Zero Punctuation: Top 5 of 2012

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Couple of sequels in there. Yeh, all right. Do you think your job would be both easier and more rewarding, oh, and more meaningful, if you just did not review sequels? No 2s or 3s or 4s, just original titles and to hell with the rest? Or would that leave you with too few games to review for an entire year?

Kind of disappointed you didn't list Rayman Origins.

josh4president:
Genuinely surprised Black Ops 2 didn't make his 'Worst' list for how much vitriol he spewed about it.

Well, that one at least tried, the actual gameplay of the singleplayer is as linear and Michael Bay-ish as it can be but the multiple endings and choices are actually kind of cool. The story could have been a lot better though if it wasnt so over the top (it gets really retarded at points). The choices are like the ones on Witcher 2, you know what you are choosing but you have no idea how it will change the outcome later on.

And it has bots so you can play with 4 players in splitscreen and fill the rest with them for some nice local fun.

Xman490:
Even Far Cry 3, as good as I might guess it is from the opinions of a banana and other fruity folk, makes me shudder at the thought of signing in to Ubisoft's DRM BS every time I want to play. And it's an open-world shooter (like Just Cause 2) with plenty of guns (fullfilled by Valve games and Killing Floor).

Actually, I'd say it's more of a stealth-em-up than a shooter. Sure, there are boomsticks aplenty, but I spent most of the game hiding in the brush waiting for an enemy to wander too close so I could jump out, stab him, pull the pin on the grenade in his belt, and throw his body into a group of his friends.

I'm kinda wary of heaping too much praise on Spec Ops because I fear we may end up overhyping it. It is good and apparently they went to an insane level of detail with it (e.g. the degrading state of the title screen that most people wouldn't even see) but it seems like the whole internet is buzzing with praise for it and if you pile all of that up you could end up with unreachable expectations. Though I do think that some people are being overly critical with the central scene of Spec Ops, yes it's a trick but like a magician's tricks it works on most people and I'd guess that the majority who tried to break that scene did so because they've had the outcome spoiled to them.

I wish Steel Battalion hadn't been crap, that could have been so much fun but noooooooo.....

WaitWHAT:
Yahtzee said he'd done 365 early morning farts when 2012 clearly had 366 days!

brazuca:
Correct 366, 2012 had 366

Well for both of you here...
If he said he had 365 morning farts this year it means he just skipped one day
He didn't say he farted once every morning of the year, he said he farted 365 morning farts this year
There's a difference, duh!

On Topic:

Interesting lists
I like how all the lists by people who work for the Escapist are slightly different, mixes it up a little.

JoaoJatoba:

Astro:

Because it's unnecessary, time consuming, money consuming, and stupidly difficult to implement. Do you want a videogame story with carefully put together pacing, structure, and coherent arcs, or do you want one which lets you nihilistically drive a probably shitty story on your own?

I don't see how having multiple storylines in a episodic game that can get enough funds solely by the name in the cover a impossible task. Look at Katawa Shoujo.

I had no idea what that was, so I looked it up, and from what I can see the resources going into this aren't anywhere close to something like The Walking Dead. However, the point isn't that it may be possible or not, it's that it's not viable from a business standpoint and near pointless from a consumer standpoint. Making meaningful choices isn't necessary to satisfy with a good story in 99% of the cases, but the ability to make meaningful choices almost always makes any story drastically less good. Not only that but most people are only going to see one outcome of the choices presented to you, so instead of making five-hundred different mediocre stories, it makes more sense to make one good one.

Imagine someone bought you two-hundred dollars worth of hamburgers. Now, you have twelve different burgers to pick from and they're all just of 'OK' quality because your chef had to make so many and the ingredients he has to work with are of average quality. Would you rather pick one of those burgers to eat, or would you rather someone spend the entire sum of money on making one really good hamburger made from excellent ingredients and a chef who can put all his energy into making this the best kind of burger that he can possibly create?

If you were planning to eat all twelve in the first scenario and really get your moneys worth, it would still just make your eating experience bland and drawn out, or your palate would be spoiled from all the conflicting flavors. STOP ASKING FOR SO MANY HAMBURGERS, JUST EAT ONE. DON'T BE SUCH A PIG.

I have a similar list, only with three games, in order of most awesome to simply good:

Far Cry 3, Dishonored, and Black Ops 2. Far Cry let me live out my Rambo/Bear Grylls fantasies, Dishonored lets me be a teleporting steampunk ninja assassin, and Black Ops 2 massivly shook up the CoD formula by setting it in the future and possessing a branching storyline (something Mass Effect 3, an RPG mind you, utterly failed at).

KDR_11k:
I'm kinda wary of heaping too much praise on Spec Ops because I fear we may end up overhyping it. It is good and apparently they went to an insane level of detail with it (e.g. the degrading state of the title screen that most people wouldn't even see) but it seems like the whole internet is buzzing with praise for it and if you pile all of that up you could end up with unreachable expectations. Though I do think that some people are being overly critical with the central scene of Spec Ops, yes it's a trick but like a magician's tricks it works on most people and I'd guess that the majority who tried to break that scene did so because they've had the outcome spoiled to them.

I wish Steel Battalion hadn't been crap, that could have been so much fun but noooooooo.....

We could just be honest with our feelings, which means all hype surrounding Spec Ops would be earned fair and square. This is all about opinion after all. It doesn't make mathematical sense to put a game in the #1 spot that only really had its story going for it, but in reality many were experiencing a gaming milestone that impressed them more than the across-the-board-more-competent competition. Just goes to show little numerical scores actually reflect the value of a piece of entertainment.

Dishonored actually made it onto the list? AND Walking Dead? Well, I'll be buggered.

Also, Spec Ops the Line the top? Not surprised. Not displeased either. Also Yahtzee YES KEEP BANGING ON ABOUT IT! MORE PEOPLE NEED TO PLAY IT!

It's kinda weird, this has got to be the first list by Yahtzee where I don't have any complaints. It could be because I haven't played any of the games on his bottom 5 and I've played all of them on the top five (minus Walking Dead, I'm working on getting it).

Epyc Wyn:
Kind of disappointed you didn't list Rayman Origins.

That would be because it came out last year, at least originally.

Anyway good to see Spec Ops: The Line getting at least some recognition from a "professional". Seemed to have been completely forgotten by everyone else, or that it wasn't fun enough to include.

Also I totally fucking called the top 5 in WaitWHAT's thread. =D Even got a couple of the bottom 5 too.

Andy Shandy:
Spec Ops, X-Com, The Walking Dead, Dishonored and Far Cry 3 as top 5, not necessarily in that order.

Blops 2 and Doorfighter are pretty much guaranteed to be in the bottom 5, probably Resident Evil 6 as well. Maybe one or a couple of the Summer of Arcade games as well, he didn't seem very impressed with them either.

The murder of 2012 needs to be a t-shirt.

It must happen.

Andy Shandy:

Also I totally fucking called the top 5 in WaitWHAT's thread. =D Even got a couple of the bottom 5 too.

Andy Shandy:
Spec Ops, X-Com, The Walking Dead, Dishonored and Far Cry 3 as top 5, not necessarily in that order.

Blops 2 and Doorfighter are pretty much guaranteed to be in the bottom 5, probably Resident Evil 6 as well. Maybe one or a couple of the Summer of Arcade games as well, he didn't seem very impressed with them either.

Good job! Glad you got some use out of that thread!

Agreed with the list. I think Spec Ops the line is going to become one of those games you have to play for the "cultural aspect".

JoaoJatoba:
I'm playing The Walking Dead, and don't get me wrong, the character developing and story are great, but I feel cheated: the game promises me that the game changes to fit my gameplay and that the my choices change the story, and both just don't happen.

My choice seems only to change the relations between the characters and the gameplay just don't seem to change at all.

What I expected was that my choices would change completely the story, but I'm bound to a linear path, at least on the big picture. Sure, the choices can change the characters relations, but it's not up to the promised features.

Bottom line: great game, unfulfilled promises.

I felt the same way until episode 4 or 5 when I see majority of my choices come to roost or made me ponder if I sacrificed one specific person would the other have been saved.

Fuck... anyone actually remembered Amy? I forgot about that trash a week after Yahtzee's review of it.

Astro:
I had no idea what that was, so I looked it up, and from what I can see the resources going into this aren't anywhere close to something like The Walking Dead. However, the point isn't that it may be possible or not, it's that it's not viable from a business standpoint and near pointless from a consumer standpoint. Making meaningful choices isn't necessary to satisfy with a good story in 99% of the cases, but the ability to make meaningful choices almost always makes any story drastically less good. Not only that but most people are only going to see one outcome of the choices presented to you, so instead of making five-hundred different mediocre stories, it makes more sense to make one good one.

Again I call out for Katawa Shoujo, that has multiple storylines, each of them really well written and character-focused.

"most people are only going to see one outcome of the choices presented to you"

I can cite EVERQUEST, which most quest still not viewed by players, but the content is there... It doesn't change what I experienced from the game, but it changes what I can 'get' from the game. What I mean is, if you are fine with one story, good: experience that and move to the next game. But if you like multiple story possibilities, you can always try again with another mindset and see where the story goes.

Imagine someone bought you two-hundred dollars worth of hamburgers. Now, you have twelve different burgers to pick from and they're all just of 'OK' quality because your chef had to make so many and the ingredients he has to work with are of average quality. Would you rather pick one of those burgers to eat, or would you rather someone spend the entire sum of money on making one really good hamburger made from excellent ingredients and a chef who can put all his energy into making this the best kind of burger that he can possibly create?

If you were planning to eat all twelve in the first scenario and really get your moneys worth, it would still just make your eating experience bland and drawn out, or your palate would be spoiled from all the conflicting flavors. STOP ASKING FOR SO MANY HAMBURGERS, JUST EAT ONE. DON'T BE SUCH A PIG.

Yeah, like TellTale has only one guy ("Chef") writing the story... Even so, if YOU can't "eat" a multiple storyline game, don't tell me to do the same.

People are still complaining about "Escort Quest: The Game?" Did the fact that a game built around the most annoying aspect of any game ever turned out to suck surprise anyone?

GAunderrated:

JoaoJatoba:
I'm playing The Walking Dead, and don't get me wrong, the character developing and story are great, but I feel cheated: the game promises me that the game changes to fit my gameplay and that the my choices change the story, and both just don't happen.

My choice seems only to change the relations between the characters and the gameplay just don't seem to change at all.

What I expected was that my choices would change completely the story, but I'm bound to a linear path, at least on the big picture. Sure, the choices can change the characters relations, but it's not up to the promised features.

Bottom line: great game, unfulfilled promises.

I felt the same way until episode 4 or 5 when I see majority of my choices come to roost or made me ponder if I sacrificed one specific person would the other have been saved.

I'm still on the middle of episode 3, so let's see what the games presents me from now on.

Nevertheless, my point is, they said that the story and gameplay fits my choices, and I don't see that happening, i.e., whatever choices I make, I'll end up seeing the same major events of the story that you saw on episode 4 and 5. The difference is who is going to be alive and who will like me or not, I'm guessing...

But, with all that, The Walking Dead still a GREAT GAME! =)

This is the first time I've laughed at the ... comic? animatic? What do you call a sequence that's not actually animated? ... in the end credits, so there's that.

And the omission of Black Ops 2 wouldn't bug me if it weren't for the implication that it's a better game than BioShock 2, which earned the fifth-worst slot two years ago. Then again, maybe this year was just a bigger year for much worse games. Three games that are either virtually or literally unplayable (speaking of, I'm glad he found an excuse to stick in Steel Battalion; after seeing Jimquisition's countdown, I was disappointed that Yahtzee hadn't played it and wouldn't be able to bash it, forgetting he'd touched on it in the Quantum Conundrum review) tends to do that.

Either way, I've come to realize that Yahtzee's bashing of a game in its review isn't necessarily going to reflect his overall opinion. It's like Todd in the Shadows said about his own pop song review series: He reviews material based on how much comedy material he can wring out of it, but he puts it on a countdown based on how much he really hates it.

A two-dimensional 'game' with pictures of anime constituting for visuals and no voice-acting managed to successfully have multiple storylines. OK. This doesn't mean it's a good idea for other games. Or more accurately, visual novels with a lot of character interaction and not a lot of plot.

But most people won't try to get every little bit of content out of a game, which was a main aspect of my point. If you're a publisher, you're paying far more money for lower quality content that most people won't even see.

There are multiple writers who all have to be paid and their stories have to mesh seamlessly. If you have the cash to front this kind of project, the main problem still lies in the choices making the story worse than it would otherwise be. Commander Shepard isn't a shitty character because BioWare wanted him to be, he's a shitty character because his dialogue needs to be boring enough to allow for every kind of choice the player might make, and it STILL doesn't fully accomplish that.

My point was never that I can't handle branching stories, or in an ideal world I wouldn't like one. My point is that I know better than to expect it because it's unrealistic, and you should too. You're either going to get a Commander Shepard which stumbles on your vision but ultimately misses the point, or you're going to get a Silent Hill 2 with the 'In Water' ending.

Or a low-budget visual novel with a very narrow scope, of course.

JoaoJatoba:

GAunderrated:

JoaoJatoba:
I'm playing The Walking Dead, and don't get me wrong, the character developing and story are great, but I feel cheated: the game promises me that the game changes to fit my gameplay and that the my choices change the story, and both just don't happen.

My choice seems only to change the relations between the characters and the gameplay just don't seem to change at all.

What I expected was that my choices would change completely the story, but I'm bound to a linear path, at least on the big picture. Sure, the choices can change the characters relations, but it's not up to the promised features.

Bottom line: great game, unfulfilled promises.

I felt the same way until episode 4 or 5 when I see majority of my choices come to roost or made me ponder if I sacrificed one specific person would the other have been saved.

I'm still on the middle of episode 3, so let's see what the games presents me from now on.

Nevertheless, my point is, they said that the story and gameplay fits my choices, and I don't see that happening, i.e., whatever choices I make, I'll end up seeing the same major events of the story that you saw on episode 4 and 5. The difference is who is going to be alive and who will like me or not, I'm guessing...

But, with all that, The Walking Dead still a GREAT GAME! =)

yeah without spoiling anything, you hit it right on the nose, while your interactions with certain characters change, major decisions still come to a chokepoint tons of times throughout the game, so essentially you are railroaded into most of them. I constantly wondered

more or less, i was expecting more story manipulation, but it was still an amazing game/season.

I'd have to agree with all your top 5 list. Maybe not necessarily in that order. But they make some top list of mine.

Although, Max Payne 3 has to up there too.

I know a lot of people didn't like it. But I thought it was one fo the most enjoyable shooters I've ever played. And the narration was top notch.

Also Torchlight II and Natural Selection II would have to make it into my top 10 list.

Sylveria:

aba1:
What is up with all the hate for playstation all stars I am loving the game it is great it also plays similar to smash bros but is definitely its own beast.

It came across, to me anyway, as more of a hate for what the game represents - Sony desperately trying to copy Nintendo... again. Cause it worked out so well when they threw their hat in to the motion control basket... 5 years after everyone stopped caring about motion controls.

Personally, I would have gotten the game for my Vita if they weren't giving me a big middle finger by putting Eurotrash Dante in it - A character from a game that isn't even out yet and is widely hated by anyone that actually gives a shit about the series - and making Kat from Gravity Rush - The only good original IP on their new handheld - DLC.

Free DLC, if it makes you change your mind at all

Woohoo, Darksiders 2 not bad or good! I can live with that!

This makes up for escapist crowning Mass effect 3 as game of the year.

The only reason I am on this site is because of Yahtzee/ zero punctuation.

I will be playing spec ops the line and walking dead now.

I agree with Dishonored just about making it into the list. Lots of average games this year so a good game like dishonoured can edge it. Impressive for a new IP, a sequel can iron out a lot of the issues and balancing. Not sure what they are going to do with the story though

Am I the only one who's disappointed that Yahtzee's never gotten around to Journey? Whether he liked it or not, it is a pretty important entry to the games as art narrative and, as I've come to know him as someone who actually cares about that, it seems like a tremendous shame that he has nothing to say about it.

JoaoJatoba:

GAunderrated:

JoaoJatoba:
I'm playing The Walking Dead, and don't get me wrong, the character developing and story are great, but I feel cheated: the game promises me that the game changes to fit my gameplay and that the my choices change the story, and both just don't happen.

My choice seems only to change the relations between the characters and the gameplay just don't seem to change at all.

What I expected was that my choices would change completely the story, but I'm bound to a linear path, at least on the big picture. Sure, the choices can change the characters relations, but it's not up to the promised features.

Bottom line: great game, unfulfilled promises.

I felt the same way until episode 4 or 5 when I see majority of my choices come to roost or made me ponder if I sacrificed one specific person would the other have been saved.

I'm still on the middle of episode 3, so let's see what the games presents me from now on.

Nevertheless, my point is, they said that the story and gameplay fits my choices, and I don't see that happening, i.e., whatever choices I make, I'll end up seeing the same major events of the story that you saw on episode 4 and 5. The difference is who is going to be alive and who will like me or not, I'm guessing...

But, with all that, The Walking Dead still a GREAT GAME! =)

Yes on that point you are correct you will see the same major events. But honestly I am glad they didn't do the whole cliche multiple ending crap because we would have a never ending debate about the "good" and "evil" ending and that would just undermine the whole narrative IMO.

I am replaying the entire story a second time and I want to see if my choices will have any real effect on one character I believe I killed by letting another live.

Also there is one major choice you make in chapter 2 that is completely hidden until you get to chapter 5 and THAT choice I am wondering how drastically it will change the game. I'm trying not to spoil it for you unless you do not care. Otherwise I can't really comment on it until I finish my second playthrough.

But yeah amazing game.

Solid lists overall. Though I'm still not totally sold on Spec Ops given that it's innovative storyline and approach is by most accounts housed in a shell of meh gameplay. Then again, that sort of seems to be the trend for some of the most lauded titles for this year in general.

Sylveria:

Caffeine_Bombed:

amiran123:
If the Walking Dead or Journey isn't game of the year i'll be pissed.

In general? Or was there a specific list you were thinking of?
Cuz The Escapist already did theirs and it was bloody Mass Effect...

Of course it was.. you saw how much advertising ME3 had here and how fervently most of The Escapist contributors were to defend EA and condemn the consumer outcry.

Yeah! Except that niggling little detail where ME3 being GOTY was selected here by reader/user vote as opposed to staff vote.

YES!!! SPEC OPS!!! Finally someone who gets its, Yahtzee now has my respect :P

GAunderrated:

Also there is one major choice you make in chapter 2 that is completely hidden until you get to chapter 5 and THAT choice I am wondering how drastically it will change the game. I'm trying not to spoil it for you unless you do not care. Otherwise I can't really comment on it until I finish my second playthrough.

But yeah amazing game.

DON'T spoil it! I'm loving the game so far. =)

GAunderrated:
Yes on that point you are correct you will see the same major events. But honestly I am glad they didn't do the whole cliche multiple ending crap because we would have a never ending debate about the "good" and "evil" ending and that would just undermine the whole narrative IMO.

By multiple storylines I don't mean different endings to a sole storyline that branches out in the last chapter (like Silent Hill series), but actually completely different stories... I know it's a tough job, but I saw a great opportunity missed with TWD, that's all.

I had a feeling Number One would be Number One, and DAMN did it deserve it. PEOPLE, GO OUT AND BUY IT RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

gridsleep:
Couple of sequels in there. Yeh, all right. Do you think your job would be both easier and more rewarding, oh, and more meaningful, if you just did not review sequels? No 2s or 3s or 4s, just original titles and to hell with the rest? Or would that leave you with too few games to review for an entire year?

I don't think you could adequately cover gaming without including sequels. It's not like movies where, most of the time, everything that has to be said is said in the first one. If you skip sequels, you miss Silent Hill 2, Street Fighter 2, Red Dead Redemption, Silent Hill 4, and System Shock 2 to name a few. You would be missing a very large piece of the picture if you skipped those. Sequalitis is miserable where it doesn't belong and a lot of games make sequels for the sake of milking a franchise but in this medium sequels can make for some truly great experiences.

Spunkgargleweewee makes me gassy too. I think it might be the gunoil aftertaste.

I have 4/5 of Yahtzee's Top 5 on my Top 5.

My list:

My top 5:

1. Far Cry 3
2. The Walking Dead
3. Dishonored
4. X-Com: Enemy Unknown
5. Chivalry

I enjoyed Spec Ops: The Line very much, but I don't find it too replayable, and only played it after having the story spoiled. (That was the whole reason I played it.) I suppose it would have been more special if I tried it completely unaware of what was to come. It still makes my honorable mention list along with Black Mesa, Journey, The Unfinished Swan, Sleeping Dogs, Magicka, Little Inferno, Dear Esther, and The Darkness 2.

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