The Ten Best Games of 2012

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

With the release schedule cleared ahead of 2013 now's the time to talk the best videogames of the year.

With the release schedule just about cleared ahead of the final week of 2012 it seems as good a time as any to talk the best games of the year.

There’s no doubt it’s been an interesting one, with the usual Christmas release rush ushering in a veritable torrent of hugely backed titles of which Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, FIFA 13, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution and Assassin’s Creed 3 were but the start. As our list shows however, artificial marketing strategies don’t always make for the greatest releases…


Dishonored
Price: £39.99-£49.99
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

The trials of Corvo Attano make for the year’s most flexible first-person action game, as the assassin uses brute strength and dark arts to wreak his own brand of vengeance on the higher-powers out to frame him for murder. Dishonored’s trick is in the way it hands the keys to said vengeance over to the player; the choice for a bloodless reprisal entirely within the realms of possibility. This same freedom of choice prevails through the ever challenging and gratifying adventure, as the storyline branches and the game’s setting of Dunwall morphs depending on the player’s approach. Nothing less than spectacular.


Far Cry 3
Price: £39.99-£49.99
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s tropical island proves the perfect setting for a tale of war vengeance, as rival tribes fall victim to the teeth and claws of the indigenous wildlife just as often as they do to hostile fire. Meanwhile the descent of hero, Jason Brody, from innocent to ruthless killer marks one of the year’s best narratives.


The Walking Dead
Price: £20.99 (for 5 episode series)
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, iOS
Publisher: Telltale Games

Harking back to the golden age of point-and-click adventures, The Walking Dead reanimated the original graphic novel’s horror to forge an emotional connection as you followed and contributed to the fate of a gang of survivors. The five episode arc only ramping up the stress-levels amid zombie-dodging and a host of difficult decisions.


Journey
Price: £9.99
Format: PS3
Publisher: Sony

Journey followed the exploits of a solitary figure makes his way towards a biblical light, shining brightly from the top of a distant mountain. Occasionally you’d meet similarly garbed pilgrims – other players with whom you can form a transcendental partnership – but it was the otherwise barren landscapes that made it the year’s most emotionally affecting struggle.


Mass Effect 3
Price: £49.99
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U
Publisher: EA

A final act for Commander Shepherd as he and his crew continued to struggle against the odds to save the galaxy had been a long time in coming and, despite complaints over a curtailed finale, was worth the wait. By carrying the player’s actions over from its prequels, BioWare was able to create a uniquely engaging narrative where every character really mattered – making the consequences of those life-or-death decisions all the more heart-wrenching.


Guild Wars 2
Price: £39.99
Format: PC
Publisher: NCsoft

Guild Wars 2 is looking increasingly like the last of the ‘great’ MMOs. It’s the one remaining light in a dying genre overshadowed by World of Warcraft and a series of expensive failures. It’s trick? Being an expansive, confident game with plenty of free content and developers that know what they’re doing. Long may it live.


XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Price: £39.99-£49.99
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: 2K Games

A reboot of an all-time classic ushered in today’s ubiquitous HD-visual goodness but retained enough of the old-school playability to ensure the classic gameplay survived the journey. What Firaxis have crafted is a complex and compelling strategy game which allows the player to save the world from alien attack in the manner they see fit – alien autopsies and all.


Gravity Rush
Price: £29.99
Format: PS Vita
Publisher: Sony

Fight met flight in Gravity Rush, what is still by far the best game available for Sony’s latest handheld and a title that every owner of the system really should have purchased already. Novel yet utterly inspired controls allow perfect control of heroine, Kat (no matter which way she’s currently pointing gravity); while those cel-shaded visuals perfectly show off the Vita’s capabilities.


Virtue’s Last Reward
Price: £29.99
Format: 3DS, PS Vita
Publisher: Rising Star Games

An interactive novel isn’t the most obvious choice for game of the year contender, but the unique manner in which mystery and puzzle-solving are combined in Virtue’s Last Reward means it’s worthy of inclusion here. Particularly considering the mind-bending narrative that Chunsoft has somehow managed to thread together like some digital form of patchwork quilt. Imaginative, challenging, packed with humour and a more than viable alternative to the traditional detective paperback.


The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Price: £49.99
Format: Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Namco Bandai

The Witcher 2 brought foul-mouthed drunken trolls, bare breasts and stunning visuals to the RPG party, in a mature adventure that was not only refreshingly representative of its fan base but delivered at a perfect pace. Combat was much improved on its predecessor too, the combined results easily rivalling anything else in the genre.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    .NET Developer - .NET & SharePoint - Coventry

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + bonus: Ampersand Consulting LLP: .NET a...

    Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

    £60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Technical Business Analyst/SQL Development - London - Permanent - £50k DOE

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Telecoms Engineer - Telecoms Admin - £35,000 - 5 month FTC

    £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 5 month Fixed Term Contract - Telecommunicati...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?