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Games of 2013

2013 has been a weird year in gaming for me. Starting university didn't just change how much money I spent on games but also where I spent said money. I became less reliant on Steam for the most part and to be honest probably got the majority of my games this year from Humble Bundles. I also moved slightly away from traditional PC gaming purchases through things like Kickstarter - as well as a minor detour into the world of cheap PS3 games.

Anyhow, here are my games of 2013:

Honorable Mentions: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, FEZ, Crusader Kings 2 and The Stanley Parable.

List items

  • There was an odd period earlier this year where after moving houses I was left without any stable internet and was forced to move from my PC to the PS3 for gaming - something that led to me finally picking up the Komplete Edition of 2011's Mortal Kombat and renewing my passion for fighting games. While MK9 only recently made it to Australian shores courtesy of our oft-maligned ratings board, I'm very glad that the praise it got when it first came out stuck with me enough to want to pick it up. The story-mode was memorable (especially by fighting game standards), multiplayer was fun and while I still feel need to finish off large chunks of the challenge tower I'm not no rush to finish with the game. The character roster is just the right size and new features like X-Rays are an absolute blast in a multiplayer environment. I can still distinctly remember a short period where I did nothing but play Mortal Kombat for about three straight days and I still have barely scratched the surface of the wealth of content that the Komplete edition has on offer. MK9 simultaneously manages to make Mortal Kombat approachable for players less familiar with the series but also provides fans with exactly what they've been asking for. All 'Divekick' jokes aside, 'MK9' is more than my favorite fighting games of the year, I think it might be my favorite fighting game of all time - It single-handedly brings together all the things I love about this style of game in a masterful and 'Komplete' way.

  • All the discussion regarding the ending or racism aside, I think Bioshock Infinite is a spectacularly enjoyable game. It fixed a lot of the problems that I had with the other Bioshock games despite moving the series formula even further from its System Shock roots. It provided a really cool setting and characters to engage with and despite all the fair criticisms it has faced since release. Furthermore - despite being a game that came out during the height of my League-of-Legends addition - Infinite was a game that I quickly put the world's biggest MOBA aside for as a result of the game's fresh and visceral combat that really let me fight my way through Columbia with the kind of freedom that previous games in the series have fallen short of.

  • Devil May Cry is a series I've always wanted to get into and this is probably what pushed me to get into the series latest reboot - DMC. Despite my lack of background to the series, I had an absolute blast with DMC. The game's art style and gameplay were in sync in a really cool way that made the game one of the most solid technical action games I've ever put my hands on. All this combined with the well-executed PC port of the game to form a memorable game that's left me hungry for more.

  • It's easy to simplify Divekick down to a joke but I think it's actually one of the most clever games in years. It exemplifies the notion of 'easy to learn, hard to master' and it solves many of the problems that fighting games face when it comes to difficulty curves. I probably spent a little too much time with this game but when I think of the quirky characters and absurdly fun gameplay I find it hard to regret a second.

  • As someone who recently got aboard the Kickstarter train, I was super-keen to see how Shadowrun Returns - one of the first such-Kickstarter games - would turn out. While I didn't grab the game at launch, I did eventually pick it up and was far from disappointed with it. The world of Shadowrun as a setting was fully-realized and I loved how the game's writing captured the feel of a pen and paper RPG session. While the game's core campaign wasn't perfect, the potential of the map editor the game shipped with won me over. Between developing a character in the world of Shadowrun and fighting meticulous turn based strategy battles, this was a game that was addictive as hell for me. The save system definitely pulls the game down but I still can't wait for Dragonfall.

  • I'll admit, I was a little late to the 'Papers, Please' party but I'm glad I finally got around to checking this game out nonetheless. There's a great and unique game here that really offers something so very different anything else. Love it or hate it 'Papers, Please' is a game with some interesting messages and ideas behind it and definitely one of the most memorable indie games of the year.

  • Much like 'Papers, Please', Monaco was a game that I missed out on when it first came out for whatever reason but picking it up months later revealed it to be a game that masterfully balanced so many different mechanics and styles of gameplay. Monaco's stylish aesthetic is backed up by a deceptively deep class system that really gives player's the options they want and leaves things in their hands. Despite the large amount of single-player Monaco I played, I still have to commend the game on some of the most astonishingly well-done co-op gameplay I've ever encountered. In my mind, Monaco is an indie masterpiece on the level of The Binding of Isaac and a game worthy of recognition.

  • World of Goo was always going to be a hard game to follow up but 2D Boy more than matched it with Little Inferno. The game manages to work solidly as both a critique of casual games and a casual game in it's own right. Without even starting to discuss the mind-bending later parts of the game, Little Inferno is just as memorable and addictive as World of Goo - even if it is a little shorter.

  • Where Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs failed to scratch my itch for horror games, Outlast was there to do more than pick up the slack. While it's definitely a game inspired by Frictional Games survival horror series, the game's use of the camcorder & free-running mechanics set it apart. While I'm not entirely sure whether I'm terrified or excited for the upcoming DLC, I'm certain that Outlast deserves a place on this list.

  • This is an odd one. In spite of all the terrible things I had heard about the game I had a really great time with it. When it comes down to it, the game is a somewhat janky-Dragon Age clone set in the world of Martin's novels. It tells a good story with compelling characters that is not just true to franchise but entertaining and interesting in it's own right. Cyanide's faithfulness to the source material is enough that I stuck with the game and had a good time despite the lack of polish and sensible difficulty curve.