2012: A mediocre vintage?

We’re three days into 2013, which means that bloggers, journalists and reviewers have to do that tedious ‘top things from the past year’ round-up thing. I thought I’d do this too, but I’ll be honest… I don’t have a terribly huge amount to say, because I didn’t play a fantastic amount of new games this year (because unlike real games reviewers, I can’t afford everything).

The only problem is, when I think back over the year, very few of the games would actually make a top five list. The titles I played were…alright at best, but at the very worst vastly over-hyped and disappointing.

So here’s my 2012 Short-List of Mediocrity, in no particular order. Some of these I’ve written about before, but I’ve looked back at for this, and some are brand new things I’ve not had time to review before.

1: Mass Effect 3
All criticisms of the ending aside, it wasn’t too bad. It tries to answer most of the questions you’re presented with throughout the series, gameplay was pretty much the same as always, and the characters will occasionally break your heart. -BUT- the ending is a slap to the face, and it let the rest of the game down.

2: The Walking Dead
Telltale hasn’t had a great run with the Point-and-Click Adventure genre (see Jurassic Park), but The Walking Dead is, by and large, an exception to this rule. The story is immersive and emotionally harrowing at times, and fairly intuitive to play- but I didn’t find it to be the revelation that others did. The much touted mechanic where the decisions you make are carried across the 5 episodes didn’t always work- so characters would mention things you never said. The puzzles, which are ordinarily such a important part of P&C Adventures were too simple, and final episode was full of contradictions and unnecessary twists.

3: Dishonoured (I’m British, I’ll spell it properly, damn it)
Ohh, this one had so much promise. A steampunk stealth game, using the same level designer as Half-Life 2. Sadly, it wasn’t nearly as good. The AI had been taking stupid pills, and there was something rather… incomplete about the whole experience. I hate accusing developers of rushing their games, but this one felt quite hollow. I felt like I should have felt more immersed in the story than I actually was. Also, giving your audience a set of skills tailored towards killing, but then making the game punish you for using them is a very daft idea.

4: Assassin’s Creed 3
I’ve said many things about AC3, but I think of it’s perhaps the most undeservingly praised game of the year. The story, while having an advantage over the other games because it’s not about sodding Ezio, is predictable. The gameplay sections with Desmond are boring and largely not important to the overall direction of the game, which is sad for a game that spent so much time making this guy seem important. The assassinations are few, and the chase scenes are many, and the ending is about as satisfying as a lump of coal at Christmas.

So there you go, a little demonstration of how most of the games I played from this year were mostly a bit of a let down.

Happy New Year.