profile of Paul Verhoeven

Top Ten Games of 2012

Every gaming critic loves picking their Game of the Year. Even me (the idiot pictured above). But to be honest, it's far, far more edifying - and far easier - to pick a whole bunch of games that did it for them. And by did it, I mean ate up unfeasible amounts of time, and ensured the critic in question talked about nothing else with friends whilst playing. You know, the games that non-gamers were infuriated by throughout the year.

Well, here are my top ten games of 2013. Incidentally, this is also a great list of games to pick up if you missed out on them, and I'll endeavour to explain why in each entry. They aren't in any particular order, so let's begin!

BEST STORY: MAX PAYNE 3

Whilst Rockstar do have a tendency to ruin endings of games with crude, childlike angst, Max Payne 3 nailed down the best ending of the year. It also managed to tell a highly cinematic and deftly woven story, led by an incredibly three-dimensional hero whose final attempt at redemption proved the compelling, creamy filling in the tastiest goddamned detective explodey cake of all time. It also helps that the soundtrack by Health is fantastic, the combat is addictive, and the multiplayer is surprisingly tight.


(You can read our review of Max Payne 3 here)


BEST RE-RELEASE: BALDUR'S GATE ENHANCED EDITION

After months of delays, bugs and more delays, Beamdog managed to get Baldurs Gate: Enhanced Edition released. Well, to PC and iPad, at the very least (Mac OS X and Android releases are pending). The team managed to restore, refine and add to the award winning Baldurs Gate, a game which (shamefully) I never played back in 1998. Now, however, I'm thoroughly addicted. The port is clean, sleek and beautiful, and the iPad version is surprisingly intuitive. I also have a crush on the new companion, Neera. Don't tell anyone.


BEST INDIE GAME: FTL

FTL might well be the most addictive game of the year (but it isn't). It's essentially that episode of Battlestar where the crew have to make FTL (Faster Than Light) jumps to escape the oncoming storm that is the Cylon fleet. In FTL, you control a tatty little ship, viewed top-down, with not enough crew to maintain all systems, and this time, you're trying to make it through five sectors of space with information vital for… look, the plot is threadbare, but by god it works. FTL combines minimalist adventure with nail-biting tension, and it does it with a minimum of artifice. It's pretty much the perfect gaming experience.


(Check out our FTL review right here.)

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