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The Top 10 Video Games of 2012 According to the Entertainment Buddha

top 10 games of 2012

It’s that time of year again when every Tom, Dick, and Harry puts out their “Top # List” for the 2012 video game lineup, so it’s our time to get in on the fun with our (as in me and the mouse in my pocket) 10 best video games of the past 12 months.  2012 offered a myriad of gaming experiences that all vied to be on our Top 10 list, but I had to whittle it down to just the cream of the crop.

I think you’ll find many of the games on our list to also be on yours, but as opinions go it’ll only be natural if you don’t agree with some of the choices I made, so feel free to let me know how stupid my opinions are by leaving some choice words in the comments section down below!  You’ve been thinking it’s impossible for gamers to agree on any type of “Best Of” lists…

Top 10 Video Games of 2012

(Click on the title names to read full review/impressions)

10.  Sound Shapes

This fabulous downloadable title for the PS3 and PS Vita could be one of the most underrated games of 2012.  It’s simple yet addicting platforming action is nothing new, but the fact that you unlock notes from a song as you progress through each level made it feel like you composed the this game’s soundtrack in real time.  On top of that you also got to flex your creative muscles with an easy to use level editor that allows you to upload your own creations for other gamers to play.

9.  Prototype 2

Yes.  This game is worthy of being in a top 10 list.  It’s story may lack heart and emotion, but the allure of becoming an unstoppable force with insane powers is just too much fun to miss.  I’m not a Prototype homer either.  In fact, I hated the first game, so that’s why I was so impressed with Radical’s work on the sequel.  Prototype 2 did a perfect job of making me feel like a badass, and sometimes that’s all I’m looking for in an escape from reality while gaming.  It’s a blast of a game that’s well worth your time.  Play it.  Play it NOW!

8.  The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition for the Xbox 360

Yes I can tell time and know that this game actually came out in 2011, but it didn’t release for the Xbox 360 until this past Spring, so na na na na boo boo stick your head in poo poo.  This game has to be one of the most mature games that I’ve ever played due to its penchant for nudity and vulgar language, which is mixed with some intensely brutal combat.  The Witcher 2’s story is setup in a way that forces you to play it at least twice thanks to its unique branching path storyline, and each route provides a completely new gameplay experience.  For its replay value and technical achievements The Witcher 2 for the 360 is a worthy candidate for our Top 10 list.

7.  Darksiders 2

The sequel to the original Darksiders stars Death, who could be one of the raddest looking video game characters of this generation.  This game may not be a true sequel, but it took everything about the original and made it better.  Death’s more nimble move set make him the ultimate tough guy who just so happens to have the parkour skills of an Olympic gymnast.  Darksiders 2’s world is huge when compared to the first, and a steady dose of DLC has kept the game fresh since launch.  Let’s just hope THQ gets their shit together so we can play yet another Darksiders game one day.

6.  Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

I respect the hell out of the fact that this franchise continues to pwn retail sales, but that’s not why Black Ops 2 made my Top 10 list.  It’s actually a really great game, and one that signals the shift from Infinity Ward to Treyarch as the ultimate COD development studio.  The campaign’s use of a near future setting allowed gamers to try out some awesome new weaponry on their way to stopping Raul Menendez from world domination, and it actually had a semi-compelling narrative.

Not to mention the fact that Black Ops 2 has the most feature packed multiplayer offering of any game to date.  I’m talking the ability to live stream games, podcast matches, as well as the inclusion of free COD: Elite support.  Call of Duty’s dominance is here to stay, and Black Ops 2 helped it to stay on top of the FPS mountain in 2012.

Side note:  This game easily has the best 3D mode in any video game I’ve played that employs 3D.

5 (Tie).  Dishonored

This game is hands down one of the best new IPs in quite some time.  Arkane Studios did a masterful job creating a memorable world in Dunwall, and Corvo’s skill set would even make the Brotherhood of Assassins jealous.  I’ve never played a game where I felt the freedom to complete each mission in any way I wanted to like Dishonored offered, and I appreciated that fact immensely.  I hate when I’m forced to be stealthy, so it was refreshing to play a game where the player actually did have multiple avenues of completion without being told how to play along the way.

5 (Tie).  Borderlands 2

Yes it’s cheating to have a tie in any sort of “Top” list, but on this site I make the rules, so deal with it.  Borderlands 2 is a gem of a gaming experience, and it features some of the wittiest dialogue I’ve ever listened to in a video game.  The characters of Clap Trap and Handsome Jack will go down in history as some of the funniest personalities in gaming thanks to the writers over at Gearbox.  Borderlands 2 also provided hours of seemingly endless looting with a massive list of main and side quests.  If you liked the original then you’ll love Borderlands 2, because it improved upon everything to the point of perfection.

4.  SSX

I’m assuming that most of you skipped over this winter offering, and if you did you made a grave mistake.  SSX 2012 provided me with some of my most memorable gaming experiences of the year.  It’s easy to learn control scheme, and innovative offline competitive leaderboards had me grinding rails and hitting big air well into the Spring time.  It also led to my new found appreciation for dubstep music with its stellar soundtrack that made replaying certain runs much more tolerable.  If you’ve been needing a game to just get lost in and doesn’t take itself seriously then SSX is your answer.  It’s almost Winter, so why not shred some digital slopes today!

3.  XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM to me was the biggest surprise of 2012 outside of the aforementioned SSX reboot.  Up until this Fall I’ve never played an XCOM game, but that didn’t matter on bit.  XCOM: Enemy Unknown is hands down the definitive strategy experience on the consoles.  I’ve never been so addicted to a game that by nature moves slower than molasses.  The idea of building up a force of troops that can be wiped out permanently at any time made every move a life or death one.  Its randomly generated battles will keep things fresh more many days to come, and if you want to be the ultimate commander, XCOM’s various difficulties will keep you busy for a very long time.

2.  Mass Effect 3

Without a doubt the Mass Effect franchise is one of the best ever created video game properties of all-time.  The fact that you could carry your character and his/her choices through three games is mightily impressive.  These decisions culminated in Mass Effect 3, which in my opinion is the best in the series.  Bioware took a beating for the ending of this game, but it wasn’t deserved.  The fact that they released a massive extended edition of the endings to appease the angry masses should be applauded by even the staunchest of haters.

If the single player campaign wasn’t good enough Bioware went ahead and added a solid multiplayer component to the game that they constantly updated for free through DLC.  It still chaps my ass that gamers got so upset over this game’s ending and disparaged the hard work that Bioware has put into the Mass Effect franchise.  Don’t be a fool and miss out on one of the best gaming experiences of all-time, and play Mass Effect 3 today!

1.  Halo 4

Da da da daaa!  Halo 4 is EntertainmentBuddha.com’s #1 game of 2012!  343 Industries in my opinion hit a grand slam with Halo 4.  Many Halo fanboys took umbrage with the fact that Bungie wouldn’t be developing this new Halo game, but those fears were erased within the first two minutes of firing up Halo 4’s campaign.  This game is hands down the best looking video game on any console to date.  The CG cutscenes made me question if I was watching real actors or fake ones more often than not, and that fidelity carried over into the in-game visuals as well.  The Master Chief and his AI Cortana have never looked better, and that’s not the only improvement in Halo 4.  343 also created an entire new sound profile for this franchise that took it from a campy cult classic to a much more mature and serious  sounding title.

Halo 4’s campaign is easily my favorite component of the game, but I feel others will point to its improved multiplayer offerings, and they’d be right too.  Most of the changes in its multiplayer formula come straight from COD, but its sci-fi flavor makes Halo 4 stand out.  343 also did something monumental in game development by releasing a stand alone co-op campaign that takes place after the single player mission, which got updated with new content each week.  Spartan Ops is a fantastic way to explore the new Halo trilogy’s story, and best of all the entire first season is FREE.  By the end of its run gamers will have nearly 15 hours of new Halo 4 content without paying a dime.

Halo 4’s masterful visuals and sound design coupled with its revamped multiplayer offering make it stand out from the pack in 2012.  It got me interested in the Halo franchise again, and it reminded me of why I fell in love with it way back in 2001.  343 pulled off the impossible in 2012, and for that reason I have deemed Halo 4 the best game of the year.

 

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.