There have been a few games in this list that have flown under the radar and I want to tell you how good these games are and ask why haven’t you played them, this is my person top 5 of 2012.
No. 5 Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning:
This game came out earlier this year and it combines three great minds; Todd Mcfarlane the creator of spawn, Ken Rolston who was the lead designer of the Elder scolls IV: Oblivion and R.A. Salvatore who writes fantasy books. (I’ll be honest I have not read any of his books.)
This game is fantastic because it is colourful and wonderful, they should have a new category in game rewards titled “most colourful game” because when you play Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning you’ll soon notice the landscapes that are colourful and different in each location. The place that caught my eye in this game the most were the Elven Gardens that which were rich with plant life and interesting characters, I just walked around for five minutes admiring the location.
This game had a refreshing style of combat for an RPG that I’ve for a long time because you can have primary and secondary weapons and during combat you can mix them together to make some devastating combos, for example you can combine a longsword with daggers and make your attacks fast and affective. The main thing that stood out for me in this game was the levelling up system because instead choosing classes or vocations you had a Tarot Card system that’s because your character in the story has no fate so you can control fate, but with the Tarot card system you can mix skills; for example if you want to be a battle mage who is good with both magic and a sword you can do it, or if you want to be rogue yet want to be able wield a sword and hammers you can do that too. There are loads of possibilities and the great thing about this you can change them at any time without having to wait to level up.
This game is fantastic and under rated I bought this game in march and didn’t finish it until the end of august because there is that much to do in this game.
No. 4 The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings Xbox 360 edition.
This may look like more of a top RPG’s of 2012 rather than my top games, but there were a few good ones around this after the Skyrim hype at the end of last year. This game had already been available on the PC since last year and CD project wanted to give Xbox users a taste of what they had been missing without sacrificing quality of graphics and features.
This game is based on the writing of Andrzej Sapkowski which I had been reading his first book before I even knew about this game and they are a really good read! Anyway the story of this game is that you play as the title suggests as a Witcher, What is a Witcher you ask? A Witcher is a mutated human with enhanced combat abilities in swordsmanship and that also know a bit of magic, how they make a living is by monster slaying. At the start of the game you are accused of murdering the king of Tameria and you must find the real killer. This game has a real mature story which doesn’t hold your hand, this definitely not a game for children because it’s violent, political, and has scenes of nudity which the game is known for.
The overall gameplay of this game has combat that I’d compare to the Batman Arkham series because a lot of the time you will be surrounded and out numbered. You have to be tactical before you get into a fight because compared to the Elder Scrolls series you can’t just drink health potions in a middle of a battle, in order to drink potions you have to meditate and you can’t exactly do that in the middle of a battle.
No. 3 Dragons Dogma.
I know in the Devil may Cry demo review I destroyed Capcom by saying that they have previously ruined franchises like Resident Evil, but there is a game that they did get right this year and that’s Dragons Dogma. This is Capcom’s first real stab at the open world RPG and for there first try it’s amazing. So how can I describe this to you..? Imagine this if you took the Elder Scrolls, Shadow of the Colossus, Dark Souls and Devil May Cry, and mashed them into one, you’d get this game.
The basic story of this game is that you believe you are a normal person until a dragon attacks your village and rips your heart out of your chest. You are known as the Arisen and now you protects the land of Gransys from dragons when they rise again.
The game play of this game is very quick and like I said it plays a bit like Devil May Cry (as much I hate to praise it) because it’s fast paced and you can juggle your enemies in the air to unleash deadly combos but that’s a feature in the game and the pretty much throughout the entire game. One of the most iconic game play elements is you can climb on boss characters (and this is taking ideas from Shadow of Colossus where you can climb on the bosses) in real time and hit their week points, it’s much better than hacking at the ankles like you do in other games, and there is nothing like holding on for your life as a dragon flies away while you are hanging onto it’s back.
If you haven’t played this game go and buy because it’s so different compared to the open world RPG’s around now, yeah it follows the template of the others which is big open green world with various caves and towns, but it’s the little things that make it stand out.
No.2 Sleeping Dogs
This game was another breath of fresh air this year and yes people may disagree with me and say it’s a GTA clone and I would have to agree with that point slightly, but it’s just the fact that you play as an undercover cop in a different country (Hong Kong of all places) rather than playing in New York (Liberty City for GTA) or LA.
This game is one of the most mature, dark, and grittiest games that I have played this year because the intensity of the violence and the combat mixed with the martial arts make it exciting and makes you almost turn away from the screen with the sheer brutality that you can inflict on your enemies through out this game.
The story of this game is you play as the character Wei Shein, you have been transferred to go undercover with the Hong Kong police department to take down the Triads. Some of your childhood friends are in the gang and puts the character in a tough situation because he becomes emotionally attached. Originally this game was mean’t to be the new True Crime but Activision dropped the project and it got cancelled. Two years later Square Enix picked up the project and renamed it Sleeping Dogs.
The game play is awesome in this game because compared to GTA’s not so good hand to hand combat and running system, this game makes you feel as if you are in a Hong Kong police thriller where you have fast and intense on foot chases through markets where people will become an obstacle so you must dodge them and slide over tables. The fighting is fantastic and fluid because you are performing martial arts and it feels incredibly satisfying after you have taken down ten or more Triad thugs, the environment executions add to the excitement of the fight too, for example if you are fighting in a car garage you can drop a car engine on your enemies and crush them to death. The shoot outs have a Max Payne feel to them too, if you leap over cover it goes into a bullet time style mode and you can take your enemies down in slow motion, it looks spectacular because you can see the detail of the blood flying every where and chunks of skin splattering on the wall behind, I’m surprised that this game wasn’t banned with the sheer brutality.
No.1 Max Payne 3
This is my favourite game of 2012 because it had the most engaging story and the game play was fantastic. It has been a long wait for the third instalment of this game, it was announced back in 2005/2006 and it became smoke and mirrors after that with countless delays.
This game has the best storyline of the year and the most emotional story as well. You are with Max as a broken man after the events of the first two games and who could blame with his wife and child murdered by junkies. The game is set in Sao Palo Brazil and you are doing private security work for a rich family called the Brancos, they are being threaten by Favela gangs and paramilitaries and it’s up to Max to get them out of the sticky situation.
The game play of this game is awesome because of the slow motion bullet time where you can take out seven enemies at once. The graphics are outstanding and what do expect from Rockstar Games they seem to be the king with visuals at the moment. The multiplayer is just as good as the single player and they managed to work bullet time into multiplayer too, the way it works is that you slow down and the person that you are aiming at and they slow down as well.