Top 5 Video Games of 2012

by Paul

It was an all-round great year for gaming, but here's my top five!

2012 seemed to be the year of sequels with plenty of the best selling games spawning creative and enjoyable successors. This wasn't just limited to games either - the PS Vita and Wii-U were also released attempting a new take on how video games are played.

Notable releases included Diablo III, Guild Wars 2, Darksiders 2 and of course Halo 4, but what were the BEST games? All of the games featured in this list are the games that I've played and enjoyed the most this year. Why not post yours in the comments below?

5 - FEZ

FEZ is an impressive and creative work of art developed by Polytron and created by Phil Fish. This game has been in development for an extremely long time (first announced in 2007), but was finally released this year.

The main character, Gomez, lives in a 2D world. On his travels, he encounters the hexahedron (cube) who hands him a fez and from this, Gomez is now able to see the world in three dimensions. Subsequently, the hexahedron explodes and Gomez then spends his time attempting to collect the 32 cubes needed to repair the hexahedron and the world around him.

The biggest unique feature of FEZ is that the 2D world can be rotated and therefore 'experienced' in three dimensions. This is totally in the player's control and it's up to you when the world rotates. Having this feature unlocks the potential for many different puzzles and especially ones that you're unlikely to have seen before. 

They're not easy either. Most of the difficulty comes from trying to wrap your head around the fact that there is actually multiple sides to the game world. Rotating the game allows you to move from a ledge on one 'face' to another 90 degrees round the corner.

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However, FEZ is a short game. I finished my playthrough in around six hours, but that's not really the point of it. Much like LIMBO, it's a game to take your time playing and enjoy what it has to offer.

The pixel art style is impressive and I believe it to be all hand drawn. Most games that are released attempt to get as close to photo-realism as possible, but FEZ illustrates quite well just how effective  bringing it back to the basics can be.

Gomez gets his fez
Gomez gets his fez
Easy to learn, hard to master
Easy to learn, hard to master
4 - The Walking Dead
(Trailer omitted due to its upsetting nature)
(Trailer omitted due to its upsetting nature)

Normally, I'm not the kind of person that enjoys point and click games. However, The Walking Dead for plenty of reasons is an exception to that rule. The 5 episode series produced and developed by Telltale Games was definitely my most intriguing release of 2012.

You've probably heard of either the television series or the comic books, and although the game is set in the same period as the comic, all the characters are fresh and new.

It's an interesting genre too - Wikipedia claims it to be a point-and-click adventure role-playing video game which is a mouthful, but certainly true. I've never experienced these two genres combined quite like this before.

You play as Lee Everett and after rescuing Clementine, attempt to find your way to safety. Along the way, several drastically influential decisions have to be made and the following outcomes are crafted based upon your decisions.

It's not really part of the game per se, but after each episode, statistics are displayed about the decisions telling you what percentage of players chose each decision. Some of them are actually surprising and most of the time I found myself in the minority. I'm not sure what that says about me.

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The Walking Dead

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Collectors Edition Of the 2012 GAME OF THE YEAR

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The Walking Dead Collector's Edition

Collectors Edition Of Of The GAME OF THE YEAR

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It's a great addition to the franchise and it does have quite a large appeal to replay each chapter purely to see how it would've turned out had you chosen a different decision. No matter what you choose, the story is gripping and had me genuinely emotionally attached to the game - and that doesn't happen often!

Lee Everett, the main character...
Lee Everett, the main character...
...and Clementine, the girl you rescue.
...and Clementine, the girl you rescue.
3 - Trials Evolution

Trials Evolution is a sequel to the insanely popular Trials HD. Developed by Red Lynx, it's a 2.5D racing game that's provided me with hours of fun and excruciating pain trying to beat others' times.

There were plenty of tracks to keep me entertained from the second I purchased the game and they come in a wide variety of settings.

There's easy tracks to help you learn the ropes, but there's also insanely difficult tracks which have rather embarrassingly taken me upwards of 20 minutes to complete.

Skill games are a notable feature too. Ever wanted to know how far you can flap your body after crashing on a bike? Now you can find out!

Wondered how well you'd do skiing on a dirt track? Give it a try! They're highly obscure but this only adds to how much I enjoy playing them.

It's another game that's made exponentially better by its community. As the trailer states, it has a map editor of epic proportions.

It's absolutely crazy what some people have created. I've even seen recreations of pacman!

 

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You can play online with up to 4 friends too. It allows you to race either on a single-player track using ghost bikes of your friends, or in a motocross scenario where the four of you race side by side.

The amount of content for the cost of the game is staggering and with a community that just keeps on giving, I don't see this rich pool of creativity drying up any time soon. It's perfect for when you have 10 or 20 minutes of spare time to burn.

See, I told you!
See, I told you!
There's also Space Invaders!
There's also Space Invaders!
2 - Borderlands 2

It was a really tough choice between this and my all time favourite game of 2012, but Borderlands 2 is an incredible follow-up to Borderlands either way.

The humor in it is spectacular, the NPCs have distinct personalities and the storyline as a whole is much improved from the original.

The playable characters in this game aren't as impressive as the original four (but that's not a problem - if you play the game, you'll find out why) and that's perhaps why it was beaten, but only just.

The random loot aspect of the game appeals to me because provides you different items every time you kill a boss or loot a chest and for me, that diversity is paramount.

Having this makes every character in Borderlands 2 unique and that's a massive feature.

I really love the art style too. It's very different to any first person shooter I've played in a long time and it was reportedly a very late design choice. That design decision proved to be one of the defining features of the Borderlands series.

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There are plenty of DLC additions on the way which for avid fans of the series like myself is something to look forward to as they're always equally as good as the main content. I really can't express how good this game is, it's just a shame that the characters weren't as impressive as the originals.

If you'd like a more in-depth review, you can find my full review of Borderlands 2 here.

Wub wub wub
Wub wub wub
Hunter. Scholar. Gentleman.
Hunter. Scholar. Gentleman.
1 - Far Cry 3

It had to be, didn't it? I can't think of a game that I've loved playing more this year than Far Cry 3.

From my point of view, it's flawless. Granted, I'm slightly biased as I loved the previous two games, but still, it's an absolutely incredible game and you're definitely missing out if you've not played it.

The game's easily one of the most picturesque I've played and the fact that it's set on a tropical island is new to me too. It's got to be one of the best looking games of the year regardless of whether you like the game or not.

The gameplay is marvellous. The campaign's storyline is in-depth and had me gripped from start to finish. The methods of gradually unlocking pieces of the game are great and the tatau (tattoo) ranking up system is novel also.

The idea of having to hunt specific animals to create extra ammo pouches, inventory space and syringe slots sounds like a chore but it's really the opposite. I've never actually feared for my life while swimming in a river in a game before. Far Cry 3 changed that. Stupid crocodiles.

Simple things such as the way fire spreads and the way enemies react to it increase the game's satisfaction level exponentially. The way you can choose how you wish to approach a mission and have different outcomes depending on it is incredible too.

Far Cry 3

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This game is absolutely astonishing and it's well deserving of my number one spot. I'm still enjoying playing Far Cry 3 even now, a month or so after release and that's been pretty much exclusively single player.

It's gotten to the point where I'm actually running out of adjectives to describe the game it's so good. If for some reason you need more convincing to try the game out, here's my full length review of Far Cry 3.

The tigers are pretty scary too...
The tigers are pretty scary too...
...told you not to smile at it!
...told you not to smile at it!

 Well, 2012 was a great year for gaming. Let's hope that 2013 provides equally good games. With any luck, by the end of the year I'll have recovered and will have a new, fresh set of adjectives to use.

What were your favourite games of the year?

Updated: 01/19/2013, Paul
 
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What're your favourite games of 2012?


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Seelyon on 06/20/2015

Fex and Borderlands 2! Can't believe these were 2012 releases, so long ago.

Paul on 01/10/2013

Mira - It's definitely worth a try :)

Mira on 01/10/2013

Fez sounds like my kind of game :).

Paul on 01/07/2013

Terraria is a great game for the price, shame the multiplayer's broken though :(

JoHarrington on 01/07/2013

Dear Esther, Terraria and Limbo were my favourites of 2012. Though I did just spend the last week playing FIFA 2012. I can't feel my fingertips, especially in my thumb, anymore.

Paul on 01/03/2013

Alex - Well worth a play and it isn't too long so you won't be distracted from work for extended periods of time! :P

Alex on 01/03/2013

Trials Evo is awesome. Still not got round to Fez, definitely somewhere near the top of my list once I get enough time to play games again!

Paul on 01/03/2013

Thanks Calanon, they're The Walking Dead is certainly an experience!

Calanon on 01/03/2013

Thanks for this article! I shall check out the first two games as I have never heard of them until now.

Paul on 01/03/2013

Laura - I didn't have much of a chance to play GW2 this year, but I've heard good things about it and I probably should look into it. And of course! I'll make it one of my next articles (two are already in the pipeline, so I'll finish them first!)


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