It’s time for HippoChippies’ top ten of 2012! Here, we’re counting down from the tenth best game of 2012 all the way down to our Game of the Year, number *one*. Let’s get started!
#10 – Mass Effect 3
Recognized almost universally as not being as good as Mass Effect 2, the third game in the trilogy still has the ability to hold its own against the rest of the year’s best. The story doesn’t go in the directions some of us hoped, but when you’re being directly compared to one of the best games ever made, you’re bound to not look like the prettiest girl in the room. Mass Effect 3 delivers a fine end to one of the most interesting and successful franchises of this generation.
#9 – Borderlands 2
I enjoyed the first Borderlands, but thought it lagged behind other games in quite a few areas. Borderlands 2 evolves itself beyond a mindless loot fest by delivering some of 2012’s funniest writing and improving on everything that made the first game worth playing.
#8 – XCOM
XCOM made me get into a genre that I never thought I could have any interest in. Incredibly smartly designed so that even a newcomer can get the most out of it. XCOM is one of the most in depth and intelligent time sinks I had the pleasure of playing in 2012.
#7 – Fez
A platformer at first glance, Fez turns into something much more a few hours into the game. Fez becomes one of the most mindboggling puzzle games ever made while simultaneously masquerading as only a brilliant platformer, there is too much going for this game to leave it unrecognized at the year’s end.
#6 – Hotline Miami
Extremely fast, insanely brutal, and nigh unforgettable, Hotline Miami came out of nowhere to kick us down a flight of stairs and show us who’s boss. Hotline Miami has some of the most intense combat and delivers what is almost undeniably the best soundtrack of the year. I’ll be replaying this long into next year, when hopefully its already announced sequel will be released.
#5 – FTL
While the genre “roguelike strategy space simulator” doesn’t have much of a ring to it, FTL managed to be an accessible, wonderful journey into new experiences. Piloting a spaceship and managing its insides is extremely enjoyable, and one of the most unique experiences of the year. This Kickstarter success shows that fantastic games can come from the most humble of beginnings.
#4 – Sound Shapes
I couldn’t get enough of Sound Shapes when I first played it, and I still can’t get enough of it now. In one of the most wonderful, creative experiences of the year, Sound Shapes creates a new genre: the rhythm platformer. This is my favorite 2D platformer of the year, as it simply bleeds innovation until the very end, and then you’ll start it right over again. I can only hope it receives DLC levels or even better, a sequel, in the year to come.
#3 – Virtue’s Last Reward
The sequel to what is probably my favorite game on the DS, 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors. Virtue’s Last Reward fixes the main problems of 999, like having to replay through the entire game just to see a separate ending, while crafting another thrilling narrative that reaches heights comparable to the first game.
#2 – Journey
Journey is beautiful, awe-inspiring, and emotional. It’s the kind of thing that you don’t blow through and never think about again. I still remember how strongly the moments of Journey’s short adventure effected me, not many other games this year had such strong impact on me. Sliding through the sand and flying around with your new friends are some events that happen within the first half hour of Journey, but I had some of the strongest response to these moments than I had in any other game. Every event in the game is incredibly memorable, and I can only guess what kind of experiences thatgamecompany have in store for us next; I just know that I want to have them.
#1 – The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead has changed a lot of things. It changes how episodic game content is viewed; The Walking Dead became the equivalent of appointment television for video games in 2012. It changes storytelling in video games, the maturity and grace seen in the series hasn’t been seen often before, or done better anywhere else. The Walking Dead has changed who can enjoy video games. Anyone can get the most out of The Walking Dead, and everyone should give it a chance. It can and will break your heart at every opportunity, and no matter how bad it gets, you’ll be glad you took the ride. The Walking Dead is my Game of the Year because it achieves something that many games strive for but few ever reach, genuine emotional response from the player, and an honest interest in the characters and story. If you have the time to devote to one video game this year, it won’t be spent better elsewhere than with The Walking Dead.