Whoa 2012 is already over...that was fast; seriously I still remember last year's Black Friday line-up but funny thing is those games are 2011! Looking back over the year of 2012 I wouldn't call it a great year in gaming (think 1998), heck I wouldn't even call it a good year in gaming, it was one of those years where you played what you played and didn't know what to expect. 2012 had the swan song of the Wii, the Vita released (and bomb for now but I'm hoping it picks up), the rise of the 3DS, PS3 and 360 just doing their own thing (from rumors to cool games), and finally the Wii U being released.
2012 also had the PC become, in my opinion, a more known and played system compared to days past. From my days of playing in an internet cafe of Diablo 2 and Counter-Strike with my brother and his friends, to now everyone playing Diablo 3, Counter-Strike Global Offensive, and many other indie-games. Steam and its cheaper games are actually a hot commodity due to, not a decline in home consoles, but just money-wise preference.
Ok, now I'm not going to be talking about every game I played, or even put a list of contenders, top 5, etc. I'm just going to state my winners and runner-ups and just realize how little games I've actually played in 2012.
GoTY 2012: Xenoblade Chronicles
Not many games came out for the final curtain call of the Wii, but a funny thing is one of the Wii's most memorable and overall great games came out in 2012 and will be remembered with the Wii for its infamous legacy (good or bad?). Xenoblade Chronicles is a JRPG which brings traditional rpg elements and adds a new twist on them. From the games innovative fighting gameplay (being able to reset time), fantastic graphics, beautiful worlds, good story, and amazing Original Soundtrack, the game not only blows you away, but put JRPG's back on the map.
Runner-up: The Last Story
While I may have enjoyed The Last Story more than I did Xenoblade Chronicles, in comparison the game is a little weaker than its Project Rainfall brother. The Last Story is a JRPG as well, but is more along the lines of a live-action rpg where you control one character and have the freedom of dodging attacks, using elements in the battlefield, etc. Another fantastic feature of the Last Story was its incorporation of Tactical RPG elements, as before each fight you can command where you want your partners to go and what attacks to focus on. A fantastic story with plenty of sidequests, in addition to a multiplayer (a rarity for JRPG's) make the game one to remember.
GoTY 2012: Halo 4
Halo 4, given away from Bungie to 343 Industries (well not really), was a game many were expecting to be....well many were not sure what to expect. The series was starting its first game with a new company and expectations were monumental, especially after some gameplay videos from E3. But, as true for all games, it is one you cannot judge until you put the disc in the CD and warm-up that console. Many of the basic Halo elements had stayed intact, keeping the game true to its older, longer fan-base but at the same time it introduced new abiltiies, gameplay, and helped integrate the newer audience as well into the series. From tons of bonus content like Spartan Ops, new multiplayer games, and abilities and customization loadouts, Halo 4 put everything everyone already loved from the series and added more.
Runner-up: Borderlands 2
PS3: Funny thing is I haven't bought any new games for the PS3 that's not Jet Set Radio HD and R&C HD Collection, well maybe you can count FFXIII-2 but Lightning's in the game so its disqualified. So, no opinion. (Although I hear everyone loves Journey and/or Unfinished Swan)
New Super Mario Bros 2
NSMB 2 finally made the New Super Mario Bros series feel like it was heading back in the right direction; or just in general Mario. After the original New Super Mario Bros for the DS back in 2006, a somewhat liked Super Mario 3D Land, and the disappointing Super Mario Galaxy 2, two NSMB games were announced with much dismay. One for the 3DS, while the other New Super Mario Bros U for the new and upcoming system the Wii U. NSMB 2 brought all the elements that made NSMB a charm, the 3D graphics were spot on, music as theme-orientated as ever, in addition to the new element of getting as many coins as possible (well a million coins is the goal) which added extra fun to the game. Fun fact: New Super Mario Bros 2 is the first Nintendo game ever with DLC.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
KH3D a game everyone and no one wanted at the same time..quite the contradiction. KH3D marks Riku's plyable debut as well as advances the story for everyone to get ready for (wait for...DRUM ROLL PLEASE) Kingdom Hearts 3! From its fast action-rpg gameplay, to its new system upgrades (think more along the lines of Birth by Sleep battle system), great story, and many new features in battle gameplay (Dream Eaters, etc) Kingdom Hearts once again doesn't disappoint.
Did I forget to mention Neku and the It's a Wonderful World gang? (The World ends with you)
Well I kind of gave away my computer stories away in the beginning and the way I was going to vote, but hey. Diablo 3, the long awaited sequel to Blizzard's Diablo II, was fantastic, although not as good as Diablo 2. The game kept the same premise as its previous entry's, added two new classes, tweaked a few hinges (although potion spamming and overpowering one ability were what made Diablo II iconic), and had an awesome story to boot with its fantastic graphics. Whether you wanted to make real money selling items online or just wanted to run through the story with a friend, Diablo 3 is a classic all computer gamers should play.
Counter Strike Global Offensive
Maybe I'm bias here because Counter Strike was one of my first-ever multiplayer shooters or maybe I'm just appreciating an awesome and simple online FPS. Well, anyway Counter-Strike GO brings back the Half-Life I fell in love with as a kid (really some of the maps from the Counter Strike are in it!) and shows that FPS don't need the best graphics or the craziest weapons to be an addicting, fun game.
Overall/Best GoTY 2012:
We had to have seen this coming, Halo 4 not only blew my mind away but is the game I felt like I've been playing all year even though it has only been exactly one month since its release. A GoTY is something you know you will be playing in the future, a game you can replay a few times, while it still keeps fresh with different ways to play (single player, co-op, war games, etc.) and Halo 4 has all those things. I mean a great OST and killer graphics help to boot, but hey let's just say no game or person kicks-ass like the Chief.