My top ten games of 2013 that are better than Brothers

I finally got around to playing and finishing Brothers, which was my last game that I had any interest in playing in the year 2013. It was a fine, bite-sized experience, but the whole thing was over extremely quickly, and failed to make any sort of emotional impact on me. I present below my argument for ten games in 2013 that are better than Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons

10. Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies

Standard Legal Procedures

It's been along time since the rather mediocre Apollo Justice entry into Capcom's unique brand of anime-court visual novels, but Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies is a completely refreshing return to the quirky, lighthearted and murder-filled world of Phoenix and the gang. The new 3D models for the character portraits look absolutely gorgeous, and surprised me with how I actually preferred them to the old 2D animations of the DS entries. I felt the story didn't quite hit the heights of the original trilogy, but it still offers up some satisfying twists at the end, and actually develops it's main characters extremely well, most of the focus being given to new protagonist Athena, who fits right in with the rest of the cast and is just one in many memorable characters that litter the adventure. This game is easily recommendable to any fans of the series, but is also a perfect point to jump in because all of the plot threads introduced in this game are unique unto themselves, minus a few forced-in cameos from earlier games.

Why is it better than Brothers?

Phoenix Wright is definitely a better game than Brothers because of characters. You might be inclined to say "But Brother's wasn't about the characters! In fact all the language and dialogue was purposefully left out of the game to let the player easily use the brothers as a proxy for their own personal experiences!" but my personal experiences never involved me being able to directly control me and my siblings via analog stick. This really broke the immersion for me and caused me to have an unwavering hatred of the game before the prologue was over

9. DmC: Devil May Cry

Dante's Back, Baby!

Ninja Theory succeeded in making a reboot to the game that possibly took the least liberties with the franchise of any reboot ever, and still managed to piss an ungodly amount of people off. I don't see why though, because I honestly think this is the best game in the franchise since Devil May Cry 3. The combat feels great, with switching up your attacks at the touch of a button being both easy to understand and satisfyingly difficult to use in practice. It definitely has the best boss battles of any game to come out this year, and despite people saying that the game tries to hard to be "edgy", in reality it is far more in line with the goofy nature of the original games.

Why is it better than Brothers?

Brothers has it's share of giant, disgusting creatures, both friendly and unfriendly, but do you really feel threatened by them when they don't speak words? This is 2013, almost everybody on earth knows how to speak English, would it have been that hard to have the creatures scream out some expletives? This would have definitely made the game's messages of loss of childhood innocence and rough ascension into adulthood more prevalent, but as it stands, the lack of "Fuck You's" in Brother's feels like a an oversight and a sorely missed opportunity for something special.

If I could cry it would feel like this

8. Fire Emblem Awakening

Choir practice is a real drag ever since Gigantor joined

I have never been big for the strato', but after last years XCOM I deliberately put more effort into checking out a genre that I had previously neglected. This lead to me picking up Fire Emblem, and falling in love with it's complex systems and match-ups. Awakening has a disgusting amount of soldiers for you to recruit to your army and grind up levels with, each with their own unique stats and attributes, but throw in all the equipment management, class-changing, and being able to retain some passive skills from classes they have already leveled up in and you end up having a game that is delightfully overwhelming with it's scope. I'm obviously not an expert on the genre, but Fire Emblem Awakening is definitely a thoroughly enjoyable video game, with the capability of giving the player extreme satisfaction at a hard-fought victory with no causalities.

Why is it better than Brothers?

If there's one thing glaringly absent from Brothers, it's tactical combat. I think this could have been easily fixed, and if I worked for the game-factory that made Brothers, I would have definitely had them add random encounters into the adventure. This would have provided for a longer, more fulfilling experience, and offers the player an incentive to really care about the titular Brothers as they level up and gain more skills, giving them a direct agency into their overall development. A few goddamn romance options certainly wouldn't have hurt either.

7. Dragon's Crown

What it actually feels like to chew 5 gum

Dragon's Crown is extremely fun if you can convince some friends to play semi-creepy Japanese game with you, and the gameplay is probably the best the beat-em-up genre has ever seen. Each class has their own unique perks and abilities, so starting a new character feels completley fresh and makes playing the same levels over and over again never feel tired. It's a great game to pick up and play for 20 minutes at a time, making the Vita version the one to get in my opinion. Definitely way more worth picking up if you have friends along for the ride.

Why is it better than Brothers?

Brothers has the distinction of being the least sexy game ever made, which I think I speak for everybody when I say that is not why we come to videogames. We all come to videogames to have all of our pent up testosterone flow into our dicks simultaneously and explode out of our heads in the form of primal, guttural screams. Brothers failed to make me even a little bit hard, and if it did, I would probably want my Kinect camera to automatically contact the authorities.

6. Injustice: Gods Among Us

Clients in the profession of future-dentistry are hard to come by, and rarely worth the pay

I hate superheroes, but I love fighting games, specifically Mortal Kombat, so I decided to pick up Injustice: Gods Among Us. I must say that this game exceeded my expectations at every possible turn, providing simple fighting mechanics with a lot of hidden depth when it comes to chaining combos efficiently. The mechanics are simple enough for most gamer's to pick up quickly, which makes for a fantastic local multiplayer game. I don't play many games online, but the exception is fighting games, and this definitely sucked me in for a while.

Why is it better than Brothers?

Brothers could have been a great super hero orgin-story, but instead of turning into Spiderman you just perform spastic gestures while having a stroke for three hours.

5. The Last of Us

Jokes fail

The Last of Us is a the pinnacle of current-gen tech, providing one of the most distinctly beautiful experience I can ever remember in a video game, complete with a mature narrative that doesn't insult the player in the slightest,a and subverts expectation in all of the right ways to reach a conclusion that is devastating without feeling manipulative. The only reason I didn't place this higher is because the game-play wears thin by the end of the experience, and on the whole is less satisfying than the Uncharted series, but from a narrative perspective this game is pure dynamite, and it warms my heart to know video games are finally growing up.

Why is it better than Brothers?

It chills my heart to know that video games will never grow up. It's 20 fucking 13 and we still have a game based completely around moving a character with the left analog stick, the big innovation being that you can move another character with the other analog stick. Not only is this completely stupid, but it also makes it damn near impossible to snack on anything while playing Brothers because both of your thumbs are expected to be on the analog sticks at all times. In The Last of Us, its easy enough to twist your left hand in a way where your fingers can reach the buttons while still being able to manipulate the character around with your thumb, meanwhile your right hand takes a break to reach over to the Dorito bag. Good luck doing this in Brothers, a game that seems designed from the bottom up to make people starve to death.

4. Grand Theft Auto V

How I spent most of my time my return to San Andreas

Other than GTAV being the best BMX game of the last 6 years, it is also the best open world game. This is the most expansive, immersive, and exhaustively detailed world I have ever seen in a video game, and you can lose hours walking around doing not much of anything at all. If you do decide to delve into the story however, you will be greeted with the most entertaining and well-developed characters the series has ever seen. It can't be overstated how refreshing the lighter mood is in comparison to GTAIV, and the tone just feels right for the type of games that GTA has always been.

Why is it better than Brothers?

Brothers has a few cute attempts at vehicular sections, but the lack of Britney Spears on the soundtrack ultimately renders them completely unsatisfying.

3. The Stanley Parable

Videogames

The Stanley Parable is absolutely the best short-form video game that I have ever played, with a sense of humor that is witty while simultaneously providing a significant amount of philosophical context upon retrospection. I saw every scenario of the game play out about three times and was always able to draw new meanings out of what was happening, because despite it having a quirky surface, The Stanley Parable eventually brings up quite a few uncomfortable questions. The game is completely enjoyable without heading off to pretentiousville though, and is filled with clever banter and unexpected turns throughout.

Why is it better than Brothers?

This is 2013. Genuine emotions don't exist anymore without some form of detached irony to them, and trying to create a game based around these so-called genuine emotions is just an exercise in futility.

2. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Just look at it

I don't normally get all the way through JRPGs and consider them too much of a time-sink. Luckily, I had a friend living with me this summer, and it's much easier to play through an RPG when you can pass off the controller to someone else when you get bored. 80 hours later, I saw the credits roll on Ni No Kuni, and despite the last 20 hours completely destroying the combat systems that had been in place for the game prior, the game world is just so entrancing and looks absolutely amazing with it's cel-shading that it's incredible just to walk around and take it all in. Six months later, I just plugged this game into my system and lost a lot of hours walking around the world doing the postgame missions, and was shocked to find that I remembered everything about the game, from the rare crafting mineral farming spots to the specific components of alchemy. The game throws just about every RPG system in the book at you, but is paced so well that it never feels overwhelming, and by the time everything is unlocked you'll be navigating all the complex systems like a pro.Easily one of the best RPG's of the generation, and a great journey back into childhood

Why is it better than Brothers?

Because Brothers is a straight-up rip-off of this game. Not only does it also try to be a journey back into childhood, but the whole premise of Brothers, controlling two characters with both analog sticks, is covered in a mini-game for Ni No Kuni. Ni No Kuni did it first, and it's shocking to me that the industry as a whole is not up in arms about this. Brothers prides itself on innovation, but it is nothing more than a common thief. The game should be pulled off online stores for such dishonesty, and personally I can't believe that such a game got through the ESRB without being rated AO for frequent and pervasive LYING

YOU ARE BEING FED NOTHING BUT LIES

1. Bioshock Infinite

Hallelujah

I honestly cannot remember a video game narrative ever stringing me along so willingly as Bioshock Infinite did, and that's coming from somebody who was not even a fan of the original Bioshock. The setting of Columbia is rich with detail, and even though the game is ultimately quite linear, each area is filled with so much detail that I naturally wanted to explore, not for the promise of shiny collectibles, but just to see more posters and other hidden details put into crafting the spectacular world. The story is extremely well crafted, with massive amounts of foreshadowing that while seeming completely obvious in retrospect, are actually near-impossible to take as such until the game's conclusion is reached. Of course, people will complain about the timelines not making sense after drawing out numerous charts on the logic of the game, but the twists and turns really do make perfect sense in the context of the game's own story and how it's set up, and, simply put, no other video game this year pulled me in so completely, and out of reality, as Bioshock Infinite did.

Why is it better than Brothers?

I really don't think I need to explain myself any further. Brothers is a game that doesn't deserve to be on any top ten list of 2013 because I didn't like it at all.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

There is a lot to like about Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, a game that starts as a fairly innocent journey and increasingly leans toward more violent images in what progressively becomes a rather dark tale. The development of the relationship and dynamic of the titular Brothers has an amazing amount of depth despite no comprehensible dialogue being spoken, and even though the graphics are simple, the environments still manage to look absolutely beautiful. Ultimately, the only reason Brothers missed my Top Ten Games of 2013 that are better than Brothers list is that it just narrowly missed being better than Brothers

The Pinball Arcade

The Pinball Arcade didn't come out in 2013, but it is definitely my most played game of 2013. I've never been super involved with Pinball games before, but that all changed when Playstation Plus gave this gem away for free. My friends and I became obsessed, buying every new table that was released, as well as touring around my city to find the real version of our favorite tables to play. Eventually, my friend discovered a website called pinside.com, which allows users to register their locations as well as what pinball tables they own, and a few short emails later, I was in a man's house that lived a few blocks away from me playing a fully functioning Bride of Pinbot machine in his basement. Pinball is the ultimate party game. It's accessible, skillful, and a lot of fun to play when getting progressively drunker. Long live pinball culture.

Bubsy 3d: Bubsy Visits the James Turrel Retrospective

as i gaze into the screen i can feel my eyelids start to become heavier

the world outside continues to fade as the orange fur of the cartoo

n cat is all i see closer and closer his darting eyeballs seem to making direct eye contact with mei am not stari

ng at a video game, i am staring at my eventual death hesitantly

i enter the coffin, ready for what comes beyondplunging downdowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndowndown

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My extended thoughts on Ryan Davis

I'm not exactly sure how to deal with the news of Ryan Davis's passing, and I know everybody has been posting their own blog entries, I figure I may as well do the same to get my thoughts out, try to make sense of the entire thing.

Ryan Davis had a profound influence on my life. I became a fan of Gamespot when I was in the fifth grade, when I was ten years old and since then persisted to listen to the hotspot/bombcast on a weekly basis for the majority of my entire life. I grew up with these people, and though I never met them personally, they were a constant source of entertainment and joy for me, but now that I have time to reflect on it, more than that. Without Ryan Davis, I would not be the person that I am today. He helped me realize my sarcastic sense of humor, and I viewed him as one of the most naturally funny people I had ever seen. When I got to college I pursued a career in journalism, and it wouldn't even remotely be a stretch to say that Ryan Davis and the rest of the bomb crew put me on this path. Even when I was a freshman last year, and fell off of gaming as a hobby in favor of pursuing girls and drunken debauchery, I still made a habit of listening to the Bombcast every single week. Even later that year when my own mother passed away, I could still escape into the Bombcast room for three hours every week and forget about my problems for a little while, and just get caught up in the banter of my all-time favorite internet personalities. They helped me get through the toughest time of my entire life, and I have to offer endless thanks for that.

So yesterday when I got to my place of employment, I was shocked when I checked up on Giant Bomb and found out that one of my idols had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. I experienced an emotions I had never felt before, I'm not one to get caught up in the deaths of people that I never had the chance to meet, or celebrities, but this is just different. I would be lying if I said that it didn't effect my life and my emotional state immensely. It wasn't as uncontrollably terrible as what I went through last year, but it was a different, empty, uncomfortable feeling that consumed me, it was a disruption of what had been a constant for about as long as I could remember back, and suddenly my world did not seem okay anymore.

But then the Harmonix stream happened, an extremely tasteful and well done, yet brief reflection on Ryan Davis's time spent in the internet world, and despite confronting the truth of the situation firsthand, it succeeded in comforting me greatly. Ryan Davis is far from a life wasted, he changed my life, and if anything yesterday showed me that I am far from being alone in this. The outpouring of the community is astounding, I've never felt more honored to be a part of this, and even though I'm not the most active member of this community, I think we can all still feel connected for how much we appreciate what Ryan and the rest of the staff have done in building this site, and providing quality content on a weekly basis.

Giant Bomb is not my life, but it is definitely a part of who I am. I can't imagine what the people close to Ryan are going through right now, and my thoughts go out to you, but I think that everybody who knew him, personally or through the internet, realizes that Ryan was nothing but a positive force on the world, who brought joy to countless people, and while I'm sad that he's gone, that's only a testament to what he has accomplished in building such a supportive community around himself. Ryan Davis is a legend, his influence lives on in me and countless others.

Thank you for everything you've done, Ryan. You won't be forgotten.

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My Top 5 Albums of All Time

I've been racking my mind trying to compile a list that would encompass everything that I look for in music as an art form. My tastes are going to lean on the modern side for this list, because that's the music that i was around for and really got an appreciation for, I'm fans of a lot of classic albums as well, they just didn't make the cut. Music defines me as much as video games do, I'm constantly searching for new things to listen to so if anybody has any recommendations after reading my top 5, or wants to share their own top 5, it would be appreciated.

5. of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, are You the Destroyer?

Probably the most unknown quantity on this entire list, of Montreal is fucking weird. Not as much a band as it is the insane ramblings of frontman, Kevin Barnes, who examines his psyche throughout this album, and it's never clear what's real and what's fictional. Halfway through this album, he switched from his regular character and became a black transvestite named Georgie Fruit, who he continued to stay in character as throughtout the entire next album. But musically the album is incredibly diverse, there's really nothing out there like of Montreal, it's worth putting the time in getting into them.

4. Radiohead: Kid A

In my opinion, the second greatest collection of songs ever. This album is a perfectly paced auditory journey, conveying nearly every damn emotion that you could in musical language in one amazing album. This is the apex of Radiohead, their masterpiece. There are people who worship everything Radiohead, and bless the ground that Thom Yorke walks on, and I don't really think of them THAT highly, but there is no denying the power Radiohead finds with their sound on this album.

3. Eyedea & Abillities: By the Throat

This is the perfect fusion of rap and rock, I wish is what people thought of when they heard that term instead of pieces of shit like Linkin Park. But Eyedea is so much more than that, he is by far the best lyricist in all of hip hop. His first two albums were all battle-rapping, but for his third album, made in 2009, he decided to write intensely personal songs about his heroin addiction and philosophies on the meaning of life, creating what is really the most desperate and anxious sounding album I have ever heard. Shortly after completion of this album, Eyedea died of a heroin overdose, making this album that much more heartbreaking when listening to. This album also features some ridiculously innovative DJing from DJ Abilllities that I haven't seen duplicated anywhere else, he is one of the most amazing scratchers I've heard, listen to songs like Spin Cycle to hear how he turns scratches into melody for the last minute of that song. Overall, my only complaint is this album is too short, and that we didn't get to see Eyedea build into something even more amazing that this album. This album is a reminder of a tragedy, but it also puts an amazing mind on display.

2. Rilo Kiley: The Execution of All Things

Since ya'll are gamers here on Giant Bomb, you may recognize the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis, as the girl that Fred Savage ran around with in The Wizard. Now that that completely irrelevant fact is out of the way, let me tell you why this album is great. I have a weakness for folksly indie bands with female lead singers, and this is the peak of that particular mountain. Really heartfelt lyrics, the main theme being trapped into the responsibilities of adulthood and longing for the simple innocence of childhood, sung by my favorite female voice of all time, Jenny Lewis, who has a way of making everything sound genuine. I'm going to marry her someday.

1. Modest Mouse

I could have put all of Modest Mouses first four studio albums in my top 5, but I chose to only put one at the top for the sake of diversity. This is the best collection of songs in existence, balancing triumphant heights with depressing and chaotic lows, giving the whole album a heaven-vs-hell dynamic that works beautifully. There are reoccuring phrases and themes that appear throughout the album, and once you listen enough you can piece together a loose narrative. I am pretty certain that this album is a collection of stories about different perspectives of people going through the end of the world. There are songs that are calm about the ending of all things,(The World at Large) songs exploring doubt of an afterlife in the face of death (Satin in a Coffin), songs exploring how much a psyche can take before it snaps and becomes chatotic (The Devils Workday) songs detailing regret of places unseen, feelings unknown (Black Cadillacs), and everything in between. It's an analysis of not just Issac Brock's psyche, but all of our psyche's, and it is absolutely brilliant from beginning to end. I could talk for hours upon hours upon hours about this album, and the music of every track, but I'll just end this list by saying that if you haven't heard this amazing masterpiece, click on the link above this text box and listen right now. I wish I could hear this album again for the first time, but every time I listen to it, I find something else to appreciate

And that's it, anybody else on GB a fan of any of these bands? Feel free to post your own top five in the comments, I realize this is a cliche topic at this point but I just wanted to write down a list for myself mainly

27 Comments

A rap I made for a contest, tell me what you think

You may know Anthony Fantano from TheNeedleDrop, his popular youtube music review show, but earlier this week he made a contest to spit over this beat and he would pick the best one. I've been working on this for about two days, and I tried out a style that I've never done before on this song and am kind of curious to reactions to it, as having done the verse over and over again I'm kind of desensitized to if it actually sounds good or not.

But any impressions would be nice.

Start the Conversation

But really, lets talk about how King Dedede is amazing

Is he a duck or a penguin? Nobody really knows. When he speaks, he speaks with a booming voice filled with authority. When he jumps, he comes crashing down with such force that it actually creates new celestial bodies that promptly implode in on themselves as soon as they are created. His hammer is so powerful that it has it's own self-sustaining fuel source. I love you King Dedede

D3 4EVER
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Just made yet another rap in my friend's basement.

This one wasn't nearly as serious as the last one, we were just messing around with different verses trying to come up with something dumb and ignant, but I think the end result sounded pretty good.

Questions, comments, criticisms, do all of that shit

2 Comments

My first attempt at serious concept-rapping

So over the last three days my friend and I have been working on making our first serious attempt at rap music. About an hour ago we completed it, figured I may as well post in here and see what you guys think.

Any responses are appreciated. We worked really hard on this

35 Comments

Why Eternal Sonata is the worst game ever made.

Too many arguments are made where there is no clear verdict. Time after time people will brush each other's rebuttals off as "just opinion". I'm going to say this up front, this blog is not an opinion, it is cold, hard, fact. You cannot argue with anything I say, because it is the truth. Sure your natural human instincts may drive you to fight off the following article by denying the truth of it, but that's all that it is, denial. It's one of the five stages of grief and I will accept it as such, knowing that you will also reach acceptance at the end of the long, dark road ahead of you. Now that that's all out of the way, it's time to begin my completely fact-based blog which will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Eternal Sonata is, in fact, a cancer to what we call "video gaming"

The Characters

The characters of Eternal Sonata are as good of a place as any to start this detailed and fair analysis of the game. In the beginning, you play as a young girl named Polka, presumably about eight years old. Clearly, the reason the developers of the game did this was because they wanted to alienate every single person that will ever play the game by designing a main character that is the exact opposite of anyone who would ever consider purchasing it. As we all know, the target demographic for video games are males ages 14-26. They don't buy games to play as little girls that look like a less sexy version of Sailor Moon, they buy them to have rabid power fantasies as manly men that tear down walls by looking at them intensely and use human faces as a base for pole-vaulting with their massive endowments. Unfortunately, none of that appears in Eternal Sonata. Instead, you get a little girl trying to cart off her shady-ass "floral powder" on everyone she meets, under the pretense that it will heal your pain, but apparently not as well as the government mandated "mineral-powder." Now let's face it polka, everyone uses mineral powder because it works better, and it's sold to them by a trusted source, rather than a terminally ill little girl on the street. You shouldn't be so upset that you can't make friends when you're the one person trying to cart off some weak-as-shit earth-grown drug on people that are hyped up from snorting crushed up minerals. This brings me to my next problem with the narrative in Eternal Sonata.

The Blatant Subliminal Messaging

Yep. Floral powder is Marijuana. This game glorifies the use of the documented #1 cause of death among young teens. Not only that, but it also tells you to defy your government even when they attempt to give you something safer and more effective. If Floral Powder is marijuana, than Mineral Powder is most certainly cocaine. In Eternal Sonata overextended use of Mineral Powder will turn you into a zombie-like creature, or something like that I really don't care, I was too busy reading my back-issues of Natural Bodybuilding magazine during the cutscenes to really get a firm grasp on whatever communist propaganda they were trying to throw at me. Let me tell you, cocaine will not turn you into a zombie. Cocaine is developed by registered scientists in well-equipped laboratories across the globe. Do you know what scientists have invented? Aspirin, Tylenol, Adderall, and Steroids come to mind. Those are all great inventions, especially when blended together and drank with vodka. Marijuana on the other hand, is grown from the earth. What has the earth invented? Poison Ivy, sharp sticks, and that tree-rape scene from the first Evil Dead movie are probably the first things on everybody's mind. Not so great when compared to science, huh?

But in the end, not even the game takes it's message seriously, because in the end, nothing matters.

In the end, it doesn't even matter

Yeah, I took that header from Linkin Park. They're kind of my favorite band, much better than anything Frederic Chopin ever composed. See, this game apparently all takes place in side of the mind of this Choppin' guy, who is a french composer or something. It really makes no sense in the end, as they never explain why he was so infatuated with watching a small girl slowly die inside of his mind. He just kind of dies peacefully and then plays piano as a ghost while all the characters in the game stare you dead in the face and yell morals at you over the credits. It probably would have been much cooler to be inside the minds of Linkin Park. Then we'd probably have giant Transformer battles set to Numb while Megan Fox dances naked in the background. I would play that video game. I think everyone pretty much would.

So in conclusion, I think I've pretty much proven my point about why Eternal Sonata is the worst game ever made. If you still want to argue that there are worse games than Eternal Sonata, you can go do it in the comments, but you're just making a fool out of yourself, as this argument is pretty bullet-proof. If you think Eternal Sonata is somehow a good game, I advise you to start back up at the top and read the entire thesis again. I'll see you down here at the bottom.

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