I will start it off, I am going to share my GOTY and the runner-up.
My GOTY for 2012 is...
The Walking Dead
by Telltale Games
Platform: pretty much everyone know to man, including iOS
The Walking Dead video game by Telltale Games is truly a triumph.
It did something I was absolutely convinced the medium of video games would not achieve for quite some time, if ever. It made me tear up just like I was watching the end of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial or Forrest Gump or Watership Down. I was seriously, seriously choked up.
I just did not believe the medium of video games was there yet. Ironically the graphics, while beautifully stylized, are hardly the best the video game world has to offer either and are in fact the furthest thing from realistic. I actually believe this choice not to make the characters and graphics realistic helped them achieve the end result of being incredibly moving. If they "The Uncanny Valley" route, it probably would have made things way less believable and effective. Instead they relied on an incredibly moving story, which is all it really takes at the end of the day.
For those who may not know about the game, it is a dialog/decision based action adventure game in which your choices have consequences and affect the outcome of how the game plays out. The modern day equivalent of the choose your own adventure books that were popular, at least in my childhood. Another fairly new aspect of the game was it was broken down into 5 episodes initially, each one released about a month apart. Which really helped create the tension and cliff hanger aspect of both the comic book and television show respectively. However they just recently released all 5 episodes as one stand alone retail game for $30.
if you like video games, you absolutely have to play it. If you are a fan of the show or comic book and just a casual video game player, I think you still need to play it. It is available for the Mac, Windows, XBox 360, PS3, and iOS. Here is more info. Great game, and truly quite an achievement and advancement for the aspect of story telling in video games.
My GOTY for 2012 Runner-Up is...
I already posted this in the ZombiU thread in the Nintendo console, so just reposting it.
The use of the WiiU's GamePad in this game is about as good of a use that I can possibly imagine a launch title having, and honestly I think it is probably going to go down as one of the overall better uses of the GamePad period. It is without a doubt an enhancement and an extension to the gameplay, and hardly ever feels gimmicky. The only corny use of it so far has been planks on doors, in which you have to tap to remove them. Everything else makes perfect sense. The inventory management element, you look down when you loot most corpses and cabinets, it also is the environment scanner... All of these elements really make great use of the GamePad itself. And they do add a level of tension to the game as well.
ZombiU is very much a CLASSIC survival horror game IMO as it is at times slow and deliberate. This to me is what makes it so damn good actually. It treats the genre as it used to be before it got taken over by trying to be action adventure games as well. In this regards it reminds me some of Silent Hill 1-3. It is also pretty damn brutal as far as just how easy it is to die. One misstep can and does lead to death. There are some infuriating instances early on you will probably die a whole lot in fact. It was those instances however that helped me change my overall approach to the game. This is another great aspect of the game to me. It makes no apologies for things. You do not move on until you figure out a better way. This is another nod to how games used to handle things... there really is not a whole lot of hand holding.
Perhaps the largest critique I read on the negative reviews was the combat felt clunky. This is no doubt the element I think some people are just not getting. The combat being "clunky" is very much deliberate. Call Of Duty style of gameplay this game certainly is not. It is, again, methodical. You are not powerful (at least not within the first 3 hours), and the combat reminds you of this fact. You have to be smart with things. Going in guns blazing so to speak is not going to work. You have to survey the situation, and actually come up with a plan. One that usually consists of things like finding the best area to fight from. And actually taking the time to close doors and barricade them. It is no doubt a thinking mans game, at least to get the most out of it.
I really feel this is probably one of the better survival horror video games to come out in quite some time. It is pretty damn unforgiving, and truly creates a tensions filled atmosphere where you are on edge most of the time.
So I realize not a lot of people will probably be able to even comment about playing the game, as it does not appear that we have a ton of people here on the forum that did pick up a WiiU. Only a handful. To that handful though, I strongly encourage you to pick up this game if you have not done so already. It is definitely a very unique experience overall, I also think for fans of the survival horror genre it is pretty much a must play, and it really is a great example of the WiiU's GamePad being used to enhance a game overall.
So those are my GOTY and Runner-Up. What is yours?
Also be sure to check out the Neogamr podcast this week on Tuesday night, it will be a Year In Games 2012 episode.