2012 Community Game of the Year - And the winner is...

Let's see here!

1) Dishonored (PC) Undoubtedly my game of the year. I loved the setting, the pacing, and the ability to play a first person adventure without having to KILL PEOPLE.Or shoot. It was so utterly refreshing to not have to be either a murderous thief, a murderous murderer, or a murderous psychopath. I could blissfully blink around, only killing when it seemed like I was doing the world a greater good by doing so. There was also stuff to *read!*, and and a good portion of it was non-terrible! *joyful tears*

2) Walking Dead (PC) For all of my love of reading/down time/non-combat situations in games, you'd think I'd love traditional adventure games. Yet, I rarely do. However, I thought this game was pretty dog-gone fantastic.

3) King's Bounty - Warriors of the North (PC) Pretty buggy on release, it still retains that King's Bounty magic. I also thought the story was amusing at points, and a varied series of creative quests kept it fun. Sadly, no puzzles make their appearance in this one, so most (but, not all! yay!) quests find their resolution mired in combat. The full gamut of ambient life shows up as well, giving us frogs, hummingbirds exploring flowers, owls, foxes, squirrels, rabbits, chickens, fish (of several different colors), ravens, frogs, nesting cliff birds, fireflies, and butterflies.

To go off topic for a minute...why is there no demo for Dishonored? Positive reviews aren't enough for me; my gaming backlog is so large now that the only two things that can convince to pay full price (or even half price) for a game are 1) if it's a sequel to a well-established game like Dragon Age, or 2) if it has a really good demo. That's it. The number of people putting it on their top list in this thread has me curious, but unless they put out a demo I'll wait until it's 75% off.

conejote wrote:

To go off topic for a minute...why is there no demo for Dishonored?

Because demos are evil or something. I think the publisher perspective is that making a demo requires non-trivial resources to make, and that while there are people who want to be convinced to buy, there's also people who will be dissuaded from buying (didn't like it, "oh, I get it. that's all there is to this game" or "that's enough for me") or were happy to buy it sight unseen. Generally the costs outweigh the benefits.

If it's a game that can be marketed as similar to another game ("a shooter Like COD!", "assassinations like Hitman!") then even less reason for a demo.

conejote wrote:

the only two things that can convince to pay full price (or even half price) for a game are 1) if it's a sequel to a well-established game like Dragon Age

Sequels are popular for this reason, they often sell themselves. DA2 is a weird example because they did change it a fair bit (insert discussion here) and the demo put off a lot of people.

I wish I could remember the article or enough of it to effectively Google (I thought it was Penny Arcade report), but there was a break down on how a game demo is more likely to drive sales away, especially since most of the time you're either throwing a player into the middle of the "fun" sections without having provided much in the way of tutorial or are limiting them to the areas with fewer features. There are plenty of good games with bad demos out there.

So at this point it is a risk most aren't willing to take, though I really wish they'd release some of the E3 demos on console for the hype machine. I think journalists complained about Capcom releasing the Lost Planet and Dead Rising demos they had played, though, back in 2006. I dunno. People are weird.

Moral of the story: what is wrong with you go buy Dishonored.

Yeah, I can see that I suppose. I'll probably have to cave & get Dishonored at some point soon. I am weak.

conejote wrote:

Yeah, I can see that I suppose. I'll probably have to cave & get Dishonored at some point soon. I am weak.

You're not that weak. If you were weak you'd already have it.

Alright. I give.

So, I didn't put too much variety into my gaming. That's fair warning going into this. These are all titles I tried for the first time in 2012

1. Persona 3 Portable. I cried for a while.

2. Devil Survivor 2 (DS). This one goes high on the list for diving into the heart of what makes politics so uncomfortable, while letting us explore the pros and cons of various ideas. I liked that.

3. Saints Row the Third (PC). Because heartstrings and philosophies are fine, but pure obscenity also makes a strong impact.

4. Persona 4 Golden. Another wonderful time sink, and a great cast of characters.

5. Legend of Grimrock. Sweet nostalgia.

6. Amnesia: Dark Descent. I watched subtle things that this game did that were also present in some of my favorite horror films. I knew what the game was doing. I ran out of the room anyway. Awesome work.

7. Skylanders (Wii). My oldest son finally got this for his birthday this year, and I bought a Hex figure to play along with him. The pacing was fun, and all the extra stuff to do also felt satisfying.

8. Zen Pinball (3DS) This $8 download was more visually satisfying and captured more of my time than a couple of full-priced purchases. That was awesome.

I don't have ten.

Scratched wrote:
conejote wrote:

To go off topic for a minute...why is there no demo for Dishonored?

Because demos are evil or something. I think the publisher perspective is that making a demo requires non-trivial resources to make, and that while there are people who want to be convinced to buy, there's also people who will be dissuaded from buying (didn't like it, "oh, I get it. that's all there is to this game" or "that's enough for me") or were happy to buy it sight unseen. Generally the costs outweigh the benefits.

Also, why would a publisher of a AAA game (since we're talking about Dishonored) spend extra resources on making a demo when they know that the week the game is released (or earlier), there will be 'let's play'-type videos on Youtube as well as people streaming the game live on Twitch? Those two things are essentially the modern version of a demo IMO.

Vector wrote:
Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Me too. Honestly, I'm not actually joking.

Um, not buying games because someone is too enthusiastic about it seems a little backwards.

For me, the way a game controls is too important to use gameplay videos as a final determination. Bad experiences made me think so. If I'd played Borderlands ahead of release I probably wouldn't have bought it because of the shooting mechanics, but the videos tricked me. On the other hand, I was highly skeptical of Dragon's Dogma until I played the demo, but the amazing feel sold it instantly. If I'm sold on a premise or developer I'll buy, and if I'm convinced by a demo I'll buy.

Malor wrote:
Vector wrote:
Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Me too. Honestly, I'm not actually joking.

Um, not buying games because someone is too enthusiastic about it seems a little backwards.

As others have said the GOTY thread is a good place to editorialize to the general community about a game you feel strongly about. I find a paragraph about solid gameplay or a strong narrative is more convincing than saying the name of the game in different font sizes 15 times or stating movie comparisons. Would you accept that as a game review? Not I.

Edited my list on page 1 to add Skyrim

Blind_Evil wrote:
Malor wrote:
Vector wrote:
Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Me too. Honestly, I'm not actually joking.

Um, not buying games because someone is too enthusiastic about it seems a little backwards.

As others have said the GOTY thread is a good place to editorialize to the general community about a game you feel strongly about. I find a paragraph about solid gameplay or a strong narrative is more convincing than saying the name of the game in different font sizes 15 times or stating movie comparisons. Would you accept that as a game review? Not I.

There's a significant difference between "This doesn't make me want to buy the game" and "This makes me not want to buy the game". The latter seems a strange reaction to enthusiasm.

We all come to this site to hang out and get along. That might mean sticking to the theme of the thread. That might also mean showing your man/woman junk to the world, painted in neon colors. I might have went overboard with my ridiculousness-ness. If I did, I'm Canadian. I mean I'm sorry. I was not trying to indoctrinate others with my unhealthy love. I was just being an attention seeking goof-goof.

Spoiler:

Man, if that type of indoctrination could work I'd be rolling in male/female prostitutes and blow.

I kept a list of the games I played this year in anticipation of this thread. I played 28 games, most to completion, and here's my top 10:

1. Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga - I don't think it's the best game in this list, but it's the game I had the most fun with as I played through it, so I have to put it at the top. The funny thing is that I nearly wrote this game off a couple years back after not liking the demo.
2. Alice: Madness Returns - Fantastic art and a serious story, and the combat was just right for me rather than being overly complex or too button-mashy.
3. The Walking Dead - Left me misty-eyed by the end. The game mechanics weren't all that unique, but the story and voice acting were really well done.
4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - I just liked the visual and aural vibe of it, and I like being able to choose whether to play stealthy.
5. Darksiders 2 - Lots of exploration and fairly straightforward combat, both of which I like. Goth Zelda with blood.
6. Borderlands 2 - I didn't get very far in the original Borderlands, but this one kept me entertained with the characters and the greater variety in enemy types. I really wish the developer would find some other term to use besides "midget," though.
7. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Again, lots of exploration and reasonably straightforward combat, plus really pretty visuals.
8. Journey - I intentionally avoided hearing too much about this one beforehand. The coolest moment to me was

Spoiler:

when I first encountered another player and assumed at first I had to race against them to activate some pillars. I was taken aback when I realized I was working with the other person, not against them.

9. Overlord II - Goofy and entertaining. I can see how some people might find the minions annoying, but I think they're funny. Then again, I also like the Rabbids.
10. Rayman: Origins - Beautiful visuals. Did a good job of making sure the game can be finished by regular gamers while offering serious challenges for the more OCD-inclined.

Purchased FTL on Saturday. That said;
5. FTL - amazingly deep and challenging

1. The Walking Dead - A milestone in interactive narrative design. People who think it's not a game are overlooking what makes it great. Sure it had some polish flaws but I'm disappointed it hasn't ranked higher for more people.
2. Mark of the Ninja - Extremely satisfying mechanics and subtly subversive story. The best game about ninjas, and there have been quite a few.
3. Hotline Miami - Similar to Mark of the Ninja with a crazier aesthetic, I just prefer the controlled gameplay of Mark.
4. Mass Effect 3 - Despite the extremely poor finale, I really enjoyed the conclusion of the Shepard trilogy. Best combat mechanics of the three games and several story payoffs.
5. Dishonored - This could be higher on my list but I haven't finished it yet and probably won't before voting ends. I'm worried the story won't coalesce although I'm starting to get into the world's lore.
6. XCOM: Enemy Unknown - A great accessible strategy game with an interesting atmosphere, although I did find the pacing to be uneven at times.
7. Botanicula - An underrated and extremely charming adventure game from earlier in the year.
8. FTL - Great tactics game that gives the feeling of controlled chaos from Star Trek ship battles. However I found it became fairly repetitive for a roguelike.
9. Thirty Flights of Loving - Not as surprising as Gravity Bone but a lovingly crafted short.
10. Super Hexagon - A minimalist game with a surprising amount of depth. The steep learning curve is a little frustrating though.

Honorable Mentions:
Diablo III - I put a lot of time into this game and I really enjoyed that time I spent, but looking back the game is more flash than substance. I do feel a little awkward about bumping it off considering how much I played it.

Frog Fractions and Dikembe Mutumbo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save The World - Not really good games, but still delightful to play through.

Amazing Games First Played in 2012: (Basically I don't want to break my brain by trying to include these in my top 10)
To The Moon, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, and Stacking

1) Hotline Miami
At first this was going to be much lower on my list, but the combination of music visuals and gameplay just works perfectly, something I can say about only a handful of games, three of which came out this year.

2) Mass effect 3
I liked the ending. Honestly I liked everything about this game (well except the side quests but they were short enough that they didn't really get in the way). if they hadn't caved in to fan pressure and changed the ending, this may have been my game of the year, right now the only reason its this high is that I suspect it was EA who made them change it in the first place.

3) Dishonored
At one point this was going to be my game of the year, but in the end the story had a lot of promise that it just didn't live up to. Don't get me wrong It had some great ideas, the world building is second to none and the non lethal options did a great job of telling a story through gameplay, but the things it did well just ended up highlighting the story's failures all the more. None of that however detracts from the gameplay which is as close to perfect as I've ever seen and more then enough to warrant the number three slot.

4) Okami HD
The single most beautiful game ever made. From the animation to its use of cell shading to hide any jagged edges. Combine that with its perfectly executed art style, and what you end up with are graphics equivalent to the Beetles White album, equaled but never topped. sure in terms of gameplay its only above average, but when you're this pretty that's more then enough.

5) Persona 4 Golden
One of the other games that has the perfect combination of music visuals and gameplay. The only reason its not higher on this list is that some of the stuff that was added to this release feels to much like fan service, and some of that fan service is more then a little creepy. Particularly in the context of these characters personal struggles.

6) Journey
The revolver to Okami HD's the White album. And the last game on this list to make perfect use of music visuals and gameplay. So why isn't it higher on my list? Simple, I don't feel the need to play it again. every game above this one I can see myself coming back to year after year. And I just can't say that about this one. I wish I knew why, but until I do number six is where its going to stay.

7) The Walking Dead
Its hard to have a story as loaded with misery as this one and not have it come off as exploitative. And that's exactly what Tell Tale managed to pull off with their take on the Walking Dead. And while I didn't enjoy it as much as some people. Its still one of the best and most important game I've played all year.

8) Fallout New Vegas
The only game in the Fallout series to ever really grab me, so much so that I may even go back to some of the older games in the series.

9) Spec Ops: The Line
A great example of how mediocre gameplay can hold an otherwise good game back, still its a good step forward for story telling in games. even if it could be a bit heavy handed at times.

10) Crimson Shroud
The perfect example of a single mistake holding an otherwise great game back. This game would have been number five on my list were it not for a point in the game where you have to grind for an item that you can only get by killing enemies in a certain order at a certain place, none of which the game tells you. I liked everything else about this game, but that's just to much.

I must say that this thread is a favorite of mine. I thoroughly enjoy reading everyone's favorite gaming moments. It's also a great aid in enabling and disabling a vast amount of games. I am already looking forward to next years thread which I can hopefully have more input in. I only choose my single most favorite game from this year as I did not see out a great deal of games in 2012.

I'm only putting one game on my list: 1) Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Why? Because I spent over 500 hours playing it, that's why. A lot of that was making walkthrough videos, but still. The last game that sucked me in like that was Mass Effect 2.

I would have put Assassin's Creed 3 on the list, but Ubisoft screwed up and the first DLC release broke the PC version of the game - background music doesn't work. That *really* pisses me off. They put out a patch to enable DLC, but they don't bother fixing it when it breaks the game? There's a "holiday" patch coming, but it didn't arrive before Christmas, so I don't expect to see it until mid-January. I'm pissed at Ubisoft right now. AC3 is a good time, but what they've done this month is BS.

So many games I didn't get to this year, or that I sort of left hanging. Mass Effect 3, XCOM, Far Cry 3, only a few hours into Darksiders 2 (really want to get back to that!), Borderlands 2 didn't really grab me, Diablo 3 was very short lived for me. Deus Ex HR, Skyrim and Torchlight 2 are on my pile. Everything I read about Journey made me want to buy a TV and a PS3 (too bad I can't afford that :D).

Oh, I guess there is another game I should put on the list. 2) World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. What a great expansion. Best expansion so far, but it doesn't really have legs for me. Daily quests burned me out. I haven't tried the patch 5.1 content, though, and patch 5.2 looks like it's going to be just as substantial. Maybe Blizzard has finally learned how to get content patches out quickly! I really feel like I got my money's worth out of Pandaria.

Played on PC unless otherwise noted.

Top 10

1. Dishonored
Arkane made this for me (and those like me), that's abundantly clear. The first person traversal is incredibly tight, and scaling a building in mere seconds has never been more satisfying. You can swap between breakneck combat and snail stealth at the drop of a hat. A bloody, well-hidden hat. Who doesn't love a good hat?

It is sad that the story rarely tries to be more than a servant to the gameplay and environment, but it worked well enough to immerse me.

[size=10]oh, hide the HUD? yes please[/size]

2. Hotline Miami
It's literally dripping with atmosphere. They must have gotten it at a discount, because they seriously coated the entire game with it. Like with Dishonored, the story never leaps out of 'okay? alright, yeah', but that's less of an issue with Hotline Miami. You're basically always at a 10, anyway, so anything too busy would just wreck the high.

[size=10]that music, man[/size]

3. Journey (PS3)
I can't possibly say anything not already said by others. It's blissful. The multiplayer component is something we need to see again.

[size=10]a leaf on the wind[/size]

4. Mark of the Ninja
Where the stealth in Dishonored is more about feeling your way through the world, Mark of the Ninja is entirely mechanical. It's a structured, binary system. The room you're about to enter will be yours to take, however you choose. Every move is calculable, and the game is built around that - the color scheme, sound, architecture, all there to support your next move.

That doesn't mean it's easy. It's merely simple. Genuine. Enjoying it feels effortless.

[size=10]he's first, grapple up, knife there, string this one up for the third to find, trap underneath, lights out, move left quick, drop the final enemy, dump the bodies. neat and easy.
now i just need to do it
[/size]

5. Botanicula
Adorable. That's it. It's so adorable.

[size=10]silly, perpetual grin[/size]

6. Max Payne 3
Unskippable cutscenes should be tortured, brutally murdered, and then launched into outer space. That said, Max Payne 3 is the best third person shooter I've ever played. The gunplay and surrounding elements are simply incredible. It's also visually stunning. Now, about those cutscenes.

[size=10]yes, that bullet will go there... hey! let me... let me play![/size]

7. Black Mesa
It's an attractive Half-Life. What more could you want? That's a rhetorical question.

[size=10]faithfully recreating my high definition crowbar tearing into a beautiful headcrab[/size]

8. Far Cry 3
It's tough to say much about this game without feeling a little despondent. On one hand, it's really competent, but on the other hand, it rarely touches on why Far Cry 2 was, sometimes, utterly brilliant, which I think is a missed opportunity. I don't know. It is enjoyable, though. That other game doesn't exist, and you shouldn't be able to miss something that doesn't exist.

[size=10]wistful tear[/size]

9. Cave Story+
It's got style. Lots and lots of style. Refined, explosive, and most imporantly, fun.

[size=10]he's just a guy[/size]

10. 1000 Amps
This is one I don't think many here have played, which is a big old shame. It's a super charming metroidvania-style game about lighting up the world with your character. Now isn't that just swell? Let John Walker convince you to buy this stupidly cheap game.

[size=10]yeah, that became an ad there for a second[/size]

Honorable mentions

  • Mass Effect 3
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Dear Esther
  • Bleed
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • The Darkness II
  • The Binding of Isaac
  • Dead Island
  • Torchlight 2
  • Planetside 2
  • Perspective

Spec Ops: The Line deserves special mention for trying to do something different. Some of it worked.

Garion's comment about the sparse lists struck me deep. Hurt me good.

So I updated my post with a blurb for each game in my top 10. Here's a link, if anyone's at all curious. I didn't change any rankings.

Here's my list.

  1. Skyrim

  2. Saints Row 3

  3. Mass Effect 3

  4. Legend of Grimrock

  5. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

  6. FTL

  7. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

  8. Crusader Kings 2

  9. Bulletstorm

  10. Secret of the Magic Crystals

Honorable mentions:
Starcraft 2
Dead Rising 2
Dead Space 2
Uncharted 2

Notes: Some may be all a tizzy about Grimrock beating out XCOM. I understand. My love for Grimrock is based a lot in nostalgia and is not entirely rational. I know tboon will be disgusted by my putting CK2 at only #8, but I am very used to his contempt anyway. Why didn't Starcraft 2 make the top 10? I only played for the campaign and have little interest in multiplayer. Uncharted 2 suffers from making me shoot with a PS3 controller. And finally I had to put SotMC at #10 just to get it on Clock's final tally!

Hyetal wrote:

Garion's comment about the sparse lists struck me deep. Hurt me good.

So I updated my post with a blurb for each game in my top 10. Here's a link, if anyone's at all curious. I didn't change any rankings.

Wow, guilt really works. I'm gonna employ it more often in my real life relationships! Wish me luck!

garion333 wrote:
Hyetal wrote:

Garion's comment about the sparse lists struck me deep. Hurt me good.

So I updated my post with a blurb for each game in my top 10. Here's a link, if anyone's at all curious. I didn't change any rankings.

Wow, guilt really works. I'm gonna employ it more often in my real life relationships! Wish me luck!

Hi Mom.

RoughneckGeek wrote:
garion333 wrote:
Hyetal wrote:

Garion's comment about the sparse lists struck me deep. Hurt me good.

So I updated my post with a blurb for each game in my top 10. Here's a link, if anyone's at all curious. I didn't change any rankings.

Wow, guilt really works. I'm gonna employ it more often in my real life relationships! Wish me luck!

Hi Mom.

We must be siblings

OK. My actual list for GOTY 2012.

1. Hotline [color=blue]M[/color][color=green]i[/color][color=purple]a[/color][color=red]m[/color][color=orange]i[/color]

2. Planetside 2

3. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

4. Dead Pixels

5. Firefall

6. Hearts of Iron III

7. Men of War

8. A Valley Without Wind

9. Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble

10. Tales from Space: When Mutant Blobs Attack

Ha! I love all of you.

[size=8]Still, I'm too lazy to comment on my list. Does that say something about my relationships in real life? [/size]

1) Dota 2 (PC)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/ibvjDCGtpDErbj.png)
This probably doesn’t count as it’s technically still in beta but this was the game that I spent the most time playing in 2012 (~ 190 hours). The amount of care, polish and features Valve are putting into the game is astounding. I will be playing Dota 2 years from now and it already has a place in my top 10 of all time.

2) Journey (PS3)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/i5vrZ9VZ4nst0.jpg)
I experienced frisson multiple times while playing this game and really feel like I shared a moment with the random person I climbed the snow mountain with. A memorable, beautiful and moving experience.

3) Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/icCQV30bERg1F.png)
Sakurai deconstructed and reconstructed the shooter genre in his own way, filling it with life, character and charisma. The Saturday morning cartoon vibe combined with the fresh take on the genre was a joy to play.

4) Planetside 2 (PC)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/iWF2dotmL78Ri.jpg)
A truly next gen experience that continues to blow my mind. Even after 80 hours I will sometimes stop playing for a moment and just marvel at what is going on. The scale of combat and knowing that real people are controlling everything is just incredible. The game is still rough but when I think about where it could be 3 years from now, I get all kinds of giddy.

5) XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PC)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/iicOKrV4qky5c.jpg)
It completely grabbed me for hours on end as I would bite my fingernails obsessing over every decision. It also seems like a miracle this game even exists.

6) FTL (PC)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/i5eL2FwEFBenq.jpg)
A simple yet engrossing and intense game. It reminded me of something Bullfrog would have made in their prime. Damn boarding parties!

7) Diablo III (PC)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/iz95zvW6lyJur.png)
I really enjoyed the juicy combat and beautiful art. It didn’t reach my lofty expectations but I’m sure it will be updated and supported by Blizzard for years to come.

8) Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy (3DS)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/ib08RafUdOJXNr.png)
Nostalgia: The Game. A great love letter to the Final Fantasy series.

9) The Walking Dead (PC)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/ib0CJPt2GwYIWx.jpg)
I don’t really like point and click adventure games or story driven games but TWD really did it for me through the characters and scenarios. Powerful stuff.

10) Mark of the Ninja (PC)
IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/ibmNZvhAhUoGfN.png)
The stealth mechanics were designed really well and it made me feel like a ninja doing ninja things like a ninja.

- Honorable mentions: Borderlands 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Resident Evil: Revelations.

- I didn’t consider any old games I played this year.

- Games released in 2012 I haven’t played yet but would probably enjoy: Xenoblade, Sleeping Dogs, Natural Selection 2, Crusader Kings II, New Super Mario Bros. U, Torchlight II, Persona 4 Golden and Dishonored.

- TF2 GWJ continued to be awesome in 2012.

- Looking forward to 2013

Top 10 - and the majority were releases from this year as well!

1) Persona 4: Golden - The best RPG I've played in years, probably going back to the old Infinity Engine games. The combination of gameplay improvements, story, instant-pause, and new characters make this the definitive version of a game that I'm sure I'll be going through in an NG+ as soon as I finish it.

2) Crusader Kings 2 - The best strategy game I've played in years. CK2 fulfills a wishlist of everything I'd want in a medieval history game (which, as a medieval history undergrad is a *lot*), and then some. When I brainstormed a perfect strategy game back in college, I came up with what was essentially CK1 - CK2 improves on it in just about every possible way.

3) Journey - The most moving game I've played all year. Between Austin Wintory's beautiful score, and the stunning visuals, and the experience of seeing another player wandering through the landscape, I was absolutely floored, emotionally. The snow level towards the end made me feel every inch of the trip.

4) FTL - So. Much. Goddamn. Fun.

5) Mass Effect 3 - The end of the story; I haven't felt tempted to go back and replay it yet, but while the ending wasn't 100% satisfying, the journey towards it was, including the beautiful resolution of my Shepard's romance with Garrus, and a few wrong turns that lead to some major emotional traumas (Tali).

6) Persona 3: Portable - The gameplay and graphics aren't up to the level of P4:G, being a PSP port, rather than a PSV one, but the core story and gameplay are still excellent.

7) Rocksmith - If I'd given more time to this, I'd probably have placed it higher - maybe #4, but there's something pretty damn cool about finally using a video game to learn an instrument for real.

8) Skyrim - Late entry from out of the blue. This improves on Oblivion in so many ways that I can't even begin to compare the two. The first dungeon crawl with the Companions had more style and class than any comparable moment in Oblivion. I can't wait to spend more time with this game in 2013.

9) Faerie Solitaire - Got this as a freebie, and promptly sank 20+ hours into it. Not a deep game, but it's very fun as a low-intensity time killer.

10) The Walking Dead - Just an hour or so into this, and it's already got better writing, characterization, plotting and consequence than 99% of other games out there.

Honorable mentions:
Uncharted: The Golden Abyss
Persona 4: Arena
Dungeon Village
Borderlands
Catherine
Legend of Grimrock
Gravity Rush
MLB 12: The Show
Torchlight 2
Ingress

Dishonorable mention:
Star Wars: The Old Republic - you broke my heart, Fredo.
SSX - barely touched after the initial purchase

One more edit on my initial post (added The Walking Dead)