2012 Gaming Year In Review – Part 1

Now Raptr isn’t the perfect method for tracking all of your gaming. There isn’t nearly enough statistical data presented to really get interesting, but it’s nice that it’s always-on and runs as a service so you don’t really need to remember starting it up before kicking out a gaming session. I kind of wish Raptr would do some sort of yearly review that goes over your specific data to get you a much more comprehensive view of how much you were gaming, what you played the most, etc., but alas compiling all of that data will be on me for this go around. Of the 50 or so games I’ve added this year (Quite a few unplayed), 30 of them were played enough to get an “Experienced” rating from Raptr. So while the full list is at the bottom, I figure a brief on each of the 30 might be in order. This might take me a while.

Rawr! It's a dinosaur!

Rawr! It’s a dinosaur!

So, in the order of most recently added, here we go.

  1. Ridge Racer Unbounded – I had an itch for a new driving game and found this on sale recently. This has a more arcade-style feel in that you can crash other cars and finish races to unlock cars and tracks. There’s an experience system loosely attached to a leveling system. Also a nice online component and track builder where you can go through and browse other creations. The depth of the track customization is pretty nice. You could easily go through thousands of tracks without finding something repeated, if you’re up for it.
  2. Firefall – First saw a demo for this at PAX East and thought it looked pretty interesting. Well, it’s in beta at the moment and you can throw money at it to get in, but it’s far from finished. From what I’ve heard in dev-speak, they’re working more things to do in the world, and balancing some of the annoying broken bits. There’s 5 basic classes of which I’ll probably butcher the actual names, but basically a Sniper, Engineer, Assault, Heavy, and Medic. Last I played, you could roam around the map fighting off the Bad Dudes, or drilling for materials which brings out the local fauna to beat up on you during a timed phase. Also huge tornadoes of energy spawn some pretty nasty boss mobs. There’s a lot of jetpack action and shooter elements, but it’s not quite done yet. Waiting for this to be finished up, hopefully, eventually.
  3. Max Payne 3 – The Hard-Boiled Cop in retirement takes a vacation to South America where he works as a bodyguard, and pretty much just kills everyone in his way throughout the whole game. The story isn’t particularly deep, and you can see the plot twist coming a mile away. It’s entertaining all the way through and makes for a 12-hour story mode (for me at least) which is worth it, imo. The voice acting and story telling is well done. Enjoyed on all accounts, but only needed one playthrough to be satisfied. There were some meta-game elements in it if you really wanted to go full achievement mode on it, but I didn’t bite down on it that hard.
  4. Planetside 2 – Oh man, I bought into the hype train on this one mostly because of all the yelling on Twitter and the rest of the community. I’m not sure if an e-peen battle among internet personalities is really the marketing path I would have gone down, but alas… Most of my experiences in this game have been “playing it wrong” and getting farmed at spawn points. It’s a squad based shooter, which means I can listen to random people yelling at me to go places that I’m not familiar with, or solo it up and fail terribly. Might be fun for some people, but I gave it 5 hours and just couldn’t get a good feel for it. Don’t hate me, it’s just a bad game for people like me.
  5. Space Pirates and Zombies – One of the many, small, cheap, indie games that I’ve DL’ed over the year mostly because they were cheap and mildly entertaining. Well this one got me hooked for most of a night which apparently gives you enough Raptr cred to be experienced. Now, I have no idea where the zombies come from, apparently that’s further along in the story I got. Pretty sure I hadn’t made it out of the tutorial by the first three hours, at least it didn’t feel like it. You have a fair amount of flexibility in creating ships and flying them around blowing things up, collecting parts, and building bigger ships. There’s a few factions in the game which oppose each other, so you piss off one and make friends with the other which basically puts you down a few different paths to progression. By the end I was deeper into the complexity of the game, but nowhere near understanding what the hell I was doing. A note to indie devs, 3 hours is a LONG time to give your game a chance to start moving forward. Haven’t played it since.
  6. Sleeping Dogs – Ah, another great game on the list. This is the Chinese theme of GTA with a couple notable additions. First off the fighting system is a fair bit deeper, you learn kung-fu at a dojo and a dozen different techniques. They’re fun, some necessary to progress the fighting missions, and other quite useful once you get the hang of things. See, in most countries, easy access to firearms isn’t a thing. It’s pretty late in Sleeping Dogs that you even get a gun, and even then I’d still rather kick in some teeth. Right, so the jist, you’re an undercover cop breaking into the criminal underground. Open world, car-jacking, fighting, it’s all in there. I liked this game quite a bit and still fire it up occasionally to cruise around even though I’ve just about got it at 100% completion. Recommended. It’ll go on sales, pick it up when it does.
  7. Mark of the Ninja – First saw this game at PAX East being developed for Xbox, the first thing out of my mouth was “When is this coming to PC?”, well it finally did late this year and it’s the best side-scrolling stealth game I’ve ever played, by far. Don’t care much for stealth? Well it makes a pretty entertaining arcade beat-em-up too, although there’s some points where you’ll go the stealth route anyway because it’s either more obvious or sadistically pleasing. There’s so many elements of stealth this game brings to the table, and not just for a cameo appearance or nod to mechanics that work on other platforms. Noise as a factor in a sidescroller usually isn’t something you would even see it, but they take it and run with it. Ever drop a body onto a passing guard from the ceiling to intentionally make them freak out and run around? How about doing that, then knocking out all the lights in the area, causing them to freak out and shoot their guard buddies? So many moments in the game, when executed well, are hilarious and rewarding at the same time. Klei has done a great job on this, another highly recommended game.
  8. Borderlands 2 – I cannot rave about this game enough. It’s been my late-blooming game of the year, and there’s been some pretty damn big ones in 2012. This surpasses the first game in scope and storytelling. Giving you a much deeper and more fulfilling experience (not to mention fucking hilarious). It ties in the first game very well, and actually goes quite the distance in explaining what the hell was going on back then. In fact, the main characters in this game are the playable characters from the last one. As far as building depth in story, its something Gearbox Software has mastered in my opinion. All the little ECHO devices lying around the world tell you bits of story about different characters. Frequently Handsome Jack (Best Performance, VGA10) interjects himself into your game as the biggest bastard I’ve ever had the sick pleasure of enjoying in a videogame. There’s SO MUCH WRONG with him, it’s insane. All the way up through the climax of the game, he delivers a personality you love to hate, and can fantasize about putting a few hundred bullets into. Wow, ah, that sounds pretty fucked up actually. Anyway, while the story and acting skyrocketed this game into my top spot for the year, there’s little things (mainly the guns) that took a step back. Yes, the guns. The most function part of the game, imo, are worse off than BL1. A mild complaint, but prominent throughout the game. You’ll get by, really it’s just a testament to the first games guns being the best of the best.
  9. Guild Wars 2 – This was supposed to be the MMO for me to end all other MMO’s. Well, it didn’t although I enjoyed it for its time, pumping out 204 hours this year. That’s enough to get map completion on my Mesmer to 99% and capped crafting, a second character deep into the 50’s, and 3 others around 20 or so. Really, this game should have me logging into it everyday because it really is quite good, but I’ve been in a bit of an MMO rut lately as this list is quite the testament to. My biggest complaint about the game is the lack of role definition. For some, that’s a big plus, but I like the “holy trinity” of Tank/DPS/Support. The big group thing that I would normally do in other MMO’s is small group content, mainly dungeons or PvP skirmishing. The dungeons in this game, due to a lack of trinity, are not something you can really get locked down unless you’re running a full group. Everyone needs to be on their toes, whereas in other games the tank can hold aggro, support can keep them alive, and dps can beat the piss out of it. WvWvW would be my other retreat in a game, but the zerging that goes on with any real competitive server has always turned me off, and I’ve yet to find a small group that could actually take a meaningful objective when the blog rolls around. It’s on my dashboard, and I’ll fire it up occasionally, but it’s just not my MMO home. That position still belongs to Rift, for now.
  10. The Secret World – There was a point during the summer, before Guild Wars 2 released, that I was feeling vulnerable and weak in my MMO position. Rift was teasing me with the release of Storm Legion, but the guild was stuck in Hammerknell or smacking our face on the first boss in the most recent Raid zone. The Secret World was a tease that I paid for, I like the leveling system at first, but never played it to any sort of levelcap. The main problem was just that I didn’t play with anyone most of the time, and there really wasn’t anything I needed to group up to accomplish. Sure there were other people around, and occasionally I would work with another person to clear an objective, but a dozen levels and 16 hours later I just wasn’t interested any more. It’s been sitting on the figurative shelf since September or so.

So there’s the first ten. Kudos to you if you’ve made your way through those ones. I suppose since I’m right around 2000 words deep so far, I’ll save the next 20 games for another two posts or so. Keep in mind, we’re working backwards from the most recent releases, so there might be a handful released that I have less of an idea why the fuck I paid money for them. I’m pleased to be back and blogging for the community, it’s like public service work in which I get to spout my opinion on things. Is that even a thing?

I’m interested in having some comments on here in what other people have spent their time on this year. Maybe you’ve had some of the same experiences I did? Maybe, you think I’m totally wrong on my opinions? Hey, it’s the internet. This is what the comments section is for. Feel free to skip past the list of everything I’ve played this year and tell me what’s up.

Full list of games added in 2012, via Raptr

Ridge Race Unbounded

Firefall

Dishonored

Max Payne 3

Planetside 2

Mechwarrior Online

Space Pirates and Zombies

Sleeping Dogs

Mark of the Ninja

Borderlands 2

Guild Wars 2

The Secret World

Final Fantasy 7 (PC)

Vessel

Fallen Earth

Ys Origin

Ys: The Oath in Felghana

Legend of Grimrock

Smite

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Assassins’s Creed 2

Assassins’s Creed

Braid

Osmos

Tribes: Ascend

TERA

Realm of the Mad God

Bulletstorm

Dungeon Siege 3

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode Two

Crysis Warhead

Killing Floor

Fable 3

Borderlands: Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot

RUSH

Deus Ex GOTY

Crysis Wars

Hydrophobia: Prophecy

AaaaA! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity

Cities XL 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (demo)

Beat Hazard

Metro 2033

Sonic Generations

Bastion

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