I seemingly like things.
I’m bored. So I decided to write up a top five of sorts for all the things I’ve played, seen and heard this year. Except it’s a top three for the things I’ve heard this year. Mostly because I’ve haven’t listened to a great deal this year.
The top five games you would have already seen thanks to the post I made a few weeks ago. But because I am a lazy sod, I’ve copy and pasted said top five from that post.
Other than that, here ya go.
5 – Trials Evolution
This is one of those rarities where the difficult second album is better than the debut. Evolution is miles and beyond better than HD. And that, in itself, was a great game. Much more fleshed out, leaderboards even more competitive this time round and a UGC aspect that allowed you to build you own game outside of a racer. But outside of that, just a terrific racer.
4 – Forza Horizon
This is the best racer this year bar none. Probably even one of the best this generation. We all needed a replacement for Test Drive Unlimited following its online closure earlier this year. Placed in the hands of a studio besides Turn 10 for the first time in the IP’s history, Playground’s debut effort had everything great about it: a buzzing open-world, an incredible selection of cars and the best licensed soundtrack in games in a long time.
3 – Mass Effect 3
That ending. Some of the boss fights. It really soured for me what was, until those points, a fantastic game (and it still was a great game, but kind of felt watered down after experiencing said fights/ending). In fact, it wasn’t even in my top ten for the year after dropping out thanks to numerous games. I recently replayed it and I actually had a much more fun experience for it (not to mention, the Extended Cut actually made me sympathise with the ending). Not my GOTY – unlike its predecessor – but I’m really glad I replayed it.
2 – Journey
I was all but certain this was going to be my Game of the Year without so much as a challenge from any other game in the same vein that Mass Effect 2 was my GOTY when it released in 2010 (despite Heavy Rain and Alan Wake coming out that year – and those two games are some of my favorite games this generation!). But despite no longer being being on top of the mantle, I can’t praise Journey enough. I was a big fan of Flower, but even I didn’t expect Journey to blow me away the way it did by the time I played the beta last year. It’s enchanting in so many ways. And speaking to its director in Jenova Chen remains a personal career highlight for me. Please, you owe yourself to buy this – it’s one of the best games of the generation.
1 – The Walking Dead
Point and click. I’ve never played them in my life, so I have (am) missed (missing) out on games like Pirate Island and Grim Fandango, as well as a few others, I’m sure. But Telltale popped my P+C cherry in probably the most dramatic, emotional and gripping way possible. It was an adventure game open to everyone, set in a well established multimedia IP. Add in one of the greatest stories of gaming not just this generation, but in the past decade, and you’ve done something right. Something that raises the bar. Something that other developers keen on storytelling in games should take note of. The fact it overthrew Journey as my GOTY late in the year when I only bought the series in October when I expected Journey to run away with it speaks volumes of how much an amazing job Telltale did. If you haven’t, please play The Walking Dead. For you. For Telltale. For Clementine.
5 – Avengers Assemble
This is one of the best comic films I’ve seen since Spiderman 2. And that’s before seeing The Amazing Spider-Man either side of this film’s release. With Whedon returning for a sequel (plus spin-off TV show), the first film’s success is deserving.
4 – The Dark Knight Rises
A lot of flack was given towards the movie, but to hell with the hate. I loved the final chapter in Nolan’s trilogy. I actually think it’s the best. And that ending. That ending.
3 – Argo
I first heard of this movie when I was at Hideo Kojima’s BAFTA seminar during Eurogamer Expo. He wouldn’t stop tweeting about it after his PAX Ground Zeroes showing and he happened to mention it at said BAFTA seminar. On that basis, I checked it out. He really wasn’t shilling it, it actually is a genuinely good movie. A great political thriller at its finest.
2 – Skyfall
A few years ago, I had wondered if, considering the amount of time they had’ve had the character stick around, they would make a movie pretty much revolve around M. Skyfall is that movie. It’s Skyfall that we get to see the birth of a brand new James Bond. But most of all, Judi Dench really brings it home with her best performance as M ever.
1 – Lost in Translation
I realise I’m very late to the party on this one. But then again, I was 12 when this first came out in 2003. Nearly ten years later, I checked it out on a whim on Netflix. And I can’t believe I didn’t watch it sooner. It really is one of the most carefree movies I’ve ever seen. Not to mention, the soundtrack is one of the best I’ve heard in a film, with the chemistry between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson also brilliant. Bonuses of seeing Scarlett Johansson in pink hair (via a wig) and her arse in see-through pants at the beginning aside, I’m literally kicking myself for not being able to see it sooner. It’s a genuinely fantastic feel good film.
3 – The Killers – Battle Born
Not up there with Hot Fuss or Sam’s Town, but it’s a hell of a lot better than Day and Age. On its own merits, though, it’s great.
Standout songs: Miss Atomic Bomb, Battle Born, The Way It Was
2 – M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Told you I hadn’t listened to a great deal in 2012. This is a default entrant after starting to listen to it at the start of the year. Still an amazing album, though.
Standout songs: Midnight City, New Map, Outro
1 – Sigur Ros – Valtari
While I liked its last album, Valtari is definitely the more of a return to the () days. Hence why it’s my album of the year.
Standout songs: Ég anda, Ekki Múkk, Varúð