2012 was a pretty great year for gaming, if I may so so. I didn't get around to playing everything I wanted, but the games I did play this year were all fantastic! I hope 2013 can keep up this trend of being awesome! I considered waiting and including this in my recaps later tonight, but I really want to start using my actual blog more often, so why the hell not? Also, like Corduroy Turtle, my choices are listed in alphabetical order, because it's just easier that way. Here we go!
I don't play shooters very often, but when I do, they had better have a sense of humor about them or I'll lose interest fast. This is why Borderlands appeals to me so much. With its hilarious dialog, crazy characters and cartoon-y graphics, it never takes itself too seriously. Borderlands 2 also introduced some of my favorite video game characters of the year, like Ellie, Hammerlock and Tiny Tina. Great writing, crazy guns, beautiful environments, lots to do... there's really nothing bad I can say about it. Also, I think Claptrap is, and always has been, hilarious... screw the haters!
Dragon's Dogma was my risk purchase this year, since it was a new IP and I wasn't initially too sure about it, but I'm really glad I picked it up! Though it has its flaws, there are still many things that the game does wonderfully well. The character creator is very specific, you can make your characters look like pretty much anyone you could want. The pawn system was also really interesting, using other players' pawns and creating a team, and I thought it turned out quite well. The main draw of Dragon's Dogma, though, is the combat! Climbing atop giant chimeras to stab them in the back, shooting volleys of flaming arrows at angry griffins, shouting orders for your pawns to help you out... if there's one reason you should check out this game, it's definitely for the combat!
I'm not gonna lie... Journey definitely got me all emotional. The beautiful architecture and desert landscapes, the wonderful soundtrack, and the unique multiplayer component all came together to make this game one-of-a-kind. I grew attached to some of my fellow adventurers, and I had a lot of fun figuring out ways to communicate with them. The multiplayer was very powerful, and perfect for getting players to become emotionally invested in the game. I'm trying really hard not to use the word "experience" here, so let's just move on...
I honestly would never have expected to see a Knytt game on consoles, since the earlier games in the series are all freeware PC games. The announcement of Knytt Underground on PS3 was very intriguing to me, and since I loved the Knytt games I'd played before, I decided to pick it up. I'm definitely glad I did! This game is serene, beautiful, and freaking huge! I've been playing it a lot over the past two weeks, and only uncovered about half of the map. There are also plenty of secret areas to search for, quests to do and items to find, so there is more than enough content to justify the price!
KRUNCH was just recently released in December. I first heard about this game sometime in 2011, I believe, and had heard literally nothing else about it until last month when it was about to release. The wait was worth it! This is one of those games for masochistic players, such as those that enjoyed Super Meat Boy or VVVVVV, because you will be dying, A LOT, but you get to restart levels immediately. It's a super intense game because you're constantly losing health, and walls are constantly closing in on you, and traps and monsters are constantly surrounding you. It's like the definition of claustrophobia in video game form, and it's wonderful!
Papo & Yo
This one is included in my list more for the story than the gameplay. If more video games focused on such excellent storytelling techniques as demonstrated in Papo & Yo, I feel like the medium might begin to gain more recognition as a legitimate form of entertainment and/or art. Of course, it would definitely be preferable if they also focused just as much attention on engaging gameplay, but for now I'll take what I can get. This game tugged at my heartstrings, and the ending was particularly powerful. I won't be forgetting it anytime soon!
Persona 4 Arena
I finally found a fighting game that I can really get into! Of course, it helps that the game centers around some of my absolute favorite video game characters of the past decade. I'd have been excited about any genre of game featuring the cast of Persona 4! I'm still not particularly great
at said fighting game, but I've won a decent amount of online matches, so that's a start (even though I've lost a great deal more). If you ever end up in a fight against me, prepare to face my (adequate) Teddie skills! Bear-y poisonous!
Rhythm Heaven Fever
Although this list is in alphabetical order to avoid spending too much time worrying about which games I liked more than the others, I will say this: Rhythm Heaven Fever was definitely my Game of the Year! I just recently got into rhythm-based games (I believe it all started with Bit.Trip Runner), so I was immediately interested in this game mainly because I wanted to explore the genre further. Upon playing it, I found so many different things to love about it. It mixed together a bunch of my favorite things; the adorable quirkiness of games like Katamari Damacy, the mini-game format of games like WarioWare, and the challenging rhythm-based gameplay of something like Bit.Trip. I enjoyed my time with this game immensely, created some wonderful memories playing with my friends, and will definitely be returning to play it again often in the future!
I played the original freeware PC version of this game years ago and was very addicted to it. Now my addiction seems to have increased tenfold with this new HD release with tons of new content! I'm constantly yearning to play more of it, and I still haven't even made it past the Ice Caves yet. The addition of multiplayer was another pleasant surprise, and it turned out to be a hell of a lot of fun! It's chaotic and hilarious, and you'll die way too many times, but I never seem to get tired of it.
I'm usually happy with any game where you get to play as an animal. In Tokyo Jungle, you can play as about 50 different kinds of animals! No more needed to be said, I had to have this game. And I was not disappointed! This survival game has its flaws, but it more than makes up for them with charm and personality. There is no other game out there where you can play as an adorable Pomeranian and hunt other animals to your heart's content. I can also play as porcupines, ostriches, cheetahs and freaking raptors?! I've been waiting for a game like this for so long!