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Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Crusader Kings II, Dragon's Dogma, Draw Something, Fez, Gravity Rush, Journey, Kid Icarus, Mass Effect 3, Top Ten, Top Ten Games So Far In 2012, Top Ten Tuesdays, Vessel, Waking Mars

Halfway through 2012, now that the E3 backlog has been shifted, it's time to take stock of the past six months. We've had games aplenty and, although it seems everyone's saving nearly all of their big guns for the winter gridlock, the first half of the year has seen some fantastic games. Here are our highlights from 2012 thus far...

Honourable Mentions

Diablo III - It finally arrived, and is awesome. Apart from the DRM. And the lack of a proper end-game. And the fact that it was built around an auction house. And the fact that it wasn't properly stocked. And the persistent connection issues.

But that aside, Diablo III is absolutely brilliant.

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Sine Mora - The alliance between Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture yielded an absolute cracker early this year with a steampunk SHMUP that managed to breathe some new life into a classic genre.

Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai - In an age of on-disc, day one DLC, in an age of publishers demanding that every last drop of gameplay is as fully monetised as it possibly can be, it's refreshing to find a company that still releases expansion packs as they used to be. There was so much brilliant content to this that frankly Creative Assembly could have released it at full price.

10. Waking Mars

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Sifting painfully through the endless swathes of poorly organised titles in the app stores for something of real quality can be frustrating. But every so often you come across a game like Waking Mars. A scientifically-minded platform-puzzler built around giving and creating life to the red planet rather than taking it away, Tiger Style's game proved to be a perfect synthesis of aesthetics and execution, delivering a strikingly complete and joyously satisfying experience.

9. Gravity Rush

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

The adventures of Kat gave the PS Vita the first game that was unmistakably it's own. Inventive, endearing, and aesthetically stunning, SCE Japan built a fantastic new IP around the Vita's unique qualities. Risky, bold, and somewhat flawed, it was also thoroughly refreshing, and a true killer app for the system.

8. Fez

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

The signs were out early. Polytron's quirkly, 8-bit flavoured platform-puzzler was touted for greatness months before release, and an initial run through affirmed it's status as a pleasant little game with a strong, simple central mechanic. But a second glance yielded some utter treats - puzzles etched into the fabric of the game itself - and secrets that we're still ekeing out. Fiendishly clever.

7. Kid Icarus

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

We've castigated Nintendo for a lack of ambition, for looking backwards far too much andrunning back to 2D tropes when out of 3D ideas. ut in Kid Icarus, the Big N not only breathed new life into a dusty and underutilised IP, but they provided an unmissable killer app for the 3DS in the process. Wildly inventive, hugely innovative, this was Nintendo once again delivering the AAAA standard those with long memories have always expected from them, and reminding us all that when they're on-song, no one can really touch them.

6. Draw Something

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

For two months, Draw Something was inescapable. The wildfire of social gaming, it spread with a speed that showed pure contempt for previous sales records, amassing followers with alarming pace. It brought complete strangers together in convulsions of laughter, and planted its flag at the forefront of the connected zeitgeist.

5. Crusader Kings II

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Paradox's affinity for incredibly beardy strategy that often laughs in the faces of newcomers is well known. But in Crusader Kings II they produced a staggeringly deep and compelling game, married to a tutorial system that actually worked. Putting the "grand" back into "grand strategy", Crusader Kings II delivered the finest genre experience since Rome: Total War, weaving an intricate tapestry of emergent historical narratives that were an utter joy to shape and sabotage. An utter triumph.

4. Dragon's Dogma

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

As well as having a phenomenally kick-ass main theme, Dragon's Dogma gave us exactly what we wanted. Capcom heeded the call for a JRPG with real-time systems and non-linear gameplay by delivering a game that not only challenged gamers to stand on their own two feet, but gave them all of the tools to do so. Gransys wasn't exactly the most unique of worlds, but by populating it with massive mythical beasts, and giving gamers a finely tuned combat system, innovative Pawn mechanics, and respec incentives aplenty, Capcom delivered an utter gem of a game. Rough around the edges, yes, but precious nonetheless.

3. Vessel

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Boasting some impressive visuals, a glorious soundtrack, and an expertly paced learning curve that constantly challenged the player and made you earn every reward, Vessel was a stunning achievement from Strange Loop - a 2D physics-based puzzler that managed to dazzle and astound. Often confounding, with intricate puzzles that taxed the brain harder than most pretenders since Portal, the satisfaction upon completion was all the sweeter, with fluid mechanics serving up a real treat for cerebral gamers. A candidate for puzzler of the year as soon as it released.

 

2. Mass Effect 3

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

BioWare bottled the ending, and then made it ten times worse by making countless U-turns, excuses, and concessions, but we'll always have Tuchanka. And Palaven. And Rannoch. Before we arrived at Earth we revelled in the characters that BioWare had given us. The pride at Jack's new position of responsibility. The easy friendship of kicking back with Garrus in the rafters of the Citadel. The satisfaction of seeing a krogan we saved on Virmire preside over a new dawn for his race. The only reason ME3's ending proved so disappointing was simply because everything that had come before it had been exceptional.

1. Journey

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Perfectly paced, beautiful to behold, Journey never outstays its welcome, and it's never given licence to be indulgent. In a world of cookie-cutter shooters and slashers, Journey eschewed all violence and competition, instead inviting players to immerse themselves in an utterly unique experience that meant something different to each person who played it.

It was pricey slice of creativity, but we're yet to find anyone who regrets taking the Journey. Here's what we said in our review:

Like the finest feel-good films, or those books you read again and again until the title on the spine is illegible from creasing, Journey is a game that exhibits pure joy. It plays with it, subverts it, threatens to take it away at times, but the end result is something inherently euphoric, deeply personal and, dare I say, even a little bit spiritual as well.

What have your favourite games of the past six months been? Let us know in the box below!

Add a comment18 comments
stevenjameshyde  Jul. 10, 2012 at 22:29

Trials Evolution is my personal favourite so far, Mass Effect 3 and Journey deserve their places near the top of the list though

Kopite211  Jul. 11, 2012 at 00:23

I loved Journey, in fact I might play it again tomorrow :)

zahidworld  Jul. 11, 2012 at 07:55

NINJA GAIDEN 3
SYNDICATE
RESIDENT EVIL - OPERATION RACOON CITY
SSX

Just shows that you guys know jack about games!

MattGardner  Jul. 11, 2012 at 08:52

NINJA GAIDEN 3
SYNDICATE
RESIDENT EVIL - OPERATION RACOON CITY
SSX

Just shows that you guys know jack about games!


This is a joke, right? Because I can't tell.

Though SSX was quite fun.

MattGardner  Jul. 11, 2012 at 08:54

Trials Evolution is my personal favourite so far, Mass Effect 3 and Journey deserve their places near the top of the list though


Trials was in the original draft. Perfect example of a good game made great.

Baldulf  Jul. 11, 2012 at 09:24

Very good list, even when I didn't know quite a few of those games.

I would add The Witcher 2 EE (it was a 2012 game on consoles at least) and SkullGirls.

RiKx  Jul. 11, 2012 at 09:33

NINJA GAIDEN 3
SYNDICATE
RESIDENT EVIL - OPERATION RACOON CITY
SSX

Just shows that you guys know jack about games!


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ELFl2_1q7DI/TObn1HnV2fI/AAAAAAAAAaQ/5JkvAtpbv7k/s1600/Not_sure_if_serious.jpg

DivideByZero  Jul. 11, 2012 at 10:24

LOL!

MUST be a joke... but I don't get SSX? That game actually was amazing and really would be in my top 10 list.

Of the Dealspwn top 10, I have only played the number 1 and have no interest in playing the rest. (Except gravity rush, but i don't want a Vita).

No Lego Batman 2 in the list? Very good game. Sure, just a lego game, but the first one to have dialogue and a also has host of cool characters that work well together.

Also, shocked that FFXIII-2 is not on the list?! This (IMHO) is the best one since FFVII.

I find it hard to not see FF13-2 on the list and Draw Something on there. Draw something is not really a game, it's more like a w***... fun for a couple of minutes but then you get on with your day. Sad times.

Last edited by DivideByZero, Jul. 11, 2012 at 10:25
henryford  Jul. 11, 2012 at 10:26

This is a joke, right? Because I can't tell.

Though SSX was quite fun.
At least Syndicate was a great game.... good story, immersive gameplay and a lot of fun...
SSX was also fun, but I wouldn't add it to the Top 10 either.
Ghost Recon is also quite fun, although it's not the same as the previous installments any longer, I still love playing it.
Max Payne 3 - great game as well.
Spec Ops: The Line - great game as well.
Alan Wake (well okay, only for the PC) - great game as well.
The Amazing Spiderman - does not fail do deliver as well.

I think there are some games missing on that list, on the other side you only catered to the Top10, and that is always subjective!
So - I just say thanks for a few hints at games I didn't play yet, but surely will now.

socialjeebus  Jul. 11, 2012 at 11:32

Walking Mars reminds me very much of the old game(Amiga - I think) Exile, which I loved as a kid.

My favourite game so far this year, not a full release, but Civ 5 Gods & Kings. It really filled out Civ 5 which despite being good, just seemed to be missing something.

Calvert  Jul. 11, 2012 at 13:28

Glad to see Crusader Kings II make the list. Most reviewers seem to loathe strategy games that take time, thought and have considerable replay value in favor of solvable shoot-em-ups that are worthless once you've gone through them. CK2 is perhaps one of the finest in the history of the genre and merited being ranked higher.

MattGardner  Jul. 11, 2012 at 14:48

@henryford: I initially wanted to do a top 20, and we debated running two lists.

All of the games that you mentioned are good, but not great. I think that's been the problem perhaps with the past six months. We've seen plenty of solid games emerge, lots of titles that have little technically wrong with them, but arguably few games that we'll still be talking about down the line.

That said, if we had run a top 20, several of the games you mentioned would definitely have made the grade.

@Calvert: CK2 rocked our socks off.

nitroO  Jul. 11, 2012 at 18:09

NINJA GAIDEN 3
SYNDICATE
RESIDENT EVIL - OPERATION RACOON CITY
SSX

Just shows that you guys know jack about games!


Really? you, sir, are a trollesque derp.

zahidworld  Jul. 11, 2012 at 18:57

@ Matt, Yea, I was being serious mate.
You lot dont know jack about games , what a shoddy list! Fez, Vessel ... was the list for top 10 kiddie games of last 6 months ???

Top 10 IMO ( in no particular ranking order )
----------
-SSX
-Ghost Recon Future Soldier
-Max Payne 3
-Final Fantasy XIII-2
-Syndicate
-Ninja Gaiden 3
-Silent Hill : Downpour
-Assassins Creed Revelations :Ottoman Edition
-Mass Effect 3
-Alan Wake
-Witcher 2

RiKx  Jul. 11, 2012 at 19:43

@ Matt, Yea, I was being serious mate.
You lot dont know jack about games , what a shoddy list! Fez, Vessel ... was the list for top 10 kiddie games of last 6 months ???

Top 10 IMO ( in no particular ranking order )
----------
-SSX
-Ghost Recon Future Soldier
-Max Payne 3
-Final Fantasy XIII-2
-Syndicate
-Ninja Gaiden 3
-Silent Hill : Downpour
-Assassins Creed Revelations :Ottoman Edition
-Mass Effect 3
-Alan Wake
-Witcher 2


You know it is entirely possible to give an opinion without coming across like a tool. Which you have. I'm not sure if you meant too, (see previous meme). But you did. A tool. Did u meme to be a tool or trolls it an accident? Just sayin. ;)

Kopite211  Jul. 11, 2012 at 20:06

@ Matt, Yea, I was being serious mate.
You lot dont know jack about games , what a shoddy list! Fez, Vessel ... was the list for top 10 kiddie games of last 6 months ???

Top 10 IMO ( in no particular ranking order )
----------
-SSX
-Ghost Recon Future Soldier
-Max Payne 3
-Final Fantasy XIII-2
-Syndicate
-Ninja Gaiden 3
-Silent Hill : Downpour
-Assassins Creed Revelations :Ottoman Edition
-Mass Effect 3
-Alan Wake
-Witcher 2


To be fair that list comes across as the 10 games wot I played recently.

HighFlyingDwarf  Jul. 11, 2012 at 20:42

Mass Effect 3 above Crusader Kings 2? You people disgust me.

RichardMottley  Jul. 12, 2012 at 08:35

This is a joke right? Journey for number one? That game is so shallow and short it isn't even worth mentioning. It was all overhype that didn't deliver. If you had it at number ten it would have given your list more credibility as e.g. Fez is a lot better than Journey.

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