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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'WorthPlaying's Top Games of 2012' - Consoles and PC

by Rainier on Dec. 31, 2012 @ 9:00 a.m. PST

So far, we've revealed the honorable mentions and the top handheld and downloadable titles, and now, we're rolling out the top console and PC offerings. Once that's out of the way, we'll start the countdown of the top 20 titles, including what WP considers to be the best game of 2012. Read more for the results!
Xbox 360

5. Far Cry 3

Packed with content, visually stunning and simply fun to play, it's difficult to find fault with Far Cry 3. Once you step into Jason's shoes, the urge to explore takes over, and you'll find yourself wasting hours wandering the island and trying to complete "just one more objective." Don't say we didn't warn you.

4. TIE - Halo 4/Sleeping Dogs

Making a mark on an established universe is a very difficult thing to do. While 343 put together a solid game with Halo 4, it hasn't pushed the franchise forward in any meaningful way. Multiplayer has progressed, but the campaign and the overall plot hew close to the established formula. Instead of innovating, 343 has played it safe in just about every aspect. Halo 4 competes favorably with Halo: Reach, but it doesn't exceed Bungie's final installment.

From an artistic and technical standpoint, Sleeping Dogs is not a marvel, but it is perhaps my favorite summertime game. It's a game that fuses together some of the best parts of other open-world titles and then mixes in Hong Kong Triads. In many ways, that's all I wanted.

3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown isn't just a pretty remake of an older game but a throwback to games that presented you just enough information to enter the cycle of attempts, failures, learning, and finally succeeding. By not holding your hand and letting you fail, even during the course of a pitched campaign, it really sweetens your successes and gives you a sense of personal ownership that many modern games lack. From its tough yet fair challenge to the way that all of the systems interconnect, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is an absolutely fantastic game and somehow balances what could have easily been an overwhelming palette of gameplay elements into one ridiculously engaging package.

2. Borderlands 2

Overall, Borderlands 2 takes what wasn't broken and builds on it, but it does so in a way that feels very much like the original game. At the same time, the gameplay is different enough to not feel like a retread, as practically every area of the gameplay has been tweaked to some extent. Despite a few flaws, Borderlands 2 is another fantastic trip back to Pandora, and it's packed with the same level of humor and action that made the original so memorable.

1. Dishonored

Even though some heavy-hitting games, both originals and sequels, are still coming out this year, Dishonored is a lead contender for Game of the Year. The atmosphere and story are enticing and intriguing in a sea of games that sport the same environments over and over again. The near-limitless freedom that you have in the small environments makes the game compelling. With so many games bent on guiding you to play the way they want you to, having one that adheres to the same philosophy set forth by classics like Thief and Deus Ex is refreshing. Adventure and stealth fans should definitely have this title in their video game libraries.

PlayStation 3

5. TIE - Darksiders II/XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Darksiders II is an improvement over the original in every way. The first game wasn't bad, but Darksiders II improves upon its flaws and builds upon its strengths. It is an adventure game through and through, and it manages to capture the feeling of fun and exploration in a way that few games can. There are a few annoying glitches and poor optimization as well as a few frustrating design decisions. For the most part, the game has something for almost everyone. If you like well-made action/adventure games, then you must play Darksiders II.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown isn't just a pretty remake of an older game but a throwback to games that presented you just enough information to enter the cycle of attempts, failures, learning, and finally succeeding. By not holding your hand and letting you fail, even during the course of a pitched campaign, it really sweetens your successes and gives you a sense of personal ownership that many modern games lack. From its tough yet fair challenge to the way that all of the systems interconnect, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is an absolutely fantastic game and somehow balances what could have easily been an overwhelming palette of gameplay elements into one ridiculously engaging package.

4. Dishonored

Dishonored is an easy contender for the best game of the year. It does so much right, and the level of freedom and detail is absolutely staggering. There are few games that just point you at a target and tell you to get 'em. The world may be smaller than your Skyrims and Fallouts, but the gameplay is top-notch, offering fun combat and even more enjoyable stealth. Dishonored is a must-play game.

3. Borderlands 2

Overall, Borderlands 2 takes what wasn't broken and builds on it, but it does so in a way that feels very much like the original game. At the same time, the gameplay is different enough to not feel like a retread, as practically every area of the gameplay has been tweaked to some extent. Despite a few flaws, Borderlands 2 is another fantastic trip back to Pandora, and it's packed with the same level of humor and action that made the original so memorable.

2. Far Cry 3

While Far Cry 3 doesn't always fire on all cylinders, I found the overall package to be quite enjoyable. Despite some lackluster story elements, technical issues, and a ho-hum multiplayer mode, the excellent world design, weapons, and gun battles are enough to draw you in and keep your interest throughout the campaign. The co-op mode is an added bonus, well worth playing through with friends, and a great alternative to the lackluster versus side of the multiplayer. I'd suggest picking up Far Cry 3 despite its issues, since it's one of the more interesting and fun shooters I've had the pleasure of playing this year.

1. Sleeping Dogs

Calling Sleeping Dogs something like an "open-world crime" game does it a disservice, as it invokes thoughts of simply shooting and carjacking yet another major metropolis. Sleeping Dogs is a more refined take on how an open-world game can play out, sacrificing the over-the-top content for a much more focused experience. The game does cut loose, and the melee combat is certainly a blast. Ultimately, Sleeping Dogs manages to marry open-world gameplay with an extremely engaging plot.

WiiU/Wii

5. Skylanders Giants

It would be easy to overlook Skylanders: Giants as "just a kids' game," but to do so would be a disservice. Giants is one of those rare titles that offers something for everyone, whether you're a kid, a casual player or a hardcore gamer who has been playing for years. In the end, it's plenty of fun, and that's what really matters.

4. Rhythm Heaven Fever

This stellar game is a must-buy for fans of the rhythm genre who are looking for their next fix. Rhythm Heaven Fever successfully translates what had previously been a handheld-only series to consoles, and it offers enough fun and challenge to entertain players for hours and hours. This quirky little game may be just the motivation you need to pull your mothballed Wii out of the closet, plug it back in and have an absolute blast.

3. Nintendo Land

Nintendo Land is a minigame collection that serves as a great tech demo of the Wii U's features. While it does a great job at that, it is also a superb party game that can provide hours of fun.

2. TIE - The Last Story/New Super Mario Bros. U

The Last Story bravely asks those who believe the JRPG genre has nothing left to offer to take another look. Beneath its surface, it bears little resemblance to its peers. At the same time, it's in good company as another entry on one of the most intimidating resumes in the video game business.

New Super Mario Bros. U provides all of the hallmarks of classic 2-D Mario gameplay: level design, lots of content, and gameplay balance. It may not push any boundaries, but it's more visually appealing and is one of the must-have Wii U titles of the year.

1. Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles is an amazing RPG. In some ways, it's like a single-player MMO that effortlessly blends together advantages from both JRPGs and Western RPGs. Despite its linear, but deeply entertaining, story and its decisionless dialogue, the gameplay makes such shortcomings easy to forget. In as much as the Monado has given one of its heroes, Shulk, the ability to see the future, perhaps the same can be said of what Xenoblade Chronicles has brought to the table for JRPGs.

PC

5. Sleeping Dogs

Calling Sleeping Dogs something like an "open-world crime" game does it a disservice, as it invokes thoughts of simply shooting and carjacking yet another major metropolis. Sleeping Dogs is a more refined take on how an open-world game can play out, sacrificing the over-the-top content for a much more focused experience. The game does cut loose, and the melee combat is certainly a blast. Ultimately, Sleeping Dogs manages to marry open-world gameplay with an extremely engaging plot.

4. Borderlands 2

Overall, Borderlands 2 takes what wasn't broken and builds on it, but it does so in a way that feels very much like the original game. At the same time, the gameplay is different enough to not feel like a retread, as practically every area of the gameplay has been tweaked to some extent. Despite a few flaws, Borderlands 2 is another fantastic trip back to Pandora, and it's packed with the same level of humor and action that made the original so memorable.

3. Far Cry 3

All of it is entertaining, and it gives you a sense that the island is little more than your plaything — a feeling that's only emphasized as your skills increase and you become a badass cross between Turok and Rambo. It's for that reason that Far Cry 3 comes across as a fresh experience and ranks up there as one of the best shooters of 2012.

2. Dishonored

Dishonored is an easy contender for the best game of the year. It does so much right, and the level of freedom and detail is absolutely staggering. There are few games that just point you at a target and tell you to get 'em. The world may be smaller than your Skyrims and Fallouts, but the gameplay is top-notch, offering fun combat and even more enjoyable stealth. Dishonored is a must-play game.

1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown isn't just a pretty remake of an older game but a throwback to games that presented you just enough information to enter the cycle of attempts, failures, learning, and finally succeeding. By not holding your hand and letting you fail, even during the course of a pitched campaign, it really sweetens your successes and gives you a sense of personal ownership that many modern games lack. From its tough yet fair challenge to the way that all of the systems interconnect, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is an absolutely fantastic game and somehow balances what could have easily been an overwhelming palette of gameplay elements into one ridiculously engaging package.

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