My top 10 games of 2013. Here we go!
My top 10 games of 2013. Here we go!
It may have been “The Year of Luigi” for Nintendo, but for me it’s been The Year of the 3DS. And no title better argues this point than The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Those who have played A Link to the Past will feel right at home when they boot up this game. It takes the same map(s) from A Link to the Past (with some minor adjustments) and crafts a brand new story within. It’s your typical story of Link fighting the forces of evil, but with a few nice twists thrown in. Everything in this game comes with an air of certain satisfaction; from the music, to the graphics, the new “wall-merging” mechanic, and even the 3D visuals. Once you get the sword and take a swing, you know that everything about this experience is exactly what you were looking for.
I wasn’t expecting much going into Bioshock Infinite. I had played the previous two and thought they were okay, but nothing to write home about. So imagine my surprise when Infinite turned out to be great, hell maybe fantastic even. Gorgeous visuals bring the flying city of Columbia to life, and left me wishing that I could live there myself. The gameplay can drag at times, but thankfully the interesting story and dialogue carry the game forward. Some have ridiculed the story as being “pretentious”, but I commend Infinite for trying new things with video game storytelling. In my opinion, Ken Levine and Irrational Games knocked the story out of the park and left me and my friends with discussions about it for days.
Awakening was my first Fire Emblem game. So jumping into an established strategy RPG was pretty daunting. Luckily this game does exactly what you want a strategy RPG to do: ease you in with succinct tutorialization. After the first few battles I was ready to go. And go you will; you can easily put 30 or 40+ hours into this adventure. Most of that time is spent, of course, partaking in battles, but you can have just as much fun discovering new support conversations with the game’s great characters. I only regret that I had paid more attention to the plot and music. Either way there’s plenty of fun to be had here, even if none of the characters have feet…
You play as Kaitlin Greenbrier, a college student who’s returning to her parent’s new home from a European vacation. But something’s wrong. You find a note from your sister on the door pleading you not to look for clues about what happened. The house is deserted and seemingly ransacked. Where is Sam, your sister? Where are your parents? It’s up to you to unravel this mystery. Exploring the house reveals documents, letters, pictures, cassette tapes, books, newsletters, etc. all which piece together what has happened to Sam, your parents, and even your late uncle Oscar, the previous owner of the house. Major items that are found are given narrative bits of story by your sister Sam, who is fantastically voice acted. Some might say there isn’t much “game” in Gone Home, but I feel there is plenty here that warrants playing this enriching experience.
Dank caves, treacherous cliffs, pristine waterfalls, mythical beings, and two brothers. In this puzzle-adventure game you control two brothers, on half of the controller controls the older brother and the other half controls the younger brother. A little confusing at first, but once you get it down its surprisingly simple. And the best part: it leads to surprisingly fun challenges. You journey across the lands to find a cure for your sick father. The story, while simple, packs a huge punch toward the latter half as you discover new characters and forgotten lands. The story may not resonate with everyone, but if it does you’ll find yourself walking away from this one a bit shaken. Also owl-cat is pretty rad.
Rockstar proves yet again that they know how to make a damn fine video game. GTAV brings us back to the pseudo-L.A. town of Los Santos and its surrounding counties and areas. Also this time around players are given three protagonists rather than just one. If you’re like me, then you enjoyed GTAIV just fine, but certainly found it lacking in a lot of areas. GTAV addresses these problems head on with more vibrant locales, better characterization (no more Brucies), and tighter, more fun gameplay. Unfortunately my experience was troubled with graphical bugs and glitches which did impact gameplay at points. So my advice would be to wait for the inevitable PC release to enjoy this game.
I adore the Phoenix Wright series, so when Dual Destinies was announced for the 3DS I couldn’t wait for the release. This iteration marks the triumphant return of Phoenix’s return the world of law after a not-so-brief hiatus. With him this time is his protégé Apollo Justice, the titular character of Ace Attorney 4, and newcomer Athena Cykes who specializes in psychology. The game follows the usual formula of the previous Ace Attorney games: find clues to defend your client, defend them in court by listening to witness testimony, and expose lies by presenting evidence. It’s a little easier this time around as the game is a little more hand-holdy and limits gameplay elements in certain areas where they are unnecessary. That aside, Dual Destinies is still a strong iteration in the franchise and worth checking out.
For Volition, it was going to be hard to top the success of Saints Row 3. So it’s not surprising that Saints Row IV falls short of living up to its name. Reality has given way to virtual reality as you (The President of the United States, naturally) have free roam of virtual Steelport. But don’t bother jacking cars, you’ll be running faster than any car in the game and jumping over every building you come across. With the majority of the game in VR, your character can be “hacked” to be given certain abilities as the plot sees fit. This makes it a much different game this time around, much more akin to Infamous or Crackdown rather than Grand Theft Auto. While these new abilities are fun, some things just feel a little more boring this time around. Also the skyline is at perpetual dusk which I found to be ugly to look at. Still there’s enough fun to be found here to warrant a look. Volition may have not made a better Saints Row, but they may have accidentally created the best Matrix game.
Congratulations! You’ve been selected to work as an inspector at an Eastern European bloc country border crossing circa 1986. All your troubles are over…right? Papers, Please takes the mundane, essentially paperwork, and weaves it into interesting and diverse gameplay. It’s your job to look over documents given to you by people wanting to enter your country. If everything checks out, they’re good to go. If not, you turn them away…or detain them. The twists come in the way of moral dilemmas. What if the person you are about to turn away is on their knees begging to come in to see their dying son one last time? Is it worth getting a strike? Will you even have enough money to feed your family at the end of the day? And that’s not even mentioning the whispers of possible underclass uprisings. Will you play a part in those as well?
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