This year was more or less a mixed bag in terms of everything. We don’t mean to sound like haters, but we honestly considered this year to have not that many ‘masterpieces,’ but rather a small batch of good games. Big games were released as the year went by, and smaller more ‘memorable’ games were released alongside them. That’s how we felt about the video games, however, developments were in an entirely different ballpark. Having said that, aren’t the video games the only thing we should really care about? After all, they’re the most important aspect of the industry… yet, we felt dry for the most part this year. Read on to find out whether you agree, disagree, or agree to disagree.
This year was easily one of the biggest the gaming industry has ever seen. There were major releases left and right until the very end that left many gamers penniless. Sure they were a lot of sequels, but these ended up selling extremely well and pushed the industry to record profits. In 2012 alone we saw Assassin’s Creed 3, Mass Effect 3, Diablo III, and of course Black Ops 2 which ended up breaking all previous records. While I only sampled a few of these titles, I was knee deep in much smaller games that were easily my favorites of this year. Games like Fez, The Unfinished Swan, Mark of the Ninja and Journey blew me away and showed me that the industry still has plenty of room for both big and small developers alike. Journey ended up being hands down the best game I played this year, and has become one of my all time favorites.
So there was plenty to like in 2012, but there was also things I didn’t like. Besides the usual shoveling of crap games that happens every year, 2012 had some particularly noteworthy examples. Games like Binary Domain and Inversion epitomized the mediocrity that still plagues the industry, offering only forgettable stories and characters and bare bones features. Operation Raccoon City was also surprisingly bad and as a fan I was left pretty disenfranchised. Resident Evil 6 restored my faith a little, but still left me wanting more. I also personally hated the shady on-disc DLC practices that became so prominent this year, but hopefully that won’t continue into the future.
Overall, there were some disappointments and some great moments to be had in 2012, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next year and beyond.
For me, 2012 was a huge year in announcements more than developments. New gaming consoles were unveiled like the Ouya—which opens Pandora’s box for open source gaming— and even Valve jumping into the hardware business with a “Steam Box,” were among some of the most important announcements. Other big companies like Nintendo released the-once-elusive Wii U; the first 8th generation gaming console meant to directly compete with Microsoft, Sony, and whatever in-between. Also, announcements of big games like Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, the supposedly Metal Gear-inspired Phantom Pain, and of course the biggest one of them all… Dark Souls II.
Finally, Final Fantasy’s Agnis Philosophy tech demo for obvious reasons.
In games, the best game I played this past year would probably be Journey. Having said that, as of this writing I’ve yet to play several big games like Assassin’s Creed 3 and Halo 4.
Funny how I think several announcements were like double-edged swords. Some of these came with repercussions which don’t sound good to me… However, some of it is mostly speculation, thus read at your own discretion. For starters, I will sound like Xzibit (announcement within an announcement), but I consider the fact that From Software announced the next entry in the Souls series to be more “inviting” than the previous outings, to be a huge revelation in itself. Not good, if you’re familiar with the pain-inducing difficulty of the previous two games. Another one, was the delay of Bioshock Infinite as well as departure of several key members of its development team shortly thereafter as the year went by.
Finally, Final Fantasy XIII: Lighting Returns for obvious reasons…
As far as games are concerned, I wasn’t too impressed with Street Fighter X Tekken, however I didn’t play enough bad games to truly muster an opinion about them.
As far as games are concerned, The Walking Dead: The Game and Xenoblade Chronicles were best to me. The Walking Dead was a well rounded survival game that improved with each release. Xenoblade renewed my faith in the JRPG genre with how it tackled its structure differently than the norm by incorporating MMORPG qualities. The Phantom Pain looks promising with its setting and carnage, and seeing Lara Croft before she became Tomb Raider is what I’m also looking for.
2012 has brought about a lot of change with many of the large gaming companies. Examples consist of THQ’s bankruptcy, 007 Legend lay-offs and Matt Capp’s retirement. While it’s never good to see strong foundations struggle, their weakness gives small developers an opportunity to shine. Another sad moment is the revamping of G4TV. It hadn’t been the same for a few years, but it had a history of greatness. To see it being remade and in an image that doesn’t embody its ideals is a shame.
Lighting Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Let’s talk about that. Though it’s listed as best, this game should not even exist. Final Fantasy XIII has been a disappointment. However, with Lighting Returns, I like how the company is lingering from what is traditionally Final Fantasy. This could give them an opportunity to create something completely new or it could be a huge disaster. Either way, I feel like this game could start some progression for Square Enix. Since we’re talking about growth, if Lighting Returns doesn’t work Agni’s Philosophy surely will be Square Enix’s reawakening. Let’s touch upon the Sandy Hook dilemma. When tragedy strikes, the persons involved always want to point fingers. It shouldn’t be a surprise that video games are always the butt of this blame.
2012 was a year filled with many surprises from the industry. While some surprises weren’t the best like, Usher’s performance. Overall, I’m content with what we’ve witnessed. Hopefully the new year will bring growth to the gaming industry as well as new opportunities.
PS: We didn’t go over the animes from this year for boring and specific reasons we won’t mention, though we probably will do something special for them in the near future.