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EGM’s Best of 2012:
Part Five: #05 ~ #01

Posted on December 30, 2012 AT 08:00am

It’s day five of EGM’s top 25 games of 2012, and this is it: our choices for the five best games of the year. These weren’t just videogames—they were engrossing experiences that gripped us in ways beyond what other releases this year were able to accomplish. The games on this are all shining examples of what developers can bring us when passion meets polish, when creativity meet conviction. These are EGM’s picks for the five best games of 2012—and the five games this year, above all others, that you absolutely need to play.

EGM’s Top 25: #05 ~ #01

#05: Sleeping Dogs

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Unifted Front Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

We didn’t exactly know what to expect out of Sleeping Dogs before its debut, but this once-cancelled open-world action title managed to exceed expectations on nearly every level, offering an action-packed journey through the streets of Hong Kong that set a host of standards for games cut from the GTA cloth via visceral combat, polished racing elements, a meaningful advancement systems and a well-told story of deception, redemption and ultra-violent vengeance that left a bold, bloody mark on gaming in 2012. —Brandon Justice

#04: The Walking Dead

Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, OS X

Strong writing is sorely absent in most video games, but not in Telltale’s The Walking Dead. And unlike other games that offer the illusion of choice, the decisions you make in The Walking Dead have genuine emotional gravity that influences the game significantly. Which is precisely what the television series is all about—survival that often crosses into morally questionable territory. It’s not about celebrating the “harmless fun” in killing zombies like in Zombieland, which is precisely why The Walking Dead is stands out and is better off as an adventure game than a clone of Dead Rising. —Chris Holzworth

#03: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

While other games may have pushed more polygons or sported a more impressive list of features on the back of the box, XCOM: Enemy Unknown‘s retro-inspired take on turn-based tactics earned a spot on our list for one simple reason: It taught us the true meaning of pain. With refreshingly complex mechanics, a difficulty curve that refuses to let up, and the ever-looming specter of permadeath, XCOM made taking down the alien menace feel like a genuine accomplishment—something that’s sadly missing from the bulk of modern gaming. —Josh Harmon

#02: Borderlands 2

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

Four new Vault Hunters feature completely unique skill trees to help them explore every region that Pandora has to offer. Perfecting what was started with the first Borderlands, this sequel found a way to make an already over-the-top experience bigger and better than ever before. And when Gearbox says “a bazillion guns”, they mean it, as you’ll be swimming in bullets by level five. The gunplay and drop-in, drop-out co-op is still airtight and when you combine that now with probably the best written script of the year, it’s hard not to recommend this one. —Ray Carsillo

#01: Far Cry 3

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

This year’s Game of the Year was packed with viable contenders, but none brought it better than Ubisoft Montreal’s Far Cry 3. And while open-world action is nothing new, the way in which FC3’s tale of vengeance, salvation and good old-fashioned ass-kicking insanity blended memorable performances, a tightly scripted campaign and meaningful side content into one solid package was a bar-raising effort that would have stood out against anything this generation had to offer, making it an easy pick for our top title of 2012. —Brandon Justice

EGMNOW’s Best of 2012 Awards Schedule

Editor’s Choice: Ray Carsillo Dec
Editor’s Choice: Josh Harmon
Editor’s Choice: Andrew Fitch Dec
Editor’s Choice: Brandon Justice
Editor’s Choice: Eric L. Patterson Dec
Editor’s Choice: Chris Holzworth
Editor’s Choice: Matthew Bennett Dec
Editor’s Choice: Marc Camron
Best of 2012: #25 ~ #21 Dec
Best of 2012: #20 ~ #16
Best of 2012: #15 ~ #11 Dec
Best of 2012: #10 ~ #06
EGMNOW’s Best Games of 2012: #05 ~ #01
Tobias Bruckner Memorial Awards

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