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G4 Canada's 2012 Game of the Year Awards

Jan 15, 2013

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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It was made even more clear in 2012 that although there will always be a place in gamers' hearts for big-budget and action-heavy releases, indie downloadable games are a force to be reckoned with. Nintendo managed to get the jump on Microsoft and Sony by releasing its next-generation Wii U console late in the year, although the proverbial jury is still out on what kind of long-term effect it will have on the world of gaming in the coming years.
Interestingly, the casual games that all the heavy hitters seemed to be focusing on so much for so many years seemed to be more of an afterthought. As we move on to another big year of gaming in 2013, here is a look at what most impressed G4 Canada's writers in 2012.

Game GAME OF THE YEAR

John Powell: Far Cry 3

With its enthralling storyline ripped right out of the Heart of Darkness, its lush and vibrant graphic, jungles teaming with hidden dangers and gripping action, Far Cry 3 not only put the Ubisoft franchise back on track but delivered the best-rounded gaming experience of the year. Known for their gripping storytelling, Ubisoft has hit the mark again. Jason Brody's journey into his own personal heart of darkness is something you cannot turn off and walk away from until you have reached its conclusion.

Honorable Mentions: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Halo 4, Journey, Sleeping Dogs, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Borderlands 2, Assassin's Creed III, Hitman: Absolution and XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

Daniel Barron: Journey

A game as powerful as Journey is rare indeed. It's not particularly lengthy or complicated, but those are two things that make it so amazing. Whether you're travelling by yourself or with a mysterious partner as you make your way to the top of a distant mountain, Journey is sure to make you feel emotions you don't normally experience while playing games - just as long as you're willing to open your mind and heart. Simply put, a game like no other.

Honorable Mentions: Forza Horizon, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Resident Evil: Revelations, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

Game Alex Cattani: The Walking Dead

Never would I have thought that a licensed game would be my pick for Game of the Year. The Walking Dead offers a captivating, engrossing, and emotional story that is a must play for any gamer that enjoys a solid narrative. Telltale games have really knocked it out of the park with their five part point and click adventure series, and have me waiting with great eagerness for the second season in 2013.

Honorable Mentions: Dishonored, Far Cry 3, Journey, Mass Effect 3

BEST AUDIO

John Powell: Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Guns roar. Helicopters crash. Bombs explode. And we haven't gotten to the impeccable voice acting by Hollywood stars Sam Worthington, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Keaton, Michael Rooker, Clancy Brown and Tony Todd or the soundtrack composed by musical, tech visionary: Nine Inch Nails frontman, Trent Reznor. Black Ops 2 covered the entire audio spectrum unlike any other game in 2012.

Honorable Mentions: Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Journey, Max Payne 3, Xenoblade Chronicles, Mass Effect 3, Sleeping Dogs, Assassin's Creed III and Sound Shapes.

Game Daniel Barron: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

In this game, you hear the power of being a massive robot just as much as you see and feel it. Guns are brutally powerful, explosions are deafening (in a good way), and that transforming sound is there in all its glory. Plus, you can't beat hearing "The Touch" during the credits after completing the game.

Honorable Mentions: Spec Ops: The Line, Journey

Alex Cattani: Halo 4

From the epic orchestral scores to the thick and solid sounds of gunfire. Halo 4 has been a complete joy on the ears. I was saddened at first that the main Halo theme we all know and love wasn't included but after being greeted by a wonderful soundtrack it was hard to dwell on its absences.

Honorable Mentions: Spec Ops: The Line, Journey, Max Payne 3, Gravity Rush

BEST GRAPHICS

John Powell: Halo 4

With 343 Industries taking over the production and development of the Halo series, one welcome and unexpected surprise were the graphical improvements they implemented. The Halo series has always looked fantastic but 343 took things to a whole new level of visual brilliance. Everything from the alien surroundings to the aliens themselves looked fresh and so very, very sharp. Who says video games aren't art?

Honorable Mentions: Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Hitman: Absolution, Assassin's Creed III, Max Payne 3, The Unfinished Swan and Journey.

Daniel Barron: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Game Ubisoft has done stunning work with the Ghost Recon series on the current generation of consoles, and as Microsoft and Sony gear up for the successors to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, respectively, the developer has done it once again with Future Soldier. Every last environment, whether it's a desert town or a quiet wooded area, is gorgeous and teeming with detail. Lighting effects are superb, as are character models. Plenty of eye candy here.

Honorable Mentions: Halo 4, Assassin's Creed 3, Spec Ops: The Line

Alex Cattani: Journey

Much like the acclaimed Flow and Flower that came before it, Journey possesses a simplified, unique look that if paused at any moment could resemble a piece of art. Journey offers a truly breathtaking style that can be appreciated by gamers and non-gamers alike.

Honorable Mentions: Assassin's Creed 3, Medal Of Honor: Warfighter, Far Cry 3, Halo 4

Game BEST MULTIPLAYER

John Powell: Halo 4

The introduction of the regular Spartan Ops missions enhanced an already jam-packed multiplayer package bursting with every kind of mission and mode imaginable.

Honorable Mentions: New Super Mario Bros. U, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Borderlands 2, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

Daniel Barron: Journey

Multiplayer unlike any I've played before. In Journey, you don't worry about rankings, levelling up, unlocking power-ups, or trash-talking. You simply join another random player - who isn't named until after you complete the game - and communicate using chimes and body language. Absolutely genius.

Honorable Mentions: Halo 4, Nintendoland, Assassin's Creed 3

Game Alex Cattani: Call of Duty Black Ops 2

Another year, another Call of Duty game. I myself, much like many other gamers, were starting to feel a sense of fatigue with the series. Thankfully, Treyarch has brought enough new things to the table in Black Ops 2 that my love for the franchise has finally been reinvigorated*. Whether it be the classic run and gun multiplayer, or the incredibly addictive zombie mode, Black Ops 2 offers a wealth of entertainment and fun with its trademark multiplayer.

Honorable Mentions: Borderlands 2, Planet Side 2, Halo 4, Starhawk

BEST STORY

John Powell: The Walking Dead

Invading and conquering every form of media, everyone's favourite zombie apocalypse overran the video game world in an unexpected way in 2012. Instead of the expected form of a shooter, The Walking Dead was a throwback to the point and click adventures original PC gamers like me who grew up on in the eighties. As such, Walking Dead was all about the story and characterizations. No other game pulled players in to the point that they truly cared about the plight of fictional characters on a video game screen. What it lacked in action, Walking Dead made up for in unrelenting tension and suspense.

Honorable Mentions: Sleeping Dogs, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Hitman: Absolution, Spec Ops: The Line and The Unfinished Swan.

Alex Cattani: The Walking Dead

Very few decisions in the Walking Dead are easy ones. Not only did I deeply care about the characters that I was surviving with, I also felt an emotional attachment to some of them. Solid writing, great character development, and a bevy of tear jerking scenes; The Walking Dead has been a nonstop thrill ride from start to finish.

Honorable Mentions: Spec Ops: The Line, Mass Effect 3, Far Cry 3, Unfinished Swan

BEST NEW CHARACTER

John Powell: Raul Menendez, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

As soon as he is introduced in Black Ops 2, you cannot wait to ventilate the brain of the ruthless Menendez. He is so mercilessly awful and so diabolically cruel, his fictitious actions riled up even the most centered of gamers. Raul Menendez is without a doubt one of the greatest video game villains of all time.

Honorable Mentions: David Mason: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Detective Wei Shen,: Sleeping Dogs, Lee Everett: The Walking Dead, Clementine: The Walking Dead, Corvo Attano: Dishonored, Vaas, Far Cry 3.

Game Alex Cattani: Vaas (Far Cry 3)

What is the definition of insanity? What makes one crazy? If you played end of the year hit Far Cry 3you might have a pretty good idea of what I am getting at. The games main antagonist Vaas, possesses such cruelty and ruthlessness that you would like nothing more than to take him out. This is what makes Vaas such an interesting character. He is more than just your typical evil mercenary bent on world domination. He is one truly messed up individual that takes pleasure in seeing people suffer and really makes Far Cry 3's story that much more captivating.

Honorable Mentions: Lee Everett (The Walking Dead), Connor (Assassins Creed 3), Kat (Gravity Rush), Sgt. Martin Walker (Spec Ops: The Line)

Game Daniel Barron: Dust, Dust: An Elysian Tail

Dust's life is shrouded in mystery from the opening scene in the game in which he stars. As you learn more about the character, its clear things are not as they seem. You'll fight for yourself as you try to learn about your past, but you also fight for an entire race of creatures, for reasons bigger than yourself. The more you learn, the more interesting Dust's story is.

Honorable Mentions: Corvo Attano - Dishonored, Connor - Assassin's Creed 3

BEST DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT

John Powell: Halo 4: Spartan Ops.

For the reasons above under multiplayer.

Honorable Mentions: Mass Effect 3 DLC, Skyrim: Dragonborn, Battlefield 3 - Close Quarters, Borderlands 2 - Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty and Dark Souls: The Artorias of the Abyss and Dust: An Elysian Tail.

Alex Cattani: Dark Souls: The Artorias of the Abyss

If you have successfully gotten through all of From Software's insidiously difficult RPG without hurling your controller across the room, you clearly are a glutton for punishment*. More pain and suffering were brought to Dark Souls fans this year in the form of The Artorias of the Abyss, a new area featuring two new bosses and more enemies. From software has done a solid job of delivering more content for one of last year's best releases.

Honorable Mentions: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning-The Legend of Dead Kel, Skyrim: Dawnguard, Gears of War 3: Raam's Shadow

BEST DOWNLOADABLE GAME

Xbox Live

John Powell: The Walking Dead

Xbox Live subscribers were spoiled in 2012 with a slew of standout titles which more times than not turned out to be worth more than the price paid. Walking Dead was indeed the best of the best.
Honorable Mentions: Trials Evolution, Fable Heroes, Mark of the Ninja, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, Fez and Dust: An Elysian Tail.

Xbox Live

Daniel Barron: Dust: An Elysian Tail

For the same reasons mentioned above, Dust: An Elysian Tail is worth its weight in cash, and more.

Honorable Mentions: Mark of the Ninja

PSN

Game John Powell: Journey

An unequalled experience on the PlayStation 3 and one of the best games of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Papo & Yo, The Unfinished Swan, The Walking Dead and Sound Shapes.

Daniel Barron: Journey

Proof you don't need to spend $60 or more on an AAA title, while paying for downloadable content and upgrades. Journey is pure gaming at its finest.

Honorable Mentions: Sound Shapes, Double Dragon Neon, Retro City Rampage

Alex Cattani: Journey

A lot has been said about Journey. It is a fantastic adventure sure to evoke emotion into whoever plays it. The game is the triumphant final goodbye from that game company's three game exclusive deal with Sony. But most important of all, Journey, is a truly amazing experience that not only is the top PSN game of this year, but maybe of all time.

Honorable Mentions: Unfinished Swan, Sound Shapes, Papo & Yo, Closure.

Nintendo

John Powell: Fractured Soul

This daring puzzler didn't get the love it deserved in 2012. A 3DS exclusive, Fractured Soul was a side-scroller with a difference: it is played across both screens simultaneously. To escape the deep space outpost, you have to switch dimensions at will to solve the various puzzles and eliminate the ravenous enemies. Not since the Portal gun has there been such a clever gameplay device. Hats off to the inspired folks at Endgame Studios.

Honorable Mentions: Sakura Samurai, Zen Pinball 3D and La-Mulana.

Game Daniel Barron: Crashmo

An interesting take on the puzzle genre, Crashmo is punishingly difficult and sickeningly cute all at the same time. There's a whole bunch of content to stump you for hours, but with an added creation studio, this game's value is through the roof. A game for the thinking gamer.

Honorable Mentions: Fluidity: Spin CycleSakura Samurai: Art of the SwordSakura Samurai: Art of the SwordSakura Samurai: Art of the Sword

CONSOLE AWARDS

BEST XBOX 360 GAME

Game John Powell: Halo 4

Could there be any other choice? Made exclusively for the 360, Halo 4 was the standout title of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Mass Effect 3, The Walking Dead, Max Payne 3, Sleeping Dogs, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Assassin's Creed III, Borderlands 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Hitman: Absolution and XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

Daniel Barron: Halo 4

New Halo developer 343 Industries may not have taken many chances with the latest story featuring Master Chief, but there's no doubt the gameplay was rock solid, the graphics were gorgeous, and the multiplayer was absolutely phenomenal, as usual.
Honorable Mentions: Forza Horizon, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Mark of the Ninja

Alex Cattani: Halo 4

2012 hasn't exactly been a banner year for the XBOX 360. As Microsoft seems to shift their attention towards Kinect these days, it's easy for the core 360 gamer to feel disregarded. Though there was one game that kept 360 fans happy this year. Halo 4 was the clear winner for this category. With a solid story, addictive multiplayer, and beautiful graphics, 343 has done a great job of continuing the Halo legacy.

Honorable Mentions: Call of Duty: Black ops 2, Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, Mass Effect 3

BEST WII GAME

John Powell: Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Game As Nintendo moved onto the Wii U, the releases were few and far between for the beloved Wii system. Although it was a close call, Lego Batman 2 was far more innovative and just flat out more fun than Xenoblade.
Honorable Mentions: Pikmin 2, Xenoblade Chronicles.

Daniel Barron: Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles is sure to make believers of the Wii as Nintendo rolls out its new Wii U system. It's an action RPG that's plenty deep, with memorable characters and a massive story.

BEST WII U GAME

John Powell: Assassin's Creed III

At launch, there were some strong titles but Assassin's Creed stood above all offering something fresh.

Honorable Mentions: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, New Super Mario Bros. U and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.

BEST PS3 GAME

John Powell: Journey

Only available on the PS3, Journey was a must-have gem for all owners.

Honorable Mentions: Hitman: Absolution, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Sleeping Dogs, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, The Walking Dead, Borderlands 2, Max Payne 3 and Assassin's Creed III.

Game Daniel Barron: Journey

Honorable Mentions: Retro City Rampage

Alex Cattani: Journey

See best PSN game.

Honorable Mentions: Mass Effect 3, Far Cry 3, Unfinished Swan, Borderlands 2

BEST 3DS - DS GAME

John Powell: Resident Evil: Revelations and Kid Icarus: Uprising

So hard to pick between the two, I had no choice but to chicken out and proclaim a tie. Both games really tested and taxed every aspect of the revolutionary 3DS system while also providing for some addictive gameplay.

Honorable Mentions: Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Angry Birds Trilogy, Heroes of Ruin, New Super Mario Brothers 2, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.

Daniel Barron: Resident Evil: Revelations

Forget about the big-budget Resident Evil 6 - if you want an absolutely spectacular Resident Evil game that successfully marries the series' old-school survival horror with top-notch action, look no further. Quite literally one of the best games in the series, period.

BEST PC GAME

Game John Powell: The Walking Dead

Walking Dead took PC gamers for a refreshing stroll down memory lane.

Honorable Mentions: Hitman: Absolution, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Sleeping Dogs, Alan Wake, Max Payne 3 and Assassin's Creed III.

Alex Cattani: Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 had a lot of hype to live up to. Not only did it reach expectations, it shattered them. What you find in this MMO RPG is a tremendously rewarding experience that gave me a reason to finally start gaming on my PC again.

Honorable Mentions: Hotline Miami, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Diablo 3, Star craft 2.

BEST PLAYSTATION VITA GAME

Alex Cattani: Persona 4: Golden

Persona 4 golden is by far one of the Vitas most acclaimed games of the year. Deep, fun, and whacky, Persona finally gives Vita players something to sink their teeth into. It's no surprise that Sony's latest handheld has been struggling in its debut year. But games like Persona and the honorable mentions listed helped Vita gain some much needed ground.

Honorable Mentions: Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Sound Shapes, Little Big Planet, Gravity Rush

Genre Awards

BEST KIDS GAME

Game John Powell: Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Another close call. Even though Scribblenauts probably taught kids more, Lego Batman 2 took their imaginations on a wild ride. Not only was Batman 2 the best kids game of 2012, it was possibly the best Lego game ever made.
Honorable Mentions: Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Skylanders Giants and Scribblenauts Unlimited.

Alex Cattani: Scriblenauts Unlimited

Scriblenauts is the perfect game for anyone who has a bubbling imagination. Conjuring up creations and bringing them to life right before your eyes is sure to make anyone smile.

Honorable Mentions: Skylanders Giants, Little Big Planet Vita

BEST SHOOTER

John Powell: Far Cry 3

Putting you smack dab in the middle of all manner of challenging tactical situations, Far Cry 3 also had the storyline that made all of the action make sense.

Honorable Mentions: Spec Ops: The Line, Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

Daniel Barron: Halo 4

It looks achingly beautiful, it has four-player co-op that allows you and up to three friends to shoot endless bullets at seemingly endless baddies, and it has multiplayer that will hook you from the get-go. FPS action at its finest in 2012.

Honorable Mentions: Binary Domain, Spec Ops: The Line, Max Payne 3.

Alex Cattani: Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 greatly expands on its formula from the first game, and finally perfects its ambitious FPS-RPG brand of gameplay. A borderland 2 is an instant hit and a blast to play with friends.

Honorable Mentions: Far Cry 3 May Payne 3, Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

BEST ACTION

John Powell: Sleeping Dogs

Far more than a GTA clone on every level, Sleeping Dogs immersed players in the sights and sounds of Hong Kong while also mimicking the very best of every Hong Kong action movie ever produced. One of the games I continually went back to throughout 2012.

Honorable Mentions: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Max Payne 3, Dishonored, Spec Ops: The Line and Borderlands 2.

Daniel Barron: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

What happens when you mix giant transforming giants with ... more giant transforming robots? You get Fall of Cybertron, which is a crowning achievement for developer High Moon Studios. Being able to control a 'bot that's the size of a city is one thing, but the final level, which has you switching back and forth between the Autobots and Decepticons, is one of the greatest action levels ever created in a video game.

Honorable Mentions: Binary Domain, Max Payne 3, Resident Evil: Revelations

Game Alex Cattani: Max Payne 3

Iit's been a long time since gamers last played as anti-hero Max Payne, too long in fact. Max's triumphant, bloody, and depressing return is the adventure that veterans of the series have been yearning for. All the components that make a good action game are in check. Bullet time, explosions, guns, revenge plot, and a likeable protagonist, all give way to a great experience.

Honorable Mentions: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Dishonored, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Far Cry 3

BEST PUZZLE GAME

John Powell: Fractured Soul

See Best Downloadable Game.

Honorable Mentions: Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Fez, Angry Birds Space, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Crashmo and Dokuro.

Daniel Barron: Crashmo

See Best Downloadable Game.

Honorable Mentions: Fluidity: Spin Cycle, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Alex Cattani: Quantum Conundrum

From the minds that brought us Portal comes Quantum Conundrum. Though not surpassing the legendry work that came before it, Quantum Conundrum is a great puzzler for people who enjoy flexing their brain muscles.

Honorable Mentions: Fez

BEST RACING GAME

John Powell: Need for Speed Most Wanted

A racing game for people who don't really play racing games (like me), Need for Speed's sandbox style is so addictive.

Honorable Mentions: Trials Evolution, Forza Horizon, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and F1 2012.

Game Daniel Barron: Forza Horizon

The "hard-core" Forza racing world, set in an open-world environment, with a ridiculous amount of things to do at every turn. New developer Playground Games did good with Forza Horizon ... real good.

Alex Cattani: Sonic All-Stars Racing: Transformed.

I had absolutely no faith in Sonics All-Stars Racing: Transformed. Even the most diehard of Sonic fans can agree that the speedy little hedgehog hasn't enjoyed much success in recent years. Thankfully, I was dead wrong. Sonic All-Stars Racing: Transformed is a fun, charming racer, that packs quite a bit of challenge to.

Honorable Mentions: Forza Horizon, Need for Speed: Most Wanted.

BEST ROLE-PLAYING GAME

John Powell: Mass Effect 3

There is no surpassing the scope of Commander Shepard's adventures. All of the downloadable content keeps the experience alive as well.

Alex Cattani: Dragon's Dogma

Dragon's Dogma was one of my most played games of the year. Capcom has crafted a great world to explore with even greater foes to battle. Dragon's Dogma really made me love RPG'S again. I could easily say that this game had some of the most epic battles in any RPG I've played in a while.

Honorable Mentions: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Xenoblade: Chronicles, Mass Effect 3, Diablo 3

Honorable Mentions: Diablo 3, The Witcher 2, Heroes of Ruin, Xenoblade Chronicles, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 and XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

BEST FIGHTING GAME

John Powell: WWE '13

It certainly had its flaws but WWE '13 returned the series to its former glory by bringing back more of what squared circle fans want.

Honorable Mentions: Dead or Alive 5, Persona 4 Arena, Marvel vs. Capcom Origins, UFC Undisputed 3, Street Fighter X Tekken and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

Alex Cattani: PlayStation All-stars Battle Royal

PlayStation All-stars Battle Royal is the game that my friends and I would always talk about. We would discuss how cool would it be for Jak & Daxter to fight Ratchet & Clank?, or for Sweet Tooth to battle Kratos. When I heard the news of a Sony mascot brawler being worked on, the inner PlayStation nerd in me jumped with joy. Though along with my joy, there was a part of me that was skeptical if this extremely ambitious fighter would turn out good. There is definite room for improvement with all-stars but the amount of fun that I have gotten from this solid brawler makes up for its shortcomings.

Honorable Mentions: Street Fighter X Tekken, Persona 4 Arena, Dead or Alive 5.

BEST NEW IP

Game John Powell: Sleeping Dogs

This could be the start of a whole new sandbox series.

Honorable Mentions: Dishonored, Dragon's Dogma, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Spec Ops: The Line.

Daniel Barron: Binary Domain

I'm a sucker for balls-to-the-wall action, and Binary Domain had that in spades. The characters were over-the-top and the story manages to go from cool to incredulous as the game goes on, but there's a lot going for Binary Domain in the future, because audiences simply love robots.

Honorable Mentions: Dragon's Dogma, Spec Ops: The Line

Alex Cattani: Dishonored

Dishonored is clearly the start of something special. I myself was never really a fan of the stealth genre, as I found the game to be slow paced and boring. Dishonored not only changed my outlook on the genre, but it made me finally enjoy it.

Honorable Mentions: Dragon's Dogma, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Sleeping Dogs, Sound Shapes

MOST UNDERRATED GAME OF 2012

John Powell: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

From the opening cut-scene to the final showdown, this is an exhilarating adventure. The breakneck gameplay pace and the wide-ranging missions, portrayals will capture the imagination of even those who are not die-hard Transformers fans. You get to fly as Kickback, sneak around as Cliffjumper and my favourite, go on a destructive rampage as Dinobot Grimlock. It is just one fun stage after another. High Moon Studios and Activision definitely deserved more praise for their astonishing work.

Honorable Mentions: Sleeping Dogs, Heroes of Ruin and Fractured Soul.

Game Daniel Barron: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

The core gameplay isn't the most original concept ever released on a Nintendo touch screen handheld, but Theatrhythm mixes in a surprisingly deep item system to make this as solid an RPG as it is a music game - seriously. There's all kinds of fan service, and plenty of extras to unlock, keeping you humming along to the soundtrack for months.

Honorable Mentions: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Resident Evil: Revelations

Alex Cattani: Starhawk

Not a lot of people know about Starhawk. This could be due to Sony's poor marketing of the product, or simply because of the game being in somewhat niche category. This is truly a shame, because Starhawk has some of the most intense multiplayer I have played in recent memory.

Honorable Mentions: Dragon's Dogma, Spec Ops: The Line, Binary Domain, Hitman: Absolution.

WORST GAME OF 2012

John Powell: I Am Alive

‘Uncharted' without any action, I Am Alive is about as fun as having all of your wisdom teeth pulled out by your local mechanic. An exercise in utter frustration, everything is inexplicably rationed including your energy. If you like falling to your death and having to replay the same area again and again, climbing and more climbing, wrestling with faulty controls, running out of ammo regularly, being unable to target anything in your crosshairs when you do have ammo, pushing enemies to their death's because you have no ammo, being overrun by mobs of baddies, stumbling around in the dark, multiple errand boy missions, are not a fan of colour…then I Am Alive is the game for you.

Honorable Mentions: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Game of Thrones, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, Amy, Star Wars Kinect, MIB Alien Crisis,The Expendables 2 and Zombi U.

Game Daniel Barron: Resident Evil 6

A travesty from beginning to end. For every good thing about Resident Evil 6, there was about five things that the developers did to make this the worst release of 2012. Sure, the co-op multiplayer is fun, but that simply isn't enough to forgive everything else about the game. The characters are forgettable, the controls are iffy at best, the stories are silly, and the dialogue is sillier. As I said earlier in 2012 - if you want to play an excellent new Resident Evil game, do it on a handheld with the 3DS' Resident Evil: Revelations.

Honorable Mentions: Amy, Dillon's Rolling Western

Alex Cattani: Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified

My shame of the year pick was a close call between Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon city. One made me cringe as it defiled a once legendry series, and another made me want to throw my Vita. Declassified nearly fails on all fronts. Broken multiplayer, brainless A.I, bad controls, and an incredibly lack luster story mode, if you would even call it that. It's a shame that Declassified didn't turn out well. It could have been the killer app for the Vita some gamers were waiting for. Sadly it's nothing more than a broken shooter that is best avoided at all costs.

Dishonorable Mentions: Amy, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, Never Dead, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.

 
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