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Best Video Games of 2012 (So Far)

MassEffect.com / EA.com/NFL-Blitz / UFCUndisputed.com

It’s no stretch to say that 2012 has some of the best video games of all time. While we still suffer from a glut of video games before the holidays and right at the end of every year, game publishers are finally starting to learn to spread the releases out a bit. Thanks to stiff competition the first quarter of the year is starting to become a haven for gamers, with a ton of AAA titles released for all platforms.

We’ve looked over what’s come out and we’ve got a few nominees for the best games of 2012 so far:

The Darkness II

Forget ‘The Punisher’- there’s no better way to take on the Mafia than with some supernatural help. The Darkness II, based on the Marc Silvestri/Garth Ennis comic, is even darker than you’d expect from the name. This game’s unique control scheme, with your human hands dual wielding guns and your demon arms taking care of grabbing and melee attacks, make for a fun, if brief, first person shooter and one of the best video games of 2012.

Warp

You control a cutesy alien who can warp a short distance in this action puzzler. It seems very kiddie…until the first time you blow somebody up like a meat grenade. Fortunately you’ve got an entire military base full of scientists to test this ability on. The combination of ‘Portal’ and ‘Alien Hominid’ you always wanted.

Twisted Metal

David Jaffe’s classic Playstation car combat game returns with demonic clown Sweet Tooth at the forefront once again. The single-player campaign can be frustrating if you’re not a hardcore gamer, or if you just really hate racing mechanics. But who bought ‘Twisted Metal’ to play it alone? This game rocks in multiplayer, whether you’re online or have four friends over to blow things up.

NFL Blitz

Finally, a football game that doesn’t feature John Madden and does feature absolute ridiculousness. NFL Blitz has turbo buttons, brutal smashes, insane plays- you can even make teams comprised entirely of pirates and robots, and who wouldn’t want that? The NFL has never been so much fun. The perfect game for friends and beer.

Soul Calibur V

Know what’s missing from most fighting games? Weapons! The fifth installment of Namco’s beloved franchise offers a deep character customization engine and a new story mode which make this fighting game a blast, if a bit of a blast from the past. Grab your steel and get in the ring.

Shank 2

Speaking of old school, this side scrolling beat ‘em up returns with a sequel that offers a lot of improvement on the original, still great, action game. It owes a huge debt to Grindhouse flicks popularized by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, offering us brutal and bloody combat with some truly epic boss battles. In fact the only thing more fun than this is…

The Simpsons Arcade

A classic arcade game that’s been moldering in obscurity for years gets a facelift and a release just in time for America’s First Dysfunctional Family to get their 500th episode. The four-player co-op game sees you playing as either vacuum cleaner-wielding Marge, skateboard-wielding Bart, jump rope-wielding Lisa, or Homer, who fights with his fists like a man. No longer will you have to cram yourself around a broken arcade machine- now you can beat people up with the Simpsons online in one of 2012′s best video games.

Gotham City Impostors

What if you took the online co-op play and cartoony style of ‘Team Fortress 2’ and mixed in a lot of dark Batman violence right out of ‘The Dark Knight’? And then made it even more cartoony? You’d probably have something like Gotham City Impostors, an online-only first person shooter that sees gangs of Joker imitators fighting hordes of Batman wannabees. Fun gadgets and fast matches make for one of the best multiplayer games around.

UFC Undisputed 3

Undisputed 2 was a great game, but Undisputed 3 takes it to the next level. The graphics are better, the controls are smooth and the minigames involved in takedowns and other techniques are easy to understand and use. New motion capture, a brand-new submission system (standing guillotine, anyone?) and servers for online play make this probably the best ultimate fighting sports sim we’ve played and one of the best video games of 2012.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

You want dungeons? This game has dungeons. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has 120 dungeons. It also has a silky, easy to use combat system and leveling system that makes handing everything from goblins to dragons their collective ass a joy. ‘Skyrim’ who? Time sucks don’t come more awesome than this. With more dungeons and quests on the way via DLC you could play this game forever.

Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3, the finale to the epic series is arguably one of the best videogames in years and not just the best video game of 2012. Never before have you followed the story of a single character over multiple games like this, never before have your actions in the first directly impacted the outcome to the last. An improved combat system and addictive co-op make for a game that’s nearly perfect, one that you’ll play for months. Don’t listen to the haters who rag on the ending- this is the conclusion we needed.

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