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Best Games of 2012

By Gregory Rycharski
On February 28, 2013


   Amid all the talk of video games becoming obsolete due to IoS games, 2012 saw the launch of many new titles, a new console, and even a Disney movie based off of classic video games. It may be two months into 2013, but it's not too late to review some of the best from 2012, which saw several sequels and a revisited lineup from Nintendo dominate the landscape.

"Assassin's Creed III" (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation Vita, PC, Wii U (Port)) - When finding ways to avert the 2012 apocalypse, would the American Revolution be the first thing to come in mind?  According to "Assassin's Creed III," that's exactly what is needed. Taking place in a fictitious history from 1760 to 1783, the player takes control of an assassin in order to protect the newly-forming United States of America from the series enemies, the Templars. The player has an open world to work with, allowing the player to freely explore 18th century Boston, New York, the American Frontier, and even the Eastern Seaboard via ship. There are new weather effects such as snow, rain, and fog, as well as the addition of seasons that affect gameplay. There is additional downloadable content that contain new levels and new items for the player to come back to the game with a fresh challenge. When Nintendo released its Wii U console, a port of "Assassin's Creed III" was part of the launch title, which can use the Game Pad either as a map for TV play, or as the console screen for Off-TV Play. All platforms combined, "Assassin's Creed III" has sold nearly 10 million units.

"Call of Duty: Black Ops II" (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U (Port)) - Despite the backlash against first-person shooters stemming from the Aurora and Newton massacres in the United States, "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" sales were driven by North America yet again, selling over 7 million of the 11 million total copies sold. Featuring futuristic weapons and branching storylines, "Black Ops II" grossed over $500 million worldwide to become the biggest entertainment launch of all time. Bonus features of the game include Zombies mode, where the player is pitted against an undead hoard to see how many can be killed before the player dies, or an eight player four-vs-four-vs-zombies shootout. As with many games of 2012, the game received a port onto the Wii U, which moves many of the controls onto the Gamepad.

"Halo 4" (November 6th, Xbox 360) - The fourth installment in the "Halo" series has been well-received by fans, with nearly eight million units copies sold. The shooter game takes place four years after "Halo 3," and has supersoldier Master Chief stranded on an alien planet, and must find a way home while protecting Earth from an ancient superpower. Later, the player can have access to Spartan Ops mode for additional playtime. In addition, there are the usual online multiplayer campaigns where players form teams to fight to the death or complete certain objectives. Since release, "Halo 4" has sold nearly eight million copies.

"New Super Mario Brothers 2" (July 28th, Nintendo 3DS) - At first glance, this appears to be another installment of the long-run "New Super Mario Bros." series, which has been in existence since 2006. A direct sequel to the original game, it features Mario or Luigi (again) rescuing Princess Peach (again) from Bowser and his minions (again). However, the newest installment packs a few new crucial elements. There is an emphasis on collecting gold coins, of which there are hundreds packed into each level. All coins collected are saved as a total amount, which can be uploaded via SpotPass to Nintendo Network to add to the total amount of coins collected, which, as of January 30th, was over half a trillion coins. With nearly 5.5 million copies worldwide, New Super Mario Bros 2 is the third-best selling title for the 3DS, behind "Super Mario 3D Land" and "Mario Kart 7." Along with "Paper Mario: Sticker Star," "Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance," and "Kid Icarus: Uprising," "New Super Mario Bros 2" is part of a heavy 2012 lineup that finally gave the 3DS a deep library of games to choose from.

"Nintendo Land" (November 18th, Wii U (Launch Title)) - Nintendo has had a bit of a rough patch with the Wii U thus far. Sales have been lackluster after the initial launch period, with all fingers pointing to the shallow launch pool and lack of good games. As Nintendo has announced a massive list of new games for the Wii U in 2013, Nintendo Land, which came bundled with the Deluxe Console, shows us what we might expect from these games. A simple amusement park theme attraction with twelve minigame attractions (three team, three competitive, and six solo) beautifully displays the capabilities of the gamepad's usage as a fifth controller. Selling 2.33 million copies, "Nintendo Land"has become the blueprint for what gaming on the Wii U will be like.

"Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2" (October 7, Nintendo DS) -It's unusual enough that Pokémon, a franchise tied so much into Nintendo's success, has stubbornly stayed away from the 3DS system for so long, electing to stay on the aging Nintendo DS. Even more unusual is that Game Freak's latest installments, "Pokémon Black 2" and "Pokémon White 2," are a direct sequel to their generation's predecessors, rather than a counterpart like previous versions did. In addition to the usual mechanics of becoming a Pokémon Master, "Black 2" and "White 2" adds new areas to explore, with all-new Gym Leaders to battle; PokéStar Studios, where the player can participate in the filming of short movies; and the Pokémon World Tournament, where the player can compete against Gym Leaders and Champions from around the world. The games are also able to connect with the downloadable 3DS title "Pokémon Dream Radar" and the online "Pokémon Dream World," allowing the player to obtain even more Pokémon and items for use. The games have combined to sell over 6 million copies, and provide a fitting farewell to the Pokémon franchise's 2D titles.

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