The summer buyer's guide: The best games of 2012 (so far)
26th Jul 2012 | 14:27
Summer 2012 is here: the sun is shining, the birds are singing... which means your games console is likely doing nothing but gathering dust and booting up
The fact is unless, you're John Terry's solicitor, you've probably not been able to afford the roster of brilliant Xbox 360, PS3, PC, 3DS and PS Vita games that have already released in 2012.
To help give you something to do other than *shudder* go outside and spend your money on piña coladas, we've put together the essential list of 2012's best games so far, mostly based on CVG's own review scores but also where number clashes apply, our own personal opinions.
We've also put our shopping hats on and scoped out the best prices for each title.
It's worth noting that we've tried to avoid game ports, compilations and DLC from our list. Don't agree with our rankings? Vote for your favourite games of 2012 so far in our new feature.
Imperfect, unapologetic fan service - but it feels good, dazzles visually, and has plenty of rose-tinted charm. A worthy last hurrah for the series? Your wish is granted.
Mario Tennis Open - 8.0
"It's Mario - playing tennis! The special moves might be a tad too powerful, but otherwise the plumber serves up a well-aimed slice of sporting fun."
Yakuza Dead Souls
"It's the equivalent of a shrapnel grenade rather than single, well-placed sniper bullet. Bits will miss, others will lodge themselves deep."
"There's an abundance of weak missions and a daft storyline, but the free-running and combat are a joy - plus, it's fantastically bloody throughout."
"Largely lifeless campaign lets the overall package down a bit, but multiplayer more than makes up for it"
Spec Ops: The Line
"The thoughtful philosophy can go AWOL when the guns come out, but at least when they do, the fun doesn't follow."
"An intelligent, original, and charming puzzler that's held back by awkward platforming and erratic physics."
Max Payne 3
"A slick, violent shooter, made with Rockstar's trademark style and panache. But it's marred by a lack of variety and an overlong story."
"You could waste days rattling off its technical shortcomings, but this an easy game to forgive. Strict time limits and a great weapon makes this more than just Zelda For Dummies."
Format: Vita | CVG Escape Plan review: 8.1
"Sometimes ponderous, Escape Plan redeems its 'tap everything' trial and error through gorgeous visuals and clever puzzles."
The Darkness 2
"A stylish, violent shooter wrapped up in a touching plot and lovely, graphic-novel visuals. Not perfect, but deeply satisfying to blast through."
"A refinement of the original and a gruesome excuse to dice with death and rack up high scores. A short, bloody rollercoaster which mostly impresses."
UFC Undisputed 3
"Pride mode, the streamlined career, and an abundance of core gameplay tweaks make this a worthy sequel. But if you're expecting a radical makeover, you might be disappointed."
Kinect Star Wars
"Cynicism leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads you to not enjoy the best Star Wars game in years. Suspend disbelief and cast aside aspersions - you'll have a riot."
The Last Story
"Lively combat and fun scenario design plaster over the narrative cracks. Not the glorious last hurrah we'd hoped for, but as fun as Wii games are going to be in a dry 2012."
Lumines Electronic Symphony
"A judicious update of Mizuguchi's Tetris-with-knobs-on game, which makes sensible use of the Vita's diverse input mechanisms and introduces even greater strategic depth."
Ghost Recon Future Soldier
"A new direction for Ghost Recon, but one that brings together spec ops realism with excellent player control and an interesting, globe-hopping story."
"Big, challenging and imaginative, but its hardcore nature won't appeal to everyone. If you have a lot of time, and patience, this is one of the best console RPGs."
"Polished in a way only EA can, FIFA Street is a quality offshoot - ping pong to the main game's tennis."
Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise
"Beat The Beat's sound director says he thinks about the game even when he's in the bath or using the toilet. So will you. Sparkling brilliance, gleefully insanity - just needs more remixes."
"Faster and more aggressive, SCV is what the series needed. Long term fans may bemoan the changes, but this is the perfect starting point for newcomers."
"A beautiful, expertly crafted compromise between nostalgia and evolution - despite the gargantuan scale, it's never less than incredible fun."
Resident Evil Revelations
"A tasty blend of traditional Resi spooks and modern action pacing that, despite a few action hiccups, remains one of the most satisfying uses of 3DS hardware to date. The third-party game to beat."
Format: XBLA | CVG Fez review: 9.0
"Fez is more a curio you tinker and toy with and hold up to the light until it makes sense, because boy, like Braid's play on time and Limbo's gravity fun, contemplating 2D and 3D space is a tricky concept to grasp."
"One of the most madly addictive RPGs of recent years. A modern game with an old school feel, that really shines when played with buddies in co-op."
Format: PSN | CVG Journey review: 9.0
"Journey is an enigma, both keenly directed and liberatingly open. It's occasionally impenetrable, but that's the price of mystery. A short trip, but one to cherish."
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13
"Perfection. Tiger 13 is so good it raises the question - what can EA's PGA Tour series do next, shy of personally jetting you to Augusta to play on Amen Corner itself?"
Kid Icarus Uprising
"This is no wax-winged folly, but a daring reinvention of a hero too long on the subs bench. Look past the controls for the biggest, prettiest and downright silliest 3DS game to date."
Format: XBLA | CVG Trials Evolution review: 9.4
"Trials Evolution is a life-sucking beast, a game with potentially never-ending user content where even a single track can eat up hours on the quest for platinum. And it's bloody good fun too."
Mass Effect 3
"Tough choices that test your morals to the limit, richer combat, and a haunting ending make this an unforgettable end to the series."