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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' - Countdown, 20-11

by Rainier on Jan. 1, 2013 @ 9:00 a.m. PST

So far, we've revealed the honorable mentions, top handheld and downloadable titles, and top console and PC offerings. Today we're starting the countdown of the top 20 titles – tune in tomorrow to see what WP considers to be the best game of 2012. Read more for the results!

20. Sine Mora (PSV/PSN/XBLA/PC Digital)

Sine Mora accomplishes the difficult task of pleasing both camps of shooting fans. Casual fans and those more accustomed to the style of yesteryear will appreciate a new shoot-'em-up that's designed in that vein. Modern bullet-hell fans will appreciate taking on those same challenges under their own terms. Players also appreciate the layer of strategy afforded by the scoring system as well as the use of time as an eternal adversary. The technical aspects of the title shine brightly, and the story, while strange, is at least memorable. There's little to nothing to really fault the game for, so shooting fans are highly encouraged to pick up Sine Mora.

19. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS)

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.

18. Nintendo Land (WiiU)

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.

17. Skylanders Giants (3DS/Wii/WiiU/PS3/X360/PC)

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.

16. TIE - Halo 4 (X360)/Max Payne 3 (PS3/X360/PC)

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.

I enjoyed practically every depressing, gritty, painkiller-filled moment of Max Payne 3. I found it interesting that for all his talk about being a washed-up "avenging angel," he has become a sort of bald, fat death-dealing Achilles, wiping out truckloads of Jersey and São Paulo's worst. In the body-counting sense, he's joined other modern action heroes in creating his own masterpiece of death.

15. Dust: An Elysian Tail (XBLA)

An obvious labor of love, Dust: An Elysian Tail more than earns its asking price of 1,200 MSP ($15 USD) through a mix of strong characters and solid gameplay. It's wholly old-school, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

14. TIE – Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)/Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 (NDS)

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.

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.

13. Mark of the Ninja (XBLA)

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.

12. Double Dragon Neon (PSN/XBLA)

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.

11. Darksiders II (PS3/X360/PC)

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.

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