This is a guest post by Steven Chalmers. (More info at the bottom of the post) Great thanks to him for it. If you want to write a guest post click here.
Though we have yet to reach the holiday release frenzy, 2012 has already provided gamers with plenty for gamers to sink their teeth into. The first half of the year has given us everything from long-awaited sequels to unexpected successes. For those looking for a new game that's worth playing, here are five of the best titles of the year thus far.
Available on: PC, Xbox 360
The concept is simple: You're exploring a (massive, randomly generated) cave network. While there, you can pick up items, rescue trapped damsels, blow up barriers, and die---over and over and over again.
Death in Spelunky is both shockingly fun and very frustrating. There are no "extra lives" in the traditional sense: Dying means starting again in a new randomly generated cave. However, your last character's progress can help unlock new worlds and options. Highly addictive and deeply satisfying, Spelunky is one of this year's most pleasant surprises.
4) Street Fighter X Tekken
Available on: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Playstation Vita
If you're a veteran fighting game fanatic, the title alone may be enough to get your adrenaline pumping. The game delivers on the promise to bring together the two fighting franchises, and does so with explosive results.
Street Fighter X Tekken manages to feel both traditional and entirely fresh. It provides a tightly balanced game with heart-pumping gameplay. Best of all, the online gameplay has drawn a crowd of enthusiastic players that make it possible to play for as long as you would ever want to. It's simply one of the best fighting games on the market today.
3) Max Payne 3
Available on: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Rockstar Studios has combined everything that made the original games appealing and have added a finely-tuned control system, additional modes (including arcade and multiplayer), and deftly executed in-game performances. Most important to fans of the genre, however, the action in Max Payne 3 feels fast, fluid, and intuitive.
2) Mass Effect 3
Available on: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Mass Effect 3 has been a controversial title due to both the extended period of intense anticipation and an impassioned fan outcry in response to the game's ending. Despite an impressively immersive sci-fi universe, amazing and emotionally evocative story, addictive multiplayer, fantastic voice acting, and stellar gameplay, this title probably wouldn't have made our list if it wasn't for Bioware's choice to release a free DLC pack that expanded on the game's conclusion.
With the new content in place, Mass Effect 3 is a worthy conclusion to the series and the best RPG of the year thus far.
Available on: PS3
There is no story. There is no dialogue. The game is incredibly short. That we can start with a list like that and still feel comfortable putting it in the top spot is a testament to what every other element of the game has to offer. The visuals of Journey redefine stunning; the soundtrack is one of the best we've heard in ages; and while the game's objective is simple ("get to the top of that mountain!"), its meaning sinks far deeper.
The games listed here are the best of a truly impressive lineup, but there were more than a few contenders for the top spots. As always, the game industry will be revving up for a second major release cycle that targets holiday sales---so we all have plenty to look forward to.
What yet-to-be-released games of 2012 are you most excited for?