2011 was a groundbreaking year for video games, potentially the best this current generation of consoles will see. Although one game alone in 2013 may blow all of them out of the water (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves), 2012 saw the final chapter in the mass effect trilogy, which caused a lot of debate for its very bold triple choice ending. We saw possibly one of the greatest sequels ever in gaming with Batman: Arkham City, mind bending puzzles return in Portal 2 and the life ending and utterly engrossing Skyrim. From the conclusion of the Gears of War trilogy to a cracking little platformer in Rayman Origins. The list was endless – too much for 2012 to live up? Well, yes, quite clearly. Nothing could come close to such a sensational year, but that’s not to say 2012 wasn’t full of some right little rip roaring, swash buckling, darn tooting, eye gougers. HD Eyes has again done the hard graft for you lazy pigs… here is our top ten for the video games of 2012:
10. Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 is nothing less than a heart pounding slow motion action shooter. This third instalment saw the majestic combination of Rockstar’s script writing and musical insight from health who provided the soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEH_LSL4rVw
Max leaves his alcoholism and drug addiction behind in New Jersey to become a bodyguard to the rich in Rio; surely this will be just like going to the shop for some milk? Don’t be silly.
9. Sleeping Dogs
The back story to how Sleeping Dogs became a video game almost usurps the fantastic undercover cop storyline in the game. You play Wei Shen, an undercover cop from the San Francisco P.D sent to infiltrate the Triad gang ‘The Sun On Yee’. As Wei delves far too deep into enemy territory the lines between morality and the law become blurred. With a game that mixes RPG, Batman style combat and Need for Speed driving elements this is a blinding Hong Kong hit. The music radio also comes equipped with its own Ninja Tune radio station.
8. Trails Evolution (XBLA Exclusive)
Everyone got great use out of their gaming gum-shield with this intense and teeth grinding, 2.5D, Kickstart predecessor; Trails Evolution was easily worth every Microsoft point. This two-wheel puzzle game has a fantastic learning curve which crush your morale to a sickening degree in the later levels. This sequel sees the introduction of single-screen multiplayer, with up to four players competing on one track. 50 single tracks are included on the game as well as the option to edit your own, and if you’re feeling lazy, just download the thousands of amazing tracks designed by people with a lot more time on the hands than you, for free!!!
7. Journey (PSN Exclusive)
Easily one of the best received games of the year, the only reason it appears down the list is that it is a slightly brief experience. Nonetheless, this is a game which will stay with the player forever. You assume the role of a nameless robed character travelling through a vast desert towards a large mountain far in the distance which is your ultimate goal. Journey‘s story is told wordlessly through in-game and pre-rendered cutscenes, while the action of the character relies on wordless shouts or musical notes to communicate with other nameless characters. Journey is an utterly enthralling and unique gem.
6. Halo 4 (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Many critics would suggest dipping back into a series with a defined ‘end’ could be a minefield. Then you have the audacity to bring back Master Chief, like wheeling out a wheezing, flabby Ric Flair for ‘one more bout’. Its just seems inhumane. After Bungie threw in the towel the mantle was picked up by 343 studios (which coincidentally comprised of 80% ex Bungie staff) and updated the series with some fine attention to detail. Never before have light and shadows in a game seemed so vivid and jaw dropping. Graphics aside, the world renowned multiplayer has had a much need revamp with points scoring being spread to many different levels of assists. Just try not to pay too much attention to the exceptionally ambiguous, pretentious, and nonsensical story in the campaign.
Bethesda went to the trouble of hiring architects to build their fictional world of Dunwall for Dishonored. The city represents a fictional, 1900’s plague ridden London where the main protagonist Corvo is setup in the murder of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and is forced to go into hiding while he gears up for the ultimate revenge. This stealth action game sees many levels split into multi accessible open frameworks where you can choose to infiltrate them by means of steal or combat, or a combination of both depending on the skills you unlock. The story changes depending on whether you add to the infected population by killing guards or reducing the infected plague zombies by sneaking through the game.
4. Borderlands 2
A game which certainly rewards you playing together, Borderlands 2 is such an enormous improvement on its predecessor that it has become HD Eye’s staple diet for 2013. There are four main characters in this action RPG, each having their own distinct abilities, which when combined leave enemies in their wake. This can also benefit everyone involved as experience and loot collected is far greater. This is a wonderful cell-shaded design coupled with arguably the greatest comic dialogue ever heard in a game. The playtime is almost endless with double play troughs’ and enormous DLC packs.
3. Mass Effect 3
The previous 2 games in the ME series certainly helped the conclusion of this epic sci-fi trilogy in the top 3. Mass Effect 3 may divide opinion with its discarding of some of the great RPG elements of the original games in favour of more action, but still not many games have been able to execute the multi-choice outcome like Bioware. Granted, the series may have concluded in the most unspectacular three choice fashion, but this was always more about the experiences in the middle of the adventure. Deep space has never looked so god dam sexy.
2. Far Cry 3
“Did I ever tell you the definition… of insanity?” Well now you come to mention it, insanity would by skydiving onto an unknown island for kicks thinking you’ll be greeted with open arms. You play Jason Brody, an all American Jock whose life is turned upside down when his brother is killed in front of him by Vaas, a lunatic pirate with an army occupying an island barely lacking any sense. Far Cry 3 is a glorious blend of heart pumping, gum bleeding, dub-step churning action. Your quest is to find the rest of your captured party while harnessing the unknown potential or your warrior powers. The game possesses a great balance of action, adventure, role playing and story arc. Far Cry could easily have made it to the top spot but could not match the emotional attachment of our favourite game of the year…
1. The Walking Dead
You play Lee Everett, who starts life in the back of a police car, being taken in for murder. It is here you are first introduced to the design of the game, using multiple choice answers in order to shape your story. Each answer comes with a time limit, a purposeful mechanism as some answers which will shape the course of the game have to be selected in 1 or 2 seconds. Others are given far too long to decide because of their important nature which only proves to suck you further into the game. You are also required to complete some physical and detective tasks at times but you are left with the real sense that so many lives, especially that of young Clementine, depend solely on your choices. One of the great advantages of Telltale’s games is to space out the release dates of each of the five episodes of The Walking Dead on XBLA just to increase the anticipation. As each episode concludes and another starts, the player will begin to realise just how influential their choices, even as far back as the first episode, have been. The series, although based on the comics (Graphic Novels!!! – Ed.), has some original characters giving it a fresher approach. The game is helped by the lack of overall control over the main character, only adding to the sense of tension during those zombie raid periods. Thankfully since the games inception season 2 has been confirmed. I would also challenge any man, no matter how tough, to try and finish the game without a lump in their throat.