The top ten games of 2012

Title The top ten games of 2012
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Features
When December 13, 2012

I'm not sure that any of these games would have made my top ten, but I never got around to trying the Walking Dead series, Mark of the Ninja, Hitman: Absolution, Guardians of Middle Earth, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Natural Selection 2, Last Story, Tokyo Jungle, Y

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You should play Mark of the Ninja, it's very very good.

Bravo on the Story Nexus pick. It's a terrific idea with interesting execution - I don't like all of it but I love the concept and to guts try it.

I'm going to assume that Darkness II was number eleven. ;)

Congratulations Tom, you've made me want to buy a Wii.

LOL Diablo III and Assassin's Creed III. Well you have other good picks there, so at least you have *some* taste.

Mark of the Ninja does kick much ass, and gets points from me personally for having a totally viable path for completing the game without killing anybody. Well, except when the game makes you kill people, but what are you gonna do.

TWD & Spec Ops are both worth experiencing I'd say, just simply from the narrative perspective. Neither has great game play, but they're engaging.

Thanks for the Story Nexus recommendation; will be trying out Cabinet Noir.

I think Echo Bazaar(/Fallen London), which is by no means a 2012 game, is currently well ahead of any other StoryNexus title in overall content, quality, variety and execution. That said, I love that they did it. I love many of the things being done with it - they're just mostly not even close to finished (even Echo Bazaar is a fair ways from the planned end, as I understand it). And while I don't think it's technically still in beta, it's clear that there's a considerable amount of functionality planned that's not yet available, or if available, not really used much yet. Like metaqualities, where something you do in one StoryNexus game (or game character) can set a quality that another one (or a new character in the same one) can read and branch accordingly. Or persistent qualities that stick only within one game but can allow switching between characters / game sessions.

I agree with this 100%. Also, they don't represent a huge time investment as neither is particularly long.

For my part, I don't really have a "ten best" list, because there have been some really exceptional games this year and I can't remember what all came out when, but some of my favorites this year that don't appear on Tom's list (though I enjoyed all of the games Tom lists that I've actually played - about half - and would probably adore Diablo 3 if it weren't for the DRM that makes it a toxic purchase) include:

The Secret World:
Funcom botched the launch, certainly. There were some really critical bugs, especially surrounding chat, and there are some things that they really should have rethought design-wise (I understand that the factions are theoretically at odds game-fictionally, but when you can quest with literally anyone outside of the handful of dedicated PvP battlefields, cross-faction guilds really, really should have been an option). But it remains a fantastically beautiful, very well written game with a setting that is completely unique among MMOs and very compelling to me personally. The almost ARG-style investigative quests are (mostly) brilliant and again completely unique among MMOs, and the classless skill wheel system turns out to work quite well and scratch the deck building itch that drives so many CCGs. They've also done very well at rolling out consistent content updates despite an unfortunate level of staffing loss, and they just bit the bullet and dumped the subscription requirement.

A gorgeous, painterly world, smart writing, a densely packed space that rewards exploration, intense combat, and very satisfying movement, stealth, and magical powers.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria:
Yeah, it's more WoW. But for all that WoW currently represents essentially the baseline MMO, it's also got probably the most content of any MMO on the market, an absurd number of potential activities not limited to the traditional questing, PvP and raiding of most MMOs, gorgeous art direction, more varied quest design than any MMO other than The Secret World, a brilliantly customizable interface (I am an addon addict), and now Pokemon. I don't really know why they chose to add that, nor why they chose to base the current expansion off an ongoing April Fool's joke, but I'm enjoying both thoroughly.

Spec Ops: The Line:
Standard military shooter gameplay, but apocalyptic, sand-choked Dubai and the Heart of Darkness-inspired morality tale of the storyline made for a very memorable game for me. I had honestly not expected this one to pan out, but it did.

Torchlight II:
I enjoy this sort of game, but I don't get really into them, generally speaking. I'll beat them once and move on, if that. And I was kind of underwhelmed by the first Torchlight. So I was astounded at how enormously better this one was. Smart changes to things like identification, pets, enchantment, and so forth made the game tighter, much less tedious, and a lot more fun. The areas are (I think) randomized to an extent, but crucially they don't feel like it, having all the atmosphere and coherency of a carefully handcrafted experience. There's tons of enemy variety, and the classes have a lot of skills I really want to try along with a lovely three tier upgrade system, neither of which was true of the original. And of course, there's multiplayer, which I haven't been able to try yet but hope to soon when my friends get less busy with school and family.

Prototype 2:
I adored the first one. The second one's writing is even worse, if that's possible, but pretty much everything about the gameplay is better - movement, powers, missions, side missions, bosses.. and it looks significantly better, too.

At what point does Xenoblade pick up? I tried it but quit after around an hour of wandering around the starting town trying to deliver a picnic basket to the stock jRPG meek love interest whose hobbies include cooking and apologizing.

Head writer for Zero Summer here. I think you're absolutely right in saying Fallen London is ahead of other StoryNexus titles in "overall content, quality, variety and execution" -- because Fallen London's been going for years and we've had about six months! :)

But: I think you would find a lot to love in both Samsara and Zero Summer. Samsara is doing lovely, lapidary things with the StoryNexus in-house style: historical fantasy with a lazy, hookah-and-sweets vibe. And Zero Summer is just the opposite: a gritty pistols-and-horror game set in the post-apocalyptic American southwest.

Give StoryNexus time. The best games will catch up in content breadth and mechanical polish. And are already caught up in quality of prose, cleverness of invention, depth of mystery. Do give us a try. I doubt you'll be disappointed. :)

My comment seems to have been eaten! So I'll try to recreate:

Head writer for Zero Summer here. I think you're absolutely right to say that Fallen London is "currently well ahead of any other StoryNexus title in overall content, quality, variety and execution" -- because Fallen London has been around for years and we've had about six months! :)

But: the best StoryNexus games are doing lovely, interesting things. E.g. Samsara is doing sweet and captivating things in the StoryNexus "in-house style": historical fantasy with a lazy, hookah-and-sweets vibe. And Zero Summer is just the opposite: a gritty, dusty blend of cyberpunk and old western, with all the requisite violence and moral heartburn and mystery and horror.

Give StoryNexus time. The best games will catch up in terms of content quantity. And have already caught up, I think, in terms of quality of prose, and the depths of our mysteries and inventiveness, and the broadness of our worlds. Do give us a try. I doubt you'll be disappointed. :)

Looks like it wasn't eaten after all. But yeah, absolutely. My primary issue with Zero Summer in particular is there's not more of it yet. :)

That said, it does seem like Fallen London has some game functionality that's not present yet in StoryNexus. I assume it's intended that it will be eventually.

Of your year end wrap ups there is only one game I would really disagree with you on. Rebuild, while cute, disappointed me. I when I started the game on easy I thought it was fun. However, to progress I had to become more acquainted with the mechanics and on close examination I didn't feel they really held together enough. But what really killed the game for me was that in order to play at the higher difficulty you need info and controls which are very awkward at preforming the moves you need to do.

If last week's Liberation comments are still accurate, then you haven't played Gravity Rush yet, either. Really, not even the demo? And you call yourself an open world fan. At least you still have a few weeks to edit your list.

Well, you're right that I haven't played it. But I did buy it! It's waiting for me on my newly upsized Vita memory chip. I'm eager to spend some time with it!

Ian, I think I mentioned this in the review, but I feel Rebuild doesn't really live up to its promise until you're playing on the hardest difficulty level. Also, it's not necessarily a game you play to win. As with many (most?) good zombie stories, everyone will die in the end. What matters is how long they stay alive and how they interact with each other until then.

I'm not sure I understand your comments about the info and controls, but I found the interface pretty thorough in terms of giving me the info I needed. Can you tell me a bit more about what you were having trouble with?