2012 was a year not to be forgotten by developers of video games. A plethora of fantastic AAA titles were released, some of them, the sequels to incredible games from years past. To pluck each of these games and arrange them in a list was a daunting task, but these 10 are undoubtedly the best of the best in 2012.
Number 10 – Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars is a franchise that always knows the direction it’s going in and maintains it to the end. The first game in the series focused on a unique class structure, and intense player vs. player action. Guild Wars 2 has carried this on, and become a solid contender in the massive multiplayer online genre. The game has a vast open world, populated with tons of missions to keep players on their toes, all while allowing them to simply hop in and out of instant level 80 PvP. With a perfect subscription fee of zero dollars, how could this stunner not be among this list?
Number 9 – Halo 4
Starting strong with the hype from the Forward Unto Dawn web series, Halo 4 hit the market, and did not disappoint. The game retained the smooth controls, fast paced combat and fantastic level design from earlier installments, and built on it. Embellishing the multiplayer with custom loadouts, killstreak rewards and new maps, made Halo 4 stand out as one of the best in the series. 343 Industries did a fantastic job taking a well-established series and making it even better.
Number 8 – The Wii U
The Wii U arrived as the first next-gen console, releasing in North America on November 18, 2012. Sporting a touch-screen controller and with specs matching the current market standard, Nintendo has secured their spot in the console market for the next few years. From potential console RTS games to Dungeons and Dragons, using the new hardware will be an interesting new challenge for developers. Though only a handful of big name games have been announced for the new console, it’s definitely something to watch heading into 2013.
Number 7 – Assassin’s Creed 3
Once again Desmond Miles has sat in the animus and visited the memories of his ancestors. Going back to the American Revolution this time, Desmond relives America’s fight for freedom through the eyes of his metis forefather. The Assassin’s Creed series has never disappointed, and this game was no exception. The vast, open worlds, the compelling stories, and engaging side quests, refreshed and confirmed in our minds why Assassin’s Creed is regarded as one of the best. Assassin’s Creed 3 was a solid addition to the series, and has earned its spot at number seven on this list.
Number 6 – Dishonored
Dishonored took a unique twist on player choice: Each mission in Dishonored focused heavily on giving players a plethora of ways to play and achieve their goals. Set in the fictional city of Dunwall, players control a royal bodyguard turned rogue named Corvo in his quest for revenge. Arkane Studios and Bethesda hit a sweet note with this game, impressing reviewers and rivaling the releases of such games as Mass Effect 3 and Assassin’s Creed 3. This game truly impressed, and will definitely be open for sequels.
Number 5 – Journey
Journey is a hidden gem that sprung up in March of 2012 on the Playstation network. At first, the game is almost bewildering. Players control a robed being, and must traverse a desert to reach a far off mountain. Having very little to guide you at first is confusing, but as you travel, a speechless story is told. Players can run into each other in the game-world via online connection, but a lack of actual communication tools forces players to work and interact through actions and deeds alone. Journey is an incredible experience that slipped under the radar of many people this year.
Number 4 – Borderlands 2
The Borderlands 2 team spent its marketing budget focusing on the ridiculous number of guns they pumped into this game. But, they neglected to dig into everything else that made this game awesome. Borderlands 2 continues on the world of Pandora with a cast of new characters, a splash of old ones, and a new side of the planet that was never seen in the first game. This sequel wasn’t exactly innovative, however it sticks to what we all loved and gave us a new look at the run-and-gun multiplayer action that we appreciated from the first installment in the series.
Number 3 – Sleeping Dogs
Developed by Vancouver’s own United Front Games, Sleeping Dogs is a fantastic open world game based in Hong Kong. This game strayed from the traditional open world gangster scenario by focusing on martial arts, parkour and hand-to-hand combat. Although weapons and gunfights still make up a good chunk of the gameplay, Sleeping Dogs reinvented the genre brilliantly. With a compelling story, and fantastic side quests, the player always has something to do, and is always interacting with the lively version of Hong Kong that United Front created. This is a must play for fans of the genre, and an all-around tight game.
Number 2 – Mass Effect 3
Despite the uproar over the ending of the game, Mass Effect 3 was a stunning experience through and through. Some of the most heart wrenching moments in the series came in this installment, and the gameplay was nothing to scoff at either. The branches of Tech, Biotics, and basic Combat each shone and made the battlefield feel incredibly lively. Shepard’s mission in this game was nothing short of epic either. Assembling an entire universe of races together into one last charge against the Reapers is a godly task, fit for one man (or woman) and one man (or woman) only. Mass Effect 3 was an epic conclusion to the series, and definitely worthy of the second spot on this list.
Number 1 – Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 was heavily anticipated and did not disappoint. The world was vast and vibrant, with a lively environment. The characters were all acted and animated incredibly well, which helped make the story compelling and interesting. The combat was polished and clean and gave players multiple options for how to accomplish their goals. Missions were all relevant to the story and never got dry. To say Far Cry 3 was good is simply an understatement. This game was an impressive experience, and topped a lot of charts this year.
If the games mentioned have not had the pleasure of bestowing their presence upon your console or PC, I suggest you give them a chance. The developers worked incredibly hard to bring us each and every one of these masterpieces, and each game reflects that perfectly. It was a year to remember, and hopefully 2013 will be too.