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2012 Game of the Year: The Walking Dead

2012 Game of the Year: The Walking Dead

Telltale's The Walking Dead takes the dystopian world of the original comic books, and turns it into an active experience--evoking the kind of emotion that can only be possible through games.

Serving as a prequel to the ongoing comic book series from Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead's story begins with a convict named Lee. What he is beyond that opening scene is entirely up to the player. He can be a guy caught in an unfortunate circumstance, a brave leader, an unrepentant jerk, or even a silent protagonist. He's a conduit of player choice.

Read more: Why The Walking Dead is our Game of the Year »

"That's well earned, Bought that game and enjoyed every bit of it. Very good game, hat's off to ..."
- Gamer Assassin    See all 70 comments


Best of 2012: #2 - XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Best of 2012: #2 - XCOM: Enemy Unknown

COMMANDERS... You have performed... admirably, considering the situation. You managed to beat competition from what should have been Game of the Year contenders this year, and did remarkably well. The odds were always stacked against you, and earning support from Gamers around the world was always going to be a challenge. Would hardcore fans offer their support, given how radically different Enemy Unknown is from the original UFO Defense? And what about the hyphen? More casual gamers may have struggled to see the appeal of a turn-based strategy game in 2012. "Why isn't this a FPS?," they might have proclaimed. Who could have known there was so much power hidden in this relic of a genre?

Read more: Why XCOM: Enemy Unknown made our Top 10 »

"Yeah, I just hit ESC if I need to break for any reason, then resume."
- Ride-My-Rocket    See all 13 comments


Best of 2012: #3 - Dishonored

Best of 2012: #3 - Dishonored

Dishonored may be an original game coming from 2012, but it had the feel of classics such as Thief and Deus Ex, with a bit of Arx Fatalis thrown in. Whether I wanted to stealth my way through, or leave bodies in my wake, Dishonored took me on an emotional roller-coaster ride.

Read more: Why Dishonored made our Top 10 »

"Finished it in 16 hours, with about 70% exploration and side quests. Got into a few fights, but ..."
- shirif    See all 35 comments


Best of 2012: #4 - Journey

Best of 2012: #4 - Journey

Like Flower before it, Journey is a deceptively simple game that belies its aspirational experience. The game begins inexplicably with a vast desert stretching out ahead, and no direction of what to do. It needs none; instincts kick in and the game immediately lives up to its title.

From beginning to end, Journey elicits a profound emotional response. Controls consist of nothing more than movement and jumping, but it does these with such grace, that never once does it feel like something is missing. Setting emotions aside for a moment, simply playing Journey provides many memories that capably stand on their mechanics alone. From effortlessly gliding over and above the shifting sands to platforming through visually spectacular environments Journey delivers a fantastic controller-in-my-hands game. This is not an art game for which one must make special accommodations to see its beauty.

Read more: Why Journey made our Top 10 »

"Jenova Chen is said to have loved this fan-made alternate ending: ..."
- Sideways Bob    See all 9 comments


Best of 2012: #5 - Far Cry 3

Best of 2012: #5 - Far Cry 3

Given Far Cry 2's polarizing reception, few could have expected late-arriving Far Cry 3 to be as astoundingly fun as it turned out to be.

Whereas most single-player first-person-shooters are tightly-scripted, linear crawls from A to B, Far Cry 3 gives players the run of two massive islands that can be explored and conquered as the player sees fit. Sure, shooting seedy human traffickers is mighty fun, but there's so much more you can do. One of Far Cry 3's most compelling sub-systems gives players the opportunity to hunt specific prey, the skins of which allow the crafting of bigger pouches, holsters, and the like.

Read more: Why Far Cry 3 made our Top 10 »

"Oh and apparently, it mostly does this for the bought / legal version, and mostly doesn't do ..."
- EternaLife    See all 10 comments


Best of 2012: #6 - Mass Effect 3

Best of 2012: #6 - Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 marked the final chapter in the sci-fi adventures of Commander Shepard. And boy, did it cause quite the kerfuffle. Fans were outraged by the ending. But, wasn't the outcry a testament to how involved fans became in this universe? Had BioWare not done so much right over the course of three games, the trilogy could have ended with a far worse fate: no one giving a damn.

Read more: Why Mass Effect 3 made our Top 10 »

"I wish I was playing at that point again. Really loved the second game (especially The Illusive ..."
- Curike    See all 17 comments


Best of 2012: #7 - FTL: Faster Than Light

Best of 2012: #7 - FTL: Faster Than Light

Space is pretty big, they say, and filled with stuff. No one is sure quite what that stuff is, but experts are cautiously optimistic that it's "pretty wild." FTL: Faster Than Light is ostensibly a game about voyaging across space, but the roguelike's real exploration is of systems closer to home: the many ways you are inept and ruin things. It's a game about accepting that you'll cock it up and kill your friends, but maybe just save the galaxy one day.

Read more: Why FTL made our Top 10 »

"I'm happy it won and I get to read Alice's writing. I finally won after 40 some odd hours."
- spazzium    See all 33 comments


Best of 2012: #8 - Borderlands 2

Best of 2012: #8 - Borderlands 2

Amongst the sea of numbered big game sequels to come out in 2012, Borderlands 2 distinguished itself by avoiding even a whiff of disappointment. Easy though it may be to laugh at its own claims of being more badass than its predecessor--to the point of creating an in-game reward system built on "badass points"--it's that very mantra which guided it to success. Borderlands 2 improved on every element that made the original click. The end result was a game that felt like getting back together with a well-known friend, one with whom the relationship had matured over the last couple of years.

Read more: Why Borderlands 2 made our Top 10 »

"All the more reason I want to wait, if the DLC was poop I'd go now but I have enough to play anyways"
- Horn    See all 8 comments


Best of 2012: #9 - Mark of the Ninja

Best of 2012: #9 - Mark of the Ninja

I've had a rocky history with stealth games. I've tried to make it work, but communication is key in any relationship, and I've found the genre often lacking. The fourth or fifth time I'm spotted by an errant vision cone and summarily gunned down by a guard I never saw, I generally reload, give up the stealthy elements, and fight my way to the end.

Read more: Why Mark of the Ninja made our Top 10 »

"Like the game, this article seems to be ignored, even though it deserves love. Steve, I'm ..."
- RaptorII    See all 2 comments


Best of 2012: #10 - Halo 4

Best of 2012: #10 - Halo 4

"Wake up, Chief!"

Halo 4 marks Master Chief's triumphant return, bringing him out of a long slumber in a post-Bungie world. Not only does 343 succeed in taking over such a beloved franchise, they add depth to the series. Case in point: the story transforms Chief from the emotionless soldier we first met back in Combat Evolved, without compromising any of the qualities that make him such a badass character to begin with.

Read more: Why Halo 4 made our Top 10 »

"Two games earned our 10th place position in a tie. There are no other ties on the list, though."
- AndrewYoon    See all 3 comments


Best of 2012: #10 - New Super Mario Bros U

Best of 2012: #10 - New Super Mario Bros U

Undoubtedly, many will be surprised by the inclusion of New Super Mario Bros. U on our top 10 list for 2012. Why was it not showered with the universal adoration that so many other titles on our list have--especially considering that mainline "Mario" games have always been synonymous with top-notch platforming?

Perhaps we've been Mario'd out. The Wii U game launched mere months after New Super Mario Bros. 2 for 3DS--a game that was rote and by-the-numbers. We've had a Mario game every year since 2009--how can franchise annualization possibly lead to innovation?

Read more: Why Mario U made our Top 10 »

"I decided to play through more than the first two levels (I kept forgetting to save before and I ..."
- Vorlonesque    See all 27 comments



Top Games

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. Resistance 3
  3. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
  4. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  5. DayZ
  6. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  7. Hearts of Iron IV
  8. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  9. Frozen Synapse
  10. Trials Fusion

Most Anticipated

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  3. DayZ
  4. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  5. Hearts of Iron IV
  6. Batman: Arkham Knight
  7. Survarium
  8. Kerbal Space Program
  9. The Walking Dead: Season Two
  10. Frozen Endzone

Top Rentals

  1. Grand Theft Auto V
  2. Beyond: Two Souls
  3. Batman: Arkham Origins
  4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  5. Call of Duty: Ghosts
  6. Battlefield 4
  7. NBA 2K14
  8. Diablo III
  9. Madden NFL 25
  10. The Last of Us