eGamer Awards 2012: Game Of The Year
This has been a phenomenal year for games, and the most impressive thing is how it managed to follow up last year, which was one of the best years of gaming we had this current generation. After an exhausting yet tremendously exciting string of awards, we’ve finally gotten to the final and biggest award for the whole year. Join us as we choose our Game of the Year for 2012.
We’re here at last. In order for a game to be qualified as a nominee for Game of the Year in our books, it has to exceed all expectations, and it has to go above and beyond them and all other games. The minimum requirement to be nominated would be for the game to be immensely polished in all areas and outstanding overall. The one thing that needs to be made clear is that Game of the Year isn’t targeted at a game that has everything, but rather at a game that excels at everything it does or overall provides a gaming experience that’s worth remembering in the next year and beyond. In the end, we’re looking for a memorable gaming experience that will stay with us for years to come, and can ultimately be seen as the representative of an entire year of gaming. This is it, the final award for the year.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead was an absolutely incredible game this year, and one of the most notable titles to release. While other triple A titles stumbled over storytelling, this little game blew away the competition, and set a new standard for storytelling in video games. It definitely asked many challenging questions of the entire industry, and we can’t praise it enough. It was brilliant, insanely compelling and in the end it was just a masterful display of narrative quality. The Walking Dead is easily one of the best and most memorable experiences of this year, and a game we definitely won’t be letting go of anytime soon.
Hitman: Absolution was a glorious return for the franchise after its six year hiatus. It impressively managed to feel like a natural evolution of the series, and its few faults did absolutely nothing to stop us from coming back for more even after we finished it. It really was an excellent game, and a great sequel, and surely one of the best games we played this year. Its Contracts mode offered a brilliant way to add a more social-orientated multiplayer aspect to the game, and most importantly Absolution was great enough that we’d surely want to see more of this franchise in the future. Sooner rather than later.
Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 was certainly an extreme high point for not just the RPG genre this year, but also for gaming in its entirety. Furthermore, it really hit a massive nerve on the industry as well, but despite being one of the most controversial titles ever released, it was a fantastic game overall. It threw the gauntlet down and boasted a high quality and an amazing experience, as well as brought multiplayer to the series for the first time and actually pulled it off excellently, despite doubts surrounding it prior to the games release. All the attention may have been on its ending, but the game as a whole was compelling, riveting and intense. Mass Effect 3 was a stand-out game, for all the good and bad that it brought, but one stands above all else for us was that it was one of the best experiences this year.
Borderlands 2 raised the bar over its predecessor in every possible way, and brought in everything that it lacked. It really was an amazing sequel. With a great story, memorable characters, fantastic humour, tons of content, incredible co-op featuring a top multiplayer experience this year, and rock-solid and extremely entertaining gameplay, Borderlands 2 was easily one of the best games this year. The amount of hours we devoted to this game collectively was nothing short of disturbing, and that wasn’t just because it was insanely addictive, but because it was a game of exceptional quality as well.
Halo 4 was a magnificent achievement for first time developers 343 Industries, and it successfully managed to not only bring Master Chief back from the brink, but it also revitalized the Halo franchise with new life and purpose. It was an amazing experience that set a new bar for the series going forward. Even for those skeptical of Halo games or against them in general, this was a game that absolutely should have been given a chance. This was the biggest reason to own an Xbox 360 this year, and it was one of the best games to release, certainly doing all it could to make itself worthy of a nomination.
Journey was a flawless game for us, and truly was a work of art. It wasn’t just one of the best audio and visual experiences we’ve ever had, but it was also an unforgettable experience that was masterfully brought to life. Journey was like no other game we have played, and it truly was a pinnacle in game development. It reinforced the idea that games should be considered an art form, as only a work of art can affect a person in quite the same way that Journey did. It also packed an innovating multiplayer experience quite unlike anything else you can find, and the execution really was incredible. Journey is absolutely a game that we feel everyone should play, and it’s just a wonderful game in its entirety.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 was an absolute stunner, and one hell of a ride this year. Packing the most beautiful realistic graphics we’ve seen this year, a memorable cast of characters including one of the most stand-out villains we’ve seen this year, and fantastic gameplay that was executed brilliantly despite the limitations you’d expect from a first person view when it comes to platforming or judging perspective, Far Cry 3 really was at the top. Sure, its multiplayer modes may not have reached the same level of excellence as its single-player, but in the end we looked at them as simply extras to add to an otherwise already amazing game. Far Cry 3 was simply loaded with great game design, delivering an extraordinary sandbox experience, and it was just diverse, exciting, highly entertaining and memorable.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
XCOM: Enemy Unknown may have missed the memo when it came to hype, but it undoubtedly is a game that shouldn’t be ignored. It’s one of the finest games to release this year, and was a fantastic revival of a beloved series. With a constant supply of different things to do, great pacing and excellent gameplay, XCOM kept us entertained for hours on end, and was precisely what we wanted when we felt the itch for a challenging strategy title. We felt that XCOM was a game that needed to be played even by those who aren’t the biggest fans of strategy games, and that’s quite a big credit to give it.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 was a real breakthrough this year, and a very important game. We feel that it may just have been the start of a new era in the MMO scene, and it definitely was an MMO for every kind of gamer. Its extraordinary wealth of content, captivating storyline and robust gameplay and mechanics that checked all of the correct boxes as well as added a few of its own, ensured that it was a game to be extremely impressed by. Guild Wars 2 was an incredibly polished product, and the most extraordinary thing about it was that it arguably posed a strong challenge to World of Warcraft, and it just admirably reworked and refined a tried and tested formula to produce a magnificent game.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Love it or hate it, pay attention to it or dismiss it, there’s few among us who doubt that Call of Duty: Black Ops II is a great game, and one of the better games in this series. It did enough to feel fresh, new and as frantic as ever, and arguably it could be called the blockbuster action flick equivalent of gaming. It was an amazing package overall, so packed full of content which included its excellent campaign, Zombies co-op mode and online multiplayer, that it was hard to get away from, and ultimately just gave so many reasons to keep coming back to it. Whether or not this franchise is off your radar, this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II was a fantastic game, and it definitely brought a lot to the table.
It’s been yet another great year for games, and as we’ve said already, it was both pleasantly surprising and amazing that this year could follow up our last one, which was arguably one of the best years for gaming we had this current generation. Maybe even the best. But now another year has come and gone, and while keeping one eye firmly on 2013, we are ending this one with a bang. So without blabbering on for too long and delaying further, let’s get to eGamer’s Game of the Year for 2012.
Journey is the stand-out gaming experience for this year. Looking at all other games released this year, this is the game that we would tell absolutely everyone to play. It is the most unique and powerful gaming experience this year, and on top of that there really is just nothing else like it. We won’t pretend to know a great deal about art, but this game is art in a pure form, and in an era where video games are still being disregarded as art despite breakthroughs to prove the contrary, Journey is a leading advert. It’s simply one of the most amazing and perfect audio and visual experiences we’ve ever had. Furthermore, in a year where minimalism has been dominant in gaming, this game is the one that stands above all others in showing how great things can have small beginnings, and how you can create something extraordinary with very little. For years, this game will be iconic. It will live outside of 2012, and not just because it can be considered art, but because it has made a significant mark on the entire gaming industry. We live in a time where gaming budgets are soaring and franchises take millions to create, but this small game from thatgamecompany is the one that became the first video game in history to be nominated for a Grammy Award. This little game changed the industry.
This game is remarkable. It tells a story without a line of dialogue or description, and so much can be taken out of the narrative based on who is experiencing it. It actually draws emotion out of you, and every single aspect of the game comes together flawlessly to achieve this. It innovated and delivered a multiplayer unlike anything else we’ve experienced in gaming. It intrigued us, it puzzled us and it amazed us. This is one of the most beautiful games ever created. It doesn’t feel like a traditional game, but when you put it down you will feel as though you’ve experienced something extraordinary. It is one of the greatest and most powerful experiences we’ve had, and a landmark in the creation of both gaming experiences and art in video game form. You will walk away from this game pondering on it, reflecting on it and touched by it, and because it feels personal, you’ll probably also struggle to put it into words when trying to describe the game to others. It can be explained, but ultimately it must be experienced. And it really should be, by as many gamers as possible. It is just something else.
We may have played Journey back at the beginning of April, but it has never left our minds, and even now we feel strongly about it and amazed by this little game. It was a tremendously hard fought battle between some of our other nominees, but in the end this game stands out from all the rest.
This makes Journey our Game of the Year for 2012.