Best Xbox 360 games of 2012

Halo 4 Screenshot - best of 2012 xbox 360 games

2012 is coming to a close. As we await our inevitable doom that the Mayans predicted (Y2K all over again, amirite?), it doesn't hurt to look back on the year that was. Some of the best games that you could find called the Xbox 360 home. While most games nowadays are multi-platform, here are the five best Xbox 360 exclusives of 2012.

Dance Central 3

dance central 3

With the Kinect able to track full-body movement, it's no surprise that Dance Central 3 is one of the best dance games available on any console, so it's definitely one of the Xbox's best exclusives of 2012. The series improved on its success with additions like Beginner Mode, where players new to dance games can ease their way in, and Crew Throwdown Mode, where two teams of up to four people go head-to-head in performances, dance battles and mini-games.

To go with the vibrant, easy on the eyes visuals is a list of songs for you to drop it like it's hot. The soundtrack is a great mix of the 1970s to today's hits -- from Vanilla Ice's 'Ice Ice Baby' to Justin Bieber's 'Boyfriend.' And don't worry, Overly Attached Girlfriend doesn't make an appearance during the song.

It has a ridiculous storyline, and it's so fun that it's almost impossible to be humiliated in front of your friends as you dance the night away. This game alone, makes owning the Kinect worth it.

Dust: An Elysian Tail

dust: an elysian tail

An action-RPG from independent designer Dean Dodrill, Dust: An Elysian Tail was one of Xbox Live Summer of Arcade games. Taking place in the world of Falana and inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, this 2D side-scroller has a very Metroid / Castlevania feel to it.

Entirely designed and programmed by Dodrill, the game features fast and responsive combat, RPG mechanics, a well-written storyline, and lavish 2D graphics. There's over 10 hours of story and side content, tons of secrets for you to dive back in, and a ton of charm that will guarantee that you enjoy doing it. There's so many elements at work that you'll wonder how one person did it all.

Trials Evolution

trials evolution

Trials Evolution has received nothing but positive reviews from users and critics alike. Count GameZone among the impressed, as we've rated the game a 9.5/10. It is a downloadable 2.5D platform racing game with a single-player career, 50 tracks, challenging unlocks and multiplayer with two to four players, either locally or through XBLA. The game features a fantastic physics engine and a perfect flow that comes across as addictive and frantic.

There's also an awesome map editor where players can design and share their own maps. It's the same editor that the developer used to create the game's levels, and you have access to the game's visual programming language so you can create new scenarios -- there's levels similar to Angry Birds and 'Splosion Man.

It's not only one of the best XBLA games of the year, but one of the best ever.

Forza Horizon

forza horizon

If you want one of the best racing experiences on the Xbox 360, look no further than Forza Horizon, the newest entry in the Forza series. It's hard to find much wrong with Horizon, as GameZone rated it a 9.5/10. It's the first to feature an open-world for the player to race in. It's roads and maps from areas of Colorado -- like Gladstone and the Rockies -- and it's so close to real that you'll think it's real.

There's an attention to detail and quality that you won't find in other racing games. Whether you're racing on pavement or dirt; against cars, planes or helicopters; or playing online against other players in games like "cat & mouse," Horizon is a visual masterpiece to go along with genius gameplay.

Halo 4

halo 4

Outside of one troll review, Halo 4 has been raved about by critics, with most gamers following suit. I reviewed the game and rated it a 9.5/10, so I'm one of the many that think 343 Industries did a phenomenal job with the IP. With a new alien threat unlike anything Master Chief has faced, 343 Industries managed to take the game to new visual heights.

The story is also the best in the series, and for the firs time ever, Master Chief feels like a real character with real emotions, rather than a killing machines. The storyline revolves around the relationship of Cortana and Master Chief, and it features some of the best voice acting I've heard. There's just so much emotion in every line that's it's hard not to get goose bumps.

Then, of course, there's the classic Halo multiplayer. If it's not broke, don't fix it, right? Well, 343 Industries decided to tweak it and put their touch on it, and let me tell you, it's better. It's easily a Game of the Year nominee, and by far one of the best on the 360.

You can follow Movies and Culture Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at LLiebl@GameZone.com

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Lance Liebl Gamer, Disney enthusiast, opinionated sports fan, movie buff, and a father of two. You can follow Lance on Twitter @Lance_GZ.
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