The Most Stylish, Arresting & Maybe Even Beautiful Video Game Trailers Of 2012

In what's becoming a Christmas tradition, I'm sitting down today to round up what I think were the year's best video game trailers.

And by best trailers, I mean quite literally, the best trailers. I don't give a damn how representative they were of the finished product, or how good that finished product was, I only care how entertaining, or funny, or well-made the trailer itself was.

Why? Because that's the only way you can approach this. These things have become an artform unto themselves. To try and weigh up the judging by tying them to their games would be to weight their value as marketing instruments, and that's a little gross. We're here for the explosions and pretty visuals, not pre-order incentives and KPIs.

Because I couldn't identify a stand-out winner this year—you don't get an ODST trailer every 12 months—I've just collected the best and put them in this gallery for your perusal/violent disagreement.


Metro: Last Light - Enter The Metro

This would have been awesome as a short film. As a game trailer, it's right up there with stuff we've seen for series like Halo and Ghost Recon.


Assassin's Creed III (E3)

Came very close to emerging as a clear winner, I liked it so much. Gets a little too silly towards the end, though.


Star Wars 1313 "Gameplay"

Unusually, it's one of only two games on the list that didn't actually come out this year. But who cares. It's one hell of a trailer.


Halo 4 (E3)

Microsoft spent a lot of money on Halo 4's trailer and cinematic sequences. And nowhere did it look better than in Halo 4's expansive E3 showing.


ZombiU (E3)

It might owe a little too much to Dead Island's famous "in reverse" clip, but this is still a powerful trailer.


The Last Of Us - The Truck

It was short, and more of a tease, but it's my favourite Last of Us clip from 2012, because it packs in so much mood. In 90 seconds of this clip I think I've got a better sense of the world this game takes place in than any other footage the developers have released.


Crusader Kings II - Greed

You've probably never seen this. But I have. Dozens of times. Just as the game itself came out of nowhere to be one of 2012's surprise hits, so too did this series of clips show that even Paradox's marketing can do amazing work on very little resources.


Mass Effect 3: Take Earth Back

Remember back, before Mass Effect 3 came out. You were excited. And a big part of that probably had to do with this incredible trailer.


Grand Theft Auto V: Official Trailer #2

A rare one, in that it's built almost entirely from in-game footage. Which says a lot about how good Rockstar is at making sexy, stylish trailers.


Planetside 2 - Death is no Excuse

I don't like Planetside 2's art design one bit, so it shows how good this trailer is that it manages to look awesome in spite of it. Great action effects and pacing from the masters of the game trailer, Blur.


FIFA 13 - TV Commercial

The amount of money EA spends on these FIFA clips is mind-boggling. Seriously, if you're not the world's biggest football fan, all you need to know is they somehow, every year, convince some of the biggest stars in the world to star in what amounts to a short film based around the idea of trying to sell a video game.

Lucky for EA, then, that they're usually some of the best clips of the year.


Super Time Force

If you need to ask why it's on the list, you won't understand.