA example and go half action - half stealth. Great mechanics, great use of lighting and sound.

4. Max Payne 3 ; A shooter with a story, a decently long and good one at that. I can't remember the last time I played a campaign of a shooter and actually enjoyed the story. Most are, Go here shoot, Go here press this. I enjoyed the both the campaign and the multiplayer of this game.

5. Ghost Recon Future Soldier ; A lot of people hated on this game and I can't figure out why. For me, this game is perfect. A excellent blend between shooter and stealth. And even better if it is played in co-op!

6. SSX ; I played the N64 SSX and loved that game so I went in expecting to enjoy this one. I was not disappointed. The music in this game fit perfectly with the gameplay. It is so exhilarating when you hit a huge jump and right as you land, "I CAN'T STOP!".

7. Far Cry 3 ; Very disappointed with this game. I did enjoy it, but there were also a lot of negatives. I am a huge fan of Far Cry 2, and everything that made that game great is gone from Far Cry 3. The story baffled me at the end and the Map making system is a lot more difficult to use in every aspect. I had my most fun running around doing random side quests.

8. Binary Domain ; SLEEPER OF THE YEAR. I swear most people have not even heard of this game. Me and my friends picked this up when it came out early last year, we all thought it was great. I really enjoyed the communication system in the campaign, the horde mode was rewarding to complete due to the difficulty, and the multiplayer is fairly good. If you haven't tried this game you need to.

9. Dishonored ; Also disappointed with this game. There is just something about a stealth game that encourages you to not be stealthy that just lowers my level of fun. I want a stealth game to have all of it's mechanics revolved around not getting spotted and killing everyone stealthily. Fun game, but I just wanted more.


10. Call of Duty Black Ops 2 ; Not a huge Call of Duty fan, but I hadn't had as much fun on a CoD multiplayer since Modern Warfare. Campaign was the same as usual and the zombies are not as cool as they were in Black Ops 1 but the multiplayer is excellent.


2011. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection; Started this late in 2012 but still counts! I was super hyped after all the Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain hype train, so I had to go pick this up. Great stealth games with an even better story line. These games are crazy in-depth with the story, and that just makes for better gameplay. I wish there was a little less action boss battles, but I won't complain.
 

Corto

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,974
0
960
www.neogaf.com
I love seeing all of these Darkness II nominations. This was probably my biggest surprise of the year, particularly since I dislike the FPS genre.
Same here. The game itself was short and didn't drag. It tells a story and closes it at the right time.
Absolutely agree.

And thanks for the nod Stumpokapow! ;) As for my fun honourable mentions I must acknowledge Pylon_Trooper influence on my gaming tastes progression. Every time the guy posts a thread about a estonian top-down doom clone rogue-like (Teleglitch), a space empire building game mixed with space top-down dogfight combat and command of an entire fleet on a tactical map (Starsector) or a an action RPG that is neither the inevitable Diablo 3 or Torchlight 2 (Krater), I just sigh and take my credit card out of my wallet. Wargame: European Escalation and Cargo Commander are also two of his recommendations of the year and I'm sure would enter my picks but I would need for an extension of the vote date of the scale of what Chinner proposed to play them enough to have them included. I started Wargame: EE just yesterday as they finally released the Mac version and it has Steam play. Just for playing the first scenario I can attest that it is indeed a potential great game from the same team that gave us R.U.S.E. And the historical Cold War setting is a personal favorite of mine so that works for me too. Maybe I include it in next years vote. Thanks again for the recognition Stump!
 

Santiako

Member
Jul 24, 2009
18,365
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steamcommunity.com
...
My brother can’t hear the music, but if I hook up the right speakers to the 3DS, he can feel the bass if I put his hand up to it. I did this because my brother watched me play through most Final Fantasy games in some capacity. We used to have one of those floor-model TV sets with the knobs and everything, and he used to lie or sit on the floor and listen to the TV with the sound vibrations.
...
That's fucking awesome.
 

HiddenSentry

Member
Nov 3, 2009
421
0
0
1. SSX ; I’m not a huge snowboarding fan, but this game managed to capture me at a slow time and I just sunk tons of time into it. Granted, I mainly played the Tricky events, so I managed to avoid most of the enraging death zones. With great graphics and soundtrack, this was the game I was most able to just zen out on, and that’s an amazing feeling.

2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; This could be described as the total opposite in every way to SSX. Requiring a laser-like focus and patience, playing this game could be brutal. I may have beaten it, but XCOM gave as good as it got. I think that the long term balance of the game was a little off, however. The end of the game was a breeze compared to the beginning (Disclosure: played on normal), but if anything, that helped me feel better about playing it.

3. Journey ; Probably the most memorable 90 minutes of gaming I’ve ever had. I can vividly remember almost every bit of the game. Amazing graphics and soundtrack, along with just enough gameplay to keep it going. The payoff at the end was incredible. I only played it once, with a single stranger that I played the entire game with. Exploring that world together was unexpectedly cool.

4. Mass Effect 3 ; I think that a lot of this game is good, but to be completely honest, this game made it onto my top 10 solely on my love of the franchise and the scenes with Mordin and Garrus. Some scenes with Tali might have been good, too, but I uh, may have uh, messed that up pretty badly.

5. Dishonored ; Great world with atmosphere to spare. Blink was revolutionary, as far as my enjoyment of stealth games goes. Been meaning to fly through the game again with a high chaos playthough, I just haven’t gotten around to it.

6. Mark of the Ninja ; This game took me by surprise. I played maybe half of it being completely meh on Mark of the Ninja, but then the mechanics started clicking with me, and I ended up loving it.

7. Super Hexagon ; Love the bite-size addiction this game creates. Just one more try! Forty times. Also holy hell that last level.

8. Borderlands 2 ; Played the entire game through in co-op, and loved almost all of it. The classes felt less interesting this time for me, for some reason, but the world and gun selection were great. Haven’t touched much of the DLC, though.

9. Forza Horizon ; Came into this year looking forward to the new Criterion racing game, ended up loving ‘the other one’. God bless the Xbox store for selling this for $15.

10. Orcs Must Die 2 ; Another game I played totally co-op, and it was such a blast. This is a great playing game that really hits the perfect balance of difficulty and progression. The weekly challenges deal is worth coming back for, as is endless modes, especially in co-op.

2011. Ghost Trick ; The characters and soundtrack would have been enough, but the story was awesome, as well.

x. Far Cry 3 ; Fun game, but didn't have anything for me past that.

x. Xenoblade Chronicles ; I'm only 20 hours in, but its awesome, and will probably be the 2012 game of 2013 for me.

the x. that won't count: Path of Exile - I probably sunk more hours into the PoE beta than any other game this year. It is far and away the best ARPG of the year. Their handling of the in-game economy, the skill system, THAT PASSIVE TREE, hardcore leagues.. this is my kind of game.
 

Yirba

Neo Member
Sep 14, 2012
51
0
0
England
y.gdn0.com
1. Virtue's Last Reward ; This thrilling game was full of plot twists that really kept me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed the sense of mystery it gave.
2. School Days HQ ; Happy moments, sad moments, scary moments, hilarious moments. School Days manages to invoke a lot of emotions, and I couldn't help caring for the characters. Well, some of them, anyway.
3. Rose Guns Days ; I liked the theme and setting for this game's story.
4. ef - the first tale. ; ef is very pretty, and the story is not half bad either.
5. Deardrops ; Quite different to Overdrive's earlier game, Kira Kira, but a lot of fun all the same.
6. Dengeki Stryker ; It was interesting to see a slightly more action-packed Overdrive game. I liked the animated sequences.
7. Kairo ; Quite an unusual game, but a lot of fun. I enjoyed figuring out the solutions to the puzzles.
8. Resident Evil: Revelations ; It was nice to see the series return to its survival horror roots, whilst keeping some of the elements of the newer games.
9. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy ; As a fan of rhythm games and as a fan of the Final Fantasy series, how could I not enjoy a game that brings the two together?
10. Katawa Shoujo ; An ambitious project, but one the developers managed to pull off very well. Not perfect, but I liked the story and characters.

2011. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective ; Ghost Trick did a really good job of combining narrative with puzzle-solving. It's not often that a puzzle game can invoke so many emotions.

(I think I'm supposed to mention that I live in the United Kingdom since I mentioned imported games, so there you go.)
 

GrayFoxPL

Member
Mar 26, 2007
20,205
1,359
1,430
Poland
1.Tekken Tag Tournament 2 - Amazing Tekken game that can last forever. Beautiful netcode. Time eater. Can lead to obsession.

2. Asura's Wrath - Epic Animesplosion The Game. Enough said.

3.Resident Evil 6 - Sucks until you realise it's RE Outbreak 3. Then it becomes very fun online.

4.Street Fighter x Tekken - Tekken characters make it pretty fun distraction from Tag2.

5. Hitman Absolution - Crappy mechanics but gorgeous graphics, locales, length and hilarious dialogs make it worth owning.
 

Cheesemeister

Member
Feb 14, 2005
10,973
1
0
Kyoto, Japan
1. Virtue's Last Reward ; This thrilling game was full of plot twists that really kept me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed the sense of mystery it gave.
2. School Days HQ ; Happy moments, sad moments, scary moments, hilarious moments. School Days manages to invoke a lot of emotions, and I couldn't help caring for the characters. Well, some of them, anyway.
3. Rose Guns Days ; I liked the theme and setting for this game's story.
4. ef - the first tale. ; ef is very pretty, and the story is not half bad either.
5. Deardrops ; Quite different to Overdrive's earlier game, Kira Kira, but a lot of fun all the same.
6. Dengeki Stryker ; It was interesting to see a slightly more action-packed Overdrive game. I liked the animated sequences.
7. Kairo ; Quite an unusual game, but a lot of fun. I enjoyed figuring out the solutions to the puzzles.
8. Resident Evil: Revelations ; It was nice to see the series return to its survival horror roots, whilst keeping some of the elements of the newer games.
9. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy ; As a fan of rhythm games and as a fan of the Final Fantasy series, how could I not enjoy a game that brings the two together?
10. Katawa Shoujo ; An ambitious project, but one the developers managed to pull off very well. Not perfect, but I liked the story and characters.

2011. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective ; Ghost Trick did a really good job of combining narrative with puzzle-solving. It's not often that a puzzle game can invoke so many emotions.

(I think I'm supposed to mention that I live in the United Kingdom since I mentioned imported games, so there you go.)
Going through verifying titles now, and...

This is the first time I've ever seen anyone vote for Japanese hentai games in the GAF GOTY.
 

Overdoziz

Banned
Nov 8, 2011
14,939
0
0
1. The Darkness II (PC) ; Preface: Didn’t play the first game.
Pick up the first game, the gameplay isn't that great (especially the gunplay), but the story, environment and characters are all top-notch. It adds a lot to the second game.

Either way I'm happy to see more people who've enjoyed the game. I can honestly say it's one of my favorites this generation.
 
1. The Walking Dead ; It already feels cliche to say that The Walking Dead is my 2012 game of the year, but what TellTale Games accomplished with this game is the fulfillment of that companies promise. Again they used a license property and told a story that felt true to the source material. This time though, that story felt more than true to the source material - it felt superior. Even more impressive, they made that story, and all of it's various branching paths, feel like the way MY story was told is the ONLY way that it could have ever been told. TellTale also finally found the strength in their episodic release schedule. Instead of providing a window to forget about the title, they instead provided a flash point of conversation and a need to play the latest release as soon as possible to jump back into the conversation. It is not a perfect game - too many poorly thought out action scenes, lots of technical glitches that mar the immersion - but those lows cannot bring down that the Walking Dead was decidedly the best game I played this year.

2. Spec Ops: The Line ; I remember watching the Sony E3 Press Conference this last year, and being disturbed by the cheers and applause that greeted the end of the Last of Us trailer. It brought front and center the ugliness that pervades this hobby. To me, Spec Ops: The Line feels like a response to that. It doesn't try and shy away from the ugliness, but it doesn't embrace it either. It simply points it out and asks you to think about it. It's not a fun game, but it is the kind of commentary this industry could use more of - instead of blood thirsty cheers.

3. Journey ; Journey should probably be higher on this list. I took the advice I'd heard online, and blocked out a window of 2-3 hours to sit down and play through it in one go. So early one Sunday morning - I experienced all the joys and wonders and sadness as others, and marveled at the sheer stunning beauty of the world, and felt chills down my spine as the music stirred, and tentatively tried to engage the other players with little chirps and calls, and I made it to the summit of that mountain and finished the journey. Those few hours of game play left such an impression on me that even now I feel bad leaving it at number 3 on this list. It was such a whole piece of content that I kept meaning to go back and play more, but life and other games continued to get in the way. Perhaps if I had gone back I'd have found that same joy and would place this higher, but I'm just as worried that it was such a singular experience that it might be best left alone. Just that one perfect Sunday morning in Journey.

4. FEZ ; I came into FEZ slightly after the insanity of cracking the code has settled down, but before the final puzzle had been brute forced solved. If I was stumped, most of the answers were available to me. Yet, like it's spiritual brother Braid, it was a game I felt compelled to avoid having the answers told to me. I used my phone to crack QR codes, and made several dozen changes to my system clock, and yes - kept a pad of paper that now looks like the scribbling of a mad man. There were stretches of FEZ where I felt despondent that I couldn't crack the puzzles in front of me, and would wonder from location to location become more and more annoyed at the game(myself) for having reached a dead end. Then you stumble into a whole other world, one that looks like the most amazing Game Boy game you've never played, and that rush of exploration comes flooding back.

5. Forza Horizon ;
6. Hotline Miami ;
7. FTL ;
8. Thomas Was Alone ;
9. Alan Wake's American Nightmare ;
10. Mark of the Ninja ;


x. Mass Effect 3 ; Great game undid by sky high expectations and an abysmal ending.
x. Assassin's Creed 3 ; Loved the historical setting - but this was the first AC I really didn't care about the protagonist. The less said about the Desmond stuff the better.
x. XCOM : Enemy Unknown ; Totally think this could have made the top ten list, but I only started played it after the holidays. Very fun game.
x. Halo 4 ; In another year, without so many great games released, this would have easily made my top 10. It is a very fun game, and continues the Halo legacy admirably - even if the story goes to some odd places. This game also suffers from being played in the post holiday window - where it had less time to make an impact. Still - worth mentioning because I definitely found it an enjoyable ride.

2011. Gears of War 3

I might come back and add explanations for some of the later choices. Particularly I want to call out Thomas Was Alone, and give some loving to Alan Wake, and for that matter Forza Horizon which might just be my most surprising game of the year. But for the purposes of voting this list is as final as it's going to be.
 

natasi

Neo Member
Nov 5, 2010
43
0
0
31
Buffalo, NY
1. Mass Effect 3 ; All masterpieces are flawed, and this trilogy is no exception. Despite a few bumps in a road that eventually ended in a sheer drop-off cliff, the trip and experiences along the way more than made up for it. The sweeping storyline, memorable characters, and smoothness of gameplay effortlessly dragged this game to the top of my list for 2012.
2. The Walking Dead ; This plotting and pacing of this game rival that of many cinematic blockbusters and is what Heavy Rain would have been if only it had made sense. . In many ways, it does stand as my favorite game of 2012, but it lacks the newborn nostalgia I've developed for the Mass Effect franchise. Hopefully it is only the (sort of) first of its kind.
3. Dear Esther ; The haunting bleakness of Dear Esther was infused perfectly into every aspect of this little, and yet so expansive, game.
4. Journey ;
5. FTL ;
6. Assassin's Creed 3 ;
7. Diablo 3 ;
8. Borderlands 2 ;
9. Hero Academy ;
x. 30 Flights of Loving ; Despite not representing any of my votes, this wacky game featured a fantastic soundtrack and some interesting thematic attributes and deserves a little recognition regardless.
 

Augemitbutter

Member
Feb 3, 2008
17,069
0
0


1. Dragon's Dogma ; play it for the best open world RPG combat and the most random marriage system. it's the best game of 2012, seriously.
2. Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of Time ; play it for the best traditional RPG/SRPG mechanics, nice politcal plot and marvelous home/character building. don't play it if you like braindead RPGs. this game won't allow any auto battle mentality.
3. Gravity Rush ; play it for the open world, freedom, exceptional music and sweet art. don't play it if hate to fiddle with 20% touch controls.
4. Ys Origin ; play it if you want to be awesome. don't play if......nah, you can't be serious.
5. Under Defeat HD ; play it for the good traditional arcade action. go for the 1cc, even if you aren't good at the beginning. discover the beauty of flawless gameplay. don't play it if you dislike that annoying sound glitch at boss 4.
6. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown ; play it if you like to play the best 3D fighter. don't play it if you dislike 2P.
7. Unchained Blades ; play it if you like dungeon crawlers, beefed up by higher production values, and Lunar/Grandia flavor. don't play it if you dislike good music.
8. Tokyo Jungle ; play it if you like originality. don't play it if you're afraid to try new things.
9. Uncharted: Golden Abyss ; play it if you want a better UC than UC3. don't play if you're sick of UC.
10. Binary Domain ; not up for nagoshiation.

x. Elminage Original ; play it for more solid dungeon crawling. don't play it for the translation mess-up. it's not that bad actually. buy it.
x. Dead or Alive 5 ; play it for the character models. there is no need to take this game seriously.




hopefully the format is okay.
 

bak4fun

Unconfirmed Member
Jan 8, 2013
231
0
0
1. Dragon's Dogma ; Yes, Dragon's Dogma has some rough edges, but I really like the world that was presented to me, the classic design of the giant monsters, the pitch black nights, the effects of the spells, and it was reassuring to know that grass can still be green and sky, blue. The combat is great, not just for an Open World RPG, everything felt so right, from swinging a sword to summoning a giant Tornado. It is so satisfying and rewarding to kill these huge creatures. That makes Dragon's Dogma the game I enjoyed the most this year.
2. Journey
3. Far Cry 3
4. Wipeout 2048
5. MotorStorm: RC
6. Sound Shapes
7. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
8. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy
9. Borderlands 2
10. Kid Icarus: Uprising

2011. DC Universe Online
 
Dec 1, 2004
26,791
1
0
South Carolina
www.neogaf.com
I've PM'd everyone (afaik) that had formatting mistakes in their post. A decent chunk of people have responded back, so I'm hoping that means a good amount of votes will be counted that otherwise would have been ignored.
It's probably best to say what it is when PMing them, especially if either you or them ain't on-line all day what with time getting so tight. I'm not seeing anything outside of the first game's title, and I'm not even sure that's even one (and it's very meta due to which game it is).
 
Sep 30, 2009
11,216
1
0
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; I had never played an XCOM game before and picked this up purely on word of mouth. Similarly to Shogun 2, it absolutely blew me away with its incredible depth and highly addictive nature, and has gotten me interested in strategy gaming even more.
2. The Walking Dead ; Quite probably some of the best writing in gaming that has kept me consistently interested in the plight of its characters. While light on actual gameplay, the tradeoff is that it's one of the few games to bring me close to tears. Quit the feat.
3. Journey ; More of an experience than a game, and a short one at that, but undeniably one of the most movingly beautiful ever made. I had the same awe struck feeling as when I first played Shadow of the Colossus, and if anyone ever doubts that games are art again, i'll point them here.
4. Sleeping Dogs ; Seemingly came out of nowhere, although given some of the Bully people were involved I am not surprised at the quality. A jack of all trades, yet a near kung-fu master of everything. Its digital rendition of Hong Kong was also one of the best places to be in gaming this year.
5. Dishonored ; Yet another game I wasn't anticipating much, yet delivered because of the sheer talent behind it (i'm detecting a trend here..). A thoroughly satisfying new IP which combines the best qualities of its genre into a highly compelling package.
6. Hotline Miami ; It's been said before but the description of Drive x Super Meat Boy x retro GTA, with an amazing techno soundtrack and mindfuck visuals is both accurate and fucking awesome. Probably the coolest game released this year.
7. Binary Domain ; This was 2012's sleeper. A Gears rip, sure, but the small Japanese gameplay touches and likable characters help set it apart. The story and style take more than a page out of Isaac Asimov and the I, Robot movie, but these are very desirable sources of inspiration.
8. Hustle Kings ; This pool game was ported to Vita this year and i'm including it because it only seems fair given the amount of time I have sunk into it. Absolutely incredible attention to detail in every area - modes, controls, ball physics, visuals and a surprisingly great soundtrack. "Motivator".
9. Spec Ops: The Line ; For the first half I wasn't feeling it, but the gradual descent into madness won me over. Overall it's a surprisingly mature and subtle exploration of the morals of warfare and their effects on a soldier's mind. When it was over it left me thinking like few games this year.
10. Halo 4 ; Some of the design choices are bit muddled but I can't deny that it's mostly a great game. Unlike other vocal critics, I thought 343 did a commendable job with taking up the mantle post-Bungie - hell, it lacks armour lock, which automatically puts it above Reach.

x. Max Payne 3 ; Rather flawed in many ways - unskippable cutscenes, an emphasis on cover shooting over the series trademark acrobatics, and some questionable writing. But I think it captured the theme of the series well and had an astounding attention to detail. Also HEALTH.
x. FTL: Faster Than Light ; A fantastic management sim that showed you can convey even the grandeur of space exploration in a 2D indie game. It probably would eventually go into my top 10 since I keep coming back to it every now and again to beat my high score.
x. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy ; I am fond of FF and the music is possibly the most memorable part of the series. So a rhythm game - and not a bad one at that - filled with my favourite tracks was such an obviously good idea that I was surprised it hadn't come out sooner.


2011. Driver: San Francisco ; The best driving game i've played all generation. The teleporting 'Shift' mechanic is such a novel yet perfectly implemented idea that fosters so many gameplay tactics and ties in well with the story. The game's sense of progression is fantastic, and the little takes on famous movie car chases are highly appreciated.
 

Corto

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,974
0
960
www.neogaf.com
It's probably best to say what it is when PMing them, especially if either you or them ain't on-line all day what with time getting so tight. I'm not seeing anything outside of the first game's title, and I'm not even sure that's even one (and it's very meta due to which game it is).
In your post you must format the comment right in front of the semicolon after a space. Like this:

1. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; 999 was an almost intellectual exercize for me: puzzles, hyper-clever game design tricks, and a plot that was so well-done it came out on top in the media it exists in by actually making more sense the more you knew and the more you thought on it.
 

Tain

Member
Jun 13, 2004
24,280
3
1,555
horizonvanguard.com
Gotta gank Riposte’s format. Excellent post, by the way! Mine won’t have as much substance, and I wish I could have worked on this longer.

X


Dragon’s Dogma (360)
Capcom/Capcom
Dragon’s Dogma is a good game, and I’m really hoping it’s the start of something excellent. There’s a pretty jacked difficulty curve, unfortuntately, as it gets easier as you play, but the varied movesets between the classes and the grip system keep the combat interesting, and I hardly saw all the classes the game has to offer. This is important, since the game makes you manually travel its world most of the time, and the world isn’t the most spectacular-looking. The pacing is a little messed up (drags in the middle for sure), and the end of the game kind of creeps up on you, but it's a pretty great ending and there is some serious post-credits content.​

IX


Gravity Rush (Vita)
SCE Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment
It’s amazing how long moving from point A to point B remained interesting to me while playing this game. Watching Kat fall sideways around a beautiful city set to that wonderful soundtrack is pretty much most of the game. There’s also some passable combat mixed in there as well as some excellent cutscenes with really likeable characters, but these are little bonuses peppered between all the cityscape falling.​

VIII


Virtue’s Last Reward (Vita)
Chunsoft/Aksys
This was ludicrous in all the ways I was in the mood for. Overall the puzzles are pretty good, though it's lame that some are reused. And the game would look better if it weren't done with models. They work alright for the most part, but you'll get some ugly angles from time to time, and on the rare occasions you do see hand-drawn characters, it's hard to not be distracted by how much you want the rest of the game to look like that. These are pretty minor issues, though, and don’t prevent the story from being gripping and the puzzles from being mostly pretty satisfying. I’m looking forward to seeing how ridiculous the next entry gets.​

VII


Far Cry 3 (PC)
Ubisoft/Ubisoft
At its core are a bunch of surprisingly solid shootouts in which you can approach targets in different ways, select from a good variety of gear, make use of (and fight against) animals and vehicles, climb shit, slide around, start fires that spread, slip into and out of stealth at will (seriously, being able to shake enemies is the best thing), and so on. Slap these into a gorgeous free-roaming world and mix things up at the right pace (liberation missions, hunting for upgrades, general exploring, story missions, toying with new weapons and abilities, solid premise and cutscenes) and you have one of the best first person shooters I've played in a while. It's pretty great that even the generic liberation missions remain engaging throughout the whole game.

There are a few poorly placed checkpoints and a few unnecessary HUD reminders, but those are tiny complaints in the end. The encounters would have been even better with a harder difficulty level or maybe just more perceptive enemies.​

VI


Binary Domain (360)
Sega/Sega
How satisfying is tearing up those robots, panel by panel? How cool is it that landing a headshot makes enemies shoot other enemies? The huge bosses are such a spectacle. The environments are good-looking, especially in the cleaner areas, and the story is surprisingly engrossing. I was actually impressed at the conversational prompts and how they would slightly bend the game’s conclusion. Overall better than the Gears campaigns and Uncharted 2, just not quite as good as Vanquish.​

V


Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Nihon Falcom, Nihon Falcom Corporation/XSEED Games
This was my introduction to a series that I’m surprised I slept on for so long. I love how fast-paced this game is. It’s an action game with pretty environments, fast movement, cleverly-designed enemies, and incredible bosses throughout, and kind of like Ninja Gaiden (2004), there’s this light layer of exploration that hits the sweet spot of making you feel like you’re on a big journey while at the same time not bogging anything down. The leveling system is unfortunate, but at least I never felt more than a level or so under/over (on Hard). Great music, too! I regret not being able to fit in Ys Origin this year.​

IV


XCOM Enemy Unknown
Firaxis/2K Games
I haven’t beaten this one yet, but that’s okay! Every last mission, when played through Ironman, had legitimately tense decisions to make which made it crazy engaging throughout. The on-foot stuff meshes with the division management stuff really well, and I actually felt like the out-of-mission decisions mattered as much as the in-mission ones. I have to admit that I’m far from an expert with strategy games, but this one had grabbed my full attention for longer than any other game in the genre. It’s also pretty good-looking, all things considered, and the presentation played a big role in keeping me engaged.

It’s a very different game than the original, with a lot of options missing, but I feel like most of those are fairly meaningless on a large scale and that there’s enough new and meaningful to make up for it.​

III


Resident Evil 6
Capcom/Capcom
This game is a lot of surface-level jank piling on top of a really good foundation. You'll see teleporting monsters. You'll see stupid vehicle/chase scenes with awkward camera transitions. You'll see performance issues. The herb system is kinda weird. The game doesn't explain anything to you, and this is a game that has mechanics that could use at least some explaining. I'm assuming that playing this solo sucks, as I hear your partner is invincible and stupid. Things that aren't player models look pretty ugly in general. There are a lot of mid-game cutscenes with button prompts in them. Some sections of Jake's campaign are ridiculously bad. I can totally see this game getting shitty scores and not being for everyone due to all of this stuff.

The game shines, though, when it's simply players fighting against a ton of enemies in a somewhat open space. The new player actions are great. The dodge roll takes a perfect amount of time to pull off, and doesn't give you invincibility or anything stupid like that. Sliding under shit and into enemies (for a specific type of stun) is fun, especially when firing up at enemies during the slide. Shuffling around on the ground allows you to avoid a surprising number of attacks for the mobility tradeoff. Quick-shots, flying side kicks, environmental head smashes, counter attacks with tight timing windows... There's a lot to enjoy here. You have a stamina meter that you need to think about when using most of these options, but it never feels suffocating. The game has a large variety of enemy types, too, and a surprising number of weapons with unique quirks to them (Helena's Hydra triple-quickshot,
Ada's crossbow's shitty dodge
, etc). There's a cover system somewhere in there, too, but it's actually not all that useful.

The rest of the stuff in the campaigns that tie these fights together are mostly good. Given that the game took me nearly 30 hours, I'm surprised at how consistent the quality is. There are shitty segments, make no mistake, but not even the worst of Jake's campaign turned me off of the game.

I played the game on Professional, in co-op, with the aiming reticle replaced by the RE4/5-style laser and with the non-aim sensitivity jacked way up. I'd imagine this game would be pretty unwieldy on the default camera sensitivity. Professional mode was tough enough to ensure that I'd make good use of all the combat options, but I was surprised at how much easier it seemed than 4/5 Professional. Curious about the downloadable extra difficulty that I sadly haven’t had time to dig into.

It's a long game, taking me 27 hours to finish all of the campaigns. Immediately after beating the game I wanted to try out Mercenaries, which wound up being excellent. Maybe my favorite implementation of the mode.

Don't play this on a Japanese 360 if you like to see heads blow up.​

II


Max Anarchy (360)
Platinum/Sega
All of the marketing had me believe this was a multiplayer-oriented game, which is what made the campaign so surprising. Big hub maps, varied mission objectives, fitting cutscenes, lots of different campaign-only enemies, and they even do a great job of making the fights against selectable characters feel like important boss fights. Pretty fun to figure things out on Hard mode, too, though the difficulty is pretty uneven throughout. The structure is kinda neat, where you can spend your time between missions fighting progressively harder waves of enemies that chase you around the hub in order to get items or earn points (which can let you skip optional missions). Overall the campaign isn't better than playing greats like GOD HAND or Ninja Gaiden, but it is so much better than anything Madworld tried to be. Same is true for the visuals and the soundtrack, which are arguably the only things Madworld had going for it. And now that I’ve put some time into it, the multiplayer is excellent save for some lag issues. Platinum has done a great job making a versus game that plays like absolutely nothing else out there, and I hope to see this built off of in the future. (note to the organizers, I imported this on release)​

I


Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown (360)
Sega/Sega
While I’m not sold on the changes to throw escaping, everything else is an improvement on VF5 (which was probably my favorite fighting game). I love the weirdly-shaped and shifting arenas, Taka and Jean are excellent additions to what seems like the most varied fighting game cast, and the new animations for the old cast are a clear step up. And as always, there are the satisfying counter hits, throw escapes, and dodges, and there’s nothing like summersault kicking dudes over a half-fence. The port is great, too, with customization that I spend way too much time messing with, replays, selectable soundtracks spanning VF’s history, solid netcode, and a pretty decent Evolution style tutorial.​




Shoutouts to EX Troopers, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Halo 4, Sleeping Dogs, Max Payne 3, Armored Core V, New Super Mario Bros U, Kid Icarus Uprising, and Monster World IV

For the automation:
1. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown ; An improvement on my favorite fighting game.
2. Max Anarchy ; A crazy unique and ambitious multiplayer game with a surprisingly good campaign.
3. Resident Evil 6 ; There’s a lot of good buried in here. An excellent co-op action game.
4. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ;
5. Ys: The Oath in Felghana ;
6. Binary Domain ;
7. Far Cry 3 ;
8. Virtue’s Last Reward ;
9. Gravity Rush ;
10. Dragon’s Dogma ;