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Best of 2012 – Lee’s Top Five Games of the Year

borderlands 2 gameplay

Popular coop shooter Borderlands 2 is only one of Lee’s top picks of the year. What else is on his list?

Lately we’ve been giving out our awards to what we think are the best Canadian-developed games of the year. Of course, in addition to those awards, each of our amazing writers will also be sharing their top five games of 2012. Yesterday JTM’s own Nick D. shared his top game picks. Today, veteran writer Lee G. will share his top five games of the year.

Hit the jump to check out Lee’s Top Five Games of the Year.

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Borderlands 2

The original Borderlands was a great game for kicking back and blowing off some steam. Gearbox managed to take every single aspect of the original game and improve it with this sequel. Better action, crazier enemies, insane abilities and guns galore would have been enough to take this game to the next level, but Gearbox also really focused in on story and characters. Tiny Tina is probably the best NPC I’ve run into in a long time. I kept going back to her, hoping there would be just one more quest for high-explosive badonkadonk. Bring on the DLC!

botanicula

Botanicula

Amanita Design, best known for their oddball puzzle point-and-click adventure game, Machinarium, has become one of my favourite indie studios. Botanicula is the story of a band of tiny plant creatures who set out on a journey to save their tree from a devouring menace. This game does an amazing job of telling a story without using words; your merry little band and the characters they meet communicate through pantomime, drawn pictures and hilariously nonsensical noises. Simply put, Botanicula will make you smile.

Props to Amanita for going out on a limb and debuting Botanicula under a pay-what-you-want model through the Humble Bundle. Now the game is available all over the web including the studio’s website and Steam.

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Assassin’s Creed 3

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has had a solid hook in me for awhile now. The end of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations had us step away from Italian assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze and into the boots of someone new. Now, Conner, a man straddling the line between his Mohawk and British ancestries steps into the limelight. While I missed climbing the grand monuments the old world, tree running and navel combat have certainly made up for that. I can’t wait for the next installation of this series, especially if we’re going to be treated to the same kind of improvements we’ve seen between titles in the previous trilogy.

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Mark of the Ninja

A while back, I gushed over Klei Entertainment’s Mark of the Ninja and a recent replay really stood up. This is a game where well crafted gameplay, art and design all come together to create an extremely solid experience. This 2D stealth title plays closer to the puzzle genre than action, however most areas require quick, well-chosen movements and actions to navigate, giving a visceral satisfaction to each kill. Favourite moment: Any time I can garrote a guard, then string him up to terrify his companions. If you’re in the market for something new on your Xbox 360 or PC, this is your game.

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Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 represents the conclusion of a series I became incredibly passionate about. The writers and designers at BioWare managed to create an entire universe filled with characters that make you care. Many of these characters have stories that span the series, stories that are often influenced by your choices, large and small.

Like the story, BioWare constantly improved on gameplay throughout the series. By Mass Effect 3, Commander Shephard and crew were up against not only the Reapers themselves, but also a menace created closer to home by the xenophobic Cerebus group. No matter your style of gameplay, Mass Effect 3 feels smooth and impeccably well designed.

I continue to appreciate the surprisingly solid multiplayer aspect BioWare added to the series. Again, fans were treated to several packs of free content including map updates, new characters and a significant number of new weapons and abilities to use, many of which were not available in the original single player experience. Being able to play with others in the Mass Effect universe really is a treat.

Mass Effect 3 takes my top slot of the year not only for the fantastic game they’ve produced, but also for the amazing job they do to create a worldwide community. Unlike many vocal fans of the series, the ending of Mass Effect 3 didn’t throw me. However, BioWare went above and beyond what was required by a studio and created additional free content to improve the endgame experience. Now that’s dedication, not only to the studio’s fans but also the franchise .

That’s it for 2012! Bring on 2013 and all the amazing games to come! Fry Cry 3 is next on my list. What’s your next game this year?

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About Lee Guille

Gamer, writer, marketer, husband, oppressed slave to cats. Follow me on twitter: Writeleewrite

Posted on January 7, 2013, in Best Of 2012 Awards and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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