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!