@shingro Fascinating…. my mind feels expanded. This can only be a good thing.
If your taste for the alternative game experiences isn’t satiated after Katawa Shoujo, look up an unsettling “game” called ‘Hatoful boyfriend’.
It is a game about a human girl who decides to go to a high school for birds, St. PigeoNation’s Institute. There, she dates pigeons. Yeah.

Now I would like to finally take some time to toss some memorable video games into the funeral pyre of 2011, and explain what essence of them lives on in me as a humble scribe of 2012. Bare with my belated reaction.

I willfully discard whatever inner hipster resides in me, as I just passed 95 hours in the popular Skyrim game.
The fact startles me for a number of reasons. First, that I am still regularly discovering new things.
Also, that the majority of these new things are given the same level of polish as pretty much everything else, which is to say = shiny. I had been waiting for the game to get boring so I can just finish the main quest and leave the game behind me. In the process I have just given up and become invested in my wandering adventurers throughout the many communities of Skyrim.
Everywhere I become known as ‘that guy’ that did ‘this’, or ‘that’. It is truly remarkable when you see it, the world here contains a mighty mighty canvas of mythology in which you can paint your own tales of victory. And it will vary. This is the true delivery on the promise of 2 friends talking about the same game, but having completely unique stories.These stories will include encounters with characters, towering monsters, magic, and dark deeds… but they will be yours to tell.
I am pleased as punch. Great game.

The battle for praise, if there must be one, is the cage match between Skyrim and The Witcher 2.
I loved the Witcher 2 a ton. Its deliciousness made me accusingly stare in the recent directions of Bioware, as their offerings appear in places only partially cooked in comparison. It was also an incredible leap from Witcher 1, which had the taste down but lost a lot of points in the course texture.
Geralt as a lead character just carries an incredible variety of flavours. Enough room for player choice, but with a distinct personality that keeps you coming back. The dialogue as a whole just feels so natural, even when you are forced to make hard contrasting decisions.. its always as if that is what Geralt would have done. I dug everything in the game, even the unbalanced combat. I was fine with all of it. I am just so glad a game as smart as this can exist. However it took a game like Skyrim to take things beyond my reasonable expectations, and truly give me a ride to remember. Skyrim to me was a more addicting and impactful experience, even though I think the overall writing and nuance of Witcher 2 was handled leagues above.

Trench coat. Check. Augmented sunglasses. Check. Deus Ex- Human Revolution had style and substance, it was certainly a living manifestation of my cyberpunk fantasies. The game seemed to do everything right for me, with the exception of the enemy A.I which seems to have barely evolved from the original game released in 2000. I did find the art style was unique enough to make up for many of the technical shortcomings of the game engine, and all the details of the story and environment felt a part of larger cohesive subtext. I love stealth games, I love RPG’s. This game was clearly made for people like me. I loved the original game, which was a magnum opus for its time. Human Revolution is precisely what a modern version of that game ought to look and play like, with all the modern gameplay strengths and pitfalls. At the end of the day this game filled a missing piece of my soul with delicious story and badassedness.

Notable Underdogs:

No other game I have played this year has attracted classic couch co-op like Little Big Planet 2.
It one ups its predecessor by opening pandora’s box, allowing the community to create basically whatever they want… and its great. The base game mechanics can feel a little loose sometimes, and it certainly doesn’t typically involve a lot of depth, but it actually keeps me coming back every month or two to check out what is new. I would claim that this game is the PS3’s answer to the 360’s indie games lineup.

Equally intimidating and rewarding, Red Orchestra 2 has given me some of my favourite moments this year. This selection is from the heart, because I know this online shooter could easily get beat up by the bigger games of its genre. For most people I would point to Battlefield 3 as this games superior in a large number of important areas, but for the exceptional few I will reveal that RO2 is the choice with more depth.
The game strikes a balance between shooter and simulation, and this runs the risk of pleasing neither crowd.
I found it to be just accessible enough not to alienate me, which kept me interested in mastering the myriad nuances of the games mechanics that lay hidden behind a modern shooter exterior. Once you learn the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of Stalingrad the old habits acquired from other shooters start being transformed or abolished.
Clever use of movement, equipment and cover systems ensure that you and your enemy are capable of moving without being exposed. You will die really easily. Sometimes it isn’t fair. More than about racking up a kill score this game is about survival, battlefield awareness, and eventually getting the drop on your enemy. You will sometimes die regardless of how good you are. Tanks, Artillary Shells and Machine Gun emplacements can all show up where you don’t expect them and ruin your day. There is also someone more weathered or sneakier than you that can get the drop on you in almost any conceivable situation.
Other games have this kind of hectic atmosphere, but never has it been so deadly and so reliant on cover.
The game doesn’t let you shrug off standing near an explosion, or taking a bullet to the leg. You need to act appropriately. That is its appeal, is its unforgiving and visceral war time experience that other games refuse to give you because it is too ‘hardcore’ an experience for most people. I loved the adrenaline rushes, and the moments of sheer panic when allies are dying on mass around you. It is an experience I haven’t found anywhere else.