My top 5 games of 2012

Until these last couple of weeks, I have never really done many 'list' or 'top game' posts. That being said, I have actually enjoyed making these and looking back at my 'year in gaming', so to speak. It put me in a very reflective state (including the realization that this blog is over 3 years old now. I missed its birthday completely - but I got things started on 11/8/2009).

There are a lot of titles from this year I have not yet had a chance to play or play as extensively as I would have liked, and like my reviews these are simply a matter of preference. Halo 4 and Black Ops II are examples of games I will likely wind up playing next year. Guild Wars 2 has been awesome, but I have not had enough time with it to feel comfortable putting it in my top five.

I could not pick out a favorite single title from this year, so I will just leave it to a list with no order of preference to it. I picked only games released in 2012 and not ones that were excellent, but released previously and not played by me until 2012 (Skyrim for example).

Diablo III - I'm just going in alphabetical order here, but Diablo III was the most fun I had with any new title this year on my PC (just edging out Orcs Must Die! 2). I know there are complaints, and they are legitimate: it is short, it can be repetitive and the always online authentication is a pain.

While all of that is true, Diablo III was still a lot of fun. It was entertaining enough that my son and I both played through it and I even went at the next level of difficulty for a time. Piling up loot is still a blast and while there is certainly repetition to the combat, it was fast and enjoyable. The graphics were also very impressive, with almost painted backgrounds.

On top of that, I thought Blizzard did an excellent job throughout the year adding content and value to Diablo III. They could have shipped it and ignored it, but they addressed bugs, listened to customer feedback and continued to add features to the game to improve the longevity. Did it meet the overwhelming expectations it faced? Probably not, but I enjoyed it all the same and that is why I scored it an 8 out of 10 in my review this year.

Kid Icarus: Uprising - This might seem funny to those who follow this blog, because I have not yet posted my review of the game. Well, I think at this point, it is safe to say I enjoyed it and it will be getting a very good score. I got my 3DS for Christmas last year and out of the gates I was enamored with Mario Kart. Well, Kid Icarus completely took that favorite spot over with its combination of great music, excellent use of 3D visuals and entertaining gameplay.

There is a lot of 'extra' stuff to do as well, with online multiplayer, equipment development and level replayability with adjustable difficulty. I found myself coming back to Kid Icarus time and time again (despite the voice acting, which was amusing if a bit cheesy most of the time) throughout the year. This is a review I have been working on - but do not have ready to go just yet.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - It is a shame that the developing studio has been shut down, because I think they were on to something here. This action-RPG title was not for everyone, but it was definitely for me. Proof is in the stats I posted in my review, where I logged over 100 hours of time playing this game.

Was it perfect? No. I ran into some bugs, and the art design is not for everyone (though I really enjoyed it personally). The story was a bit weak as well, but the combat was handled incredibly well and there was just a ton to do. This is one of those titles that has gone under-appreciated I think, but it is doubtful it will ever develop into anything more than a cautionary tale for startup game studios. I picked this up for my Xbox and scored it an 8.5 out of 10 in my review.

Madden 13 - A sports title? Really? The games on my list are ones that have also had more than their share of detractors, and I know Madden 13 will not be any different. That being said? It is the only game on this list I am still actively taking the time to play and is the one I have easily sunk the most hours into since its release.

The graphics are excellent overall (though the product on the field easily surpasses the sideline/fan segments of the game). The presentation has a few hiccups but is the best it has been in years, especially in the audio department. The Infinity Engine is in its infancy and definitely has its quirks, but it brought something new to the table. The online experience has room to grow as well, as the amount of data the game demands and serves does sometimes cause the experience to lag or disconnect if you are lacking in ideal ISP options.

I have never been one who subscribes to the notion that sports games are yearly roster updates and nothing more. Certainly some are more innovative than others from year to year, but when I get hooked on one, I play it a ton and tend to pick up on the more subtle differences. Madden was a huge part of my college and high school years, and the ability to play online franchise modes that are fully featured with my old out-of-town/state college buddies has earned this title a ton of time in my PlayStation 3 despite its shortcomings and scored it an 8 out of 10 in my review.

Mass Effect 3 - Probably the most controversial title on this list for fans of the series. It took me some time to warm up to the first Mass Effect, but once I really got into it this became one of my favorite series this console generation. The blend of action and RPG elements like leveling were good, but the storyline and your ability to influence it and other characters is what really pulled me in and had me replaying these titles several times.

The third entry in Commander Shepard's story was probably the most controversial. Some of it you could see before the game even released. The community was not behind the idea of online multiplayer, though that feature turned out to be a pleasant surprise to most. Bioware has done an excellent job of supplementing that feature with continued content and tweaks, giving Mass Effect 3 additional time in my system well after I was finished with Shepard's story.

The problem for most people comes at the conclusion of said story. The original ending was underwhelming, I will admit. I did not view it with nearly as much hostility as many gamers, however - many of whom I have considerable respect for their opinions. I just do not necessarily agree on this point. The end of the trip did not invalidate the entire journey for me. Then Bioware released a new, director's cut ending that helped to flesh out some of the unanswered details from the original ending.

This additional context did help appease many fans, though many more still felt as though Mass Effect 3 ruined a perfectly good series for me. Not for me however - there were a lot of things Bioware got right both with the series and this third leg of it and I fully plan to play through it again in 2013 while scoring the collector's edition an 8.75 out of 10.

Dishonorable mention:

Two games really stood out to me as disappointments in 2012.

Legends of Pegasus - This 4x strategy title promised a lot of things, but in the end delivered mostly bugs with a fairly unsatisfying experience. Many of the bugs were fixed in later weeks and months, but it was in what I consider an unplayable state upon release. There were a lot of good ideas, but even as the game became more stable, it still lacked execution of those ideas scoring a 4.25 out of 10 in my review.

I really enjoy Game of Thrones - whether it is the show or the books, which is why I held out such hope for the game. I have a review for it written, but not posted yet - but here is my spoiler: I am only scoring it 5.75 out of 10. The story is excellent and there are some good ideas, but the visuals stink and the controls are sloppy. A great tale nested in a poor game.

What were your favorite games of the year - or for that matter biggest disappointments? I would love to know! And for additional content relating to this list of top games you can find my favorite games here.



  1. I skipped past the Mass Effect bit, can I read it without getting spoiled? xD

  2. I liked the ending of Mass Effect 3 - I thought it was nicely dramatic, conclusive, and left me wanting more. I really, really do not like the people that threw a tantrum over it. First World Problems at its most pathetic.

    My own personal list looks very different to yours, lol - not that the games on your list are poor, but for me this year was all about Dead or Alive 5, Atelier Meruru, Mass Effect 3, Warriors Orochi 3 and Theatrhythm.

  3. Excellent list though - and all four of those other games are ones I suspect I'd like, and wanted ot play, but didn't get a chance to this year. ;) ah well, maybe in 2013

  4. I haven't played barely any new games this year, so mine will go to....Skyrim. lol

    Good list, bro...cept for ME3....Rrrrrrr, that game.

  5. LOL - and thanks!

    Skyrim was awesome. I didn't play it until this year either, but I tried to keep my list to games that released this year, that I played this year. Skyrim however, was a ton of fun. :)

  6. First, happy New Year! As for my favorite games, I would probably base that on my time played and enjoyment, but I didn't get a whole lot played and beat in 2012...perhaps it's time for another resolution? (, it's not!)

    I enjoyed Mutant Mudds on the PC a good deal, and it was semi-completed today. ZombiU was a very good surprise for me on the Wii U, and my first Wii U title to beat. Trine 2 was semi-completed tonight, and I really have enjoyed that game. The graphics and art style, along with the story telling aspect and setting I really enjoyed. The puzzles in it really did/do challenge me, and make me think and try all sorts of "solutions", but I fail quite often.

    Rayman Origins was completed in May, and I enjoyed it a good deal as well. BIT.TRIP RUNNER was a bit of a surprise hit with me this year, as I had the demo downloaded for a while, but didn't really start trying it until this year with Bean 1 often watching. Then the Mrs. got me the entire BIT.TRIP Collection on the Wii, and I have enjoyed Runner a great deal on it...but haven't quite completed it yet. I enjoyed Punch-Out!! on the Wii, and am still working on it occasionally. I played and beat Uncharted, and really enjoyed it. Same with Batman: Arkham Asylum, played and beat it, and really enjoyed it...though the ending didn't seem to live up to the rest of the game for me.

    There would be some honorable mentions also, for games like Sanctum and PAYDAY: The Heist, as well as BlackLight. I played all of them in 2012, but only briefly and didn't really put a great deal of time into them, but did enjoy them when I played them.

    Rage of the Gladiator hitting the iOS and being able to participate and help some in the development side with feedback and video footage was probably one of the big gaming highlights in 2012 for me, but being that I don't own an "i" device and with the crazy holiday schedule we have been keeping I haven't played it much since it officially released.

    As for disappointments, I would say Red Steel 2 was disappointing to me, just because I really enjoyed the original. It felt a bit rushed to me, but I did enjoy the setting and graphical style in the game. I just hope that Ubisoft attempts to make a Red Steel HD remake of some sort, using WM+ now...I think that would fix nearly all of the original's control issues some had with it.

    I think that's all for now...probably one reason I don't do "top" lists very often (ever?!), I don't settle on games very easily...

  7. That's always been a problem for me too - not just settling in on a game or two, but this year I happened to play a fair # of 2012 releases for once and like you, just found myself going: okay, so what did I spend a lot of my time on - and then I found that the list came together for me a lot easier tha i expected.

    Now that the Wii U is out, a Red Steal Hd would be cool - but I doubt it'll happen - but maybe they'll do a part 3 that makes use of the system and graphics hardware?

    I haven't had a chance to play most of the games you mentioned - though I do have payday and hope to play it soon. thanks for dropping in - and happy New Year!

  8. Well, if they do a Red Steel 3, I hope it's back to the original's setting...which I'm guessing it would be considering they would probably focus more on the gun play, and not sword play.

    As for PAYDAY, what do you have it on? PS3? PC?

  9. I never did play the first Red Steel - I liked the sword play better than gun play in RS 2 though. I have Payday for the ps3 - it was a PS+ perk a few months ago - I just haven't really had a chance to try it out yet.

  10. O man, Mass effect 3 is great :D

  11. Glad you like it too - I've sunk a lot of time into ME 3 myself. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

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