10 Best Video Games of 2012
It’s finally time to discuss the best video games of 2012.
Since the advent of this most recent console generation, it’s hard to remember a year that hasn’t been jam-packed full of tremendous video games. 2012 was no exception to that rule, and featured one of the most diverse and entertaining line-ups of games spanning an unprecedented reach of platforms and genres.
It’s only fitting that the final year before current-gen becomes last-gen was full of quality titles, many of them worthy of recognition as one of the best video games of 2012.
Now it’s up to you to decide which of these soon-to-be classic games will be 2012’s best.
Arkane Studios teamed with Bethesda to bring one of the most original and compelling new IPs to market this fall, and gamers were not let down by one second of Dishonored. Following former government bodyguard Corvo around as he completed his quest to restore his name and save the city of Dunwall was an amazing experience. By including a full arsenal of unlockable powers, branching paths, and multiple endings, gamers could play Dishonored any way they wanted, and keep the experience personal. Highly stylized and featuring a fully realized world worth exploring to every last inch, Dishonored easily earns it’s spot among the year’s best games.
The Walking Dead
Telltale Games decided to forgo the expected route when it came to its video game adaptation of The Walking Dead. Set in the comic book universe, but wholly independent of that long-running story, Telltale’s episodic adventure game had gamers on the edge of their seats from April all the way through November. Split across five episodes, the ongoing narrative followed Lee and Clementine, as well as some other survivors, as they tried to make it to safety from the zombie apocalypse. Emotional, pulse-pounding, and introspective, The Walking Dead shattered all expectations and delivered one of the most compelling and memorable gaming experiences of this generation.
Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
Next on the list of the best video games of 2012 is Minecraft. The do-it-yourself adventure game Minecraft may not seem like it was suited for a console, but 4J Studios managed to turn Mojang’s PC fan favorite into one of the best downloadable games available this year. The ability to fully customize your world any way you saw fit was a huge draw, and the ease of only needing a controller to do it gave the successful title a whole new life. In addition to being one of the few games available that gamers can do whatever they want with, Minecraft is also insanely addictive. Constant support and updates from 4J has grown Minecraft into a phenomenon that few other games, downloadable or not, have reached, and there’s no signs of it stopping any time soon.
New Super Mario Bros. U
More Mario is never a bad thing, particularly considering New Super Mario Bros. U debuted on Nintentdo’s first HD console. The franchise has never looked better, and the Wii U’s added functionality makes NSMBU more than your average Mario title. The Gamepad unlocks a host of new co-operative possibilities, and the ability to play the game on the Gamepad without a television is a great bonus. There’s lots to love about what Nintendo is doing with its first-party games on the Wii U, and NSMBU is a great example of how the company can continue to churn out great games featuring beloved characters without those experiences becoming stale.
Xbox Live Arcade has been home to more than its fair share of quality downloadable titles over the years, but when it’s all said and done, Fez is likely going to be one of the most memorable. In development seemingly forever, the puzzling platformer finally arrived earlier this year, and wowed just about every person who played. The complex world-bending puzzles were certainly taxing, but the variety and challenge always kept you coming back for more. The further you progressed down Fez’s rabbit hole, the more it became clear this game was more than just a simple platformer. Endless hours were lost trying to solve just one more puzzle and earn one more cube, but you never cared because you were finally one step closer to figuring it all out. There are very few games which can redefine such storied genres, but Fez managed to do that with ease, putting developer Polytron on the map for good.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 drops you in the middle of a Pacific island as you fight to find your family and friends, who have been kidnapped to be sold to the highest bidder. The open-world nature invokes titles like Skyrim and Fallout 3, but the modern setting and vivid colors of the jungle paint a completely different and compelling picture. Sure you’ll have to worry about pirates taking your life, but there’s also all the indigenous wildlife like tigers, panthers, and sharks out to get you, too. You could easily lose yourself for hours in Far Cry 3 before even attempting to progress the story one bit, but once you do, you’ll find a narrative that’s both intriguing and full of surprises. It’s hard to craft an open-world game with as much muscle as Far Cry 3, but the game impresses on every level, making it a fine contender for video game of the year in 2012.
Resident Evil: Revelations
The world had been clamoring for a new, old-school style Resident Evil for years, and this year the 3DS finally got it. Resident Evil: Revelations takes place between RE4 and RE5, and stars Jill and Chris as they work to stop a terrorist attack. For as long as the franchise has been around, there hasn’t been a quality portable Resident Evil title, but Capcom pulled out all the stops with this sequel, and not only crafted another strong Resident Evil game, but one of the best games on the 3DS to date. The game controls well, looks fantastic in 3D (or 2D), and is chock full of hallmark the scary moments and terrifying monsters that defined the franchise. Revelations stands as a reminder that Capcom can still make tremendous Resident Evil games when they want to.
Mark of the Ninja
Stealth games require a patient player, but the rewards for hard work can be extremely fulfilling. Mark of the Ninja is a stellar entry into the genre, and even as a downloadable game, stands out as an amazing game against its retail contemporaries. Developed by Klei Entertainment, the same team that brought you Shank, Mark of the Ninja has the look of an animated feature, but all the heart (and blood) of a mature blockbuster. The white-knuckled anticipation as you progress through the game makes each level an exercise in ninja-like execution. It’s not just a clever name, after all. There’s loads of challenges and unlockables, and plenty of reason to replay the game once you’ve finished the first time. Joining the other remarkable downloadable titles on this list, Mark of the Ninja’s quality shows you don’t need to be a big budget release to be remembered come awards season.
Assassin’s Creed III
The final game in Desmond’s story, Assassin’s Creed III introduced players to Connor, a Native American with a grudge against the Templars. Finishing off nearly half a decade of story, ACIII brought fans a satisfying conclusion to a long-running narrative full of twists, turns, and shocking moments that will be remembered. There was also a load of new gameplay elements including naval battles, hunting, and dozens of new side-quests to keep you playing for hours on end. Assassin’s Creed has grown quite a bit since it started, and it’s been quite an adventure throughout. Where the series goes from here remains to be seen, but Ubisoft has delivered another quality entry this year, and that’s all that matters for now.
Mass Effect 3
Even though Mass Effect 3 was one of the year’s most controversial titles, it still managed to also be one of the best. A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, Mass Effect 3 put it all on the line for Shepard and the galaxy, as the fight against the Reapers finally came to a head. With nothing but a rag-tag team of the galaxy’s best and brightest, it was up to you to save the Milky Way for the last time. Graphically superior, and with the gameplay to match, Mass Effect 3 proved to be a fitting finale worthy of the best sci-fi stories and games in history. There are few lead characters as memorable and customizable as Shepard, and it’s a shame to see him/her go. That said, BioWare and Shepard went out with a bang, and solidified this franchise as one of the best of this console generation.