As 2012 comes to a close, we look back at the games released this year. While everyone wants to point out the obvious “best games,” there are others that stand out this year and deserve recognition. Here are the five highlights of the year for me, even if they aren’t the epic, Hollywood production titles everyone looked forward to all year.
Street Fighter X Tekken (Best Game Nobody Likes)
Fighting games are only as good as the competition playing them. As balanced and well designed a game can be, if there’s no competition for it, it would eventually die out and lose all popularity. I personally love Street Fighter X Tekken, but few have given it a chance. With a great balance of the long, high damage combos found in Tekken and the patient style of Street Fighter IV, it’s a unique and fun combination that any fighting gamer should enjoy. Though it boasted the most sought-after grand prize from the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Tournament, the game still has the smallest turnout of any Capcom 2D fighter. Hopefully it will garner a larger following after Capcom rebalances it with the Street Fighter X Tekken Ver. 2013 patch.
Circle Pad Pro (Best Console Enhancement Device)
Also known as the “Peripheral that Made its Parent Device Not Suck” award. As games have become increasingly complicated, consoles have developed equally complex controllers to match the games. Alas, we as humans have a limit to the complexity we can handle, especially given the limited fingers we have. Unfortunately, when the 3DS first came out, its lack of buttons and absence of a second analog stick have ultimately hurt games. However, the Circle Pad Pro has done games like Resident Evil: Revelations and Metal Gear Solid 3DS justice, giving players not only a second analog stick but two additional shoulder buttons that mirror the console experience more closely.
Dead or Alive 5 (Best Boobs)
Having always been a source of ridicule in the fighting game community, the Dead or Alive series has sure come a long way this year with the release of Dead or Alive 5. Not only has it been featured at world class eSports tournaments like IPL, but it’s gained the recognition of both longtime fans and newcomers like Soul Calibur champion Kayane as a legitimate fighting game. Despite the move towards a tournament viable game, Dead or Alive 5 has maintained the assets that has made the series popular in the beginning.
DOTA 2 (Best Unreleased Game)
We already know how much Valve loves to shower its fans with love. In comparison to the other most popular MOBA title at the moment, League of Legends, DOTA 2 does a commendable job of both satisfying fans and maintaining the game’s integrity. Everything from the original’s HUD and design are present, including the mind blowing five-second stuns. Not to mention, unlike League of Legends‘s tradition of forcing players to buy champions and skins slowly, every hero is available right now and players can dress up their heroes for free with unlockable items that can be traded freely with other players. Did I mention the free holiday promotions like Diretide and The Greeviling?
The Walking Dead (Most Feels)
Devoted fans of the comic and show may have cried foul at the idea of an original story that excludes the likes of Rick Grimes and his crew. However, any playthrough will reveal a story that bears just as much of the tension as the television series and the same agonizing choices that Rick must make throughout the show. However, the same story style makes a dramatically different impact on players. There will be feels. Many feels. Some as a result of players’ choices, where a character’s blood will be on the player’s hands, and some will be unavoidable, no matter how many times players retry a segment and differ their choices.
Triple A titles already has everyone’s attention and is likely to have met or execeeded their expectations for sales. But let us not forget that there are other games in the game industry and that there are notable releases sprinkled throughout the 12 months.