FEATURE: PLAYDEVIL'S GAME OF THE YEAR 2012 - BEST CATEGORY
We've already given you our personal Top 5 lists, and now it's time to see all of our category awards for our favourite games of 2012 !
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Jan 8, 2013 14:24 (Jan 8, 2013 14:24)
1 - The Witcher 2
Ok, so we discussed this on the podcast as possible cheating, but the Enhanced Edition of The Witcher 2 was so much more than some DLC- a visual upgrade, new story elements, a rebalance of the difficulty and an expanded tutorial totally changed the way this already excellent game played.
2 - Mass Effect 3
In the same way, Mass Effect 3 probably lost out on the number 1 spot by restricting content and adding in crucial DLC either with or after release. Everyone who plays the game now, with the extended cut, From Ashes and Leviathan installed has a far superior experience to anyone at launch, which is a real shame, because this is the best Mass Effect has ever played.
3 - KoA: Reckoning
Reckoning is a great game, with an interesting story, some decent DLC, and a great visual style and excellent action RPG combat. It’s dragged down by re-skinned enemies and very lacklustre side-quests, but there’s still at least 20 hours worth of great content to be found here- far more than you get from most boxed games nowadays.
1 - Street Fighter X Tekken
Collaborations are always a strange proposition. Bringing together two franchises, while trying to stay true to both, can result in some disjointed outcomes. But Street Fighter X Tekken excels, crossing the two fighting systems with seeming ease and forcing me to rethink how I play one of gaming classic franchises. While the gem system felt unnecessary, my enjoyment of the base mechanic more than masked any misgivings.
2 – Dead or Alive 5
Dead or Alive has been gone for six years. In that time director Itagaki left developer Team Ninja, leaving the team without a lead. While fears were high after the lacklustre Ninja Gaiden 3, Dead or Alive 5 has proven that the team was more than just their charismatic lead. Bringing back the same balance and fluid pace of combat, Dead or Alive 5 delivers all the series is famed for, right down to the still questionable breast physics.
3 - Soul Calibur V
It’s hard not to love the explosive nature of Soul Calibur V. Huge weapons, beautiful arenas and balanced combat, have given the franchise an appeal that goes beyond the usual fighting game crowd. The fifth instalment feels like a return to basics, with even the cameo stars remaining far more in keeping with the series aesthetics, creating a game that appeals to all without the need for Yoda.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3’s story may ultimately disappoint, but the graphics and gameplay make up for it. It’s the best playing and looking open world shooter that’s ever been made, and it makes the right decision in ensuring that fun always takes precedence over realism. There’s always something interesting to do, loads of options of how to do it, and it has some neat ideas to boot as well.
Borderlands 2 was basically Borderlands, but ramped right up to 11. The humour probably wasn’t as good, but the core gameplay, game balance and AI have been ramped up. Combined with some more interesting quests and you have a shooter you can easily dump 50 hours into before you even touch the DLC.
343 had a difficult job taking over Halo, and whilst the single player could have been better, ultimately being a by-the-numbers Halo game, Spartan Ops is what really sets the game apart, being a whole new take on co-op, episodic content, and how to give extra life to your game and multiplayer maps.
Alex has played far more of Dishonored, but I’m already in love with the beautiful city of Dunwall, and the multitude of ways you can go about the city and your missions there. It’s a very specific genre, but it’s not been done this well since the original Deus Ex.
2 - Hitman
Hitman Absolution had some bad points- the awful checkpointing and lack of any other method of saving most notably, but otherwise reminded me about how much I love Hitman games. The single player is better linked than any previous game, is generous in length, and you also get the interesting Contracts mode as well.
3 - Gravity Rush
Gravity Rush’s combat might get annoying, repetitive and overly difficult by the latter half of the game, but it’s worth persevering with for a unique game and world, with an interesting and heart-warming story that can only come out of Japan.
1 - Walking Dead
The Walking Dead has received accolades throughout the gaming world this year. With an expertly crafted story that gave a sense of total control and choice, even when there was little, to an art style that perfectly captured the graphic novel source material; Tell Tale Games have finally realised the full potential of their episodic format. From the very first episode I could see it was special, and it was a feeling that only built, episode-upon-episode, to the phenomenal conclusion.
2 - McPixel
McPixel is an odd one. It is what classic adventure games would have been if they were in arcades. Fast paced, but with the same crazy trial and error puzzle mechanics of the classic Lucas Arts point-and-click adventures, every level captures the classic genre in a microcosm.
3 – Catherine
Umm… this could easily be classed as a puzzle game, certainly much of the Catherine is just block puzzles, but the character interactions between ‘levels’ cross into adventure territory. A fascinating study of morality in relationships, if you role-play honestly you might learn something about yourself.
1 - FTL
FTL was one of the first big Kickstarter games, but has only continued to garner praise since release. It’s so hard, and I’ll probably never complete it, but that’s not an issue- it almost drives me on to play more of the game. It’s simple, yet difficult to master, and really addictive.
2 - Legend of Grimrock
Another old-school game, but this time with a lick of 2012 paint, Grimrock is an amazing game if you ever played D&D at school. Sometimes I wish the controls would make more sense, but it’s a brilliant old-school throwback, and now it has Steam workshop the amount of content available is just staggering.
3 - McPixel
McPixel is probably best played on a touch screen- the 16-bit graphics aren’t diminished, whilst the gameplay is potentially improved as you prod your way around the screen. The gameplay couldn’t be simpler, but it’s hilarious, and constantly so, despite being a one-trick horse.
1 – Journey
This is a strange category. Ian and I are still not 100% sure what is should entail. In the end The Walk Dead felt too big, McPixel felt too indie, but Journey felt just right (if a little bit artsy). That Game Companies experiment into online interaction, crossed with a haunting aesthetic, has seen me thinking more about Journey than any other game this year. It may not affect you as deeply as it affected me, but you owe it to yourself to find out if it will.
2 – Trials Evolution
Trials Evolution scratches all the same itches for me as the original Trials HD and (believe it or not) Dark Souls. It is the part of me that enjoys to be punished, likes to hit my head against a wall until either the wall gives way or I give up in a hail of abusive language. The exactness of the simple controls on its physics controlled world, and the fiendish collection of tracks and challenges, serve to make Trials Evolution one of the most instantly consuming experiences this year.
3 – Fez
Fez is a tricky one. I can see why it’s amazing, but being on a timer tainted my experience with it. Its initial appeal as a 2D platformer with a 3D twist soon revealed to just be the surface, and this is where my difficulties began. Cracking codes, finding the ciphers, is something I could have really embraced, but falling back on forums and FAQs left it cold. Still Ian loves it, and I support him in that.
1 - Forza Horizon
Horizon combines the best of Forza 4’s driving and graphics with the open world of Test Drive Unlimited. It also has some fantastic multiplayer, music and graphics, along with some amazing challenges, with the Mustang (car) vs Mustang (plane) being one of my most memorable gaming moments of the year.
2 - NFS Most Wanted
Most Wanted has a disappointing, almost MMO like single player, but excels in multiplayer, with the best of Burnout Paradise simplified and improved to streamline the experience and ensure that you spent more time driving. With a great city and car list, this is still an awesome racing game.
3 - Wipeout 2048
What could be the final WipEout may be the best in the series. Some of the sense of speed has gone, but it’s the best playing game in the series in a long while, with a much fairer difficulty curve, and some fantastic tracks. If you have the PS3 version, you also get that as DLC for free, making this a hugely generous package to boot.