The Best Games You Missed in 2012 – Part 2
Last week we published part one of what we think are the best games that many people missed in 2012. Games like Spec Ops: the Line, Sleeping Dogs, DYAD, and Sound Shapes went unnoticed and never achieved the sales that they deserved. Hopefully last weeks list helped people find the games that they forgot or didn’t hear about because it didn’t get the marketing it needed to stand-out in the over-populated marketplace.
This next list include a Japanese wolf-god, a lone survivor, a demon-possessed gangster, a hyper-violent killer and more so check out the Best Games You Missed in 2012 – Part 2 after the break.
Why people keep passing on Okami I’ll never understand. It’s one of the most beautiful games Capcom has ever created and is perhaps one of the best games that makes the best use of the PlayStation Move controller. The game looks infinitely better than its original version, it had Trophy support, widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, and took advantage of the PS3’s horsepower.
When you pick up Okami HD, you’ll be able to play as Amaterasu, a Japanese goddess (in wolf form) who goes on a quest to restore the land from the evil Orochi. Using the PlayStation Move controller as Amaterasu’s celestial brush, you’ll turn the world into a traditional Japanese scroll where you can draw symbols and affect the world around you. Not only that, you’ll have to use the Move controller to draw symbols onto the scrolls and defeat Amaterasu’s enemies.
Seriously, Okami HD is only $19.99 on the PlayStation Network; give it a chance, you might be surprised with the game’s unique art style and game mechanics.
Lone Survivor is an retro-styled indie survival horror game originally developed for the PC. It casts you as a lone survivor (unmistakable because of your iconic surgical mask) of an unknown epidemic that decimated a large number of the population. You’ve run out of supplies and have boarded locked yourself in a decrepit apartment complex.
Gameplay mostly requires you to avoid/hide from the shambling mutants; these guys are aggressive and extremely dangerous and can kill you with one hit. Later on, you’ll be able to pick up a firearm and ammunition, but it’s still better to either run away or hide from these shambling dead. You’ll be able to use items like rotting meat to lure mutants away from himself as he sneaks away or hides in the darker corners of each location.
Thankfully, Lone Survivor is coming to the PS Vita and PS3 later this year, so you’ll have a chance to pick it up and play it on the go.
The Darkness 2
While it had it’s share of issues, The Darkness was one of my favourites during the early days of the PS3. Fast forward to 2012, not only did the sequel fix many of the issues of the first one (controls being the biggest), it also included a fully-featured co-op game mode that was fun to play and worked well as a side-story to Jackie’s campaign. But of course, you’ll want to play The Darkness 2 for it’s terrific story, fast and frantic shooting, and increasingly brutal darkness powers. Some of the best parts (in my opinion) were of Jackie in the mental asylum that made him question everything about him and the world that he lived in. Sure it didn’t have much in the way of action, but it felt like Jacob’s Ladder the video game – in a great way.
When the bullet start flying though, The Darkness 2 was a real blast to play. Guns felt weighty and had power and kick behind each shot fired, the darkness powers were incredibly fun to use; especially the Caustic black hole that sucks your enemies into oblivion and Demon Blades that allows you to avoid the talking and go straight for your enemy’s heart. You’ll find The Darkness 2 in your local bargain bins for less than $10 these days so there’s really no excuse not to buy it.
The Unfinished Swan
I didn’t know what to expect when I bought The Unfinished Swan on the PSN. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised at how much the game kept me playing throughout it’s (relatively short) campaign. It was also one of the few games (along with Okami HD) that I actually enjoy playing with a PlayStation Move controller. It’s a wonderful storybook-like experience that’s simple to understand and enjoy for people of all ages.
The Unfinished Swan casts you as a recently orphaned boy whose mother loved to painting – yet never finishes any. As you can imagine, the boy is quite imaginative and chases after a swan when it travels into an unfinished painting. You then take control of the boy in a white space where you can throw paint and colour the environment to reveal the game’s interesting world.
What’s great about The Unfinished Swan is that it introduces new mechanics and elements the more you get into the game, so you never get bored of the adventure. Finally, it’s storybook presentation and engrossing story make it feel like one of your favourite books from your childhood; you’ve read it hundreds of times but you can’t help coming back and experiencing it every so often.
I recently published a rather lengthy preview of Hotline Miami (for PS Vita) at Sonyrumors.net (a sister site that I write for) where I noted that Hotline Miami is not a game for everyone. The game’s content, gameplay, and story make games like Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto and even Postal seem like afternoon children’s shows in comparison. It’s a brutal, violent, and oftentimes repulsive action game definitely pushes the boundaries of taste. You’ll find yourself enjoying racking up combos and points for creative kills and rampages like they were mushrooms and gold coins.
Want to know how violent it gets? Here’s what I wrote in the preview:
“If there’s a criminal standing behind a door, you may kick the door down which slams him to the ground; from there, you can stand over the guy and crack his skull open with a baseball bat. Or, if there’s more than one guy in a room, you can kick the door down, hit one guy with the butt of your rifle, then open fire on the others before they can react.”
No matter how hard I am on Hotline Miami’s extreme content, I do still think that it’s worth a purchase because it’s one of the rare games that dare to push boundaries and begin conversations that the game industry needs in order to mature as well as for non-gamers to understand and accept the medium.
To be honest, I didn’t like Dear Esther when I played it for the first time late last year. It was slow, methodical, and was the total opposite of more popular, blockbuster first person games that I was craving at that time. After satiating my digital blood lust playing Far Cry 3, I decided to give Dear Esther a second shot and boy was I hooked from beginning to end. There was something mesmerizing about the narrator’s voice and the story that he told. The plot was both intriguing and heartbreaking at the same time, told in letter fragments that you must piece together to understand. Even then, much of the story and characters are ambiguous (especially that ending) and leaves you to make your own assumptions as to what really happened.
Dear Esther is a beautiful game no doubt, and definitely an experience that you should try at least once. It touches on emotions that are rarely touched upon by the interactive medium (save for an indie few) and is one of the forerunners of an artistic renaissance that the current game industry needs.
What about you? Which 2012 games flew under your radar that you’d like to try this year?
Posted on February 24, 2013, in Best Of 2012 Awards and tagged dear esther, entertainment, gaming, hotline miami, lone survivor, okami hd, the darkness 2, Unfinished Swan. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.