My favorites games of 2012 (GoTY 2012)

Rules reminder : I’m picking from the games I’ve played in 2012, even if they were released in 2011 or if they’re yet to be announced in the West.

Best action game

Liberation Maiden (3DS)

I’ve always wanted to experience the action scenes from Evangelion in video game. With Liberation Maiden, no need to search further. This shoot’em up is a nearly exact transcript of the legendary anime. True, not the same scenario, not the same characters, a rather short story, but the spirit of Evangelion is here : the ferocious aliens, the awesome sound, the non-stop action. All those priceless things you can get for only 8 euros.

Runner-up : Senran Kagura Burst (3DS)

Best shooter

Call of Duty – Black Ops II (PS3)

Although Call of Duty did poorly with Modern Warfare 3, Treyarch made the wise choices to turn the situation over. An innovating campaign and a reborn quality multiplayer make Black Ops II the king this year.

Runner-up : Call of Duty – Black Ops Declassified (PSVita)

Best fighting game

Kasumi Ayane

Dead or Alive 5 (PS3)

Dead or Alive 5 deals a powerful blow to a competition mostly asleep at the wheel. At last effort is rewarded and improvisation useless. The gameplay is complex, even too complex, but the competition is sane and the noobs have been driven away. Graphically outsanting, with high value and a flurry of adorable characters, DOA5 takes the crown, and for a long time.

Runner-up : none

Best strategy game

Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)

Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)

Like every time, it’s hard to resist to Fire Emblem once you have it whithin your reach. The clever gameplay is further enhanced by the support system and the unit management has some amazing surprises. CG scenes are beautiful and the art direction the best to date.

Runner-up : none

Best puzzle game

Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney (3DS)

True, PlvsAA won’t melt your brain like past episodes did. But its breathtaking story and lovable characters make up for the lesser difficulty settings.

Runner-up : If I were in a sealed room with a girl I would… (3DS)

Best RPG

Atelier Meruru (PS3)

Atelier Meruru (PS3)

Atelier Totori made history imho, and only logical that its sequel would take the title if it lives up to it. Actually, Atelier Meruru does even better in music, gameplay, management, battles, character design… Seldom did I feel such self-fulfillment with one game.

Runner-up : Tales of Xillia (PS3)

Best Music

Project Diva f (PSVita)

Project Diva f (PSVita)

Let’s get this straight : it’s gonna be hard for any game to compete here as long as Hatsune Miku is in the place. Not when brilliant composers like the vocaloid god Wowaka delivers such goodness as Unhappy Refrain.

Runner-up : Project Diva Extend (PSP)

Best game no one bought

たっち,しょー Love Application (PS3)

Love Application literally crashed in Japanese charts. The audience for dating sim has never been that high so it might have been OK. Anyway, the amount value and fun crammed is this game is more than worth the few thousands yens.

Runner-up : Hyperdimension Neptune Victory

Best game you might never play

Ace Attorney Investigations 2 (DS)

The title I chose last year in this category, Final Fantasy Type-0, still hasn’t made it west. Released in Japan last year, Ace Attorney Investigations 2 probably won’t be luckier and might well end up being the only title in the series to skip the west too. A real shame when you think it’s the most brilliant Ace Attorney so far.

Runner-up : Shining Blade (PSP)

Most disappointing

SoulCalibur V (PS3)

An abysmal campaign and a dismal multiplayer. That’s all I could think of this 5th iteration of a series had enjoyed so much. Everything that made the glory of the past ones, including characters and gameplay, has been reshuffled for the worst as armies of noobs increasingly took the power.

Runner-up : Ciel no Sourge (PSVita)

Most innovating

Gravity Daze (PSVita)

Gravity Daze (PSVita)

Mastering gravity. That’s what Gravity Daze is about. This game achieve the outstanding performance of having a unique, exhilarating and yet simple gameplay. Add to that an art direction that is one of the best this year, and you have the ultimate must-have on PSVita.

Runner-up : The Unfinished Swann (PS3)

Best graphics

Tales of Xillia (PS3)

A small step for the PS3, but a giant leap for the Tales of series. Tales of Graces F, which wasn’t exactly ugly, is merely a sketch of what awaits you in Tales of Xillia. Never had the anime style been so detailed, seldom could you enjoy such a flurry of colors and light.

Runner-up : Gravity Daze (PSVita)

 Game of the year

Atelier Meruru (PS3)

Can the Atelier series win for the second year in a row? YES! You do have one of the finest management-strategy-RPG ever. Characters, battles, music, side-quests, everything is as good as it can get. With games like these, there are no such things as eating or sleeping : Atelier Meruru nurtures your soul to delight.

 Project Diva f (PSVita)

 Tales of Xillia (PS3)

 Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)

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Sniping in Black Ops II – Map analysis

Maps are a great strength of Black ops II multiplayer. I’ve been playing for quite a while now, here’s my sniper impressions on all of them, in no particular order with homemade screenshots.

PLAZA

Pretty difficult to master even in the long term, Plaza is a shopping mall composed with two elevated terraced structures and a plaza above some stairs in-between. The terraces have some excellent cover but there are not so many kill opportunities. On the plaza on the other hand, you’ll never be short of targets, but you will be sitting ducks for the players coming from all directions.

CARRIER

Chinese carrier whose deck is in shambles. It is a rather flat map with quite a bit of obstacles, but numerous spot are slightly elevated and give a good view of the comings and goings of your opponents. The clear side of the deck often hosts sniper duels. Actually quite a dynamic map.

STANDOFF

A small village in Eastern Europe. Le layout is classic but extremely efficient with lots of 1-stored houses, whose windows face each-other and give a clear view of the street under. It makes it possible to attack from the windows or from the streets to surprise your rivals.

SLUMS

Useless map. This South American town has narrow and short streets that will lead all your sniping attempts to certain death. You can always take a stand at either ends of the central plaza, but your flanks are wide open. If you really want to go, try SVU-AS + ACOG or Ballista + Iron sights.

OVERFLOW

Not really big map. This environment of Pakistani slums has three big windows facing each other, but also overused path on its sides from which rushers often come. That said, there usually are plenty of inhabitants at the windows. The fallen bus part and the boat bow are useful spots as well. SVU-AS + variable zoom is an asset.

EXPRESS

Long bullet train station. Awesome map in which you can see the other end from afar. The railway is within range and the control box adds pressure in mid-range engagement. Caution if you’re on the footbridge : you’re in permanently danger to get flanked.

DRONE

Futuristic military base lost in a jungle. Drone has insanely long firing lines. Actually, you may well get sniped if you’re at either end of the map. Once you’ve won your duel, the poor guys going through the center or waiting by th window are yours. The sides are somewhat busy at time, but you can quickscope or support behind the mobile front line.

YEMEN

Very complex coastal town. You’ll have to learn the layout to perform, because there are many buildings and as many windows. Being mobile is key as you’ll have to create yourself opportunities. Staying at one place won’t get you anywhere here, you’ll fall asleep! Once you know where is where, you will be able to use the long avenues and seaside paths to your advantage.

RAID

Luxury property cut in three lines. It depends on how others players will play : if people gather in the court at the center, it’s gonna be boring. But if people use the sides, there’ll be plenty of action for you.

AFTERMATH

Post-Apocalyptic scenery on a very large surface. Snipers will prefer the side of the bus, the latter being a dream-like hideout to shoot opponents coming from both sides. Near respawn locations, there are two stored-buildings that allow you to organize defense when overwhelmed. 

CARGO

Very nice map with an open central area. 3 locations are facing each other, which prevents camping. Therefore, you’ll have to be quick on the trigger to win here. High points make support fire possible on the sides.

 

TURBINE

THE ultimate sniping map! Very like Afghan in MW2, average distance is quite long and snipers rule. Bunkers allow you to stay covered and hidden until the moment to strike comes. From other locations you can see half of the map, but the lack of cover makes it risky. Up to you to play it safe or make a gamble to climb the leaderboards.