Best games of 2012 were ventures to save humans from tyranny


People often ask how I choose my favorite games of the year.

It’s easy. They entertained me more than other games. They weren’t saddled with fun-ending problems. I think about them occasionally, because they stirred my brain. And if I wanted to replay games from 2012, I’d replay these.

1. “Mass Effect 3” by Electronic Arts for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC (rated “M”) — This adventure is as big as three novels or 20 sumptuous movies. It took me 55 hours to reach the climax. I loved every moment.

You portray Commander Shepard — as a man or a woman (that’s your choice). You command a space ship in a sci-fi future war against a sentient robot race and others.

You choose dialogue options and kill-targets; form alliances and demolish villains; engage in cover-shooting battles; and seduce underlings on your spaceship. It is epic good times.

2. “Hitman: Absolution” by Square Enix for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC (rated “M”) — You portray world-class assassin Agent 47, sneaking around mansions, farms and public squares. You can choose to stealthily eliminate only the top baddies, or go guns-ablazing and kill their henchmen, too. A perfect game.

3. “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” by Ubisoft for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC (“rated “M”) — You portray a U.S. special op, sneaking through secret ground missions, taking out bad guys, extracting prisoners and gathering intel. Superb.

4. “Lollipop Chainsaw” by Warner Bros Games for Xbox 360 and PS3 (rated “M”) — This creative absurdity starts dumb but soon becomes a fun and funny, tongue-in-cheek, T&A hack-and-slasher. You (a high school cheerleader) chainsaw zombies.

5. “Borderlands 2” by 2K Games for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC (rated “M”) — You travel deserts, caves and towns across a violent “Mad Max”-type planet, slaying sadistic people and creatures, while halting warlords.

6. “Dishonored” by Bethesda for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC (rated “M”) — As a warrior, you use supernatural powers (teleporting, stopping time) plus guns and swords to overturn an evil empire on a steampunk planet.

7 and 8. A tie between “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” by Activision for Xbox 360, PS 3, Wii U and PC (rated “M”); and “Halo 4” by Microsoft for Xbox 360 (rated “M”) — The two best online multiplayers.

9. “NCAA Football ‘13” by EA for Xbox 360 and PS 3 (rated “E”) — The best sports game of 2012.

10. “Kingdoms of Amular: Reckoning” by EA for Xbox 360, PS 3 and PC (rated “M”) — A very good action-role-playing fantasy set on a fictional planet resembling Earth as a king-and-dragon landscape.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

11. “Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.” 12. “Spec Ops: The Line.” 13. “Final Fantasy XIII-2.” 14. “Major League Baseball 2K12.” 15. “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.” 16. “Pro Evolution Soccer 2013.” 17. “Hot Shots Golf World Invitational.” 18. “The Darkness II.” 19. “Prototype 2.” 20. “NBA 2K13.”

Doug Elfman is an entertainment writer for the Las Vegas (NV) Review-Journal