To follow is Brendon’s choice for Game of the Year of 2012. Actually, as with Nick it was his second choice, but we all agreed on overall Game of the Year which you will find out very soon. In the meantime, click on the image below to find out to which game did Brendon bestow the honours.
This year we had so many great games and it was hard to keep up to date with them all. But this year, the game that I kept coming back to time after time and stayed up till the early hours of the morning to play was XCOM Enemy Unknown. XCOM did so many things differently to every other game that came out in the second half of this year and encompassed the “one more turn” type of experience that comes with addictive strategy games. Big budget turn-based strategy games are a very rare thing to come by and it was such a relief to see Firaxis get it so right in a market that was, at the time, dominated by shooters and action games.
In a year where storytelling in video games broke new ground, XCOM completely did away with that wishy-washy nonsense and said “aliens are invading Earth, deal with it”. This created a unique experience for anyone who’s played XCOM before, where a lot of the story develops itself in the player’s imagination. The most memorable experiences are sharing the stories players have associated with their own customizable characters. Each member of your squad is gone forever once they die and after growing attached to your favourite sniper, seeing them get shot in the face with a plasma rifle can be quite distressing. Players have made a habit of naming their squad after people they know in real life–making it quite amusing to tell that person when they die on their first mission.
So many strategy games are doomed to fade into obscurity because they often forget to actually make their games fun and rewarding. Despite the large amount of micro management often becoming intense, it never becomes a chore, even when the games last many hours. There’s also enough choices to be made that adds a lot of replay value and despite my growing pile of games I’m yet to play, I keep coming back to XCOM over and over and will be doing so for a long time.