When Alex asked me to pick a top ten games of 2012, I told him I could only do five even though the games didn’t have to be released in 2012… After careful deliberation, I still only came to five games (sorry Alex). While at a glance, last year didn’t have the glut of games as years past, we were graced by quality, which I’d take over quantity any day.
Borderlands 2 –
Borderlands was not only one of my favorite games, but it had some of the most memorable characters in it, such as Claptrap, who occupies a huge tattoo on my forearm. Borderlands 2 upped the ante in such a way I didn’t think was possible. More variety in every way, more quirky moments than I can shake a stick at, and a co-op campaign that is fantastic from beginning to end. Also, no giant space squid as a final boss… That helped.
Halo 4 –
Halo was in an odd spot for me; I had this overwhelming feeling that 343 would be able to deliver on the premise of a new studio taking the Halo helm from Bungie, but there was always that nagging doubt in the back of my mind that stuck like a hearty meal sticks to your stomach. How do you turn such a legendary franchise over and expect everything to turn out ship-shape? 343 answered that question with a resounding, “You turn it over to people who love Halo”, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. While the overall gameplay stays familiar to past titles, visuals and cutscenes received an outstanding boost, and the new soundtrack direction is a pleasant change too.
How do you make a player feel like a total badass on the battlefield? You give him well balanced powers that can be used frequently. Syndicate had the perfect balance of abilities that felt more than useful while shooting people down, and they’re also delivered frequently enough that you never feel like you should hold off for the bigger baddies.
Easily the most enjoyable thing about ZombiU is the atmosphere… Cold, dark, and alone, you roam the streets of London trying to find supplies and new weapons. Sure the combat can be a bit dull fighting one zombie, but when there’s multiple, you better be aware of your surroundings. Walking backward into a corner is an instant panic attack, and almost always instant death.
New Super Mario Bros U –
It’s Mario, and while not an automatic pick for me, there was a lot more fun here than I thought would be. Sure, it might be from me missing the two Wii games, and the DS/3DS Mario games, but I thought it was a nice change of pace. I haven’t really played a game in the Mario franchise since the SNES days, and they still have fantastic controls. Bring on the return of the platformer.