If the Mayans are actually onto something and the world ends in 2012, gamer girls will at least go out knowing that the final year on Earth was a great one. This year’s releases bring so much awesome that you’re going to want to ice your thumbs and possibly cancel your plans. From light and silly to dark and terrifying, 2012 has something for everyone, whether you like playing with a big group or attacking enemies solo. Here are our picks for the best video games of 2012!
Until this version of Tomb Raider, Lara Croft was little more than a pinup with some cool weapons and a knack for finding treasure and kicking some serious tail. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but she was kind of an emotionless ice queen, so it was hard to really relate to her, wasn’t it? Well, good news, gamer gurls! Lara gets human in the latest installment, showing remorse when she slays a wolf (she feels bad, but had to survive somehow) and fear when she’s captured and has to fend for herself alone. We think the fact that she shows some fear makes her even more of a hero. Also, not gonna lie–we’re pretty stoked that she’s wearing actual pants. One of the best video games of 2012? DUH!
Mario Party 9
First off, let it sink in that this is the ninth installment of Mario Party. How old do you feel? Now that that’s out of the way (sorry!), let’s get to the good stuff. First off, we love that there are three female characters (Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, and the too-adorable Birdo). Second, this is one of the best video games to play at a party, because you not only get to beat one another, but also work together to beat boss characters. Third, this has something for every one of your friends–from the experienced, skilled gamer to the n00b button masher, different levels will appeal to different players. The best part? The randomness of the dice feature levels the playing field somewhat: If you have one clearly skilled friend who’s opening a can of whoop ass on everyone and getting too cocky, a roll of the dice can cost them a lot of their game loot… So you can chuckle at them. Not that you would, because you’re a good sport.
Street Fighter x Tekken
Two of the best fighting games ever joining forces? Sign us up. The action in Street Fighter x Tekken is frenetic but fluid, with new combos, awesome tag team battles, new characters, and innovative new game modes. The almost infinite combinations of fighters and modes make it near impossible for this game to get stale. Also fun? New assets called gems, which can increase health and defense levels or give you autoblocks and evades if you snatch them. Did we mention there’s a T-rex? Seriously, look at all the amazing going on in this screenshot. Hadouken!
Mass Effect 3
Considering Mass Effect and its sequel were two of the best games ever made (seriously, like, ever), Mass Effect 3 is an absolute must-play for gaming fans and continues the stellar legacy of its predecessors. You’re saving Earth from reapers, but you’re also making a ton of decisions that have a ripple effect on all the action in the game’s universe–you have to get other civilizations who are fighting with one another to join forces to help you defeat the common enemy. If we can get global leaders in a room to play this, we may achieve world peace. Or at least a bunch of high fives.
Kingdom Hearts 3D
For those of you who like fighting evil but also dig the innocence of your favorite cartoons, Kingdom Hearts 3D is right up your alley. There are dramatic story lines, subplots, minigames (slots, slots, slots slots slot slots, everybody!), and Mickey Mouse. It also maintains the RPG feel that longtime fans of SquareEnix classics love so much, while incorporating use of the Nintendo DS touch screen for special attacks. The portability is awesome, too, because admit it–how many times have you been late to class because you were up late the night before trying to kill a boss character? Now you can save and get back to business on the bus to school!
What’s your favorite video game? Which games are you looking forward to most this year? What would you put on your list of the best video games of 2012? What’s your favorite console? Do you have any of your own gaming tips? Share ’em with us in the comments!