It’s hard to believe it, but this year is almost at an end. Where did the time go? Still, it’s been a reasonably good year for gaming, and even though there have been much better years in the past, there were still many enjoyable experiences out in 2012. Creating this list wasn’t too difficult this year, arranging the order though, that was a different story.
10. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
In 2010, SEGA released a new digital addition to the Sonic the Hedgehog series. This was meant to be the big Sonic title which would go back to the roots of the franchise, however, it didn’t quite turn out as planned. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I was met with a lot of controversy due to the poor physics and remake-like level design. While I still enjoyed it, I thought it was very flawed and needed a lot more polishing. Either way, it was an extremely mediocre game.
Then, in 2012 came the answer I was looking for. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II. This was very similar in style to the first episode, but it had been given a new graphical style, better physics, and stages which were more original than the first. In short, everything which required fixing had been fixed in the sequel. The enjoyment didn’t stop there though, as I was able to play co-operatively with some friends of mine. I had many, many good hours on this game, which is why Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II deserves a place in my top 10.
09. Resident Evil 6
While many people seemed to hate Resident Evil 6, I for one, really enjoyed my experience. At this point, I would like to tell you that this is not due to my fanboyism of the Resident Evil franchise. I can openly admit that Resident Evil 6 does have its fair share of problems, such as melee attacks sometimes failing to activate, but this didn’t take away from my enjoyment. While Resident Evil 6 certainly doesn’t deserve Game of the Year, I do think it has earned a spot in this list.
08. Mass Effect 3
A bad ending isn’t something that would make me dislike the final part of Shepard’s trilogy. In fact, I personally didn’t have much of a problem with the ending. Sure, it didn’t really take the other two games into account, but it still did the most important thing: it wrapped up the story nicely. Besides, you still have the epic battles and deep conversations on the journey itself.
Another good addition to Mass Effect 3 was the online multiplayer. In it you’re required to work as a team in order to clear waves of AI-controlled enemies. My only problem with the multiplayer is that you’re forced to put a decent amount of hours into it if you want to aquire a good ending on the single player. Still, Mass Effect 3 was a fantastic finale.
07. Asura’s Wrath
No list is complete without a wonderful and unique game like Asura’s Wrath. The gameplay is very different to any other game I have played. Much of Asura’s Wrath is cut-scene and Q.T.E based, giving a great cinematic sense. Of course, there is still some combat – just not much of it. The good thing is that the game isn’t too long, so you won’t get bored of the story dragging on for the sake of it.
I found the whole theme of the game to be very interesting, too. Asura’s Wrath is based on Buddhism, yet they have mixed Sci-Fi into the mix which makes for a truly magnificent story. Really, you can sum Asura’s Wrath up in one word: Punching!
06. Dragon’s Dogma
A Japanese RPG with a mix of Western RPG makes Dragon’s Dogma a very difficult and exciting game. Of course, there are better RPG’s out there somewhere, but Dragon’s Dogma has a very fresh atmosphere. The story is quite average, yet I found myself becoming rather attached to my character, who is a mute protagonist.
I think the main thing I liked about Dragon’s Dogma was probably the difficulty. It was very difficult in places, but was still paced out well. The idea of not being able to abuse Fast Travel really attracted me too. I just wish other players were able to recruit your Arisen, rather than only your Pawn.
05. Assassin’s Creed III
Desmond’s big finale, Assassin’s Creed III takes place in a whole new setting far, far away from the Italian renaissance. Before playing Assassin’s Creed III, I thought that I would miss Ezio Auditore da Firenze too much for me to be able to concentrate on a new story, even though this is what I had wanted. Luckily, my fears were proven wrong, as I soon got attached to the new characters in Assassin’s Creed III’s American Revolution setting.
04. Dust: An Elysian Tail
As part of the ‘Xbox Live Summer of Arcade 2012’, an indie game called Dust: An Elysian Tail was released. Everything about this game is so pure; the graphics, the soundtrack, and even the gameplay all fit together snugly to create the perfect atmosphere. As I first loaded up the game, I was simply speechless at the quality of this so-called “indie game”. I still stand by my DLC support too.
While Catherine was released in 2011 in Japan and North America, we didn’t get this game until 2012 here in the UK. Fortunately, it was well worth the wait. Catherine takes you to Vincent’s nightmares after he begins to “accidentally” cheat on his girlfriend, Katherine. Torn between two relationships, Vincent has no choice but to hurt either Katherine, or his new girlfriend Catherine. This decision rests entirely within your hands, where in the daytime, you’re able to reply to text messages sent from the two girls. Depending on the way you reply, it’ll decide who you’ll ultimately end up with.
It’s the nightmare stages that make this game remarkable though. You must climb a tower by pushing and pulling blocks with the ground constantly collapsing below you, so you need to be a quick thinker – very difficult, but very rewarding. Catherine is certainly my favourite puzzle game of all time, slightly over-taking Portal 2.
02. Far Cry 3
I have been waiting for this since completing and loving Far Cry 2. It was the beautiful environment and atmosphere of the African plains that made me fall in love with Far Cry 2, and gladly, Far Cry 3 carries on that feature. Generally speaking, Far Cry 3 feels like a much bigger and more complete game than the second, with much more side-missions, an experience and upgrading system and more developed towns and villages. The world also feels more alive, with wildlife and predators constantly a threat. But what makes Far Cry 3 stand out most of all is its characters and story.
01. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Originally, I didn’t plan on including HD re-masters in my list as I didn’t think it would be fair. Unfortunately, I simply can’t ignore the brilliance of Metal Gear Solid. Before the HD Collection, I had only previously played Metal Gear Solid, and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (the latter being included in the HD Collection). When playing Metal Gear Solid 2 again, it brought back so many memories of playing it on the PlayStation 2.
I then continued to play Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing all these years. Metal Gear Solid 3 is definitely the highlight of the franchise, not only including a touching and action-packed story, but also offering a great deal of gameplay. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is my least favourite of the collection, but still offers a fun and arcade-like experience.
It’s not just the fact that I adore these games that make it my number one choice, but the fact that it’s the best quality port I have ever played. The enhanced graphics make all three games look as though they’re modern day digital titles, so they still look pleasing to the eye. They all run perfectly on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which is another important factor. The Achievements and Trophies greatly add to the replay value and enjoyment, especially with Metal Gear Solid 2’s large amount of reply value in the first place.
So was it really right of me to place a collection of older games as my #1 game of 2012? I think so, as I realised that throughout the whole year, no other release has given me the same feel of emotion and enjoyment as Metal Gear Solid HD Collection did, plus I had previously only played one of the three games included in this collection.
Thank you for taking the time to read my Top 10 of 2012.