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EGM’s Best of 2012:
Editor’s Choice: Matthew Bennett

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Posted on December 24, 2012 AT 08:00am

It’s been a year of controversy in gaming—from the insane fan pressure over the ending of Mass Effect 3 to our very own Halo 4 review. Seven out of 10? Impossible! However, these events were just a blip on the radar in what was a solid-yet-unexceptional year in gaming.

This shall forever be known as the year of the sequel, with games such as Borderlands 2, Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed III, and Black Ops II dominating sales. But that doesn’t mean that new titles didn’t get to shine—take Telltale’s The Walking Dead, which took everyone by surprise with its quality and engaging story. Now, I’m off to go eat lots of chips (or “crisps,” as we properly call them in the U.K.!), chocolate, and other unhealthy treats while I await the start of the 2013 gaming calendar.

Matt’s Top 5 Games for 2012

#5: Mass Effect 3

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: BioWare
Platforms: 360, PS3, Wii U, PC

2012 kicked off with my most anticipated game of the year—Mass Effect 3—offering the final epic conclusion to the trilogy. It offered everything I could have wanted and more—without messing anything up from the previous game. Mass Effect 3 felt like playing a Hollywood blockbuster as I tried to save the galaxy one last time from the Illusive Man. Now, regardless of what the haters and complainers say, I thought that the ending was more than satisfactory, and I was saddened to see BioWare cave to fan pressure in adding to the ending. Hopefully, this won’t become an industry standard: Whine enough and someone will listen.

#4: Far Cry 3

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: 360, PS3, PC

Every so often in gaming, something comes along that ticks all of the boxes—immersive gameplay, engaging story, and more content than you can shake a stick at. Far Cry 3 was this generation’s golden nugget. I was surprised—and impressed—by how good the game actually was, considering the complete mess that was Far Cry 2. Ubisoft righted the wrongs of the previous game with a story that folded neatly together, a world that felt real and believable, and by giving me something to actually do while playing—an important factor that Far Cry 2 forgot.

#3: Assassin’s Creed III

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: 360, PS3, Wii U, PC

I’ve been a massive fan of Assassin’s Creed ever since the original; however, I was beginning to feel that the series was stagnating slightly. Thankfully, Assassin’s Creed III was on hand to breathe life back into the old dog—and also stuck around to teach it some new tricks. My major gripe with the series—its one-button combat—was rectified, making encounters engaging and challenging. Combine this with the huge, breathtaking environments across Colonial America, and it was always going to be a winner in my book.

#2: The Walking Dead

Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platforms: XBLA, PSN, PC, Mac, iOS

The Walking Dead series is officially my biggest surprise of 2012. Upon loading this one up for the first time, I expected to be greeted with a friendly, fun little title similar to the developer’s Wallace & Gromit games. Instead what I got was a solid—and slightly dark—game, complete with a more engaging story than most big-budget releases. It’s still a point-and-click adventure at heart, but on the surface, it’s a slick rollercoaster ride with more twists, turns, and action than an episode of CSI.

#1: Borderlands 2

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software
Platforms: 360, PS3, PC

Insane, wacky, unreal—just a few of the words I’ve used to describe Borderlands 2 in the past. However, these words simply don’t do the game justice; it truly is a crazy masterpiece. Beautifully hilarious characters—such as Tiny Tina or Scooter—make the world feel vibrant and force you to progress just to discover what out-of-this-world hijinks are around the corner. This game captured my heart the second I realized I was fighting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles down in the sewers—and it’s moments of joy like these that only a few special games can offer.

Matt’s Off-Topic Awards for 2012

Most Pointless Single-Player Campaign
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Not once have I heard anyone say that they play Call of Duty titles for the single-player experience—and with good reason. The AI feels dull and flat, the story’s ludicrous at best, and it only lasts four hours…if you really take your time. No, there’s only one reason that Black Ops II is so popular, and that’s the multiplayer. It’s gotten to a point where Infinity Ward/Treyarch may as well just forget the campaign altogether—no one will miss it.
Worst Hardware Launch
PlayStation Vita
I bought into the hype machine that Sony spun, excited at the promises made and the trailers shown—but it was all for nothing. The handheld launched with 25 titles to choose from, but I struggled to find even one worth investing in. Whoever suggested that a touchscreen on the back of a handheld was a good idea needs to take a good, hard look at themselves. After half an hour of play, I had a cramp in my hands from holding the Vita in an unnatural position and repeatedly touched the back screen accidentally. This all added up to the handheld gathering dust in a drawer for several months—and I’m not alone.
Most Addictive Game
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Only one game this year has entertained me so much that I just had to earn 100-percent completion. It may not have the best story or characters, but what it does have is an engaging, addictive collection system. The game’s split up into individual sections, and before entering each area from the menu, you’re given an overview of what you still need to do. However, whereas some people saw this as simple information, I saw it as a challenge—and found I couldn’t put the controller down until I cleared an area. No other game this year managed to gain such a hold over me.

EGMNOW’s Best of 2012 Awards Schedule

Dec
18
Editor’s Choice: Ray Carsillo Dec
19
Editor’s Choice: Josh Harmon
Dec
20
Editor’s Choice: Andrew Fitch Dec
21
Editor’s Choice: Brandon Justice
Dec
22
Editor’s Choice: Eric L. Patterson Dec
23
Editor’s Choice: Chris Holzworth
Dec
24
Editor’s Choice: Matthew Bennett Dec
25
Editor’s Choice: Marc Camron
Dec
26
Best of 2012: #25 ~ #21 Dec
27
Best of 2012: #20 ~ #16
Dec
28
Best of 2012: #15 ~ #11 Dec
29
Best of 2012: #10 ~ #06
Dec
30
EGMNOW’s Best Games of 2012: #05 ~ #01
Dec
31
Tobias Bruckner Memorial Awards
Matthew Bennett, Associate Editor
Matthew Bennett has only been covering the gaming world for a short while, but he’s eager to make his mark. An ability to go many hours without sleep and a quick wit make him ideal for his role as associate editor at EGMNOW.com. He often thinks back to the days when the very idea of this career seemed like nothing but an impossible dream. Follow him on Twitter @mattyjb89. Meet the rest of the crew.

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