SpecialYear in Review

Isaac’s Gaming Year 2012

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2012 has been a pret­ty gre­at year for video games. The­re has been some inte­res­ting new IPs released this year such as Dis­ho­no­red and Jour­ney which pro­ve that ori­gi­nal ide­as can be suc­cess­ful.

I’ve recent­ly been replay­ing Bor­der­lands 2. It’s a good impro­ve­ment on the first game, but I still feel that it’s a litt­le too boring most of the time. I’ve also mana­ged to pick up a Dream­cast, with some gre­at games like Phan­ta­sy Star Online and Shen­mue.  With so many gre­at games being released, it’s ine­vi­ta­ble that you will not be able to play all of them, which is exac­t­ly what hap­pen­ed for me. I haven’t play­ed the big games like Halo 4 or Far Cry 3, ins­tead I’ve ended up play­ing through a lot of the les­ser known tit­les from this year. With that being said, let’s move onto my top 5 video games from 2012.

Number 5 – Binary Domain

Binary Domain

Com­ing from the same crea­tor as the Yaku­za series, Bina­ry Domain (Alexandra’s review) is a fun shoo­ter with some inte­res­ting mecha­nics. The game ties tog­e­ther squad based com­bat, gre­at gra­phics and a sur­pri­sin­gly good sto­ry to crea­te a uni­que expe­ri­ence that will keep you play­ing until you see the credits roll. The fun main­ly comes from the army of robots that you face during the game. As you shoot them, their armour breaks apart and body parts are des­troy­ed in a satis­fy­ing explo­si­on of metal.

The cast of Bina­ry Domain are also worthy of men­tio­ning. While main cha­rac­ter Dan is an unin­te­res­ting ste­reo­ty­pi­cal Ame­ri­can, the rest defi­ni­te­ly make up for it. The best team mem­ber is defi­ni­te­ly Cain, a French wise­cracking robot. He has some of the best lines in the game, and you’ll want him on your team even if he only uses a pis­tol during batt­le.

Number 4 – Ys: Origin


The Ys series has been going for a while now, but many games in the series were never released out­si­de of Japan. Ys: Ori­gin (Patrick’s pre­view) was one of the­se. First released in 2006, it see­med unli­kely that it would ever see an offi­ci­al Eng­lish release. Well, thanks to XSEED and Steam, we’re final­ly able to play this ama­zing action RPG.

Sin­ce Ys: Ori­gin is a pre­quel, it’s the per­fect game for any new­co­mers to start off with. Game­play is very fact paced, which means that you always have to keep on your toes. This is com­bi­ned with a gre­at sound­track that makes fights feel even more epic. Ys: Ori­gin’s tight con­trols and chal­len­ging game­play make this a must play for anyo­ne who desi­res a chal­len­ge.

Number 3 – Tales of Graces F

Tales of Graces F

Hey, it’s ano­t­her Japa­ne­se game! As you can tell, I’m very fond of games from Japan and this next game is no dif­fe­rent. Tales of Graces F for the PS3 is ano­t­her fan­tastic ent­ry in the Tales series, which mana­ges to reach the same level of qua­li­ty as its pre­de­ces­sors. Like the other main ent­ries in the series, Graces F has a big focus on its cha­rac­ters, with many dif­fe­rent side sto­ries that help to flesh out each of them. The over­ar­ching sto­ry is inte­res­ting and takes you across Graces F’s mas­si­ve world, with a good varie­ty of loca­ti­ons.

Ano­t­her main fea­ture of any Tales game is its batt­le sys­tem, and Graces F is no dif­fe­rent. Batt­les are still as fast paced as they ever were, but the remo­val of MP speeds them up even fur­ther sin­ce you can go all out in batt­le all the time. I’ve always lik­ed the batt­le sys­tems in Tales games, and I feel like Graces F’s is one of the best.

Number 2 – Virtue’s Last Reward

Virtue's Last Reward

Visu­al novels are also ano­t­her gen­re I real­ly enjoy as well as JRPGs, sin­ce they’re essen­ti­al­ly books but with added ani­ma­ti­ons and voice overs. Virtue’s Last Reward is a gre­at examp­le of the gen­re, with an intri­guing plot and taxing puz­zles. You can see why I like it so much in my review here. I don’t think that I need to add much more here, except that this is a must buy for all Vita and 3DS owners.

Number 1 – Persona 4: Golden

Persona 4: Golden

Oh look, a second Vita game in my top 5, and in first place, too. Not bad for a con­so­le that sup­po­sed­ly has no games. It’s well deser­ved though, sin­ce Per­so­na 4: Gol­den is the epi­to­me of JRPGs. It mana­ges to be acces­si­ble to tho­se who are new to games of its type, while still having enough con­tent and chal­len­ge for dedi­ca­ted JRPG play­ers.

Per­so­na 4 is a very uni­que game, com­bi­ning a school life simu­la­tor with the dun­ge­on craw­ling game­play from many other JRPGs. The way it mana­ged to con­nect both of them tog­e­ther is what makes this game spe­cial. Bonds you make with your fri­ends take the form of soci­al links, which allow you to crea­te stron­ger per­so­nas, the titu­lar beings that you use to fight mons­ters during batt­le. This means that you can’t just rely on level grin­ding to get through the game.

The extra con­tent that has been added to the ori­gi­nal game also helps to keep the game fee­ling fresh for Per­so­na fans. The game lasts for a few in game mon­ths lon­ger that the ori­gi­nal, with some extra dun­ge­ons also being inclu­ded. With the­se and other smal­ler fea­tures being inclu­ded, you can easi­ly get over a 100 hours out of your first play­th­rough. With Per­so­na 4: Gol­den pro­vi­ding a mas­si­ve amount of enjoy­ment, the­re was no other game I could pick for my top game of 2012.


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