GOTY 2013

Here we are yet again! A pretty good year for games, I must say. I didn't play through as many games as last year, but still a lot! (90 games, in fact!)

Honorable Mentions / Runners-up

  • Tomb Raider: I ended up enjoying this reboot a bit more than I expected. The gameplay is satisfying, and they give you an interesting, gorgeous world to explore using the tools you acquire over the course of the game. There's a little too much of sections where you just hold up and move forward, and the story fell flat for me by the end (of course, supernatural nonsense!), but overall, very solid.
  • Call of Juarez: Gunslinger: Another game I had low expectations for, but was suitably impressed by. The narrative tricks they use to tell their wild west "tall tales" are extremely clever, and the accompanying voiceover is well done and entertaining. The shootin' ain't too bad, either!
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf: Don't get me wrong, I played a shitload of this game, and it sort of consumed my life for a bit, but the objectivist in me has a hard time putting it in my top 10. It's a little too reminiscent of the AC experience from the Gamecube. The online experience - while I'm glad it exists at all, and was one of the big additions - definitely could have been better. And the UI could definitely be a little less clunky. Like I said, I had a lot of fun with it before burning out, but it won't be making the list this year.
  • Puppeteer: If the gameplay would have been just a little better, this absolutely would have made my top 10 list. But as it stands, there's only room on my list for one incredibly creative game that's a little lackluster in the gameplay department (see: Tearaway).
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons: The last 10 minutes of this game really elevated it for me, such a great example of storytelling through game mechanics. I did manage to find 10 games I liked better than it, though.
  • Gunpoint: I'm a sucker for clever game mechanics, and Gunpoint has them in spades. The myriad ways that the player has available to clear levels makes this game particularly compelling. And a large amount of clever writing is on show here to bookend each level and carry the story along (not surprising with the game being designed by a former games writer)!
  • Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies: Probably my favorite Phoenix Wright game since the original. I had forgotten what sort of weird, wacky characters inhabit the PW universe.

Excellent 2013 Games I'd Like To Get Back To in 2014

...this is what I get for trying to play too many games at once.

  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: I really enjoyed the 15-20 hours I played of this. The setting especially was cool, and a nice change of pace. Will definitely go back to finish this soon.
  • Skulls of the Shogun: The story mode was surprisingly well-written and funny, and while the mechanics were a little simpler than a lot of other strategy games, it was still engaging. Hard to complete with Fire Emblem, I guess.
  • Ni No Kuni: I got stuck on one of the bosses about 25 hours in, and never went back to grind / level up to try and get past it. I really should get back to this game, because man, is it pretty, and crafts such a cool world to explore & characters to interact with. Mister Drippy is pretty much the best.

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