We’re going to admit right now that there’s no clear winner in terms of game of the year in 2012. With that said, it was hard to discuss and deliberate what is our favorite game of the past year. There are too many games in 2012 that made themselves unique. If too many stand up from the crowd, how will we pick a winner? We actually asked that question twice, to our audience, where we asked you to vote, and within our staff. In both instances, one game stood out of our minds and yours, Far Cry 3.
Before we delve on why we chose Far Cry 3, let’s take a look at the contenders. XCOM: Enemy Unknown left a huge mark on us and was deeply considered for game of the year. 2K and Firaxis took an almost forgotten franchise and revitalized it, all the while paying respects to the original game. Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead made adventure games cool again. Each episode struck us with multiple emotional punches that burned this game into our memory. We also have to applaud Arkane Studios and Bethesda for Dishonored. In terms of building a believable world and atmosphere, Dishonored did it better than any game this year. With so many tools at our disposal, we still think about the best way to dispatch our enemies. Speaking of dispatching enemies, we can’t ignore Mark of the Ninja. This is Klei Entertainment’s best game, and the way the game teaches its mechanics is smooth and top-notched. If anything, Mark of the Ninja is a prime example of game design. Then there’s Journey, which flipped our preconceived notions of what a game should be on its head.
We also included established franchises and IPs in our game of the year. Despite all the rumblings about the ending early this year, Mass Effect 3 is how you end a series. It was exciting and sad knowing we were playing the last chapter of Shepard. We saw the end of the current arc of the Assassins’ Creed franchise with Connor. Like Mass Effect 3, playing through our last chapter with Desmond was a bit melancholic.
Despite all the endings, we saw new beginnings with Halo 4. Like many gamers, we are glad to see Master Chief back. Halo 4 gave a glimpse into Master Chief, humanizing him. This compounded with beautiful graphics, tight gameplay and gripping narrative, Halo 4 may be the best Halo yet. Without a doubt, this beloved franchise is in good hands with 343 Industries.
Nintendo ended the year viciously fighting with the release of the WiiU. New Super Mario Bros. U showed us how beautiful an HD Nintendo game can be. Despite its flaws, ZombiU has to be 2012′s most innovative game. Using the WiiU Gamepad, ZombiU was not afraid to take any risks. What we got was one of the most gripping and unique gameplay experiences of the year.
As you can see, Far Cry 3 had a lot of competition. Despite that, we believe that Far Cry 3 is the most deserving game for this award. Far Cry 3 has a mixed history. Both of its predecessors had lukewarm receptions. The game looked good, but the past games were seen as clunky and shallow. Ubisoft learned from their mistakes and delivered to us a massively compelling game.
In Far Cry 3, you play as Jason Brody, a young man with no direction in life. He spends the day partying with his friends, never really growing up. On vacation with his friends in Thailand, Jason and his friends find themselves kidnapped by the brutal Vaas and his men. Jason manages to escape Vaas’ grasp. Before Jason can rescue is his friends, he must grow strong and shed his former life. In many ways, Far Cry 3 is a coming of age tale, albeit a bloody one.
We reveled in the freedom that Far Cry 3 gave us. There is so much to do and they are all fun. Many open world games will give the player menial tasks just to pad the game length, but Far Cry 3 doesn’t let anything be a chore. Before its release, I was dreading the hunting. I had enough of hunting in Assassins’ Creed 3, but Far Cry 3 made it fun again! Maybe it’s because I can take down a tiger with a rocket launcher.
In games where you progress your character and learn skills, more often than not, you become super right before the boss fight. You don’t really have time to play with your toys before you reach the end of the game. Far Cry 3 lets you play in the sandbox (pun intended) a little more. After learning most of my skills, the game presented me with a new island and a new set of challenges. Of course, the enemies are tougher, but Far Cry 3 lets you fully enjoy the game and what it has to offer.
Of course, we have to mention how beautiful the game is. From its lush jungles to the gun models, Far Cry 3 is just a beautiful game from beginning to end. Though it looks the best on the PC, the console versions did not disappoint.
Congratulations to Ubisoft for making such a great game. We are proud to say that Far Cry 3 is our game of the year. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to go back and see if I can take down a shark with C4.