It’s that time of the year, folks, time when “best of” lists crop up like weeds all over the internet. CraveOnline included. We started things off with our favorite gaming trailers of 2012, and now we’re going to be doing daily, personalized lists from all our gaming writers as we lead up to our collective “10 Best Games of 2012” list, publishing this Friday.
If you’ve read Erik’s top 5 already, then the above paragraph might seem familiar. I straight up stole it! No remorse whatsoever. Believe it.
Here are my favorite games from 2012.
Far Cry 3
I fell in love with the idea of Far Cry 2 when it released a few years back. A big open jungle teeming with a whole host of villains and dangers. Ubisoft promised lush terrain, a diverse set of gameplay mechanics and a game that would never get boring.
False. Far Cry 2 featured a world that was boring to traverse, enemies that felt like a broken record and a storyline that I couldn’t remember to save my life.
While the storyline in Far Cry 3 is far from perfect, it’s a massive step up from what we had in Far Cry 2. Thank goodness for that. Plus, everything else in this game just feels bigger and better. Better gunplay, properly executed fast travel, fun hunting objectives, wildlife that will constantly scare the crap out of you and characters that simply aren’t boring.
Far Cry 3 is one of the best values of 2012, too. There’s a lot to do here. Including hang gliding. That was in Far Cry 2, too, but it’s better here.
FTL: Faster Than Light
The one you’ve never heard of. This once Kickstarter project tasks players with guiding a ship from one end of the galaxy to another. You’ll fight aliens, engage pirates and buy a whole bevy of upgrades.
The game is played from a top-down perspective and has a very old school look and feel. Plus, the music is incredible. From start to finish, all of these things couple with a perfect set of gameplay mechanics to make for one of the most addictive efforts I’ve played in a long time.
FTL: Faster Than Light is an indie game that surprised the crap out of me. I love this title, and you need to play it.
Everything that the original Borderlands managed to screw up (characters, story, diversity, progression, etc.), Borderlands 2 completely nails. Gearbox delivered on the promise of a bigger, better and more badass game.
This game makes my top five, and here’s the scary part: I still haven’t played it with friends. Going from solo to cooperative with the original Borderlands brought it from a 5 to an 8 on the approximate fun scale. I assume that rule applies to Gearbox’s sequel, so if I manage to get a friend with a copy, Borderlands 2 will be a 14. Goodbye social life.
If anyone ever asks me to prove that video games can be beautiful, one of the first titles I’ll use as an example is Journey. Between the visuals, the simple epic story and the music from Austin Wintory, thatgamecompany put together one of the most gripping experiences of the year.
Journey checks in at around two and a half hours per playthrough, but it’s delivered in such a way that the time feels well spent. You’re virtually exhausted as the game draws to a close, and the final moments represent a sense of exhale and relief. For the money, Journey should be purchased. It’s far and away the best PlayStation exclusive Sony’s had in a long time.
The Walking Dead
My love for The Walking Dead from Telltale isn’t just a simple manner of being obsessed with the franchise. I dig the comics, but I hate the television show. I’ve heard the third season is solid, but the second season was pretty much the epitome of terrible TV. It turned me off.
Telltale’s effort with the brand is everything the television show isn’t. Heck, its ability to force tough decisions on players involving characters that you both love and love to hate is sometimes better than that of Kirkman’s comics.
The Walking Dead is one of the best storylines I’ve experienced in games in a very long time. It’s also a fantastic example of choice and consequence. Hats off to Telltale, The Walking Dead is amazing.
Joey Davidson is the Associate Gaming Editor for CraveOnline. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeyDavidson.