2012 was a year with some emotional games, and my personal favorite was Thatgamecompany’s Journey on PlayStation Network. While The Walking Dead was a grim, depressing world, Journey made me feel wonderful while playing with its voiceless narrative and incredible moving score by Austin Wintory. And you know what? Not to take away from Telltale’s moving accomplishment, but I’d much rather be happy and fulfilled then solemn and empty. Journey gave me a sense of hope, and is the only game I’ve thought about throughout the year.
While many considered it a short game, I felt its length was perfect, matching the original Portal‘s in a didn’t-overstay-its-welcome way. Journey is an instant classic and should be played and replayed by everyone.
To be perfectly honest, I never thought I’d like Torchlight II as much as I did. Strolling along, looting and selling while slaughtering countless enemies was fun in my childhood, but today I often look for something a bit more. Runic proved me completely wrong in that regard, and destroyed my trepidation with a perfect and addictive feedback loop so tuned, I rarely was left wanting. While the story itself was fairly banal, the refined, polished mechanics made Torchlight II one of my favorite playing games this year.
Picking two was easy, but my third choice could have been one of many. I decided to go with Forza Horizon for the simple fact that it scratched every racing itch I had, and it’s been quite a while since that’s happened. If you’re not a fan of sim racers, please don’t let the name Forza turn you off. Instead of being a technical racer, Horizon fits nicely as a game that feels real enough maintains more of an arcade flavor. There hasn’t been a better open-world racer since Burnout Paradise.