This would have gone to the ever-gorgeous Assassin’s Creed, had I not bought Medal of Honor Warfighter at the last minute. Despite the reviews for it being all over the place, there’s no denying the Frostbite 2 engine is spectacularly good.
Car chases, martial arts, leaping from one vehicle onto the back of another, gunfights, all done smoothly, fluidly with maximum fun and no frustration – this one goes to Sleeping Dogs.
The Frostbite 2 engine isn’t all about the graphics. The sounds it produces, even on normal TV speakers, is nothing short of amazing. Turn the volume up, this goes to Medal of Honor Warfighter.
As stirring as ever and suiting the action perfectly, the winner of the Best Music Award is Mass Effect 3.
With its twists and turns, harrowing set pieces and a story that stays with you long after the console is switched off, Spec Ops: The Line makes you wonder why more books aren’t made into games.
Best Voice Acting
All the actors involved in Spec Ops: The Line did a great job at getting across the hell the characters are going through.
Sharing the award for most innovative are XCOM: Enemy Unknown for bringing a superb strategy game to us console knuckle-draggers and to Ghost Recon Future Soldier for its superb “camera” work, innovative co-op integration with the single player and for bringing the stealth shooter bang up to date.
Best Local Multiplayer
With AI improved enough to be able to add bots to almost any game mode, get 4 player split screen on and Call of Duty: Black Ops II wins this hands down.
Best Online Multiplayer
With so many game modes to choose from, an impressive level of customisation, new loadouts and a general all round awesomeness, Halo 4 takes it.
Best Dashboard app / feature
There is an ever-growing selection of apps available on the Xbox now and Internet Explorer has finally arrived, scooping this award for its clear, well presented interface, simple navigation and great use of Xbox SmartGlass.
I’ve added this “Special Mention” because sometimes there are games that aren’t winning any of the official awards, but still deserve their time in the spotlight. In 2012, there were two that fit that billing. Dishonored – one of the year’s best games, with brilliant gameplay and a fantastic environment; and NHL 13, the best simulation of the sport we’ve seen yet – EA still pulling it out of the bag after all these years.
Best GameThere have been some great games this year, but for its varied and fun gameplay, great story and cast of characters, my best game of 2012 is Sleeping Dogs.