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The Lists of 2012


Starman DX
It's that time of the year again!

Either the quality went down, or I became much harder to please this time around (both are equally viable). Regardless, here are the 5 games that I found to be worth the time spent in 2012.

Top 5 games of 2012:

5. Borderlands 2
I really am not the biggest Borderlands 2 fan. I can't get into the characters, the jokes, nor the lore... but I can get into the shooting things. Honestly, it felt a bit long for a shooting RPG, but still worth every penny Steve paid for it (I'll hit you back someday!)

4. Xenoblade Chronicles
Such a great game with so many flaws. If it weren't for the 80 hours start to finish not even doing all of the quests play time, this may have even been #2 or #1. Amazing graphics for the Wii, so much (too much) customization, a great soundtrack, and environments at times rivalling Dark Souls. Flaws include: way too many pointless quests, way too much pointless collecting, way too many pointless challenges/achievements. Streamlined into ~30 hours, this game would have been absolutely legendary.

3. Radiant Historia
A 2011 RPG from Atlus, that I played the bulk of in 2012, so I'm going to include it. Imagine an RPG where instead of travelling around a world map, you travel the events making up 2 different timespaces, over a world map (4D gaemz). Very well written script with a fun, but exploitable battle system. Music by Yoko Shimomura. Extra quests were actually somewhat challenging and fun, and the storyline has an unexpectedly good climax.

2. Ys The Oath in Felghana/Origin
If you're going to play one, may as well play them both because they feel very much the same. Felghana is a remake of Wanderers from Ys, with less good music and much more good balance/gameplay. Story is expanded and makes a lot more sense. Origin is a prequel in the Ys universe, and you spend the game in one giant tower of a dungeon. Lots of unlockable characters enables multiple playthroughs, but doesn't have as much depth as Felghana overall. Taken together, they make up my #2 game of the year.

1. Dear Esther
At 2 hours long, with hardly any gameplay to speak of, some of you might be thinking this to be a bad choice. But I say NAY! Dear Esther is the perfect example of what makes a great game for me: no longer than it needs to be, no extraneous experimental time-wasting gameplay extras, no more story than is ABSOLUTELY necessary, a silent protagonist when playing from the 1st person, and a real sense of completion when the game is done. No New Game+, no unlocked "harder than the last boss" bosses, no collectable tokens hidden around the map to add hours to the gameplay counter. Everything is meaningful without the use of achievement motivators. I really didn't want this to become a rant about modern gameplay complaints, but it's hard not to when Dear Esther does everything completely opposite to everything else out there, and because of that feels perfect.

Diablo 3/Dragon Quest 9:
I can lump these together, because they both did pretty much the same thing for me. Took a series that was pretty much sacred, and pulled in as many modern devices as possible but add nothing substantially new at all. Both will likely be the last game I play in their respective series'.

The Last Story:
I was expecting so much from this game! So many big names, resulting in such a big letdown. Cliche story, containing cliche characters with cliche events. A plot with as little motivation or momentum as possible. A chaotic battle system that only barely gives the illusion of control. The only real character customization is colour customization in which the player collects items which are used to unlock dyes, which can then be used to customize parts of your characters clothing ( or remove them, ohh la-la!). Way too much depth for something so pointless...

What's in store for 2013:
Starting playing Batman Arkham City, and it's been completely refreshing. After Assassin's Creed 1 & 2, I never thought I would actually enjoy playing an open world/sandboxish kind of game. By involving a unique super villain for each sidequest, the devs made it so that every one of them feels something Batman would sidetrack the story for, and thus completely worth my time. Fantastic gameplay/voice acting/storyline. Who needs Batman movies when there are games this good.

I also intend at some point to play the new X-Com. Sounds like Firaxis had a really good handle on the source games, and actually did a good job with it. Sad that it's DLC fodder, and that I have to wait for the GOTY version to get the complete package.

Will be watching the 3DS scene, since I recently aquired a 3DS XL. As of yet I've only played Shinobi ($10 bin, has a 4th level that is just much too long), and Liberation Maiden/Crimson Shroud. Feb is Fire Emblem, so unless Nintendo completely botches the localization, I should be pretty happy with it. Etrian Odyssey 4 in the Spring, which trumps everything else. Really debating whether or not Paper Mario Sticker Star is worth my time and money, after hating Super Paper Mario... but I may give Kid Icarus and Super Mario Land 3D a spin. If anything, 2013 will be a year to finish up more old games, and replay the classics. Of course I have no problems with that!
"No More Heroes is a really great game. A very amazing game. I think No More Heroes is a great game, there's no other action game like it for the Wii. If it was a band, it would be really energetic, like the Arctic Monkeys." - SUDA 51


Starman DX
According to Nathan, Sticker Star is not worth the money. They apparently simplified it too much...

I'd still like to try it, but maybe I'll wait until Nintendo adopts a Steam like sale system.
"Hey, you! If you meet a beautiful, seductive woman who's looking for me, tell her 'hi.' Anyway, I don't think a woman like that would be looking for me." -Guy in Fourside Hotel


Starman DX
Alright so here are my top games of 2012. I'll use last years format of totally fabricated categories in no order whatsoever. (From the looks of it, I've completed more than 30 games this year, some of which were started in 2011.)

Top game that makes me believe I may be somewhat competitive after all:
League of Legends

Best way to spend two and a half hours of your life:
Journey (This game is a masterpiece. Do not miss out on it.)

Proof that story and dialogue writing in games can be excellent:
Borderlands 2

Most unexpected game on this list:
Bastion (Maybe a little late, but I did not expect to ever play, let alone love, this game.)

Best game that is more reading than playing:
9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors.

Biggest letdown (also, biggest waste of time):
Virtue's Last Reward (Am I the only one?)

Second biggest letdown:
Botanicula (It's not bad, but when compared to Machinarium it falls quite short.)

Most over-rated game of the year:
Sound Shapes (Again... am I the only one?)

Game with the least offensive English voices:
Persona 4: Golden (They're really quite good!)

Top game that will always end up on this list:
Maple Story (I'm pretty sure I didn't actually play it that much this year...)

#1 game that I've already completely forgotten:
Diablo III (What is up with the patch changes? Cancel competitive play because you messed up the game?)

Best reason to sleep with the lights on:
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Took me long enough to get to it, but Amnesia scared the crap out of me.)

Top game I didn't expect to ever finish:
Etrian Odyssey III (I'm not even sure how this happened...)

Almost forgot! Best soundtrack:
Dustforce (So good you could buy it even if you've never played the game.)

Actually one more. Best reason to own a Vita:
Persona 4: Golden (I'm loving this game, it definitely deserves to win in two categories.)
"Hey, you! If you meet a beautiful, seductive woman who's looking for me, tell her 'hi.' Anyway, I don't think a woman like that would be looking for me." -Guy in Fourside Hotel