Science & Tech
Top 10 video games of 2012

Credits: handout

STEVE TILLEY | QMI AGENCY

Zombies made us cry, robots made us laugh, psychopaths made us wreak havoc and a journey across glittering dunes made us sit back and soak in the wonder. All in all, 2012 was a hell of a year for video games.

As we amble towards the end of another revolution around the sun, here’s a look back at the 10 most memorable games of the past year. While this list reflects my own action-centric gaming biases, each one of these games did something special, and each deserves heartfelt kudos.

The Walking Dead (Telltale Games - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, iOS)

 

 

Point-and-click adventure games have fallen out of fashion, and games based on licensed properties tend to suck. So it’s amazing this five-part episodic series turned out to be an even more emotionally wrenching experience than TV series and comics it’s based on.

Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal - Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

 

 

Giving players the freedom to tackle obstacles any way they see fit is a tricky thing to pull off in a first-person shooter, but this trip to a tropical hell was one of the most consistently satisfying bullet-blasting adventures of this (or any) year.

Mass Effect 3 (BioWare Edmonton - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U)

 

The space opera trilogy ended on stratospherically high note this year (the controversy over its rejigged but improved ending notwithstanding) and even introduced a multiplayer component that didn’t feel like a tacked-on throwaway.

ZombiU (Ubisoft Montpellier - Wii U)

 

 

Recalling the slower-paced tension and dread of the older Resident Evil games, this horror adventure was the new Wii U’s best original launch title, and gave players some novel ways to use the console’s touchscreen controller.

Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games - PC)

 

There were a half-dozen innovative indie PC games that could have made the list this year, but none quite so brazenly bizarre, arty and addictive as this blood-soaked, ’80s-infused acid trip that somehow melded stealthy strategy with twitchy action.

Borderlands 2 (Gearbox Software - Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

 

 

Another game that successfully mixed white-knuckle gunplay with role-playing elements, our return to the wastelands of Pandora was highlighted by skillful world design, fantastic co-op gameplay and some of the funniest game dialogue of the year.

Halo 4 (343 Industries - Xbox 360)

 

 

While the story made little sense and some of the missions felt a bit too familiar, the return of Master Chief was one of the most visually impressive console games of the year, with addictive multiplayer modes and ongoing (and free!) weekly episodic content.

Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Development – Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

 

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops II was a slick thrill ride, sure, but Spec Ops dared to do something different by making players actually question the morality of their actions. A rare shooter that also served as a commentary on the genre.

We need more of this.

Dishonored (Arkane Studios - Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

 

In a year heavy with sequels, it was refreshing to see this wholly original genre-blending adventure, which succeeded in creating a memorable new world and giving players the freedom to explore it in their own way.

Journey (thatgamecompany - PS3)

 

No weapons, no scoring system, no hand-holding guidance. As its name suggests, this was a game about exploration, not the destination. Beautiful, evocative and unforgettable, it set the bar awfully high. Over to you now, 2013. Let’s see what you’ve got.

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