12 Games for Xmas – The 12 Best Games To Farewell 2012

Gamers are obsessed with numbers. For years we've competed for high scores, counted our kill streaks and tried to improve our rankings for our favourite games online. We track our progress in a our favourite games through achievements and percentages, and then we do it all again for the sequel!

So while your family is hunkering down for some quality R&R, stack up on the Doritos and Redbull, it's time to game! Lets farewell 2012 in style with the 12 best games to bring in the New Year.

A Partridge In A Pear Tree

Just in time for Christmas, A developer finally gave me, A brand new stealth IP! (See I told you).

Dishonored's Corvo is a badass.

It's as rare as they come, a brand new franchise. And even rarer, it's actually good!

You play as Corvo, as assassin on a revenge quest that uncovers some pretty horrific secrets about the city you trawl through. Set in the city of Dunwall, the world is rich and vibrant. At its best it looks like a regal Victorian painting. On the streets, its grimy and rat infested. It's that contrast which sets the tone for a game which is all about choice.

If you are sneaky, The whole game can be played without eliminating a single enemy. If you have a bit of a violent streak in you, there are plenty of fun powers and weapons to wreak some havoc, such as the ability to blink across rooftops, or the ability to possess a rat to make a quick getaway. All in all, it's a refreshing stealth experience.

Two Turtle Doves

The two turtle doves are symbols of peace and unity. They are reminders that everything is right in the world. Nothing is more right in the world than when there is a new Mario game.

The Eternal Movember victors.

The dynamic duo is back, with all their friends. For the first time on Wii U, The New super Mario Bros, utilises the unique gamepad controller to give one person access to the actual level itself. The player in control can help others by creating platforms or blocking off incoming enemies. Alternatively, if you are feeling devious, sabotage your friends by creating obstacles like walls and removing power ups!

Whilst it's still Mario and Princess Peach is still waiting for you at the end to be rescued, It really does put a new spin on the side scrolling adventure that we all know and love.

Three French Hens

It's The third Iteration of Far Cry from the Frenchies at Ubisoft Montreal.

Jason Brody – Never fired a weapon before –> Instant arms expert.

Far Cry 3 is the best in the series yet. Bringing back that classic Far Cry island feel, you play as Jason Brody. A man on a mission to save his best friends from insane pirates armed to the teeth. And girlfriend. And girlfriend's best friend. You get the picture.

The story is extremely enjoyable filled with memorable characters ranging from a doctor who enjoys some questionable island mushrooms to the games antagonist, Vaas, who is the epitome of insanity. The island is incredibly open. There are outposts to liberate, Ancient relics to collect and a dozens of weapons to stockpile. A ton of content in this one.

Four Calling Birds

The Four Calling Birds have to represent the 4th iteration of the beloved Halo

Master Chief – Shiny from every angle.

Don't lie. Halo 4 multiplayer is calling you again. But don't forget the brilliant campaign. Master Chief makes his long awaited return in a story sure to satisfy even the most hardened Halo lore purists. Without spoiling anything, let's just say Cortana is back in a big way.

Thankfully, Halo 4 still excels at what made it the multiplayer juggernaut it was all those years ago. War Games, Death Match and Regicide all make a triumphant turn. The new kid on the block is the Spartan Ops mode, which replaces Firefight as the new four player co-op mode. Released in "seasons" it gives objectives to your team to accomplish together.

Other than that it's still the tried and true Halo. The gunfire is still great and the vehicles are still excessive amounts of fun. Just play it already!

Five Golden Rings

The Five Golden Rings represent the five brilliant chapters of The Walking Dead videogame.

A shovel is a fine tool for dismemberment.

The Walking Dead is an emotional game. Every conversation is important. Every characters reaction is emotional. If you haven't watched AMC's brilliant show of the same name, do it. It's less a zombie show and more a show about people coping in a desperate situation. With plenty of zombie killing of course.

The game takes the same approach to survival the series does, focusing on people making decisions about the harsh reality of their surroundings. The game is set over five episodic chapters. This is a Choose your own adventure realised in video game form. A point and click journey, with some puzzle solving thrown in for good measure. This is sure to be a great change of pace for those looking for something a little different.

Six Geese A Laying

Don't be a goose, get a copy of Resident Evil 6! (Ok, these puns might be getting worse).

Surprise! A gun is equally effective for zombie killing!

Sticking with the zombie theme, but picking up the pace is Resident Evil 6. The sixth entry to the much loved franchise brings a new way to play with the game split up into four individual campaigns. This multi-layered approach allows you to see the events of the game through different perspectives, and gets you closer to the characters than ever before. This is the biggest Resident Evil to date by far.

Making a return is the popular Mercenaries mode, which brings an old school arcade feel to zombie shooting. Up to six players can play online in the Survivors mode, RE6's version of death match. Except when you die, you respawn as a zombie and can seek revenge! Tons of Zombie killing fun, and excels with friends.

7 Swans A Swimming

Agent 47 is back in Hitman Absolution.

You have to wonder what 47's dry cleaner thinks of all these funny marks on his suit.

Be as graceful as a swan or as brutal as a butcher in the latest Hitman installment. Absolution delves further into the back story of its enigmatic protagonist than previous games. You have more tools than ever before to dispatch your target, such as the ability to see through walls to mark your targets. You can use the games "social camouflage" system, which allows you to use NPC outfits to hide in plain sight.

Contracts mode brings Hitman into our ranking obsessed gaming lives. After each level you are awarded a score based on numerous encounters in the level, such as signature kills or disguises you wear. This game uses trial and error to its advantage as you try and retry levels to get the best, and most stylish, possible kill.

8 Maids A Milking

Activision sure knows how to milk something when it's working. But Skylanders is still great!

Triple packs – "I need the middle one, better buy it"

Skylanders: Spyros Adventures was a sensation last year. It used a brilliant concept of selling figurines that translated to characters you could play in the game when placed on a portal. Needless to say, we all had to collect them all. There are 8 different "elements" of figurines, (fire, water, life, magic, air, tech, earth and undead), so naturally you need at least one figurine of each type to finish the game.

Giants adds (Surprise, Surprise!) Giant figurines to the game! Going through the levels as different characters and types allows you see and unlock different things each time. The ultimate goal is to unlock Soul Gems, which open up characters ultimate attacks higher levels. This is super addictive, but honest fun for all ages.

9 Ladies Dancing

Lego Lord of the Rings image - Fellowship of the 9
Image License: author owned

Finally! Play as the 9 companions of the ring in Lego Lord Of The Rings.

One does not simply play a lego game without unlocking everything.

Dancing in the green dragon pub as a 4 foot hobbit is even better in Lego form. The Lego series has been a staple for fun co-operative gaming. With lots and lots of in-game collectables, this is one of those games where you will be tracking your completion meter. As well as being able to play as Gandalf, Lego-lass (teehee) and the rest of the fellowship, there are over 84 playable characters from the Lord Of The Rings universe!

Lego LOTR gives a more open world to explore than any other previous Lego game, allowing you to traverse the far reaches of middle earth. Its simple beat 'em up fun that is a ton of fun in co-op. The classic Lego humour is back with terrific one liners that will have you chuckling to yourself. It's hard not to like this one.

10 Lords A Leaping

The Lord of online multiplayer is back, with a new "Pick Ten" Multiplayer class system

Looking at CoD multiplayer without a 12 year old swearing at you is just not the same.

What really is there to be said about the biggest multiplayer franchise of all time? This time around leap into the action with the new "Pick Ten" system. This new custom class system allows for a more balanced approach to the multiplayer mayhem. It gives players ten customization slots to fill with class options. Don't need that extra attachment on your primary? Drop it and free up the slot for something else. It's that flexibility that allows more play style freedom than ever before.

Jumping between the present and the not too distant future, the campaign is actually a strength of the game. The story is far more engaging than the previous story efforts, with terrific scripting and great level designs. And of course,"Zombies" is back, with a fully fleshed out campaign this time and a ton of new maps.

11 Pipers Piping

Introducing WoW's 11th class, the monk.

The names "JackBlack" and "PandaExpress" were reserved a long time ago.

Many purists thought Mists of Pandaria was a joke on announcement. The combination of the furry Pandarens and the previously unseen Asian influenced art style dismayed many players. After playing it, I can say this: Mists of Pandaria is an extremely strong expansion.

Focusing on a single continent gives renewed continuity to storytelling. Pandaria is rich with lore and memorable quests. The Monk slots in perfectly to WoW's class system as a leather wearing hybrid that gets up close and personal with hand to hand combat.

Importantly, the introduction of Pet Battles, tiller farm and scenarios, gives players things to do outside of raiding and PVP. That said the raiding encounters are inventive as ever. Time to start grinding that gear again!

12 Drummers Drumming

Nintendoland – like a fluro Crayola orgy.

If at any point you are forced to interact with your family during your holiday period, you may want to try Nintendoland as a way to continue gaming while still calling it family time. Nintendoland will be this generations Wiisports. It's a showcase of the unique control scheme the WiiU has to offer through addictive minigames. Featuring twelve "attractions", Nintendoland has a ton of content to play through, all with familiar Nintendo faces.

There is Luigi's Ghost mansion, whereby the player with the gamepad is a ghost that the players with a Wii remote have to find. There's also Pikmin Adventure, which is a real time strategy game with chess like manoeuvres required to beat each level. Choose either bow or sword in The Legend of Zelda battle quest, and fight your way through Hyrule. These are definitely games to bust out when friends come over.

Daniel Lavorato is a Social Community Manager at Harvey Norman. He has been playing games since inception, starting with twister in his mother's womb.  If any title he recommends takes your fancy, then visit Harvey Norman Gaming!

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