Pokémon Conquest ends up being a fun title thanks to its simple but effective take on the strategy RPG genre. The presentation is done nicely, and the game manages to stick to some of the tenets of the series well enough to not alienate longtime Pokémon fans. Though the game feels like it breezes by rather quickly compared to the other series spin-offs, the bonus missions, the promise of downloadable content, and the prospect of local multiplayer give the game some legs and should appeal nicely to those who want to test their strategy chops with familiar characters.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask features gorgeous cut scenes, great use of 3-D, and intriguing puzzle design. The story also ensures that this is a fun game for both adults and children alike.
Devil Survivor 2 is a safe and straightforward sequel to a great game. It has new features, new demons, and a new plot, and it's a fun and well-paced strategy-RPG that suffers only from a too-low difficulty level, and even that is because it is more polished than the original Devil Survivor. If you liked the first game, it's pretty hard not to like the second.
Kid Icarus: Uprising is close to being one of Nintendo's best. It is exciting, funny, and packed to the brim with content and style. In order to enjoy Kid Icarus: Uprising, you have to give the game the benefit of the doubt and work with its awkward control scheme until you are comfortable with it. If you do, you'll find a game that is abundant with everything that makes Nintendo games great.
Persona 4: Golden is a sweet update that satisfies many fans, even if it isn't of the same scale as some past Atlus PSP ports. At the very least, the game is something to behold in its higher resolution.
Whereas Shank and Shank 2 seemed to succeed on brute force, Mark of the Ninja feels like a more nuanced affair. All of the Klei hallmarks are here, and the polish has been turned up to 11. A few minor issues aside, there is much to like here. Add Mark of the Ninja to your digital download queue posthaste.
Double Dragon Neon is a game that fully understands the job it came to do and fulfills it admirably. It holds up to the classic games, even surpassing them in some respects, while being tons of fun to both play and watch. Double Dragon Neon is a well-crafted love letter to the beat-'em-up genre. It's funny, clever, and easy to pick up and play on your own or with a bro-op partner. If you're remotely a fan of beat-'em-ups, it's definitely worth the $9.99 purchase price.
Clocking in at only two to three hours, Journey may be short, but the experience that it provides is entrancing and haunting. It's gorgeous, poignant and unforgettable, and it'll be the best $15 you spend this year.
Torchlight II eagerly empowers the player with many of the things that made classic ARPGs great, and then it builds even more into the formula. It's perfect for an hour of your time or an online weekend binge with friends. Like many of the things in this game, it's up to the player on how they want to play it. For those who are still looking to fill their pockets with coins, collect mysterious weapons from a faraway land, and carefully craft their avatar, adventurers can't go wrong with Torchlight II.
As an adventure game, The Walking Dead is a hand-holding exercise in railroading and occasional tedium. As an experience, however, it's one of the most affecting and moving pieces of fiction available as a game, arguably in the history of the medium. Each episode has its own little five- or 10-minute pain in the ass, just to remind you that you're still in danger, and it's infuriating how certain major story beats occur with or without you, but The Walking Dead is probably the single highest-priority must-play game in 2012. It's well ahead of the TV show at this point, and it's neck-and-neck with Robert Kirkman's comic; it's that rare licensed game that is almost certainly going to surpass its source material.