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Holiday Leftovers: The listener comments

Brad Gallaway's picture

This year we asked our readers and listeners for their top three favorite games of 2012. We also asked them for the single worst. Our intention was to tally the results and have a "popular vote" alongside that of our staff critics, but we got so many well-written rationales that it seemed like a shame to let them go to waste. As such, we've assembled these write-ups as a companion piece to our year-end podcast.

However, since we did not originally plan to publish these, we've removed the names from each piece to protect the privacy of the authors. We've also rearranged the order of the comments to make them a little more readable. (We may have done a little spell-checking as well, but we won't talk about that right now.)

In any event, we here at GameCritics think that there's always value in hearing someone else's opinion. To that end, here are some of the reader and listener testimonials for THE BEST of 2012:

The Walking Dead: Episode One—A New Day Screenshot

The Walking Dead

Enough has been said about this from the GC staff. A landmark title that hopefully will be used as inspiration for all games in the future.

*

The Walking Dead was the game this year I was frequently the most excited to return to playing every month when a new episode released. Excellent writing (most of the time), great  presentation, and it's easily the best thing to come out of that franchise so far. However, I hope it's a very long time before we see Telltale's Season 2, as I want them to take what they've learned here and apply it to OTHER franchises first.

*

I dropped it from being my overall #1 because it did not deliver on its 'consequential player choice' selling point: the game reaches the same conclusion with very little variation. That said, if I weren't so emotionally-invested in its story and characters, I would not be as disappointed with its gameplay issues. I hate-read the comics, but I unabashedly love the game, and it was delightful hearing you guys break down each episodes and 'logician' Richard Naik's heartless choices!  

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I admit, I'm not sure I would have liked this game as much if I hadn't heard your podcast beforehand talking about how satellites are important. But armed with that knowledge, I've rarely found a game of this generation as addicting and tense as this one. It reminds me of playing Front Mission 3 till the wee hours of the morning, doing mission after mission to get more stuff, to build my stats. Or even older SNES strategy RPGs. 

What I really like about the game is how every victory feels hard fought and won, even on easy difficulty. The game paces its missions and twists at just the right speed. Once you feel overpowered, along comes a new enemy to work your strategies around, hoping you won't sacrifice good men in the process. It would have helped if there were more variety in missions, which DLC is taking care of. Overall, though, it's a real success. 

*

My top game is XCOM: Enemy Unknown. This is how you do an old-school revival; you polish it with great contemporary aesthetic and cinematic touches, and streamline much of the fiddly bits like a needlessly complex inventory and meaningless statistics away, making turn-based tactics accessible and easy to grok. 

I Am Alive Screenshot

I Am Alive

I love the fact that we are finally getting games with shorter campaigns through digital download. Here was a high-quality, full-length game at a budget price, which also managed to be mature, introduce interesting mechanics, and ensure that the unremitting bleakness and grim atmosphere of the world were reflected in the gameplay.

Papo & Yo

I'd been looking at this for a while before Brad's review swayed me, and I'm delighted it did. A great take on growing up in the shadow of alcoholism, and the unflinching final scenes offers something that games rarely do - a satisfactory and uncompromising resolution to the narrative of the game. And there's a beautiful little game in there as well.

Out of the Park Baseball 13

It's a text sim baseball game, with life represented by stats, essentially, but it was by far the most absorbing game I have played all year. Sitting up till 3am on a work night, trying to clinch the pennant for the Padres, the A's, or the fictional Louisiana Crawfish or Seattle Steelheads, it was always, 'just one more turn'. It embodied the addictive qualities that are all too sadly missing from most games, and really hit the sweet spot for me. 187 hours played, which felt like 7.

Borderlands 2

The first Borderlands was a game that, for all its faults, just begged to be played. I loved loved LOVED getting bigger and better guns and tearing up the countryside. The gameplay does have its faults sometimes, but that's erased when you get something with explosive rounds. The world lacked personality and purpose, and a brilliant chance at social commentary- the world of Pandora was essentially bled out by corporations- was frustratingly left on the table. The first game's ending was so poorly executed you needed to read the strategy guide to get it. 

As pointed out in the GameCritics podcast, Anthony Burch could have just ignored the plot of the first game, but no -- he tackled it head on, rejiggering the questions left hanging and building a new narrative around handsome Jack. The game's narrative still isn't perfect (one character practically has a ticking noble sacrifice clock on his or her head, and the smirky pop culture references in the side missions can be obnoxious), but the social commentary that I mentioned earlier feels more real here. It's at the edges of the history you uncover of Pandora- the way people were just abandoned by their employers when it seemed there were no resources left on the planet. It resonates in unexpected ways. It's the real story of the 99%. 

Sleeping Dogs Screenshot

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is something of an honorable mention for me, almost, mostly because it was so much more than what I expected of it. I don't think this game is just a GTA clone; it's more like what Mafia II tried to be. A focused, interesting experience that gives you quite a bit of freedom and gives you the feeling of living in an organic, real city. It also includes a crime tale that is clichéd, sure, but not half as much as the rest of them, and it kept my interest.

*

One of the big problems with some open world games is that it can be frustrating to move around in them. That getting to a story mission can be a real hassle. Not for nothing are taxis readily available in Grand Theft Auto IV. 

I never had that problem in Sleeping Dogs. I loved zipping around Hong Kong. I liked the music. I liked the environment. I even liked sneaking around places looking for little collectibles that had a negligible effect on my stats. But most of all I liked the familiar but effective narrative of Wei Shen. I haven't encountered such a deeply damaged protagonist since, well, Niko Bellic, but there's something about Shen's arc that felt more... believable. The very thing that makes Shen such an effective undercover officer is also what makes him a ticking time bomb. At the end of the game, he's succeeded, but he's also becoming a cog in the system that has destroyed his family, his friends, and nearly destroyed him. 

The game isn't perfect. The main narrative is compelling but short and predictable; Wei's treatment of women is weird and feels like an unfinished aspect of the game with no payoff. The gunplay can be creaky. However, I realized after playing AC3, there are far, far worse open world games...

*

Sleeping Dogs is basically the first sandbox game I've ever enjoyed. As a 90s PC gamer, I never found GTA 3 or any of its clones impressive since they struck me as games in which you could do many things none of which excel mechanically. Simply put, it's like playing a game with shitty driving, shitty fighting, shitty shooting stitched tied together. And as unimpressive as Mucky Foot's Urban Chaos (1999) was, I'm surprised no one mentions it when talking about open world sandbox games. Sleeping Dogs is basically the open world sandbox game evolved to its mature form, with brutal combat, intense shooting and sweet automobile action. Also, it's in Hong Kong and you get to play an Asian hero who isn't some kind of Oriental stereotype.

Planetside 2

It's a pure multiplayer shooter, which I tend to dislike. What little story there is completely hidden from the player, and plays no part in the game at all. Still, Planetside 2 is just so unique. Having a friend circle a base in a plane while handling its anti-armor cannon at a height of half a mile, as our surge of tens of tanks, airplanes and infantry arrive and begin to siege it, is one of the single most memorable and amazing things I've seen in a game ever. That scale makes me come back to Planetside 2.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Screenshot

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

I was not a big fan of MW3 and after the disappointment of the online multiplayer of MW2, I didn't even bother to take MW3 online. Black Ops, however, had excellent online and fair gameplay. The story wasn't anything special and BO2 doesn't improve that either. But, as an online multiplayer game, Black Ops 2 is a must play.

Far Cry 3

At the end of a year when very few games really caught my interest in a major way, when I spent more time clearing backlogs and replaying old games, mostly because the new games I bought were unable to keep my attention, Far cry 3 came along. Far cry 3 has a load of problems, I could list them, but in the end, it keeps me coming back to it. The intro, after making me sit through a catchy song filled with obnoxious people, presented me to the single most interesting antagonist I've met this year, Vaas. The characters, combined with the best of both Assassin's creed and Crysis in the gameplay department, makes this stand out as the most memorable game of the year for me.

*

I was pleasantly surprised by this title. I wasn't a big fan of the 1st game or the series, but I decided to purchase the PC version when it was on sale for $40. The story isn't anything to brag about, however, the gameplay is outstanding. This game is a virtual playground of things to do and explore.

Persona 4: Arena

2012 is a year where fanservice reigned. Look at Avengers. Or Wreck-It Ralph. Retro City Rampage. Double Dragon Neon. Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Even look at garbage like Avengers vs. X-Men, and Resident Evil 6 (but don't smell them!). All were designed to evoke nostalgia from lapsed fans while also having modern sensibilities to please newcomers. That said, I chose Persona 4 Arena as the best fanservice in a year of fanservice. A fighting game may be a weird choice for a series that originated as RPG, but it worked, and fans of Persona 3 and 4 will love seeing their favorite characters as hand-drawn sprites with fluid animation. The fighting is easy enough for casual players, but also offers nuances for the more competitive type. By revisiting two of last decade's best JRPGs while moving the story in new directions, P4A services ME! This is why it's my number 1 game. If that's not logical enough for the GameCritics crew, screw you and go record your own GOTY podcast! ;-)

Persona 4: Golden Screenshot

Persona 4: Golden

It kind of sort of feels like cheating to put a port of a 2008 game on this list, but it's just SO DAMNED GOOD. Besides, it adds enough stuff to be considered more than just a port, so even as a rerelease it's incredibly satisfying. There honestly isn't a single bad thing I can say about this game. The story is engaging, the characters are great, the music is catchy, it looks fantastic on the Vita's display and the dungeon crawling is instantly addictive. I can only guess what they're going to do with Persona 5, but it's probably going to be amazing.

Theathrythm Final Fantasy

How is it possible that it took the video game industry THIS LONG to deliver a rhythm game solely based on existing video game music? So far, it's always either been generic pop music or originally composed music, but never has a rhythm game dealt with an existing oeuvre of video game music, and Theathrythm shows that it was long overdue.

I can't think of a single game this year that managed to sink its claws into me as much as this game, and I'm saying that as someone who generally doesn't enjoy rhythm games at all.

I'm probably biased in that video game music is pretty much all I listen to, but this game just scratched an itch that no other game has been able to scratch before.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

With TTT2, Namco remembered that the Tekken series already have one of the deepest and most rewarding fighting systems, and that fans like Tekken to play like Tekken. It's such an obvious point, but time and again Namco develop fighting games that are ashamed to belong in that genre. See every Soul Calibur since part 3. And Tekken 6 too. Don't bog your fighting games down with tedious real-time strategy or beat-em-ups. Don't cameo ill-fitting characters. Don't incorporate features from Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. Let Namco fighting games be Namco fighting games and, okay, I guess having (almost) every Tekken characters doesn't hurt!

Spec Ops: The Line

This game met with some lackluster reviews at GC, but the multi-layered story really drew in Ties with Walking Dead for story of the year and provides one of the best deconstructionist experiences out there. The fact that a book was written about this game is a testament to its depth and thoughtfulness.

*

In many comments to this game, people have stated the impact this game made on them emotionally and psychologically. I did not quite get that kind of reaction from The Line, but I understand what it sets out to do on an intellectual level, and being an un-empathetic brick doesn't mean I can't appreciate it. If the medium is to mature further, it's mandatory for games to look at the subject of war with more critical eyes instead of just providing fun shooting action. The shooting in The Line is decidedly not fun, not because of bad mechanics, but because of how deliberately pointless it is made to feel. I can't help but applaud that.

Trials Evolution Screenshot

Trials Evolution

Sheer old-school gaming fun at its finest. Didn't stray too much from the original Trials but instead streamlined what was good about the original and added a few cool features. Small tutorials, better graphics, little nods to other indie games made this game the total package for anyone looking to be frustrated and simultaneously hooked by an extremely well-crafted game.

Journey

What more is there to say about Journey? It's oddly emotional, beautifully-presented (and I HATE desert environments in games or movies), and has a fantastic soundtrack. It's also the rare multiplayer game that's better for being multiplayer, as there's very little another player can do to make your experience worse and the experience is made more engaging and meaningful by their presence. Playing through the game with the same (also) white-robed partner from beginning to end may be one of the most memorable experiences I've had this year.

*

By now, this somehow feels like a boring choice after all the praise this game has gotten over the year. Then again, I think the praise really is justified. For me, Journey came at the exact right time, alleviating some of the frustration I felt from the ending of Mass Effect 3 (yay, managed to squeeze that tired subject in!), and I'm very much looking forward to playing it a second time during the holidays.

Of course, the experience somewhat depends on who you meet, so it's always possible to just get unlucky in that regard. In my case, the game claimed I had met no less than 8 people, but I also got the trophy (trophies are stupid, by the way) for spending most of the game with the same companion. One ran away as soon as I first saw him. Another just playfully went in circles, seemingly uninterested in progressing. The one I ended up spending most of my time with struggled to keep the pace amidst a blizzard, so I waited for him to catch up, showing him the route I had figured out to get through the area. Everything about this game - the art, the music, the animation, you name it - just feels right to me. But even more than the actual experience - which, again, may vary heavily - I think that conceptually, this game is such an outstanding achievement that I must name it Game of the Year.

Lone Survivor

Jim Sterling brought my attention to this gem, writing "Lone Survivor has more in common with Silent Hill than recent official entries have", and that is exactly right. I love the early Silent Hill games. I was kind of skeptical whether Lone Survivor's low-fi graphics (nothing against those in general!) would succeed in generating that same unnerving atmosphere I love, but they totally did. The soundtrack is great and very Yamaoka. The imagery is very Lynch. The story was intriguing and mysterious. The gameplay... well, a better tutorial for the shooting would have helped (only found out near the end of the game that you could actually aim instead of just shooting in a straight line), and the overhead map doesn't mesh well with the side-scrolling gameplay. These are minor complaints, however. In the end, things come together pretty well. Lone Survivor proves yet again that a good horror experience has nothing to do with jump scares, AAA production values, or shooting.

The Last Story Screenshot

The Last Story

Fairly typical JRPG, but in an age where JRPGs of good quality are akin to gold dust it is perhaps understandable why I - a JRPG fan - have listed it. Soundtrack is well composed, and combat is fun and engaging. It would have benefited the game if it were released on a HD console, as opposed to the Wii, as the frame-rate and jaggy visuals do hurt the overall experience. Story is standard stuff too, but I'll take this game if it is to be the last bastion of JRPGs.

Okami HD

The original was/is superb, and highlights several areas of game design that are severely lacking in most modern big-name titles - namely timeless visuals, polished content, plenty of content, complete ending, no stupid DLC, and no pre-order incentives; it is a polished, complete, and content-filled game. Of course, we also get a superb story based on Japanese mythology, an excellent Japanese soundtrack, and so on... The game oozes love and passion from the developers, and truly deserves the recognition I give it, despite the fact it is re-release of an old game, so therefore not 'technically' a new game of 2012.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim—Dawnguard

This might not count, since it is DLC, but I've enjoyed this component of Skyrim a lot more than any other game I've played this year (bar Okami HD, of course). I was one of the biggest critics of the standard and the quality of DLC released for Oblivion. Bar Shivering Isles, the majority of DLC was laughable, either conforming to the 'pay for a free house and items' or 'do this boring quest and receive items' variations. This time Bethesda have got it right, with Dawnguard offering a lengthy questline filled with interesting twists, turns and decisions, not to mentioned the re-implementation of crossbows into a TES game. The gameplay still retains the dull and mundane nature of Skyrim (i.e. clearing out dungeons is rather uninspired and boring), but for what it adds to the overall game I think Dawnguard deserves some credit. This is a big step-up from Horse Armor and Knights of the Nine.

Mass Effect 3

Sure the sidequests are shallow and the ending has been a breaking controversial point for many, but as far as a story-based action-RPG hybrid experience, this is the franchise at its best. There's a sense of gravitas and finality to the plot that you don't see in many other sequels and the synergy third person cover-based shooting and the tactical use of squad members and their powers is just so satisfying. This is how you end a franchise, with bang-up gameplay and a plot that matters.

*

I consider the original Mass Effect to be one of the best RPGs I've played in a long time. BioWare tweaked a few things with the sequels, not always for the best, but the games still are very enjoyable. There needs to be more RPGs like this.

*

An obvious choice for many, I suppose. I always appreciate the Mass Effect games for the enjoyable shooting, choose-your-own-adventure style story progression and the lovable cast of characters. And although it doesn't particularly excel at the shooty bits and the story doesn't end particularly satisfactorily (haven't seen the new ending, because I judge games by the state they're in when they're released), the entire package still ends up being tremendously enjoyable. I've enjoyed all 3 installments so far and I'm very curious to see where the series is going to go next.

Mark of the Ninja Screenshot

Mark of the Ninja

One of the few "fun" stealth games I've ever played, and quite possibly the best-presented one.  I've seen few games communicate so much complex information so effortlessly and understandably with so few contextual cues.  The story may have been rather forgettable, but I have very few complaints about the gameplay.  It's a game you can play however you want, and no matter WHAT you do, you feel like you're being rewarded for experimenting and you feel like you're "awesome".

*

After that lovefest, it's only fair to say that not every title managed to hit it out of the park. On the other side of the fence, here's some of the reader and listener condemnation for THE WORST of 2012:

Halo 4

My nomination for worst (but really the most disappointing) game of the year is Halo 4.  Since I only play single player, Halo 4 is a fine example that you can't simply steal combat design, enemy A.I and dynamic combat encounters and transfer those essential Halo signatures to another team. Play Halo Reach straight after and all will be clear.

*

Awful campaign. Absolutely dreadful. Repetitive design - beyond the levels Bungie are often criticized for - with some of the most boring and tedious level design I have ever endured in recent memory. 80% of the game consists of navigating grey-colored interiors, hitting buttons, and battling non-entertaining Tron-like enemies that soon make you beg for the return of the Flood; they're that tedious. The multiplayer is good, but it is an expected good. Not new good. Or inspired good. Just good. It's not enough, basically. Poor, poor game. Bungie are good whipping-boys for people like me who hold Half-Life 2 up as the greatest FPS of all time (which it probably is, to be fair), but comparing Halo: Reach to Halo 4 soon makes you realize how decent a developer Bungie are. Or, how bad 343 are. Or both.

Spec Ops: The line

This hurts me a lot. I really didn't want this to end here. But there's only so much I can take of people rationalizing this gameplay experience with stuff like "You're not meant to enjoy it, the tedium and repetitiveness is part of what makes it so great". Seriously. From the second I heard that this game took its inspiration from Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, I was as hopeful as a gamer can be. Apocalypse Now is one of my favorite movies of all time. The crucial difference is that that movie had me at the edge of my seat throughout. I never stopped thinking it was interesting. Every time Spec Ops puts me in charge, I'm bored. It's one of the most tedious shooters I've played this year. Hidden within it is some amazing dialogue and a lot of crucial story points actually hidden in intel collectibles you can easily miss. You can tell me the horrible boredom is all part of the experience. It won't change the fact that I didn't finish the most interesting game I've played this year.

*

The game that left the worst aftertaste in my mouth (and not in the way that it was going for) was Spec Ops: The Line. I appreciate that it tries to criticize the shooter genre, and the setting makes for some gorgeous vistas (even if the setting is ludicrous), but the way it handles it comes across as ham-fisted and hypocritical. A lot of stuff has been written about this by people who can state it much more eloquently than I can (see also: http://www.critical-distance.com/2012/11/20/spec-ops-the-line/), but I'm firmly in the "hypocritical bullsh*t" camp. And if you're not convinced by what is the major point of the game, you're left with an extremely mediocre shooter with dumb companion AI.

Silent Hill HD Collection

Ok, so I don't really play bad games because of my outstanding ability of prediction (slightly aided by the mass of gaming blogs and reviews I read). And I haven't played the HD collection. However, I have read about it. I have watched screenshots and videos. I've listened to the new voices. I have seen extensive deconstructions of everything that is wrong with it. From all I've seen, it's a complete abomination. You don't do this to two of the best games of all time. This just makes me sad. The worst thing about this is: people who play these games for the first time will probably think they're terrible. Which is true in this case, but they haven't always been that way.

It's way worse than anything George Lucas has ever done to the original Star Wars.

Assassin's Creed III Screenshot

Assassin's Creed III

This past summer, I played the critically panned Revelations and it was, well, a Revelation: the narrative was much smarter and emotionally involving than Brotherhood, Roger Craig Smith did an amazing job as Ezio, and while the lampshading of Desmond Miles' history wasn't great, I did like the tricky first person sequences that revealed it. I think it might have been better received if that heartbreaking short film had been included on the disc about Ezio's last days, but who knows? In any case, I didn't mind it. 

Assassin's Creed III given how long it had been worked on, the hype that had been built, the new engine, could have been at least competent. It couldn't even manage that. It tries, oh lord how it tries. I think the most damning thing about it is about halfway through I was thinking, "wow, I wish I could get back to the Desmond sequences." 

There's so much backstory in this game. The big surprise of Hatham Kenway's allegiance feels like a massively unpleasant cheat (how many Templars in past games behaved like Assassins?), and the world's longest tutorial mission. The contrast of guys you thought were heroes in the beginning turning out to be the guys you wind up trying to kill would be interesting if the game didn't go out of its way to try and introduce ambiguity and false equivalence between the Templars and Assassins, something that the other games didn't try to do at all. I get the idea- see it from the Templars' point of view, but it only succeeds in making both the Templars and Assassins look like people arguing on a message board. 

Then we get to Connor Kenway, which is far, far worse. (Oh, and there's a ton of backstory that's in the Shaun Hastings database you need to read to understand what's going on) As written he's a pack of Noble Savage clichés-Noah Watts is hemmed in by the script way too much, on side missions he shows more personality. His motivation is the death of his mother and the attacks on his village by what he has reason to believe are Charles Lee and friends. Thanks to Shaun Hastings' big mouth and the idiots at Ubisoft, I found out hours beforehand that it was Washington that led the attack on the village (too bad none of the members of Connor's surviving tribe pointed that out to him, huh?), and when it's finally revealed [spoiler removed] he sets his mind back to whacking the Templars. Seriously, what the fuck? HIS ENTIRE MOTIVATION WAS REVEALED TO BE BASED ON A MISCONCEPTION! 

The game tries so hard to make you feel this "is it right? Is it wrong?" thing against a backdrop of already-decided history that it left a poor taste in my mouth. Connor's arc never felt as real as Ezio's; he often felt like he was batted around by narrative. The game treats the American Revolution so cynically, as if the people behind it think no Americans know that yes, slavery still existed, and the Indians were still driven off their land when it was over (hey Connor, ever think of inviting your tribe to the GIGANTIC PLOT OF LAND you OWN by game's end). And Shaun Hastings' Eurosnob viewpoint in the files is irritating- did anyone realize it was just insulting the majority of the audience? 

I'm sorry if I'm rambling, but the story somehow finds a way to top itself and get even WORSE with its ending. [spoiler removed] What the fuck, Ubisoft? Why go in this direction? I understand everyone hates Desmond and you want to get rid of him, but why just throw up your hands like this? 

I've ranted about the story, yes, but not the embarrassingly buggy engine. The amount of sidequesting you do and how Connor's main narrative is so short that you don't need to do any of it. How inviting people to your land is fun and their stories are nice, but you don't really need the money and goods they make to progress in the game. How as awesome and fun as the naval sequences are, they don't matter much. How the assassins you recruit don't really help or do well at all. How the combat is simplified it boils down to, again, just hammering the button. How the only really awesome sidequest- the treasure hunt- doesn't really pay off. I've never encountered a game that gives you so much to do and so little reason to do it- but with maybe a year more of refinement and development, they could have! I got rid of the game as soon as I beat it- I don't think I'll find any game this year that made me angrier. I'm a Mass Effect 3 ending hater, I'll cop to that, but Assassin's Creed III blew it out of the water. It blows every bad game out of the water.

Resident Evil 6 Screenshot

Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6 - From the series that pioneered survival horror and behind-the-shoulder shooter comes a game about... punching zombies???  When we have games that let players punch gorillas and cars, how is punching zombies even remotely exciting? Sad part is that the melee combat is RE6's only functional feature. Everything else is broken beyond belief. The shooting is a chore because camera is placed too close and it's too dark. The bosses are confusing because even if you use up every bullet, they don't die, but they inexplicably quit fighting after five minutes. And there's the abuse of Quick Time Events. That's always fun.

Can we stop with the boring setpiece-driven game design now?

Max Payne 3

Installing that thing was so time-consuming, and fraught with so much troubleshooting and gut tweaking that I eventually gave up. Unfortunately, in the Philippines where I live, the store return policy is utter shit and it now sits in my apartment gathering dust. Damn you, Rockstar.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I know, this game came out on December 20, 2011, but it was pretty much a 2012 release. I really enjoyed the first Star Wars MMO, Galaxies, but it had a short lived life for the genre. I was hoping The Old Republic would offer a somewhat similar experience, with main story tied in. It really didn't do any of these things. As a matter of fact, the grindfest was really boring. I think I'm done, when it come to playing MMOs.

Scribblenauts Unlimited

I've played technically worse games this year (Deep Black), and I've played half-finished messes like Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified. But only one game was so PROFOUNDLY boring it LITERALLY put me to sleep several times as I attempted to play it. The puzzles are so formulaic and so completely lacking in imagination in execution or solution, I couldn't even force myself to finish that game despite it being one of the easiest ones I played all year.

*

...And in closing, we thought it appropriate to end where we began to show that even the year's best is the year's worst to someone.

*

The Walking Dead

Thirty Flights of Loving was narrowly beaten out for me, by....The Walking Dead. While it is obviously not the worst game of the year, a fiddly control scheme and gameplay that was nice on characterization but was essentially, "Choose your own comic", meant that when I ran into technical difficulties on the PC version, I wasn't motivated to overcome them. I'm stuck at the beginning of Episode 3, and the game does one of two things - either does not recognize that I own Ep 3, or else sees Ep3 but does not show me any save games from the previous two episodes. Screw you, Telltale! 

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wow, this is really cool

wow, this is really cool (especially finding my own stuff in there!).

were this year's listener comments particularly noteworthy, or is it simply the first time you thought of putting them out there? either way, i like it!

Thanks!

For posting my best of comments. I'll leave it to the readers to figure out which ones are mine.

Though now that I got it for Christmas, I wish I could put Forza Horzion on this list.

Not sure why we haven't

Not sure why we haven't posted them before -- I'm guessing maybe it was because we got so many this year. Plus, these are all great comments -- and it makes me happy to see that we have a group of listeners who are so smart and articulate about games. Even the comments I don't entirely agree with make sense and I can see how the author arrived at his or her conclusion. That's rare in the gaming comment landscape.

Nah, sir. I believe this is

Nah, sir. I believe this is merely our way to tell you that your tastes suck. In a civil manner, of course. :D

(That Resident Evil 6 hate thing is mine -- I will never understand what Danny Weisenberger saw from this atrocity and, yes, I know about the melee combat. It still doesn't redeem the game. I also voted Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Persona 4 Arena, and The Walking Dead.)

Great comments

Great comments.

I'm responsible for I Am Alive and Papo & Yo (I can't believe I'm the only one to recommend I Am Alive - it's really good), and of course OOTP Baseball 13. I won't be able to convince any of you to play that, but the game has some form - after all, a previous incarnation is officially the second best PC game of all time, after Half Life 2 :)

http://www.metacritic.com/browse/games/release-date/available/pc/metascore?view=condensed

Okay, what with all this excitement I think I've had enough exposure to last me the rest of the year now...I'd just like to extend an invite to any commenters to join us in the GameCritics forums for more debate - it's nice and civilised down there, you can pull up an armchair and have a snooze by the fire if you'd like - so come on down and say hello.

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