This list was compiled out of titles released this year that met several criteria. First, that it was the first year they were released. Secondly, that they were not remakes or reissued versions or expansion packs etc. Thirdly, the nature of sequel titles was heavily analyzed, with preference given to titles that had special relevance to their series as a whole; either building onto it or expanding their series in some meaningful way.
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This entry has done more than any other release recently to reopen the debate surrounding whether games are art or not; and the quiet, personal adventure each player experiences as they travel throughout the beautiful vistas of the game make it Journey like few others.
9. The Walking Dead
This game; based on the hit comic and tv series; was released episodically in 5 installments over the year. Promoting narrative over action; the game introduced a new cast of characters that felt as human as possible; and the interactions and emotions the player felt with them formed the cornerstone of this heart wrenching title.
8. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
A new title by a new studio, this game sought to emulate the typical fantasy world and at the same time revolutionize the combat and actual gameplay usually found within. Beautiful scenery, huge open areas and the capacity for freedom on an incredibly level made this a surprise winner this year.
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7. Diablo 3
The long-awaited sequel to one of the most successful franchises of all time lead to some polarizing responses; but nevertheless millions turned out to see this event in gaming history unfold; leading to the infamous Error 37 jokes. Nevertheless, a top-tier game was still to be found within this title, providing hours of fun either solo or with friends.
6. Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops was a title that placed you in the role of a military unit; and then made you question everything about the casual nature of violence in both society and videogames. Involving both the player and the characters within at various levels to tell its narrative; it managed to have both surprisingly good shooter gameplay, and also a truly phenomenal story to tell.
5. Mass Effect 3
The long anticipated conclusion to the sage of Commander Shepard was almost as polarizing, if not more, than that of Diablo 3; with much criticism being leveled at especially the ending of the game. However, the massive sci-fi world created by Bioware still provided an epic unlike few others this generation; and the multitude of free DLC and multiplayer modes included have kept the fun going for this game even until now.
A spiritual successor to the Thief series, with elements of Bioshock included; Dishonored provided a dark, gritty, unique world with some of the most fun and varied gameplay possible. Let down only by a shorter than average playtime; the stage has been set for what we can only imagine will be even better sequels.
3. Assassin’s Creed 3
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Bringing the tale of Desmond Miles to its conclusion, Ubisoft have once again created an incredibly detailed world from the past that has within it hundreds of hours of possible gameplay activities to engage in. Assassin’s Creed has gone from strength to strength; as a good series really should.
2. Far Cry 3
“The Skyrim of FPS games.” But far from being derivative, Far Cry 3 is so named for the huge freedom and world you have been given to enjoy; filled with diverse characters, terrifying wildlife and beautiful scenery. A hauntingly engaging story mode carries you throughout this world; and it is an experience that shows the care that can go into a game on every level.
1. Dragons Dogma
The most exciting new IP this year; and my personal GOTY. Dragon’s Dogma takes the expected and uses it in ways that demonstrate exactly why those standards are still good; and at the same time reinvents tropes and gameplay to keep it fresh and exciting. With an epic storyline that has more twists than you would ever expect, gameplay that hardly ever gets boring; hours of gameplay; vast character customization; and a beautiful world; we can only hope that Capcom gives us a product of such amazing quality in this world again.