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Every year, hundreds of games get released and it seems that in 2012 there were yet more than we could’ve ever imagined. With no doubt some aid from facilitating development tools such as the Unity engine, FPS creator and more, it’s now easier than ever to peek and poke around with creation applications. A plethora of games for a multitude of platforms is the verdict of this widespread awareness of skill and with Steam now offering software, the trend is surely to rise ever higher.
That said, it’s not hard to understand that every year there are some gems that slip past our radar, because we don’t have the time, the finances or any other convergence of events. With even titles like Syndicate only selling 250 thousand copies for an EA game with a legacy, other ventures with a less stellar promotion campaign have their work cut out for them to succeed. Therefore, we felt it was our plight to inform you of some games you may have overlooked this year and should still pick up now that the sales are rolling in on every network.
Originally not a list addition, since we couldn’t receive a unit from Sega at the time, we felt like we should still include Binary Domain, if only by concept alone. Furthermore, dozens of people have cried out at the injustice of this game not seeing more sales, despite a bold and challenging concept. Released during the same period as aforementioned Syndicate and Twisted Metal, this action feature posed a jarring new theory to robotic sentience, yet never seemed to latch onto the Mass Effects of this world. Despite going further by adding layers of poverty, child exploitation and more futuristic dystopian traits, there was just not enough awareness to put this game above others. Multiplayer fans could also partake in some competitive straightforward action, but nothing stuck in the end.
It takes more than just a compelling narrative idea to sell a game and Binary Domain, along with features like Spec Ops: The Line, have shown that this is a challenge to bring to shooter fans. Still, merging Isaac Asimov ideas with the dark psychology of mankind is a concept worth exploring and this game tackles these topics head-on. We swear we’ll buy it the next time we’re in stores.
Just like any year, there has been no shortage of first person shooters (FPS). In this tough to breach market, Gotham City Impostors surprised us a bit, early in the year. By not trying to take itself too seriously, the game succeeded to bring action packed gameplay to the competitive multiplayer genre, while it retained its own face. Sure, it has some arcade bells and whistles of instant gratification, like your Call of Duties. However, it fits this scheme perfectly within levels of abandoned amusement parks and city streets filled with trampolines, skating ramps and more. Add to that a high level of customization based on personal preference rather than tweaking and online matches were made up of fair and foremost entertaining bouts of attempts to outwit the opposing pack of clowns.
It had some hiccups at launch, with troubled matchmaking, which probably killed the down the line, but it deserves to be brought back. PC gamers can even get at the game for free, which isn’t exactly a fair treatment of customers either, but we’re not one for looking a gift horse in the mouth. At least, developer Monolith tried to reward its community with free content.
Guild Wars 2 would be, by some distance, the most successful game in this bunch. In fact, it was so successful that it breached 1 million sales even before the roleplaying game (RPG) was released. To say fans were excited is an understatement. Yet, how many of the final sales have reached beyond the absolute core demographic of MMO players? In recent conversations with my peers, it seems that everyone outside that target simply views Guild Wars 2 as “just an MMO” and this RPG deserves more than that. This dismissive attitude is what kept anyone enthusiastic about games to miss out on one of the most immersive and revolutionary titles of 2012.
Beyond its familiar interface, Guild Wars 2 offers a gigantic world full of content with a propelling drive towards exploration, active engagement in tasks and community building. It goes as far as to break combat away from the sluggish clicks with interchangeable traits and combos. To top it off, its competition aspect pits players together in huge, balanced worlds of their own with a dedicated setting just for multiplayer fans. Guild Wars 2 gave so much and asks so little and yet main crowds still choose to look away.
Quite like our tenth pick, the Vita is an odd man out more than a lucrative failure. Suspicion arose when trying to look up sales figures for games. Out of the gross of titles available today for the handheld, not one has seen a million sales yet. In fact, only two have breached half a million and the system sold just 3.3 million and around 9 or 10 million games in total. While it still means that there’s an average of 3 games per Vita player, it also means that just about any owner will have a list of 3 different titles.
Yet, it’s not like the handheld is dragging its feet. There are already hundreds of choices in the library and dozens of features, such as a back touchscreen and auxiliary applications. While it’s hard to make a choice of games, we encourage Vita owners to look into titles like Unit 13, New Little King’s Story or the ambitious and renewing Silent Hill: Book of Memories. It might be the steep price tag holding the community back or a lack of media support, but this console should have its technology shown to us all, not just some.
Who would’ve guessed at the start of 2012 that the 3DS iteration of Resident Evil would, by far, be the most critically acclaimed of its franchise this year. Yet, with the majority of sales taking place in Japan, it’s doubtful that a lot of Nintendo fans ended up trying their luck in the action-oriented survival of Revelations. Its narrow halls and competent camera angles certainly weren’t the culprit. Rather, perhaps the same crowd that massively enjoys lighthearted platformers like Super Mario 3D Land or Mario Kart 7 racing games just aren’t interested in a dramatic and scary adventure. Maybe Luigi’s Mansion is more the style for 3D fans.
It’s up to Resident Evil fans to carry the banner here. You’ve played the dreadful Operation Raccoon City and you’ve played the disappointing Resident Evil 6. Now, it’s time to grab a 3DS; borrow it from a friend or whatever you can do. If you really believe that Capcom has lost its way, then try out this game. Buy it for said friend perhaps, with the agreement that you can play it first. Let this episode in the series assure you that the magic is still there. You just weren’t looking out for it.
The winner of our first round is undoubtedly an overlooked game. Wheels of Destruction came out during that crazy period in 2012 where everyone wanted to release their vehicular combat event. Games like Twisted Metal, Ridge Racer Unbounded and the dreadful Smash ‘n’ Survive failed to truly stun us. Wheels of Destruction (WoD) did and that while the press massively looked down its nose at the indie project for one reason: controls. No, WoD doesn’t have bad controls. Instead, it conceptually remolded the way we feel about controlling vehicles. After a short adaptation period of jumps and skids, rather than simple turns, this multiplayer bout showed it cared about setting the stage for an action packed competition. Players that adopted the model could be seen performing acrobatics that flung them throughout elaborate fighting arenas to pick off opponents on the fly like a Cirque du Soleil with cars.
It eventually came to such a poor state of affairs that the developer had to release instructional videos on how to control cars and even went as far as breaking its own design by offering traditional controls. By then, the game dulled down and ebbed away in anonymity. Here lies the king of arcade combat.