Game Front’s 2012 Game, Indie & Mod of the Year Nominees

Page 1: Game of the Year | Page 2: Indie of the Year | Page 3: Mod of the Year

It’s that time of year again: Time to pick the best video gaming had to offer for the previous 12 months.

We’ve been tirelessly pouring over data to determine what we consider the best of the year to be, and have come away with some promising results, we think. This year’s Games of the Year are divided into three categories for maximum simplicity and ease of comparison. We’ve chosen our Top 10 entries in Triple-A, Indie, and Modding categories.

Now, I know what you’re probably saying. “Why are you counting indies in a separate category?” And if you’re confused because you think that indie titles can stand with even the most financially bulging of titles in the industry, then I’ll say that we agree with you. Especially in 2012, there have been quite a few titles we’d consider independent that have done a lot more than many triple-A games, and with a lot less to work with. In fact, there are a few indie titles on our straight “Game of the Year” list to attest to that fact.

The reason for the division is more coverage-driven. With Game Front ramping up its dedication to indie titles, we not only wanted to make sure those games got a bigger amount of spotlight, but also that we were able to focus on more of them. There’s also the consideration that we’re judging them on more even footing, against one another, than against bigger titles with more resources.

We’ll be making our own Game of the Year picks based on these nominations, but you can also let us know what you think on some concurrent Facebook polls. Once the results are in, we’ll post both sets of winners. Hit the polls here for Gane of the Year, here for indies and here for mods.

The Nominees for Game of the Year Are:

The Walking Dead

“It’s also a story about redemption, and about love, and in seeking Clementine, we, and Lee, find both. You should absolutely play it, because, minor weaknesses aside, The Walking Dead may well be the best game of the year. It’s certainly the one with the best story.”

Read our full Walking Dead review

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

“Ultimately, XCOM delivers a truly enjoyable, engaging, and entertaining experience. The tactical combat and strategic components are married seamlessly in a union of fun gameplay, and XCOM’s cinematic flare is worthy of Hollywood.”

Read our full XCOM: Enemy Unknown review

Borderlands 2

“In every way a gigantic improvement over the original game, Borderlands 2 is bigger, leaner, prettier, and a hell of a lot more fun than it should have the right to be. …Simply put, if Archer, Office Space and Bulletstorm artificially inseminated Fallout, the baby would be Borderlands 2.”

Read our full Borderlands 2 review


“Like the games from which Dishonored draws obvious inspiration and pays homage — games like Deus Ex, Thief, and BioShock — what the developers are really selling here is freedom. The creativity of blazing your own trail through the game is what makes it incredibly fun, and Dishonored delivers this experience in myriad intricate ways.”

Read our full Dishonored review

Tribes: Ascend

“The moment where Tribes: Ascend really shines for me is when you find yourself dueling against one or more enemies in mid-air. …The trails left by the various weapons have your brain racing through trajectory and geometry equations, while you worry constantly about which strategy your enemy will employ. It’s this experience that makes Tribes so successful for me, and it’s one that has rarely been duplicated by any game outside this franchise.”

Read our full Tribes: Ascend review

Sleeping Dogs

“Sleeping Dogs is packed to the brim with game systems: street races, Rock Band-esque karaoke singing, free running, martial arts combat, fight clubs, cover-based shooting with action-movie maneuvers, gambling on cockfights, and a number of faux-investigative mini-games to triangulate cell phone calls, plant bugs in vents, pick locks, and hack security systems.”

Read our full Sleeping Dogs review


Combining an arresting visual style with a silent tale of exploration and discovery, Journey captivated players around with its beauty, its haunting soundtrack and its fresh take on multiplayer systems that allow players to work together (or ignore each other) without ever speaking. Many players have found Journey to be a deep, spiritual experience, built on simplicity and the bonds of friendship.


Mass Effect 3

“I can say two things with clarity in the moments after I turned off my Xbox: that Mass Effect 3 is a flawed, imperfect game; and that it packed an incredibly high density of moments that I’ll remember among the greatest of any game I’ve ever played.”

Read our full Mass Effect 3 review

Crusader Kinds II

“Each sudden setback and hard-won success deepens the bond between you and your Medieval charges: a handful of portraits and statistics trying to survive in a cold, violent world. If you can survive an awkward introduction and free your imagination, Crusader Kings II will make you part of the family.”

Read our full Crusader Kings II review

Torchlight 2

“After spending 26 hours with Torchlight 2, it’s clear to me that it was created by veteran ARPG developers that improved upon a tried and tested formula. With the right balance of action, story, and reward, TL2 knows how to keep players engaged and may just serve as the new bar against which ARPGs are measured.”

Read our full Torchlight 2 review

Page 1: Game of the Year | Page 2: Indie of the Year | Page 3: Mod of the Year

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24 Comments on Game Front’s 2012 Game, Indie & Mod of the Year Nominees


On December 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Unless it is planned for MMO of the year I find I can not vote as Guild Wars 2 is not on your list.

Additionally, the fact you included titles like Mass Effect 3 is on your list for game of the year makes the whole award process seem like a complete joke.


On December 13, 2012 at 4:50 am

Aedelric – they did it to appease the fanboys. Although having said that, on an objective level 98% of ME3 is really good. So I guess they had to include it in spite of the final 2% being the most ridiculously damaging, incoherent nonsense imaginable.


On December 13, 2012 at 4:53 am


Oh how I love the internet…


On December 13, 2012 at 8:07 am

@GarynDakari “I hate everyone with a different opinion than mine, so I must demean their point of view and in doing so try to give myself some semblance of self-worth.”

I did not say they are invalid, but I do not see any point in voting on anything I do not believe deserves a reward. Only an idiot votes for games they do not like.

What I did say was that the list is a joke, not because it did not include a game I like, but because it has Mass Effect 3 listed. It was by all standards a commercial success, but earning money does not a good game make, it was all those foolish pre-orders. I do not think I need to comment on how negatively the game was received by the average gamer, it has a Metacritic user score of 4.5 out of 10.

If you are going to try and undermine my opinions, at least get your facts right. Oh how I love the internet… it is full of such lovely people like you.


On December 13, 2012 at 8:15 am

Natural Selection 2 and Black Mesa are no brainers. Both are well beyond the quality and the fun factor available in the competition.


On December 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

I agree with Aedelric, ME3 shouldn’t be a nominee, unless there’s a “biggest disappointment” category.

Phil Hornshaw

On December 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm

@Aedelric et. al.

I know a lot of people (us included) were annoyed with ME3′s ending, but I, for one, don’t invalidate the majority of the game experience for those final moments. Some people do; if that’s you, that’s fine. But on the whole, Mass Effect 3 had some pretty incredible moments. I think a lot of the ending trouble comes not only from the weak ending — which sucks, but is not the end of the world — but also bad blood based on the way it was handled by BioWare. We tried not to let the after-effects color the judging, and the fact is, even with its weaknesses, a huge amount of Mass Effect 3 was still extremely powerful gaming. I still look back on the last stand on Earth and shudder.

So. It’s a nominee. It made one cut. However, this is also a list based heavily on the personal experiences of the Game Front crew and our own votes. Our ballots — which were essentially lists of games that we thought deserved nominations, unordered — were rather expansive. But it’s also pretty subjective, as are all things. What’s fun about such things is that they often kick up very interesting discussions, like this one.

Anyway, that’s where we’re coming from. But we’re definitely not appeasing any fanboys, I can tell you that. The Facebook voting poll and our own picks are completely separate.


On December 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

The Walking Dead all the way. Although I don’t have a PS3 and suspect that were I to play Journey then that might be my pick instead.


On December 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm

You forgot Halo 4.


On December 15, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Sorry guys. You just lost a lot of peoples faith by adding ME3. The game was just ok if you dont count the ending, dog cr-p if you do. You say it’s not to appease the fanboys but that really sounds like your puffin too much of the wacky tobbacy, or you think we’re stupid.
If you truly believe it should be there, well that’s even worse because I am going to have a real hard time trusting you guys judgement. Cuz what tastes like cr-p to us, must taste like steak to you, and thats just too big a gap to justify.
I know it’s all opinion, but to actually show how different your opinion is, is to show us we cant trust your judgement anymore. You may like the taste of liver but most dont, and to think people would trust you enough to spend good hard earned money on a game you recomend, only to find out just how bad it is, well, thats hard to swallow(just like the liver). Honestly, it was the worst of the three, and thats without the ending. Didn’t care for a lot of the mechanics thrown in, and the new graphics look ok but had a lot of glitches. They said they were adding back rpg elements and that was just total BS. No, the game definitely doesn’t belong here.


On December 16, 2012 at 5:35 am

The ending doesn’t need to invalidate the rest of the game. The rest of the game is just as bad as the ending. Both the story and gameplay. The only thing they improved on is the graphics, which got a bit better, but still could use some better textures.

Mike Rotch

On December 16, 2012 at 6:23 am

Mass Effect 3 shouldn’t be on the list. I don’t believe game developers should be rewarded for lying to their customers, regardless of how good the product ultimately is (and it is really, really good aside from the intellectual abortion of an ending). The fact that ME3 is on the list but Hitman Absolution is absent is frankly ridiculous. Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored or Journey has to win it now for the award to have any credibility.


On December 16, 2012 at 10:14 am

Mike Rotch@ Sorry, but if we go by your standards, Sleeping Dogs would be left off to. They lied to there customers as well. They stated in there ads a fully programable keyboard, which many of us know is not even close to being true. They screwed a lot of people over not letting us use the arrow keys for movement. They intern desided to force people to use the wasd setup for better or worse. Sorry but that’s to big a fuc_ up to let them slide. Chech there sites forum. Thousands of angry people flooding there forum with complaints, and they have answered saying there are no plans to correct there mind blowing, anal retentive, boneheaded fuc- up. Bioware did it, and so did they.

Phil Hornshaw

On December 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Man, sorry you guys feel like our inclusion of Mass Effect 3 is so damning. I still look back on the great moments extremely fondly. But even still, having one nominee you don’t agree with invalidates the entire enterprise (and even makes us somehow have terrible judgment)? How does that make sense, guys?


On December 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

You gotta love the mentality of today’s (average) gamer. Let alone the teens-mid twenties generation we have right now.

I don’t know if it’s because of society, the media, or everyone getting a medal just for showing up these days, but the lack of ability to like and hate something at the same time, to see the good and the bad at the same time, is astounding. There are shades of grey to everything, multiple layers to every experience, nothing is perfect and everything has its pros and cons. But most often all you hear about is “love it” or “f*** it”. You don’t hear about the in between, this was good, this was bad. And when you do hear about it, like in a review or an opinion piece like RANT, you get attacked for pointing out the pros and cons to something.

“Oh, you hated on the endings! Well I love the game as a whole so your opinion is invalid!”

“Oh, you liked the other 98% of the game? The endings sucked! Your opinion is invalid!”

This self serving, all or nothing with me or against me, no In between mentality is juvenile at best and completely barricades any real chances intellectual discussion, argument, or otherwise.

I come here for the intellectual, objective thought process you guys apply to the majority of your articles. Showing the good and the bad, letting me make my own da** decisions with all the information in front of me.

I guess nobody wants to think for themselves anymore. Call it fanboyism, haters, sheep, whatever, it serves nothing but to show the real lack of interest or understanding about the subject. Let alone(as has been stated on this site, i believe in a RANT) it serves nothing to further improvement of the products, make the devs think “oh we made a good game, people like it, but we got a lot of negative on this one part, lets improve that in updates/sequel”, or even the opposite “Oh, our sales are bombing, but we have a cult following, something we did was good, lets listen to the fans, find out what was good and what wasn’t, and see what we can do!”

At this point all i have left really is a question for the writers on this site. With all this unintelligent flak you guys are constantly getting for trying to be INFORMATIVE, y’know, with facts, and not OPINIONATED, y’know, with opinions, how do you/how hard is it to stay true to objectivity? You’ve done an excellent job so far, in my opinion, I just can’t see it being terribly easy.


On December 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm

ZephyrTuvai@ Although I know where you’re coming from, your arguement is slightly flawed. A review is nothing more than one persons opinion. The good they talk about may be someone elses bad. Example: Multiplayer. Some people love it, some hate it. It all boils down to opinion.
Reviewers often leave lots out, usually do to space, time, or they don’t think it’s necessary. I’ve found many of the things left out, I find to be important. So it’s all based on the reviewers opinion. Anyone can make just about anything sound good or bad. It’s all in the wording. What you leave in and what you leave out. Opinions my good man, all opinions.


On December 17, 2012 at 3:35 am

I can feel I’m going to get burned for this, but what the hell:
This is a good list.
And it doesn’t really matter if ME3 is on there or not, because I think we can all say, without any doubt, that the TRUE game of the year is Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor.


On December 17, 2012 at 10:22 am

Well dishonored looks like a good game.I think i should buy it.


On December 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

@TheDog, I agree 100% about opinions, and how someone’s opinon (particularly a reviewer that doesnt have time to nitpick or want it to be tl;dr, even for a review) will will have a large influence on what they do and do not talk about. However objective opinions are hard to come by. Even here they aren’t 100% percent objective(I’d take time to cite a few that aren’t, but i’m on a 15 minute break). But they are pretty damn close in my opinion, which is an amazing start. Also, just because a reviewer marks something as good or bad, doesnt mean I find those things to be good or bad as well. But the fact that they are mentioned, either way, is a big plus for me, as I can come to my own conclusions. I will say, however, after my early stints listening to the likes of ign, game informer, and gamespot, I find my personal opinion quite in line to the reviews on this site. Both before and after purchasing a game. That’s hard to come by, in my experience. I first started coming here because of a link from a friend regarding the whole me3 debacle. And again, if I don’t quite agree with something said, I have my own conclusions to fall back on, as well as user reviews if I don’t quite feel convinced one way or the other(I always read the three best and three worst user reviews when I do that, making my own conclusions).

Objectivity of a review, history of shared opinions, and the ability to actually(OMG) think for myself has led to about 90% game satisfaction from those I did purchase over the last three years. As for ME3. I didnt like the streamlined gameplay(to appease the masses), or the last half hour or so. Loathed them. But after playing 1&2 through right before three came out, I trucked through it and have to say: While I haven’t played it since, for obvious reasons, I fondly remember several of the well written parts of the story to this day. And I even sold it back after I beat it in a week…

Dan Miller

On December 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Witcher 2! Did anybody on staff play it?

I, for one, think it deserves to be on this list over both Dishonored and Tribes. Witcher 2 had a great story, a very challenging combat system, and was truthful to the explicit nature of the source material in a way that few games can pull off. Plus, that source material was fantastic! It was well received, but I haven’t seen it on a single GOTY list, which is a shame because it is definitely more deserving than some of the generic rehashes we saw this fall. It’s a much better game than AC3 and Halo 4, for example.


On December 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

ZephyrTuvai@ Because reviewers have there personal likes and dislikes, not all reviews are unbiased. I’ve noticed that reviewers that like multiplayer games are more likely to give it a better score if they dont think much of the single player but like the multiplayer aspect of the game, where they will give it a more critical score if single player is good, but they feel the multiplayer isn’t on. Everybodies opinions are prone to lean towards there own preferences no matter how unbias they try to be. The trick is to find someone who tends to think more like you. I use to have a reviewer that I trusted untill they quit.
As for falling back on your own opinion, well that is only truly posible if you’ve already played the game. They didn’t say the pen is mightier than the sword for nothing. Well crafted words can sway unknowing minds to there side. It is not untill we see it for ourselves that we can truly see if it’s what we actually believe.
Reviewers slammed one game, which put me off from buying it. It wasn’t untill I actually read forums with lots of people saying how wrong the reviewers were, before I went out and bought the game. Turns out I loved it
No reviewer can be totally unbiased. I know I couldn’t. We all drift towards what we like and shun things we don’t. I stay away from mmo’s, so in truth, I couldn’t fairly review one. I loved GW 1, hated 2. It wanted players doing more co-op stuff, where I prefer going it alone or with someone I know well.GW 1 did that well, where 2 sucks for single player stuff. Thing is many people love it. I couldn’t unbiasedly review it. For good or bad, it’s still just opinion.

Ron Whitaker

On December 18, 2012 at 5:38 am

@Dan I loved the Witcher 2! Unfortunately, it was released in 2011. It was one of my personal games of the year last year, though. Here’s our review:


On December 19, 2012 at 8:04 am

Log into Facebook to vote? Nope. I avoid the cesspoll that is Facebook if at all possible and not even GameFront will get me to log into it.


On December 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Thank you, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. ! Best comment here so far.

Facebook = The red light district of the internet.