With the year coming to an end and the apocalypse not happening after all, it's a perfect opportunity to talk about games that you think were the best this year. However, knowing that maybe some people played only a few 2012 games if none at all (like me), this is also an opportunity to list the games that may be centuries old, but you discovered and played through for the first time in 2012.
So my favourite non-2012 games I played in this year are as follows:
The Legend of Zelda - Despite being 25 years old, this gem really amazed me. Maybe because it's such a refreshing breather from modern game design, with little hand-holding involved that makes it so great, but also without the obtusity and plain cruelty that plagued some other games from the era, it is the best example of a timeless classic.
Castlevania - While maybe not as captivating as Legend of Zelda due to its linear nature, the quality of the game is still evident in the excellent graph design and tight gameplay. Even with a few cruel sections (I am looking at you, the hall before Death) it's still awesome. :)
God of War II - I actually played both games on PS2 this summer, but I think I prefer the sequel. Yes, the second one didn't feel as fresh as the first game, but the emphasis on bosses made for more interesting fights and it managed to retain the fun of the original while adding more content and setpieces. Also, I played on the Hard difficulty level, so it was quite challenging, but definitely worth it. I can see how on Normal or Easy it's fairly convenient to mash yourself through the hordes, but on the harder difficulties one has to pay attention at every encounter and really learn the patterns and sounds of the enemies to come out on top.
So, fellow Mobygamers, what were your favourites in 2012, be it games released in this year or from the past?
Dark Souls, hands down. Not only it's my GOTY for 2012, it's probably the best game I've played in the last decade. It's a love letter to a time when games actually posed a challenge, overcoming which fills you with a sense of accomplishment you just don't feel anymore. It's a masterpiece in balance and visual design, it has mind-blowingly deep and varied gameplay options, it's an RPG where stats and equipment actually do matter and can make a world of difference (and yet each and every one is a viable option one way or another, because the system is also incredibly flexible); and it's so secure about its own all-around ass-kickery that it dares to actually hide like 20% of its content in secret areas, so you'll only get to enjoy it fully if you prove you deserve it, you sorry-ass human.
Hell, it made Dishonored, a game that in any other year would have blown my socks off, look like a worthless facebook timewaster I pretty much forgot all about after finishing; and it has me so busy that I haven't even looked at XCOM and Spec Ops yet, both of which I've had installed for a while now.
So, yeah, Dark Souls for me. I've a strong suspicion that I might not be playing anything else anymore. That is, until Dark Souls II comes out.
Yeah, Dark Souls looks like the perfect game for me as well. It's just that I had to leave for college in US just around the time it got released and I don't have a good enough of a hardware to run it.
The best game I played in 2012 is Alpha Protocol. But that does not count, because it was a second playthrough. So the honor goes to Dishonored, even if it degrades a bit in the later levels.
I loved pretty much every game I played this year. This includes Risen, Tribes: Ascend, RAGE, Neverwinter Nights 2 + Expansions, Grand Theft Auto IV, The Book of Unwritten Tales, Black Mirror II and III, Planescape: Torment. I won't mention the ones I thought were ok but could've been better. Out of the ones I mentioned my games of the year would be:
Tribes: Ascend, because I love fast multiplayer FPS and this is a level above everything else. Doing instant kills while flying, shooting while skiing at insane speeds, being chased by everyone when you carry the flag etc. are unforgettable moments for me. The game also gives the feeling of oldschool sci-fi, like for example in Anarchy Online, which I particularly dig.
The Book of Unwritten Tales, one of the best parodies on gaming / entertainment culture with one of the best adventure game protagonists in the person of the gnome Wilbur. It's funny, has great art style and an engaging story.
Risen. As it is always the case with Piranha Bytes games, Risen has vast lanscapes that beg to be explored and great graphics to give you an additional incentive. It's a more down-to-earth medieval fantasy RPG compared to the usual fare. As such you can identify easily with your character and you feel more in control. The game is a polished Gothic II, basically. This is one of two RPGs where I actually loved to use magic.
Neverwinter Nights 2. This is the other RPG (and I've played quite a few) where I liked using magic. I expected it to be more generic, similarly to the first Neverwinter Nights, but it turned out to be a nice surprise. Maybe because it was the first D&D CRPG I played after I started playing after starting a real tabletop RPG campaign, but I can't say for sure. Every element of the game was solid. The most I loved managing my Keep; unfortunately that part was a bit bugged, though XD.
The best games I played last year for the first time were (roughly in order):
Amnesia: The Dark Descent - Absolutely loved every moment of it. Took me completely by surprise as I don't care for horror games.
Civilization V + all DLC and expansions - Excellent successor to the great series that finally tackled the horrible combat mechanics.
Rayman Origins - Best 2D platformer since Super Mario Bros 3.
Black Mesa - Impeccable remake that superserves nostalgia.
Dishonored - Flawed but extremely enjoyable
Arkham City - An improved Arkham Asylum, which was already a gem
Thief: The Dark Project - Yes I rate this below Dishonored. Purely due to the crappy later levels.
ShootMania: Storm (beta) - Most enjoyable multiplayer FPS since Unreal Tournament 2004
Dungeon Keeper 2 - Also took be by surprise since I cared less for the original
Collin McRae Rally 2 - It's not Richard Burns Rally. Still better than those newfangled racing games by Codemasters though.
Worst games I played were:
'Splosion Man - I... just don't see the fun?
GTA IV - GTA is one of those series where each instalment got progressively worse. I loved the first, the second was a bit more of the same. III I didn't like at all. Vice City and San Andreas were slightly better I guess. This is just downright horrible. Quickly removed it from my HDD after about an hour of play
Warlock: Master of the Arcane - Poor Civilization V clone.
2012 was a huge year for me gaming-wise. It was a year of horizon expansion. I re-discovered platform games. I finally played the first Legend of Zelda, which turned out to be awesome. I made my peace with classic Japanese action RPGs and they now occupy solid places in my collection.
It was also my best MobyGames year ever. My first championship title since 2001 (yay!), record for most points scored in a year, but - more importantly - contribution milestones such as the completion of TurboGrafx CD, expanded coverage of classic Japanese computers, and the discovery of an entire new world - Korean games!
All that pretty much means I didn't have any time to play modern games. The last one was Skyrim, which was fantastic and restored my faith in future RPG development.
The biggest surprise was probably Zis the Adventure, though. I could never imagine I'd find such a gem among obscure Korean platformers.
The only game actually released in 2012 that interests me now is Dishonored. And I'm going to give it a try as soon as the year ends.
You really need to play Thief II. It perfectly performs what every sequel should do: it takes away everything which sucked about the predecessor while boosting everything which was great. It is the second-best game I have ever played (or, depending on my mood, the third).
I know, I know. Already bought it a while ago. Just waiting for the right moment :)
This year I actually seem to have played more games than usual, but that's a result of them being shorter, seeing as what I finished was largely freeware. Finished 5 games (4 of them freeware), which is quite normal, been at 4-5 a year for the past several years, but also started 4 others (one gave up for good, still intend to finish the others) and returned for various amounts of time to yet 4 others.
Out of those I'm done with (finished + abandoned), The Spirit Engine II will get the crown from me by far. Including all (minus Divinity 2, which I just poked through very briefly and can't form an opinion yet), of course one of those I returned to for a while (and then gave up on yet again just as suddenly and without a very particular reason as the first time) was Morrowind, so that greatly complicates matters.
Worst, still freeware, Dink SmallWood HD, definitely. One of the worst things I ever played.
So I can say that this year's gain was discovering some free stuff, and discovering a few places to look for more, since at the start of the year I actually meant to go on a bit of a spree of testing various freeware games. Didn't quite work out like that, but...
As for my year on MobyGames, to take after Unicorn Lynx's post, I'm still largely just submitting mobyranks *shrug* Didn't even do much of that throughout, but went on quite a spree after... Dec 6. Approaching 1000 in queue now, oldest from August but vast majority very recent, pity whoever will get to them. Other than that, not much. Still just as afraid to submit games, largely because I truly dread to even touch the release info thing.
Unfortunately a few of the games I would of got this year came after I got a pay cut. But fortunately I wasn't expecting them to be contenders!
Any hows, despite it very flawed ending, I'm going to have to give it to Mass Effect 3, as it was easily the most engrossing and immersive games that played. Even the ones I didn't get to play, I doubt could hold a candle to ME3.
Second place this year goes to Binary Domain, for taking a shooter and giving it a story that's a cut above what you usually get in an FPS. In fact it could of been a contender for 1st place if it weren't for its fairly cliched characters and naff ending.
Games I enjoyed a lot:
The end of 2012 also marked the moment I stopped writing professionally about games after 13 years. It gives a sense of freedom to just enjoy playing something without the rush of having to finish it and taking notes/screenshots all the time.
For MobyGames I took on a lot of AAA titles because they're often so complex it's hard to describe them, so I tried to get them in Sicarius-style so they would debut as a comprehensive entry right away. The credits go along with that, because when inexperienced contributors send in huge listings it often takes twice as much time to correct and modify the groups because of the complexity than if I'd to it myself. Not the way of a teacher, but we all only have so much time.
It was nice rushing with Unicorn just for kicks (sure you're really in the green already? =). I worked a lot in tandem with the ever silent Kabushi, on similar game entries and platforms, with Terok on corrections, with Klaster on duplicating and correcting credits, and I approved lots of stuff by Rwolf and Piltdown_man this year, the latter also must be the most comprehensive sourcing contributor we've ever had.
It was a nice year.
Hey, don't scare me :) I've seen you perform incredible feats, but gaining 4000 points in one weak while hoping I'll finally become so mentally incapacitated from submitting so many hentai games that I will stop contributing completely is a bit too much even for you :)
...unless the 100 credit submissions pending are all yours and consist of hundreds of roles each (*gulp*).
Yup, the year was better than the last one, if only because Rob made the right decision of adding new platforms all the time. That kept things fresh for a while.
(Edited by Patrick Bregger (89514), Dec 23, 2012)Re: Game of the Year
Patrick Bregger (89514), Dec 23, 2012
Regarding contribution points, my year was slower than the last. Mostly because I stepped back from credits and focused on my old pet project MobyRanks (about 1900 pending) and new games. Oleg went absolutely crazy this year and broke my 2009 record. Trivia revisions go slow but steady: I am almost through with a third of the database.
Nevertheless I finally managed to reach my long-term goal: surpassing all inactive members and reaching the top 5 of contributors.
Let's hope there isn't a lot pending in the queue then.
Earlier in the year, I remember reflecting that 2012 had been a good year for gaming, but looking back, I can't remember why I thought that. Nevertheless, there were a few standout titles.
My game of the year is definitely Journey. Journey is a game that stuck with me for many reasons; it's beautiful, it's unique, and it provides meaningful interaction with complete strangers. I never thought multiplayer would be a deciding factor for me, let alone in an artistic game, but I really can't stress how much it adds. Throughout my pilgrimage, my companion and I fluttered about, lifted eachother through the air, and slid down sandbanks together, all with chirping being the only mode of communication. The presence of a human counter-part makes the final moments of the game even more meaningful, and at the end of it all, I was left wondering: "Was it as good for them as it was for me?"
I'd also like to mention 30 Flights of Loving, which introduced a unique take on interactive storytelling within the confines of a 15 minute game. Hotline Miami was a brutal and addictive game that felt like something out of a fever dream. Also, XCOM, for letting me build a squad that included Abraham Lincoln, Charles Foster Kane, and Batman, then watch them all get picked off one by one.
I haven't played anything new this year, but I'd say my game of the year is HL2 EP2. NEVER has any game I've ever played been so thrilling or intense. The last battle of the game was probably the most desperate and rewarding fight I've ever played in game. It's really overshadowed everything else I've played this year. I just can't seem to get over it. I'm still in a bit of shock I guess.
Fez. Simply the most beautiful, contemplative, meditative, personal, mysterious game I've had the pleasure of playing in recent memory. The finely-tuned design makes it almost feel like something Treasure would have developed after a six-month mountain meditation retreat.
However, had I played it this year instead of last, I would have said Dark Souls.
I thought 2012 would be the year I would have a positive progress index in my backlog, but those Humble Bundles just keep my collection growing. Adds to the problem the fact that I'm not completely accurate when entering games in my Backloggery account. But I'm really satisfied to see that my progress index was of only -1.
The games I enjoyed playing the most, in no particular order, were:
One of this year's let downs was Diablo III. The game isn't bad, but isn't as good as it should be.
As for MobyGames, it was another slow year for me, but that's OK. At least I completed the whole Odyssey² and Videopac+ catalogue (which is, unfortunately, incomplete again, as more games were released and I didn't enter them yet), and I got back to contributing Zeebo screenshots (maybe I'll complete those in 2013).
Dang pirates still haven't cracked this one yet.
I'm gonna add a runner up, because I just bought it: The Walking Dead.
I did have some interest in this one because of all the feedback and the reviews and the hype and whatnot, but I really wasn't expecting it to be *this* good.
I hate zombies as a concept -I did way before they turned into the annoying trend they are now- and I couldn't care less about the TV series. That said, after playing the first episode (I'm gonna feed it to myself in weekly servings :D ) I can say right here right now that this game has the single best work of characterization in any videogame ever. Second to absolutely nothing. There is just no contest. You play this game, and you realize just how fucking bad the writing in videogames is and has always been --and not even the obvious crappy ones, mind, I'm talking about the games we so proudly hold up when defending gaming as a storytelling medium. This is just not videogame writing, and it shows; it's something else altogether, and it's unbelievably better.
The thing is barely a game in terms of mechanics, honestly, but it's not only so good that it doesn't matter; but also what little actual interactivity there is, is very well used.
If you care about good writing, you owe it to yourself to give this one a go.
Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze Wrote:
Is better than Legacy of Kain series in writing department? (especially SR2) :P
Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze Wrote:
So it's a visual novel, then? :P