This year saw a ton of new releases. Here’s a breakdown of Metal Arcade’s Favorite Games of 2012.
With 2012 coming to a close, we thought it would be a good idea to look back and reflect on what games stood out from the crowd this year. We asked our staff what their favorite games of 2012 were, and why.
My favourite game to come out this year is, without a doubt, The Walking Dead, a
point-and-click, episodic adventure game by Telltale Games, based on the comic
book and TV series of the same name. Never before has a game taken me on such
an emotional rollercoaster as this. The characters are presented in such a way
that makes you legitimately care about or hate them! This applies especially
to Clementine, the little girl you take into your care. Unlike in other games, she
isn’t just thrust into your arms with the order, “You love this little girl because
we bloody said so”, and actually has a strong personality more complex than
“defenseless child constantly walking into hordes of zombies, which we then
have to save her from”. She is actually helpful to the group of survivors, and isn’t
afraid to make her opinions known. I found myself wanting to look after her and
keep her with me, not because I’d get a game over if I didn’t, but because I cared
about her and wanted her to survive this.
And that is the whole point of The Walking Dead. You are not here to kill
zombies. You are here to establish relationships with the other survivors, with
the zombie apocalypse as a driving force. The game makes the claim that every
action you take has consequences, and normally in games this rarely amounts to
anything more than the occasional bit of dialogue. However, the game’s episodes
are short and the environments are tight, your choices seem to have a greater
impact. Characters actually bring up the things you did in previous episodes, and
may even hold them against you.
But I should probably stop here before I start to ramble. In conclusion, The
Walking Dead is a unique, immersive point-and-click adventure game that will
tug at your heartstrings and toy with your emotions, leaving you an emotionally
drained husk by the very end. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Coming in a close second for 2012 is Hitman: Absolution, with The Darkness 2
My favorite game this year was WWE 13. Ever wanted to have The Godfather fight Santino Marella in an Inferno match? Perhaps have Ken Shamrock battle Brock Lesnar in an I Quit match? Well, you can in WWE 13, as the wrestling game franchise turns back time with its radiant Attitude Era mode. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy (are you serious, bro?), you can control your own WWE Universe with the ever-expanding Universe mode. Yes, you can finally give Zack Ryder the WWE Championship that he rightfully deserves or continue to bury him just like they do on TV.
Runner-up: Fallout: New Vegas – Ultimate Edition
With an entertaining storyline, beautiful graphics, awesome array of weaponry, and super-fun gun battles, Borderlands 2 by Gearbox Software tops my 2012 gaming list. Reviewing games means I go through a whole bunch of them. While I do find several I enjoy, most of the time I never go back to playing them after the review is done. I kept firing this one up long after the time it took to review. The co-operative multiplayer elevates the game to a new level which means I’ll drop whatever I’m doing for a few hours of Borderlands 2 with friends.
One of my runner-ups is Planetside 2 by Sony Online Entertainment, with its MMOFPS gameplay taking the gunplay from close quarters to massive-scale open-field vehicular combat. I also spend a lot of time in Red 5 Studios’ innovative MMOFPS, Firefall. This game isn’t “officially” released yet and is still in closed beta. However, the player base is growing and active due to easily accessible beta keys they’ve been handing out every weekend.
My pick has to be Halo 4 – after all, it’s the only game I bought at retail this year. I don’t think it’s on the same level as a couple of Bungie’s entries, but 343 sure convinced this longtime Halo fan that they wanted to create something special. Of course, they did just that with Halo 4. The story hit all of the right emotional notes with me, even striking some I didn’t quite expect. Other than that, the gameplay is fantastic, and the multiplayer will keep my Xbox plugged in for a LONG time, so what’s not to love?
Runner-up: Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition
Oddly enough, my favorite game of 2012 was Doom 3 BFG Edition, a title that was essentially released eight years ago. I’m usually not a fan of rereleases, especially with how common they are in the modern game industry, but playing through Doom 3 again brought back some really great memories. This particular budget title is probably one of the unsung gaming heroes of the past year.
While nothing Doom 3’s remake brings to the table is particularly fresh or innovative, the game is still as fun now as it was almost a decade ago. Tight corridors with all manner of demonic creatures are certainly as haunting now as they ever were. The gun selection, while rather stock for an FPS game, still seems varied enough to encourage experimentation. And the overall atmosphere that Doom 3 invents is just awesome. While blurring the line between horror and action, Doom 3 accomplished something few games ever do; perfect pacing. Certainly, enemies in Doom 3 become repetitive as the game wears on, but the encounters are always different, and very rarely in my time playing the eight to ten hour campaign did I ever feel bored. In other words, the cheap thrills of suddenly-appearing hell-spawn create a relentless environment that ensures you’re always watching your back.
Furthermore, by combining the previously mentioned enthralling campaign with a $40 price point, Doom 3 BFG Edition definitely landed itself on my radar. However, the fun doesn’t stop there. Instead, the folks over at id Software decided to include not only the Doom 3 expansion, Resurrection of Evil, but also both the first and second Doom titles as well. Admittedly, Resurrection of Evil is a more of the same kind of add-on, and the pair of original games look terrible due to their age, but the addictive pacing and action that has always characterized the franchise can be seen in all three of these bonuses.
Continuing, if I had to slight this game for any reason, it would be the multiplayer- which while included with the purchase, is so dead you would be hard pressed to find more than a few people to play with. This feels especially disappointing considering the hundreds of thousands of players who are online at any given moment in the newest Call of Duty or Halo titles. But Doom has always really been about the single player experience, so I am more than willing to let this caveat slide. For the price, Doom 3 BFG edition is one exceptional piece of gaming history that deserves to be on your shelf.
Runner-ups: Halo 4, Guild Wars 2, Black Ops 2
There were a lot of solid games in 2012, so it’s hard to pick just one, but my favorite game of 2012 would have to be Assassin’s Creed 3. I’m a big fan of the franchise, and this entry refined the parkour, platforming, combat, multiplayer, and storytelling into, in my opinion, the best entry in the series yet. And who could forget those insanely awesome naval battles? Sure, I missed Ezio, and the game launched with far too many bugs, but the game is packed to the brim with so much compelling content that it’s easy to forgive its shortcomings. The alternate reality vision of the American Revolution was so interesting, and I found it incredibly difficult to put the controller down before the credits rolled. Even after that, the expansive multiplayer and myriad side missions kept me playing long after I was finished with my review, and I’m looking forward to checking out the Tyranny of George Washington DLC.
What were your favorite games of 2012? Let us know in the comments below!