2012 was a year heavy on dungeon crawlers. Between Borderlands 2, Torchlight 2, Heroes of Ruin, and several others, it was a genre with a lot of fierce competition. However, on the PC one particular title stood out from the pack, and given the pedigree of its brand, it should come as no surprise. Diablo III was as hotly anticipated as it was controversial, and despite a sharp divide amongst fan opinions and a rocky first few days, the game received high praise from critics. While a number of questionable choices sparked huge debates amongst gamers, the most notable of which is the requirement of an always-active connection to the server, Diablo III does one thing in particular that gamers everywhere have to respect: it mixes things up.
The dungeon-crawler genre has stagnated heavily over the past decade ever since the release of Diablo III's predecessor virtually perfected the formula. Since that time, most attempts to mimic Diablo II's success have simply involved tweaking and adding to the groundwork that was already there. Diablo III tries something completely different, turning character development on its head and allowing players to adapt and experiment rather than forcing them into a single path that becomes harder and harder to escape from. Coupled with rapid-fire combat, an impressive array of enemies, and more story content than Diablo and Diablo II combined, it's little wonder that Diablo III is RPGamer's PC RPG of the Year.
Two other PC games that deserve mention are second place Torchlight II and third place Guild Wars 2. Torchlight II is a strong improvement on the original game from 2009, creating a highly enjoyable and accessible experience. The well-handled addition of multiplayer is a vital ingredient to its success and lead to some entertaining sessions between staff members. Meanwhile, Guild Wars 2 helped to somewhat revitalize the MMO genre, which had recently seen cool receptions to some high-profile entries, with a beautiful world and engaging battle system, as well as plenty of encouragement for players to work together.
by Adriaan den Ouden, Alex Fuller