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 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 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 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