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Thu, 27 Dec ’12

Best of 2012: Top 5 Video Games

Kill or be killed. Or go toward a mountain.

This year’s video game crop is among the best ever. We blew up all kinds of aliens, hacked up zombies and sliced up some redcoats. There were a lot of great titles to choose from, but in the end we had to whittle it down to five. Storytelling was key for us this year. We want to be compelled whilst we shoot lasers.

COMICSAssassin’s Creed IIIThe action this time around takes us away from Europe to the colonies during the Revolutionary War and into the story of Connor, a half-Mohawk, half-English assassin whom we follow for most of his entire life. The fun of this game lies in all the wandering you can do, and also how many real-life events pertaining to the War for Independence you can get yourself tangled up in. The game isn’t without its issues, but the story and gameplay are much improved from previous outings and the carnage is pretty fantastic. Killing wolves and bears that try to eat you is more fun than we imagined.

COMICSThe Walking Dead: Season OneThis game is unique in that it was released episodically throughout most of the year before finally getting a full disc. It follows Lee Everett, a convicted murderer who becomes the caretaker of a young girl after the zombie outbreak happens. Along the way through the five chapters, Lee and others meet well-known characters from the comic book series and intersect with the action. The zombie slaughter is amazing but the choose-your-own-adventure aspect is what really makes this game click. Every single decision you make impacts the way the game turns out and who is standing by your side when the game wraps up. Rarely has a game made us care so much about its characters.

COMICSJourneyEasily the shortest game on our list, and probably one of the shortest games we’ve played, Journey makes the list, primarily, because it’s just so unbelievably beautiful. You take control of a nameless, robed figure as you traverse a massive desert to reach a mountain which emits a massive, blinding light. That’s the “story,” but the game is much more than that. A visual and aural sensory explosion where gorgeous vistas accompany haunting music, which just happened to be nominated for a Grammy. It must be experienced to be believed.

COMICSMass Effect 3 Improving on the combat style of the first two games and rounding out the trilogy in style, this is the game we hoped we’d get. One really gets the feeling that this is a saga coming to an end, especially if you import your previous data from parts 1 and 2. As it’s still a role-playing game, the adventure hinges on which choices you make and why, and here the consequences are immensely heightened. Whether you romanced Ashley or your heart belongs to Garrus, we dare you not to get choked up when you have to say goodbye.

COMICSHalo 4Was there any chance this was going to be something else? There might not have been a more highly-anticipated game in not just this year, but several years. With the development switching hands from Bungie to 343, any number of let-downs could have occurred, but luckily number four in the franchise not only met our expectations, it exceeded them. It’s one of the best looking games we’ve ever seen and the storyline, involving an aging and malfunctioning Cortana, is as compelling as anything in the universe. Combat is, of course, amazing and the multi-player is everything it should be. What more can we say? We can’t wait for Halo 5