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

Rebel Leader

Jan 21, 2007
  1. Xenoblade Chronicles ; Enjoyed it alot. The story and the world I believe were done correctly. Even the battle system was good.
  2. Hitman: Absolution ; To me. felt like a hitman game
  3. Dishonored ; Even though I rented the game I enjoyed it enough to think buying it (and probably will)

NOTE: I just got a job and will be getting my paycheck the day after Christmas so this list can/will update


Feb 12, 2010
1. X-com:Enemy Unknown ; Better than expected "reboot" of the legendary strategy game.
2. Borderlands 2
3. Dishonored
4. Endless Space
5. Sleeping Dogs
6. Journey
7. Spec Ops: The Line
8. Far Cry 3
9. FTL (Faster Than Light)
10. Max Payne 3


Nov 17, 2011
1. Kid Icarus Uprising; great gameplay driven scenario with fun twists, funny dialogs, superb score, beautifully crafted, tonz of environments, big content.

2. Nintendo Land; amazing.

3. Xcom Enemy Unknown; tactical PC gaming at its best. Love my little soldiers.

4. Xenoblade Chronicles; j-rpg redeemed.

5. Resident Evil Revelation; it was the right RE to play after the 4.

6. The Witcher 2 Enhanced; solid game, nice visuals and it made me read the fr translated books.

7. FIFA 13; a lot of my co-workers play it during - our long - lunch time everyday (we even have an internal championship, for those who are not hooked by LOL), couldn't escape the PES > FIFA transition.

8. Trine 2 Collector Edition; loving it on my gamepad. I was right to wait without opening my PC retail copy.

I'm sure Dark Souls PC could be in my list but I have to confess I didn't yet found the time to play it.


Mar 2, 2012
1, The Walking Dead; simply fantastic, one of the best character design and voice acting of all time
2. FTL; I need more of this
3. CS:GO; didn't think I would ever go back to CS after putting in hundreds of hours 10 years ago but this game made me and a handful of friends go back and pown some n00b5 again


Sep 17, 2007
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown; I love strategy. I love games that put up a fight. XCOM gave me all that and more. Not only my surprise of the year but my GotY.

XCOM is a game that makes you care about the little guys you command. You invest your blood, sweat and tears into your squad. Every time one is injured or, gulp, killed you feel it and you suffer for their loss in the subsequent missions. With no real 'wrong' way to go about playing the game it all comes down to your smarts, what you can manage and how much you are willing to sacrifice to save Earth. The future of our universe lies on your shoulders, Commander.

2. Borderlands 2; OK this one is biased. I have a ton of personal friends that play this game. Thanks to clever writing, great classes, and even better DLC I can see myself playing this game well into next year

3. The Walking Dead; Figures the one game that proves that adventure games are a shambling corpse is TWD. With truly gut wrenching decisions that pay off (YOU HEAR THAT MASS EFFECT!) this is one story you won't forget any time soon. Now if you don't mind I am drying the tears from my pillow.

4. Far Cry 3; Dive down the rabbit hole. This game actually has a surprising emotional punch (for me at least) to go with all the shooting and explosions. Some of the most memorable characters this year and my character of the year Vaas. So fun it warrants multiple playthroughs. Are you man enough for a bow and arrow run?

5. Dishonored; I never played Thief (sorry), but I can see why it has it's appeal. Using only your wits, environment, and reflexes is the only way to survive in this game. Tons of ways to go about every assassination and mission. It really is something everyone should experience. Sadly this franchise may be the last hurrah for the stealth genre for the foreseeable future.

6. Torchlight 2; Really Diablo 3, this is how it is done. The game has flaws sure but you can really sink your teeth into each of the 4 classes and still find plenty to do.

7. NFS: Most Wanted; I love arcade racers and NFS scratches that itch remarkably well. Cops and rubber banding is what bumped it down my list so far but the feeling of speed and cruising around the world in a Bugatti is more than enough reason for me to place this in my top 10.

8. SSX; People give this game an unfair rap. Tricking it out on slopes is a blast and the DLC for the game shows the developers are looking to improve from the death trap ridden courses in the game. Classic SSX is running in its veins and I feel if they fine tune this for a sequel then we could have a GotY contender.

9. Darksiders 2; Perhaps the most tragic tale on the list. Deeply flawed (especially on the PC) is why it is on the bottom of the list but man do I love it. The combat was fun the ideas were solid but sadly some repetitive tasks, a story that feels like its spinning its wheels (especially in light of the recent THQ news makes it more depressing), and some poor DLC choices really beat this game to the ground. Despite all this I love the horseman Death and I hope this isn't the last I see of the Darksiders series.

2011: Dark Souls; The DLC only renewed my love of this game. Fair challenge, excellent combat, gorgeous, great soundtrack. I can't stop complimenting this game.


Feb 10, 2010
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown; I've already beaten it twice, probably putting 60-80 hours into it already since I got it. I wasn't going to buy it immediately initially, but the demo hooked me so strongly I had to get it. And it was worth it. One of the best strategy games I've played in recent memory. Despite there not being completely random maps, each playthrough is tense due to not knowing what you're going to be facing, and if you get too cocky, your wrong moves are punished. It's challenging, it's fun, and even if the game kicks your ass it's addicting enough to pick it up and try it again immediately.

2. Dishonored; I thought this was going to be my GOTY all year. It delivered, XCOM just delivered even more and surprised the hell out of me. But this is about Dishonored. Blink revolutionizes the stealth gameplay, allowing you to move quickly in stealth instead of the torturous slow walk. Killing is fun, but the game also allows you a complete no-death playthrough as well. No forced boss fights, and most of the levels are open enough to give you lots of replay value. Plus the DLC adds even more fun trials to the mix.

3. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward; VLR delivered in all the ways 999 did. The puzzles were intriguing, the story keeps you engaged and wanting to play "just a little longer." The characters grab a hold of you and draw you into the story, and several of the twists are just mind-blowing. Great game overall.

4. The Walking Dead; Another narrative-driven game that really knocked everything out of the ball park. The puzzles are more simplistic than usual for an adventure game, but the tight action sequences are pretty intense and feel less like QTEs than they could have. All the characters are well done and the way the story is told it really makes you care about the characters and the consequences of your actions, moreso than any game in recent memory.

5. Alan Wake's American Nightmare; I'm a huge fan of Alan Wake, and American Nightmare was a step up on all counts. The battle mechanics were more fun and tighter, Mr. Scratch was an engaging villain that was missing from the first one, and I played the hell out of the extra challenge modes as well. Makes me very excited for the potential of a proper full-blown sequel.

6. Borderlands 2; Awesome co-op? Check. Interesting characters? Check. A villain that pisses you off to no end? Check. A more satisfying final boss? Check. Borderlands 2 delivered everything you got from the first, and fixed most of the problems the first one had. Haven't played the DLC yet, but it was a very worthwhile sequel.

7. Spelunky; I put a lot of hours (and deaths) into this game. One of the few games this year where once I beat it, I really felt like I accomplished something. Nothing in this game is handed to you. You've got to be on your toes the entire time (and get a little lucky). Really, really enjoyed this and wanted to put it higher, but that just says something about the quality of all the other games on the list.

8. Pokemon Conquest; This was one of the weirdest crossovers ever. Nobunaga + Pokemon + SRPG? It doesn't sound like it should work, but it really does. SRPGs are one of my favorite genres, and the way they married Pokemon/trainers + strategy while keeping the type weaknesses in was amazing. While it wasn't exactly what I expected, I put 50+ hours into this and enjoyed every minute of it. Plus with tons of postgame content the game truly keeps you engaged. Can't believe I almost forgot to put this on the list.

9. Lollipop Chainsaw; Fun game, great music. The battle system needed a little work, and there were one too many mini-games sprinkled throughout the game, but it was an enjoyable experience, enough to bring me back to complete time attacks and what-not.

10. Twisted Metal; I nearly forgot this came out this year, but when it initially came out myself and my housemate had a hella fun time playing in the deathmatches and doing the co-op story. I also had a lot of fun doing multiplayer for a while, something I rarely do. I love dogfighting games, and Twisted Metal Black was one of my favorites on PS2. This really captured everything it said on the tin, an enjoyable experience that doesn't compromise what it is.

x. Trials Evolution; A great sequel to Trials HD. Lots of challenge, lots of frustration. Not much more can be said about it, honestly. If you like racing and a challenge, play this game.

x. Darksiders II; I wish, I wish, I wish I could put this higher and I wish it was a better game. I loved Darksiders. II fell short. I love the movement, I love the traversal. Combat is excellent. The problem is they put in too many damn dungeons and too many fetch quests. If it was a tighter experience, it would have made top 10, but it's just too bloated as-is.

x. Hotline Miami; This is one of those games that I desperately want to like. The soundtrack is pretty incredible, but the fact is this game requires split second precision that makes the game less fun for me in particular. I can understand why others would enjoy it, but to me having a shotgun blast miss an enemy by a pixel and that enemy smashing your head in instantly so you have to redo the whole floor is more annoying and frustrating than challenging.


Okay, I think I've done my final editing for my list. I've just started Dragon's Dogma so I may add it before the deadline, but so far it's failed to impress me. I'm only an hour or two in, though, so we'll see.


Jun 7, 2004
1. Journey; Marvelous experience from start to finish, with the beautiful graphics I came to expect from ThatGameCompany and a stunning soundtrack from Wintory. The moment of reaching the mountain peak with a nameless stranger was simply unforgettable.
2. Dragon's Dogma; Fun game from start to finish. Art style surprisingly tolerable.
3. Atelier Meruru; Most polished of the 3 arland games in every way. It's really too bad they had to dial up the creep factor.
4. Beastie Bay
5. Dungeon Village
6. Tales of Graces f; Funnest battles in the series with the most annoying character ever - Cheria.

2011. Dragonvale; Freemium done right?

3 mobile games, uh oh D:
Makes me sad there was a new FF and I could not justifiably put it anywhere in my unfilled list.


Jun 7, 2004
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; I've been waiting 15+ years for this and it more than lived up to expectations.
2. The Walking Dead ; More than just an adventure game... it was the way it told the story and made you feel emotion that makes this an amazing game
3. SSX
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
5. Angry Birds Star Wars
6. Trine 2: Director's Cut ; Damn... I didn't play a lot of new games this year.. be back in a month...

2011. Saints Row: The Third ; or maybe Batman: AC but I haven't got very far in either yet


Feb 26, 2008
1. Dragon's Dogma- Fucking buy this game motherfuckers. I don't often beat games multiple times (or beat games once) but I beat this shit like 3 times. My ps3 died and I beat it again. Shit be awesome. Fun gameplay. Awesome character creation. Good ass exploration. boss ass bosses. Shit makes my dick hard yo. Buy this pls. It's one of teh few things Capcom has done right in forever. the wind is pushing me son.

2. Soul Calibur V - The Soul Calibur series holds a special place in my heart due to it being the first fighting game I officially owned for myself and I put an insane amount of time into SCII. SCV isn't the best in the series and it sucked to lose two unique character types. But I put an insane amount of time into this one due to it's awesome character creation. I was part of the problem by buying ALL of the dlc. I don't even care because this game is pretty awesome. Its not the best in the series but I enjoyed it a lot even if it was just for the Character creator.

3.Persona 4 Arena- I love Persona 4...like a lot. So anything that would bring a new story with these characters is great to me (I even bought the rip off Blurays of the Anime...which is pretty good btw). The P4A has an added factor over that (since the story wasn't that amazing) by being one of the few fighting games I am mediocre at. Like I had a winning record and everything. It was also pretty fun too. The great online is also worth noting. Too bad about the whole Europe thing tho.

4. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 - Although I suck at this game like no other, I can't state enough of how great a package this game is. The FREE character DLC is so awesome that Harada has to be rewarded for this shit. The only "bad" thing is teh character creator is a bit limited but as a game it's the real deal.

5. NBA 2k13 - I hate this game and I'm sure it hates me. Just like every year tho I put a lot of time into it. It cheats, it's A.I is crap, the animations take control too much and it killed my dog.....and yet I have a lot of fun despite this. I am such a battered Housewife man....It is better than last year tho.

6. Kid Icarus Uprising - It was of the few 3DS games that I have enjoyed paying so far. Liek TT2 it's a fantastic package. The controls (and life) have made me shelve it for a bit (I will get back to it over my Christmas break...)...but when it clicks, it clicks. The writing it pretty awesome too. I'll admit I wish It had "normal" controls tho but it still is a great game.

7. Borderlands 2 - I normally don't like FPSs but this was pretty fun. I probably won't ever go back to it but I enjoyed the 10-15 hours I put into it despite that. It was fun.

8. Dead of Alive 5 - In comparison to the other fighting games I have on this list, it's prbably the worse in terms of what it contains. Not many modes, meh online, and I didn't put much time into it. I enjoyed the stupid story mode and the characters look really nice....yeah.

9. Pokemon Black 2- It's pokemon. I live for this shit yo.

10. Virtua Fighter 5 FS- Not sure if this counts but I had fun beating on easy mode CPU. I'm not about that online life tho.

Deified Data

Jul 6, 2011
I'll make mine short and sweet:

1.) Dragon's Dogma: Spectacular action-RPG combat, compellingly unique online functionality. I've beaten this game at least three times since launch, and I'm still discovering new things about it.

2.) Dishonored: Such a darkly mysterious world to explore. Game really made you feel like a god among men, until the repercussions of your wanton violence start to kick in.

3.) Tokyo Jungle: Think "Akira" but with bloodthirsty pomeranians instead of biker gangs.

Honorable mention: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning


Feb 16, 2010
1. X-Com Enemy Unknown ; This game so scratches that strategy itch I've had since playing Panzer General 2 in the late 90's. Fantastic on every level.
2. The Walking Dead ; So much has been said about this game already, but it made me count the days until the next episode with happy anticipation.
3. FTL ; Insert Dog - Adama - Star Trek jpg here.
4. Journey ; Gliding through the game with an unknown partner was game bonding like I've never experienced.
5. Scribblenauts Unlimited ; Creativity and humor. Fantastic.
6. Borderlands 2 ; 30 hours never went by so fast.
7. Persona 4: Golden ; Never played one before but this I like.
8. Sleeping Dogs ; Had its issues, but impressive storytelling and a fun action romp.
9. Little Big Planet Vita ; The recipe perfected.
10. Mass Effect 3 ; Despite the hate, a mechanically solid and engaging experience.
x. Unity of Command ; Old school, turn-based war gaming bliss.


May 20, 2009

1. Dragon's Dogma ; A flawed gem would be the best way to describe this game. The story had potential to be good but is never capitalized on, the characters in the game could have been interesting but they hardly get any face time for you to get to know them, and the world's lore is given to you in bits and pieces but never expanded upon. That said, what this game does best is the thing you will be spending most of your time doing - combat. The combat system in this game is very fun and very well crafted. The classes all have a unique way of approaching various combat situations and this is one of the few ARPGs in which magic actually feels (and looks) powerful and isn't just a pallet swap for archery. The pawn system could use a little work (a gambit/tactics system would do wonders - even if it were set by the player that owns said pawn) but for the most part, I was satisfied with it and there was always the option to go it solo. Also, fight the larger enemies ended up not being as cheesy as it looked like it would be in the promotions. Crawling atop/around enemies definitely looks funny but it works. The second game could truly be something great if they just polish and refine what they've already done with this game.

2. Final Fantasy XIII-2 ; I know the game gets a lot of flak, but I actually liked FFXIII. With XIII-2, Squeenix took a lot of the criticisms from XIII to heart and tried to address them in this game. I can't say whether or not those changes were enough for those that didn't like XIII but for me, it was just an expansion on a game I already liked. It kept the combat system from the previous game, which I thought was one of that game's greatest strengths, but opened up the world more by incorporating a time travel mechanic. The time travel stuff wasn't as interesting as it was in Chrono Trigger, but I still thought it was done well and helped to redeem Hope from the previous game.

3. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning ; Another game from the past few years that manged to make ARPG combat fun without going the shooter route and surprisingly it's from a western studio. It's a shame about what happened with 38 Studios as I would have loved to see this become a series. Though the game became pretty easy in the later half of the game, I thoroughly like fast paced, combo-based combat system. Though people complain about it looking too much like WoW, I really liked the art style of the game. It was a refreshing to me to have an ARPG that was going for a more abstract style which isn't very common in these types of games. I also found myself really interested in the world's lore, especially when it came to the houses of winter and summer.

4. Dishonored ; I'm finding that I'm liking stealth action/adventure games more and more. Dishonored has a pretty standard revenge story but takes place in a really interesting and dark world. The way they incorporated magic into their game mechanics is very well done and the openness you have in how to approach any given situation is always a good thing in these types of games. Playing a stealth game in first-person is always a little weird and the game could probably use a better way of determining if you're in an enemies line-of-sight, but I think they did an overall good job and it was an enjoyable game to play.

5. Borderlands 2 ; The Borderlands games are the only loot whore games I like, and that's saying a lot considering it's a shooter (which I also typically don't like). Maybe it's just the ridiculousness of the world, characters, and weapons but this game just works for me. Typically with loot games, the story and characters are irrelevant and I've never enjoyed the isometric, mouse-click-based combat systems that are typically found in these games. Borderlands 2 doesn't do too much better with the story but Handsome Jack keeps you at least marginally invested in it, many of the characters are memorable (even if for the wrong reasons), and just the variety of guns and ammo make the shooting mechanics far more interesting than the average FPS. The one major complaint I have is one that is shared across this genre of games and that's the fact that they assume everyone wants to play through the game multiple times and lock features behind subsequent playthroughs (i.e. max gun level in first playthough is ~30).

6. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; I don't have much to say about this game. I have no nostalgia for the original XCOM so I can't say how it compares to that but I think this game offers a very good balance of strategy, challenge, and consequences that come together to form a very good game.

7. Magic the Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 ; Another game that I don't have much to say about. It's mostly the same as last years game but with some aesthetic changes and more decks/cards. You either like Magic the Gathering or you don't, and that will determine whether or not you'd like this game. It's pretty much my go to game whenever I'm on a travel trip.


Jan 28, 2012
1. Journey; The sliding sequence made me go "Weeeee!" out loud in my living room. I believe my unknown companion was doing the exact same thing in front of his tv.

2. Max Payne 3; I came in with really high expectations, and it became my favorite shooter this gen. It's only a detail, but Max's delivery when he
meets the surgeon at the top of the building and simply repeats "What have you been doing?" over and over
was flawless. Severin suddenly blasting during the final chase was almost too good.

3. Sleeping Dogs; It caught me completely off guard, but GTA + HK cinema? Yes please. The fighting system made me roam throughout the city for hours in search of guys to beat up.

4. Dishonored; If only for the brilliant aesthetics and the blink mechanism. Story, characters and challenge were a bit disappointing, but I didn't care at all, I was having a LOT of fun.

5. Hotline Miami; Bath Salts, the game. On my first playthrough, I probably laughed out loud every single time I died.

6. Dragon's Dogma; Extremely flawed, disappointing on way too many points (including combat), but still a solid game. I expect a lot from an eventual sequel.


love on your sleeve
Jan 31, 2006
1. Journey ; The only real great game I played this year and it might be my favorite game of the generation. It's visually stunning with an excellent soundtrack and a unique co-op experience.
2. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 ; The best fighting game of the year. Period.
3. SSX ; Not a real great game but the one I spent the most time playing so I have to give it some credit. I did enjoy playing Global Events and the new control scheme was a pleasant surprise. I can't imagine going back to classic scheme. Hopefully, the team at EA Canada learns from their mistakes and gets another crack at the franchise.

2011. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Spent most of the year playing 2011 games and HD collections to be honest. Not a great year for gaming.

Dyni Crippler

May 19, 2011
1. Dishonored ; It's a steampunk Deus Ex, to put it simple. Level design is superb, powers are incredible and the freedom given to the player is simply amazing. Combine that with the combat system, which plays like Dark Messiah meets Riddick, and the unique stealth based on exploration rather than avoiding guards and you've got yourself the greatest game of the year, at least for me.

2. The Walking Dead ; Is it a game? Yes. Is it a poor game? Probably. But it's still one of the best stories ever told by this medium. For that, it deserves the spot.

3. Max Payne 3 ; The quality of the shootouts is simply unmatched in other TPSs: feeling, level design, AI... A magnificent title as far as shooting goes. There are problems, but they didn't bother me too much.

4, XCOM Enemy Unknown ; Despite some balancing problems, is probably the best fun I've had with a strategy game in a while. It's XCOM, and I'm glad for that.

5. Kid Icarus Uprising ; An unexpected surprise. I chose it as my first 3DS game and, apart from the first level, I loved everything of it.

6. Sleeping Dogs ; Wei Shen, motherfucker.

7. Mark of the Ninja ; I didn't think 2D stealth was actually possible (as in "done well"). MOTN showed me how wrong I was. Excellent title.

8. Hotline Miami ; A short, intense and satysfing trip into a world of violence and tactics, with an actually interesting story that can make sense, unlike many indie games.

9. Borderlands 2 ; Like Borderlands, but better in everything.

10. Faster Than Light ; Actually I haven't dug up too deep yet in this one, but I really liked it in these few hours I've put into it.

x. La Mulana ; Haven't played it much yet, but it looks absolutely stunning.

x. Crusader Kings 2 ; Same as above.

2011. Serious Sam 3


My aunt & uncle run a Mom & Pop store, "The Gamecube Hut", and sold 80k WiiU within minutes of opening.
Jun 12, 2004
Do E3 demos count?


May 28, 2006
1. Persona 4 Golden ; JRPG battles, jumping into TVs, and forming relationships (both romantic and otherwise) with a cast of characters who are just ordinary people thrown into the most extraordinary circumstances, Persona 4 is an almost perfect example of gameplay-narrative fusion that leaves you feeling empty in a bittersweet way at its closure.
2. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; Everything about this game felt hyperreal, exaggerated, and chillingly mysterious. In fact, the game left me with more questions than I started off with, and I'd expect nothing less from the sequel to 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. Full of twists and turns, Virtue's Last Reward is the kind of fiction that sells the benefits of interactivity to storytelling. After I finished the game, I was hungry for more.
3. The Walking Dead - The Game ; The puzzles were a little easy, and the interactivity and choice is all an illusion, but for a first play through, The Walking Dead tricks the player into thinking they have player agency, and wraps a well-told guardian-child story around it. Plus I cried at the end.
4. Sleeping Dogs ; Sleeping Dogs had an excellent blend of open world driving, hand-to-hand combat, shootybang bits, and story, to the point that the game had a "just one more mission" quality to it that kept me playing for hours on end. A rare achievement in modern games.
5. FTL: Faster Than Light ; There's something humbling about being put in charge of a starship, feeling all powerful and in control, only to watch in horror as events conspire against you and you slowly lose control of the situation. FTL: Faster Than Light is sometimes unfair, sometimes extremely stressful, but always rewarding.
6. Civilization V: Gods and Kings ; I've spent many a weekend night building up my empire until 4am in the morning. Until 2012 I did this on Civ IV (despite owning Civ V), but this expansion has fixed the rather disappointing Civilization V to the point that I can now invest hours of my life into it.
7. Journey ; Sometimes it feels like a roller coaster, other times we're given free reign to explore. However, Journey is a visually and aurally pleasing interactive experience 100% of the time.
8. Mark of the Ninja ; Without a doubt the best stealth game of the year. Its exquisitely crafted levels and gameplay mechanics make sneaking a joy, whilst its punishing combat difficulty keeps the game true to its genre.
9. Hotline Miami ; A strangely atmospheric 80s soundtrack rounds off this bizarre murder simulator, which uses its difficulty and general aesthetic to create an atmosphere of tension as you go about your killing.
10. Dishonored ; Dishonored is a strange one. I love the world they've crafted -- what little lore it has was gobbled up in seconds, and its art style and general technological setting intrigued me -- yet at the same time didn't feel very compelled when I was actually playing. Similarly, its gameplay systems are rock solid and very imaginative, but don't really reward player imagination. It all seems too obvious, from solutions to problems to the "twist" towards the end of the story. But nonetheless, it was a splendid game that I enjoyed very much.

x. Gravity Rush ; The game got a bit repetitive half-way through, but I thought Gravity Rush was a charming action/adventure game that had its concept drawn out a bit too much. But it looks great, controls (mostly) well for a gravity-based game, and has a nice story and characters.
x. Alan Wake's American Nightmare ; I thought this game was a bite-sized look at what the original Alan Wake should've been. More freedom, a more arcadey-styled gameplay, and a general tighter feel.

2011. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable (EU) ; This is the first game to ever make me cry. Persona 3 Portable has one of the most incredible game endings ever, and coupled with the generally strong narrative and interesting characters, Persona 3 (and its portable remake) was a remarkable foundation for its masterpiece sequel.


Unconfirmed Member
Dec 19, 2010
1. Mass Effect 3

While the original ending was very poorly written, it didnt undo the rest of the experience which was fantastic. Combat was better than ever, rpg elements, while light, were still better than they were in ME 2. The characters, the fantastic setting and the narrative which are the main strenghts of the ME series were as strong as always. Some very specific plot points like
the whole concept and discovery of crucible and the mandatory "WE NEED TO SOLVE EVERYONES PROBLEM IN BEFORE PROCEEDING TO END GAME LOL" game structure
were a bit dissapointing, but the pros far outweighted the cons, and me3 is right up there with ME1 and 2 as far as game experiences go.

2. Assassin's Creed 3
A super ambitious game, that finally moved to a setting that isnt depressing. The Parkour and traversal was reinvigorated through the new emphasis on the frontier and the forest settings, especially with the different seasons and weather conditions. Very fierce and satisfying combat that is approaching Batman Arkham City quality. Naval battles were fantastic. A good mix between new and established gameplay elements. The only negative parts were the story (especially towards the ending) the rigid homestead development and the pointlessness of money and the items you could aquire/produce.

3. Sleeping dogs
Nice take on the open world formula. Loved the combination of fighting, racing, sneaking and shooting that the game offered. Much stronger than GTA in those respects. Story was interesting, looked great, the whole package.
Dec 11, 2010
1. Dishonored ; Dishonored is by no means a perfect game, but it offers fun stealth and action gameplay in an extremely interesting world. The environments are great, the mood is great, it's a generally refreshing setting and aesthetic when it comes to video games. The Outsider is great, the mysterious heart was neat, even minor characters like Granny Rags add to the package in big ways. Blinking made the game a bit too easy in some ways, but it was fun. Most of the mechanics were very well crafted, and I ALWAYS appreciate more games that are drawing influence from Deus Ex regarding level design.

2. Crusader Kings II ; Crusader Kings II is a grand strategy game from Paradox interactive that puts the player into the role of a medieval psycopath who threatens, bribes, marries and murders his way into an increasingly powerful position in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Finally, a game where I can whore out my daughter to the hunchback harelipped third prince of France then murder his older brothers to get my grandson on the throne. As far as I know, CK is the only medieval European politics simulator, so it's not exactly a highly competitive genre, but Paradox has done really well at creating Game of Thrones: The Game (unlike the actual GoT games, which suck). CK2 was rough at release, but a series of DLC expansions and patches have fixed most of the problems and greatly expanded the game's flexibility.

3. XCom Enemy Unknown

4. Mark of the Ninja

5. Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour


Jun 4, 2010
1. Crusader Kings 2 ; A game about dynastic management that spans the High and Late Middle Ages. Extremely deep and complex, while at the same time manages to be also highly engrossing. With things like trying to figure out how to expand your territory while at the same time keeping your scheming dwarf drunkard of a brother from taking all you worked for, having your young ruler, who just got the crown himself, die in battle and leaving his three month old son as Emperor of Britannia, plotting the murder of your sister's kids and husband to keep your titles in your family or game over. No other game will manage to turn you into such a kin slaying tyrant as Crusader Kings 2 will.

2. XCOM Enemy Unknown ; One of the best TBS games to come out in many years. Not only did it managed to bring the Xcom series into modern gaming, but it managed to do that without throwing away what made the original so loved. All my fears that Xcom would become a dumb down calk walk disappeared once a routine mission turned into a complete failure for me.

3. Sleeping Dogs ; This game came out of left field for me, but managed to be one of the best "GTA Clones" in recent memory. Interesting characters and story set in the Hong Kong underworld.


Jan 28, 2012
4. Sleeping Dogs ; Sleeping Dogs had an excellent blend of open world driving, hand-to-hand combat, shootybang bits, and story, to the point that the game had a "just one more mission" quality to it that kept me playing for hours on end. A rare achievement in modern games.
5. Dishonored ; Dishonored is a strange one. I love the world they've crafted -- what little lore it has was gobbled up in seconds, and its art style and general technological setting intrigued me -- yet at the same time didn't feel very compelled when I was actually playing. Similarly, its gameplay systems are rock solid and very imaginative, but don't really reward player imagination. It all seems too obvious, from solutions to problems to the "twist" towards the end of the story. But nonetheless, it was a splendid game that I enjoyed very much.

Both descriptions are absolutely spot-on.


Dec 5, 2011
Austin, Texas
1. The Walking Dead; All of the feels! I love a good story and I love stories that make you feel emotion. This is probably the most I've ever been totally engrossed in a game and the most I've cared about the fate of the characters. Really fantastic.
2. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward; Love the mind-fuckery. Great twists, interesting story, (mostly) good characters. Very long as well, which was nice as my 3DS was gathering dust for a majority of the year.
3. Mass Effect 3; I never saw the extra DLC additions to the ending, but I didn't hate it. I mean, I knew it could be better, and there were some plot holes, but it didn't enrage me. The rest of the game is superb. I felt actually anxious about the fate of the galaxy, and was always worried some seemingly small decision I made would greatly influence the galaxy. Even though that didn't really end up being the case, the feeling was there while playing it, and I mostly loved it.
4. Assassin's Creed III; Good ol' Assassin's Creed. Probably not as "different" as people hoped, but honestly that's fine with me. I love the formula and the whole ship thing was pretty cool.
5. Journey; Finally played this last night, still kinda taking it in. Very short, but I thought about it a lot today. It's definitely an amazing experience, just not sure if there's enough content there for my GotY.
6. Madden NFL 13; This is the game I've put the most time into. I've got lots of complaints, sure, but overall I really liked CCM, and I have a ton of fun playing football; definitely moreso than the past few years.
7. Pokemon Black 2 and White 2; Not much to say, pretty much your average Pokemon game, but this one had some actually decent pokemon available early (Growlithe and Lucario!), and some really small but cool additions ("Your repel has worn off, would you like to use another?")
8. Final Fantasy XIII-2; Screw the haters. I thought the ending was cool. The story was kind of a mess but the battle system was fun and I want to know what happens next.
9. MLB The Show 12; I'm also a big baseball fan, and this is a fantastic baseball sim. So good, in fact, that it's pretty much too hard for me. I had playing on lower difficulties (Not rookie, of course, but the second one, I think it's veteran). I eventually get frustrated and stop playing, but I especially love the franchise. Definitely the deepest one in sports games
10. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale; I wish I had this game higher. The fighting system is great and really good fun, but I don't have anyone to play it with. Most of my friends in the area either don't have it or aren't interested, and my internet sucks balls for online gaming. Also, pretty much every aspect BESIDES the fighting is bad. Bad menus, terrible "story"/single-player, etc. Wish the roster had more of the icons (Crash, Spyro, Cloud/FF character), but I'm a big Ratchet and Clank fan too so that was fine.

x. Kid Icarus: Uprising; I'm not that far into it yet, and my hands kinda hurt after playing it for a while, but so far it's really fun. Not much else to say about it so far, but as I play more it might make it up to the numbered list.
x. Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!; I like the show, though I'm only able to watch it sporadically. The setting in this game was really nice, as was the art and music, but the gameplay was just ok, and it was short. I definitely enjoyed it, but probably won't play again

2011. InFamous 2; I thought 1 was decent but I overlooked this one. I wasn't ready for "more of the same", which in a lot of ways it was, but it really was a lot of fun. I'm glad it was free for PS+ because otherwise I probably wouldn't have given it a chance. Also, the story isn't the games strong point, and I grow tired of karma ("good" or "bad" choices) in games, but the ending for each path was pretty epic. Definitely excited for whatever Sucker Punch does next... Please don't be an FPS.

Games I haven't played that may invade my rankings if I get them in time:

Hitman: Absolution
NCAA Football 13
Papo and Yo
Sleeping Dogs
The Unfinished Swan


Mar 28, 2011
1. Binary Domain - A game that wasn't on my radar and i only got due to the positive reception from some GAF users that i went to try this game. Best experience with a shooting game in quite some time. Loved the story, characters and environments. GOTY for me.

2. New Super Mario Bros U
3. The Walking Dead
4. Journey
5. Final Fantasy XIII-2
6. Halo 4
7. Persona 4: The Golden
8. Mass Effect 3
9. Darksiders 2
10. Lollipop Chainsaw


Jun 22, 2012
1. Persona 4 Golden; Possibly the greatest JRPG of all time got even better. The new content makes it one of the best, the best of the year.
2. Mass Effect 3; A blockbuster of a finale to the defining story of this generation.
3. Dishonored; Arkane Studios best game to date, it offers some of the most satisfying assassinations in VG's history.
4. The Walking Dead; A strong narrative with perhaps the best character writing we've seen this year.
5. Halo 4; 343 masterfully ushered in the new era of Master Chief.
6. Fez; Some of the most fun I had with a game this year was with this one.
7. Journey; Beautiful to listen to...even more beautiful to look at.
8. Max Payne 3; The best "popcorn" game of the year
9. FF13-2; A stylish JRPG with a good sense of humor
10. Katawa Shoujo; One of the best VN's i've ever played.


Jun 10, 2010
1. Planetside 2 - Easily the best FPS I have played since TF2. A fantastic multiplayer game that I'm sure I will be playing for a long time. It also really needs to be put in the OP list.

2. Dishonored - The stealth, level design, powers and universe was completely fantastic. The game had me hooked from start to finish. I can't wait for a sequel. I was considering placing this as #1, but Planetside 2 (since that game is FREE!) definitely has more value per dollar so it wins out.

3. Guild Wars 2 - A highly innovative approach to MMORPG and great fun especially in WvWvW. I had a great time with the GAF guild playing this game but dropped it before the level cap due to school pressures and other interests. I will likely be getting back to it this winter.

4. Crusader Kings 2 - My favorite paradox games since Hearts of Iron 2. Really enjoyed this one as leading a noble family felt much more badass than simply controlling your empire like every other game. This one felt much more down-to-earth and I actually cared for my family's development.

These 4 are the only games I found worthy of GOTY this year that I have played.


Jun 26, 2005
1. Far Cry 3 ; Any other year this game would've been on my no. 6 or 7 spot, so that should tell you how poor I think this year was. Still, Far Cry 3 was a great game thanks to the amazing gunplay and beautiful world. With less handholding and less repetitive side missions it could have been truly amazing.
2. The Walking Dead ; In some sense, I think The Walking Dead deserves the title more than Far Cry 3. A wonderful evolution in the adventure genre with some of the most touching moments I've ever experienced in gaming. I just wish I had a bit more fun actually playing it.
3. Sleeping Dogs
4. Fez
5. Mass Effect 3 ; The ending retroactively ruined my experience, but before that I enjoyed my time with ME3.
6. Mark of the Ninja
7. FTL: Faster Than Light
8. Hotline Miami
9. Max Payne 3 ; There's great gunplay somewhere between the cutscenes.
10. Alan Wake's American Nightmare

x. DayZ ; My real no. 3.


Dec 30, 2007
1. The Walking Dead ; Simply the best character driven story adventure game ever
2. Sleeping Dogs ; GTA5 will need to be good to beat this. Great story and environment
3. Far Cry 3 ; Beautiful open world and gunplay was spot on. Great improvements over FC2
4. Dishonored ; Excellent stealth gameplay and beautiful artwork
5. FIFA 13 ; Lands in my top 10 every year, but each year gives great improvements over the last
6. I Am Alive ; Great survival, post-apocalyptic downloadable title
7. Hotline Miami ; Great gameplay, music and humor
8. Mass Effect 3 ; Terrific game, would have been higher if not for that ending
9. Deadlight ; Very short however was very enjoyable
10. Trials Evolution ; great addition to the series and packed with content


Oct 7, 2008
Ithaca, NY
1. Borderlands 2(PC); The first Borderlands was my GOTY when it came out, I even replayed it with a friend right before the sequel was released. It improved on virtually every thing I loved about the first game by a significant leap and provided some of the best online experiences I have had with friends in years. It also marked an epic return to PC gaming for me.

2. The Walking Dead; I have navigated my fair share of dialog trees and supposed "moral compasses" but no decisions have ever been more difficult and lasting on my psyche as a gamer than in the Walking Dead. A true masterpiece in story telling, especially considering it is within the well trodden genre of "zombies". Year of the tears.

3. XCOM Enemy Unknown(PC); Holy crap this game is good. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it since I haven't played many games in this genre or the original XCOM. However, XOCM has he personal fulfillment and careful tactics required to win a chess match seamlessly woven in to the accessibility and resource management of many iOS style games. If you look at XCOM and think, "I don't think that is my kind of game," you are wrong. Firaxis has made a gem here and everyone should play it.

4. Far Cry 3(PC); Had the co-op actually been in the open world like the single player, this would likely be siting in first place. The story ended up being more enjoyable than I anticipated, nevertheless, the luscious and merciless world of Far Cry 3 is an absolute fun machine. So many moments I wish I would have captured with fraps.

5. Kerbal Space Program; As of 0.17 release, Kerbal became a proper game. Missions, tutorials, and best of all, an entire solar system of planets and moons was added! 0.18 (current version) is even better with the addition of docking and flight plans. The progression and "The Incredible Machine" feeling of building and engineering your own space craft is beyond addicting. But that is only the first step, you must then master flight controls, orbiting, ejection velocities, fuel management and countless other variables to allow for a successful mission. I nearly shed a tear the first time I successfully touched down on the Mun. When I have a kid, this is a game I am certain I will show and play with them.

6. Journey; An incredibly memorable and unique experience. The sand surfing moment left me awestruck.

7. Dear Esther; A perfect example of how graphics can equate to "gameplay". With every gfx setting on max, a bit of beer and other inebriats, I was completely sucked into the world. My F12 key was nearly broken on how many screen shots I took of this stunningly beautiful game.

8. Frog Fractions; I struggle to describe how wonderfully insane and delightful this game is. If you are reading this and haven't played it yet, do yourself and go to the website and play it now!

9. FTL: Faster Than Light; This game is deceptively addicting and difficult. I need it on iOS asap. It will be the game I play commuting for the next year.

10. Hotline Miami; The soundtrack alone earns it a spot on this list, not to mention the fast paced, wonderfully stylized, brutal action.

x. DayZ; Some of the most intense gaming moments of my life. With a stand alone version coming soon, hopefully with a little less jank, this is likely a shoo in for 2013 GOTY.

2011 LTTP. Spacechem; Holy shit, my brain. My poor, sad, woefully underutilized brain. The sense of accomplishment when solving some of the later puzzles in this game is on par with graduating from school. I felt like a framed piece of paper detailing my achievements in Spacechem wouldn't have been too much to ask either.


Jul 11, 2012
Woodbridge, VA
Far Cry 3 is the most fun I had with a game in 2012. I know there was a mixed reception on GAF but I had a ton of fun exploring the island and completing a lot of the side content.


Aug 29, 2009
Montevideo, Uruguay
1. Dishonored; The artstyle is amazing. The world it creates is superb and leaves you wanting to explore more of it. The gameplay manages to get rid of common annoyances in the stealth genre in very satisfying ways. The powers (specially Blink) are genuinely fun to play around with and make you change the way in wich you play games of the genre. It really does feel like a playground at times in wich you just play with the game's systems (limited, sure, since it doesnt try to be an open world experience but rather levels where you decide how to approach, like Deus Ex), wich is something I really missed in games. The gameplay allows the perfection of your skills. This is a game where you actually get noticeably better as you keep playing, and I know it sounds silly but you rarely see something like this (to this degree) in today's empowering games. The ability to pull off crazy stunts/moves once you get really good at it is super satisfying. It also encourages replayability and I had as much fun in my second, non-lethal, unseen, blink-only, low chaos run than on my first (completely opposite) one; maybe even more.

2. The Walking Dead; Almost put this on third since I really really love the game below, but I feel like this deserves the upper spot for being such a different and original experience in a world of same ol same ol. This game's writing is superb in a somewhat overlooked aspect, and that is that it makes you think you had some real, hard input in the direction the story went when in reality you had very little. Your actions throughout the course of the game dont really impact where you end up, how you end up there, nor anything like that, but rather the fate of some of the characters. However, they manage to make you feel like your completely tailoring your own story and that you, as a player, are responsable of everything that happened, and that is as hard as actually fullfiling that goal, but with a third of the budget. I cared for all the characters more than I did for a single character in any game for a while. Ending was truly touching and had the right amount of player input. Just superb work all around, and it was about time Telltale got its due in being recognized as a really talented studio. Now they dont only try to keep a loved-by-few genre alive but they actually evolve it in the best way possible.
Major props to Telltale. David Cage pipedream done right, maybe he learns something.

3. Alan Wake (PC); One of my favorite gaming experiences this gen. The environments and the mood of the whole game is so engrossing that I was immersed in its world more than in any other game-world this year. The forest was amazing; even though it had a very linear path you still felt as if it just went on forever, great attention to detail and easily one of the best looking PC games out there (doesnt get enough love in this regard). Amazing use of lighting, shadows, sound, the whole deal. I was hooked to the story (beyond considering it good or bad in the end), I was eager to see what happened next and I couldnt stop playing in order to unravel it more and more. I literally beat it in one 15-20 hour sitting. I had a day off sick and I played it all day, non-stop, and I never intended to do so once I started it. I thought the methods on wich the story was told were superb (the chapters, the ending credits/music). It was similar to when you get a whole season of a show and you have to go through it as fast as possible. The fact that I love Twin Peaks and the clear influences the game took from that dont hurt either. I actually enjoyed the combat a lot (wich seems to be an unpopular opinion), I liked the feedback on the shooting, I liked the aiming, I liked the flares, etc. It was repetitive but it just never stopped being fun for me throughout the whole game. Love this game, and cannot wait for dat next-gen Alan Wake 2 (let us dream).

4. Max Payne 3; Yes it has flaws that we've all discussed (specially the unskippable cutscenes), some of wich are baffling, but i'll be damned if it isnt the best-playing third person shooter ive ever played. The gunplay is INSANE. Euphoria/RAGE shining more than ever. The hit detection, the animations, the movement. Everything flows together in an honestly.. surprising fashion. It's one of the best looking games ive played when it comes to seeing it in motion. The story is your usual Rockstar business without much deviation, but the focus on style and visual presentation really makes it work. Michael Mann is clearly the biggest influence here and even when everyone complaints about "movie-like" games I think this is how you do them right. Replace QTEs and cinematic camera angles with gameplay that feels in line with what you'd expect out of an action film without losing control over the character. I know Max Payne has always been about this (with the noir focus, slow-mo, etc) but I feel like they really went for it here, with the OST and all. TEARS kicking in on that airport shootout is something that could perfectly belong in a movie, yet it works so, so well in this game that its one of my highlight gameplay moments this gen. Best soundtrack of the year as well btw.
A lot of people complained about the cover mechanic and how it didnt play like previous Max Payne games but im dead honest when I tell you that I played it on the hardest difficulty while taking cover maybe ONCE. Mouse & keyboard probably have something to do with it, but it was all about jumping forward in slow motion while getting as many headshots as possible before hitting the ground, like it always has been, and it felt better than ever.

5. Hotline Miami; Game is just oozing with style. The inspirations are obvious (game is basically a dirtier Drive - The Game) but its not like a game attempted to corner that presentation before. The gameplay is frantic and addicting, it makes you want to perfect every level and the quick retries annoy you but dont frustrate you in the same way it happened with something like Super Meat Boy. Second best soundtrack of the year as well, and playing this at night with headphones on at max volume while just retrying levels over and over and getting deeper into its fantastically-told story while smashing heads in with every object you can find really puts you in this weird, dark, violent place that dont many games take you to. You might find that place disturbing but the experience of being there is worth the price of admition alone.

6. XCOM: Enemy Unknown; Fucking XCOM is back, still hard to believe. Game manages to retain a lot of what made the originals special, while still feeling modern and relevant. Its amazing how my silly-named squadmates are probably the characters I cared the most about this year after those in TWD. That feeling of losing someone who's been with you since the beggining in an Iron Man run is something else. Game is properly challenging but rewarding, rage-inducing in the best ways possible, and really statisfying when you're doing good at it. Difficulty in games, remember that?
Reason its as low as 6 is because its bugged to hell and back, and when you're playing a game where you cant save (meaning Iron Man, playing the other mode is missing the whole point of XCOM), fucking-up because of the game not doing what you want it to do is inexcusable.

7. Sleeping Dogs; Great open world city with good side-activities, Arkham-like combat, inspiration from Hong Kong cinema, great character customization, good radio stations. First game ive 100%ed in a while and I had a blast doing it. Dont really have much to say here since Sleeping Dogs doesnt necesarelly bring anything new to the genre, but rather takes what everyone else did and improves on it by making it much more satisfying to play. The Story was predictable and could have been better, but I had so much fun dicking around and just doing everything I could possibly do that it gets a pass. I still enjoyed the characters a lot, and Wei is one badass motherfucker. Doesnt hurt that the game looks fantastic (specially when raining) either. Riding the fastest motorcycle while dodging cars (and getting that competitive leaderboard times showing up as you do so, another brilliant addition) in the rain and listening to Hudson Mohawke is something that everyone should experience.

8. Mark of the Ninja; Best 2D stealth game ever made period. Super accesible and direct when it comes to give you indications as to wether you're being seen, youre in a line of sight, etc. Something that stealth games (and specially 2D ones) have had a hard time communicating to the player since the genre first appeared. The controls can be a little "sticky" but once you get used to them you're pulling some crazy ninja stuff as if it was nothing. The levels are well designed and the collectables are actually fun to find. The 3 "achievements" per level system is also quite original for the genre and works super well. Keeps you from doing the same thing over and over again in every level. Just a great game, specially if you love the stealth genre.

9. Super Hexagon; Hooray simple games! it basically scratches the itch left after playing Super Meat Boy for so long. They're very different games but they have that same adrenaline rush to them of just wanting to get better at it as fast as possible. Game basically puts you in that zone where you're looking beyond the screen and just playing in some sort of auto-pilot mode. The inputs become extensions of your two fingers and your mind drifts to wherever while you're playing it. Its actually a very zen-like experience beyond the frantic (and fantastic) soundtrack. I'll be playing this in short bursts for a long time.

10. Spec Ops: The Line; What to say that hasnt been said. This is how games should tell stories: by really making you play them. One of the most talked about games this year so I dont feel like going too deep into why I liked it, not to mention its hard to avoid spoilers, but it is something that every person who considers themselves videogame enthusiasts should have played this year.

didnt make the cut (and reasons why):

[X] - Rayman Origins (PC); I love this game and I just realized the PC version counts, FUCK. Only reason is not on the list is because I forgot about it and now I dont know what game id take out in favor of this :|

[X] - Lone Survivor; Best Silent Hill game since Silent Hill 2. Game manages to do everything the survival-horror genre does on a 2D plane. Similar to Mark of the Ninja nailing stealth in 2D, this game nails survival horror in 2D. The story was weird but satisfying, and I really loved how it emphasized the surviving aspects of the whole thing. Having to basically make "runs" out of your safe-house to advance the game a bit more while needing to to return eventually to load up on ammo/food/water and saving the game was something I wasnt expecting to see on a pixelated sprites based 2D game. Much more ambitious than what it might seem at first glance. Extremely overlooked/underrated as well. Everyone forgot about this gem!
I wanted this to be in the top 10 soooooooooooooooo bad, oh well.

[X] - Far Cry 3; talk about doing a 180. During the first 15 hours I was convinced this game was gonna be on my top 5 easily, but man did it drop fast. It became incredibly repetitive, even though capturing outposts is fun I can only do it for so long before it becomes just boring. The actual side missions are terrible. The story is a huge, HUUUUUGE missed opportunity, you get through the skill-tree/crafting way too quickly, and the game basically offers 0 challenge in terms of difficulty. Big missed opportunity with this game. Still had my fun but yeah.

[X] - Torhclight II; Best Dungeon Crawler since Diablo 2, and the first one to really grab me since then. Did not care much for 1 but I absolutely love this one.

[X] - Rhythm Heaven Fever; only non-PC game on this list. Not much to say here really. Its more Rhythm Heaven, I love Rhythm Heaven, I missed Rhythm Heaven, I played Rhythm Heaven. Would have been number 11.

[X] - Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition; Dont hate me guys, I just havent played enough of it. I really really like the game (even though I feel less so than most people on GAF), but I feel like it would have been cheap to put it in the list considering im not even halfway through it.

[X] - Borderlands 2; only played about 10 hours of it before I started running into trouble finding time to play it with my co-op buddy, and then other stuff came out. I really loved what I played of it but it was barely a tiny bit of the entire game. Im gonna start a single player run in 2013 I guess. Really want to play this.

[X] - Binary Domain; Just no place for it :( would have been number 12. My dream Dreamcast 2 launch game. Im sorry Big Bo.

[X] - Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (PC); another case of just no place for it on the best 10. Definetly a highlight of the year.

[X] - Hitman: Absolution; The bad is bad, but the good is really good. Its the best playing Hitman game yet and that alone makes it better than its predecessors in some aspects. Gets too much bad rep.

[X] - Tribes: Ascend; Its Tribes and its great. The F2P system scared me at first but it doesnt really get in the way once you buy the starter pack wich is reasonably priced. Great game. Shazbot.

[X] - The Darkness II; Gunplay is really fun, satisfying violence and moves. Art Style looks great at times. Story is somewhat interesting and there's good characters in there.


Dec 2, 2005
1. The Walking Dead
2. Journey
3. Max Payne 3; this is the game I played the most this year, and it was all on account of the stunning third-person shooting, which is about the most satisfying I have ever played. Sure, Max was a little too vulnerable and the unskippable cutscenes are a drag, but when the core mechanic of a game is so perfect, alot can be forgiven.
4. Far Cry 3
5. Dishonored
6. Mark of the Ninja
7. Halo 4
8. The Darkness 2
9. Darksiders 2
10. Hitman: Absolution

xx. Binary Domain


May 5, 2011
Atlanta, GA
1. Phantasy Star Online 2; 305 hours and counting. PSO2 captures a distinct balance of original aesthetic, modernized combat, intense music, and all-around addictive hack-n-slash gameplay that scratches every itch in the most perfect of ways. This is indeed the culmination of a decade of fine-tuning from its predecessor, through Universe, Zero, and the Portable game. PSO2 is just too damn fun.

2. Persona 4 Golden; Love this game. Admittedly, I'm coming off a bit of a Persona high, having played through Persona 3 Portable in the fall, but this game strikes so many high notes. The pacing is great. The characters are great. The dialog is punchy. Just gets so much right, it's hard to get down on it, even though I was slightly annoyed with the amount of OCD-level Persona management one has to do to not miss so much of it that you have to play through the game a third or fourth time.

3. Gravity Daze; A top-flight production in all respects. Despite a somewhat steep control management curve, Gravity Daze hit all the right chords with me. The artwork, direction, and implementation are superb. The characters are charming (<3 Kat). The comic-styled cutscenes are actually very nice and refreshing in their brevity.

4. Journey; Few games convey the emotion this game does with no words. A simple and relatively short game is made something grand with a stunning art style and memorable soundtrack. When I first got my hands on it, I played through it twice in a row.

5. Final Fantasy XIII-2; Had a blast with this one. With improvements in nearly all aspects over the original, I ended up playing through this one twice and have no qualms doing it again in the near future. This definitely rivals the Grandia games as having some of my favorite combat systems of all time. Though the protagonists are a little wishy-washy, as FF heroes are wont to be sometimes, Caius is a solid villain, and I enjoyed familiarizing myself with his character. Also, dat Academia.

6. &#12471;&#12455;&#12523;&#12494;&#12469;&#12540;&#12472;&#12517;&#65374;&#22833;&#12431;&#12428;&#12383;&#26143;&#12408;&#25447;&#12368;&#35433;&#65374; (Ciel No Surge); Though it's a visual novel at its core, Ciel Nosurge ranked unexpected high with me because it managed to wow me with the world it creates. I really REALLY hope GUST makes a full-fledged RPG from it. I did get into the little synthesis system and online char management more than I should have. I also liked the Monster Rancher-like feel of scanning barcodes.

7. DJMax Technika Tune; After hearing a lot about the arcade version, I was antsy to finally get my hands on this. It's easily one of the most well done rhythm games out there. Good music selection, addictive play, wide ranged scoring. Definitely the total package, and the touch based control works like a charm.

8. &#12452;&#12540;&#12473; &#12475;&#12523;&#12475;&#12479;&#12398;&#27193;&#28023; (Ys: Celceta No Jukai); A discovery of the Ys series has been one of my gaming bullet points this year. Having played Origin, Felghana, I&II, Nephistim, and 7 earlier. I was pleasantly surprised by the open-ended feel of the game. The areas wind and stretch through huge expanses, the action is fast paced, and the just dodge system makes combat more satisfying than its PSP predecessors. Great soundtrack to boot.

9. Lumines: Electronic Symphony; Return to form for the series, after a fairly long stretch of lackluster sequels and spin-offs. This gets the goods for an outstanding soundtrack selection. Lord knows how long it would have been before I'd have heard Windowlicker again without it.

10. TERA; One of a scant few MMOs that gets combat right. I rarely have as much fun dungeon-running in any other game. And the boss battles? Très magnifique.

x. Asura's Wrath;
x. Sound Shapes;
x. Sleeping Dogs;
x. Persona 4 Arena;

2011. 7th Dragon 2020;


Aug 11, 2006
1. Orcs Must Die 2; I have not had more fun with any other game all year. Over 60 hours spent in co-op playing this one and it is a blast every time.
2. XCOM: Enemy Unkown; A fantastic update to the original formula while staying about as true as you can in today's market.
3. Torchlight 2; The Loot game of 2012 no questions asked.
4. Sleeping Dogs; While not as great as Saints Row 3 was last year, it takes the open world crown for many of the same reasons. Most of them involve the word fun.
5. The Walking Dead; I have liked Telltale's stuff for a while but it was getting tired. This just gave the formula the shot in the arm it needed. Best writing of the year.
6. Crusader Kings II; It may have took 10 hours to learn how to play it properly, but I put back in 10 fold that once I did.
7. Thirty Flights of Loving; Possibly the best 15 minutes of the year.
8. FTL: Faster Than Light; I kinda went crazy for a week and played this way too much.
9. Far Cry 3; I have not put enough time into this one compared to Sleeping Dogs, but it's also just loads of fun.
10. Xenoblade Chronicles; I gave up on 99.99% of JRPGs years ago, so this is high praise for even being on my list. The first one I actually enjoyed since FFXII.

Honorable Mention:
Dark Souls PC

(Note: All games on my list are PC versions, and the Wii game was played via emulator)


Sep 21, 2006
Nova Scotia
1. Dishonored ; this game delivered in every way. Imaginative and engrossing world, beautiful art direction, involving gameplay... it's not perfect but it's rare to see a game so ambitious and fun, it was obviously a labor of love for the developers.

2. Uncharted: Golden Abyss ; I didn't mind the decreased scale here, Bend expertly brings the series back to its pulpy roots with a fun little romp through the jungle.

3. Far Cry 3; brought back some much needed gaminess to the Far Cry oeuvre. It's easy to lose yourself in its world and it hits all the right gameplay notes... staking out enemy outposts and systematically taking out every guard one by one is so satisfying.

4. Mark of the Ninja ; 2D stealth finally perfected, this game is insanely tight and playable. I hope this game inspires a lot of followers.

5. Starhawk ; it pains me to see Lightbox feel the sting of layoffs, because they're a very bold and creative team. There's nothing quite like this game's mix of ground and air combat and real-time strategy. In a post-COD world it was never going to be anything more than niche, deserved a much better fate.

6. New Super Mario Bros. 2 ; greed is good, 2D Mario remains great.

7. Hitman Absolution; I can see where hardcore fans might object to direction the game took, but I went in with an open mind and what I found was a fun stealth game with more than enough gameplay possibilities to make it a very involving and replayable experience.

8. Hotline Miami ; an artistic triumph that's extremely addictive to play. Dying is a pleasure in this game because I just can't wait to get back in the action to try a new strategy.

9. Max Payne 3 ; it got a bit frustrating wading through the overlong, overabundant cutscenes, but the gunplay here is incredible and it oozes style.

10. Resident Evil 6 ; a huge lumbering Frankenstein of a game, I actually loved it. You can't say Capcom didn't pull out all the stops... the over the top bombast that made me worry about this game actually endeared it to me once I started playing it. It's just so insane.


May 4, 2006
San Francisco

1. Forza Horizon ; Forza physics applied to a gorgeous open world, and it truly works whether you're exploring, racing, drifting, taking photos or just enjoying a nice long drive through the countryside in your dream car. Its ambitious, a breath of fresh air for the series, a technical achievement that never stumbles and never, ever drops frames, a lush and varied environment to roam around in, and more than anything else it is always, always a fun time. Playground Games took the torch, and not only did they succeed in their ambitions, but they might have finally fulfilled that oft used Forza mantra of turning gamers into car lovers and car lovers into gamers.

2. Mark of the Ninja ; Stealth action distilled to its very essence, re-evaluated and redefined and remastered in this small masterpiece. There's nothing extraneous, nothing that doesn't work, nothing that doesn't add to the experience, and nothing that gets in the way of the player executing every last move of their inner Ninja. Everybody should play this. Hell, it should be studied.

3. Borderlands 2 ; Not just more of the same, this game answers every last gripe of the first game, and then some. Combat is maniacal chaotic fun, the loot hunt always satisfies, and the dark humor permeates every last corner of the huge world Gearbox has created. Good for solo and co-op and filled to the brim with content including new game+, this is one big title that actually lived up to the hype.

4. Halo 4 ; Pitch perfect controls and gunplay, a staggering achievement in audio and visual work to realize the world of Halo, and a wealth of multiplayer options including Spartan Ops. The game is incomplete, and not everything added or changed pays off, but the core gameplay is still so damn good and moment to moment encounters satisfy more than most shooters can ever hope to. 343 has a long way to go to finish the fight, but the core is true to Halo.

5. Max Payne 3 ; The most brutal and satisfying gunplay I've ever experienced in a game, period. Characters, dialogue, and a small dose of the surreal kept me attached to the convoluted plot until the end credits. Voicework, animation, music and graphics are the stuff dreams are made of. Now, the last thing I want is for all games to go the cinematic, cut-scene heavy route, but I'll gladly take a few when they're done this well.

6. Darksiders 2 ; Epic, gorgeous, addicting and rewarding. Outside of one seriously undercooked level, my time with Darksiders was nothing but fun, either in the whirling dervish combat, scampering across rafters and sprinting across sheer cliffsides, or solving the heaps of environmental puzzles. And feeding loot to possessed weaponry to level it up and evolve it to suit your needs is one of the best new mechanics this year.

7. Spec Ops: The Line ; A flawed gem, but worth taking the ride. The rich colors and opulence of a broken Dubai, the endless procession of enemies at every turn, the grisly truths revealed as you march on, and the choices and answers that await you at the end of the line make this game something that will stick with you long after the credits roll. Its ballsy, and a troll, and the Bioshock of 2012. The mechanics work, in some ways even better than Gears of War, but they can be inconsistent. Character dialogue is ace and best of all the emotional progression isn't strictly limited to cut-scenes, as the game's events etch themselves into the character's faces, and their animations and their voices and callouts, getting ever more primal and unhinged. The soundtrack work here is also stellar, and helps to elevate the surreal tone. Yager, you have my attention for whatever you do next.

8. The Darkness 2 ; Polished and meaty, with surprising depth and breadth of content, this one shouldn't have been missed by anyone who enjoyed the first game.

x. Diablo 3 ; Always online and the real money auction house can go to hell, but even with that nonsense Diablo 3 is a good time roaming around levels beating the crap out of teeming hordes of creatures while scouring for lootstuffs to upgrade your gear. The casual fun is still there and the skill rune system is a stroke of genius.

x. Syndicate ; This game took a lot of lumps, but what it delivers is some spectacular gunplay and physicality mixed with active-reload-like remote hacking of the environment, enemy shields, thrown grenades, fired rockets and even the minds of enemy soldiers. The voicework is excellent and the world is rich, even if the campaign is just a linear affair that only touches upon it. This game would probably make my top 10 for incorporating such a fully featured co-op mode, but since it doesn't scale to the number of players I won't get to experience most of it. Definitely worth a look by anybody who wants a solid cyberpunk shooter.

2011. Halo: Anniversary ; Combat Evolved, with remastered audio, a Reach graphical overhaul and online co-op that I expected to love out of sheer nostalgia, but that instead showed itself more than capable of sitting at the table of the best of the best of today's shooters.



Dec 7, 2010
1. Dishonored; It really wasn't brilliant, but it was an experience of great quality and something that I actually hadn't played in a long time. No1 for the nerve of the developers to create something different.

2. Borderlands 2; Few games managed to stay with me for over 50 hours, this was one of them.

3. Kid Icarus: Uprising; Just great.

4. Max Payne 3; One of the genuine AAA experiences this year.

5. Mark of the Ninja; Didn't expect anything from it, but Klei blew me away.

6. Journey; No words needed.

7. LittleBigPlanet Vita; It's LBP. Displayed on an OLED screen.

8. Forza Horizon; So good, it made me forget the tragedy that was NFS: MW.

x. Darksiders 2; So many problems, but I actually have fond memories of it.

x. Dear Esther; I would put it in my top8 list, if it was actually a game. Fantastic experience, nontheless.

2011. Dark Souls
1. The Walking Dead - An atmosphere like no other, incredible voice acting and script makes this the most emotionally intense game I've ever played.

2. Dishonored - Beautiful art style and a unique world. Not as entirely enthralling as I'd hoped but still a very enjoyable ride.

3. Torchlight II - I never got into the first one really, but the second Torchlight game has had me hooked from the start. My game-OCD is greatly satisfied here, I love to open every chest, kill every monster and explore every corner of the map.

4. Mass Effect 3 - Ending aside this was still a great game, and the unexpectedly good multiplayer was a bonus.

5. FTL: Faster Than Light - The definition of a great indie game: a refreshing idea executed simply but effectively. Tense, challenging and (if you rename your crew) disturbingly emotional.

6. Mark of the Ninja - I'm never one for stealth games usually, but MotN is great. It actually made me feel like a badass as I was dodging enemies and taking out light etc, something other 'stealth' games never really capture for me.

7. Sleeping Dogs - A refreshing take on the GTA-dominated genre, Sleeping Dogs takes us to a unique location and entertains from beginning to end. You can check out my full review here.

8. Far Cry 3 - A noticeable improvement on Far Cry 2, FC3 makes repetitive, hub-based, collectathon, free-roaming gameplay somehow fun. Some vaguely interesting characters and pretty graphics are a plus.

9. Assassin's Creed 3 - Boring as shit characters and irritating combat aside, this game has it's moments, and as an Australian I'm learning a lot about American history (the stuff in the database not the plot of the actual game).

10. May Payne 3 - Some great level design and truly fun shootouts make this pulsing neon drunken rampage through Brazil (and elsewhere) a memorable one.
Mar 8, 2012
1. Kid Icarus Uprising; Easily the best game released not only this year, but maybe this decade (so far). I haven't played anything as sharp or fresh in a long, long time, and I was hooked beginning to end. Fiend's Cauldron is brilliant--I played each stage numerous times before advancing just to eke out better gear and see how insane 9.0 could get. The dialogue is witty and endearing, characters are endlessly introduced and fleshed out, and Sakurai pulls off the Okami hat trick of including the game's sequels but this time it doesn't feel like padding. 10/10 Masterpiece game.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles

3. New Super Mario Bros U

4. Nintendo Land

5. Rayman Jungle Run

6. Assassin's Creed 3

7. Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World

8. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

9. New Super Mario Bros 2

10. Crimson Shroud

Honorable Mention: Tales of the Abyss 3DS
Honorable Mention: Metal Gear Solid 3DS

This was my first time playing either game and I thought both were stellar. I left them out of the Top 10 for being rereleases.

2011. Street Pass Mii Plaza; This was my most played game (both number of times played and total time played) in both 2011 and 2012. Extremely compelling, this is but the latest proof that hats are the most precious award for a gamer.


Jun 23, 2012
Is there any reason why our 2011 honorable mention has to be a game that appeared in the nomination list from last year? (Which apparently is just all of the games that got at least one vote.) I wanted to give my 2011 vote to Go! Go! Kokopolo for DSiware, but it didn't get any votes in last years ballot.


May 29, 2009
This is the year where the composers elevated a good game to greatness for me.

1. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; Sakurai continues to be one of my favorites. Great gameplay, great multiplayer, great music. The biggest impact the game had on me was the constant chatter between all the characters while you're going through the level. It gave the game a sort of personality and charm that few others can claim to have.

2. The Last Story ; Some of Uematsu's best work on the soundtrack. Sakaguchi created something pretty unique here and it clicked with me.

3. Binary Domain ; Bought it due to GAF reception, wish I would have payed a little more for it. What an excellent TPS. Pretty good story, great characters, fun gunplay. There's a lot of back and forth between the characters during missions that changes depending on who you bring along that gives them a lot of charm. I also really liked the trust mechanic. I'm not sure how much of an effect this has on the game or how much you need for someone to listen to you, but it makes me want to do better for my teammates. They managed to make it feel great to do well, get positive comments from your friends and see those blow arrows of approval. This probably would have been even higher up if the voice controls actually worked. It's too bad this bombed and Sega pretty much cut out any development plans outside of five franchises. I'd really like to see where Nagoshi would go with this one.

4. Ys Origin ; I'm not sure why I've overlooked the series up to this point. I've always been a big fan of the music, but to hear it in the context of the game was sublime. The gameplay itself was fast and fun. Will definitely be keeping an eye on the series going forward.

5. Nintendo Land ; I was ready to tuck this game away with my copy of Wii Sports. Did not anticipate a pretty meaty arcade experience. The multiplayer is an absolute blast.

6. Rhythm Heaven Fever ; I'm not really sure how to express why I love this game. It was just pure fun and catchy beats.

7. Fire Emblem: Heroes of Light and Shadow ; This is a great return to form after the stumble that was Shadow Dragon. Big thanks to the fan translation team.

8. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy ; Uematsu again. Any excuse to listen to his work, especially since a solid rhythm game is backing it.

9. New Super Mario Bros. U. ; Far and away the best NSMB game. It's more difficult, the level design is overall better. It would be higher up, but it doesn't really do anything new for the series.

10. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition ; It's refreshing to see a game that doesn't apologize for its difficulty. I would have liked to see some basic things explained though. I still don't understand what's going on.

2011. Radiant Historia ; Witty dialogue, smart gameplay, and Shimomura on the soundtrack.

I'd have voted for Xenoblade if I hadn't imported and voted for it last year.


Dec 11, 2010
1. Borderlands 2 (PC) ; I had the most fun playing this in 2012, and put more hours into it than any other game so far. I really liked that they focused more on story and had a really good villain this time. Mostly an improvement over the first aside from legendary drop rates, but I never bother to put much time into end game farming.

2. Persona 4 Golden ; Still one of my favorite games of all time. Most of the new additions and tweaks are great and now that inherited skills can be chosen, persona fusion can actually be fun. I decided to rank it #2 because it's a port instead of a new game.

3. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (Vita) ; After 999 and Ever17 I look forward to whatever batshit crazy plot twists these games will come up with. Even though I figured out one of the big ones fairly early on and aside from a couple of annoying puzzles, I enjoyed going through this one and I really hope the next one will make it out on the Vita.

4. The Walking Dead (PC) ; This did a really good job with storytelling. Some pretty intense moments and tough decisions. I consider this the Western equivalent of a visual novel like VLR.

5. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PC) ; I generally suck at strategy games, but this one clicked with me. Maybe because it's simplified. Regardless, I had a lot of fun setting up a squad and trying to finish missions without losing anyone.

6. Kid Icarus Uprising ; Using a grip on the 3DS got rid of the ground control comfort issues for me. I liked playing around with different weapons and listening to the banter between the characters.

7. Devil Survivor 2 ; I feel like hardly anyone noticed this game. The story wasn't quite as good as the first one but the characters were more likeable and there were some nice tweaks and additions to the mechanics. Some of the boss fights were brutal but rewarding.

2011 LTTP: Saints Row the Third (PC) ; I never liked the GTA games, but I really enjoyed this one. Better controls, being able to customize a character, and a story that didn't try to take itself seriously did it for me I think. Also for some reason playing as a female character made me enjoy it a lot more, which is usually something I don't care about. Not sure why.


Dec 30, 2011

1. Kid Icarus: Uprising; What isn't good about this game? Script of the Year, Cast of the Year, Score of the Year, Gameplay of the Year, Fun of the Year, Villain of the Year, God of Nature of the Year.

Guys. It has fucking trick loot. Imagine in Borderlands 2 a box suddenly became an impossible enemy. The fucking hardest enemy of the year!

Kid Icarus will always remain with me. I struggle to think of many other 2012 games that will do the same. Its a gorgeous experience and a fucking tight game. The online isn't tacked on, it works with great customisation.

2. FTL; The visual representation of a book RPG in space. So much fun to be had. No experience is the same. The game will take so much of your time but you'll enjoy it, its not fucking wasted time, there is a journey in this game. You could die any battle, but when you return you return to a new world and ready to fight harder.

Perfect elements. Any other year it'd be my GOTY but Kid has characters and the script that is fucking out of this world. FTL lacks this but this isn't a criticism so much as a fact of life.

Top notch game. In fact I'll play some tonight.

3. Resident Evil: Revelations; Seriously. This game was good. A lot to be had here. Another situation of a game with a strong script, its episodic format nailed the fucking action/horror genre perfectly. It kept the fear up but with a hefty pace. Up there with RE4; its only slight downside being a sub par reptile enemy that seems to have jumped over from Turok 2. Its lack of feedback is a bit meh. Fortunately its not there too much.

Love this game. Will be playing again for a few years to come I suspect.

4. CRASHMO/FALLBLOX; Oh this game! A bit too difficult compared to Pushmo/Pullblox if you ask me, but its still perfect. An in puzzle reset switch is basically what makes this series so perfect. You can go entirely wrong but fix it in an instant. The new fall elements are great but maybe a bit to variable - making puzzles sometimes a bit random.

The musical score is great and the puzzle remain top fucking notch. Good stuff!

5. Mutant Mudds; Great. Great game from Renegade Kid. A top notch action platformer. Not so much about jump timing but shooting. Good and fucking hard game, struggled through this for the first few months of 2012. Just a really really fun game. Shame its not even in the top 20 on eshop.


Mar 1, 2006
1. Binary Domain; nothing in this game really stands out, but to me it is the perfect choice for a very forgetable year full of mediocrity
2. New Super Mario Bros. U
3. Kid Icarus Uprising
4. Nintendo Land
5. Rhythm Heaven Fever
6. Paper Mario Sticker Star
7. New Super Mario Bros. 2

Nothing else that I can think of worth mentioning (that I have played of course).

2011. Deus Ex Human Revolution