Joel's Top 5 Games of 2012

This is my favorite writing assignment of the year. I would strongly argue that 2012 was both the most underwhelming and yet most diverse year in video games in a long time. On one hand you had only a handful of really great AAA titles (most listed in my Top 5). And on the other hand you had a ton of extremely innovative and fresh new downloadable/indie games. Without further ado here are my five favorite games of 2012.

5. Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3 GOTY 2012

Most year’s when a Rockstar game is released it is going to be somewhere on my GOTY list. Rockstar has a track record of putting out the highest of quality, and Max Payne 3 continues that legacy. Unlike L.A. Noire, which tried something new and unique, Max Payne 3 is good ole Max Payne with a more interesting story and setting then we saw in the first two games. Although Bullet Time is nowhere near as fresh as it was in 2001 it’s still a ton of fun. Max Payne 3 is just a great straightforward action game that I could see myself going back to again in a year or two.

4. Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops The LIne GOTY 2012

As a third person shooter I would say Spec Ops: The Line is competent. However when you look at Spec Ops: The Line for what it was able to achieve in terms of story and its social commentary, it's astounding. I sat down for Spec Ops: The Line thinking I was getting into another military shooter but I came out with way much more.

3. Assassin’s Creed III

Assassin's Creed III GOTY 2012

Yes, Assassin’s Creed III is not a perfect game. However it is still the most fun I had in video games in 2012. The guys/gals over at Ubisoft were able to pivot from the days of the Roman Empire into the American Frontier with great success. Traversing through the wilderness, hunting black bears, and having conversations with the 1st United States President made this one of my favorite experiences of 2012. The story missions were sort of bleh, but everything else in the game was just a ton of fun. Who is going to argue against the naval battles, I mean really those were insane.

And no I don’t understand 99% of the science fiction behind the game, but does it really matter?

2. Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs GOTY 2012

I would have never guessed based on the developer turmoil that went along the development of Sleeping Dogs that this would be even a halfway decent game. However after playing the demo I dived right into Hong Kong and fell in love with Sleeping Dogs. As an open world game it has all of the staples you would hope for, great story missions, interesting side quests, and a world that is ripe for the taking. It may be one of the best open-world games of this generation.

1. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead GOTY 12

I’ve never been more emotionally invested into a game then what I felt when playing through the five episodes of Season 1 of The Walking Dead. I’m not a huge fan of zombies nor have I really dug much into The Walking Dead comic or TV show. Yet even still I found myself particularly moved by the bond between Clementine and Lee.  Even the support cast of The Walking Dead turn in incredible performances.

It’s with great joy and even some lingering sadness that I give The Walking Dead my top spot for 2012.

Honorable Mention: NBA 2K13, Mass Effect 3, Darksiders II

The owner and editor-in-chief of I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.