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

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Spec Ops: The Line is one of Brooke’s favourite games of 2012. What else did she like this year? Find out!

It’s already day 4 of the JTM team’s “Best of the Year” week. So far we’ve seen Borderlands 2, Mass Effect 3, Dishonored, Assassin’s Creed 3, and The Walking Dead coming up on everyone’s lists. Continuing with our JTM Top Five’s, up next is staff writer Brooke F. with her picks for the five best games of the year. (In no particular order – Brooke)

Wondering which games are on her list? Hit the jump to find out!

ME3

Mass Effect 3

BioWare did two things to set up Mass Effect 3. First, they used the Mass Effect 2 suicide mission to establish that anyone on your team could die suddenly in a cut-scene. Then, they took the series’ most beloved characters and put them all on your crew. The fact that I was a nervous wreck as I played this game is a testament to how strong and developed the characters had become over the course of the series, and how they much defined Shepard, me, and, most importantly, my choices.  During the last battles of the game, the sense of foreboding was almost overwhelming. No game prior had ever made me feel that I had so much to lose.

One last note, while I stand firmly behind my choice to Control, the Tricia Helfer-narrated Synthesis ending in the Extended Cut stayed with me for days to come.

spec

Spec Ops: The Line

With whispers of Heart of Darkness, Spec Ops: The Line is an introspective journey that forces tough decisions, yet strips the player of the usual comforts when making a choice in a video game.  No option wheels, no time, and never enough informational guidance. It’s hard not to resent the game for the no-win situations it places in your hands – or to see the parallels between your own turmoil and that of the protagonists, which is part of what makes the game so powerful. Visually, this is one of the most stunning games I’ve ever played. With the game events taking place in Dubai after a sandstorm, the environment provides no shortage of superbly composed “wow” moments – as beautiful as they are horrifying.

Dishonored

The world is your playground – your plague-infested, playground. This is the most fun I’ve had using special abilities in a game. While many other games in the action-stealth genre seem to limit special abilities to certain contexts, Dishonored has created a matrix of powers that can freely be mixed and matched. There’s a sense of strategic fulfillment that comes with having so many options available when approaching a situation. Not to mention the abilities are far too much fun. Freeze time? Possess animals? Blink from shadow to shadow? There’s really no excuse for you to walk anywhere normally.

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Borderlands 2

The original was fun, but Borderlands 2 stepped things up. Gearbox had no qualms about adding to the series’ over the top guns and enemies (who forgets the first time they shoot the head off a Goliath?), and levels offered improved opportunities for dynamic combat in coop mode. The storyline was one of the biggest improvements of the series, with Handsome Jack being quite possibly the best-worst guy ever.

I saw her

I Saw Her Standing There

This free, browser-based game is a love story guaranteed to put a smile on your face… and also a mask of unblinking focus. I love this game for the deceptive simplicity of its mechanics. and its effective level design. Reminiscent of the diverse arcade games of old, it is a great illustration that games do not need to be complicated or re-invent the wheel to provide an experience that is both memorable and challenging.

Agree or disagree with Brooke’s top five? What’s on your list?

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About Brooke Fargo

Brooke is a game designer and writer based out of Victoria, BC. She talks entirely too much about her dog.

Posted on January 9, 2013, in Best Of 2012 Awards and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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