Staff Picks

2012 was a banner year for games at the top of heap. There were many games that deserve to be in anyone’s top ten, so it was more difficult to rank my top games than ever before this year. In fact, I wouldn’t argue against any of my top seven games. However, little things differentiate them ever so slightly to me, resulting in the list below. I recommend all of them to anyone who loves games. READ MORE

For me, 2012 wasn’t the year of the breakout all-time favorites, but rather one when it got super-tough to judge games’ relative quality. In this year like none before, game experiences are so apples-to-oranges. How do you compare Journey to Rhythm Heaven Fever? Or Sound Shapes to Mass Effect 3? Here’s my best attempt, but these games are all brilliant, as are a few that didn’t make the cut.

10. LittleBigPlanet Vita

Portable versions of console games. Sony’s gotten into some trouble in the past with this sort of approach, but with the Vita edition of LittleBigPlanet, it took the right approach. Touch controls are elegantly-implemented in most levels, and the App Store-like approach to community levels (save states and all) is very nice. It’s the type of game that’s best downloaded, as it’s a great palette cleanser after any other title.  READ MORE

10. Reflec Beat+

Released only last month, this is one of the newest games on my favorite list. While there might only be 15 available songs at the time of this writing, it’s another Konami music game I’ve grown to love. While the game looks like a convoluted game of musical ping-pong, the arcade game makes its way to US iOS devices with the same challenge that Konami brings to all its music games. I’m excited to see what they release in the future as far as music goes for this game. READ MORE

10. Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is not just another Grand Theft Auto clone. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me tell you why it exceeds where previous sandbox games have failed. The world is gorgeous, the story starts strong and gets exceedingly good as it goes, and the basic structure always feels varied without introducing one too many elements. There are plenty of serious moments, but like any good sandbox, you also have plenty of chances to mess around and have a good time. This is a game that stayed with me long after I finished it and reinvigorated my love for open world games once again.  READ MORE

Editor’s note: From now until January 2, we’ll be sharing our individual favorites from 2012.

10. Orcs Must Die! 2

Orcs Must Die! was great, and the sequel improves on it in every way. There are more traps, more interesting maps, more playable characters, more download packs, more enemy types and the addition of cooperative play. My only complaint with OMD!2 is that my favorite weapon, the swinging mace, is not as effective as it was in the original. READ MORE