We Got This Covered’s Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

wgtc best of gaming 2012 backgound We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

The task of selecting the best video games released during any given year is always a difficult one, and 2012 was no exception to that rule. This was a year that saw new IPs turn into prospective franchises, old genres infused with new life, multiple series continued with unbelievable sequels, and select games that managed to tug at our heartstrings.

Let there be no doubt, 2012 was a fantastic year to be a gamer.

A couple of weeks ago, We Got This Covered revealed some of our nominees for the best video game of 2012. We have since nailed down our full list of the top games of the year, leading to our selection of 2012′s Game of the Year.

So without further adieu, we present We Got This Covered’s Top 10 Video Games of 2012.

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#10 – Mass Effect 3

wgtc best of 2012 mass effect 3 We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

    • Developer: BioWare
    • Publisher: Electronic Arts
    • NA Release Date: March 6, 2012
    • Read WGTC’s full Mass Effect 3 review

Christian Law – When has the third entry in a series ever been the best? Just look at The Godfather Part 3 or Back To The Future Part 3 for proof of that theory. But leave it to the already fantastic Mass Effect series to save the best for last. Revamped gameplay, an epic, sprawling plot, and deep characterization all came together to present a near perfect ending to the beloved series.

By this point, your Shepard has been through more than anyone can imagine, carrying the weight of all life (sentient and non) on his/her shoulders. The final battle against the Reapers, with the might of many universes at your back, represents a culmination of the grand scope that this series has covered in the past few years. Characters you’ve grown to love will die in front of your eyes if you’re not careful, and more than a few will have their loyalty challenged based on the decisions Shepard will make.

The usual good/evil morality system is deeper in Mass Effect 3 than in any game ever before, presenting players with choices that have no clear answer. Who are we to make decisions that could destroy entire species? It’s an experience that requires multiple playthroughs just to see the effects of each choice.

Not only is Mass Effect 3 packed with several moments of high-adrenaline action (the sprint to the conduit at the end is my favorite sequence of the year), but it packs a powerful emotional punch that fans of the series have been waiting years for. The final assault on Earth contains images of a shattered world that will break your heart and replace it with rage towards a race that has no love for our species.

Mass Effect 3 is the definition of a masterpiece, plain and simple.

#9 – Quantum Conundrum

wgtc best of 2012 Quantum Conudrum We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

  • Developer: Airtight Games
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • NA Release Date: June 21, 2012
  • Read WGTC’s full Quantum Conundrum review

Justin Alderman – Without a doubt, the best first-person puzzle platformer with a snarky narrator (FPPSN) released this year was Quantum Conundrum from Airtight Games. Thanks to Kim Swift’s influence as director, the game’s structure will be extremely familiar for anyone who has played Portal (the mother of the FPPPSN sub-genre). However, once you move past the basic similarities, you will find that Quantum Conundrum offers its own unique set of puzzles that surpass its predecessor in many ways.

Instead of solving puzzle rooms using portals, Quantum Conundrum has the player take control of an IDS glove that lets them switch between four dimensions — all of which drastically change the physical properties of all objects in the room — on the fly. Its a little hard to grasp at first, but after a short while it becomes second nature to throw a plush safe in the Fluffy dimension, switch to the Slow dimension to easily hop on the now steel safe, and then flip the Reverse Gravity dimension on and off to ride the airborne safe across a deep chasm.

By the way, that is exactly as much fun as it sounds!

Add a whimsical cartoon art style and witty/snarky commentary from the player’s crazy scientist uncle — who is voiced by John de Lancie of Star Trek fame — to the dimension shifting puzzle formula, and you have all the makings for one of the best video games released in 2012.

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#8 – Sleeping Dogs

wgtc best of 2012 sleeping dogs We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

  • Developer: United Front Games, Square Enix London Studios
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • NA Release Date: August 13, 2012
  • Read WGTC’s full Sleeping Dogs review

Chad Goodmurphy – To say that Sleeping Dogs had a tumultuous journey from conception to retail store shelves would be an understatement. The third-person sandbox-action game, which began its digital life as a new intellectual property, ended up being cancelled by Activision after the publisher had rebranded it as True Crime: Hong Kong. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that ever happened, considering how great the final product ended up being.

Thankfully, things ended up working out for developer United Front Games after Square Enix agreed to pick up the Hong Kong crime tale’s publishing duties. The promise that the company saw within the game ended up paving the way for its unexpected summer 2012 retail release, gifting the industry with an interactive gem to play during a relatively slow season. Who knows what would have happened if the Japanese gaming giant hadn’t come to the rescue.

After seeing all of the success and accolades that Sleeping Dogs has received since its release, the Activision executives who decided to cancel the project must be kicking themselves. Mistakes do happen, of course, but this one stands out more than others. That’s because, not only is Wei Shen’s undercover mission a standout experience from this calendar year, its engaging storyline, riveting gameplay and immersive game world have all combined to make it one of its genre’s all-time best.

#7 – XCOM: Enemy Unknown

wgtc best of 2012 xcom enemy unknown We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

Christian Law – Most people see tobacco or alcohol as the faces of addiction. But gamers this year were re-introduced to the XCOM series, and weeks were suddenly lost to the abyss that is XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Presenting a tactical strategy game that is nearly as immersive as it is unforgiving, this is perhaps the best game of the genre to be released in years.

Similar to games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or The Mass Effect series, fans who played all the way through had completely different experiences, creating endless stories to share around the water cooler about how terribly their squad was torn apart. Alien attackers come in all shapes and sizes, and the variety serves to tear apart every soldier you’ve spent months training. Watching the lone survivor of the initial assault get struck down by a tiny gray man months into the war is one of the most devastating experiences a gamer can go through, and the fact that you care so much is a testament to this amazing game.

Despite how unforgiving XCOM: Enemy Unknown is, it always seems fair and full of emotion. Panic begins to set in as nations refuse to help your squad, and watching any soldier meet their death is awful. Although they are all faceless and nearly devoid of personality, you develop a connection to the characters that allows you to revel in every success and climb back from the pit of each defeat.

Even gamers who have sworn off the strategy genre for life will find something to love in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The addictive gameplay and resource gathering/research adds to an already astounding level of replay value, and knowing you hold the fate of the world in your hands will have you running back to your controller or keyboard and mouse every free second you get. Give it a chance, but be ready to lose yourself in the year’s most immersive experience.

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#6 -Far Cry 3

wgtc best of 2012 far cry 3 We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • NA Release Date: December 4, 2012
  • Read WGTC’s full Far Cry 3 review

Chaz Neeler – Far Cry 3 is exactly how every family vacation I have ever been on goes. Sure, it’s a blast at the beginning, but within a few hours someone has been kidnapped by pirates and I end up covered in tattoos hunting tigers with an RPG. You may think I’m exaggerating a bit here, but I have been officially banned from the state of Ohio thanks to our last excursion.

With the next generation of consoles rumored to be coming next year, Far Cry 3 is a prime example of everything that made this generation great. A beautiful open world ripe for exploration, a detailed story where we witness the complete transformation of the main character and smooth gameplay all around.

It’s damn near impossible to state just what makes Far Cry 3 so great in a few short paragraphs simply because there is such a wealth of activities available for you, and all of them are done expertly. Even the multilayer, which by all accounts looked like it was just another tacked on deathmatch, offers a fairly deep experience, although it probably won’t become your favorite part of the game.

The bottom line is that if you have even a passing interest in the FPS genre, Far Cry 3 is a game that you really need to play. There’s more than enough here to justify it’s price tag, and the narrative stands out as one of the best of the year.

#5 – Journey

wgtc best of 2012 journey We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

  • Developer: thatgamecompany
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • NA Release Date: March 13, 2012
  • Read WGTC’s full Journey review

Justin Alderman – Prior to playing Journey for the first time, I expected the game to be nothing more than a fun little adventure/exploration title. Two hours later I found myself back at the title screen in stunned silence as I attempted to process all the emotions that I had just experienced during that first playthough. It would be several days before I could fully flesh out and write down all my thoughts on thatgamecompany’s masterpiece; however, in that moment it was obvious that Journey was the most profound work of art that I have ever experienced in the medium.

thatgamecompany chose to make Journey‘s plot a bit of a blank canvas that easily accommodates a wide range of interpretations, so the “true meaning” behind the game’s silent story will likely be different for everyone who makes the trek across the sand dunes. For me it is the story of the complete human experience, from birth to death and to what lies beyond. It caused me to reflect on my life’s journey, examine and appreciate my personal relationships, and to contemplate my own mortality.

What thatgamecompany was able to achieve in Journey‘s two-hour story is unparalleled in the history of video games, and it represents a high water mark for both the industry and the arts. Journey is easily one of the very best video games of 2012, and an experience that nobody should miss.

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#4 – Borderlands 2

wgtc best of 2012 borderlands 2 We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

  • Developer: Gearbox Software
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • NA Release Date: September 18, 2012
  • Read WGTC’s full Borderlands 2 review

Chaz Neeler – Hey you! Do you like guns? Explosions? Piles upon piles of shiny loot packed to the brim with even bigger guns capable of more explosions? Then you really have no excuse to not have played Borderlands 2 yet.

The definitive co-op experience of the year, Borderlands 2 is the rare sequel that fixes all the faults of the original while improving the product on the whole. While the gunplay and exploration is certainly the primary focus, we were also treated to a surprisingly detailed story capable of bringing a smile to even the most cynical of neck beards. Sure, the humor was mostly glorified fart jokes, but they were expertly tongue-in-cheek and never once managed to fall flat. The characters were memorable, full of personality, and never failed to entertain.

Add in the addictive loot system where you are always just a chest away from having a new toy completely capable of blowing your current load-out away, the four player drop-in/drop-out co-op, and the absolutely insane firefights you’re guaranteed to find yourself caught in, and you’ve got a perfect mix for one of the most addictive games of the year.

#3 – Dishonored

wgtc best of 2012 dishonored We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

  • Developer: Arkane Studios
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • NA Release Date: October 9, 2012
  • Read WGTC’s full Dishonored review

Chad Goodmurphy – Mixing first-person shooting and swordplay with magical abilities and blink of the eye teleporting, Dishonored delivered one of 2012’s most memorable and replayable campaigns. As a result, Arkane Studios’ rich and creative stealth-action assassination game has appeared in multiple Game of the Year conversations, and for good reason. After all, its addictive and incredibly entertaining trial and error gameplay has set a quality-based precedent for those that follow.

At a time where multiplayer is king and annual follow-ups to best-selling titles predominantly reign supreme atop industry sales charts, it was nice to see a new intellectual property make waves. Of course, Dishonored’s success is even more impressive considering its lack of competitive content, helping to prove that not all successful games require multiplayer modes. Hopefully the industry’s creative minds will take note of that fact, leading to less tacked on and uninteresting attempts.

Frankly speaking, those who’ve yet to pick up and play through Dishonored are missing out on a masterpiece of interactive proportions. Rarely do we ever receive video games that work on as many levels as this one does, walking a gameplay tightrope that presents multiple avenues for players to venture down. Behind all of that lies a moral question relating to whether one would prefer to be a ghost who avoids unnecessary murder, or a ruthless assassin who is willing to shed blood whenever the need arises.

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#2 – The Walking Dead

wgtc best of 2012 the walking dead We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

  • Developer: Telltale Games
  • Publisher: Telltale Games
  • NA Release Date: April 24, 2012 (Episode 1)
  • Read WGTC’s full The Walking Dead review, Episode 12345.

John Fleury – The Walking Dead offers one of the best storytelling experiences players can find in gaming. Lee Everett’s story of survival and ongoing conflicts between the undead, as well as the living, is absolutely gripping, with numerous emotional curveballs thrown at the player. Told through five episodic games, with not a weak one among the bunch, its story and characters stay engaging and well-developed the whole way through.

With interesting gameplay mechanics like the choice-based dialog system and quicktime event-based action sequences, The Walking Dead feels like a true reinvention and reinvigoration for point-and-click adventure games. Telltale has honed the genre’s traditional format to a tee in their past games, but this represents a bold new step for them, and it’s a risky move that has paid off tremendously.

The Walking Dead is an unforgettable gaming experience, and one that should not be skipped over by gamers.

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WGTC 2012 Game of the Year – Assassin’s Creed III

wgtc best of 2012 assassins creed iii We Got This Covereds Top 10 Video Games Of 2012

John Fleury – Assassin’s Creed III does a great job of showcasing the reasons why people have grown to love this series, as well as adding some new ones. The story and cast are engaging, the stealth gameplay is refined and tense, and there is a staggering amount of quality content to play in the form of side missions and goals. Going hunting through the wilderness is a lot of fun, as is seeing iconic American events like the Boston Massacre given an Assassin’s Creed-style twist.

Special mention should be given to the new naval combat sections, which may be the most ingenious and thrilling original gameplay element I’ve seen all year. Even the innovative multiplayer established in previous entries has been given some enjoyable new modes.

Assassin’s Creed III was one of the biggest gaming events of the year, not to mention our pick for the best game of 2012, and for good reason. It’s an epic and ambitious experience that should not be missed.

The first step in choosing our list of the Top 10 Video Games of 2012 was for each of our gaming writers to select their own personal top 10 lists. Not all of the games we individually selected ending up making the final cut, so we thought the best way to honor our favorite games of the year would be to release those initial picks.

Below you will find each of our personal top 10 lists. Each game mentioned here holds a special place in (at least one of) our hearts and fully deserves the honor of being mentioned alongside the games listed above.

Chad Goodmurphy

  1. Dishonored
  2. Assassin’s Creed III
  3. Borderlands 2
  4. NHL 13
  5. The Walking Dead
  6. Sleeping Dogs
  7. Far Cry 3
  8. New Super Mario Bros. U
  9. Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack!
  10. Forza Horizon

Justin Alderman

  1. Journey
  2. Assassin’s Creed III
  3. Birds of Steel
  4. The Walking Dead
  5. Lollipop Chainsaw
  6. Tokyo Jungle
  7. Quantum Conundrum
  8. Awesomenauts
  9. The Unfinished Swan
  10. Papo & Yo

Chaz Neeler

  1. Spelunky!
  2. Borderlands 2
  3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  4. Far Cry 3
  5. Dishonored
  6. Quantum Conundrum
  7. The Walking Dead
  8. Planetside 2
  9. Fez
  10. Journey

John Fleury

  1. The Walking Dead
  2. Sleeping Dogs
  3. LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
  4. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
  5. Assassin’s Creed III
  6. Dance Central 3
  7. Trials Evolution
  8. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  9. Rock Band Blitz
  10. Journey

Christian Law

  1. Mass Effect 3
  2. Max Payne 3
  3. Spec Ops: The Line
  4. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  5. Quantum Conundrum
  6. Assassin’s Creed III
  7. Far Cry 3
  8. Journey
  9. Dishonored
  10. Sleeping Dogs

That’s it for our picks! While we start gearing up for everything the video game industry is going to throw at us in 2013, make sure to let us know how our top picks match up against yours.

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  • horse

    Good list apart from assassins creed, don’t know or how anyone could rank it above far cry 3 not to mention number one. Oh well theres no accounting for taste

    • http://twitter.com/Mr_Manager0803 Justin A.

      Before we sat down to sort out our top ten we settled on a weighted voting method. None of us picked ACIII as the best game of 2012, however, enough of us placed it high enough in our lists that it received the most votes (The Walking Dead was a very close second).

      We talked about changing the order of the list, but ultimately decided to just let our votes stand, as we believed the method we had picked was a fair one.

      I personally had the title as my number two, after much inner debate. I agree that the game has a LOT of problems (I’d actually extend that out to the whole series) but it all came down to the setting. I LOVE that time period and was completely happy to fight through the game’s problems just to be in that setting in some way.

      It wasn’t my favorite game of 2012, but I simply can’t ignore the fun I had with it.

  • horse

    Ac3 is disjointed, uninspired and worst of all just plain boring. The historical snippets are entertaining but that alone does not make up for its hand holding linear missions.