Best Of 2012: Video Games
As with yesterday and comics I’ve forgone the big complicated list and just picked two games I want to highlight. These are two games that really stand out amongst every other release this year.
Mass Effect 3
With the usual holiday blitz of games in Q4 (as every good publisher knows games only sell 3 months a year right?) I almost forgot that Mass Effect 3 actually came out this year. As a huge fan of the first two games I was nervous the third would drop the ball and have the trilogy end on a dud. I was a moron for worrying. Mass Effect 3 blew me away. The storyline had me as involved as ever, the gameplay was even more refined than last time and even the multiplayer mode had me sinking yet more hours into it. I can say with no reservations that Mass Effect 3 is one of my top five games of all time, as such it’s a no brainer that it was one of my two top games of the year.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
While I was eagerly awaiting Mass Effect 3 from the moment the credits rolled in 2, XCOM was barely on my radar at all. I knew it was coming and I was aware Firaxis were behind it, developers of the critically acclaimed Civilization franchise. Civilization is one of those franchises I respect but never could quite get into. Therefore XCOM was a game I expected to appreciate from a distance. Then just two weeks before it’s release I got caught up in the marketing buzz and really started to get interested. Normally I avoid game coverage of anything I know I’m buying but I couldn’t get enough of XCOM. It sounded fantastic. Then I bought it. It was everything I was hoping for. I worked during the day and couldn’t wait to get into bed at night so I could play a couple hours to try stop Earth from being obliterated by aliens. Every aspect just reeled me in. From ordering around the troops in combat to deciding what to pour my credits into building. Do I go for better armour for my soliders or do I get that satellite that Asia really needs? XCOM achieved the rare feat of actively wanting me to drop newer games in favour of just playing it all over again. Mass Effect 3 was an obvious choice but I never thought I’d love XCOM anywhere near as much as I did. It’s definitely one of the best games of the year.
Bonus Award – Best Mobile Game:
Anyone that knows me knows I love a good mobile game for killing time in life’s many waiting moments. Hero Academy is one of the only mobile games I would play not only on the bus but when sat on the couch at home or, to be honest, just about anywhere! A turn based tactical strategy game for two, Hero Academy has you pick a team based on fantasy archetypes and fight it out. I’ve been playing the game for months and still I love it. At first I would only have about 3 games running at a time but lately I have about eight… with the same person. I love getting a set of turns to respond to as every game is a little bit different. The loadout at the start of each game is randomised from the set characters and items of that particular team. This adds an element of randomness meaning you have to shake up your tactics each time as you don’t know what you, or your opponent, has in their arsenal. Hero Academy is the only game on this list that I expect I’ll still be playing, daily, for not only the next few weeks but well into the year.