Before we knew it, December was upon us and all the games had arrived in stores in time for everyone to buy them as presents. We've got the reveal of our Game of the Year coming after Christmas, but for 24 days starting December 1 we'll bring you a new contender for the title. Please note that these games are in no particular order, but feel free to speculate on where they might appear in our final list.
Martin Gaston. Reviews Editor
Everything about Borderlands 2 screams excess. It is an abundantly decadent example of what millions of dollars can achieve, with huge and deafening environments spilling items and monsters and characters and detail and life. I've never had a particularly high opinion of Gearbox's output, but Borderlands 2 simply shines. I'd say the real star of the show is Anthony Burch's razor-sharp script, but this is a co-op treat stuffed with a surfeit of giggling, maddening content. Borderlands 2 is exactly what AAA games should be.
Neon Kelly, Video Production Editor
When all is said and done, Borderlands 2 is my favourite FPS of the year. The guns are fantastic, both in sheer variety and in terms of how fun they are to fire, and the game itself is colourful, diverse and amusing. But the best thing about Borderlands 2 is its breezy sense of confidence. Its predecessor was an underdog, one whose quirky personality helped to paper over its minor shortcomings. Borderlands 2, on the other hand, is a swaggering mack daddy.
It's a balls-out romper stomper of a game, an anarchic shooter that knows exactly what it's doing – whether it's focusing on cartoon violence and black humour, or actually taking itself seriously for a brief, fleeting moment. Many games struggle to take either approach effectively, but Borderlands 2 can do both – and I think shows just how much time and effort Gearbox put into this project.
David Scammell, Deputy News Editor
I don't think I'll ever forget the moment I roasted a midget alive. Or the time when Tiny Tina invited me over to a tea party with Monsieur Flesh Stick and Mr Sparks. Or when – SPOILER! – Sanctuary became a floating fortress. For a series that I felt was lacking in character and noteworthy set-pieces initially, Gearbox sure did knock it out of the park for its sequel.
Finding its place, then, and being let off the reigns to explore Borderlands' more outrageous side was critical to Borderlands 2's success. And that it openly flirted with toilet humour, knob gags and ritual sacrifice without seeming overly puerile or in bad taste was testament to the quality of its writing. If there was ever an award for best written game of 2012, Borderlands 2 would surely walk away with the prize.
Matthew Nellis, Video Producer
I found the original Borderlands to be quite uninspiring, unless I was playing co-op with a friend, and even then the fun came mainly from the camaraderie rather than the game itself. So when Borderlands 2 rolled out with high praise I thought I'd give it a fair shake. And I'm sure glad I did.
The main story quest felt very engaging, aided by 'bad guy of the year' nominee Handsome Jack heckling you at every opportunity. The levelling, loot, bad-ass points and customisation all created a MMO feel, which is not a bad thing seeing as that's a genre I actually like. However there came a point where Sanctuary literally became a quest hub; about 8 yellow exclamation marks popped up at the same time prompting me to grab them all (without reading the quest dialogue) and immediately set out to the mission marker. I did this for a few hours until I realised a very familiar feeling. This was a grind. I'd switched off entirely from the story which I'd been enjoying up until that point and was now simply comparing arrows every few minutes.
So, 22 hours in I decided to take a break. After years of playing MMOs I have a knack of knowing when I'm going to burn out, and switch from thorough enjoyment to mechanical grinding. I didn't want this to happen with Borderlands 2 and will no doubt put in another solid 22 hours in the New Year.