Alternative Magazine Online: The Best of 2012 Awards

By Marty Mulrooney

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Following the success of the previous AMO awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Alternative Magazine Online is proud to present our top picks of the best films, books, graphic novels, video games and music reviewed on AMO in 2012!

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Skyfall – “Skyfall is a stand-alone Bond film that fondly remembers the series’ 50 year history without remaining stuck in the past. Daniel Craig is in many ways a firm contender for the best actor to have ever played 007, fully embodying Ian Fleming’s troubled spy in a modern age and for a modern audience. Sam Mendes has helmed a beautifully understated outing for the world’s most famous secret agent that marries breathtaking action and exotic locations with sincere depth and characterisation. One of the best films of 2012, it could also be argued – and no doubt it will be for some time – that this is the best James Bond film ever made. This is 007 reborn, and he’s never felt more alive.”honourable-mentions-horizontal

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises – “For many Batman fans, there will only ever be one true Batman – Adam West. Other fans may choose Michael Keaton or even Kevin Conroy as their Caped Crusader of choice. For this reviewer, it has to be Christian Bale. Christopher Nolan has created a Batman trilogy that will endure. Any director wishing to reboot the series after a monumental cinematic achievement such as this had better batten down the hatches – there’s a storm coming. This Dark Knight can be fought, he can be broken, but he’ll never be beaten.”

Looper

Looper – “The futuristic world of Looper is conveyed convincingly throughout, whilst remaining recognisable enough to feel truly uncomfortable. The plot takes many unexpected twists and turns – it even veers towards horror at times – and the ending is perfection. Looper has brains, brawn and heart – it will undoubtedly cause much discussion and debate. Quite simply, it’s one of the best films of 2012 and one of the most satisfying science fiction films of the past decade.”

The Last Policeman

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters – “This is a genuinely engaging mystery novel that boldly asks us to consider what life is worth, and what truly defines us as individuals. The first in a planned trilogy, The Last Policeman not only presents a brilliant premise – it executes it to perfection, remaining able to surprise and delight until the very last page. Undoubtedly one of 2012’s greatest works of literary fiction, riding shotgun in Henry Palace’s department-issued Chevrolet Impala is a ride well worth taking.”

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The Killing David Hewson

The Killing by David Hewson – “It starts out as an adaptation and ends up becoming a reinterpretation. The Killing is an unputdownable page-turner that deserves as much recognition as the television show that inspired it. David Hewson transfers Sarah Lund from screen to page effortlessly – his novelisation of The Killing II can’t come out soon enough.”

EckoRising

Ecko Rising – “Beneath the sex, violence and relentless action lies a surprisingly sophisticated fantasy adventure that culminates in a shocking conclusion, turning everything Ecko thought he knew – and therefore everything the reader thought they knew – completely on it’s head. A sequel is scheduled for publication in 2013 and if the ending of Ecko Rising is anything to go by, it’s going to be even bigger and better. A hugely enjoyable genre mash-up that promises great things to come from first-time author Danie Ware.”

Anomaly Cover

Anomaly – “Anomaly will no doubt be remembered as a milestone within the graphic novel community. It manages to take a generic story and turn it into something truly engaging and new. It feels fresh and that’s not something to be underestimated. For the longest original full-colour graphic novel ever published, Anomaly feels like it finishes far too soon. The final words ‘To Be Continued’ are more than welcome. Anomaly falls a sliver short of perfection due to some slight plot predictability and a few loose threads, but don’t let any of that put you off – it’s also undoubtedly the best graphic novel of 2012 and a guaranteed epic adventure that will transport you to another planet. In short, Anomaly is quite simply out of this world!”

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GOLIATHcover

Goliath by Tom Gauld – “Goliath tells a familiar story from a fresh angle and the results prove delightful. Graphic novels have the power to move and stir emotions as successfully as any novel. The only real negative of Goliath is its brevity – at 96 pages, this charming tale will easily be consumed within an hour, if not less. Perhaps more graphic novella than graphic novel then, but don’t let that put you off. Goliath is one of the very best of its genre and shouldn’t be missed, especially by those who like their humour spiked with a healthy dose of melancholy – the ending, when it comes, is a total knockout.”

CardboardDougTenNapel

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel – “The move from black-and-white to colour has been kind to Doug TenNapel (Cardboard was drawn digitally and then coloured by Der-Shing Helmber) – this is truly a visual feast, with striking images leaping from every page. The story is slightly predictable but when your main complaint is a compact, happy ending, you know you’re grasping at straws. Cardboard is a graphic novel not to be missed, from a graphic novelist at the height of his game. A story about life that’s simply bursting with it.”

TheWalkingDead

The Walking Dead: The Game (PC) – “There are no easy decisions, there are no easy answers and the ending is difficult to come to terms with, soul-destroying and absolutely pitch perfect. Not only is this without question game of the year, it has also set the bar for every subsequently released adventure game to follow in its devastational wake. Take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror after it’s all over. Can you hold your own gaze, or do you have to look away? The Walking Dead’s greatest achievement is that it will reveal something about each individual player – and how many games can truly say that?” 

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Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3 (PlayStation 3) – “Max Payne 3 is a stylish, violent adventure that is presented like a Michael Mann film and plays like a John Woo flick. The phenomenal soundtrack by HEALTH rounds off a cinematic single player campaign that is joined by a surprisingly solid multiplayer component. James McCaffrey sells the entire experience, even when it falters – his hardboiled voiceover is certainly worth playing for. It’s a shame that some strange bugs mar the experience at times and the shooting can admittedly get somewhat repetitive towards the end of Max’s adventure. Regardless, this is one of 2012’s most enjoyable third-person shooters – possibly its best – and once again proves that when it comes to quality game design, Rockstar are second to none.”

DeponiaUK

Deponia (PC) “In short, Deponia is a stunningly presented adventure game – perhaps the best looking traditionally animated point-and-clicker since 1997’s The Curse of Monkey Island – that has some great puzzles, funny characters and a memorable hero. The humour has stayed largely intact in the translation from German to English and the voice acting is strong too. The fact that Deponia is of a decent length (10-12 hours) and still feels like it ends too soon can only be taken as a compliment.”

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Anna’s Quest Vol. 1: Winfriede’s Tower (PC) – “Anna’s Quest Vol. 1: Winfriede’s Tower is indie adventure gaming at its finest. Arriving seemingly out of nowhere, Dane Krams and Krams Design – is this really the work of one man?! – have created a beautifully drawn, professionally voiced point-and-click adventure that deserves to be played by any self-respecting adventure gamer. The only real complaint that can be levelled at Anna’s Quest Vol. 1 is that it’s over before it has even really begun – although for the low price of £4.00 you arguably won’t play a better traditional adventure game in 2012, indie or otherwise. Mr Krams – we want Anna’s Quest Vol. 2. When do we want it? Now!”

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TheJourneyDownHD

The Journey Down: Chapter One – HD (PC) – “The Journey Down: Chapter One – HD delivers by the bucket-load. It’s still the same game beneath the new lick of paint of course and this may put some players off – the jump in price from free to £9.99 is difficult not to notice. However, despite still being relatively short and still having a cliff-hanger ending that will make you want to cry, the new presentation makes it well worth taking another journey down. If LucasArts woke up and released a quality adventure game today instead of continuing to drain the Star Wars franchise bone dry, they would probably make something like this. My original statement from last year still stands: one of the most essential adventure gaming experiences of the past few years.”

Cognition An Erica Reed Thriller

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode 1: The Hangman – “Jane Jensen’s Gray Matter was an incredibly underrated game and in many ways this feels like its spiritual successor. This is a good old-fashioned adventure game like they used to make, offering a fresh twist on the cop drama, with production values that rival the big names in adventure gaming at the moment such as Telltale Games. It isn’t perfect, but in terms of enjoyment it comes damn close for a first episode. Erica Reed desperately needs your help – take her hand and see what happens.”

Gotye Making Mirrors

Making Mirrors by Gotye – “Musicians that actually want to create something new rather than simply regurgitate the same old sounds are an increasingly rare and dying breed. The fact that Gotye has managed to do just that by cherry picking some of the best sounds from the best artists of the past few decades – knowingly or otherwise – deserves recognition. Making Mirrors’ mileage will no doubt vary from listener to listener, but it’s undeniable that this is one of the most original and heartfelt albums of recent years.”

Special thanks to the wonderful and super-talented ShezCrafti for designing AMO’s 2012 Awards medals and banners! Please be sure to check out her awesome blog by visiting:

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2 Comments

Filed under Alternative Musings, Books, Film, Games, Music

2 responses to “Alternative Magazine Online: The Best of 2012 Awards

  1. Great news about Anna’s Quest! I had a chat to the creator over at http://potaku.com/2013/01/14/duel-shock-adventure-games-and-episodic-releases/ about adventure games, might be of interest to readers

  2. Pingback: Cognition gets an AMO Honorable Mention for Indie Game of the Year! « Phoenix Online Studios

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