Top 10 Video Games From 2012

For the first time in years, I did a decent job keeping up with the latest video game releases. There were still many that I missed, but this is the first time I have been able to put together a top 10 list during January. This was a great year for video games, especially when it came to narrative-driven experiences.

Honorable Mentions:
Journey
Dyad
FIFA 13
Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Mass Effect 3
10) Mass Effect 3
This is The Dark Knight Rises of the Mass Effect trilogy, especially in terms of divisiveness. I loved it despite mixed feelings about the ending.

Trials Evolution [XBLA]
9) Trials Evolution
Pretty much the perfect sequel. Expands upon the original in every way possible.

Sleeping Dogs [Xbox 360]
8) Sleeping Dogs
A strong contender for my new favorite GTA-style game. Gotta love the Hong Kong setting, too.

Mark of the Ninja [Xbox 360, 2012]
7) Mark of the Ninja
This could very well be the best stealth game I have ever played. Finishing a level without being seen always feels like a huge triumph.

Max Payne 3
6) Max Payne 3
If ever there were a game that feels like an action movie, this is it. Hell, it’s better than most of Hollywood’s recent action flicks.

Hotline Miami [PC]
5) Hotline Miami
The violence is hard to stomach, but the gameplay is so addictive that I kept coming back for more. Best soundtrack of the year as well.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown
4) XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I’m usually not a big fan of strategy games, but XCOM locked me in and didn’t let go. Easy to learn, difficult to master, but always fun.

Spec Ops: The Line [Xbox 360]
3) Spec Ops: The Line
On the surface, this appears to be nothing more than a standard third-person military shooter. But then the story kicks in, and it’s impossible to get out of this descent into madness. Arguably the best narrative ever found in a shooter.

Borderlands 2 [Xbox 360]
2) Borderlands 2
The original Borderlands was one of the breakout hits of 2009, and the sequel delivers everything that worked so well in an even more refined experience. I can’t stop looting.

The Walking Dead: The Game [Xbox 360, 2012]
1) The Walking Dead
The most emotional experience I have ever come across in a video game. An unheralded art of storytelling in a medium that so badly needs strong narratives.

What I Missed: Far Cry 3, Lone Survivor, Torchlight II, Diablo III, Hitman: Absolution

What did I miss? Do you agree with these choices? If you have your own top 10, feel free to share in the comments!

Top 5 Video Games of 2012 — So Far

Yesterday I took at a look at the best movies to come out so far this year. Today, it’s video games. Now, there are a handful that I still need to play (Fez, Sleeping Dogs, The Witcher 2) but I am doing a better job this year at keeping up with the latest titles. Here are my top five video games so far for home consoles:

Journey [PS3]

5) Journey

More of an experience than a game, but it is one I will not soon forget.

The Walking Dead, Episode 1: A New Day [PS3]

4) The Walking Dead

This episodic series just keeps getting better and better. Blows away the TV show.

Trials Evolution [XBLA]

3) Trials Evolution

The perfect example of what a sequel should be: it improves upon the original in every way.

2) Max Payne 3

This Rockstar effort is better than most modern action flicks, with an unparalleled visual presentation, to boot.

Mass Effect 3

1) Mass Effect 3

This is the Dark Knight Rises of the Mass Effect trilogy. Not the best of the series, but still pretty damn good, and a satisfying conclusion to one of gaming’s best trilogies.

Thoughts? Am I missing anything that is an absolute must play so far?