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The top five video games of 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This was a great year for gaming, and 2013 looks to be even better. But before we look forward to upcoming titles, it's time for a look back at the five best games 2012 had to offer.

It should be noted that all games on this list are rated M for mature. Though it was a complete coincidence this happened, it's understandable why it did. M-rated games tend to offer more complex stories or gameplay mechanics.

If you're a parent on the fence as to whether or not you want your kid to play one of the games listed or a young gamer unsure of whether you can stomach the mature content, be sure to visit www.esrb.org for more information regarding the rating.

5. "ZombiU" (Wii U; rated M)

Unlike most games in the genre today, "ZombiU" is a genuine survival horror title. You'll find true tension and fear in lieu of action-packed set pieces.

You have only one life, and if you die, you lose all your items and restart with a new character. You'll have to backtrack and make your way to your previous, now zombie virus-infected character and kill it to get your loot. Think "Dark Souls" with a zombie twist.

"ZombiU" is a real treat for survival horror fans or anyone who wants a challenging game.

4. "Assassin's Creed III" (PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360, Windows; rated M)

The fifth major installment of the extremely popular "Assassin's Creed" series sets out to wrap up the story of Desmond Miles as he tries to prevent the end of the world. This, of course, means he'll be going back into the Animus, a device that allows him to relive the memories of his ancestors.

Ezio Auditore, the ancestor in the "Assassin's Creed II" trilogy, is replaced with the new Native American protagonist, Ratonhnhaké:ton -- better known as Connor. Connor soon finds himself in the middle of the American Revolution as he plots to take down the Templars.

The new gameplay mechanics, such as hunting and naval combat, make the game feel very fresh, and cat-and-mouse multiplayer provides hours of fun even after the main story is over.

3. "Dishonored" (PS3, Xbox 360, Windows; rated M)

"Dishonored" puts players in the role of supernatural assassin Corvo, who's framed for the murder of an empress and the kidnapping of her daughter. Utilizing a wide variety of powers, from possession to teleportation, the game provides interesting ways for players to take down assassination targets as they try to clear Corvo's name.

Want to go in stabbing everything in sight? That's fine. But so is opting to knock everyone unconscious and move their bodies out of sight. It's possible to get through the entire game without killing a single person.

In the vein of the "Deus Ex" and "Thief" series, "Dishonored" is all about choice. This new IP (intellectual property) is a breath of fresh air from an otherwise stale market of sequels.

2: "Borderlands 2" (PS3, Xbox 360, Windows; rated M)

Okay, sure, I just complained about the stale abundance of sequels in gaming, but "Borderlands 2" is an exception. Like its predecessor, this cel-shaded combination of "Diablo" and "Halo" is an over the top romp through a beautiful, alien world.

The five character classes, four-player online multiplayer (two player local) and randomized loot are enough to warrant a purchase. Throw in the fact that the game provides a whopping 30-60 hours of fun and has four packs of downloadable content (two out now and two on the way), and it's a must-have. "Borderlands 2" is a game with great bang for your buck.

1: "XCOM: Enemy Unknown" (PS3, Xbox 360, Windows; rated M)"

A remake of the 1994 cult classic "UFO: Enemy Unknown," this turn-based strategy game should contain a warning label to caution players on how easily addicted they can get.

Wisely managing your funding and development of XCOM, a group formed by the world after an alien invasion, is surprisingly fun, as are the actual battles with the aliens ... until you realize that character deaths are permanent. It's easy to grow attached to a character you've developed for six hours, only to have them killed off in a flank maneuver from the enemy.

"XCOM: Enemy Unknown" is built entirely on a risk/reward system, and your choices either result in a white-knuckle victory or a fiery defeat. If you don't have this one in your collection, you seriously need to rethink your gaming choices.


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