OPM’s games of 2012 – the team’s personal choices

Journey

Joel Gregory, deputy editor

It’s not so much that Journey is my game of the year, more that it rides pretty high on my Game Of The Ever list. The Walking Dead deserves huge credit and has certainly been the biggest surprise, but even that is a distant second to the masterpiece – and that really isn’t hyperbole – created by thatgamecompany.

Its premise is gripping and intriguing from the off – ‘There be mountain, now walk’ – and the aesthetic, with its utterly gorgeous use of lighting, is appealing like Scarlett Johansson giving out free puppies. But it’s the tone and the ambiguous nature of the narrative, not to mention how painstakingly the emotional beats within that narrative are crafted, that elevate it to ZOMG levels of brilliance.

The game feeds you just enough information about your environment and its backstory – once powerful civilization ultimately destroyed by its own ambition – to allow you to create your own theories, but there’s sufficient blank space to allow those theories to vary from player to player. It’s hard not to see religious significance in the events (thatgamecompany described Journey as an ‘interactive parable), as a lone figure walks through a desert among the ruins of a fallen society before gloriously ascending post-death. But it’s also about the cyclical nature of being, the fragility of existence, courage, fear, the unknown, and bloody great serpent things that make your scarf fall off – a situation we can all relate to. An experience like almost none other, this is one of the finest things created on PS3.

Dishonored

Emma Davies, production editor

Emma Davies

My gaming hero of 2012 wasn’t eloquent or handsome. He didn’t spend cut-scenes making quips or flexing his guns. He was a hideously masked silent man of the shadows, framed for doing a Very Bad Thing and fighting to protect a little girl who looked up to him. Oh, and he empowered me utterly. Corvo Attano, I salute you.

Dishonored offered incredible freedom, showing you a spread of mudersome powers like a backstreet trader opening up his overcoat. Want to summon up a swarm of rats to exact their hungry vengeance? Go ahead. Prefer some Dark Knight-esque magic vision? It’s yours. Like the ability to possess another human? Try it – we promise not to call the exorcist on you.

Once tooled up, you can approach objectives however you like; if you can dream it, you can likely do it. I went stealthy and non-lethal (meaning some of my targets met a fate arguably worse than death), but I could have gone in all Runes blazing, leaving a trail of corpses for the rats. What’s more, I’m itching to go back and do so.

As a world, Dunwall feels incredibly rich and fleshed-out, from the fragments of literature scattered in almost every building, through to the snippets of overheard conversations that suggest further things to do and see. Not to mention the small, human tragedies littering the city – the diary of a mother whose family succumbed to the plague, say, found beside a body.

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