Best games of 2012

As the end of a console cycle looms, Steven Balbirnie looks over 10 of the best games of 2012.The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)Deservedly the game of the year, The Walking Dead has revealed the true potential of episodic gaming. With an enthralling storyline, emotionally engaging characters, and choices that you will agonise over hours after you’ve made them, The Walking Dead is a magnificent experience, and gaming at its finest.Dishonored (Arkane Studios)A superb stealth action adventure set in the brilliantly realised steam punk world of Dunwall, Dishonored was one of the most outstanding titles of 2012. Featuring a vast multitude of options to tackle any mission or dispatch any foe, and a system which means that the amount of chaos you cause radically influences the game’s conclusion, Dishonored demonstrated that the end of a console generation doesn’t mean an end to quality releases.Street Fighter X Mega Man (Seow Zong Hui & Capcom)Sometimes the best things in life are free. Developed by Singaporean fan, Seow Zong Hui, with support provided by Capcom, this free downloadable PC game is one of the most challenging of the year. On the 25th anniversary of both the Mega Man and Street Fighter franchises, this title sees the blue bomber going head-to-head with Ryu, Chun Li, Blanka and other iconic fighters from across the series. Not one to be missed.Silent Hill: Downpour (Konami)Despite some worrying delays in development, Silent Hill: Downpour marked a return to form for the influential psychological horror series. The game’s unique and disturbing locations and monsters coupled with an eerie and unsettling score by Daniel Licht ensure that your journey inside the tortured psyche of Murphy Pendleton is a memorable one.Borderlands 2 (Gearbox Software)This loot-driven, cel-shaded, class-based first-person-shooter provides 2012 with its zaniest four player co-op experience. Straddling genres with its RPG elements, and boasting ‘bazillions’ of guns, Borderlands 2 provides hours of entertainment for anyone willing to delve into the world of Pandora.Assassin’s Creed 3 (Ubisoft Montreal)Finally moving beyond the renaissance, the game series designed to make you fail your history degree tackles the American Revolution in the third of its numbered instalments. From parkour in the American wilderness to naval battles on the high seas, the epic scope of this game should satisfy any aspiring assassins.Journey (thatgamecompany)While 2012 was a great year for Indie games, one title distinguished itself from all others, Journey. A beautiful and touching adventure with an intelligent and engaging co-op dynamic, there is no excuse for anyone with a Playstation 3 to not own this game.Halo 4 (343 Industries)It was a daunting task for 343 Industries to take over the Halo series from Bungie, but they rose to the challenge, serving up not only a visual feast but a solid shooter.Mass Effect 3 (Bioware)Controversy over the game’s ending may have dogged much of Mass Effect 3’s media coverage, but this shouldn’t take away from the overall game providing a fitting conclusion to this massively popular trilogy. A complex narrative and cinematic presentation ensures that fans will remember Shepard’s saga for years to come.Slender: The Eight Pages (Parsec Productions)Showing that you don’t need a big budget or flashy visuals to make an excellent horror game, Slender: The Eight Pages must be commended for how it creates an utterly terrifying atmospheric experience out of a basic concept. Easily the scariest game of the year; its follow-up, Slender: The Arrival, being made in conjunction with Blue Isle Studios, looks set to continue the chills into 2013.