Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 - A Year in Gaming

Theoretically, Far Cry 3 should be my last game this year (or the apocalypse, whichever comes first). There has been a lot of noteworthy games this year, and I'm listing down my favorites for each of my (mostly made-up) categories.

Best Lore
This has to go to Dishonored. This is one of the best examples of substance over style - and the amount of detail that the Bethesda has put into the game overshadows the fact that the engine is outdated. There are two types of immersion in terms of video games - massive worlds where players can practically play as they see fit and self-contained worlds whose disjointed elements are sewn together beautifully by minute references. Skyrim is the former, while Dishonored is the latter.

Best Grindfest
Borderlands 2 takes this one. Offbeat humor, coupled with OC-inducing collecting (because who the hell carries ten guns on their person at any one time) make the endgame race a fun ride. Cooperative multiplayer is a blast and the loot system is the closest one can get to a real MMO without blowing away their wallet.

Best DLC Redemption
To be fair, the ending I got in Mass Effect 3 wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, given the online backlash that Bioware got for it. The secret ending that was included in the Extended Cut was amazing, albeit quite tragic. At the very least, it beats an age old trope, which is a refreshing change of pace from all the human-centric stories out there.

Most Jarring Cutscenes
Mass Effect 3 takes this as well. Samara's sacrifice (and her daughter's death, because my Shepard was an ass) was hard to watch, but seeing Tali throw herself off a cliff was one of the saddest things I saw in all of visual media.  Also, Liara's gift to Shepard had to be the most touching cutscene ever, given that the Reapers tore them a new one in the secret ending.

Hidden Gem
If there's one overlooked game this year, it's Binary Domain. It features a morally disturbing science fiction story set in a dystopian future (that might as well be where we're headed) and a good amount of crazy that only Japan could deliver.

Best Game with Horrible Graphics
This has to go to Slender, an free independently developed game that tries to capture the horror of the Slenderman. I've been a fan of Marble Hornets since I ran into it a year ago, and this is a very good homage to the famous web series.

Worst Letdown
I've ranted about this previously, but I feel like Assassin's Creed 3 did not have the resolution that I was hoping for. Aliens be damned, but I think that Minerva and her crew were unnecessary for the plot to move along - the game could have been written in a much better fashion, given that they were fighting to prevent the Mayan calendar predicted.

Game I Wanted to Play But Haven't Had the Chance to Yet
For me, this would be Spec Ops: The Line. I'm a sucker for games that implement moral choices, and is reviews are to be believed, Spec Ops is a disturbing experience for anyone involved.

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