Welcome to Slimgamer’s end of the year coverage. We took seven writers, gave them six categories, and locked them in a room until they’d decided on the Top 36 (or so) of 2012. Each writer picked one item from each category and we compiled the six lists as our take on the “Game of the Year” list. Every day for the next six days we’ll post a different category commemorating the best (and not so best) industry developments of the year.
This is it – Game of the Year. You’ve stuck with us throughout the past week and seen our picks for News Story, Biggest Surprise, Biggest Disappointment, Studio/Publisher of the Year, and Indie Game of the Year. Now we have our writers’ picks for the coveted Game of the Year award.
Far Cry 3 was everything that I hoped it would be. As a pretentious gamer (and person), I usually have ridiculously high expectations and – with a game as hyped up as Far Cry – my expectations were even higher. But, with its incredibly satisfying combat system, lush open terrain and unforgettable characters, my ridiculous expectations were ridiculously satisfied.
Far Cry 3 was certainly my favourite game of the year and the one that I was most anticipating. The storyline was really good; I couldn’t stop playing it. From paragliding to the jet skis and wing suits, the travelling was amazing and so were the graphics. The only disappointment was the fact that a lot of the people in the game looked the same.
The Walking Dead
Out of all of my experiences with video games this year, there’s a few that stick to my mind the most and at the top of that list is The Walking Dead. There’s no arguing at this point that a lot of people are getting tired of the whole zombie thing but The Walking Dead is the zombie game that I’ve always wanted. It’s more concerned with telling a story and letting you get to know the survivors around you than just blowing the hell out of a bunch of walkers. Like the show and the comics before, The Walking Dead drew me in with a vengeance. I found a game that I got completely drawn into and characters that I couldn’t get enough of. In the end, The Walking Dead was a visceral, emotional experience and was the game that stood out the most for me in 2012. In fact, when I played it originally, I put off playing the last episode for two days just so I would have the time to play it in one sitting. That’s how much I enjoyed it.
Some people might say that Xenoblade can’t be game of the year. It’s been released twice before, in 2010 in Japan and 2011 in Europe, so – if we’re gonna nominate games that half our audience played last year – why not just let anarchy spread and call Doom 64 our game of the year? Those people aren’t wrong but Xenoblade is my game of the year anyway…because America.
We’re willing to let this one pass because Xenoblade deserves it. Right from the beginning, you can tell that Xenoblade is something special. Nintendo and Monolithsoft have given us one of the biggest RPGs with history that takes place on the back of two slain Gods and is filled with quests and heartbreak. The story never goes where you expect it to, the characters and their relationships develop believably, and the game really pushes the Wii as far as it can go. The first time I stood on the grassy green fields of Bionis while looking off into the distance and up into the face of an ancient being gave me a sense of awe that I haven’t felt since I first set foot outside of Midgar. The game, throughout its entire 100+ hour run, never stops giving you moments like this, and it’s exactly these moments that make an RPG so special. Everything about Xenoblade is just done so perfectly. It transports you to another world and keeps you enthralled.
Without question, Xenoblade is the best RPG we’ve seen in years.
The biggest PC release this year, Guild Wars 2, proved to be a storming success with both long-term fans like myself and complete newcomers. Taking the MMO genre to new, enjoyable levels, Guild Wars 2 might not be the “perfect game” but it stands strong as a solid contender against other MMOs such as World of Warcraft.
I’ve loved the Guild Wars franchise for a while now. Since Guild Wars 1 first came out in 2005, I’ve spent many a long hour travelling across Tyria searching out loot and glory. Now, with Guild Wars 2, the adventure becomes a new evolution in the genre. It’s a much more social experience this time around; you would sometimes be forgiven for thinking you’re not playing an MMO as the other characters seamlessly blend into your game world, randomly joining your exploits or banding together to take down larger World Event enemies.
After much deliberation and thinking about the host of fantastic games which came out in 2012 (and there were a lot of them too!) such as Forza Horizon, Mass Effect 3 (even with the outcry about the ending!), Assassin’s Creed 3 and probably some other games with 3 in the title all of which deserve to be given the “Game of the Year” title, I would have to say that Dishonored was my game of the year.
It was a game that caught me completely by surprise and I don’t really know how to say this but I…love…Dishonored! From the moment I put the disc in my console and started playing the first level, I was in love! Mostly because of the art style, I loved the steampunk Victorian era setting and all that came in the opening cinematic! Once I’d started playing the first level, I couldn’t put it down!
There are lots of games around which give you a choice of sneaking through a level or going mental and killing everyone but Dishonored did it differently by giving you so many different options and ways to get through the levels; not only did it give you the option to sneak around just knocking people out, you could also maliciously kill everyone. However, there were huge consequences for doing that! The more people that you kill, the more rats (who have the plague) that appear and they attack you, making your life harder!
It’s a game of consequence where every action you take has an effect on the outcome of the game so it forces you to think about what you’re doing. Plus, you could possess a rat. That is why it’s my game of the year!
Yeah, it does appear to be just another third person shooter with cover mechanics but, when I had difficult moral choices to make in the single player campaign, I questioned my actions. I regretted some choices, felt like the game went too far, was ready to put the controller down, and – when I tried – couldn’t as I just had to know what happened next. Sure, I thought the soundtrack was awesome, thought the visuals had the right amount of dirt and grime and the cut-scenes played like a movie but I could get that experience in Gears of War. In Gears 2, there’s a moment where Dom has to do something awful and your heart just drops. Well, I felt that way quite a few times playing Spec Ops: The Line. That is, until I finished the campaign and was completely blown away by the way the story plays out.