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It’s been a good year for video games, with some cracking titles having been released on all of the various formats available to gamers. But 2012 is almost at an end, with 2013, and a fresh release schedule, on the horizon. At this point in time it’s fitting to look back over the last 12 months and determine which console games stood out above the rest.

The five games that follow are my personal picks for game of the year. I’d rate these titles as unmissable; if you haven’t yet bought and played them then you should try to do so over the next few months. All five of the titles mentioned were released on multiple formats, so those people who stick to exclusives released only on their console of choice may be disappointed by the selection.

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs was released on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in August 2012. It’s an open-world action adventure game developed by United Front Games and published by Square Enix. It was originally called True Crime: Hong Kong but was renamed and reworked after Activision Blizzard canceled the game.

You play Wei Shen, a cop who goes undercover to infiltrate the Triads. There are RPG elements entwined through the action-led storyline, with combat (both martial arts and firearms) being the core game mechanic. It’s not very original but it combines the best bits of various other games.

Three Word Review: The new Shenmue.


Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 was released on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in November 2012. It’s an open-world first-person shooter developed and published by Ubisoft. It’s the long-awaited sequel to Far Cry 2, which was one of the best games released in 2008. Ubisoft has spent that time crafting a game that’s close to perfection.

You play Jason Brody, who escapes the clutches of human-trafficking pirates and then sets out to rescue the other captors. This is no ordinary FPS, with RPG elements and a skill tree included to add depth. The whole thing oozes class, and this game represents a new high point for the genre.

Three Word Review: An atmospheric epic.


Dishonored was released on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in October 2012. It’s a stealth action-adventure played from a first-person perspective that was developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. This is a game built for experimentation, with each mission having multiple solutions.

You play Corvo Attano, a bodyguard framed for the murder of the Empress he once protected. He becomes an assassin hell-bent on seeking revenge against those who conspired against him. A story arc threads through the whole game, but it’s the individual set-pieces that will have you playing again and again.

Three Word Review: Unique, uproarious, unmissable.

Assassin’s Creed III

Assassin’s Creed III was released on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and the new Nintendo Wii U The 5 Best Wii U Games To Buy For Christmas [MUO Gaming] The 5 Best Wii U Games To Buy For Christmas [MUO Gaming] The Wii U, the latest home games console from Nintendo, is sure to be on the Christmas lists of many this year. Children who want the latest and greatest gadgets will want one to replace... Read More in October 2012. It’s an open-world action adventure game with stealth being the order of the day, developed and published by Ubisoft. This is the third full Assassin’s Creed game to date, so veterans of the series should know what to expect by now.

You play both established protagonist Desmond Miles and new protagonist Connor Kenway. The majority of the game takes place during the American Revolution, and this could be the most fun history lesson ever concocted. If you loved the previous games in the series then you should also love this, but few newcomers will be swayed.

Three Word Review: Immersive and impressive.

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 was released on PC, Mac, PS3, and Xbox 360 in September 2012. It’s a first-person role-playing shooter that features the best cel-shaded visuals ever seen. It was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, and follows on from the original Borderlands released in 2009.

You play one of four vault hunters who gets drawn into an epic storyline which is revealed slowly but surely. As well as the main mission there are numerous side-quests to take on in order to increase your character’s level enough to progress. Borderlands 2 is expansive, fun, and funny, which is a rare combination in the modern video games industry.

Three Word Review: Bigger, badder, bolder.


I’m sure there is going to be some disagreement about my picks for the best games of 2012, which is what the comments section below is for. Please feel free to let us know which games you enjoyed playing during 2012. Do the five mentioned above all get your seal of approval? Or would you swap a couple out and replace them with your own choices? The floor is now yours, so get typing.

Image Credit: Marco Arment

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  1. teh drake
    February 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    borderlands 2 FT freaking win

  2. John Stephen
    December 23, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Far Cry 3 all the way!

  3. Rohit Jhawer
    December 16, 2012 at 4:03 am

    In the above list i will go with far cry 3 as the game of the year. No doubt there are many good games out there. wont agree with all the top 5 though.

  4. Brenden Barlow
    December 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    all of these are on my list of games i need to play....and now that school is out for the semester (and i have them all), my gaming marathon is ready!

  5. Douglas Mutay
    December 14, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Hi Dave! My favorite game has always been GTA. I have all of them and just got the latest one and still trying to finish some mission levels but I have discovered in your list Far Cry 3 and willing to test it also. You've described it as a game that is close to perfection and I am curious to discover it by myself. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Paulo Delgado
    December 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Far cry 3 is SWEET!!!

  7. Austin Halsell
    December 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Seems like a lot of people don't realize what "cross platform" or "game of the year 2012" means. Anyways, this is a solid list, and I'm actually super happy that Halo 4 and COD didn't make it. So sick of those rehashed games.

  8. Austen Gause
    December 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm


  9. underdog
    December 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Dear Dave, It's a good list maybe especially for including Far Cry 3. Yes I played both the earlier Far Cries & it just keeps on getting better. But one game that arguably defined FPS genre was Half Life series especially (Half Life 2 & Episodes 1 & 2). So its a great development that the original Half Life was redeveloped in Source & brought out as Black Mesa. Moreover it is not out of Valve's arsenal but still the game hits bang-on & provides that wonderful nostalgic kick on us gamers arse. So even if not in the GotY list but still Black Mesa deserves a very special mention. What say?

    • Stephen Stephens
      December 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      He mentioned in another comment that this list was specific to multi-platform use. Black Mesa is specifically PC only.

      • underdog
        December 14, 2012 at 7:13 am

        Oh! Thanks for the clarification. I didn't see the multi-platform point while posting my earlier comment as I was busy using the crowbar in one hand killing those headcrabs !!!

  10. Alexander
    December 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I am personally dissapointed that you didn't include TellTales The Walking Dead.
    It is a amazing game that includes great writeing (on par with borderlands 2 or higher)
    and it is a emotional rollercoaster that everyone should try ! And it is also cheap for the content included in the game !

  11. Kshitij Verma
    December 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    AC3 is definitely way ahead of it's predecessors in terms of graphics. However, I would not say that it is the same with its storyline and gameplay. Having played this game on the xbox, I'd say the gameplay could have been better.

  12. cow
    December 13, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Just missing a small one......Halo4?! i hope you dont get paid for this...

    • Dave Parrack
      December 13, 2012 at 10:32 am

      As indicated in the opening I decided to stick with multi-format releases. Even if I hadn't I'm not sure Halo 4 would have made the top 5. It's good, but I think those listed beat it.

  13. Chew Jian Yue
    December 13, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Assassin’s Creed III
    BorderLands 2 are amazing games!

  14. Junil Maharjan
    December 13, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Awesome list but should make a list of best games according to platforms like iOS, windows, android, ps3, xbox, etc.

    • Dave Parrack
      December 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

      There are separate PS3 and Xbox 360 lists (for lifetime games) on the way. Thanks for the suggestion.

  15. Anonymous
    December 13, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Solid list. I would put diablo 3 instead of borderlands 2 , and torchlight 2 instead of sleeping dogs. also i would find place for max payne 3 and guild wars2 ... you know what .? 5 games is not enough :) You make 20 top list next time :)

    • Dave Parrack
      December 13, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Perhaps I should have. still, thanks for the suggestions, they're all solid games :)

  16. Adinamo Alex
    December 12, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    far cry 3 it.s a must for each gamer.

  17. Andrew
    December 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Come on .... BF3 not in the list ?

    • Dave Parrack
      December 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Battlefield 3 came out in 2011. Possible.

  18. Ishan Gunawardana
    December 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    What about NFS RUN, COD 4, DOTA..??
    Also Star craft 2.??
    I think u should play those too....

    • Dave Parrack
      December 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      They're all good games but I wouldn't say they're Game Of The Year contenders. Some of them weren't even released in 2012.

      • Ishan Gunawardana
        January 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm

        Yeah.. My mistake..

  19. salvador hernandez
    December 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    All sound like great choices, just don't have the time to play them all. :( But i did pick up Borderlands 2 on release.

  20. Cerese Minetti
    December 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    These games all seem to be violent. Are there some games that inspire creative thinking and imagination?

    • Dave Parrack
      December 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      There are plenty, they just didn't happen to make the list. My favorite is LittleBigPlanet, which lets you create new mini-games and play other people's creations.

      • Stephen Stephens
        December 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

        i haven't played it since the first one (got xbox now) but LBP is an amazingly fun and creative game. there are a ton of creative indie games out there that have won awards and make you think your way through them, but i can't seem to remember them xD