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The 25 best PC games of 2012

Looks like it will be a vintage year for PC owners...

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11. Dishonored

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Any new intellectual property published by the mighty Bethesda Softworks is bound to demand our attention, and Dishonored - developed by Arkane Studios - looks like a potential genre-buster. Gameplay-wise, it has echoes of Deus Ex and BioShock, with a heavy emphasis on stealth. You play as Corvo, once a bodyguard for the Empress, and a man with supernatural powers - and its up to you to combine those powers in imaginative ways in order to negotiate the open game-world, a city called Dunwall. Arkane Studios took inspiration from 19th-century London for this one and yep, it's another Steampunk game. But any game that lets you gain entry to inaccessible places by possessing the bodies of rats is fine by us.

12. Far Cry 3

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Here's another franchise receiving a reboot and once again it'll play best as a PC game: Far Cry 3 will still be an open-world shooter, but this time with much more emphasis on storyline, and featuring non-player characters with infinitely more character than in previous games. Which means you can expect more cut-scenes, and more of an action-focused feel. The franchise's legendary lush tropical environments are present and correct (in even more glory than before). Ubisoft no doubt hopes that Far Cry 3's tweaks will bring a new, less hardcore, audience to the game, without alienating the core fans. And from what we've seen, it looks set to achieve that.

13. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

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We haven't had a Ghost Recon game since 2007's GRAW 2, so Future Soldier is eagerly anticipated. And having got our hands on it, we reckon it will do the business. As ever, it's a third/first-person shooter set in the near future - with weapons technology to match - with you cast as the leader of a Ghost team of four super-soldiers. The storyline will ping around between Norway, the Middle East and Asia, and you'll be able to avail yourself of some deliciously futuristic military toys, such as optical camouflage and even a sniper rifle with heat-seeking bullets. The whole confection, as ever, will be topped off by stunning graphics, and there's no doubt that it's one of 2012's most wanted PC games.

14. Guild Wars 2

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The second instalment of NCSoft's much-loved MMO is awaited with much eagerness. It moves the action forwards 250 years - and the environments into proper 3D, with a shiny new skill-based combat system and a level cap upped to 80 from 20. As with the original game, Guild Wars 2 scores heavily over competitors like World of Warcraft by not forcing you to shell out for a subscription, and its 21st-century graphics engine will at last present the world of Tyria in all its glory. With five races and eight character classes to distil into your (unique) character, it demands the attention of all dedicated MMO-players.

15. Hitman: Absolution

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One of the games industry's great mysteries of modern times concerns why Io Interactive was allowed (or forced) to abandon the awesome Hitman franchise in favour of the frankly dire Kane & Lynch games. Thankfully, sanity has finally prevailed, and Agent 47 is set to return for his first outing since 2006, in Hitman: Absolution. And how we've missed the old baldy with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head. As ever, you'll be able to engage in some tasty stealth-em-upping - aided by a new Instinct mechanic, which allows Agent 47 to cash in the cumulative effect of all those and head-shots and do things like see the path patrolling enemies will take. And in something of a departure, less hardcore players will be able to take a more run-and-gun approach, though we probably won't dirty our hands with that. Typically, the story begins with Agent 47 icing his beloved handler Diana Burnwood, possibly his closest and indeed only friend, before descending into an orgy of paranoia. Welcome back, old friend.

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