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

Mass Effect 3

Phil Iwaniuk, staff writer

We, along with every other living being out there in Internet-land, have covered the finer points of Mass Effect 3’s story so much since it came out that if we went over it again the Reapers really would arrive on earth just to say “shut up, you guys.”

With that in mind, let’s take an opportunity to sing the praises of all the other things that made Mass Effect 3 such fun. Remember how inventive its 30 hours of quests were? Entering the Geth server. Mordin’s galaxy-sized balls. The time capsule Liara makes. The thresher maw vs Reaper. The simple pleasure of hanging out in your quarters and sexually harassing crew members over the phone.

On a personal level, cosy non-combat sections are always a plus because a) they make actual combat seem so much more dangerous and b) real life isn’t a constant laser-gun fight from the uterus to the casket. Even though I enjoyed Shep’s plan-and-execute combat a lot, it was the downtime I really engaged with. It matched Mass Effect 2’s depth and variety hour-by-hour, and no army of forumites calling for federal action against ME3’s ending can make me renounce my admiration for what the game achieved, and the cold, hard enjoyment beneath every hour I sank into it.

lego lord of the rings

Lego Lord Of The Rings

David Meikleham, acting news ed

“Be at peace, son of Gondor.” Poor little Lego Sean Bean. Said peace is going to be hard to muster when you’ve just had a plastic banana torpedoed into your chest. The death of <SPOILERZ> Boromir in The Fellowship Of The Ring segment of Lego LOTR perfectly sums up the game’s appeal. It captures the film trilogy’s saddest moment with a stirring Howard Shore score while simultaneously offsetting it with typical Lego slapstick buffoonery.

The most charming, varied and ambitious game Traveller’s Tales has put together, it really is the ultimate piece of fan service to Jackson’s silver screen trilogy. As a man who rocks a none too subtle obsession with all things beardy and Tolkien, I’d go as far to say Lego LOTR is one of the best licensed games ever made.

I certainly can’t thing of another game that so faithfully recreates the core appeal of its source material. Charging into hundreds of onscreen Orcs at the battle of Helm’s Deep as the camera matches the dramatic panning shot of the film or furiously dodging a giant funnel-web spider with a tiny, terrified Hobbit, Lego LOTR captures all the films’ key setpieces in endearing style.

As with any Lego title, the game offers yet another treasure trove of collectibles to get lost in. Thanks to the sweeping recreation of Middle-Earth, hoovering up these trinkets has never been so fulfilling. If nothing else, seeing wee Lego Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Christopher Lee smack seven shades of bricks out of each other is enough to get my GOTY nod.