Being a frugal gamer was incredible in 2012. Most of the games I played last year were priced at next to nothing or at nothing at all. A lot of online games hopped into the free-to-play bandwagon. These F2P games kept me occupied, and gave me something to write about. Independent developers also found ways to get their products to the public. So, there were no short supply of cheap and excellent indie titles in the market. The downside: I’m now 17 games richer and $359 poorer.
I exceeded my yearly gaming budget of $250 by $109! But, quite honestly, 17 games for $359 isn’t that bad at all. Besides, only 4 of these games (Mass Effect 3, Legend of Grimrock, Diablo III and Guild Wars 2) were paid for in full price. The rest of the games were bought during a sale. So, the bargain-hunting cheapskate in me still feels a tiny bit accomplished.
In addition, I love almost all of the games that I bought from last year. Which made it difficult for me to decide as to who takes home the “Best Game of 2012” award. In the end, after a day of deliberation with myself, I’ve decided to have two major categories, based on pricing: Frugal Game of the Year and Game of the Year awards.
Frugal Game of the Year (or a great game that amounts to $20 or below)
FTL: Faster Than Light ($10)
FTL is an aesthetically simple game. Its graphics doesn’t require you to have the latest hardware, and its music was probably created using the most basic MIDI. There are no voice-overs either, as dialogues and events are conveyed through texts. But its gameplay is no way ordinary. A rogue-like space strategy that puts you in command of a spaceship, FTL is the most addicting and punishing game I’ve played this year. The random turn of events in this game will either keep you at the edge of your seat, break your heart into pieces, or make you Bboy on where you stand. Plus, this game is cheap!
1. Tribes: Ascend (F2P) – A cool online shooter that requires a lot of twitch skills.
2. Legend of Grimrock ($15) – A dungeon crawler that pays homage to CRPGs of old.
3. Orcs Must Die! 2 ($15) – Two times more fun than the first one!
Game of the Year (or an incredible game that costs more than $20)
The Walking Dead ($25)
When I picked up The Walking Dead #50 back in 2008, I never imagined that my favorite, indie, black & white, zombie comic book would become a household name. Now, it has a critically-acclaimed TV show (which is the only TV show I watch) and also a video game. This game stayed faithful to the source, and that’s why I love it. The Walking Dead was never about zombies. It’s about humans. Desperate humans making the tough choices and life-changing decisions. This game has captured that in its gameplay. It’s also a masterfully created game –its story, the voice-acting, its music and the cell-shaded graphics. It’s hard to believe it only costs $25.
1. Mass Effect 3 ($60) – Epic space opera. Played twice. Still playing the multiplayer.
2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ($50) – An addicting turn-based strategy that has robbed me of sleep.
3. Guild Wars 2 ($60) – Legendary WvWvW battles. Best MMO I’ve played so far.
Wastrel Game of the Year (or an expensive game that I didn’t play a lot)
Diablo III ($60)
Don’t get me wrong, I like Diablo III. But, unlike its predecessor, Diablo II, it didn’t have staying power. The moment I saw all of the game’s beautiful CGI, my drive to continue and reach inferno mode was sapped right out of me. I paid $60 for this game and it only lasted for less than a month. I wish I had waited for a while and bought this game at a lower price.
So, that’s it for my 2012 review and my little awards. To all that are reading this, I wish you a prosperous New Year!