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Another year down, another year closer to death, and another year spent ignoring those facts by playing video games and watching movies. 2013 was an interesting year for gaming. A lot of great games were released this year, leaving me fully confident that I’d be able to pull a top 5 and maybe even a top 10. As usual, I’m not that confident about being able to find enough games for the bottom half of my list because I didn’t really make good use of my Gamefly this year. But this was also an interesting year for video games because we got some brand spankin’ new consoles in the Xbox One and the PS4 … that brought nothing significant for games. I only bought the Xbox One, but none of the games for that system would come close to my top 5 for the year. And I didn’t buy the PS4 because its games were even worse. But there’s still plenty enough to talk about for this year as I present my review for the Games of 2013.
DMC: DEVIL MAY CRY
This game was okay. The series had gotten a little stale so they decided to try to sexy it up a little bit and change Dante’s look. Some people got mad about that. I didn’t care. I meant about the game. It was a standard Devil May Cry game, and I’ve not been that interested in those in any of their incarnations. Beat the shit out of your X button until all the enemies on screen are dead. A nice enough way to kill time, but certainly not a must have title.
FIRE EMBLEM AWAKENING
This game was actually the very first game I played on the 3DS that I purchased some months later. I finally decide to purchase a 3DS because of the Pokémon release, and this game seemed to be the most interesting. And it was. The gameplay was enjoyable turn-based strategy stuff, but I found myself completely obsessed with the romance system in the game. I tried to get everyone in my team to fuck everyone else in my team. And then when they did and their children came back from the future to join my team (this actually happens!), I tried to get the kids from the different families together. I would talk more about the satisfying gameplay or the nice graphics, but I really spent all my time playing matchmaker in this game, and I still enjoyed it.
DEAD SPACE 3
I’ve liked the Dead Space series in the past, and technically I’d say I enjoyed this game as well. The problem is that I no longer remember it. It was just like the other Dead Space games but with more snow. I do remember liking the story, the graphics, and the gameplay, so I’d still say I’d recommend playing it even if it is somewhat forgettable. It’s probably only $20 by now, and it’s definitely worth that.
This is another game that I entirely forgot existed. If you’ve ever played a Crysis game, well this is another one. It’s really pretty, it does nothing to advance the genre of the first-person shooter, and the story is never anything special. And neither are the games. They’re fun enough, but not spectacular.
GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION
I’ve owned this game since I got it as a gift for my birthday in June. I still have not felt any reason to play it. I guess I kind of assumed that the game got shitty reviews, but as I look it up to write this it turns out that it’s been generally favorable. I will need to find out where I put my copy and get around to it now, I suppose.
GEARS OF WAR: JUDGMENT
Now this game I did play. I’m not sure why. It wasn’t bad, but it was Gears of War as all the secondary characters I never cared about. Except Cole-Train-Baby-Woo, whose name I will not say any other way. There’s nothing wrong with this game, but there’s nothing special or significant about it either. Have you played Gears of War before? Well this looks and plays exactly like that. That’s not a bad thing, but you’re not going to get anywhere near the top of my lists by rehashing.
Ooooo, I wish I had played you! I saw some game footage. This game looks stupid and broken as shit. WHY DID I NOT PLAY YOU?! Gamefly! Get me Star Trek on the phone, stat!
METRO: LAST LIGHT
I just recently started playing this game. I felt like I wanted to get this game all year, and it was eating at me every time I saw it on the shelf. I saw it go on sale numerous times, but never went low enough that I felt I should take the risk. But it finally reached the price I needed it to be: Free! My sister gave me this game for Christmas, so I’ve only been playing it a little. The game could complain that it wasn’t given the best chance to make it into my top games because I haven’t even beaten it yet, but I think I’ve played enough to be able to say it was in no danger of that anyway. It’s good, but you came out in the same year as GTAV, BioShock Infinite, and Tomb Raider. You’re going to have to step your game up for that. The story is forgettable so far, but the graphics are nice and the gameplay is fun. Just not really exceptional in any way that I’ve yet found.
FAST & FURIOUS: SHOWDOWN
Remember what I said about the Star Trek game. Same goes for this one. I didn’t play it, and I think we all know exactly why.
I played a demo of this game and found it to be acceptable. I would totally play this game when it dropped down to $20. But they don’t usually release games that aren’t total garbage at $20, and when they finally dropped the price to around that low, I was no longer interested. I’ll probably get it eventually, so you can call this a recommendation if the game is already $20. But I know that I’ve definitely given better recommendations before.
I have been (and still remain) very interested in playing this game. Deadpool is one of my favorite comic book characters and is one of the few comic books that I read regularly anymore. Sadly, it did not appear that Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan (writers of the Deadpool comics and stars of one of my favorite podcasts, Nerd Poker) had anything to do with this game. If I couldn’t even rely on the comedy of the story to keep my interest in this game, it would have to come down the gameplay. And the gameplay just seemed too standard. I will eventually play this game, but it’s going to need to be much cheaper than I’ve managed to find it yet. $20 range sounds about right.
My roommate got me really excited to play this game. I had played Muramasa: The Demon Blade on the Wii a few years back (which was around the last time I played anything on the Wii), and I really enjoyed it. It was super basic gameplay, but I thought the art style was pretty interesting and captivating. When I heard about Muramasa Rebirth, I was excited at the idea of a sequel. Then I found out it was just another time that Sony decided that porting things and making them HD was a good enough reason to release a game. They added some new levels and a few new levels, but I still feel that I’ve already played this and have no reason to do it again.
I’ve really liked the Pikmin games in the past, but there was one big complication keeping me from getting into this version of the game: the fact that I down own a Wii U. I’m still waiting for a game to come out that makes the Wii U worth purchasing, and Pikmin just isn’t generally good enough to be that game.
I was relatively satisfied with my time with Diablo. My past with Diablo never quite matched up with the series. I never played the first one and I played the second one at the behest of a friend some years after it came out. It never impressed me because I was always a few years removed from the time when it was supposed to impress me. Realizing that, I felt the need to get into Diablo as soon as I could. When it finally came out, I waited another year to get to it. NOT MY FAULT! At first, my computer simply could not handle the game. When I finally got to build a new computer that was capable of running games, I was aware that they would be putting the game out on console. Thankfully, I was still able to play the console version in the time where I would still appreciate it. There’s nothing much to the story of the game, but for someone like me that is completely comfortable with grinding and leveling and dungeon-crawling for the best gear, this game can easily suck hours out of your life. And that’s basically all you can expect of some games.
BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS
I was nervous about this game going into it. I loved the other two games in the Arkham series, but Arkham Origins was not going to be in the hands of Rocksteady Studios, the group that finally figured out the formula for making a good Batman game. In this games’ defense, they did just steal the formula wholesale from Rocksteady, but you could see the lack of love in it. It felt ALMOST right, but lacked the polish of a Rocksteady game in the fluidity of the controls. The story was interesting as an origin story, but also felt like fan appeasement in just trying to throw as many famous enemies in as possible. Also, you should probably barely bother acting like we’re not going to know who these enemies are because most people playing are fans. Thought Batman might not know them yet, we know who the Riddler and the Joker are. But the game was pretty good, it just felt like Rocksteady loved it more and did it better.
ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG
My mind wasn’t blow, but I was pretty well-satisfied with this game. I was curious how they would handle the dead Desmond in the room for this game, but was hoping they would go with the “Who cares? You don’t want to play that side of the game anyway!” approach instead of what they did, but the story of the part of the game I care about was interesting. Who doesn’t on some level want to be a pirate? Especially if it means that I’ll get to play an entire game of the best part of the last game: the nautical battles! I spent most of my time in this game sailing around and exploring, occasionally putting that on pause to advance the story a bit. I wanted it to continue so much that I even got that DLC for it already. What was it called? Adéwalé Unchained?
I was on the fence about purchasing one of the big shooters this year. I invested in an Xbone this year, and I would not be purchasing a game in the past when I had already moved into the future. But not all of my friends were ready to move into the future, and I have no desire to play multiplayer games with people I don’t know. This may be a bit of a spoiler for the next review, but I finally decided to buy one of these games and I went with this one. Battlefield is typically a much better game, it has vehicles, and it is not Call of Duty. How did I like it? We’ll find that later … when I play it …
CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS
This was finally the year when I stopped allowing myself to be tricked into Call of Duty, even though this year was one made by my preferred publisher: Infinity Ward. I’m just sick of Call of Duty. Every year these people put out a game, every year it seems like the same old stuff, and every year my friends tell me to buy it ‘cause we’ll totally play together … and then we don’t. No more! If Activision seems like they allowed for some innovation and these game stop seeming like the same old thing, maybe I’ll come back. For now, I’ve checked out. I’ll be on Battlefield.
One of two exclusive games boasted by the PS4, and the deciding factor for me deciding not to buy it. I played the demo. It wasn’t bad, but it just seemed like a rip off of Ratchet and Clank with an added desire to jerk off and show the world how powerful their physics engine could be.
Dead Rising 3 is the best exclusive game I’ve played. It also does not have a lot of competition. But the game is a lot of fun; it’s just not very special. It’s almost identical to the other Dead Rising games but it looks a little prettier and has a lot of zombies on the screen at the same time. It could be compared to Knack in that way because both of them just seem to want to show off the power of their system without focusing on much else, but Dead Rising was much more fun than Knack was. It’s mindless, hack-and-slash fun, but it’s fun nonetheless.
RYSE: SON OF ROME
I haven’t managed to play this game just yet, but it will be played eventually. It looks visually spectacular, but if I’m going to invest $60 into you, you’re going to need a little more, such as a good story or some good gameplay. Everything I’ve heard from this game indicates it has barely any story and the gameplay is super repetitive. That being said, it’s just a matter of time before I buy this game. As they say, beggars can’t be choosers, and I am desperate for another game for my Xbone. If I catch wind of this game on sale for even $15 off, I’m probably buying it.
LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK BETWEEN WORLDS
This game wasn’t really given its fair shake because of Pokémon. I bought it as soon as it came out, but didn’t start playing it until about a week ago because I just had to catch ‘em all. Now that I’ve been playing it, I’ve been loving it. It feels almost identical to A Link to the Past, and that’s one of the best Zelda games ever. I can’t really talk about the story of the game very much yet as I doubt I’m remotely close to beating it, but it seems mostly like the average story of a Zelda game. Ganon’s coming back, Zelda is in trouble, and the legendary hero is a small elven boy that finds a cool sword. That’s the usual stuff, but they also now have a Hyrule and a Lorule. Get it?! HIGH-RULE and LOW-RULE! These people are the cleverest! But the game has changed because now I can turn into a painting to solve puzzles. It’s a fun mechanic, but it doesn’t seem like the game has been revolutionized. Of course, when you’re a Zelda game, you don’t really need to revolutionize. You just need to recapture, and this game does that.
GRAN TURISMO 6
I haven’t played this game and I never will, but the reason I felt I needed to put it on my list is because this game is just a stupid idea. And it also exemplifies the reason I am nervous about buying Sony consoles in the future: they make terrible decisions. They put out the PSP as the most impressive handheld system to date … and put no games on it. Years later they learned from their mistakes. They made the PS Vita, which was the most powerful handheld system to date AND had two analog sticks … and have not yet put games out for it. Then they put out the PS4 with no games. Then they release the newest version of their flagship racing franchise … exclusively for the last generation of their system. How long were you aware that you’d be making a new console, Sony? About as long as Microsoft? And where did they put their flagship racing franchise? Exclusively on the Xbox One, was it? You make me anxious pulling shit like this, Sony. Knock it off.
THE WORST GAMES OF 2013
I had a great experience with this title. I thought the story was super interesting and the performances by people like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe were just fantastic. That all sounds like a positive, so what was my problem? My problem was that I played a really good movie … but I was playing a video game. Quantic Dream, I know this is how you roll … your thumbstick to make your character turn her head to look over her shoulder … You make games that are basically really long quick time events and I realize that. But that is lame. Can we not just assume my character knows how to get out of bed without my assistance? Must I hold L1 and R1 to have her put her feet on the floor? I don’t have to think that much to accomplish that task in real life, so you can go ahead and do that one for me. But I really liked the story and the graphics, and the actors did pretty great jobs, so I’m going to recommend that you play this movie.
My problem with The Last of Us was mostly with the hype. This was a good game that was talked up so hard that it seemed impossible for it to do anything but disappoint. My roommate and I were still some of the few people that seemed let down by this game. The story was pretty good and it elicited some emotional responses from me, and the game looked as good as you could in a game with about 50% bland cities. Maybe it was the gameplay that turned me off because it was thoroughly average, but I think it’s just that the propaganda machine set the expectations too high.
I took my time getting around to this game because it was a fighting game. Fighting games hold my attention for a matter of hours and when they hit the interest wall, they hit it hard. I’m not competitive enough to play a fighting game until I get good at it, nor do I intend to analyze frame rates to be really good at them. I basically just beat the story and then fall asleep. But I got the ULTIMATE EDITION!! And that meant I had a few more characters to get bored with quickly.
This game created an unnatural amount of anger in me. They’re just trying to hard now. This game always seemed to be a blatant GTA rip off that didn’t take itself seriously. I respected that. I was never as big of a fan of GTA as everyone else was, and injecting a little more comedy into the equation worked for me on occasion. This game seemed to indicate that the series was bored ripping off GTA and wanted to go off on their own … and rip off Crackdown. That’s a great idea! Rip off a far lesser game instead! The story was nothing special and the comedy was mostly lost on me, seeming at times that their equation for comedy was just to have regular things happen, but this time make the character naked or holding a dildo. And if you really want to blow the audiences minds, both. The game was also somewhat glitchy when I played it, and the game also seemed to embrace glitches and make them part of the game since you were supposed to be inside a video game anyway. And why not? Gamers love glitches! I was so irritated and deflated by this game that I was never able to beat it. I just got bored one day and wandered off into the living room with the game still on, never to play it again.
Now this here game was a terrible piece of shit. It demanded to set itself in the world of the Aliens movies, but the story it decided on was going to go ahead and ignore all of that. Hicks is alive! He managed to get off the escape vessel, but didn’t care enough to rescue Newt or Ripley so they could go on to die in Alien 3. He had time to save them too, since he obviously had time to dump a decoy body in his place. But why would he do that? This game explains it with, “Long story.” Great. So Michael Biehn agreed to do the game so you just decided to make up whatever bullshit to fit him in. You certainly didn’t need him as you were never able to make his character look like him, or anything in your game look good for that matter. At first blush, this game is a standard first-person shooter, but when you play it more you realize it’s actually a shitty first-person shooter. There’s nothing in this game worth its existence.
THE BEST GAMES OF 2013
I’m never going to be able to please the part of my audience that adores the Grand Theft Auto series, just as the Grand Theft Auto series seems unlikely to ever be able to please me. I’ve never been able to find the same level of enjoyment in these games as they do. I’ve even tried to study how these people play the game in hopes of finding that I’ve been doing it wrong. Apparently I have been because I tend to try to complete the story and do all the side missions while these people play the game online (when Rockstar gets around to releasing it) or run around the city with no objective save for collecting wanted levels until they get killed and start it all over again. How is that fun? How is it possible to spend hours shooting random civilians and cops until you finally succumb to bullets, and then starting the cycle anew? I don’t know, but they do. I don’t really attempt to argue with people about the fun factor involved in this game, but I need a little more out of a game to put it in a “Best Of” list. The story in this game is okay, but it is highly unlikely that this game will inspire me to come back to it. Of course I’ll recommend this game, but I’m not going to act like it’s the best game of the year as many others might.
I love this game far more than I should, and I know I have a problem. I can’t help but catch ‘em all! I buy both games so that I can truly catch ‘em all and send ‘em to myself so that I may be Lord Almighty of Pokémon! The reason I rate these games so highly is that, if you’re into these kinds of games at all, then a mere investment of $40 can get you hundreds of hours of play. Since I don’t go for first-person shooters online that much anymore, I can find no better way to get more bang for my buck than a Pokémon game. This game was a pretty large graphical improvement from other Pokémon games because they now had 3D to play with, but not a whole lot else has changed. The story might not involve Team Rocket in this one, but it might as well have. Bad team is causing trouble, but you’ll always win because you’re better friends with your captive animals than they are. They also added some new Pokémon somehow. You’d think they’d have run out of ideas by now. But this game is just another Pokémon game, and that’s all it really needs to be for me.
This is a very notable game because of its beautiful Studio Ghibli artistic presentation, but I found myself confused by the story. It could never decide if it was for adults or for children. The story was very touching, but got pretty adult with the heavy messages, the death of your main character’s mother, and spousal abuse. But the game also wanted to be for children and knew that children would need to have very simple game mechanics (the likes of which you have played before if you’ve played Pokémon) still being taught to you 4 hours into the game. But the gameplay is fun, the game is gloriously beautiful, and I played this game for 237 hours. Since you can get this game for $20 now, you’ll probably have a hard time getting a better value for the buck.
The Tomb Raider series was mostly okay, but sometimes terrible. They had all but fallen off the map until they put this game out. This game actually has a story (which the other ones barely did), and they filled that story with some surprisingly emotional moments. And they actually made Lara Croft an interesting person, while still keeping everything that made us like her in the first place. Well, except her ridiculously sized boobs. Now she looked like a real person instead of freakish Barbie doll person. The game also looks beautiful, and the gameplay was fantastic. The gameplay wasn’t revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s not a requirement for me. It’s basically Uncharted with the option for a bow and arrow. But Uncharted was great. If you’re going to steal from something, steal from the best. And everything they brought on their own helped this game come a lot closer to being the best.
My mind was literally blown by this game. It did everything right. It was a beautiful game to look upon, for one thing. It’s true that it’s not photorealistic, but that’s also not what it was going for. It was going for an artistic style, and it was equally as impressive to enter Columbia as it was to enter Rapture for the first time, and they made both of those worlds come to life. The gameplay wasn’t drastically different from the other BioShock games, but it didn’t really need to be. You’ve got your guns and you’ve got your plasmids (or as this game calls them, Vigors), but that felt pretty standard. You could combine those Vigors in some interesting ways, and you also had the Sky-Line thing to use, but I found myself more than comfortable sticking to guns. One of the big things that makes the game special is Elizabeth. You have to drag her around throughout the game, but unlike Ico, it’s nothing but a pleasure. Elizabeth is hot, adorable, amusing, and helpful. You don’t have to protect her; she can’t die. In fact, she’ll just throw you things to help you while you continue to ignore her in combat. But the real thing that makes this game special to me is the story. The story of this game took my brain, rattled it around in my head, and fired it out my ass. It’s amazing that I’ve gotten around as well as I have since March with my brain destroyed, but it was still worth it.
As always, these are only my opinions, and a few of them were specifically designed to make some of you angry. Feel free to tell my why I’m wrong and I promise to read them while probably not paying attention to them. More importantly, I want to hear what you guys think were the best and worst games of 2013. Leave your list in the comments below!
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