Happy New Year Processors!! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, not to mention a superb New Year.
A common theme for gaming websites at this time of year has to the must-have videogames from 2012. After much self-deliberation I figured why not join in, with my own little list of games I could call my choice games of the past year.
Warning, this list will probably look nothing like yours. In fact, I’d put money on it.
4. LEGO Lord of The Rings
I wasn’t going to give this one a mention, but this is a list of games I really enjoyed playing in 2012 and I really enjoyed playing LEGO LOTR. Worth a mention then?
I recently wrote about my experience with LOTR during this article, have a read to see why it’s included in this list.
3. XCOM Enemy Unknown
A game I didn’t track before it came out. Did reviews make me buy it? Nope. I bought this game because the Internet loved it, my Twitter feed was full of praise during the game’s opening weekend.
Another reason while I went ahead and bought this on Steam was its customisation, that is, you can re-name your in-game characters. Many games do it, but in XCOM it opened up the narrative giving gamers another reason to play the title. Other gaming sites (most notably Rock, Paper, Shotgun) started XCOM Diaries, tracking how their XCOM teams were doing by naming each recruit after a member of staff, other writers and fictional characters. I too started a diary, although I hold my hands up and admit I only did 2 entries. I will be closing the diary with another entry in the near future, but for now you can find the first here and the second here.
If you have a read of those entries you’ll start to understand why this game deserves to be on my Game of the Year list.
2. Guild Wars 2
After retiring from World of Warcraft I figured my days of playing MMOs had passed. The kind of games that requires hundreds of hours of playing, time I could not afford to give up purely for one title. I tried Lord of The Rings online, I sampled Rift, I returned to Warhammer Online…but none of them had the same feeling I got when playing Warcraft in the early years. Star Wars: The Old Republic seemed like it may have been that title to trump WoW, yet after a few hours that feeling wore off and I found myself unsubscribing.
And then came Guild Wars 2. I didn’t enjoy the original, but found myself enjoying the small amount of time I got to play the sequel a year before it’s release while at the Eurogamer Expo 2011. I preordered and looked forward to playing the full release.
What a treat it turned out to be. Star Wars attempted to incorporate more of a story into the tried and tested MMO field of games but it backfired for me, almost making it too ‘single player’ orientated. Guild Wars 2 however, while still feeling like an MMO it also manages to involve gripping stories that you want to see through to the end. The way in which higher level players suffer a level decrease when they enter lower level areas means that no matter what stage or level your friends are at they can still come to you to help you quest, with all of you gaining valuable experience.
I don’t have much time to play Guild Wars 2 yet when I do I know that regardless of my level I can still take part in epic PVP confrontations, world events and quests thanks to the auto-level adjustment. It may sound like cheating, but only by levelling can you equip the best weapons and armour, not forgetting unlocking the best traits and skills.
It’s won a ton of accolades including a number of GOTY awards, and to be quite frank, it deserves each and every one of them. A PSN exclusive from the team behind Flower, Journey featured no spoken words, no ‘written’ story yet managed to become of the most emotional videogames I had the pleasure of playing last year, in fact ever.
From the endless flow of beautifully created sand to a soundtrack that almost makes this game worth playing for in its own right, you cannot help but feel for the character you’re controlling whilst heading towards a shining light upon a mountain in the distance.
It also manages to incorporate a seamless multiplayer element, as long as you are connected to the PSN. Throughout your journey other players will appear in your world and again. You can’t speak to them with words, yet at least in my experience of playing Journey you still find a bond between you and your nameless companion.
It doesn’t need you to know why you are doing what you are doing, your character doesn’t need a name, you don’t need to question why you are smiling at ‘magic carpets’ that almost seem like pet animals. I wrote a short review of Journey earlier in the year, which can be found at this link.
Quite simply, a joy to play.
And that’s that. I know 4 is an odd number (why not 5?) but to be honest I just couldn’t decide on a 5th title. Mass Effect 3? Halo 4? Dishonored? Bah, I’ll just leave it at 4!
So what has been your pick of 2012? Comment and let us know!