Community Review: Game Of The Year So Far?

The last week or so has seen a dearth of new releases, so I put it out there on Twitter — what would you like to see in the Community Review this week? I had some good responses: DayZ, the most recent Humble Indie Bundle, Mario Tennis. But then I thought — why not just let you guys review the game you've enjoyed the most this year?

The timing seems pretty good. We're almost halfway through the year, and E3 is just about to kick off properly, so this might be a decent time to reflect and talk about all the games we've loved in the first half of 2012.

Alrighty then... I'll start.

My two favourite games of the year are polar opposites. One is a Zen like experience that calms the nerves and eases the pain in your soul. The other shreds your nerves and transforms your soul into a quivering wreck.

Those games are, respectively, Journey and Trials Evolution.

Journey probably ekes it between the two, mostly because it's a new IP and it felt like a legitimate push forward, even if I'm not sure what direction it's headed necessarily! Trials Evolution, on the other hand, was an already polished mechanic stretched to its limits.

In a lot of ways, both games really reinvigorated my faith in gaming and their ability to provide new experiences. Journey was an 'experience', as crap as that word is, and Trials Evolution showed what games can achieve when they provide the player with a simple, yet infinitely complex central mechanic. I love both types of games, and it's difficult to seperate the two.

It's going to take one mammoth video game to dislodge either of these from my best of 2012 list, that's for sure.


    For all the criticism, the experience of Mass Effect 3 is something I value greatly. It was an amazing game. One of those games you mourn after completing, knowing that it's over.

      Agree. Even if the ending was a bit meh the rest of the game was amazing.

      My only criticism (ignoring the ending) were that the side quests were really crap. A bit disappointing after the awesome loyalty missions in 2.

        Yeah, the N7 missions just seemed like multiplayer mission cast offs, but I enjoyed the main campaign a whole lot.


          +2. I loved the balls off of ME3 and dont understand why nobody rates it because of the last hour of a 30+ hr game.

    Well the only 2012 releases I've played so far have been Dead Space 2 and Mass Effect 3. I could be wrong, I feel like I'm missing something there. I mean there have been some arcade games but neither Trials Evo or Fez have particularly enthralled me.

    Anyway, Mass Effect 3. At least until I finally pick up Max Payne 3, or Lollipop Chainsaw comes out.

    ME3's story was great and I didn't hate the ending. I felt like my playthrough of the first two games did shape my experience, even if the game pans out fundamentally the same regardless. I've gotten a lot of play out of the multiplayer and expect I will continue to do so. I'm looking forward to future story DLC, whatever form it takes.

      Hate to break it to you, but Dead Space 2 was released in Jan 2011

        Ahahaha god I'm an idiot. I watched a friend play it recently so I forgot it came out over a year ago!

      Haha, I haven't played any game that has been released this year..

    Mass Effect 3 is the only 2012 game I have played, I think. Overall, I enjoyed it and it had some great 'moments' but I think if it's my GOTY, it's a sad year.

    Currently enjoying some slightly older games way, way more: Demon's and Dark Souls, which might well be GOAT for me. (Games of All Time for those who can't read my mind - you know who you are)

      I have a feeling Dishonored or The Last of Us will end up being my Game of the Year. Maybe even Assassin's Creed 3... or Pikmin 3! (Assuming Nintendo doesn't make our region wait six months for the Wii U.)

    Trials Evolution! So much fun. So much frustration. Last night while playing Sewage Plant, I had finally gotten over the first big jump 'properly' after trying for quite some time, but then my thumb slipped and hit the restart button /o\
    On a related note, I'm still waiting for you to accept my friend request :P

    Trials Evolution for me - a real leap ahead from the previous version. I've never said 'just one more game' so many times...a game that can deliver so much frustration but the payoff of completion (finishing a track, lowering your time or beating a friend) makes it all worth it.

      LOL @ ‘just one more game’
      This should be the games tag line.

    Interesting that they are both downloadable titles Mark.

    At the moment Trials Evo would be mine. Even if I currently hate it with the burning fury of a thousand suns.

    Journey for me, easily. Might only be about 2 hours long, but I've played through it at least 10 times, so I've more than got my money's worth. And the short length is actually a plus in this case - it's a game that should be consumed in a single sitting. Leaving it then coming back the next day or whatever and picking it up halfway through would break the spell, I think. And it has that soaring finale which never fails to put a huge smile on my face every single time. Not to mention one of the greatest soundtracks this medium has ever played host to.

    Other than that, it's been a pretty disappointing year so far, IMO. Especially in terms of boxed, AAA products. I've actually spent most of my time catching up on some of last year's games that I missed like Batman Arkham City (awesome) and Assassin's Creed Revelations (just about the exact opposite of awesome).

    Mass Effect, Kingdoms of amalaur, alan wake american nightmare, tribes ascend, diablo 3 are a few top games that havent been mentioned.

    Day Z is the most fun game I have played in years. After that, definitely Journey. DLC/Mods wins this year over sloppy releases and disappointing endings that shall not be named.

      Agree 100%

      Both give experiences you just can't get anywhere else. From the Zen-like emotional trip in Journey , to the brutal and quite often unfair reality of DayZ - it's a great time to be a Gamer!

        Really looking forward to giving Day Z a whirl. Just waiting for a time when I can coral a couple of friends to check it out with when we've all got a few hours to sit down and play.

    Journey and Mass Effect 3.
    Both games affected me emotionally in very different ways. Awesome.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      disagree. D3 is fun.
      sometimes dodgy online lag & server load issues, but nevertheless, a fun game.

      not my GOTYSF though.

      +1 No way is it a spiritual successor to D2. Even my little bro who grew up on Diablo 1 and 2 and is obsessed has already given up on D3, same with all his mates. They had all had CE's pre ordered from day 1 and were salivating waiting for it. Game is ok, but not great. To much reliance on the bloody AH is just one of many issues.

        I played Diablo 1 and 2 through several times and have been waiting for 3 for around 3 years. It is very much a sequel to 1 and 2. I've never used the auction house so I don't know what's your problem there.

          The problem is the drop rates have been nerfed into the ground compared to Diablo 1 or 2 and finding great items was what made them fun. And the only reason for this is to force people to use the AH. Out of myself and 3 very close friends we have racked up over 600 hours in D3. In that time not a single set item has dropped and we have seen a total of 15 legendaries. And of those legendaries 2 have actually been of any use at all for the level. The rest were worse than yellows of the same level and ended up being vendor trash.
          Part of the fun in D1 and D2 was farming for sets and uniques even if it took you 20+ hours. You were still likely to see a single set item in 5 hours of boss runs.
          I challenge you to farm for a full set that comes from drops in D3. You wont be able to.
          Blizz have even come out and said that the Legendaries will be fixed in an upcoming patch as yes, they are crap.
          Anyway each to their own but while it is a good game it is also very flawed. And for some of us we have been waiting a damn long time. So not worth it. After playing the Torchlight 2 beta I was far more impressed with it than I was with the whole of D3.

            The uniques were never mathematically the best in D2, and really only bits and pieces of sets were used because, instead of everything being useful, there were only really a few skills worth having for each class, so the items used were the ones that gave the most benefit to the few useful skills. The severe nerfing of drop rates has a few reasons; first, it stops the economy from being trashed 2 weeks into the game, and second, magic find in this game is shared, not additive. While you could afford to have a bunch of magic find slaves running around with your party on Hell in D2, that strategy just plain doesn't work in D3.

            If this game isn't for you, that's fine, but saying that it's not a spiritual successor because you don't get as many shinys this time is rather childish.

              Also saying you've racked up that many hours on a game and still having fundamental problems means you either like it a lot more than you realise or its been a very very slow month for games.
              People bitch and moan about the problems but still drop 100+ hours into it.

      Good and very polished game, lots of fun playing it. Server lag and "maintenance" downtimes are infuriating and since they are part of the game it cannot be the GOTY imho.

      Diablo 3 is my GOTY so far.

      It's an incredibly fun, polished experience. The lag is annoying as hell but that'll improve and the underlying game is brilliant.

      Also waiting 12 years is a bit rich. Did you not even play Diablo 2? How can you count the time from its release?

      my 70 odd hours of D3 disagree with you. I'm having a blast especially playing co-op. If you expected anything different your expectations were retarded. I got exactly what I expected out of D3.

      Is it my GOTY? hard to say. I haven't played that many other games so far this year.
      Going by how much time I put into games, it would be Binding of Isaac (although I'm not sure if that was released this year, probably not) and D3.

        I am finished with the game and the entire duration I had server issues and severe lag.

        Just because you were expecting a shit sandwich means everyone else was retarded? How about people who were expecting to be able to play whenever they chose? How about people expecting to be able to play hardcore within the first month of the game being out without losing their character to an unlucky DC?

        The game is pretty average compared to blizzards other efforts and it has been clearly designed for its ability to bring in money via the RMAH.

    So far for me, Journey, Tribes: Ascend, Trials Evo, and Super Monday Night Combat. Hard to decide between them! Very different styles. SMNC certainly the most underrated atm.

      Everyone just assumed it was a TF2 knock-off.

    I saw the title. I saw the picture.
    That is all.

    I'm not sure I've seen my GOTY yet.
    Journey and ME3 (which I'm almost, but not quite finished) would be up there but if I'm being honest the game I've had the most fun with this year was Final Fantasy XIII-2. I loved almost every second of the time I spent with that game.

    Trials Evo gets the thumbs up from me. But my overall fave so far has been Fall of the Samurai expandalone for Shogun 2. Fantastic expansion with my only problems being the trains not quite meeting expectations (though still useful in the middle of Japan) and it constantly uninstalling itself and redownloading 10GB.

    Max Payne 3 probably. I'm not completely blown away with it, but this year has been a little slow for my tastes (so far).
    I enjoyed Mass Effect 3 - I even like the ending - but I was slightly let down compared with ME2. I didn't think the war assets mechanic was anywhere near as enjoyable as the loyalty mission system in the previous game.

    I Am Alive was short, but really pulled me in like I haven't experienced in a long time...

      When I liked that game, I REALLY liked it. So many frustrating moments, though, and half-baked concepts that needed more development. I'd love to see a sequel, though.

      I was really interested in that game but the poor reviews put me off. I might still get it when it's on sale. I enjoy disaster games like S.O.S on the PS2.

    Max Payne 3 for me.
    This is the shooter ive been waiting for all gen, brings all over 3rd person shooters to their bullet sponged knees

    Dragons Dogma by a damn long way. So far nothing even comes close imo.

    Closure on PSN. It's one of the few 2012 releases I've played. I wouldn't say game of the year just yet, but I enjoyed the clever light and dark mechanic. The puzzles were great, sometimes gruelling, and the almost non-existent music made for a great atmosphere.

    Yep Dragon's Dogma for me too. Have never been this addicted to a game before. Journey and Tribes Ascend would be fighting for second place.

    Mass Effect 3, so far. But I've got a feeling Fall of Cybertron and Borderlands 2 are going to blow it out of the water.

      I think Borderlands 2 will be a blast to play in co-op, better than the first, but I doubt it'll come close on story content and quality. I'd be happy to be surprised though.

    For retail, I had more fun with ME3 than MP3, so that kinda wins out at the moment, despite the lazy/buggy ending. Though I had some great fun with Motorstorm RC and Journey, and despite Journey giving the better experience, M:RC is more fun and obviously more replayability, so it just wins out.

    However, there are a few 2012 games that I haven't given enough/any time to which I think could win me over. Starhawk, Twisted Metal and Binary Domain and plenty of titles still to be released.

    Non 2012 games that I have played this year, Mass Effect 2, Rayman Origins and Jak HD are sharing the spoils as they each provided something different for me.

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