Rabidgames’ GOTY awards 2012

After talking about the stuff we hated in 2012, it is just fair to talk about the games we loved. But that’s not everything: Some publishers have done cool things that deserve some extra praise.

Publisher of the Year: CD Projekt Red
The unthinkable happened: A publisher dared not to merely port a game to another platform, hell no, he made it better and bigger. New contents, new controls, even a thick booklet was included in the package! And here’s the biggie: We only paid for the game. Yes, no extra 10 quid for all the work, no day 1 DLC, no pre-order crap, no, we just got a complete game with extras for the price of one game! On top of that, we’re talking about some small, almost indie project here. So, dear EA, dear Activision, dear Ubisoft, riddle Rabidgames this: If a small Polish team can do that, WHY CAN’T YOU? Cause you’re greedy cunts? This attitude demands that everyone buy The Witcher 2 to support CD Projekt Red. Mind you, Rabidgames did not really made it far in The Witcher 2, but he did not regret his decision to buy the game for just one second. Thumbs up to Poland!

Expansion of the Year: Dragonborn
Actually, Dragonborn might be one of the few actual expansions in these dark times. Why? Just look at Saints Row The Third’s story DLCs, or at the hourly, lacklustre snacks Sleeping Dogs got enhanced with. Dragonborn, on the other hand, can take up to 10 hours – and that’s the main quest alone! If you wander through the barren plains of Solstheim to uncover everything the Morrowind themed region has to offer, it can take up to 30 hours. Yes, that’s five times the length of Lollipop Chainsaw for you! This is what DLC should be like!

WTF? Game of the Year: Tokyo Jungle
This year brought quite some strange games: Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is simply fucking nuts, Dear Esther is not really a game by definition, and Far Cry 3 invented the genre of drugs’n’shoot … it’s all strange, true. But all those game pale in comparison to Tokyo Jungle, a killing and breeding game. Yup, it’s about animals in a destroyed Tokyo, and you do nothing but hunting (or escaping hunters, e.g. as a deer) and breeding. And you know, it is fucking awesome and fun to play with kitties!

Alright, now let’s take a look at Rabidgames’ top 10 games of 2012. But before that, Rabidgames should mention that this year, it’s been way closer than last year. Oh, and the number 3 seems to be pretty ominous for some unknown reason …

10. Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning
Summed up in three words: Fable for grown-ups. True, it’s a generic world, a generic story and generic races. But the fighting and levelling system are fun, and the story about immortality, inescapable fate and a mortal game changer was better than expected. It’s just a shame this new franchise might well be another dead franchise …

9. Sleeping Dogs
Finally, we move away from boring New York! Hong Kong is ten times more interesting, and Sleeping Dogs also succeeds in terms of gameplay, length and story (it’s conventional but it works fine). Of course, the kind of True Crime successor carries some weaknesses around (some characters disappear for no reason, shoot-outs aren’t too exciting), but Rabidgames’ top 10 is not too shabby for a game which was basically dead one year ago. Accidentally, it could have been called True Crime 3 before dropping the old name …

8. Mass Effect 3
Yes, we know. The ending, the story in general, linear corridor shooting stuff etc. Mass Effect 3 could have been better. Eight times better. But we must acknowledge that at least some of the writers were able to create memorable events: Rabidgames still mourns Mordin (two times, actually), and Tali … well, it did not end too well on that renegade playthrough. These moments are pure Bioware moments, and there is hardly any other studio which can write them. Also, Mass Effect 3 managed to answer the question “is synthetic life worth being called life?” – not only by shedding light on Geth history, but also by giving EDI a body (although it is better not to think about any form of hanky panky EDI and Joker might enjoy). And then, there’s the ending: If we look beyond the botched way of telling it, the four choices are not simply right and wrong or black and white, and they all have some merit. That’s the reason the end and, and also the conclusion of the Mass Effect series deserves a place in this list.

7. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
That was exactly the reboot we were hoping for. Fuck off, you foul Syndicate sellout piece of trash! Instead of another linear shooter experience with a 90 minute campaign, XCOM grants us proper turn-based tactical classic combined with economical and research strategy elements. And best of all, it works perfectly on consoles, too. The only reason it didn’t make it to the top is that some weird remnants from the old games are still in, just like shooting through walls or missing with a fucking shotgun when the alien is next to your face! Apart from such occurrences, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a great rebirth of a great series.

6. Assassin’s Creed 3
If it wasn’t for the cocked up ending and the tons of bugs and glitches, Assassin’s Creed 3 might have been a worthy GOTY contender. And still, despite all this crap, hunting human and animal prey alike has never been as much fun as in the wilderness of this game. Plus, Ubisoft dared to speak the truth about the Native Americans (or Indians or whatever they have to be called now due to politically correct regulations), and neither the British nor the Americans are portrayed as completely good or evil. Furthermore, Assassin’s Creed 3 takes a step back from the war Assassins vs Templars and portrays both as not that different in the end, while Connor cares for his people first of all. And then, there’s also the philosophical irony of the ending in both timelines. If it wasn’t for the crumbling technical foundation, Assassin’s Creed 3 might have been remembered as one of the decisive games to bring gaming further.

5. Borderlands 2
Guns, guns and even more guns, and besides, tons of fun! Aside from the awful drop-rate of legendary weapons, Borderlands 2 is proof devs can learn from their mistakes: We have many different things to do, and there is even a proper story with a pretty cool twist. Oh, and then there’s the diamond butt stallion, too. If you ever want to play an over-the-top shooter-action-rpg hybrid, Borderlands 2 is just what you need.

4. WWE ’13
Basically, it’s WWE ’12 refined – with one exception: The Attitude Mode is the best campaign mode in any wrestling game since the legendary Here comes the Pain! Besides, matches feel even more real than last year, and you can actually download CWs this time when you first try! Well done, Yukes. If there is a next game (hard to guess thanks to THQ’s troubles), we’d like a full-blown WWE Universe mode with some GM stuff thrown into it. Thanks.

3. Far Cry 3
It might not really be Skyrim with Guns, but it is a pretty damn solid open world first person shooter with insanity and drugs as main themes. While the story is alright at first sight, we’ll see if people discover the alleged deeper meaning. But in terms of a sandbox, Far Cry 3 offers the best experience since Just Cause 2 – there are always many ways to take over a base, and there’s always the random tiger strolling around. It might not satisfy your intellectual needs, but who cares if you can punch a shark in the face?

2. Dishonored
When Hitman’s 47 has forgotten what he should be like and Thief is just a distant memory, Dishonored proves there’s still room for an open worldish stealth experience – if you wish. The game allows you to freely choose a playstyle and then to map your psi powers and gadgets around it. While the story is rather obvious, it is told well nonetheless. Whenever you’re looking for a game where you can play one playthrough as bloodthirsty psychopath and the next one as silent manipulator who refuses to kill, look no further: Dishonored is your game.

1. Dragon’s Dogma
What happened here? After years of fucking customers hard, Capcom just gave us a RPG masterpiece. Storytelling of the East and an open world from the West make up Dragon’s Dogma. The icing on the cake is the perfect fighting system, which plays out completely different depending on your class. Oh, and you can climb not only almost every building, but also big monsters. But seriously, the most amazing thing is the pawn system: You create not only your character, but also your permanent companion, your pawn. And as the cake is getting bigger and bigger, you rent your pawn to other players, earning rift crystals and knowledge about places and enemies (we should also mention the community which trades or even gives away items you seek). And then, Dragon’s Dogma is even more, with New Game+++ options and the really weird story revolving around it … Again, it is ironic that Capcom of all publishers dared to take the risk to release a game which sums up many strengths of the RPG genre and melts it into one solid game.

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