My Games of 2013

These are the games I played/sampled/beat for the first time in 2013. Some were released this year, some were not. Ranked by how much I enjoyed playing them.

List items

  • So great. (Check out my user review!)

  • There are lots of tiny (and some not-so-tiny) flaws, but damn if I didn't have a whole lot of fun with GTA V. Los Santos is a magnificently constructed world that's fun to live in, but my favorite part ended up being the characters of Michael and Trevor, and their story. Franklin...not so much.

  • Addicting and rewarding. You receive enough permanent rewards and feedback to make this rogue-like palatable to someone like me.

  • An engrossing experience that tells a very moving story. The storytelling that develops from simply exploring a home is fascinating, and a testament to exceptional execution.

  • Fun, relaxing, music-based platformer. Wish there was a soundtrack for the great music, Beck's especially.

  • Very moving story that is successfully married to its gameplay in a way that few other games can achieve. Its beautifully-crafted world enhances the experience. And that music...oh man. So good.

  • Intense, challenging, but immensely satisfying and rewarding. I did hit a bit of a wall halfway through and didn't play any more, but I still felt like I accomplished something great by getting that far.

  • Big surprise how much I enjoyed this. I've never been much of a fan of combo-heavy action games, but for some reason this just clicked for me. The battle system is near perfect, and it's well-supported by some beautiful & crazy art direction and pleasingly over-the-top demonic story.

  • Volition's continued lunacy is very enjoyable. The new superpowers are surprisingly fun, and the related pickups go far in repeating what was so compelling about Crackdown. Hate to say it but the game does feel a bit like an expansion back, with them reusing the same setting, albeit with some cosmetic changes. The gameplay is also on its last leg: the side quests are just sneaky ways to get you to do the tedious open-world activities, and what you are actually doing in the main missions is usually the same boring crap we've been doing for ever. The clever context makes it easier to swallow, but whatever Saints Row V is needs to be a significant evolution.

  • Finally got around to playing this. The solid mechanics of the first game are just as fun as before, and the open-world of Arkham City is a very welcome addition.

  • Really enjoyable experience. Well-playing shooter, good unique look and a fun narrative hook in the vein of Bastion.

  • Awesome gameplay of Far Cry 3 + super dumb and unique style = awesome.

  • Great adventure, though I don't think they quite succeed with the whole "a survivor is born" story arc that they were ambitiously aiming for. It's a game that borrows heavily from the Uncharted formula, but it improves the combat while at the same time not quite reaching the same level of spectacle. The game also feels too long. The small moment towards the end when Laura receives her iconic equipment was a nice touch. Finishing touches like that ensure that I'll eagerly look forward to whatever the future holds for Lara, or perhaps more broadly, the Crystal Dynamics team.

  • Crack in the form of a strategy game. So good, so slick.

  • I've never really gone for these loot-based top-down clicktastic games before, but man is this a lot of fun.

  • Far from perfect (the game doesn't explain its systems very well and the story drags near the end) but I really enjoyed the fast, fairly simple combat, and surprisingly enjoyed most of the Kojima-esque nonsense.

  • This sure is an MMO, and I barely scratched the surface before losing interest. But I really enjoyed playing it more than I expected. Maybe it's because I've barely played MMOs before, maybe I like the Star Wars stuff, maybe I like the Bioware conversations. I had a good time, and it cost me next to nothing.

  • Fun, simple combat and pleasant tone. It wears out its welcome quickly. I'm discovering I have a low tolerance for the ponderous moment-to-moment pace of modern Nintendo games, something I felt with Animal Crossing as well.

  • A fun, snappy runner, but the art style actually hindered my enjoyment and the playability for me. Maybe I'm just getting old?

  • Really clever and funny, but the gameplay couldn't hold my attention.

  • Very clever and funny.

  • Fun experience perfect for the iPad.

  • A good, nay great hour or two of fun, but nothing more.

  • I understand the continuing appeal, but it hasn't changed enough for me since my initial experience 15 years ago. The grinding and pace isn't for me.

  • Clever and cute, but could use a bit more refinement. Can be unnecessarily frustrating.

  • There are still great Dead Space moments to be had in this game, but they are severely diminished by unnecessary gameplay changes. (I hope whoever thought fighting humans was a good idea has been sacked.) It also doesn't help that it's padded out by an uninteresting (and only vaguely comprehensible) story and some terribly-written dialogue. I'll be thrilled to see what this Visceral team does next, but I think this should be it for Dead Space.

  • It's more Animal Crossing, for better or worse.

  • Slickly-made game, and the story mode continues to be neat, but I don't really derive a lot of enjoyment from fighting games or DC comic characters.

  • Fun puzzler that I was totally into for the first half. But when the "dark" levels start about halfway through, it lost me. Didn't feel fun, just frustrating. The difficulty in a great puzzler increases because more cleverness is required, not just mechanical difficulties.

  • A simple, relaxing experience.

  • Some fun to be had here, and I liked the change of setting, but so many of the franchise's problems linger. (Check out my user review!)

  • So disappointing. The core mechanics are there, and it has a snappy presentation, but the broader game design philosophy by Maxis (small city areas, promote/force multiplayer coordination) ruined most of the fun I got from previous games. Oh well...I'll always have SimCity 4.

  • Uh, so I respect what's going on here, but it didn't do much for me.