Everyone is sitting quietly in the after-glow of 2012, not being blown to pieces by asteroids and settling into their Pile of Shame over the holiday period. For us at Non-Fiction Gaming, this is a time to reflect on what defined 2012 for us in terms of gaming. The games below aren’t necessarily the best 2012 had to offer, but they stood out to us this year. Here are the Games That Defined 2012.
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning
For me, what defined gaming in 2012 wasn’t even a new title. It was the rediscovery of RPGs and an aspect of it that seemed to have become increasingly popular as of late, loot hoarding.
The game that did it was Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning. A work colleague had been harassing me for a while to try a modern RPG as I’m a big JRPG fan and good JPRGs are kinda crappy at the moment. Then along came this game to absolutely ruin my social life… Seriously, I’m pretty sure I lost at least 40 odd hours to this thing in a week! That’s more time than I spend at work…
While it didn’t do well in sales this is a surprisingly beautiful and fun game and if you can get past the average voice-acting and mundane story you’ll find a genuinely fun experience that had the misfortune of being released under the shadow of Skyrim. Personally I couldn’t stand Skyrim and think this game got far less attention than it actually deserved.
Unfortunately with Big Huge Games and 28 Studios now defunct and the licence being owned by the state of Rhode Island we may never see a sequel.
Here’s hoping someone manages to pick up the licence as with a few refinements this game could really be made something special.
2012 was full of games I loved. Dishonored, Max Payne 3 and Borderlands 2 were all great games, but of the three there is only one that truly defined the year. Dishonored was a bit of a sleeper for me. My initial reaction was conflicted. I wanted to be a stealthy and dangerous assassin, but I knew the more deaths I dealt, the more likely I would be dooming the whole city to the rat plague. But once I set that concern aside, the gameplay opened up. Sneaking through buildings, finding new paths in levels, being able to accomplish these levels in any matter you please, and the plethora of ways to kill your enemies.
Dishonored gave us all of these choices in gameplay and actually managed to accomplish it unlike many other games which merely laid claim to doing so. And most importantly I think it defined itself by being one of the few games to take a chance and try something new. It’s not a remake or a sequel; it’s original as can be. It has its flaws, but it still stands strong as one of 2012’s greats because Arkane Studios decided to take the risk to make a new franchise.
Batman: Arkham City, Saints Row the Third, a few JRPGs… oh you said one game?
At this point I would like to point out to our loyal readers that I almost NEVER buy games brand new and often, I buy games from the year that just passed. So 2012 for me is actually 2011 for a lot of people! With that said, here are the games that I played that stick out in my mind as some of the best (in chronological order):
1. Batman: Arkham City is everything you want out of a super hero game and I was surprised that it took everything that made Arkham Asylum great, and made it better. No greater Batman simulator exists, and I challenge you to find one
2. Saints Row the Third is so brilliant because it takes Grand Theft Auto, and adds giant purple dildos and a Japanese game show to make it better. I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed a sandbox game more and had to fight my urge to play through the game for the third time in a row… I just made a pun without meaning to. HAH!
3. The Last Story was a game I loved so much, I cosplayed it with my girlfriend for a convention this year. THAT’S how much I enjoyed the game. Add XenoBlade Chronicles and Pandora’s Tower to the mix, and it’s been one of the best years for JRPGs in a good long while.
4. And last, but not least we have the Wii U. All of the Wii U. Because something different is always a breath of fresh air in our world of Call of Duty games, and that breath is even better when it is a fun, engaging experience I got to share with my friends and family. And really, for me, that’s what gaming is all about: bringing us all together for some good times.
Heroes of Newerth
After seeing Watch Dogs displayed at E3 this year I was hoping that would be my game to define 2012. Sadly we are still waiting with hands at the ready to throw fistfuls of coins at our screens. In light of this, I had to re-assess.
While I’d like to be snarky and say this year was all about the sequels with Assassin’s Creed 3, Far Cry 3, Diablo III, Call Of Duty (n+1), Battlefield 3 and The Sims 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats; I actually enjoyed most of the sequels I’ve played. We talked about this in an article earlier this year anyway. We cry out for new Intellectual Property (IP) and bemoan the industry for creating carbon copies but at the end of the day, I didn’t get enough stabbing and free running action from the first Assassin’s Creed games and I’m glad I get to come back for more in a new setting.
Looking at what I’ve been playing this past year my common theme comes back to Heroes of Newerth (HoN), this game hasn’t really defined the year for me, more of a background game I keep coming back to. Also the HoN scene is getting bigger in Australia which is always nice. Heroes of Newerth has seen some big changes this year with HonTour and more competitive coverage with HoNCast, ComplexityHoN and even yours truly nfgDan. Plus they got hacked recently which is always a huge spectacle.
So for me it comes to being the year for eSports and specifically HoN. They may still be behind when it comes to numbers but they are taking some risks with new formats trying to blaze a trail into competitive eSports.
What defined 2012 for better or worse? Let us know in the comments below. Perhaps you’ve spent 6 months trying to beat Super Meat Boy or only just discovered Minecraft. It doesn’t have to be the BEST game that came out this year though it could very well be.