Hello my name is Andi and I am 28 years old and I write about videogames for Midnight Resistance. I like games with shooting and games with exploding things and I don't like the games which make me think about things and order troops around. They give me a headache. I haven't played that Dishonored one. Enjoy my list of the games I enjoyed the most in 2012!
10 - SPEC OPS: THE LINE
Or, the plot and overall message behind Far Cry 2 retold for idiots. War is fucking awful and makes people do terrible things. We get it. What Spec Ops: The Line does is shove this message into your stupid face in a pretty well written if terribly blunt way. Thinking about it, it might not actually be anywhere near as clever as a lot of people would have you believe but then most games fall so much further from the mark than this, and how many other manshoots even offer the suggestion that the entire game might be set in fucking purgatory?! The fact that it is a perfectly serviceable cover shooter in the excellent setting of a sandstorm destroyed Dubai gets it onto the list. Also, for those that have played it - MORTARS. Nice one.
9 - FROG FRACTIONS
Here’s a thing that has a fairly limited audience. Sometimes, if you do some certain drugs, this weird thing happens when they’re wearing off. As you hit 5am and you’ve ran out and have made the decision to go to sleep, you lie in bed and you’ll just start thinking of the weirdest fucking stuff. A frog, riding a dragon through space for instance. The second you realise “why the fuck am I thinking about that” the thought will change to something completely different. Your thoughts are like water in your hands and there’s nothing you can do to keep hold of them and you end up on some bizarre journey until you eventually pass out. That’s what Frog Fractions would've reminded me of, if I was the sort of person who would do such things. A game which is, apparently, about teaching children fractions. A masterpiece of surrealism.
8 - NEW STAR SOCCER
I do a lot of commuting, and New Star Soccer was the game that dominated my travel time in the first half of 2012. It is a genius cross between Football Manager, Subbuteo and Angry Birds. You calculate power and angles to shoot and pass during the matches and manage energy and stats to improve your abilities. 'Andi Hamilton' flicked his way to become the greatest footballer in the history if the sport, averaging a couple of goals a game for his entire career. A somewhat selfish player, he was known for his ability to ping 40 yard shots past goalkeepers on the regular and also ignoring his girlfriends for SEASONS at a time. One of my gaming highlights of the past year was sticking a hattrick past Chelsea whilst stood outside Stamford Bridge on my way home one evening. I like to think it contributed to the sacking of AVB.
7 - UFC UNDISPUTED 3
Fighting is the best sport on the planet. Sorry, Football, but it is just the way it is. The greatest goal of all time simply cannot compare to someone getting their fucking head kicked off their shoulders. THQ already had captured this complex, intricate and, ultimately, incredibly exciting sport in videogame form pretty damn well, but with a year off to add polish and address almost every issue the previous two had, they've pretty much delivered the perfect UFC game in every conceivable way, barring the almost obligatory piss poor THQ menus and online play. It also requires a fair working knowledge of the sport to get into, more so than say, Virtua Tennis, but I can imagine trying to play FIFA without ever watching a football match would be pretty tough going too. Next time, it is EA's turn to have a crack at this license. The bar has been set very, very high.
6 - SLEEPING DOGS
A surprise package. After going through some serious developmental hell - it was cancelled outright by Activision - everyone’s favourite bully-endorsing, corrupt-journo-employing misogynists Square-Enix picked it up and gave Sleeping Dogs a chance to prove itself. It isn’t quite as well-written, realistic or as good as GTA IV, nor is it as fun, ridiculous and as good as Saints Row 3, but it sits somewhere in the middle, offering a really cool tale about a deep cover cop in the Hong Kong triad, but still lets you run around in your underpants and a wrestling mask, throwing pedestrians into traffic. A focus on martial arts melee combat over the usual crap shooting that plagues this type of game and really fun driving combat lifted from the hilarious Vin Diesel ‘classic’ The Wheelman are its two biggest masterstrokes. A sequel could be real contender in the increasingly crowded ‘open world’ genre.
5 - FAR CRY 3
I fully expected Far Cry 3 to be a bit shite. Far Cry 2 divides opinion as to whether or not it is a decent videogame or not, but as an example of what can be achieved with storytelling in videogames it is an undeniable great. Far Cry 3 does jettison almost everything that made the second instalment so memorable, but replaced it with a far more enjoyable shoot 'em up. The plot, story missions and boss fights might shit the bed, but the thrill of clearing an enemy base using only a bow and arrow and machete, then another by torching all the surrounding foliage then freeing a tiger into the flaming arena of death, is unmatched. Far Cry 3 builds on the true freedom of combat that direct rivals (and creators of the original Far Cry) Crytek started, and makes their Crysis 2 effort look a bit embarrassing.
4 - SUPER HEXAGON
Super Hexagon isn't a game - it is a constantly fluctuating measurement of time. For instance, my commute to work involves a 45 Super Hexagon train ride, waiting for toast is, give or take, 3 Super Hexagon and the average shite takes about 7 Super Hexagon. The reason a Super Hexagon isn't recognised as an official measurement is because, unfortunately, it is unreliable. For instance, my train journey COULD take 43 Super Hexagon, the 44th holding my concentration and focus so hard I roll straight past my destination. I've seen toast take 1 Super Hexagon and also 10 Super Hexagon, and I've had trips to the toilet that go way past 7 Super Hexagon, causing numbness in both legs. This would be my most played game of the year if the iOS version let me listen to podcasts over the top of it, rather than its constant thumping chiptunes.
3 - TRIBES: ASCEND
Bollocks to the Somme. You know nothing of histories battles until you hear about the battle that Sean, Rab Florence and I took part in one memorable evening. FOUR NIL we were down, just one flag capture away from humiliating defeat, when we suddenly began clawing our way back into the game. Everyone doing their bit, sticking to their chosen classes expert areas and working as a team to pull back the deficit and eventually win the match! I had to call it an evening after that, as I was absolutely buzzing and new it wasn't going to get any better that session. The greatest fightback I have ever been a part of. Life-affirming stuff, and it happens ALL THE TIME on Tribes. It is free and everything! You’ve no excuse not to join in. It may look like a twitchy FPS, but its nowhere near as difficult to get into as CounterStrike or Quake 3. Download it and start skiing around blasting dudes! Neeeeeeeeeooooooow!
2 - BINARY DOMAIN
Imagine if you took Gears of War, removed all the po-faced macho warbollock men and replaced them with a French robot and a gigantic ‘Bob Sapp’ looking motherfucker called Big Bo who talks about pornography. Immediately, you’ve got a better game. Binary Domain takes the dull, extremely tired cover shooter genre and gives it a new lease of life. Think about how many times you basically repeated the same firefight over and over again in Gears of War. Here, you’ve got enemies that are relentless in their assaults, but can be turned on their squadmates with an accurate barrage of headshots, or quite literally disarmed if you’re struggling with the amount of incoming fire. There’s giant boss fights right out of the great book of ‘awesome shit Platinum Games do’ - none of that cop-out QTE insta-kill rubbish here - and a story that is filled with hilarious cliche and real goddamn charm in equal measure. A brilliant action game that shows all the 'AAA' lot how it should be done.
1- HOTLINE MIAMI
Like it was ever going to be anything else? Hotline Miami is one of the greatest action games in years. Diving into a room full of gun-toting enemies wielding only a golf club and in less than a second leaving them bleeding on the floor is one of the most satisfying and intense experiences in gaming. As an action game, it stands among the very best. It is simple to understand, but has depth and secrets you’ll be finding after many hours spent with it. It rewards skill, but doesn’t ever allow you to mechanically master it, still requiring you to use those gaming instincts you last used playing Smash TV. It has a consistent set of game rules, but allows you a lot of freedom as to how you go about achieving success, and instead of punishing you with crippling death for experimentation simply teaches you a lesson as to whether what you tried was a good idea and sticks you straight in the game to try it again. The synth heavy soundtrack and pixel graphics combine with the retro arcade score attack gameplay to create this garish 80’s nightmare. It is a great example of what can happen when you have a team of people with a focus, unaffected by money men and publishers. Every single part of Hotline Miami feels intentional and part of the experience. It combines the great, raw gameplay of eras gone by with the kind of presentation and aesthetic that can be achieved in 2012.
Hotline Miami is the best game I played in 2012.