Well it’s that time of year once again. The holidays are coming to an end and it’s once again time for me to pick the best games of the year. I’ve played a lot of games this year. Some of which I finished, and some which I’m still battling through. There are the games that are from franchises that I’m familiar with, and there are those sleeper games that flew under the radar and surprised me. It’s been a good gaming year. Now it’s time to see what were some of my favorite games I played this year, and what game takes home the honor of Game of the Year.

5. Spec Ops: The Line

Sure it plays like a generic third person cover based shooter, and it’s multiplayer is garbage, but it’s the twisted story that kept me playing Spec Ops: The Line. I wanted to see what happened next in the sands of Dubai. Who knew that Captain Walker was just fucked up in the head? By the time I reached the climactic ending and chose how I wanted the game to end I felt more than satisfied with the outcome. Then I went back and experienced the other three endings. Honestly, down the road I would like to see more games like this where the hero is not really the hero at all. It’s the grey line that blends the actions of heroism and villainy thats worth traveling.

4: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

No Bayformers here. These are the adventures of the G1 Transformers that I grew up with here. High Moon Studios once again hits the ball out of the park with another amazing story as the civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons continues. There were some great moments that took place in this game including one scene that was straight from the Transformers: The Movie that hit my nostalgia block. The additions of the Combaticons (forming Bruticus) and Grimlock helped make the game become more than just a transforming shooter. Multiplayer was still “meh” to me, but creating my own unique Transformer was pretty cool. Now I eagerly look forward to seeing what the studio has up it’s sleeve for the next game especially due to the cliffhanger ending.

3. Borderlands 2

I didn’t think it was possible, but Gearbox Software was actually able to improve on everything that made the original Borderlands awesome. A better storyline, improved enemy AI, and an arsenal of weapons that absolutely kick even more ass than ever before. However, Marcus still doesn’t give out refunds. Characters including Claptrap, the hilarious Tiny Tina, and the main villain Handsome Jack really stand out in this game. The four player co-op once again is a huge plus leading to lots of fun (as well as a few cheap shots for shits and giggles), and the DLC so far has been pretty good. Once again my gun porn addiction continues especially when Gearbox is so generous by handing out all those Golden Keys lately.

2. The Walking Dead

Telltale Games once again takes a popular property and turns it into one of the best stories of all time. Based on the comic book series, The Walking Dead took me on an emotional roller coaster while experiencing a full scale zombie apocalypse in the process. Key decisions throughout the game led to moments where I had to decide on who lives and who dies. Then there were the consequences that followed which really weighed heavy on not just my character, Lee Everett, but also on myself as I questioned whether I made the right choice. Of course I had another mission and that was to protect the young Clementine who just wants to find her parents. How do I tell here that her family is nothing more than just a couple of undead zombies? Better yet, do I give her a candy coated and “Disneyfied” answer of “Don’t worry. They’re just fine.” Choices, choices. Something this game has well executed.

Now It’s time for my pick for the 2012 Game of the Year. Now before I give that honor let me share what games won my pick of Game of the Year in the past:

2006: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
2007: Bioshock
2008: Fallout 3
2009: Batman: Arkham Asylum
2010: Red Dead Redemption
2011: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

And now it’s time…

2012 GAME OF THE YEAR
Halo 4

Five years. Five years I waited. Now 343 Industries has delivered to fans like myself the next big Halo game. Not only was it a new Halo game, but it was a sequel that marked the return of the iconic Master Chief along with a new threat that makes the Covenant look rather weak. Bungie has handed the proverbial torch and 343 Industries ran with it. Improved visuals, improved enemy AI, better weapons, a smart story, addicting gameplay, and awesome co-op and competitive multiplayer made Halo 4 not only the best Halo game (topping the original Halo: Combat Evolved), but the best first person shooter of all time. Halo 4 has now set the standard for where all future FPS games will be judged.

Honorable Mentions go out to:

Assassin’s Creed 3
Dishonored
Far Cry 3
Forza Horizon
Trials Evolution

So there you have it. My personal favorites of 2012. A new year is now on the doorstep and that means new games for me to tackle. I’m looking forward to 2013 to see what I’ll be playing and reviewing. Until then…Game on!

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