2012 brought with it an abundance of highly anticipated sequels as well as the debuts of several new IPs. Fortunately for you though, I have sorted through the year’s releases and compiled a list of my top ten. This list is compiled solely of disc based titles that were released on the PS3 and doesn’t include any games that were exclusive to Xbox or PC. I’d also like to point out that I am but one man and although I tried my best, I wasn’t able to play every game released this year. You’d be surprised how much working a nine to five job cuts into your video game playing time. With that in mind, if you think a game was unjustly left off the list it’s probably because I never got around to playing it, so feel free to argue your case in the comments section below. Class participation is always encouraged.
10. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – I know what you may be thinking, a COD game on a top ten list? But hear me out before you stop reading and throw your computer out of a window. As avid COD fans already know, Black Ops 2 made some much needed leaps forward for a franchise that has been growing somewhat stale. The fact that more COD games have been released over the last few years than terrible Seth Rogen flicks makes it easy to notice when one breaks the mold. Treyarch’s re-imagining of Black Ops 2’s customization options and loadouts is a breath of fresh air for the series. The ability to carry two primary weapons simultaneously is definitely something that should have been implemented years ago.
9. Resident Evil 6 – Although I’ve been severely disappointed with CAPCOM’s decision to move this beloved franchise to a more action oriented genre, I still feel that RE6 is worth mentioning. The gameplay is almost unrecognizable for a Resident Evil title and the separate format for the missions makes the story feel fragmented, but the game is loaded with the franchise’s trademark awe-inspiring moments. While certain areas of the game feel somewhat uninspired, they’re contrasted with some seriously jaw dropping sequences. It’s these scenes that make the game worth playing and ultimately add another chapter to the already established narrative of the franchise.
8. UFC Undisputed 3 – Every top ten list needs a sports game and Yuke’s latest UFC offering is one of the year’s best. Instead of falling into the same trap that EA Sports has with yearly release cycles for its sports titles, the developer’s behind Undisputed 3 took a year off and address some major concerns. This proved to be a great decision as it led to a completely revamped control scheme with more intuitive mechanics for the grappling system. In addition to gameplay modifications there were also several tweaks made to the career mode that make UFC Undisputed 3 the most realistic fighting simulation available.
7. Mass Effect 3 – Despite the controversial ending, ME3 is a solid sendoff for the long running franchise. The third installment manages to wrap up the overarching narrative while still allowing players the freedom to make decisions that ultimately effect the outcome. The visuals are as impressive as ever with several action packed moments that live up to the Mass Effect name. ME3 may not be the best offering in the series, but it does successfully bring one of the most beloved science fiction sagas of the decade to a close.
6. Assassin’s Creed 3 – AC3 is easily the best in the series with refined gameplay, new mechanics, and enhanced visuals. The setting for the game is also the best yet as players encounter several familiar faces from history while playing through the streets of the country’s earliest cities during the American revolution. Although the game suffers from some balance issues with difficulty, it’s a great edition to the immensely popular series.
5. Sleeping Dogs – Sleeping Dogs is one of this year’s best new IPs but unfortunately a lack of marketing allowed it to slip under the radar. In a world of sandbox games dominated by Rockstar titles, Sleeping Dogs is a brilliant new entry. The city of Hong Kong is a faithful recreation of its real world counterpart with vibrant bustling streets. Even though the environment isn’t as large as others we’ve seen in Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption, the open world is still magnificent and loads of fun to explore. The detailed environment combined with a strong story and great combat mechanics makes Sleeping Dogs a must play.
4. Borderlands 2 – Borderlands 2 is the sequel to the vastly popular FPS released in 2009. The mix of RPG and FPS elements made Borderlands an instant hit and its successor brings back everything that made us fall in love with the original. A handful of tweaks have been made to the gameplay in addition to great new environments that replace some of the barren wastelands from the first game. B2 is also packed with guns, loot, and more guns. The addictive and seriously fun gameplay assures that players will love their second romp through Pandora.
3. Max Payne 3 – Rockstar’s disappointment in Max Payne 3’s sales is no indication of how successful the game is. Despite an abundance of dull, lengthy cutscenes the game is rife with tense action sequences and top notch gameplay. Fans of the series will also love the improvements Rockstar has made with their first release into the franchise. The narrative picks up with Max wallowing in drunken sorrow but quickly whisks players from the icy alleyways of New Jersey and places them in the sun soaked streets of Brazil. The furious run and gun gameplay is better than ever with new mechanics that allow Max 360 degrees of mobility so he can shoot in any direction, from any position. Combined with the ground breaking “bullet time” introduced in the original, the action sequences make for some truly amazing experiences.
2. Far Cry 3 – Although Far Cry 3 is the third installment in the series it bares no resemblance to its previous counterparts. The plot of FC3 is disturbing to say the least and it’s all brought to life by the amazing performances of its actors. Aside from the intense characters the island itself plays a huge part in the game. The open world is as deadly as it is beautiful. While traversing the lush jungles you’re just as likely to be attacked by a Komodo dragon as you are to stumble across a militia stronghold. Like its predecessors, the FPS gameplay is rock solid and this time around players are given the ability to customize their weapons to more accurately fit their play style. The intense narrative, amazing graphics, and addictive gameplay make Far Cry 3 one of year’s best. Just make sure you watch out for sharks, tigers, and bears…oh my.
1. Dishonored – The year’s best game is a surprising one considering that it was a newly debuted title. If one word could summarize Dishonored it would be “refreshing”. It’s been years since I’ve played a game that manages to successfully introduce new ideas while remaining amazingly fun. The gameplay seamlessly blends the tense moments of a stealth based title with the best elements of a FPS. Add a dash of supernatural powers, place everything in a beautifully rendered world, and you get the recipe for the best game of the year. The art style for Dishonored is absolutely amazing with fluid brush strokes making every locale look like a painting. It’s a highly stylized approach, which isn’t a new concept for game design, but few have been as successful at it as the developers of Dishonored. The game is amazing in every sense, whether it’s the stunning visuals, solid narrative, or compelling gameplay. And who doesn’t enjoy summoning a horde of hungry rats to devour a helpless guard?