So, this is the big one. Which game did you vote as Kotaku game of the year?
Borderlands 2: 12.6%
Wow, talk about a crazy turn of events. I truly did not see this coming. Our results, this year, have been all over the shop. After Far Cry 3 won the best PC game, and Mass Effect 3 won best console game, I half expected either of those games to win. Looks as though the powers of PC and console combined to chose a completely different winner.
Runners Up The Walking Dead: 11.16% Far Cry 3: 9.09%
Well, at least I'm consistent. I've chosen Trials Evolution as my game of the year in Indie/Downloadable, Console and now I've decided to make it my overall game of the year.
Trials Evolution may not have been the most important game released this year — both Journey and The Walking Dead will arguably have more impact — but it's undoubtedly the game I enjoyed most. It's the game I spent the most time with, the game I was most engaged by. It's the game that felt most like a game, whatever that even means.
Trials Evolution perfectly represents that elusive mechanic: the skill that's easy to pick up and impossible to master. Anyone can play Trials, anyone — but getting good at Trials Evolution requires practice. Things that initially seem impossible become workable through practice, and the acquisition of a genuine skill.
Make no mistake — Trials Evolution is brutal, but it's never unfair. Never. It's rule set is rigid, but flexible enough to reward creativity. Trials Evolution can be a performance, like shuffling across a tightrope. You can dazzle people in Trials Evolution. There were points where I would show a friend or a member of my family how to complete a certain section of a track, they couldn't understand how it could be done. They simply hadn't learned how to do that particular thing yet. Top players have made me feel the same way. How is that possible? How can these things be achieved with just two triggers and an analogue stick.
Trials Evolution has the deepest set of controls I've ever used, but on the surface they are so simple. And that is the foundation of one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had as a gamer.
Runners Up Journey Dishonored
Danny Allen, Publisher:
FIFA 13 Game of the year? Mass Defect? Journey (to vagina mountain)? Pfft... It’s FIFA 13, naturally. Once I found the Legacy Defending option in the wireless controller settings that is. I just haven’t been bothered to get my head around the new Tactical Defending setup – but then again, I’m also the guy who watched an entire season of Mad Men on fast forward. After honing my skills in the new load screen mini games, I’ve schooled (and been schooled by) Serrels – and almost beat FIFA guru Junglist at an EA event. It’s become a Friday afternoon institution here at the Allure offices. And if you want the joy of kicking my arse (and you will), you can find me on PSN @dannytravels.
Ben White, Technology Manager
Battlefield 3 Yeah, I'm that guy. I totally loved Journey, The Walking Dead, Hotline Miami – but every time I sit down after a long day of code, I want nothing more than to grind out to the next unlock.
I was quite late to the game (well overdue hardware upgrade), and was pretty disappointed by the dull, tacked-on singleplayer. The multiplayer on the other hand, is close to my heart.
Other games reward you for being 'good'. They reward you for practice, persistence and skill. You spend your precious gaming time perfecting your aim, your movement. You become intimate with the intricacies of your arsenal and the environment. If you die, it's usually because the other player is better than you.
PFFT LOL who has time for that!? (Sure, I sunk 230+ hours into Skyrim, but hey... Skyrim)
Battlefield rewards you for playing the objective. Working as a team, supporting your fellow players. You don't have to be good at shooting stuff (although it helps). There is very tangible progress – even if you only have time to play a few maps – all of this making it the perfect 'dad game'.
I give it 10 out of 10 dads.
(Editor's note: I realise Battlefield 3 came out in 2011, but I'll allow it because Ben is a sleep deprived Dad and I envy his dense, disheveled beard.)
Luke Hopewell, Gizmodo Editor
Journey For me, 2012 wasn't a particularly stellar year for games. Everything I played I ultimately found disappointing. There wasn't anything new for me. It was just boring sequel after boring sequel with the same predictable gameplay that at one point actually made me hate games for a while, leaving me with nothing to do as far as recreation was concerned. That all changed a few weeks ago when I picked up Journey from the PlayStation Store.
You've heard so many people talk about the fact that Journey is an amazing game, and all of them are speaking absolute sense. It's the closest thing I have played to the perfect game in all my life. Very rarely does one of these beautiful, perfectly formed games come along that not only serves to entertain, but also to teach you about yourself and others.
It's a game that's fun to play, beautiful beyond measure and incredibly profound. It didn't take me long to complete, but I still haven't stopped learning lessons it taught me.