With the sheer diversity of games available, regularly occurring deals, and potential for visual splendor unrivaled by aging consoles, it's a particularly good time to have even a modest PC.
Especially here, so-called gaming droughts have been mitigated by the rise of digital distribution to the point where finding good games to play throughout the year isn't the problem -- it's knowing where to look. Choosing between the titles vying for our precious leisure time can even be overwhelming; a very good problem to have, indeed.
Our nominees for the best PC-exclusive game of 2012 show that having a big budget and a grand vision won't always get you to the top. Sometimes, all it takes are a few passionate people to produce something that sticks with us long after we're done playing.
Even if it's not a perfect game, there's something special about Diablo, and it's something that keeps people playing beyond just a basic addiction to loot. That I've already sunk over 40 hours into the game in just over a week and I'm not even close to being bored of it yet is a testament to the magic of Diablo, and something that can't be ignored.
Read the full Diablo III review.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is an MMO for people who both love and hate MMOs. Outside of living a fulfilling life entirely as a crafter (à la Ultima Online), you can pretty much find solace in anything you can imagine an RPG would provide.
Read the full Guild Wars 2 impressions.
Hotline is a confident and addictive shooter that stands out among releases this year, even though its flaws bog it down. It can be sickening at times and brutal at others, but it all builds up toward a commentary on games and pointless violence. The narrative's downward spiral of violence, insanity, and crime will not light up your day but it's very engaging in its own way. Hotline contains a surprisingly good plot full of mysteries and dark twists that players won't see coming. The morbid nature of the game won't be to everyone's taste, but it's a refreshing story for a videogame.
Read the full Hotline Miami review.
Lone Survivor is easily among the best survival horror games that I've ever played, a feat that's truly remarkable when one considers the 2D perspective and visual limitations. Demonstrating that a commitment to ambience and art direction trumps technical superiority, this guaranteed indie classic manages to provoke -- and sometimes even frighten -- as much as the genre's most lauded entries. Its depressing premise, eccentric characters, and engrossing narrative bolster the solid survival gameplay to create a journey that's sure to stick with players for a very long time.
Read the full Lone Survivor review.
... it would be a mistake not to recommend PlanetSide 2 to anyone who thinks their PC can handle it. Being a part of huge battles, the likes of which games like Battlefield 3 only dream of, is not to be understated. If there's a better free-to-play game to have a short-term fling with, I have yet to play it.
Read the full PlanetSide 2 review.
Congrats to all the nominees! We'll be announcing the official winner on Friday, December 14. In the mean time we want you to tell us which game this year was the best PC game. Plus, be sure to go vote in our Community Choice Award for your favorite game of 2012.
Check out all our other categories and nominations: