Saturday, 5 January 2013

Top 10: Games of 2012

2012 has been a great year for gaming with several great titles coming out. What were your favourites?

Either way here's my top 10 games of 2012.

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While it barely makes the list for a lot of reasons, mainly because it's a very easy game and relatively short, The Darkness II was a blast from start to finish. The feeling you get of being a total badass, all the quirky and interesting NPC's you build a connection to and not to mention, the search for your dead girlfriend, all wrapped up in an epic story of light versus dark, makes the game an unforgettable journey. The multiplayer is also fun if you're into L4D-style co-op and each character feels well thought out and interesting. The comic book style also makes the game stay true to its source material.

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I love arcady racers and Ridge Racer Unbounded is one of the best I've played in that genre. The main gimmick here is that you can pretty much destroy parts of the course to gain extra points. You also get points for ramming into enemy vehicles and performing takedowns Burnout-style. With awesome graphics and a really good soundtrack, this is definitely my favourite racing game of 2012.

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Terrible ending aside, Mass Effect 3 is in my opinion a pretty good third person shooter with a lot of cool RPG elements and it feels like it takes elements from both ME1 and ME2 and brings them together in a good way. I really enjoyed the weapon customization they brought back and the dialogue feels a lot more natural in this game as characters are more active and don't just stand there talking for several minutes. Here they actually move and they feel more like people, making the conversations more engaging as a result. I also really liked the multiplayer, it makes for some frantic co-op action at times.

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Blacklight Retribution is honestly one of the best free-to-play games I've played. It offers graphics and gameplay that both rivals and surpasses the Call of Duty games and the try-before-you-buy model in the game lets you find your favourite loadout before spending money on anything. I'm also a total sucker for the cyberpunk feel of the game and the visor which reveals enemy positions more or less eliminates camping issues. A fun and enjoyable multiplayer shooter that offers a lot for very little to no cash at all and a viable alternative if you want a good modern FPS experience but don't wanna spend 60 bucks on the latest Call of Duty game.

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The Doom games remain some of the best FPS's ever made in my opinion and Doom 3 BFG Edition brings all 3 of them together in one rock solid package. Being the hardcore id-whore I am, this was a must-have this year and I am not disappointed. With Steam achievements, widescreen support up to 1080p, 3D support, a shoulder-mounted flashlight that makes the game suitably action-oriented as I always wanted it, a brand new third mission for Doom 3, and ultra-smooth gameplay at 120fps, Doom 3 BFG Edition to me is THE ultimate edition of Doom 1, Doom 2 and Doom 3.

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When I heard that a remake of Giana Sisters was coming out, I was pretty skeptical. Giana Sisters is one of my favourite 8bit titles and probably one of the most popular Commodore 64 games in existence and a cult classic among a lot of people. Though after having played Twisted Dreams, I can easily say that this is actually an improvement. The controls are really tight, like they should be in any platformer, the graphics are really cartoony and colourful and feel reminiscent of classics like Rayman at times, and the music are mostly rearrangements of the original Giana tracks, performed by the always awesome Machinae Supremacy. The main reason I really recommend Twisted Dreams is because it truly feels like a Giana game and not just a Mario ripoff.

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Let's face it, MW3 might have been a good game (at least it was in my opinion since it was my first CoD game) but it's obvious the series was beginning to stagnate. One of the most common complaints I hear about CoD is that none of the games stand out enough and don't feel engaging enough. This is where Black Ops II gets things right. Black Ops II I think might be the best CoD game because it takes everything that was bad about MW3 and just improves it. The single player campaign feels engaging because it focuses on making the characters memorable and having a more engaging story than MW3 ever did. Of course you still go from set piece to set piece, but the set pieces here are definitely more awesome than they were in earlier games, mostly because the game has a new setting, taking place in the near future and if you've ever wanted to fire a missile launcher while riding horseback, this is the game for you. Another thing they did with the story was giving you multiple choices at several points, adding actual replay value to the campaign as each campaign has a possibility of being really different from the previous one!
The zombie mode is also a really fun mode where survival is the key to unlocking new guns and various rewards that make fun and interesting changes to the gameplay. The zombies actually feel rather threatening and the mode is pretty challenging and will take serious teamplay to be completed.
The multiplayer also has received a much needed upgrade. The killstreaks have been replaced by scorestreaks, giving supportive players a bigger chance to contribute as the rewards are no longer based on the amount of kills you have, but how big your score is and it definitely makes the game a heck of a lot more balanced. The class creation system has been entirely revamped and you now have a "10 slots" system that allows for almost complete customization and you can make a class that fits YOUR playstyle to an even greater degree than MW3 offered. The maps are also much better designed and I think they did a splendid job with the graphics.
The major difference here is that MW3 looked like shit mixed with dust, and Black Ops II actually looks more realistic because it has more colour. Add the option to make your own emblems, the League play which lets you play against people in your skill range, and you have easily the best Call of Duty ever!

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Syndicate is a FPS set in the near future where the world is no longer divided into countries, but rather huge corporations known as syndicates rule the world. In the single player campaign you play as Miles Kilo, an agent for EuroCorp who uncovers corruption and conspiracy within his own syndicate. The game's main gimmick is that in the future nearly everyone are implanted with computer chips. As an agent you have the power to hack into these chips and you can pretty much force people to commit suicide and you can also use this hacking ability to dominate computer systems etc. The chip also gives you an overlay that highlights enemies and volatile objects. It makes for a very fun and engaging FPS that has a very strong cyberpunk aesthetic and the cool factor is pretty much through the roof. The single player campaign is pretty short though and feels like it doesn't offer enough replay value. The game could really benefit from a New Game + option. The multiplayer is pretty fun and engaging though and at times really challenging, and highly recommended. Also helps that the first bossfight has background music by Skrillex. Definitely one of my favourite games this year as I am a complete sucker for cyberpunk games, and I was definitely eager to play Syndicate as a FPS, and I can't help but feel Syndicate is terribly underrated. We can has sequel, EA?

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I'll say it right now, I'm a sucker for humor in games. A lot of the time it can really help a game stand out from the crowd as most games today take themselves way too seriously. It's this reason Borderlands 2 is a fresh breath of filthy air and it's really a unique experience that has to be played to be understood. Borderlands 2 takes everything that made the original so great and improves upon it to the f*cketh (that's a word now) degree. Also helps that the characters are really memorable, especially Handsome Jack, who I'd say is one of the most memorable villains as of recently. His constant taunting and teasing makes him a villain you get to dislike from early on in the game and when you finally get to take him on, the satisfaction is incredible. And guns. SOOOO MANY GUNS! There are really just two words that conjure up how I feel about Borderlands 2: Awesome and badass!

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F*ck Skyrim. If I want a huge open-world first person RPG with animals to hunt an items to craft, I'll play me some Far Cry 3, thank you very much. While I haven't completed this game yet, mostly because I spend far too much time running over animals with my car and putting pirates on fire with a flamethrower, this is easily my favourite game of 2012 already. There is just an insane amount of content here and so much fun to be had, and it's probably the most addictive game I've played lately. The multiplayer is also really well made, although it can be a bit glitchy at times. It's fun when it works though. The co-op missions are also really fun and add a side story to the game rather than just sending you from objective to objective. Add a very good single player story where you actually care about the characters, and lush graphics and you have probably not only the best FPS, but easily the best GAME of 2012 on your hands.

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