Everybody’s talking about it: what’s the game of the year for 2012? The ladies of NBF have banded together, fought, argued, reconciled, and hugged. We also realized that Quentin Tarantino needs to direct a Bayonetta movie.
Here is our list of the best games of 2012!
Best Indie Game
Need I say more? Although Journey faced a strong competitor in Fez, it ultimately takes the prize for its combination of atmosphere, gameplay, music, and the innovative and haunting multiplayer component.
Mass Effect 3: Leviathan
Although DLC is the bane of every gamer, we seem to be accepting it anyway, and publishers are learning what works and what doesn’t. We’re seeing a lot of free DLC too, which I think is a more acceptable method of distributing extra content.
Out of the DLC that was released this year, Leviathan, stood out to me for being very useful. It added to the lore of the game, explained a mystery, and didn’t skimp on the new areas.
There were a ton of great shooters this year, but one stood out to my authors and I: Borderlands 2. The seamless multiplayer combined with our loot-whore tendencies to form addictive gameplay. Borderlands 2 took everything great from Borderlands and improved upon it.
Mass Effect 3
As evidenced by our long pause in the video, we had some trouble choosing the best RPG. The pickings weren’t the greatest this year, and we ended up having to pick an action-RPG. Yes, I said it. Mass Effect 3 has moved away from its origins as an RPG with guns to an action game with some RPG features. Ultimately, we still loved the game, and one could argue that game genres are starting to blend more, with genres borrowing the best elements from each other.
Best Action Game
Assassin’s Creed 3
“Assassin’s Creed 3 gets my vote, hands down. That game is in a class all on its own: graphics, storyline, voice acting (various different languages, including that of an ancient Native American tribe), and I mean…just WOW.” – Kurosune
Although in the video we settled on Dishonored, in the end, it was clear that we had to go with AC3. The amount of effort Ubisoft put into creating a fully-realized historical America was astounding. In AC3, you could sail the seas, kill bears, climb trees, and scale ancient ruins – and that was just in the offline mode.
Best 360 Game
I cannot tell you how gorgeous this game is. It is stunning. Well, I can tell you, actually: it will be in my upcoming review. 🙂
Best PS3 Game
Spec Ops: The Line
A war game that focuses on the fact that you aren’t really a hero? A shooter that makes you regret pulling the trigger? At NBF, we love games that experiment and reach outside of the box to find new ways to tell a story, and Spec Ops: The Line did just that. And made us feel terrible about it.
Best PC Game
Kelsey R. M. just reviewed Primordia last week, and it’s clear from her thoughts that the game is absolutely awesome. The newest offering from Wadjet Eye Games experiments with the adventure game genre while paying homage to the greats that came before. Horatio and Crispin make your journey through a post-apocolyptic, post-humanity world much more enjoyable than the dark subject matter would suggest. The game brings up some important, deep questions along the way – and combines them with pop culture jokes. Great job, Wadjet Eye Games!
Another win for Journey from us! With the soundtrack being nominated for a Grammy, this was practically a no-brainer, although games like Borderlands 2 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 gave it a run for its money in my book. I mean, c’mon…TTT2 had Snoop Lion!
Best Female Character
FemShep from Mass Effect 3
Why is Shepard the best female character in games right now? Because her being a female is not an issue. It is never an issue. She kicks ass, takes names, and is a terrible dancer. She is strong and vulnerable, she cries and she kills. All-in-all, she is the shining example of what we would like to see in female characters: characters for whom their gender really isn’t that big of a deal.
Best Male Character
Lee Everett from The Walking Dead: The Game
Lee, the protagonist of The Walking Dead, could be played in a couple of different ways, but either way, he was completely badass and a perfect leader for dealing with all the problems his group faced. Throughout the five chapters of The Walking Dead, Lee evolves from a convicted felon who we know almost nothing about to a natural leader, father figure, and killer of many walkers. The player ends up caring for him as much as they do for Clementine. Speaking of Clem…
Clementine from The Walking Dead: The Game
Clementine wins for being the least annoying and most realistic child in almost any game we could remember. The Walking Dead kind of becomes the most fun escort mission of all time, because your priority becomes Clementine’s safety, at whatever cost. She never becomes a burden, and she acts as a conscience in even the darkest of times. The bond between Clementine and Lee is one of the best ever portrayed in video games. Even taking Lee out of the equation, Clem is pretty badass herself – after all, she survived in her treehouse for quite a while before Lee came along!
Best Voice Actress
Jennifer Hale as FemShep in Mass Effect 3
Jennifer Hale is one of the most accomplished and prolific voice actresses EVER. She’s provided well over 260 voices for video games and cartoons. And yet, FemShep only sounds like FemShep. No matter the race, class, or backstory of our Femsheps, she unites them all with her powerful, stern, and commanding voice. The voice of a badass.
Best Voice Actor
Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2
Oh, Handsome Jack, my favorite villain of all time. From the first few lines he snarkily threw my way, I knew I was dealing with a contender for best male voice actor. He is just the perfect amount of evil douchebag. I began to look forward to his taunts…how often have you fallen in love with the villain of a shooter?
Most Anticipated Game
Last of Us
This was a tough decision, with games like Bioshock Infinite and Demon’s Souls 2 coming out soon, but have you seen the The Last of Us trailer?! If they do it right, the Joel/Ellie relationship could rival the one that Lee and Clementine come to share over the course of their game. And with a great track record from the Uncharted series, I have a lot of faith in their ability to create compelling characters, especially since Naughty Dog is very adamant that Ellie is just as important as Joel is in this story.
Most Girl-Friendly Game
Mass Effect 3
Besides having FemShep, this is a game with so many interesting and varied types of female characters. We have badasses like Aria T’Loak, braniac-sweethearts-turned-soldiers like Tali and Liara, ice queens like Miranda, and playful, flighty chicks like Kasumi, to name a few.
Women seem to have finally achieved equality in human culture in the world of Mass Effect, and one of the most respected cultures in the universe is a civilization of mono-gender Asari, who look like females. Even the Krogans, a male-dominated warlike race, end up having their storyline directly impacted by three females: the Krogan princess, the thresher mama, and the leader of the Salarians.
If ever there was a series that I could point to as a textbook example of how women should be portrayed in games, Mass Effect would be it, and this latest entry continues to impress. Sometimes I run around the multiplayer map with all other female characters. Each of us are different races and different classes, and none of us are wearing bikini chainmail or needing rescuing.
The Walking Dead: The Game
We decided that The Walking Dead: The Game had one of the strongest narratives that we’ve ever seen and works hard to pull you in and make it your personal experience. The game combines hope and despair perfectly, tugging at your heartstrings to amazing effect. Games are approaching art more and more every day, and The Walking Dead is definitely more than “just” a game – it’s an extremely affecting experience that transcends gameplay and stays with you beyond the game, like the best stories have always done.
All this mushy stuff…and yet, almost everyone agreed that this game was special. The Spike VGAs, often decried as showcasing the worst stereotypes about gamers, also picked this game for their GOTY. What does that say about gamers, and how the medium is growing and evolving?
Yeah. We’re excited about the possibilities.
There you have it! Check out our Google+ community for a video of us making some of the choices!
Agree or disagree? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!