Is 2012 already the best year ever for games?

6 mins read

We’re not even halfway through the year, but this is the traditional “lull period” right that happens as everyone ramps up for E3. As I’ve looked back on some of the reviews we’ve done, I’ve come to realise that 2012 has been one of the very best years for gaming, if not the best. From the ‘casual’ experiences on iPhone and iPad through to some great work on the 3DS, an incredible new piece of hardware on the Vita and some superb work being done on the three home consoles (and let’s not forget the PC!), there really is something for everyone.

It’s been a pretty controversial one, though. Possibly the biggest game release for the mass market, Mass Effect 3, has been marred by controversy over that ending, and EA’s DLC practices. But that’s ok EA, we can forgive you for bringing Kingdoms of Amalur into the world, right guys?

We’ve seen the iPad emerge as a genuine centre of great games thanks to the release of Avernum – a full-featured RPG of a scale similar to the classic Baldur’s Gate (also coming to iPad!), and the tablet also has an answer to the Fire Emblems and Final Fantasy Tactics games of the world with Call of Cthulhu: Wasted Land. It’s seen a very playable port of Max Payne as we get ready for Max Payne 3, which is sure to be another massive highlight. And for the more casual audience… you can’t really top Angry Birds Space now, can you?

There’s already been a nice piece of hardware released, too. The Vita might be struggling a little in the sales right now, but the quality of games that are already available on it is nothing short of spectacular. The console launched with the excellent Hot Shots Golf, an Uncharted game, one of the best 2D platformers ever in Rayman and a near-perfect port of the cult classic 2D fighter, BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend. Just recently the console’s hardcore JRPG fans got their first release too, with Disgaea 3 being launched to much fanfare. With the very real potential of the Wii U to be released this year and ride a new wave of hardware potentials, the rest of 2012 only looks better.

The 3DS is really starting to fly, too, with Kid Icarus and a range of superb downloadable software (Colors! 3D, Potzol’s Puzzle) showing that Nintendo consoles are finally starting to strike a real balance between offering full retail experiences, and meaty downloadable content.

The existing home consoles haven’t missed out either. From the niche JRPGs such as Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk 2, to the controversial-but-I-loved-it Final Fantasy XIII-2 to the epic battlefields of the best Warriors game ever (Warriors Orochi 3), to an assortment of creative indie efforts – Journey, Fez, The Splatters – we’ve been spoiled for choice with games this year. And that’s just the games I’m interested in. FPS fans have already had some good efforts in Syndicate and The Darkness 2. Those looking for a slightly different experience found a gem in Birds of Steel. And, of course, the aforementioned Mass Effect 3. Wii owners haven’t missed out either. Pandora’s Tower for the Europeans and Xenoblade Chronicles for the Americans… two of the very finest RPGs on the console, so late in its life.

It’s a little intimidating that there is still so much content to look forward to, too – everything from Atelier Meruru to Tomb Raider to the next Call of Duty, a strategic take on Syndicate, Dragon’s Dogma, Max Payne 3, Lollypop Chainsaw, Heroes of Ruin, Dead or Alive 5 and Resident Evil 6.

And, of course, whatever is announced at E3 for us to start getting excited over.

Below is a few recap links of some of our favourite games of the year so far. What are your favourite games of 2012, and is it the best year of gaming for you so far? What are you looking forward to for the rest of the year? Let us know in the comments below!

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  •  I thing is, I've been hearing this kind of statement for the past 2 years, specifically that "This Is The Best Year For Video Games Ever" and they really haven't been. We've been bombarded with great games tied to terrible business models (see; online passes, forced PC DRM, on-disc "DLC", etc.) and some franchises have been exploited to death (specifically Assassin's Creed) with no end in sight. Yes, we've gotten great games, but what's the point if it's too bothersome to deal with the attachments companies are tying to them?

  • Hm, you raise a really good question there, V8 Ninja: Does the arguably terrible business models affect your enjoyment of a game? I don't buy too many Capcom games, to be fair, so the likes of Street Fighter hasn't upset me, but I haven't been upset enough by Square Enix, NIS, Tecmo Koei, or even EA to mind all that stuff. To me the games we've been given so far this year have hooked me more often in a short span of time than any other year, and then the DLC and the like is usually a nice bonus on top. 

    But I can see that if gamers are frustrated with the business side of the industry, that frustration is going to taint their impression of many of the games, for sure.

  • Also add to that pile that the rumors of online passes being built into the next Xbox and Playstation along with the rumor that the next Xbox could be a brick of DRM. To be blunt; companies are trying to work against the consumer, and that practice is NEVER a good thing.

  •  I would say it's still too early to tell how things will shape up.  like V8 points out – the last 2 years this same sort of thing has been brought up a lot.  Certainly this has been a really solid year, but with half of a year to go, there's still plenty of time for disappointments.  If a console release or a beloved series takes a wrong turn or two along the way – that could have a very negative impact on how this year as a whole is viewed and received I suspect.  Still, it has been an excellent start 

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