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Game of the Year Awards 2012

New Game Network staff make their annual selections for the best video games of the year!

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Introduction  |  Gameplay Awards  |  Special Awards  |  Genre Awards  |  GOTY

Best Shooter
Best shooter Game 2012 Borderlands 2

"The first game saw you murdering your way through huge numbers of bandits and a few select monster types that had one obvious weakness. The sequel greatly improves on this by introducing all kinds of different enemies that try and kill you in assorted ways. Good aim and lucky loot drops will reveal greater advantages than a well-balanced character build. So once again it is up to the gunplay and the guns to make Borderlands 2 worth playing. Like the original, these two elements are easily the game's biggest strength. It won't take long before you start finding some crazy weapons, and they only get bigger, better and more interesting as you progress through the game. Gearbox has taken the randomly-generated gun system to whole new levels here, adding a new elemental type and variables that make it all the more exciting when you see a weapon fly off the corpse of a hard-vanquished foe. The weapon manufacturers are also more distinct, with each company's weapons having distinct advantages and disadvantages. Each manufacturer has distinct attributes for their weapons, and you will probably find a favourite during your travels." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions:

Far Cry 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Max Payne 3, Starhawk


Best Action Game
Best action Game 2012 Sleeping Dogs

"When it comes to action, Sleeping Dogs is a unique beast. Wei will very infrequently wield a melee weapon – even less often, a gun. There are no stores that sell guns or ammo, so most of the shooting will be done during specific story missions where guns can be picked off from enemies. Even so, you will be unlikely to keep the weapon after their conclusion. Interestingly, this makes the guns feel extremely satisfying to use and they feel great during firefights. When aiming and vaulting over objects, the game automatically enters slow motion, letting you aim and take down multiple opponents in style. During the vehicle chases you get similarly great-looking takedowns, as cars roll and explode in slow motion after shooting out their tires. And finally, you’re able to “action-hijack” nearby vehicles if you drive beside them and hit a prompt at the right moment to land on the roof of the target vehicle and take it over. Things don’t get as obsessive as Stranglehold, but these time slowing mechanics add just enough personality to the flow of the action." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions:

Dishonored, Far Cry 3, Darksiders 2, Assassin's Creed 3


Best Racing Game
best racing game 2012 Forza Horizon

"Forza Horizon is what happens when you throw in a mix of Need for Speed, DiRT, and Test Drive Unlimited with some classic Forza. Accessible, fun, and engaging, Forza Horizon succeeds in all aspects. What first seemed like a risky spinoff or even just a cash-in, Forza Horizon has instead blossomed into an experience that shouldn’t be missed by racing fans this year." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions:

NFS Most Wanted, Trials Evolution, F1 2012


Best Strategy Game
Best strategy Game 2012 Xcom

"With XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Firaxis Games have shown once again that they are more than capable of reimagining classic strategy games for the current generation. Fans of the original game will be pleased with the modern game engine and visuals providing a nice backdrop to the hardcore turn based action, and a punishing difficulty that remains fully intact. It's mostly XCOM as the fans of the original game remember it, so prepare for a tough challenge that may take much of your free time." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions:

Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai, Civilization V: Gods & Kings


Best Adventure Game
Best Adventure Game 2012 The Walking Dead

"Even though the Walking Dead is an adventure at its core, it plays more like an interactive movie in the style of Heavy Rain rather than a classic point-and-click. It becomes evident from the start that the game emphasizes on the story and characters rather than the puzzles. In fact, each puzzle that Lee comes across is easily solved by using a couple of items that he has previously collected. This is by no means a disadvantage, as difficult puzzles and a huge inventory would take away from the overall experience and eventually harm the game. Even if the choices the player makes do not heavily affect the big parts of the story, the game perfectly succeeds in giving you the illusion that everything that happens is a consequence of your own actions." - Annie H

Honorable Mentions:

Journey, Deponia, Botanicula, I Am Alive


Best Role Playing Game
Best Role Playing Game 2012 Mass Effect 3

"After BioWare took Mass Effect 2 in a more shooter-heavy direction than its primarily role-playing focused predecessor, they have one again gone back to tinkering with the genre scales for the third and final iteration of the epic science fiction trilogy. While it plays much more like Mass Effect 2 than 1, BioWare has combined elements from the first two games, and have hit the sweet spot as far as gameplay and pacing is concerned. Better weapon, level and enemy variety make for more interesting combat, and interactive conversations are as compelling as ever." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions:

Guild Wars 2, Torchlight 2, Risen 2: Dark Waters, Darksiders 2


Best Sports Game
Best sports Game 2012 SSX

"Following in the newly resurrected footsteps of other arcade-style, over-the-top sports games like NBA Jam and NFL Blitz, SSX is one of the most successful franchise resurrections over the past several years. The core mechanics and central atmosphere that made SSX the standard upon which all other snowboarding games were and are judged are all here and for the most part, have been improved or built upon to create new and interesting experiences. While some may miss the lack of simultaneous, local multiplayer, the game’s largest addition RiderNet keeps the activities and incentives coming well past the game’s usual lifespan. Global events, a wealth of gear to collect, and constant competition makes this an SSX that feels simultaneously new and old. For the most part, that is a great thing." - Christian Sorrell

Honorable Mentions:

FIFA 13, Football Manager 2013, MLB 12: The Show, FIFA Street


Best Platforming Game
Best Platforming Game 2012 Fez

"FEZ is a game about shifting paradigms, specifically, that of the perceived relationship between 2 and 3 dimensional space. But even more so FEZ is a love letter to the history of videogames themselves, looking back with a nostalgic eye for the unfettered simplicity and joyful discovery of those pre-3D designs, and nurturing them into that 3rd dimension more naturally than the 90’s ever did. Describing FEZ’s spatial reasoning can easily sound obtuse, like an overly complex Paper Mario or Crush. But what could have quickly expanded into a mind boggling conundrum of control is introduced gradually with such elegant coherence that it soon becomes as much an acceptable part of videogame logic as hopping between platforms." - Matthew Sawrey

Honorable Mentions:

Mark of the Ninja, New Super Mario Bros U, Trials Evolution, Darksiders 2


Best Puzzle Game
Best puzzle Game 2012 Quantum Conundrum

"The quirks of each dimension are demonstrated very well, teaching you basic tricks and then progressing to combinations. One early move is to make a heavy object light, using the fluffy dimension, and throw it before switching dimensions. It crashes through glass or lands on a pressure switch so you can progress to the next area. Slowing time allows you to jump onto a fast moving object and surf your way to the next area. You can then combine these skills: throwing a heavy object, slowing time, and then jumping on the very object you just threw. The steady progress is great and there are no unfair solutions." - Ben T

Honorable Mentions:

Botanicula, Closure, Crashmo


Best Arcade Game
Best arcade Game 2012 Hotline Miami

"High speed and hyper violence are on the agenda for most of the game. Despite the basic pixelated graphics, this is one of the most gory games you will play this year. The AI is dumb and predictable, so you can use this to your advantage. You will die a lot when playing through Hotline Miami, but it is never frustrating, as the levels are short, and you instantly respawn. Replay value comes from attempting to get high scores on each level. Hotline Miami is crazily gory, fast paced, and amazing fun." - Matt Porter

Honorable Mentions:

Mark of the Ninja, Dance Central 3, Sine Mora, Trials Evolution


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