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Games of the Year 2012: The Surprises, the Worthy, and the Games of the Year

Games of the Year 2012: The Surprises, the Worthy, and the Games of the Year


Games of the Year 2012: The Surprises, the Worthy, and the Games of the Year

This has been a long year for me in the world of gaming.  Here at FanBolt I’ve had the privilege to work on many projects and play many titles over the past year and it sure made time fly by very quickly.  It’s hard to believe that the Wii U has already released and that the year is almost over now.  This year I’ve had some of the more memorable experiences in gaming that I have had in a while and I think that has contributed to this year passing by so quickly.  A lot of great games were released and I’ve had many favorites, but only a few, like the ones listed below, have truly captured my attention.  The same goes for all of us on the FanBolt Gaming team, only those games that we’ve had the most fun with and experienced the greatest moments with, have made it on our ‘Games of the Year’ list.

First, you should know that the games on our list were determined mostly by the amount of fun we’ve had with them and the ones that have created the most memorable experiences for us as gamers.  So, what are the games of the year?  What did we have the most fun with?  What stood out the most to us and made it worthy in our eyes as a great game.  What captured our love for gaming the most and gave us a wonderful time – that’s what you’ll find below.

You’ll find three categories selected for our Games of the Year.  First, those that surprised us the most and brought the most joy. Second, those games we felt were worthy of our mention – basically, those that can be viewed as 2nd place finishers and lastly, our Games of the Year (our favorite titles from 2012).

Enjoy!  And Happy Holidays from the entire FanBolt Gaming staff!

Games of the Year: The Surprises (Great games that surprised us over the year)

Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
We all had our doubts about Halo after Bungie. Would it be the same? Did we really need another game? Well, I think most people would agree that we can put our concerns to rest. Halo 4 has emerged as likely the best game in the series with some great improvements in not only gameplay and enemies, but in personalizing the storytelling and thus giving the Chief some much needed in-game character development. Add to that some of the beautiful work they’ve done with dated hardware in terms of visuals, the great idea of extending the story through Spartan Ops and some amazingly new fun multiplayer modes such as Regicide. I must say, I was VERY pleasantly surprised. – C. Chinchilla

GunLord (Sega Dreamcast)
GunLord is a brand new game for a classic video game system. GunLord is a shoot-em-up style of gameplay that spans nine large worlds with intense battles that will last you a long time. Featuring a story mode and a harder arcade mode, this game will surely please any shoot-em-up fans out there. Even if you don’t have a Dreamcast, I still recommend getting this title. – Greg Wiggleton

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (Nintendo 3DS)
This game was a big surprise in how much fun it could be to play a music stage over and over again. I wasn’t too sure how the game would really control, but it turned out to be well executed. If you haven’t picked this up for the Nintendo 3DS yet, I recommend you do so pronto. For its value, it’s packed with a whole lot of songs from the Final Fantasy brand and even has extra song DLC for more. – Greg Wiggleton

PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale (PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita)
I am ashamed to admit that I was among those that wrote All-Stars off as a Smash Bros. clone very early on. Still, being a fan of the PlayStation brand was enough to pique my interest and make me want to give the game a try. What I got was far from what I expected – the game is far deeper and more intricate that I had ever imagined it would be. I should have been tipped off by the game’s appearance at EVO and Seth Killian’s PR; Superbot and Sony wanted the hardcore fighting game community to see the direction that they were going with this. And that direction is one of a fighting game that requires great strategy and even greater skill. It is not just a button masher, and the best will eat the uninitiated alive. – Maxwell Marshall

Sorcery (PlayStation 3)
Sorcery was an absolute surprise and still is one of my top games from the past year.  It’s so simple, yet done so well that it’s extremely easy for anyone to enjoy.  I had such a great time playing this game right from the start and all the way up until the end.  It features a good story with likable characters and the music that is featured throughout the game is perfect.  It made casting spells, creating new potions and fighting each enemy a lot of fun.  If you have PlayStation Move then you must have Sorcery, it’s as simple as that! – Andrew Stevens

Hybrid (Xbox 360)
Hybrid is a game that really caught me off-guard and had me wrapped up in its addictive multiplayer gameplay.  Here is a shooter that is so unique that I quickly became enthralled by its style of play.  It was difficult at first, but once I got into it I couldn’t pull myself away from it.  It became an incredible addiction that was so much fun to play and really offered a unique play style for a third-person shooter.  This game deserves a lot of credit and provided me with a large amount of fun on the Xbox Live arcade.  – Andrew Stevens

Games of the Year: The Worthy (Worthy games that didn’t make our Games of the Year)

ZombiU (Wii U)
This game marks a real return to the Survival Horror genre. In this game, once you die, your character is gone. You are then respawn as a new survivor and must track down your previous character if you wish to survive. The zombie-filled survival horror makes this a great game, but the ability to kill and loot your friend’s zombiefied corpses is really what makes this game great. Any time a friend of yours dies in the game, they will appear in your game where they died. This allows you to take whatever ammo and supply they might have had. I wasn’t too sure how this game might end up, but luckily it became truly great. – Greg Wiggleton

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare (Xbox 360)
A game that was sorely in need of a sequel finally got one this year, sort of. While it’s not the full-fledged sequel fans had been hoping for, American Nightmare stands on its own as a worthy entry in what I hope is an ongoing franchise.  It brings in a new antagonist, who is nothing short of amazingly creepy and well-acted, as well as the same great storytelling and gameplay from the previous game. It also adds a more noir feel to the world, some great new weapons, a fun survival mode and what’s most important, some forward plot movement we’d all been hoping and waiting for. – C. Chinchilla

LittleBigPlanet Vita (PlayStation Vita)
Back when the game was only in beta, I boldly predicted that LittleBigPlanet would be the Vita’s best game this year. While my comrade Greg may disagree and vote instead for Persona 4: Golden- a worthy choice- I contend that LittleBigPlanet is still the biggest and best game that has something for just about anyone. From the traditional story mode, to the single player mini-games, to the online multiplayer and community content, this game is huge. While not as active as the console versions, the community has turned out quite a few gems that can be downloaded to your system and played offline at any time. I still regularly boot up my copy to get some new mini games to play, and cannot recommend it more highly to all Vita owners. – Maxwell Marshall

Resident Evil: Revelations (Nintendo 3DS)
The buzz surrounding this game has died down considerably since its launch back in February of this year. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is one of the best games released for the 3DS in its lifetime. The game is flat out gorgeous in 3D, and boasts one of the best single player story modes in recent Resident Evil history. Add to that an online multiplayer component that features robust unlocks and customization and a complete package are made. Resident Evil: Revelations is one of the best games of 2012, and top-shelf content on the 3DS. – Maxwell Marshall

Borderlands 2 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
I had a great deal of fun with the original Borderlands.  I spent hours with a friend in co-op mode and completely enjoyed the wild experience.  Borderlands 2 felt like the same experience, but better at everything – a completely polished version of the first Borderlands.  Also, most of my enjoyment came from single player gameplay which is something I didn’t care for in the original.  However, co-op still makes it a hundred times better to play than playing it alone.  Enjoy the wackiness of the crazy enemies once again, it’s well worth it. – Andrew Stevens

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
This is strictly due to multiplayer fun.  I’m like a lot of people out there; I am completely addicted to the multiplayer madness that is Call of Duty.  Now, with Black Ops 2, we have an improved experience that is more addicting than ever before with the new create-a-class pick 10 options.  Also, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 features some of the best maps I’ve experienced from the get-go that makes the multiplayer that much more fun.  This is a game that any Call of Duty fan and most shooter fans will enjoy.  Also, as an added bonus, there is actually a single player for you to play if you can pull yourself away from the multiplayer experience… oh, and apparently zombies as well.  – Andrew Stevens

The Games of the Year (Our Favorites and Best Games That 2012 Offered)

Sleeping Dogs (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
It began as a game in another franchise I had never tried, True Crime: Hong Kong. By pure chance I was drawn to it at E3. I had heard murmurs about a game that impressed so many people. What was it? Ah yes, Sleeping Dogs, that must be it… but it wasn’t.  I didn’t realize at the time that it was actually Watch Dogs I was looking for.  So instead, I played the demo for a game I had never heard of and immediately fell in love.  Sleeping Dogs had easily lived up to my shorter experience I had with it at E3, a fully realized open world sandbox of Hong Kong, massive and alive. All of the staples you’d expect are there, many of which GTA fans will love.  Going beyond that, the undercover cop elements, the constant edge between getting in too deep and doing the right thing and the Kung Fu movie veneer it has, makes for a very engrossing world. Add to that the constant twist and turns the plot takes, some memorably emotional moments and a combat system that borrows heavily from the Assassin’s Creed and Batman games and you’ve got yourself a winner. – C. Chinchilla

Xenoblade Chronicles (Nintendo Wii)
This is the most fun I have had with a RPG in a long time. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how huge the world was. Being able to explore everywhere and have open battles really made things more alive. The story itself was excellent and just made me want to play long hours back to back to see what happened next. This game will last you a good 80+ hours if you have the time. – Greg Wiggleton

New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U)
If you have a Wii U or are considering getting one, this is a game you need to pick up. Not only does the gameplay hold up to the great Mario classics, it also looks and sounds great. With all the worlds, challenges and after-game levels to finish, there is much to do to keep your interest with the game for a good long while. This is a great game to launch alongside Nintendo’s brand new system that everyone will be able to enjoy. The ability to play the game on the gamepad alone makes for a very useful and awesome feature to behold. – Greg Wiggleton

Journey (PlayStation 3)
The best way to describe Journey is to detail the wide range of emotions that can be felt while playing through it; Curiosity, Confusion, Desperation, Isolation, Loneliness, Camaraderie, Happiness, Hopelessness, Triumph, and Enlightenment.  Journey is not a game so much as it is an experience- an experience that caused me to feel, to be moved.  It goes beyond what we believe games to be and allows you to immerse yourself in the beautiful world that thatgamecompany has created without distractions.  There is only one objective. There are no unlocks, upgrades, levels, or party chats. There is only an experience – a journey. – Maxwell Marshall

Forza Horizon (Xbox 360)
Oh my, Forza Horizon is an absolute joy of mine.  I love racing games and I’ve always loved the Forza series, but Horizon took it to a whole new level and made it my favorite racing game that I’ve played in years.  Truly an enjoyable experience that is set around the Horizon festival with lovely music to listen to on three great radio stations.  Forza Horizon has all the great things we’ve seen in the Forza series, but now with an open road in front of us.  This is a game that gives you a fantastic racing experience and one that can provide it for a very long time. – Andrew Stevens

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
A game I called “the perfect gamer’s game.”  XCOM: Enemy Unknown was an absolutely surprise of a game.  I didn’t think I would like this type of strategy game on a console, but it handles the gameplay so well and becomes an addictive challenge that you can play over and over again.  The unique relationship you can have with your team members is also great and can change the way you play on the battlefield.  There is much strategy to be had when dealing with this game, not only on the battlefield, but also back at headquarters where you will need to develop new equipment for your soldiers.  XCOM: Enemy Unknown really is the perfect gamer’s game and one that you can have fun with time and time again. – Andrew Stevens

Andrew Stevens Andrew Stevens is a Guest Editor at FanBolt for Gaming and Technology. He has over 8 years of experience working within the gaming industry which includes time at Bethesda Softworks. His unique view of the industry and passion for gaming can be found within each one of his editorials. Andrew also loves PC gaming and enjoys tinkering with new hardware. He also can’t get enough speed when it comes to racing games and doesn’t mind navigating through swarms of bullets in any shmup. He considers Rez as the greatest game ever. Andrew's opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his place of employment.


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