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, PS 3 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 war against robots
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, PS 3 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, PS 3 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 PS 3 (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, PS 3 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, PS 3 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.
Doug Elfman is an award-winning entertainment columnist who lives in Las Vegas. He blogs at http://www.lvrj.com/columnists/ Doug_Elfman.html. Twitter at @VegasAnonymous.