Dave’s GOTY 2012

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.

1. Journey

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!

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2 responses to “Dave’s GOTY 2012

  1. Absolutely agree with Lego Lord of the Rings being on this list. I've played it pretty non-stop since I picked it up. I must have invested at least 20 hours in the game, some of that played co-op with the wife, and having completed the campaign and found or unlocked every available character in the game, and I'm still only at 56% completion. There's quite a large amount of stuff to do, nothing on the scale of Skyrim, but certainly very impressive for what many gamers dismiss as 'kids stuff.' The open world of Middle-earth is superbly realised, condensed to lego-like proportions but still managing to feel like a huge, sweeping world of fantasy and magic. Absolutely superb game.I'd personally put Zombiu in my top list for 2012 as well. I've been waiting for this game since the first gameplay trailers appeared, and I have to say I am very impressed with the end result. Ubisoft did a great job of creating a dark, ruined London during a zombie outbreak; the environments are dark and lifeless, only the occassional rat or bird, or isolated quest-giving survivors, remain in London. Other than the zombies. It's a shame the game received such negative early feedback, as I fear many gamers are now missing out on a truly unique experience. I believe many reviewers went into the game trying to play it as Call of Duty zombies, which got them killed. Zombiu punishes complacency and overconfidence. You will die. It's just a question of when. Few games have made me actually think about what I need to have in my inventory before exploring new areas, and what to have in the quick-access slots. Should I keep my crossbow on hand for silent sniping of the undead, or am I going to need molotovs and shotgun for better crowd control? Can I risk barricading the door behind me to slow down any hordes, or will I need to retreat this way and block off my only escape route? Zombiu forces you to make decisions that could mean the survival, or death, of your character. If you get bitten, that's it, wave goodbye to your hard earned gear and that character's experience. You respawn as a new character, and have to track down your zombified past-self to get your stuff back. Or ignore your past self, and hope you can find some good gear scattered around London, which is unlikely. Zombiu also has the best usage of the gamepad I've yet seen on the wii u. It is your inventory, your keypad entry point, your scanner, your hacking tool, your map, and your motion sensor. Everything you do on the gamepad draws attention away from the action on screen. Need to get into your inventory? Open up your backback on the gamepad. This does not pause the game however, leaving you vulnerable to that unnoticed zombie in the dark corner of the room, or that one that just dropped off a roof and is now eating your face. No game has made me panic so much as those moments where I am frantically trying to enter a keypad code on the gamepad, glancing at the TV screen to see a small horde of zombies shambling ever closer to their next meal. Zombiu actually feels like a survival horror, far more so than any recent Resident Evil game, and Ubisoft have really done a brilliant job in utilising the unique features of the Wii u to make the most of this genre.

  2. Thanks for the comment! Yeah I've heard some really good feedback in relation to ZombieU, and I do now think my second Wii U game purchase shall be ZombieU (my first was NintendoLand).Glad you agree with LEGO LOTR being on the list. It still has some of the faults from previous LEGO titles, but you can't take away the fun that game brings to the table.

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