After three stellar months of releases, finding five strong games in December proves slightly more difficult. If you aren’t already buried under the avalanche of titles from the holiday explosion and the Wii U launch, chances are, you won’t find much more in the December 2012 video game releases.
The month is not without its winners, however. First person shooting fans will get their hands on a game that many critics are calling one of the best releases of the year, and PlayStation 3 players will finally get a crack at the first entry in one of the defining trilogies of this generation. If you don’t see anything on this list for you, don’t feel bad. In fact, save your money, because the next three months are going to be a little rough on all of our wallets.
Far Cry 3 | Ubisoft Montreal | December 4
Proving to be one of the more outrageous titles released this year, Far Cry 3 gives players the means to not only explore a tropical region, but to do so in fantastical fashion. The open world concept has never been more masterfully executed, and the side missions are a breath of fresh air, even giving players the opportunity to dive down and take on sharks.
Even more impressive is how vast the mission list and beautiful the setting is. Add to that solid shooting mechanics and numerous multiplayer options, and Far Cry 3 will be difficult for anybody to resist when making up their Christmas lists.
Mass Effect Trilogy | BioWare | December 4
This doesn’t quite fit the mold of “new game release for the month of December,” but for the first time ever, PlayStation 3 owners will be able to experience the entire Mass Effect trilogy, as Mass Effect was originally an Xbox 360/PC exclusive. Until now, PlayStation 3 players who wanted to see the consequences of their choices throughout the entire trilogy needed to complete an interactive comic recapping the events of the original Mass Effect.
Not only that, but anyone who missed one of this generation’s defining trilogies can now pick the entire series up for a bargain of a price. And with Mass Effect 3 in the running for VGW’s Game of the Year, it’s hard not to recommend picking up this cool little package.
Guardians of Middle Earth | Monolith Productions | December 4
When hoping to cash in on a big movie release, there are a few different routes that can be taken. The traditional method is to attempt to adapt the movie’s story into a low-budget interactive version of said movie. Recently, however, the trend has been to release a game that serves as more or less of a companion to the movie.
Guardians of Middle Earth takes place in the same universe as the upcoming blockbuster film The Hobbit, and has received very positive reviews. With still another week until The Hobbit hits theaters, Guardians of Middle Earth has the ability to do more than whet the appetites of Tolkien fans; it has the potential to actually tide them over until the first entry in the new film trilogy releases on December 14th.
The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series | Telltale Games | December 11
This is another game that has been made previously available, but for the first time, players can buy the complete season (five episodes) on a physical disc. The game, which sent shockwaves through the industry as each successive episode launched on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, PC and iOS starting in April, recently took home the top honor at Spike TV’s Video Game Awards for Game of the Year.
As a previous digital exclusive, gamers were clamoring for a physical release, and Telltale Games listened. Not only will a standard edition launch for a value price of $30, but there will also be a $70 special edition that will contain the compendium (the first 48 issues of the award-winning comic series), as well as special-edition box art. Not a bad deal for the VGA Game of the Year.
Hawken | Adhesive Games | December 12
As one of VGW’s top picks from E3 2012, it’s hard not to recommend Hawken in a month like December 2012. The mech-based combat title is beyond ambitious for a free-to-play title, as it brings several different game modes and numerous unique concepts to the genre.
In addition to winning VGW’s “Best of PC” at E3, it also was the recipient of 19 other awards, including major honors from Destructoid, Polygon and GameTrailers, plus a nomination of “Best of Show” from GameSpot, making this free-to-play game from an indie developer one that should not be ignored