Looking back, 2012 has been a busy year for gaming. We’ve seen the release of a new Nintendo console as well as a new Sony handheld. We’ve seen prominent industry figureheads, like Peter Molyneux and Cliff Bleszinski, leave their respective companies to take on new ventures. We’ve seen the continued rise of digital distribution as a legitimate means of purchasing and playing games. And, of course, we’ve had our fair share of amazing games this year. We here at The G.A.M.E.S. Blog would like to take a moment to look back on our favorite games of the year. If you would like to share your own favorite gaming experience, please share them in the comments below. And now, without further ado…

# 5 Kid Icarus: Uprising – 3DS
While this game has its flaws (mostly clustered around its control scheme), I can’t help but be charmed by it. The writing and story are entertaining, the music is upbeat and catchy, and the voice work is a huge improvement over Nintendo’s last foray into a fully-voiced game. Most importantly, the amount of content the game provides is unbelievable. The campaign is long, and the sliding difficulty scale gives each level a lot of replay value. Optional challenges and modes, in addition to very fun multiplayer options, mean that I’ll be playing this for a long time.
Kid Icarus Uprising Box Art
# 4 Xenoblade Chronicles – Wii
A long-awaited and much-anticipated JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles lives up to its hype by giving players a massive world to explore. With so many interesting locales to visit, and few load times to separate them, the Bionis really feels like a believable world. The music is also some of my favorite from any RPG, which is not a statement I make lightly. While some of the side content is a bit fetch-questy for my taste, the main story is quite interesting. I also like how the game gives players the option to build relationships with their party, something that many other games either ignore or force-feed players. Another thing I really appreciated was how the game incorporates the special abilities of the main character. While time powers and the like would be relegated to cutscenes in other games, here they prove quite useful during normal combat. All of this comes together into the most satisfying single-player RPG that I’ve played in years.
 Xenoblade_box_artwork
# 3 Guild Wars 2 – PC
Having never played an MMO for any significant length of time (I know, it’s weird), I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first booted up Guild Wars 2. It wasn’t until I met up with my friends and began adventuring with them that I got hooked. The streamlined quest system really makes exploring the world a lot more natural, and all the different types of areas help keep me interested in what might be around the next corner. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, as I’ve spent more time than I want to think about finding the last point of interest in areas. The PvP mechanics and holiday events have been a lot of fun, as well. So far, I’ve probably put over fifty hours into my first character, and I’m thinking about starting a new one. If that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.
 Guild Wars 2 Boxart
# 2 Journey – PS3
This is one of the games I was most looking forward to this year, and it didn’t disappoint. Journey strikes a perfect balance with its graphics and music, achieving a minimalism that makes it all the more interesting. I’ve never felt this engaged by a game with no writing or dialogue. I’m especially impressed by the multiplayer aspects of the game. Something about Journey seems to bring out the best in people, as every time I’ve played I’ve met other people who were willing to team up and find every last secret. Journey’s short run time also contributes to the thing I’ve enjoyed most about it: sharing. I’ve introduced over a dozen friends and family members to the game, and every one of them has enjoyed the experience, as well.
JourneyBox
# 1 The Walking Dead – PS3
The Walking Dead is more than just the sum of its parts. Yes, it captures the look and feel of its source material perfectly. Yes, its story takes some unexpected twists and turns, some of which are dictated by the player themselves. Yes, it has probably the best voice work I’ve ever seen in a video game. In the end, though, what sticks with me, after the final credits roll, is the relationship the game creates between the player and Clementine. It feels completely natural, which means all the more when she’s put into danger. While the other characters are also well developed, it’s the little girl looking for her parents that somehow bonded with me and makes me look forward to a season 2 (please?).
 The Walking Dead Boxart

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