games / Columns

411 Games Top 5 12.20.12: Top 5 Gaming Suprises in 2012

December 21, 2012 | Posted by Sean Garmer

Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there, be prepared for a surprise.

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Stephen Randle (Quizmaster of the Four Player Co-op & Writer of Wrestling News Experience in Wrestling Zone)

5. Mass Effect 2 – Shut up, I spent 2012 working on my massive backlog. And after trying and failing to get into the original Mass Effect, as with the original Assassin’s Creed, I took a friend’s advice and just skipped to the sequel. I know it was a Game of the Year, but why did nobody warn me that the game is like, the worst kind of high grade crack? I picked it up one day and it was all I played for a week and a half until I beat it. Now I just have to wait and see if I get Mass Effect 3 for Christmas so I can only be eight months behind everyone else.

4. Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Part 3 – A huge departure from the original two games, I thought this franchise was dead and buried, but after switching developers and turning the game into a tribute to the old-school, turn-based RPG, PA Adventures is back with a vengeance. This game is a real winner, with a great job-based skill system and a well-developed story that is never boring and always has something new to discover.

3. Persona – Another “late to the party” story for me, I got hooked onto this franchise by watching the Persona 4 Endurance Run, then went back and picked up Persona 3: FES on the PSN, and made the mistake of asking for Persona 4 Golden for Christmas so I can’t play it yet. Hell, I like this series so much I’m considering giving P4Arena a chance, and I suck at fighting games. Plus, they already announced Persona 5 as being in development, so I have something to anticipate until it drives me insane with the waiting. Well, further insane, anyway.

2. FarCry 3 – This game went from something I knew absolutely nothing about to my Game of the Year. No kidding. Remember how we were all going gaga over Red Dead Redemption a couple years back? Think that, only on a tropical island and even cooler. Sure, the main character is no John Marston, but when that tiger leaps out of the underbrush in the middle of a thunderstorm, that’s when you find out what kind of man you are…in the confines of a video game. Plus, you can hunt sharks with a JetSki.

1. The Playstation Vita – I’m not big into handhelds, because I never have a chance to use them to their full potential. Still, Sony put the Vita on massive sale for Black Friday and my birthday was coming up, so I said “what the hell, at least I’ll play a hundred hours of Persona 4 Golden on it if nothing else”, and reeled off a couple games that I might play if the system actually turned out to be any good. Well, turns out the Vita doesn’t suck. In fact, it’s actually a pretty darned good little system with some quality games that you are totally missing out on. My only complaint would be that the battery doesn’t last long enough for when I get totally hooked on playing Uncharted: Golden Abyss, but at least it charges quickly.

Lee Jones (Reader Voice)

5 – Magazine closures – I talked about this last week so I’ll be brief. I never saw my fav mag closing so reading it in the foreword was a shock. Actually I’m still at a loss and am wondering if I’m just going to be online now rather than adopting another gaming mag..

4 – Plus gets better – To be honest I was happy with 2 PSN games, a ps1 game and a couple of minis, so now I’m getting full games (almost all of decent-good quality) I don’t know what to do with myself. I have too many games to play. I already have a physical backlog and now Plus is giving me a digital one as well. Course sometimes it sucks, buying Crysis 2 and then Plus giving me it for ‘free’ a week later before I’d even started playing it sucked. However since ‘free’ basically means I’m getting games like Crysis 2 for less than £1 each over the year is still an incredible deal.

3 – Still nothing on new consoles – Huh its surprising how much my surprises and disappointments overlap. We should know what the hell is coming next. I approve of the longer life cycle, at least I did 1-2 years ago, its getting undefendable now. I’ve argued for the last 3 years that 360 is holding gaming back, now I have to include PS3 in that as well. Our want for the next new thing is creating apathy for anything current. This year saw some great games released but everything they gave me was expected. A new system will make every game feel like a new journey/experience.

2 – Journey – (spoilers ahead) Who’d have thought a game that you barely interact with besides moving forward would be so good. You don’t kill anything, the platforming is basic, the main character doesn’t even say anything and the story is bare bones, how did that become so good? Its because of the atmosphere and an overlying story of a struggle against nature, anyone who has actually tried climbing a mountain can relate to the hardships our character endures. The final third of the story, watching our character battle in the snow was gripping stuff and then watching him do something as simple as fall down was heartbreaking. Our guy never did conquer his mountain, at least not physically, spiritually he soared the clouds, emotionally he touched near all that played his tale. (Oh okay he could be a she too, to save the ‘Shepherd is a female’ comments)

1 – Rainbow Moon – I had barely even heard of it on launch and it was only all the press another website was giving it that I thought I’d give it a try. It totally ruined a holiday I had planned, in a good way. I couldn’t put it down, I spent near an entire week playing nothing but this for 11-13 hours a day, totally worth it. Its an old school RPG, grinding, squares dictating battle movement/attack patterns, how the menus look, sprites that change colour to represent a new enemy, all things that reminded me of the days these RPGs ruled my life. I also never realised how much I love not knowing how my characters powers will grow, sure its cool seeing a ‘tree’ and planning/saving for certain things but being given a new fav power every few hours and each one being a surprise also kept me engaged

Todd Vote (Games Zone Reviewer)

5.Alan Wake: American Nightmare – To be completely honest I really didn’t expect much from this sort of, but not really sequel to Alan Wake. What we ended up with was a very fast paced story that fiurther delved into the world of Alan Wake. Thought it was released early in the year it was one of the more pleasant surprises I’ve played this year.

4.Telltale Games Walking Dead: The Game
Seriously, who expected much from this game, let alone a game that arguably may have changed the way developers handle storylines invideo games… Whether or not you agree that the game is worthy of the GoTY victories it is getting you can’t deny that you were there for Clementine till the bitter end.

3.Sleeping Dogs – How many people played this one? The biggest shock about this game for me, other than the fact that it turned out to be such a unique experience is a crowded sandbox genre, was the fact that it was ressurected from the remnants of the now ded True Crime series…

2.News of Microsoft Trying to Renew Killer Instict Trademark – Well last week this made my biggest disappointments list due to them running into a hiccup while trying to renew this trademark, you would be hard pressed to find someone more excited or surprised when this news surfaced.

1.UFC to Electronic Arts – Got to love uncle Dana, the man flip flops opinions so much, and all in the name of making a buck. Don’t get me wrong, I know this had a lot to do with THQ selling the license, but how many times was Dana White on record as hating EA? He talked shit at every turn about EA not wanting to do business. Now, I just hope they build on what THQ started, instead of sticking with what they had going with EA Sport MMA.

Francisco Ramirez

5. Dark Souls II Announced – I don’t know why I was surprised, but a sequel to Dark Souls was announced in 2012. The spiritual successor to Demon Souls, Dark Souls is a tough as nails RPG that will break you down. I didn’t follow how well it sold so it came as a surprise to see the trailer at Spike’s VGA. It makes sense and along with Bioshock Infinite and Ni No Kuni, 2013 is looking like an excellent gaming year.

4. Mega Man X Street Fighter – Mega Man turned 25 this year, and even though Capcom has basically put the blue bomber in the back-burner, cancelling Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe, they at least did celebrate by giving out Mega Man X Street Fighter. While not the best Mega Man entry, it is enjoyable and hey, did I mention it’s free?

3. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – This game was a welcome surprise to me, while it was promoted pretty well, and with names such as Todd Mcfarlane and R.A. Salvatore attached to it, it was a no brainer that this was one ambitious game. Reviews ranged from great to mediocre, I for one loved it, there is so much to do in this game, and the combat is fantastic. Unfortunately the game failed to make a profit, killing the studio and the chances for a sequel. Still, regardless of the drama and the endresults, this was one of the games I enjoyed most this year.

2. Tales of Graces F – I have a bad habit of picking up JRPG’s just because they have a tendency of eventually being hard to find or pricey. A lesson I learned when I passed on Suikoden II. So when a new Tales of game came stateside, I did not hesitate to pick it up. Uncertain if it would be another Tales of Symphonia (Great), or Tales of Legendia (Meh). How surprised was I when I enjoyed this game far more than Symphonia. While the world didn’t feel as large, there was so much to do! Inn Requests, Warriors Roost, Discoveries, and Dualizing, my god was Dualizing massive! The story, while cliche at times, had some nice twists and was overall enjoyable. I knew I was going to buy this game, the surprise was how much I enjoyed it. Hopefully the same happens in 2013 with Tales of Xilia.

1. The Walking Dead – I’ve read the Walking Dead comics, I love the show, and in 2012 I fell in love with the game. While a point and click adventure is as much a thing of the past as a turn based battle system, when either of the two are accompanied by an incredible story, the results can be spectacular. Such was the case with the Walking Dead and it shows in its success. While this year had arguably far more “fun” games, Dishonored, Halo 4, Borderlands 2, they didn’t have a story that gripped you and had you at the edge of your seat until you beat the damn thing. A point and click adventure having the success it did in 2012, how can that not be the surprise of the year?

Twitter Break

Fun Links To Checkout A website started by two of the Triple Threat Column writers. Not only is it the permanent home of this world famous column but it has recaps done by me, wrestling news, and other columns.

Wrestling 2 the Max Podcast A friend and I started our own wrestling podcast. Go listen to episode 17 and tell us what you think. New Episodes come out every Sunday Morning. We previewed TLC and reviewed TNA’s Final Resolution and also talked about RAW getting edgier, The Shield, and did our weekly stuff with SmackDown, NXT, and Superstar of the Week too.

Well, there are no actual releases on this upcoming holiday week. So, that does it for this week’s Gaming Top 5. I hope everyone has an awesome Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Hope to see you next week.


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Sean Garmer
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