Push-Start’s ‘Game Of The Year 2012′ Awards

From the ending of one epic trilogy with Mass Effect 3, to the beginning of another with Halo 4, this year has been both a blessing and a curse for the industry. New IPs such as Dishonored and Sleeping Dogs blew us away, yet there was still a place for indie delights such as Hotline Miami and Fez. Along the way we saw some revitalisation of series such as Forza, Ghost Recon and Max Payne, as well as two console launches with the Playstation Vita and Wii U, both bringing along some impressive launch titles from Uncharted to Zombi U. Both systems showcased new ways to play games, and now that the launch is over, there’ll be a lot of pressure to keep the momentum going.

Games such as The Walking Dead and XCOM crept up on us all, though at the back of both developer’s and gamer’s minds is the fact that we are indeed nearing the end of this console generation. Next year will have some big hitters such as Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, and of course GTA V. There’s a lot to look forward to, not to mention that E3 2013 could be the best in years. It’s been a good year gamers, enjoy your christmas!

NB: As Push-Start is a group of writers who have very different tastes and gaming systems of choice, an overall site GOTY became quite a challenge. For this reason, we’ve decided to forgo this, and instead give each writer am individual choice for their Game Of The Year pick. We hope you enjoy it, let us know what yours are in the comments below.

James Steel – Editor-in-Chief

 

James Steel

Game of the Year
Forza Horizon

I never quite managed to crack the shell of the Forza Motorsport series. I enjoyed it, but never was one to go under the hood and tinker with cars themselves, meaning that I didn’t get as much out of it as others might. Horizon changed all that, as with a new studio and a new direction, Forza became the best racer of the year. From the beautiful open roads, smooth driving, and intense racing, it might even be my favourite racer of this generation. While I would have liked a little deeper customisation options, the approachability makes it enjoyable for all.

Honourable mentions –
Mass Effect 3, Journey, Zombi U

 

Shaun Greenhaff

Game of the Year -
XCOM Enemy Unknown

Several reason, most of which involve being forbidden from voting for Uncharted 3 again because that was last year or The Last of Us because that’s next year (I’m an intelligence analyst dammit, predicting the future is my job), not to mention I have yet to play Far Cry 3 which I would be willing to put money down on as being my game of 2012, but as of right now there’s only one real choice to take the crown; the game that let me watch Ben Fox die – XCOM. You want more words read my review!

Honourable mentions –
Gravity Rush, Spec Ops: The LineMax Payne 3

 

Aaron Stone

Game of the Year -
The Walking Dead

I can’t remember the last time I played a game where I really cared about the characters invloved and how they would develop as the series went on. Admittidly the gameplay is nothing spectualer but its the story that really motivaties you to play the game. Every charcter is well thought out in how they evolve the story, even supporting ones. The gameplay is simple but well excuted and in moments of severe tension, the simpleness of gameplay is forgotton. This is a game that will be talked about in furture years and for good reasons too.

Honorable Mentions –
Hitman:Absoultion, Halo 4, Borderlands 2

 

Ben Fox

Game of the Year -
Mass Effect 3

Granted, that ending was not to everybody’s tastes, but it was nowhere near catastrophic enough to undermine the accumulative brilliance of Mass Effect 3. Shepard’s final outing ultimately eclipsed its forebears with its beautifully realised set-pieces; blistering, genre-blurring action; authentic emotional poignancy, and strikingly three-dimensional cast. The original Mass Effect felt like a jack of all trades and a master of none. Mass Effect 3 is an exercise in refined mechanical competency, showcasing the medium, this year, at its best.

Honourable mentions –
Assassin’s Creed 3Lollipop ChainsawTorchlight 2

 

Allan Davison

Game of the Year –
Spec Ops: The Line

While I didn’t play the apparent master of emotional connection of the year, Spec Ops: The Line is perhaps going for a different angle anyway, though it will certainly wrench your gut, one way or another. While not the most masterful gameplay experience of the year, it is a memorable experience for sure. First masquerading as a standard squad shooter, it slowly pulls the rug from under you, forcing you to question your moral code, purposely avoiding Paragon/Renegade situations to instead deliver authentic, testing decisions.

Honourable mentions –
Jetpack Joyride, Forza HorizonTokyo Jungle

 

Liam Champness

Game of the Year -
To The Moon

To The Moon is a heavily story oriented game about the love of two small people in the world, their story isn’t world changing, there is nothing big happening around them, it’s about people. You have to go backwards through time, watching the memories of a man and his wife being in love. Without spoiling the plot and what eventually happens, I shall just say that at one moment in the game I made an audible “NO!” and instantly started crying. To The Moon is one of the best stories I have ever experienced and my game of the year.

Honourable mentions -
The Walking Dead, Resident Evil: Revelations
Journey

 

Tom Collins

Game of the Year -
Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition

I cannot remember the last time a game so furiously kicked my ass, but Dark Souls does that. Surprisingly it never feels unfair, you are killed, you try another tactic until you finally down whatever behemoth keeps reducing you to paste.

The story isn’t much to speak of, but this is all about skill-based gameplay. It’s also graphically beautiful, especially the PC version. If you want to test your gaming mettle as a sole warrior against enormous dragons and many incarnations of the undead, you need Dark Souls in your life.

Honourable mentions -
Sleeping DogsXCOM Enemy Unknown
Dishonored

 

Ciaran Fallon

Game of the Year -
XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Revitalising the ancient formula of small-scale, turn-based strategy and giving it a fantastic new art direction whilst providing appeal to more than just the niche was no easy task, but Firaxis pulled it off with little to complain about. With the brave inclusion of the original’s permadeath system, XCOM provides some of the most intense and unforgiving combat conceived in strategy for many years where every move you make has you sweating at the brow. Genuine challenge, surprising depth and high replayability make this time-sink both a worthy successor and a breath of fresh air.

Honourable mentions –
Hitman: Absolution, Twisted Metal, Hotline Miami

 

Rhys Evans

Game of the Year -
Halo 4

An emotional and exciting start to the Forerunner Trilogy, 343’s first Halo game is possibly the best entry in the series so far, and is probably the best-looking game of 2012. It may not have the best campaign in the series, but it definitely has the best multiplayer. In terms of longevity, it’s taken up dozens of hours of my time, and I’ve not even touched Spartan Ops yet.

Halo 4 is, for me, what every game should be; stylish, fun and immersive. The stack of unplayed games on my shelf proves how addictively fun Halo 4 really is.

Honourable mentions
DishonoredMass Effect 3, Sleeping Dogs

 

Barry Davis

Game of the Year –
Sleeping Dogs 

Set in an open world Hong Kong, in Sleeping Dogs you play as undercover cop Wei Shen (though you can still kill the police if you so choose). The game adapts elements from many other games including Batman Arkham’s combat, Assassin’s Creed’s freerunning, as well as driving from both BurnoutPursuit Force, and Just Cause, somehow successfully blending it all together.

Varied side activities from cock fighting to karaoke, racing to chasing down muggers keep things interesting, plus the story DLC is pretty good too.

Honourable mentions –
JourneyTokyo JungleHalo 4

 

Tubbzie

Game of the Year –
Halo 4

As much as I would love to give a smaller game a spotlight on this list, it appears my undeniable and completely heterosexual love for Master Chief prevails. From the amazing live-action series that led up to the game’s release which was Forward unto Dawn, down to the heartfelt; albeit slightly heart-wrenching, storyline that the game provoked. I feel partly that this is due to 343 Industries success in carrying on the franchise which many, I included, were skeptical of to begin with – sort of like sending your kid to school for the first time with him successfully coming home having not eaten paste or licked any batteries.

Honourable mentions –
Hotline Miami, FTL: Faster than LightTrials: Evolution

 

Hope you enjoyed the article, and maybe even discovered a game or two that you can check while on your Christmas break. See you all next year.





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About the Author

James Steel
James Steel

James likes games! So much so, his collection spans 19 formats and near 2500 games. Keen to progress in both video games journalism and video production, he often finds himself tracking down games of all formats in the local charity shops.

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