We here at GT never get tired of telling you about how much we love certain games, and so we’re going to take a minute for each of us to give out a short list of our favorite games this year.
5. Planetside 2
It doesn’t do anything miraculous, but Sony’s massively multiplayer shooter is still something that has to be experienced to be believed. I hate to invoke such a cliche word here, but the only really accurate descriptive term is “epic.” Everything about this game is huge. The battles, the buildings, the map–they’re all set to a scale I’ve never seen any other shooter approach. The best part? It’s completely Free
4. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition
I hadn’t played this until it came out on the PC, but I’d heard so much about it that it was pretty much a must-buy. Having played it now, I’ve got to say that all the hype isn’t enough to explain what makes this game so good. It’s challenging, but never unfair, balancing right at perfect difficulty.
3. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition
There isn’t really a whole lot that needs to be said about this one. It’s Baldur’s Gate–only with an interface that’s usable on modern computers. The tweaks and minor features would make this a worthwhile investment for players who’ve never visited to Faerun, but the addition of the excellent new characters really completes the package.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of thatgamecompany and the wonderfully original experiences they create. Journey adds to an already impressive resume with incredibly stylish graphics and some of the best multiplayer I’ve ever experienced. It’s a bit short, but it’s clearly meant to be played in a single sitting again and again.
1. Spec Ops: The LineIf you’ve ever listened to the Gaming Trend podcast, you’ve probably heard me talking about this one. Yes, the gameplay is a bit generic, but the story this game tells subverts long-established shooter tropes to put the players through a grueling experience. If I had to pick any one game that we’re going to be talking about 10 years from now, it’s this one.
Honorable Mention–Best Game I played that didn’t come out this Year: To The Moon
Okay, technically this came out in 2011, but I played it this year, so I’m counting it. To The Moon is a bittersweet reflection on living with and loving a person with an unknown pervasive developmental disorder (probably Asperger’s Syndrome or autism). It doesn’t offer much by way of gameplay–it’s a bare bones point and click adventure game–but it makes up for it with by telling an original story, and telling it masterfully.
Honorable Mention–Best revival of a long dead genre of giant robot sims: Hawken/MechWarrior Online
I love giant robots, you guys, and I gotta say: it was a good year for mecha fans. Both Hawken and MWO offer unique experiences that feel really solid, and both capture the feeling of being stuck in a giant metal coffin. I personally prefer MWO for the nostalgia that comes with it, but I have to give Hawken a lot of credit for being such a solid contender. Both are well worth playing, and if you haven’t tried either, be sure to check them out–they’re both free!