One game to rule them all. For this year, anyway.
2012 was a great year for games in general. The Indies rose up and showed us just what they can do, new properties impressed us, a new console launched, and we saw new games from some of our favorite franchises. While there were hits and misses, in the end there were a ton of great games released this year and that means we all win. Choosing our game of the year was a tough process, requiring a lot of deliberation, but we believe the choice is clear.
Our Game of the Year for 2012 is…
Developer / Publisher: 343 Industries / Microsoft
Review Score: 10/10
Halo 4 is the total package. It comes with a great story, that you can play with friends, evolved multiplayer, a huge map editor, and more progression options than ever before. You just can’t deny that Halo 4 is jammed with quality content. On top of all this, we are still completely stunned by the fact that 343 Industries can make a game look this good on hardware that is as old as the Xbox 360 is now.
While other games may have one or two elements that stood above it, Halo 4 impresses at every turn and that is why we had to name it our Game of the Year.
Max Payne 3 – “Max Payne 3 builds on the things that made the previous games great. Long past the point where most shooter campaigns have gone stale, you’ll still be telling your friends about that time you took out eleven guys in one Bullet Time sequence. Max still likes to narrate his life with depressing, cheesy one-liners but these are secondary to a gritty, well told story. There are a few minor technical issues but Rockstar delivers an extensive and engrossing game with Max Payne 3. No one will be disappointed with this one.”
Forza Horizon – “Forza Horizon is party in the front, and business in the back. If you’re a fan of the Forza series and are looking for a different experience, but one that can still get serious when it has to then you’ll enjoy Forza Horizon. Conversely, if you like racing games but were intimidated by the Forza series then Forza Horizon is the place to start. Turn 10 turn up the fun without forgetting what got them here in the first place.”
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – “XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a fantastic tribute to the classic games, updating the series with some modern ideals while keeping the deep strategy elements intact. Whether you’re new to the turn-based strategy world, or a seasoned veteran, you’ll love this game. Despite looking slightly dated, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the future of the genre and other strategy game developers need to learn from what Firaxis have accomplished here.”
NHL 13 – “I know it’s easy to crap all over yearly games, but EA Sports are one of the few developers that continue to improve and keep their games from getting stale year after year. Whether you are a die-hard or casual fan of the sport, there’s something for you in NHL 13 and it’ll keep you busy for quite a while. The fact that EA managed to rebuild the Skating, AI and Goalies, while also adding some great new modes all in one year is truly impressive and shows why they are the best at what they do.”
Torchlight 2 – “When it comes to Action-RPG’s, Torchlight 2 is as good as it gets, with its massive amount of content, online co-op, new skill system, new and easy to use interface, beautifully created areas to explore and four great character classes to mold. Runic were on to something special with the original Torchlight and have managed to update what was so great about it and create a truly complete experience with so few flaws that it’s as close to perfect as you can get in my opinion. The best part of all is that you only have to pay $20 to experience it.”
The Walking Dead – “With The Walking Dead, Telltale have definitely set the bar high for all games, not just Adventure games, in terms if story telling, connecting gamers to the characters and how their choices matter. If you haven’t played The Walking Dead yet then you should get on that because you’re missing out on one of the best games of the year.”
Mass Effect 3 – “Looking past some technical issues, and co-op that is just OK, Mass Effect 3 delivers where it’s supposed to. Shepard’s last hurrah delivers an action packed story that is filled with sadness, triumph and a ton of old friends. The story unfolds in unexpected ways and never lets you down. Mass Effect 3 does plenty of fan service without alienating new fans or being as predictable as it has in the past. I don’t think the co-op will hold my attention very long, but I am going to start a new single player campaign right now.”
Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition – “Much like Seinfeld was a show about nothing, but was one of the most hilarious shows ever, Minecraft is a video game about nothing, but will keep you busy and entertained for hours. If building a world out of blocks sounds boring to you, then you have come to the wrong place and you could easily get two other games on the Xbox Live Arcade for your 1600 MS Points. On the other hand, if you are creative, have tons of patience and love video games that let you create, then you will love Minecraft, even if you never really figure out what to do next.”
Award Categories: Best PC Indie, Best Strategy Game, Best Puzzle Game, Best Sports Game, Best Racing Game, Best Co-op Game, Best Multiplayer Game, Best Action Game, Best Story, Best DLC, Best RPG, Best Downloadable Console Game, Best Shooter.
Editor’s Note: The nominees for Game of the Year are based on the winners from some of the top award categories. The winner is then picked by the entire staff, based on the overall quality of the entire package, and not just one specific aspect or the game’s review score.