Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Games of the Year: 2013

2013 was quite a year for gaming. There were so many well received games one could feel overwhelmed on where to start. For me it was slightly easy, I’m a console gamer, and specifically a PlayStation gamer. So, unfortunately for me, games like Gone Home and the Stanley Parable left me in their wake, hopefully giving me the finger until the day I decide to finally play games on PC too. But until then, I proudly grab a dual shock and declare war on whatever villain dares cross my path. Now there will be some glaring omissions, money was tight for me, so games like Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Beyond Two Souls, God of War, and Grand Theft Auto V, are waiting in the wings until some sort of Game of the Year edition comes out that collects everything or they come down in price. So for now, out of the games I played this year, these are my favorites, and the top three in this list will stick with me for a long time to come.
No to mention all the money spent on next gen.

10) Sound Shapes (PS4)
Sure this game came out on the PS3 and Vita in 2012, and I loved it. So when it came time for me to get my PS4, I immediately downloaded this bad boy and had a blast, making it my first PS4 platinum. Sound Shapes is tremendously fun, and I can’t wait to see what Queasy Games does next.

9) Contrast (PS4)    
I really enjoyed my time with Contrast. It was a tremendously charming game, and I immensely enjoyed playing as the imaginary character Dawn, who could not be seen by anyone, just as she could see no one save for her creator Didi.   

I’ve always felt Killzone has taken itself too seriously. It also doesn’t help that I’ve never really felt the need to fight the Helghast besides the fact that they are shooting at me. I always thought it would be better if they introduced an alien enemy to fight, uniting the two human adversaries. Regardless, Shadowfall is immensely beautiful, implementing the touchpad effortlessly and kept me hooked until a slightly sloppy end.

I haven’t spent nearly enough time with Resogun yet, but the time I have spent has been thoroughly enjoyable. Much like Super Stardust, the game comes fast and hard, but is so addicting. I had a blast playing it thus far, and once I’m back home in front of my PS4, I’ll be playing it again.

One day, I was looking to play something thoughtless while waiting for a friend to give me a call. Two hours and three missed calls later I was hooked. I had no idea what this game was before going into it, but man was I floored. It was colorful, loud, and just so smooth I couldn’t help but get through the game with three perfect scores. It didn’t hurt that is was free for PS+ members.

Assassin’s Creed currently ranks as my number three favorite franchise of all time behind Metal Gear (1) and Uncharted (2). So short of this game being an AC Revelations clone, it wasn’t going to take too much for me to like this game. But I didn’t realize how much fun I was having with this game until close to the end when I, I mean Edward, became an assassin for the first time. That’s when it hit me, this game was huge and immersive, and I was content with just being a pirate. FYI, it plays a hell of a lot better on the PS4 vs PS3, but the graphical difference in negligible.

For me, Sly Cooper was always that third wheel of the PS2 generation when compared to Ratchet and Jak. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it a lot, but not near the level of Ratchet let alone Jak. However, Sly scratched an itch I had long forgotten I had. With games like Into The Nexus and Puppeteer not till the end of the year, I was craving a game that was pure PS2 era platforming, and Thieves in Time, especially on the Vita, was just the game I needed. Not to say that the Vita version was superior to the PS3 version, but it did allow me to play through the game on the subway to and from school. Sly sneaked back onto consoles, and I hope to see more of his adventures. Hopefully, Jak too will take note of how to make a successful return one day.

5 years. That’s how long I’ve waited for a new Metal Gear. I did not release how much I was missing this franchise until I started playing through Revengeance. It had the zany Metal Gear character that is unique to this franchise. It had a polish that Platinum Game has focused since its days as the great Clover Studios, and it had the MGS 4 Raiden, the only Raiden that matters. This game was so new, yet felt so familiar, I genuinely forgot it came out this year. I thought that I had had this game for generations, having fond memories of playing it back in the day. Do yourself a favor and pick this up, it is terrific.

I had no expectations going into this game. I can’t even remember the last JRPG I played (Valkyria Chronicles if you count it). From the beautiful animated cut scenes to the seamless gameplay, to the large world map, this JRPG may have started on a sad note, but never relinquished that sense of wonder and optimism that good Japanese games manage to capture. The characters never border on annoying, and the voice acting is great. I’m having a blast (not quite done with it yet), and this game has me coming back for more.

When I finished Uncharted 2 for the first time, the words that came out of my mouth were ‘I can’t believe I was a part of that’. It was such a roller-coaster ride of adrenalin that by the time I was done I just wanted to dive right back in. The Last of Us on the other hand was entirely different. I was drained, physically and mentally. I felt a sudden urge to hug a giraffe. I was afraid more of random strangers than clicking sounds in the distance. But most of all, I was pleased with Joel, with the decision he made. I’ll try to be as vague as possible; when I found out towards the end what the ‘bad guys’ were planning on doing, I was furious. There was no way I, as in me not Joel, would allow them to do what they were planning. I had come too far for that, and thankfully, so had Joel. I did what I had to do, and a couple of days later, I did it again. This journey was a tough one, with a muddied conclusion, where the line between good and bad is nonexistent. The voice acting and motion capture was done so well, I’m struggling to think of another game that comes close to it. Naughty Dog was brave to tell the story it told, and I for one am privileged to have played it.