My Obligatory Game of the Year 2013 blog.

My Fucking Puppy GOTY 2013 Blog

Intro

So hey, 2013 right. The year of Lugi may have sucked on a personal front as we all lost a number of awesome people this year but as far as games this year absolutely rocked. So, I'm finally getting around to writing this. I held off as I initially thought I was done with playing new games after I beat Beyond:Two Souls but lo' and behold there were some late entries that wormed their ways into my heart. So before we get going here is a list of all new releases I played this year:

  • Anarchy Reigns
  • DmC Devil May Cry
  • The Cave
  • Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
  • Metal Gear Rising Revengence
  • Runner 2
  • Tomb Raider
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Ninja Gaiden 3:Razors Edge
  • Injustice Gods Among Us
  • Don't Starve
  • Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen
  • Thomas was Alone
  • Rogue Legacy
  • Tales of Xillia
  • Dragon's Crown
  • Divekick
  • Saints Row IV
  • Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F
  • Killer is Dead
  • Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Beyond Two Souls
  • Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag
  • Battlefield 4
  • WWE 2k14
  • Contrast
  • Resogun

The List

10. Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate

So, the only two fighting game franchises I have any sort of long standing love for are Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive. Its easy to pick apart Dead or Alive 5 for its fascination with the female characters chests or disregard the combat for at least at surface level looking "mashy" for lack of a better descriptor. You can but you'd also be missing one of the best fighting games of the year.

Even if this is largely a re-hash of 2012's release the effort that went into the game shined through for me. The new characters Momiji and Rachel are extremely fun to play as. The re-balancing of the characters and additional combat systems make for a different enough experience from the vanilla version that I enjoyed my time with it. I also shamelessly pumped over $70 of my money into costume DLC because I'm awful and part of the problem.

9. Tales of Xillia

So I had no interest in this game at all when it came out then I randomly entered a contest that the Playstation twitter account was running and lo and behold Sony sent me a code to download the game for free. So, I downloaded it and eventually fired it up. The first thing I should note is that I'm currently not even done with the game yet. I'm sitting somewhere about halfway through the game although halfway through so far for me is looking like 40 hours so I'm pretty confident in my decision.

The thing that caught me about this game is the combat. My god the combat is amazing in this game. Granted, this is my first Tales Series game so I'm not sure how it stacks up to previous games or if the combat system is anything like previous games but its so goddamn fun and fluid and complicated! I'm still not sure I've been using everything to its maximum potential. The way you can link skills between characters is a really fun mechanic. And even though its characters can neatly fit into a number of JRPG stereotypes the story itself takes some interesting turns. I plan on finishing it up sometime soon hopefully.

8. Saints Row IV

Surprised? Yeah, I am too. Saints Row 3 was my unequivocal GOTY in 2011. Fuck Skyrim. Saints Row is where it was at that year. And I was just as equally as excited for this game although surprisingly over time I had to analyze my time with it and while most certainly crazier and plenty of fun it just didn't have the impact that Saints Row 3 had. It still made it to number 8 on my top games list though so hey, I still really enjoyed the game. Any game that starts off with a parody of Zero Dark Thirty that ends with your character defusing a nuclear missile in flight while Aerosmith plays in the background is a goddamn winner in my book. Also, Johnny Gat is back finally which fuck man about time. I missed that bastard in Saints 3.

I've got the season pass so I plan on possibly getting into the christmas DLC soonish which looks appropriately dumb.

7. Assassins Creed 4

I haven't liked the Assassin's Creed franchise for a good long while. The last game I played in the series was Brotherhood back in 2010 and I thought that game was pretty damn good. I felt like Revelations and three where pretty big mistakes to be honest. The treatment of Desmond and his character arc felt extremely wasted and after I found out how Desmond's story was resolved I was pretty disgusted and didn't pay a drop of attention to this game. Fate it would seem would dictate that I end up with this game. My inital top level motivations for buying the game were that basically I have nearly nothing to play on my PS4 and wanted a disc game.

Turns out its pretty damn good. A lot of the hold overs from past games are still here and some of the same quirks from the previous games annoy me. The combat is still largely garbage but here is the thing PIRATES. PIRATES PIRATES. It always annoyed me that Disney never capitalized on the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with a honest to goodness pirate adventure that wasn't constrained by the films. Well, okay so that ALMOST happened but that project also got canned. Thing is sailing your goddamn ship and getting up to some fucking pirate business is fun as fuck. Yeah thats right motherfucker I just put a hole through your boat stabbed your ass and stole all your shit. Come at me bro.

Should also note again that I haven't finished the game nor have I really dove into the multiplayer which seems insane with how much they have added. I'm going to fucking hurry up and finish this list because I want to go fucking play some more after I'm done typing this nonsense up.

6. Battlefield 4

I haven't played a Battlefield game since Bad Company 2 which I honestly didn't like all that much. Hell, I've been pretty much avoiding military shooters for a good while. I ended up buying this mostly again because I needed something to play on my PS4 and ended up really enjoying it. Of course that is when it works. Cause its broken as fuck or well.. at least it was. Okay, so there are still a number of dumb bugs but at least I'm not crashing to the dashboard every other game now. Still kind of pissed the server browser continually seems to not work. All this being said despite its varying levels of brokenness on its platforms its content wise the best Battlefield that EA has ever made. Which is a shame they are having such issues getting it off the ground.

The levels are all huge and man the first time you play a 64 player battle in conquest you are absolutely shocked with how crazy the action is. I also really enjoy the commander mode. Sometimes its just fun to stare at the map and direct traffic. Things blow up real goddamn nice too. I don't think blowing up helicopters with stinger missiles will ever get old. I like they way they changed up the classes too and allow for more flexibility by letting any class use the Shotguns or DMR rifles. I've played around 70 ish hours so far and I'll most likely keep playing for awhile longer. I keep almost buying Premium because China Rising looks like a ton of fun. Also, I should probally at some point finish the single player cause even though its mostly just a shooting gallery its a goddamn pretty shooting gallery on the PS4.

5. Hatsune Miku : Project Diva F

So when SEGA announced that this was coming out for North America at the beginning of the year I was at that point fairly clueless what Project Diva was and what Vocaloids were. I mean, I saw some YouTube footage once of crazy people waving glow sticks to some holographic anime girl who sang like a robot but that was about it. Well, I'm one of the crazy people waving the glow sticks now. I bought the game simply on the premise that I enjoy SEGA bringing over things that normally would never see the light of the day over here. Its the same reason I've bought various awful NISA, Compile Heart and Gust releases. Even if I never play the game I just well... enjoy supporting weirdness.

Lucky for me though that I really really fell in love with not only Project Diva but Miku and her vocaloid companions as well. The thing I really like about Project Diva is that its like no other Rhythm game I've ever played. Granted, my exposure to rhythm games is pretty limited to Rock Band, Guitar Hero and DJ Hero and Dance Dance Revolution. You know, the mainstream ones everyone has heard about.

So who knows I might actually get a hoot out of the DJ Max series or something but alas Miku has stolen my heart regardless. I love the way the notes don't follow any real "lanes" they come from all over the screen at any time which makes learning the note patterns fun because they will often try some visual trickery with how the notes are presented to you. The songs are pretty damn catchy as well. I mean if you don't think Summer Idol isn't a fun song you are a monster. A MONSTER I SAY.

Also, the extra stuff the game has to offer like the music video editor is absolutely insane. I meagerly attempted to use the editor until I realized how goddamn complex the whole thing is and was scared off. Regardless I'll continue to fire up my PS3 to play a few Project Diva songs from time to time. I can't wait for Project Diva F 2 coming 2014~! And please check out Summer Idol its a great song:

4. Ni No Kuni

Gosh, I haven't loved a JRPG this much in awhile I think. Games these days tend to be "dark and gritty" or just plain filled with cynicism as is the world. There was part of me that was just so godamn delighted to play this game. One of the most uplifting exciting and fun experiences I've had all year. One of the best character nominees for sure needs to be Mr. Drippy he was absolutely one of the highlights of the game. His initial exchange with Oliver is one of the best moments this year.

This game hits on all the classic JRPG check points you've got monster raising like a pokemon game and then you've got a proper party of characters with abilites all of their own. The combat isn't anything fancy but its the simplicity of the combat that is sort of whats fun about the game I think. Granted, it takes its goddamn good time to get rolling but once it does man does it go places. I forgot how much fun just roaming around in an airship on a over world map in a RPG could be. Took me back to my days of playing PS One JRPG's and finding the secret islands in Final Fantasy 8. My only regret is that I bit a little late on this game and didn't preorder the nice edition with the bound copy of the wizard manual.

Which man, the Wizard manual in game itself is some cool shit. However I really wish I would have gotten the physical one. It would be a fun piece to sit on my shelf and look at every once in awhile. For gods sake if you haven't played this game PLEASE go do it. At this point in time its dirt cheap and you can find it for $15. You owe it to yourself if you love JRPG games of old to try this game out.

3. Devil May Cry DmC

I'm surprised really. Surprised that there are not one but two games that beat this game out for my GOTY. Not only did this game make my GOTY list it also made my Games of the Generation List of which you can find if you click on my profile. Its bar none my favorite character action game of this generation. Yes, sorry I love it way more than Bayonetta. Here is the thing too some of you might be thinking that I have no previous attachments to the series but well, you'd be wrong. While I appreciated Ni No Kuni earlier for being light hearted and fun I appreciate DmC for being the kind of drug addled , sexually fueled grime that it is. Its also rare that we see a male character as sexualize as Dante is. In a year where misogyny and sexism were hot topics DmC stands almost alone as one of the few examples of Males absolutely being eye candy. The opening exchange between Kat and Dante sets the tone for the rest of the game. Dante answers the door completely naked still hungover from the night before. Proceeds to get attacked by a hunter demon and then gets dressed in mid air as his trailer is being torn apart all with conveniently placed slice of pizza covering his junk.

Ah, it only lasted for a few days but man it was fun to be in the top 20 in the world.

Yeah, this is Devil May Cry alright. Its just its different and seeks to interpret the fiction in a different way. And look, as fun as the old Dante was new dante is equally as fun in his own ways. Sure, he comes off as a smart mouth punk that you just want to punch in the teeth but that well.. is kind of the point I've heard a lot of complaints about the combat as well and well, I'm not sure what game others were playing but I had plenty of leeway to free form combos just like any DMC game before it. In fact the Demon/Angel weapon system was fascinating to me. Others saw the color coded enemies as a pain in the ass I saw them as a puzzle. I would ask myself how can I continually be letting my combos flow to keep my SSS ranks? Figuring out each fight and the pace of it to me at least is part of the fun. It shows too. I played 100 hours of this game. How did I rack up 100 hours in a game that at best takes 10 hours on a single play through to pound through?

I replayed it and replayed it and replayed it. I wanted to constantly be better and better at the game. I kept being within striking distance of some of the top scores on the leader boards. And hell, I managed to get as high as 17 on one of the level leader boards. I found the leader boards a lot of fun to try to continually improve my scores and skills. I rather enjoyed the soundtrack as well. Combichrist was the perfect choice here. I'm awaiting the PC version to get to like $7 so I can play in 60 frames per second which is my only real gripe about the game. I'll cut it off here because man, I could blog for hours about this game and how the bosses were awesome or that one disco level or... well... just play the game already its cheap now and you should really check it out.

2. Grand Theft Auto V

Its weird. Its weird that I'm putting this game this high. I've never really claimed to be a huge mark for the GTA series. I mean I rather enjoyed Vice City and San Andreas but I absolutely hated GTA IV on the other hand. GTA V though man... GTA V is just good. Its a masterpiece it shows off what you can do with 200 million dollars building a game. It shows what you can do when you don't pepper the industry with sequels every year. It shows what you can do when you take your time and when you don't compromise on your vision. I think the thing that really hooked me was the conceit of having 3 main characters. I mean, I'd play a full game with any one of these guys being the main characters.

Franklin hearkens back to the San Andreas days and is basically CJ 2.0 which I'm entirely cool with. Then you've got the career criminal who can't stay out of the game Micheal who is a complete asshole but one that is just interesting to watch descend into the mouth of madness. Then there is Trevor. Man, Trevor is just...I don't think I've ever encountered a character like Trevor before. I was equally parts horrified by him but when they played him off for comedy he seamlessly slipped into that role as well and while you were still laughing would slip back into the role of the sadist and make you absolutely horrified again.

And man the world the world is just amazing. Absolutely the best most vibrant and explorable open world I've ever played in. I'd often find myself taking the long way to look at the scenery or just get distracted by walking through the woods. I also took a rather large nosedive into GTA Online which I would like to go back to at some point if they ever you know actually add heists. I'll be eagerly awaiting the single player DLC as well. While I'd like new characters further adventures with Micheal and co. sound alright as well.

1. Bioshock Infinite *Warning: Spoilers Ahead*

You know for awhile other games were in the top spot. Then I actually sat back and thought and thought and I couldn't come up with anything that made me feel the way Bioshock Infinite made me feel. Bioshock Infinite is equal parts beautiful and disturbing. Actually, I'd say that Bioshock Infinite is one of the most disturbing games I've played in awhile. The thing I find disturbing about the game is the contrast to how beautiful the sky city of Columbia is to what darkness lies in the hearts of the men and women that live in the city.

I mean, I was born in 1985 and while racism is still very much alive and well at least we live in a time where its largely frowned upon by the general populous to be xenophobic or racist. The sinister nature of the xenophobic inhabitants of Columbia disturbed me deeply. The the start of the game you're given the chance to throw a baseball at a mixed race couple. I was genuinely put off by this moment. It was unsettling how gleeful these people were about this. Of course I refused and even in subsequent play throughs I could never force myself to do it just to see what happened. While I'll mostly credit my love of the game to Elizabeth looking back now that moment is most likely where the game unknowingly hooked me.

The even more disturbing thing about Columbia is that unlike Rapture which is in shambles when you arrive you get to see Columbia slowly decay. A long with the city something else decays. Elizabeth and her naivety. Yes, go figure right? The pretty girl with the doe eyes is the character that tugged at my heart. Elizabeth is more than a set of pretty eyes though. She also has one of the more convincing character arcs in any game I've recently played. She goes from a naive girl who is optimistic about the world to a somber shell of who she used to be. The arc is played out right in front of your eyes and climaxes when she murders Daisy Fitzroy. The scene where her and Booker are on the beach after escaping from the clutches of the songbird is my favorite scene in the entire game. Its I dunno just so fun to watch her be as happy and optimistic as she is. Dancing to the music and daydreaming about Paris.

Levine isn't an idiot either. I'm sure he wrote Liz with the exact intention of making her the sympathetic character. It would have been easy then easy to kill her off. Get a cheap emotional pop. Bioshock Infinite doesn't do that however. The last scene is one of Elizabeth taking Booker's hand as gradually variations of her from other time lines appear before Booker's eyes. Then you're given the revelation that you in fact are Comstock. You are the reason Colombia exists the reason Elizabeth was tortured and experimented on. It's you. Then, Elizabeth the girl who you fell in love with the girl who you risked everything to save holds you under the water as you slowly drown. The final piano notes play as the different versions of Elizabeth blink out of existence. I stared at the screen absolutely speechless. I mean, I've had games were It was very clear on whatever the emotion I was feeling whether it was anger, sadness, excitement ect. This, I don't know what I felt. I suppose a mixture of everything all at once. Whatever it was it stayed with me for a few days long after the final credits had rolled. Something that has rarely happened with games for me.

This ending though, wouldn't mean a damn thing if the journey to get there didn't provide the proper build up. The original Bioshock had one of the most jaw dropping twists in modern gaming. Yet the 4th and final act was absolutely horrible in that game. Infinite miraculously avoids the pitfall of having a bad final act. Too many times I think developers don't know how to end their game. Levine had a vision from the beginning. The arcs of the characters are believable and the time/dimension traveling aspect lends to some real mind bending moments.

While the weak point of the game I didn't find the combat as bad as others did. I played on 1999 mode from the beginning and honestly I think that is what anyone looking for a challenge out of the combat should have played the game on. I was also very impressed that Elizabeth actually doesn't get in the way and actually is a huge help. I felt that the combat at least on 1999 mode made me choose a lot. It generally made me choose my weapons and vigors of choice and stick with them. Ammo and especially money was sort of rare to come by or at the very least made you mange it.

It helped me to appreciate the combat more I think. Then again a lot of the vigor and gun combinations were just sort of fun to play around with. If anything disappointing me it was that approach felt way more limited than it did in the previous two games. In Bioshock you could really have fun with the areas you were in. Setting traps, hacking cameras ect... In Infinite everything either reduces to combat or devolves into it pretty quickly. Which, is disappointing.

Bioshock Infinite hit all the right notes for me. It was horrifying, whimsical, challenging and beautiful. It gave us fantastic characters like Elizabeth and the Lutece twins and Comstock. Heck even some of the bit players like Daisy Fitzroy and Jeremiah Fink were memorable. There were many great solid and fantastic games in 2013. It took me a while to decide on this. I remember having so much fun with GTA V and DmC and Ni No Kuni ect... Bioshock Infinite to me was the most complete game. It felt like the most well rounded and varied of all the games I played as to what I felt about it.

I'm hoping to play through the DLC as with a few other games on my list sometime soon in the future. Nothing is on my radar until February so I'll have plenty of time to dig in. But that's it I guess. 10 games better than brothers the blog. Okay, so that joke is kind of getting played out.

The bonus Epilogue~!

So hey, seems console gaming is still alive and well isn't it? I don't know about you but already seeing multiple games that could end up on this list a year from now. Dark Souls 2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, InFamous: Second Son, MGS V: Ground Zeroes all look extremely good. And that is just the first few months! Next Gen is going to be a fun ride. I can't wait to see these consoles evolve and mature over the coming years. I've gone over this stupid thing several times now hoping I didn't leave any of my thoughts out and trying to edit my awful grammar and sentence structure to mostly no avail. So if you've read all of this mess up until now well Thanks and until next time!

12 Comments
12 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

No Fire Emblem? You done pupped up.

Posted by crithon

DoA?

Uh, could you elaborate more on that? Is it the arcadiness of it? The goofy storyline? I mean I'm a fighting game fan and it's usually the simple things, like the sound the hits make, or the designs of the characters?

Posted by Darji

interesting List especially since you put Tales of Xillia on there^^

But no list should ever be allowed to be posted without playing the Last of us XD

Edited by Demoskinos

@crithon: I just like how their combo system works and in general how the characters "feel" to control. If I'm putting it as simply as I can. Punch Button. Kick Button. Guard button. Nice and simple. You don't have tons of crazy meters or anything that you have to keep track of either. Also, the levels break apart real nice too which is fun.

Posted by Demoskinos

@darji said:

interesting List especially since you put Tales of Xillia on there^^

But no list should ever be allowed to be posted without playing the Last of us XD

I make fart noises in the general direction of that game.

Posted by crithon

@demoskinos: Fair enough, some people think it's "simple" to memorize billion lines of moves in order to do a pixel of health. That's fighting games for you. I always felt DoA at it's best was that kicking a guy to an explosion and feeling that sense of impact.

Posted by Aegon

Wait, did Platinum seriously release 3 console games in one year?

Posted by wemibelec90

Hmm, a very different list. I played Xillia as my first Tales game too, but I didn't think the combat was really that exciting. If anything, it seemed much too easy and had me doing nothing but spamming one or two moves over and over again with great success. Enjoyed the story and characters though. Can't agree on Ni No Kuni, though. That game is so boring, especially in the combat. Why does every fight need to feel like it takes an hour? I will note that I usually find charming games (such as Tearaway or Little Big Planet) grating and/or boring, so that might have colored my opinion a bit.

Also, I can't wait for the Vita version of Hatsune Miku! I played a bit on PS3 but really wanted that Vita version to come over. Very happy it is!

Online
Posted by DarthOrange

Great read duder! It is truly the sign of a fantastic year when we can both believe it was a good year for video games and only have 3 played games in common (and I haven't played a single one in your top 10).

Anyway, I love fighting games but man does that Dead or Alive aesthetic just completely turn me off from the game. Also I still need to get to DmC, Bioshock, and GTA V. They are all on my to do list for next year.

Posted by HeyGuys

Very interesting, and diverse, list here. You've got me this close to checking out Dead or Alive 5 and Project Diva, which is something I thought I'd never say. Great year overall, but, like a few others have said, we'll have to agree to disagree on Ni No Kuni. Once the novelty of the art direction wore off there wasn't much bringing me back to the game.

Posted by Berserker976

@darji said:

interesting List especially since you put Tales of Xillia on there^^

But no list should ever be allowed to be posted without playing the Last of us XD

I make fart noises in the general direction of that game.

Scrolled down the list, didn't see The Last of Us.

Scrolled back up to your "games played" list and the world made sense again.

Scrolled back down and saw this post.

No more faith in humanity. :(

Seriously though, pretty good list aside from not having the GOTY on it ;)

Posted by Demoskinos

@wemibelec90: Yeah, like I did mention its a game that likes to take its good old time. I know I let my friend borrow the game after I was finished with it and he ended up getting distracted and not finishing it for much of the same reason.

@heyguys: Well Dead or Alive is FREE on PSN to play. You only get 4 characters but other than that you can play online with no restrictions at all. Its pretty cool. And if you enjoy the game well you can upgrade ala carte and buy only characters that you want or just plunk down a full $40 for everything. =)

@aegon: I guess they did right? Anarchy Reigns, Wonderful 101 , Metal Gear Rising. Two at the beginning of the year even!