My Best Games of 2013

A list of games that impressed the fuck out of me in 2013.

List items

  • Warframe is an example of how to launch a free-to-play game correctly and use the model to improve your product overall. When the closed beta originally started, all of the levels looked the same and it seemed destined to fall to the wayside of free-to-play doom. However, in the time that the game has been in open beta, the exponential growth of the game's overall content has been alarming! Introducing new levels, reworked boss fights, gads and gads of new weapons on a regular basis has helped the game gain a healthy following. Moreover, it's the kind of game where you can literally obtain everything you need without ever spending a single penny. It's not easy, and many have called it a "grind-fest." However, I've yet to find any of the stuff that I WANT to obtain to be THAT difficult...at least no more difficult than getting gear in World of Warcraft. Beyond that, the game has an excellent fiction highlighted with incredible character designs and incredible graphics. With the recent launch on PS4, we'll also see the game getting cross-platform play, and since the game uses a very controller-friendly control scheme, it's difficult to not recommend this to someone looking for a solid co-op game.

  • There were many indie games that reigned supreme in 2013, but none of them were nearly as powerful to me as Rogue Legacy. My interest here wasn't about story. It was about pure gameplay, and that's what Cellar Door delivered with this game. Billed as a "Rogue-lite," Rogue Legacy followed in the footsteps of something like Dark Souls in creating a unique RPG that had you pounding your head in frustration while coming back for me. The unique way of leveling your character up, the interesting traits that could be obtained through the game's genealogy system, and the beautiful 2D artwork make this an indie triumph for 2013 that easily kept my thumbs on the analog sticks for a long time.

  • Bioshock Infinite would've been my #1 game of 2013 if it weren't for a handful of issues I took with the general gameplay and some story loopholes. Regardless, it was the atmosphere, the characters, and the general story aesthetics that I can't forget. Top notch production values mixed with excellent voice acting make this world something that feels odd yet tangible in the current socio-political climate. Unfortunately, the gunplay felt wonky as most Bioshock games do, and the elixirs never honestly felt as necessary to use as the plasmids in its predecessors did. Still, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more controversial and fascinating example of game design in 2013.

  • After Shank and its sequel, I just didn't think that Klei was going to do much to impress me. Mark of the Ninja started changing that opinion, as it was a good game...though a bit hand-holding and still following the same general art style. I felt they were a one-trick pony. Don't Starve drastically changed that opinion and single-handedly changed my opinion of the studio. The brilliance is in its overall simplistic objective: survive. However, the way you choose to do so has so many available options. To add on top of that, there has been a plethora of content updates made that help push your "time played" beyond any reasonable or logical threshold.

  • Shadow Man is on this list because fuck you. That's why. It was recently re-released through Steam and GOG.com, and my love for this game knows no bounds. Sure, the controller support is wonky as balls and the graphics haven't aged well (even with a community-created HD texture mod). However, the overall atmosphere and game itself are still excellent. Playing through this again has been a dream come true.

  • It's a dumb puzzle game and it didn't even come out this year. However, I just discovered it this year, thanks in part to my conversion to Windows Phone. Wordament does what I feel many other word games don't: they know how to make you feel like the smartest person alive and the biggest idiot in the existence of the world. The rules are simple: make as many words as possible out of letters placed on some tiles within a certain time limit. The thing that makes it addictive as hell? Every one of these rounds is played by anyone else in the world playing the game, and at the end of the round, you see where you ranked in terms of overall score. You are also conveniently presented with a list of words that you could have created...and at both of these points, you will slap your palm to forehead and say things like "I'm fucking stupid, how did I miss that word?" or "these muthafuckers HAVE to be cheating." I should point out that I DID try cheating at the game with one of the many various websites that will list out every word you could make from the tiles...and I would actually do WORSE than if I was just doing it freestyle. It's that weird mixture of achieving and shaming that made this game incredibly difficult to stop playing.

  • Honestly, it's still MTG. There are tons of cards for you to sift through, build a deck, and then play with said deck. However, the new addition of sealed deck play brings another degree to the madness of deck building and multiplayer. The game DOES keep things fairly basic in terms of the cards you can get and the strategies you could employ in building your deck. However, if you've ever wanted to just try out Magic, learn how it's played, or maybe just kill some time, M14 is a great way to fulfill all those needs.

  • Diablo III on PC was corrupted and turned into some awful after the now infamous 1.03 patch launch. I hadn't looked back at it since that time. There were so many issues that I took with that game that I felt I could never forgive it.

    Then the console release happened... It made me go back and take a look at the game in its current state...and it has been improved greatly. I feel that the console version of D3 is exactly the D3 I remember playing in its very early life, the one that I enjoyed. I didn't get very far with it, but I can easily say that it's a great representation of the game for people interested in ARPGs on console and keep waiting with baited breath for Snowblind to come back and do another Norrath game or something. This will definitely whet your appetite.