Some games I liked a lot in 2012

22:00, Dec 12 2012

Every year, about this time, video game critics do our best of the year lists. I've done that in the past - picked one game that I thought was the best. But I'm not doing that anymore - there have been too many games that I have enjoyed to do that.

So, today, I present to you some of the best games I've played this year: I've had to boil it down to nine, plus my most disappointing and some other categories. At the end of the day, though, everyone has their own personal choices and just because I liked a game and you didn't - or vice versa - just means we have different taste. Obviously, there were games that I liked but they didn't make the cut. That's life. Here we go:

A new IP featuring a magical assassin called Corvo Attano out for revenge, I loved how the game could be played stealthily or full-out commando and the ending was different depending on your play style. By the end of the game Corvo was almost overpowered with his magical abilities but I'm hoping there are more adventures to come featuring this magical assassin.

If you've watched the film Indie Game: The Movie, you'll know about the problems that beset this game and its creator, Phil Fish, but Fez is a game that isn't afraid to try something different - and I loved that about it. The main character is pretty cute, too, and being able to rotate the playing area, made up of cubes, 90 degrees just just blew my mind.

Jenova Chen and thatgamecompany enthralled PlayStation 3 gamers with Flower and Flow and he's done it again with Journey - not so much a game as an experience where you guide a robed traveller through sand-filled environments in a quest to reach a mystical mountain far in the distance. It's not a long game but it'll stick in your mind months after you play it.


The Walking Dead
OK, so criminally, this five-part downloadable game series wasn't even submitted for classification in our region (shame on your Telltale games) but if you own a PC then it's a must-play. Set in the universe created in the comic book series, The Walking Dead is a game that will have you emotionally connected with the plight faced by Lee Everett and little Clementine as they try to survive in a world overrun by the dead.

Spec Ops: The Line
Set in a sandstorm-ravaged Dubai, Spec Ops will change how you view war games as it's not one that revels in the horrors of war as many modern war games do but by the end makes you question the point of war at all and the casualties from it. It's brutal and pulls no punches but it's a memorable experience.

Far Cry 3
While the story was a little laboured - spoilt millennial has to save his friends from a mad people slaver - Far Cry is a marvel because of its setting: an island that is just fun to explore and investigate. Half the time I just wanted to watch what happened around me instead of completing the story missions - until I got attacked by komodo dragons, that was, or mauled by a tiger!

Xcom: Enemy Unknown
The game that reinvigorated my love for turn-based strategy games. OK, the balancing was a little out at times and the aliens were often much stronger than the humans, but the game play was engaging and the mix of strategy and micromanagement made it fun.

Little Big Planet Vita

How can you not love Sackboy? Well, you can't and while this isn't his first appearance on a Sony handheld, it's the one that feels like a complete game and not an add-on. The Vita's touch abilities are used creatively and don't feel there for the sake of it. Worth adding to your Vita's meagre collection.

Mark of The Ninja
I played this on Xbox Live Arcade and it's a delightful 2D side scroller where stealth and careful planning is going to win the day as you play a shadowy ninja who must infiltrate a variety of locations to confront an industrialist who wronged him. Some of the puzzles are frustrating (especially those involving lasers) requiring trial and error, but it's well worth downloading.

Rubbish ending but still worth mentioning: Mass Effect 3

Including this will no doubt raise the ire of gamers, thanks to its controversial ending, but I decided to include it as I enjoyed the series, one that I have invested countless hours in over the course of three games. Yes, Bioware produced an ending that many gamers hated but it didn't mean I regretted playing the series, because I didn't.

A game you might have missed: Asura's Wrath

Yes, it's short and at times it just feels like you're tapping buttons all the time but it's over-the-top comic-book action about a demigod wreaking vengeance on the demigods who betrayed him is fun from start to finish. It's a crazy, crazy game.

Biggest disappointment: Assassin's Creed 3

In the quest to make a game tale set in the American revolution, Ubisoft forgot about what made the AC series fun. Incidentally, the Vita version Liberation is much more enjoyable, and features a female lead.

Good picks for the children: Skylanders Giants and Lego Lord of the Rings

Skylanders is sort of like Diablo but for kids, and it's a game where you put special toys on a special base and they magically appear in the game. Wonderful. Lego Lord of the Rings is also a delight, and another in the series where movies are created using Lego bricks. The formula has been tweaked and the scene where Gandalf fights the Balrog is just amazing. Worthwhile stocking stuffers this Christmas.

So, what were your favourite games of 2012?

Other stuff you might be interested in: Game Junkie is on Twitter and you can email him here. He'll even answer your emails, not get some smart robot to do it. He also has another gaming blog here, which was actually updated recently. You should check it out.