Unfortunately, I didn’t play nearly as many games as Shaan did this year as I only finished 13 or so games. Part of that is the fact that I primarily play RPGs, and you can sink a lot of time into one of those without really thinking about it. So, I decided that would be best to limit my list to the top 5 games I played this year.

If you’re looking for Battlefield or Call of Duty, you’re not going to find it here as I don’t play those games. (What, you haven’t read my about page?) And if you have read my about page, you might be surprised to see that Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection isn’t on the list either. While FF4 is a great game and The After Years episodes are neat, the only real addition was the interlude, which didn’t add enough (nor was it good enough) for me to warrant it for consideration. That’s enough preamble – on to the list!

Game Of The Year List
#5 Pokémon Black – DS
While I thoroughly enjoyed my adventure across Unova, Pokémon Black may honestly have been one of the weakest entries in the series thus far.There were some nice additions to the game including rotating and three-on-three battles; however, the design staff are clearly running out of ideas. The newest generation of creatures include an ice cream cone and a bag of garbage. While an electric mouse or a walking flower may not have taken a genius to come up with, some of these designs were clearly lacking inspiration. That being said, if you can get past the ridiculousness of some of the pokémon, Black and White are still very good games, and just as addictive as their predecessors.
#4 Jamestown – PC
I actually picked this up as part of the Humble Indie Bundle, and if I hadn’t gotten it there, I probably would have passed right over it. That being said, Jamestown is a great shoot-em-up in the classic top-down style. The game offers five difficulty levels that help ease the learning curve for new players (or shake the rust off if you’re like me). There is also local co-op which features up to four players, but no online play. The game may not push the graphics card of a modern PC, but Jamestown is still incredibly fun to play, and a steal at only $10 on Steam. It’s a nice callback to the gaming days of yore.

#3 Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together – PSP
While technically a remake of a Sega Saturn and PlayStation game from the late 90’s, Square Enix put a lot of effort into revamping this Tactics Ogre game.It is still a tactical, grid-based RPG and functions like most others within the genre; however, it does a good job of making life easier for gamers. Characters share their experience with everyone in the same job; so you don’t have to individually level up 5 wizards, and all characters receive equal job points after battle, saving tens of hours of mindless grinding.The game is not without flaw though. The AI for allies does occasionally go completely stupid, and run into the middle of battle, even when they are about to die. However, a good strategist can account for this once they know it might happen. Tactics Ogre also offers replayability with a branching storyline system. This is probably the best tactical RPG of the year, with Disgaea 4 (which just missed the list) a close second.
#2 L.A. Noire – PC
Rockstar and Team Bondi did a great job putting together this detective adventure game. You play as a good cop in a corrupt city, as you investigate crime after crime. The motion capture technology used for the faces in this game is phenomenal, which is important since you’ll be reading facial expressions to figure out if your witnesses are holding something back from you. And while the system is a little forgiving at times, you can ruin your chances of catching someone if you repeatedly foul up your interviews. I have had a couple of minor technical glitches (disappearing cars, getting stuck to a wall) but they’re pretty few and far between. In a year where I didn’t play any “perfect” games, L.A. Noire makes a strong case for the top of the list.
#1 Atelier Totori – PS3
Gust follows a pretty simple formula for their Atelier games: Take a female protagonist with some personality quirks, teach them alchemy and send them off to explore the world. It’s a formula so simple even a novice alchemist can pull it off, but they do it very, very well. Atelier Totori is a traditional, turn-based RPG focusing on Totori’s search for her missing mother. It’s a neat change of pace from most RPGs, in that it does a great job of telling a story that, while incredibly important to the protagonist, isn’t nearly as epic as staving off the end of the world. Exploring, battling, collecting, synthesizing and questing all combine into an incredibly addictive game. And from a personal standpoint, this is the only game I snagged a platinum trophy on this year, even with all of the different endings to find.

Surprised by #1? Agree with me? Think I’m an idiot? Tell us in the comments!

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  • […] Over the course of 2012, I tackled about 20 games and put considerable time into a handful more. With the year over, it’s time to look back and see what everyone’s favorite games are here at The G.A.M.E.S. Blog. We do not do a consensus list as there is quite a bit of variation in our tastes; instead each person gets to make their own case. So, if you see a game spanning most everyone’s list (*cough* Journey *cough*), you know it has some broad appeal. You can also see my rankings from last year here. […]

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