1.02.2013

A kenholic year of gaming: 2012

And the final tally is in. I clocked about 950 hours worth of gaming this year, comprised of some 500 hours worth of Diablo 3 (which for the purposes of this post, I won't rate or bring up again) mixed into 450 more hours of other gaming.

Below, I've included a table of all the games I've played this year, along with some snippets about what I thought of them. As you can see, I only bothered to do full reviews up until April, then I got really busy again. Maybe one day I'll go and backfill them.

It was a good year and mix of games, but I played no almost Xbox this year. I even ended/began the year by fixing my YLOD'ed PS3. Next year looks exciting since I have a few sequels on tap for my backlog - a few Uncharteds, Assassin's Creeds, etc.

Finally, favorite games that I played of 2012 (not all of them came out this year):

1) The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead really came out of nowhere (like zombies tend to do); it was a different type of game compared to what I'm used to and set in the world of a recently popular comic book/tv series that I also picked up. Can't really discuss favorite moments without spoiling so I won't. Excellent game that I recommend everyone give a try.

2) XCOM (2012)
The new XCOM follows that same tactical RPG vein that I love (Valyria Chronicles, FF Tactics, etc). I never played the original, but this new one provides its own twist on the genre. I played it Ironman style (a single autosaved file) which really adds a lot of tension into the game, as I lost a lot of favorite units.

Among my favorite moments - half way through the game, a newly encountered enemy type appears; I have no idea what it does, but it looks nasty. I approach carefully but it retreats and lures me deep and into an uncomfortable formation. Then it fires at a sniper's range (it's a giant, walking tank, wtf) and one-shots my beloved "Boromir of Gondor" heavy unit with a 15 damage crit (my units avg'ed 8-12 hp at the time). I just thought, "Oh, so that's what it does. And Boromir, that was a death worthy of your namesake". Also, you guys don't want to know how many "Redshirt 00X" named characters I lost during the course of the game ...

3) Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect is a special franchise that gives me the same type of excitement that rivals a Star Trek or a Babylon 5. It's a rich space opera that's just more interactive. I really loved the mobile app integration features, even if other people didn't. In fact, prior to many newb oriented patches, it was impossible to get the best endings without either playing the multiplayer version or investing some time into the mobile apps. It's the ultimate Captain Kirk simulator, but as much as I like the franchise, I feel that this is the weakest entry of the Shephard trilogy - it lacks the team-building triumph of the second or the depth of the first.

4) Portal 2
I actually have a full review for this game here, but to summarize - this game is just pure fun. There's no world ending event to be found in this game, but the level of humor and puzzle platforming here is nearly unmatched by anything else I played this year.

5) Modern Warfare 3
And Modern Warfare. I hate FPS'ing. It's pretty boring and mundane, but I'd have to emphasize the pretty part. Modern Warfare does what only a handful of FPS's in history can do - make me feel immersed and excited to play it. As with Mass Effect 3, Modern Warfare 3 feels like a bit of a let down compared to the prior 2, but there's still enough explosions here to make Michael Mann proud.

And the rest ...

GamePlatformHoursRatingLittle evolution, same game
Zelda Skyward SwordWii454.5Little evolution, same game
Monkey Island 2 Special EditionPC76.5Not even close to the first
LimboPC35Artsy, a few neat puzzles, very reliant on visual / sound queues
Portal 2PC78.0Glados is a tsundere / yandere
PsychonautsPC107.0Tim Burton Style + Platformer
Crysis 2PC8.56.5Signature super graphics, meh gameplay
Dragon Age 2PC707.5Not as deep or epic as the first, but still a satisfying rpg adventure
Assassin's Creed BrotherhoodPS3206.0Interesting mechanics upgrades, but a downgrade in the assassination planning part
Shadows of the DamnedPS375.0Worth playing, but average shooter. Unconventional presentation, but kind of bland gameplay wise.
EnslavedPS3107.0Good story, above average number of technical glitches, could have used a deeper battle system, it's actually a hidden platformer, uncharted style, a few awesome moments
Mass Effect 3PC408.5Not as good as the first two, crappy glitches, horrible endings take away from innovative mobile platform integration
Penny Arcade Act 1PC64.0Interesting story, some nice humor, but repetitive after a few hours
Penny Arcade Act 2PC64.0Interesting story, some nice humor, but repetitive after a few hours x2
Deus ExPC305.0Precursor to modern bioware/skyrims, etc, but dated
Civ VPC407.5Addictive as always, many sleepness nights for that 'next turn'
Puzzle AgentPC74.0Quick, puzzles range from fun to frustrating
Deus Ex Human RevolutionPC357.0As close to metal gear as we'll probably get any time soon
Deus Ex Human Revolution: Missing LinkPC66.0More of the dxHR ness
And Yet It MovesPC24.0Barebones puzzle / platformer. Has some interesting visual design. Decent palette cleanser between big games
Commandos Behind Enemy LinesPC242.0Stealth missioning, but FPS / Settings not implemented correctly on steam conversion
Jolly RogerPC55.0Adventure gaming, lacks complexity of monkey island, shares many similarities with it though
GishPC21.0So bad, I didn't finish. Stiff controls.
Modern Warfare 3PC58.0WW3. Buddy Stealth Shooter. Awesome as always. Not as good as part 2 though. Capt Price is Jack Bauer v2.
Walking DeadPC129.0New way to Point and Click. A really thoughtful adventure game.
Penny Arcade Act 3PC74.5Interesting story, some nice humor, but repetitive after a few hours x3.
XCOM (2012)PS3308.5My kind of turn based tactics game!

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