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Posted December 22, 2012 by Zeth in Features
 
 

Hidden Games of 2012

2012-1
2012-1

Hidden Games of 2012 helps bring to the forefront a  few titles that might not have gotten the love and attention they deserve.  With 2012 coming to a close and  people looking for gifts or ways to entertain themselves over the festive period we’ve put together this little list of treasures you might have only glanced at before:

The Unfinished Swan – Is it truly a game? Yeah I think so. Giant Sparrow’s tech-demo turned 4 hour gaming experience certainly is deserving of your coin. Utilising a wonderful blank canvas mechanic at the start you truly do get a wondrous feeling of exploration – of entering the truly unknown. Not many games, or most media, can truly hand us the “experience” of the unknown any more. As you track through the different zones looking for the swan of the title you truly do feel attached to the experience and the surge to explore more.

 

 

 

Hotline Miami – A game that on initial glance looks like a cross between a neon-trip and an emulated Amiga game. The retro-chic of Hotline Miami should turn your stomach but it’s just so damn good! Capturing all the charm and quirks from that era of gaming, mixing it with a super-slick soundtrack and hilarious moments is an absolute winner. Yet, despite great praise and much buzz, the game is still a mystery to so many PC gamers. Take a chance and indulge yourself in this little slice of retro heaven. If you’re a long time gamer you’re bound to get the scores of in-jokes and reference.

The Unfinished Swan

Binary Domain – So much smack was talked about this game when it released back in February 2012. Sega had taken the bold, yet well worn, path of trying to make a good Gears of War clone. It fell flat for so many. Critics threw it under bus after bus as a “poor Gears clone”. The price slumped and the game dropped off the radar. Which is a HUGE shame as it’s actually pretty great! The shooting is a little “off” in places but you soon compensate. The dismemberment of ro0bot enemies is immensely satisfying and the characters and story turn out to be genuinely interesting once you’re past the initial few chapters. I’d recommend this to pretty much anyone who enjoys third person shooters and at the bargain bin price you can find it at you’d be getting a steal!

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – The much talked about 38 Studios never did ship Copernicus, AKA their Kingdoms of Amalur MMORPG title. What they did manage though was to get long time RTS makers Big Huge Games to make a superb Action-RPG title. Amalur hit the streets a meer few weeks prior to Mass Effect 3. Maybe it was this or the fact EA seemed to back away from the title that caused it to pass with minor applause. Critics were favourable, praising it’s huge world, deep story and strong mechanics. Sink though it did and now can be found languishing at the bottom of 101 bargain bins. I picked it up and enjoyed every last moment with it. A very satisfying combat system, rich story and epic scale. It’s only real problem was it had an abundance of mundane side-quests at times. For the money it’s currently at it’s a certain crowd pleaser for any RPG or action-RPG fan.

Sine Mora – A bullet hell shooter in 2012? Surely you must be mistaken… and it’s by Grasshopper Manufacturer (they of Lollipop Chainsaw, Mad World and Shadows of the Damned fame). The game was received very well, looks gorgeous and outperforms even the most classic of bullet-hell shooters. That said it seems to have failed to gain much traction. Maybe because the market is not there.. or maybe because the names a little abstract… who knows? All I can say is that the title is superb and play like a charm – well worth a download!

Sine Mora

Sine Mora

Syndicate – Many, many people were worried about this sequel to Bullfrog’s classic RTS title. Even though developer Starbreeze had yet to really put a foot wrong confidence was low when it was announced that Syndicate would be a first person shooter this time out. Even EA appeared to back away from the release with some truly bizarre marketing strategies. What Starbreeze delivered was NOT really Syndicate. But it was at least interesting! The single player was OK, very, very OK. It frustrated in places but otherwise played good enough. The multiplayer though seemed to have a nice depth and feel to it that really could have ran and ran if only the allowed DLC had shipped. But sadly that was canned early on after poor sales. Syndicate can be picked up very cheaply now, especially on PC(for under £5/$5). This game is still great fun and you should be confident that you’d easily get £15/$15 of entertainment out of it even if you never touched the multiplayer.

Asura’s Wrath – From the same team that has been slaving away on those crazy Naruto fighters for years on end came this little gem. Overlooked by pretty much everyone, this game was just flat out crazy from start to end! Utilising the fighting mechanics honed doing the Naruto series this game melded face-melting onscreen action, with ludicrous quick-time events to create a truly unique experience that you really have to play to appreciate.

Dragon’s Dogma – Capcom have struggled this year to find any kind of foothold. Dragon’s Dogma though was a shining example of the company trying to embrace something new and run with it. It had some flaws. Initial sales were strong and it wowed plenty of critics with its massive open world, hard core play style and well plotted story. Frame rate issues and a general lack of polish dragged those scores down though. It still remains a fan favourite but hasn’t penetrated any further in to the market. Which is a shame when a game deserves more universal play-time.

Asura’s Wrath

FTL – Subset games managed to capture the essence of the much maligned Rogue like series of games and put it in to a package that appealed to the masses. FTL is a space flight simulation title at it’s heart but it involves so much more beside. Trying to balance the delicate nature of ship life with making your deliveries across the galaxy is hard enough but a persistent ship and a rock hard level of difficulty make it a challenging and rewarding experience too. Well received by all critics, it’s the budding star ship captains dream come true.

Dust: An Elysian Tale – Dust was a massive gamble for sole developer Dead Dodrill. He made a brave design choice with his style of visuals that has both paid off and limited it’s appeal. Many dismiss Dust: An Elysian Tale as a cutesy or kids title – it’s far from it! This superb action RPG can give you hours upon hours of pure enjoyment if you can look past the colourful visuals to the core game beneath. That said the visuals are superbly realised and personally I really love them. The game had a handful of small niggles with combat tightness and some poor voice work but for a game made by one single dude.. you have to give it utmost respect.

Sound Shapes – A unique title for a new platform. Sound Shapes was supposed to be a massive attractant for PS Vita purchasers. A quirky sound based side scroller with music from people like Beck and Deadmau5. This all went a little south when it was announced for PS3 as well but the fact still remains this is an intensely fun, unique and satisfying downloadable title that should be experienced by the masses. You do much worse than to spend a few PSN coins on this one.


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.