By KnifeySpoony 0 Comments
2013 was the biggest roller-coaster ride of any other year for me so far with some of the highest highs and lowest lows. But! That's not what this blog entry is for, no! This is to reflect on the highlights of my favorite hobby for the year. It took me longer to create than anticipated, hence the tardy postdate but to heck with that! Here are some of the reasons why that is. (note: I didn't get a chance to play Last of Us, Link Between Worlds, Saints Row 4 or Gone Home but I plan on it edit: Zeno Clash 2 as well).
Bioshock Infinite - I enjoyed my time with Bioshock Infinite for the most part. It was my first Bioshock game and I think the world Irrational crafted was great. I just thought the story wasn't all there. I'm also a player who will go everywhere else before the main path, and this game didn't reward that much at all. Even though it teased that it would.
Planetside 2 - Once I built my new PC I was able to go back to this and really sink my teeth into it for the first time since it was in beta. There's fun to be had, but I think it can be short lived. There are things in it that you just can't experience anywhere else because of the massive scale. Hug armies rolling out to capture the same point is exhilarating. However, that same scale can be to its detriment as well. If there is a huge stalemate because of a choke point or there is a lack of players in the area, it can be boring.
The Pinball Arcade - This finally came to steam after being promised for what feels like years. It's still a fantastic pinball sim and I love it. It just feels a bit crap to have to buy the same tables over again after playing it on other platforms.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf - I bought the 3DS bundle with this game. It was my first Animal Crossing ever, and I was super curious to find out why seemingly everyone who plays games I spoke to was excited for it. I then played it heavily for about two weeks and then stopped and haven't gone back. It's such a weird game, but it ultimately didn't hold my attention for too long. There's just not much you actually do.
Cook, Serve, Delicious! - I was addicted to this for a couple of days. I think it's clever and there's a nice charm to everything. The thing for me is, while I found myself playing it a lot I couldn't put into words why it was fun, if it was at all. I think it just plays on my compulsive nature more than anything. Still worth checking out, and the music is great.
Papers, Please - This probably would be on my list if I played it more. Other games during this holiday steam sale have taken priority though. That said, this is definitely a game that deserves a mention. Many things have been said about it, but it hit a different note for me personally as I'm a son of immigrant parents whose history is similar to what is depicted in the game. For that, it got my brain working and asking more questions and there's value in that alone.
10. Devil May Cry
I'm not a huge character action fan. I've played games like Darksiders but the genre isn't my forte. I had always watched the DMC series from a distance with anxious curiosity but it wasn't until this game that I decided to try it. I'm extremely glad I did. It's accessible and polished everywhere. The reason it is so low (high?) on the list is I never got too far into it, about 4 hours. I'm sure if I go back to it there would be a great case for it to be higher (lower) as I loved what I did play of it. With so much left unseen, I can't say for sure. I've got Metal Gear: Rising pre-ordered on steam which I'm really looking forward to as well.
I fell off the first Runner in a big way. I enjoyed the music massively, but settled for just listening to the soundtrack rather than playing the game after a certain point. It was just too difficult. I was surprised then to find how much more enjoyable the sequel is. It's still challenging, but the timing isn't so difficult that your hair turns gray. The music is still awesome and I've been able to get through everything so far while still feeling rewarding. I'm currently in the final world and am confident in putting this on my list. It was a fantastic surprise find in the holiday sale. Plus the reverse merman has his junk hanging down.
8. Pokemon X
This was the first Pokemon I've ever bought. I played a ton of Red when it came with my best friend at the time at their house, and that plays into why I enjoyed this one. Being able to get one of the first starters early on sold me. It's shameless nostalgia sure, but as it turns out this was also one of (if not the) best Pokemon games in recent years. I said I might actually finish this one, but that still hasn't happened. I've had fun seeing the old stupid monsters though. This sounds passive aggressive. Whatever it's good okay? Trust me, I've got the keyboard on this post.
7. Rogue Legacy and Spelunky
(RL) After getting into Dark Souls and having played FTL I had gotten into the rogue-like game design in a big way. Rogue Legacy takes that design concept and makes it less punishing, and thus is more accessible. To go along with that it has a clever sense of humor and fun gameplay. I thoroughly enjoy the secrets that you can find in the castle as well. Reminding the world of the classic Don't Shit Your Pants was revelatory. I had no idea it was the same developer!
Spunky Spelunky is the next game I got after playing Rogue Legacy a bunch. I was much more curious to try it because I enjoyed my time with RL quite a bit. Spelunky is certainly more challenging because any progress you make is more reliant on the player's skill. Whereas in Rogue Legacy you can try to keep grinding coins so you can keep upgrading and make your subsequent characters stronger. They're close games for me and I feel like they should almost be in tandem with each other. To this day I have the same amount of time played in each and I've not yet finished playing either.
6. War Thunder
This is a fantastic game for someone who wanted to be a pilot as a kid. It's intense, tactical and exceptionally rewarding. I've played World of Warplanes before this for a while, but after trying War Thunder I understand why Drew said he preferred it. There's more weight in the planes, and getting damaged in different areas actually feels different. Compounding damage can turn your plane into a flying piece of swiss cheese and you feel like the man if you survive the round in that state. Surprising considering I'm only using a 360 controller and I've been told that with a flight stick it's sublime. Plus I got to fly a spitfire fairly early on! I genuinely feel bad when I go down while using it, and that's more than I can say about dying in most other video games.
5. Dark Souls
It took quite a while before I understood what makes Dark Souls great. I'm still not too far into it, I'm at the 3rd boss I believe, but that's how the game operates. It's there when I'm ready for it, and it will promptly kick my ass for neglecting it. I'll continue slowly going through it and enjoying my short bursts of success with the spectacular failures.
You know when you return to a series and end up having the same kind of fun that reminds you why you liked a series to begin with? That's what Battlefield 4 has been like for me. I couldn't get into 3 much when it came out. I didn't like many of the maps, and the multiplayer shooter grind wasn't appealing. With 4, I was able to give my good friend a copy as well and that's been a huge factor in getting it's big shooter gun hooks into me. I've laughed the hardest this year because of Battlefield 4 with my friend on skype. Things going horribly wrong in vehicles is still highly entertaining. Just recently we had the bomb (in obliteration) on an ATV and my friend starts going off the map boundaries. "Uhhh" I say. "Don't worry it's part of the plan." An instant later, we start falling down a crevice and he goes "THAT'S NOT PART OF THE PLAN". We blew up from the timer going off and the bomb was about a mile outside of the map boundaries. I'm on PC and while I've had some crashes, it hasn't been anywhere as bad as others.
The controls took a little getting used to but I think it was the best way to handle the game they made. I thought of it as making a two player cooperative game single p layer and in that regard I think they did a good job. That control scheme also plays into the story in a satisfying way that I didn't see coming until the moment presented itself. This was also the first time I'd ever sent an email to the creator of a game after completing it. As I was getting deeper, I was thinking more about how much this resembled an adventure movie. Low and behold Josef Fares, the game's lead creator, is a film director. An emotional experience for me as I could relate to some of the beats directly, and a rewarding journey overall.
Alright, a confession before I begin. I bought this and have been playing it at the tail end of the steam sale, which means it's technically 2014. However it's made a striking impact on me that I just can't let it fall all the way to 2014's list in fear of forgetting what I want to say about it. Given that I'm just now writing and uploading 2013's list, I think it's just to be here. I read Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for the first time earlier this year, and there are similarities between his writing and the writing of the narrator in The Stanley Parable. They're both brilliant. I was complaining about not being rewarded for exploring in Bioshock Infinite, well this is the polar opposite. The entire purpose is exploring the different endings. Any which combination of straying from the path leads to something else it seems and it's awesome to get such vastly different outcomes. I found that the more alternate endings I discovered made the "main ending" even more impactful than it would have been were it the first thing I saw. An exquisite game for a curious gamer.
Reading through this list I've compiled of my favorite games this year, I realized that none compared to my experiences playing League of Legends this year. For mobas in general, it doesn't get much better than having a group of friends in a skype call and working together to overcome from an early deficit to win. I maintain that it's probably not worth trying to put in all of the work to get into these types of games. It takes a ton of time and patience to get to where the game is at its best. Though because I somehow found myself in that situation I'm fortunate enough to have the good that comes with the bad. I may start playing more Dota 2 again we'll see. It feels like I'm cheating my list a bit but the amount of hours I spent playing with a solid group of people forces my hand to say it's the top game for me this year. Wait I called it top highlights this year? Oh man I accounted for it all along!