Zero Punctuation: Top 5 of 2012

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DVS BSTrD:
Considering how Spec Ops' guilt trip could drive even the most pious man to drink, it's not surprising Yahztee turned into a yager-miser.

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
http://mirrors.rit.edu/instantCSI/

That being said, I really wish more people played.... Forza Horizon. That was seriously my GOTY. A racing game. I know. But it was. I'd like to hear at least one Escapist staffer/member/showmaker talk about the damn thing.

He put Dishonored, a game where he wasn't sure if he could recommend it or not at #5. Yahtzee, did you completely forget about Rayman Origins? A game that you called 'pretty good' and made sighs of satisfaction when talking about it? I thought that would be your game of the year, but you seem to have completely forgot about it.

The7Sins:
Dear Esther and Journey respectively. Now those 2 are just glorified books.

I can see where you're coming from with Dear Esther, but Journey? There's barely any story at all. I can see how one could feel that Journey's status as a game is dubious at best, but the experience hinges on it's interactivity.

The7Sins:
Games though not needing to be Dark Souls level hard need to have some challenge otherwise the game may as well have been presented in the form of a movie or two for how much interaction is needed to win....

... This alone being just another generic and easy as fuck third person shooter is why it should be disqualified from any sane persons top games list

I respect that you dislike Spec Ops' gameplay and feel that it overshadows it's story-telling but don't you think implying insanity on the part of anybody who considers it their favourite game of the year is a tad ridiculous? I happen to enjoy both Serious Sam and Half-Life but I would hate it if they were the only types of shooters available. I actually quite enjoyed Spec-Ops' gameplay at first and then found it fittingly unpleasant as the narrative grew darker.

Also, the reason I enjoy Half-Life has little to do with the gunplay. The combat in both Half-Life games feels weak and floaty and neither of them are at all difficult even on the highest settings. I'd venture so far as to say I found Spec Ops to be far more challenging.

Though I disagree, due to it's deconstructive nature, it should also be mentioned that if you feel Spec Ops should have been a film or book then you should definitely either read Heart of Darkness or watch Apocalypse Now. I believe the former is free on the Kindle store if you have a Kindle. You've probably seen this comparison before but, just in case you haven't, they're both pretty fantastic stories without any of that regenerating health you hate so much.

Astro:
/.../ Personally I can fully sympathize because I'm also insulted when the game throws a character at me who's genetically engineered to be as attractive as possible, has daddy issues, an out of place Australian accent, and constantly reminds you how great her genes are in the midst of flirting with you. /.../

I hated her too, but were the alternatives all that better? The clumsy awkward girl with an obvious crush on you or the recalcitrant shrew? Or any of the other companions, really? Bioware characters are basically walking sidequests that exist to deliver fanservice and chunks of their backstory in discrete exposition dumps.

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

he didnt play journey, so its not on the list

charliesbass:
He put Dishonored, a game where he wasn't sure if he could recommend it or not at #5. Yahtzee, did you completely forget about Rayman Origins? A game that you called 'pretty good' and made sighs of satisfaction when talking about it? I thought that would be your game of the year, but you seem to have completely forgot about it.

Rayman Origins was released in 2011.

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.

Ok lemme just illustrate one point. (btw someone else may have made this point but I'm not scrolling through 200 comments to find out). If a hurricane is coming to your house, and you are the only one in the neighborhood with a basement and supplies, the decision of letting your neighbors in with you won't prevent the hurricane from hitting your house, or any of the nastiness that follows, It does however show what kind of person you are. The point of the choices in The Walking Dead aren't to change what happens, because your facing a global disaster that cannot be beaten single handedly; the point is that you can only effect yourself and your choices. You as the player determine not the outcome of the game, but rather what kind of person Lee turns out to be when the inevitable happens. Now i will say you are absolutely entitled to your opinion, and that i merely disagree with it. =)

Starker:

charliesbass:
He put Dishonored, a game where he wasn't sure if he could recommend it or not at #5. Yahtzee, did you completely forget about Rayman Origins? A game that you called 'pretty good' and made sighs of satisfaction when talking about it? I thought that would be your game of the year, but you seem to have completely forgot about it.

Rayman Origins was released in 2011.

He reviewed it in 2012 though. He did say 'Only games I reviewed this year' so even if the game came out the previous year he still reviewed it that year. Oh, and whilst you're right, it also came out on other platforms in 2012 too, like the PS Vita.

charliesbass:

Starker:

charliesbass:
He put Dishonored, a game where he wasn't sure if he could recommend it or not at #5. Yahtzee, did you completely forget about Rayman Origins? A game that you called 'pretty good' and made sighs of satisfaction when talking about it? I thought that would be your game of the year, but you seem to have completely forgot about it.

Rayman Origins was released in 2011.

He reviewed it in 2012 though. He did say 'Only games I reviewed this year' so even if the game came out the previous year he still reviewed it that year. Oh, and whilst you're right, it also came out on other platforms in 2012 too, like the PS Vita.

He said that so people wouldn't yell at him for not adding something he never played/reviewed, if he meant the year didn't matter than half life would have been on the list. Just because it has been ported doesn't mean it was released in a new year. It was released 2011, ported 2012.

charge52:

charliesbass:

Starker:

Rayman Origins was released in 2011.

He reviewed it in 2012 though. He did say 'Only games I reviewed this year' so even if the game came out the previous year he still reviewed it that year. Oh, and whilst you're right, it also came out on other platforms in 2012 too, like the PS Vita.

He said that so people wouldn't yell at him for not adding something he never played/reviewed, if he meant the year didn't matter than half life would have been on the list. Just because it has been ported doesn't mean it was released in a new year. It was released 2011, ported 2012.

You make good points. *sigh* I wish this issue was addressed by the man himself.

JoaoJatoba:
We don't know why he did it.

Crime of passion after finding the man he killed in bed with his wife (before he killed him, obviously).
Just sayin'.

warmachine:
I am surprised Steel Battalion isn't the worst as Yahtzee declared it unplayable. Surely even really awful gameplay is better than being unable to use controls?

Some things are worse than paying $60 for something that doesn't work. The bottom 2 are just some of those things.

leet_x1337:

Facts. And. Opinions.

Ouch. That's a third-degree burn, right there.

animeh1star1a:

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.

Ok lemme just illustrate one point. (btw someone else may have made this point but I'm not scrolling through 200 comments to find out). If a hurricane is coming to your house, and you are the only one in the neighborhood with a basement and supplies, the decision of letting your neighbors in with you won't prevent the hurricane from hitting your house, or any of the nastiness that follows, It does however show what kind of person you are. The point of the choices in The Walking Dead aren't to change what happens, because your facing a global disaster that cannot be beaten single handedly; the point is that you can only effect yourself and your choices. You as the player determine not the outcome of the game, but rather what kind of person Lee turns out to be when the inevitable happens. Now i will say you are absolutely entitled to your opinion, and that i merely disagree with it. =)

It's not about changing the world... I just don't why people come up with these examples, as if I wanted to stop the infection or save every one from death.

In some parts of the game, you have a illusion of choice, 'cause it won't matter what you do, you get the same result.

The problem, for me, it's reaching a bifurcation with both paths clearly capable of leading you to different ways but either path ending up leading you to the same situation.

One thing it's being presented with the choice of how to do something end up with the same result. Let's say, stealth vs. direct attack: Obviously, you end up with the same result, but you approached it in different ways.

Another thing it's being presented with the choice of different directions and ending up in the same place, like "we go to the mountains" vs. "we go to the coast" and ending up in a forest. Do you see where I'm heading?

Every game with a story already set up will have a predetermined path. Did your choices had any impact in the overall story of of Half Life? What about in Deus Ex: Human Revolution or Dishonored? Of course not: somethings are bound to happen 'cause the story was written this or that way. However, if you've chosen not to kill the targets in the Dishonored, there will be less rats and despair in the streets. That's a direct change in the world, but not in the story.

Back to The Walking Dead, you are presented with a lot of choices: choices that have direct impact on the relations with other characters, choices about what to do and how to do a task and choices about how you see the world. What I see is that some, but not all, important choices in the game doesn't matter in the sense that they will put you in the same spot when they obviously shouldn't.

hazabaza1:

JoaoJatoba:
We don't know why he did it.

Crime of passion after finding the man he killed in bed with his wife (before he killed him, obviously).
Just sayin'.

That's your interpretation... The game doesn't make it clear though. During his conversation with Carley about his past with the senator, it is implied that, the man had no intention of murdering his wife's lover, as he claimed that the entire incident was purely accidental. Who is telling the truth?

JoaoJatoba:

hazabaza1:

JoaoJatoba:
We don't know why he did it.

Crime of passion after finding the man he killed in bed with his wife (before he killed him, obviously).
Just sayin'.

That's your interpretation... The game doesn't make it clear though. During his conversation with Carley about his past with the senator, it is implied that, the man had no intention of murdering his wife's lover, as he claimed that the entire incident was purely accidental. Who is telling the truth?


Skip to 46:35 and it's pretty clear that it's a crime of passion. Usually those tend to be accidental.
Even if he didn't mean to kill him it's pretty clear Lee wanted to hurt the Senator, and pretty badly, because otherwise I doubt he would have been killed.

hazabaza1:

Skip to 46:35 and it's pretty clear that it's a crime of passion. Usually those tend to be accidental.
Even if he didn't mean to kill him it's pretty clear Lee wanted to hurt the Senator, and pretty badly, because otherwise I doubt he would have been killed.

Fair enough. =)

The7Sins:
But if the story is awesome but the gameplay utter shit the game as well is also bad (Spec Ops being the example of such here).
And I'm with you on the Walking Dead. I only barely qualify it as a game. It is more of an interactive story than a game. The only things that give it that small % of being a game is that the decisions are on a timer and it is possible if you screw up to get a game over and have to restart from the last check point. However Walking Dead despite barely qualifying as a game is 10000000 times more of a game than a couple of games released this year. Dear Esther and Journey respectively. Now those 2 are just glorified books.

Have you ever played an adventure game in the past? Do you even know what that genre, that had nearly gone extinct, used to hold? Do you realize that The Walking Dead is that kind of adventure game? The walking dead is a fucking game the same way Secret of Monkey Island, machinarium or any old-school adventure game you can think of is.

Spec Ops' gameplay isn't shit, although it needs a bit of polishing. The reason why it does basically what every other shooter has done, is because it's satire and is meant to be a copy of the average modern shooter. The shooting mechanics were never supposed to be fun, in fact if you had a blast playing through the game, it would mean the game would have failed at getting its point across entirely. The mechanics aren't meant to make you enjoy the game, they're only there to compliment the story. Still, opinions opinions.

I do find it incredibly hilarious that you'd call Journey a book though. I do agree with you on Dear Esther, but calling Journey a book when it's nearly a gameplay-only experience just shows that you don't know shit about the game and what you're talking about. Calling Journey a book isn't an opinion, it's a factual error. Games with too many cutscenes could be insulted by calling them interactive movies (MGS4, Heavy Rain), games that rely extremely heavily on text/vocal exposition and nearly nothing else could be called interactive books (Dear Esther). Journey doesn't even resemble such things. It fully relies on gameplay and interaction between the character and the environment/partner to reach its goal. People praise it for being the exact opposite of "glorified books" and still being able to create such a memorable experience, because that's exactly what it is and often does. I am pretty damn sure that you've never played it and just saw/heard something about it and are now judging it incorrectly, because nobody can be this far off after having played it, regardless of their experience while playing it.

This is actually exactly what I'm talking about:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/5462-Lazy-Boring-Ordinary-Art-Games

The7Sins:
But if the story is awesome but the gameplay utter shit the game as well is also bad (Spec Ops being the example of such here).
And I'm with you on the Walking Dead. I only barely qualify it as a game. It is more of an interactive story than a game. The only things that give it that small % of being a game is that the decisions are on a timer and it is possible if you screw up to get a game over and have to restart from the last check point. However Walking Dead despite barely qualifying as a game is 10000000 times more of a game than a couple of games released this year. Dear Esther and Journey respectively. Now those 2 are just glorified books.

mjc0961:
Does ANYONE (aside from Sony fanboys) want to play Sony Smash Bros? Nintendo's version isn't that good to begin with and Sony's knockoff version with a far less interesting character roster is certainly not bound to be better.

Anyway, glad I already have Spec Ops The Line (thank you Steam sales!). Just have to set aside time to play it.

...

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

Journey can't be game of the year because it isn't a game. I've watched blu-ray movies that had more interactivity involved with getting through the fucking menus, previews, and copyright warnings than Journey. Maybe Journey is a good "experience", but it's not a game so stop calling it one please and thank you.

Wow ^that^ is dumb, and you probably have not played Journey.
I'd ask why would you not consider journey interactive, or a game, but I'm assuming you are just trolling, or have no idea of what you are saying, since it has some of the most interesting aspects of narrative and multiplayer interaction in years, apart from being a fantastic well crafted experience in general.
Also, I'd ask what your consider a "game", an "experience" or an "interaction", since it seems you are fully missing the point (or once again are talking without knowing, or having played the game).
Just for the hope of conversation, how would Journey not fit your definition of game?

I'll just say that in any case, it has as many "entertainment-software" components as other "games" (arguably many more than the walking dead, or most given fps).

So please stop the ignorant babble, and thank you.

About Spec ops, again The7Sins, so many fallacies: "a game must be challenging to be a good game" or "I must like the mechanical functional execution of a game for it to be good". As many have stated, this is a matter of opinion, I love Dark/Demon's Souls' challenge, because I find it is an integral part of the game as a whole. Same goes for Silent hill, which has EXTREMELY AWKWARD (by most standards bad) controls, but feels cohesive with what the experience it wants to convey. In the other hand, in other story based games, I personally get frustrated if I can't progress through the story because it is too challenging. In fact I sometimes play games in "easy", not because I couldn't finish them in HARDCORE XTRA AWESOME GAMER mode, but because I'm interested in the other components of the game experience(which some uninventive, less than stellar mechanics, don't affect at all, and in some cases enhance).
This DOES NOT make a game good or bad.

I understand that you may be stuck in your own experience, but the truth is that nowadays, we are breaking a lot of gaming conventions that existed for a: Technical limitations. b: Cultural perspectives. c: Traditional preconceptions.
Game overs, levels, lifebars, timers and points, (etc) are all abstractions that we have adopted today, and they are obviously quite effective in certain frames. But that doesn't mean they are the only possible solution. In fact some of the most interesting (and awesome) games in history exist by challenging these preconcieved game "necessities".

In fact the term "videogame" today has grown over the traditional definition of "games". The range of experiences you can get from a videogame is much wider than just direct "fun", and while many "entertainment software" products do aim mainly towards fun, many are becoming more ambitious: As movies or books, videogames have begun aiming for the whole emotive range of human activity, because why not? Why should the expressive range of arguably the most powerful creative medium be limited to such a narrow range?

And this also speaks about Dear Esther. Thechineseroom's -game- is clearly a more complicated beast, it is obviously "interactive" since it doesn't play itself, but it is a game which apart from the visual, vocal exposition, it solely relies on exploration and NO OTHER GAME COMPONENTS to carry the experience. It examines the minimum input, but also the maximum player agency, since it is almost entirely metaphoric in every sense. It's easy to understand why people are divided about it because, like other mediums have acomplished before, it requires the player to piece together and make sense of the story themselves even when the mechanics are basic.
I do wonder, would it be more of a game if you had a timer? or if you could find specific collectibles? solving puzzles to open doors? would it add to the particular purpose? or would it just be adhering to conventions of the medium?
It's decidedly different, that is true, but its also rather interesting where it could be leading games, since it is not talking down to the player at all. And at least from a technical and aesthetic standpoint the game is far from lacking. And for that, it shouldn't be so easily dismissed.

My particular biff with The Walking Dead (and why I jus't dont consider it very highly) more than if choices matter or not, is about how much does it move the genre forward. To me, it seems that although it has a great story with fantastic writing, mechanically, it is stail, it makes no comments or tries to do things differently. It is like Mass effect's decision trees without the combat++ filler. Not that innovation is a MUST for good games, but it just doesn't try to do anything interesting through it's gameplay as many games have lately.

I envy people with the money to buy enough games for a top 5 and bottom 5. I only managed 3 new games, on top of all the preowned awesomeness.

Defeated Detective:

Hutzpah Chicken:
I'm surprised he didn't say Half-Life was the best game of 2012, seeing as he reviewed it this year. I forgot about alot of these games, probably for good reason.

It was a retro review, he said games he played that were RELEASED in 2012.

As for people who listed out Journey on their top 5s, PC supremacists don't know that since Journey was only released in PS3.

Yes, yes, I know. Just making a joke because everyone loves Half-Life.

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