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Game of the Year 2012

Stephen Meyerink's Awards
5) The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav (PC)
I'm a huge fan of quality, old-school style adventure games – you know, the ones that demand a little thought and will occasionally leave you scratching your head in confusion as you muddle about for a while? The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav is exactly that, and more. The game's incredibly gorgeous artwork and sense of atmosphere brought me back to the glory days of King's Quest, and the dialogue between Geron and Nuri was always a pleasure. And the soundtrack? Totally fantastic. Even in spite of frustrating performance issues, it's one of my favorite adventures in years.

4) Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Say what you will about Curt Schilling's business practices, but 38 Studios made one of the most enjoyable and accessible open-world RPGs in a long time. The combat is thrilling and you can play it any way you choose. There's also a ton of stuff to do, beautiful art design, and a whole lot of lore to dig into. Give me Amalur over Skyrim any day of the week.

3) Diablo III (PC)
I'm one of "those people." And by that I mean one of the people who spent hundreds of hours magic finding, doing blood runs, cow runs, Baal runs, and stealing SOJs from foolish noobs in Diablo II. So, I was of course quite delighted to finally get to play Diablo III this year. While I don't think it'll have quite the longevity of its predecessor, it's still a fantastic action RPG that scratched the slash-stab-loot itch far more than its oft-mentioned rival Torchlight II did. I say this fully aware that fellow editor Dave Yeager may hunt me down in my sleep for casting aspersions on his love.

2) Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360, PC, PS3)
In spite of all the negativity and bile surrounding BioWare, Mass Effect 3, and EA this year, one thing I never lost sight of was the sheer joy I felt while playing through the final chapter in Commander Taelus Shepard's story. I'm a staunch opponent of the ending, its extension, and all of their implications for the series moving forward, but the combat, multiplayer, and character development were all top-notch and some of the most memorable gaming I've ever had. Top that off with the most outstanding soundtrack in the series and you've got a recipe for a great finale. Which then tanks. But still, blah blah blah the journey and all that jazz. I'll never be whole again.

1) Borderlands 2 (Xbox 360, PC, PS3)
Borderlands 2 is my Diablo II of this generation, and with over 90 hours logged in the game, I'm still having a great time. It probably helps that I've played the entire thing with the same three friends that I conquered the original with, but in spite of whatever occasional tedium or jank the game throws our way, we've enjoyed every second of Handsome Jack's tale. There's a boatload of stuff to do in the game, tons of jokes and references to catch, and ever-more increasingly ridiculous weaponry and outlandish characters to stumble across. If your goal is to have fun, Borderlands 2 and some good pals will git chu rollin'.

Biggest Disappointment
Nope, Still No Chrono Cross Arrange Album
You'll continue to hear about this.

Best DLC
Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Dark Souls is awesome and I love it and more of it on PC was as wonderful as fuzzy teddy bears and warm hugs, two things you'll need after playing it.

Best Game I Shouldn't Have Waited Until This Year To Play
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (DS)
Morphogenetics, folks. My goodness.

Sinking Ship Award
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (3DS)
It's probably too late for this absolute disaster of a plot, but could Square-Enix at least have the decency to throw in some Disney worlds that aren't garbage window-dressing? Maybe let Donald and Goofy do something besides stand around and look upset? Or even just remember that in a thirty hour game, there are good places to include plot development besides the final twenty minutes? That would probably get in the way of their goal to make everything as flashy and soulless as possible, but who knows. Maybe Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Vol. II Turbo Assault Battery Flashtime Soul Seminar Xemnas Roxanort Edition will get things back on track.

Music?
MUSIC!

Overall Awards
Traditional RPG Action RPG Graphic Adventure Strategy RPG Indie RPG MMORPG Port or Re-release Downloadable Content (DLC) Best Combat Best Visuals Best Sound Best Story
Reader's Choice
Reader's Choice Best RPG of 2012
And the winner is...
Best RPG of 2012
Editors' Picks
Abraham Ashton Liu Andrew Barker Dave Yeager Derek Heemsbergen John McCarroll Kyle E. Miller Neal Chandran Robert Steinman Stephen Meyerink


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