By jclane 3 Comments
And here were are, the perhaps not so grand but most definitely controversial finale!
And now on with the final batch of awards...
Free to play games are fully entitled to have microtransactions plastered all over them because we never have to give them a pretty penny if we choose to play. Sure, progression may be painstakingly slow and some of us will cave in and try to get some XP booster packs or unlock late game gear early, but it is optional and we know going in that a game’s economy is going to be geared towards F2P.
The biggest offender is Forza 5. Seriously, what the fuck (besides them dollar bills) were Turn 10 and Microsoft thinking?! It’s less of the fact that they exist in the first place and more that they have the gall to tweak the game economy to the point where you either spend way too many hours grinding in-game credits or you dip into your real pockets and buy some tokens.
This is all coupled with their usual shtick of cutting out content for launch day DLC and quite frankly I am still fuming from my decision to pay £44.99 for this hollow mess of a product. I had only wished that more reviewers would’ve made mention of the changes made to the progression system being designed with an F2P model in mind. Remember, this was just a slight against one game. This trend may continue to grow into 2014 like an unwanted parasite that sucks the fun out of retail games. Go see a doctor, publishers, you’ve got money on the brain.
Best Boss Fight-Monsoon (Metal Gear Rising)
What happens when you combine Magneto from Marvel, Raphael from Ninja Turtles, someone made of Lego and a Cambodian street thug turned cyborg nihilistic mercenary? You get Monsoon, one of the self-proclaimed Winds of Destruction from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Honestly, any of the bosses from this wonderful asylum of a product could’ve made it to this spot, but no one has aggravated or gotten me pumped more than the Monsoon boss encounter.
After one of the longest cutscenes in the entire game, a kick-ass guitar riff signals the start of a ferocious battle between protagonist Raiden and the aforementioned Desperado cyborg. Monsoon has quite a bag of tricks up his detachable sleeves. For starters, he is damn fast when it comes to going on the offensive, made even trickier when he pops a smoke grenade and your visibility is reduced tenfold.
Of course, the most notable “gimmick” in his arsenal is the ability to separate any and all of his limbs apart. This particularly becomes a pain in the robotic anus when he starts making a fool of you trying to spam away in the game’s unique and useful Blade Mode, which slows time and allows for precision cutting. You’re simply left in awe at how the best technique you’ve come to rely on has been mostly rendered useless by this bastard.
As he begins his next phase of hurling helicopters and APCs at Raiden, you begin to see plenty amounts of EMP grenades falling from the debris when you slice them open. If you put 2+2 together, you realize you can put a stop to his Blade Mode dodging shenanigans if you manage to hit him with one. From that moment on, all the pieces fall into place and it’s up to you to kill him before he can kill you. And on Hard difficulty or above, expect to be doing a lot of checkpoint reloading on this boss if you want an S rank/take no damage, because I haven’t raged so much at a game since I fought Manus from Dark Souls at Soul Level 1.
Most Emotionally Draining (A.K.A Best Story)-The Last of Us
Never have I had to walk away from a video game for it leaving me in utter shock and a sense of uncomfortableness. That was until I played the prologue level of The Last of Us. Anyone who’s played the game knows what moment I’m talking about exactly. It didn’t just tug at the heartstrings, it basically wanted to get up in them and tear them apart like a bloater wants to do to Joel’s jaw.
It set the tone of things to come. Naughty Dog would be pulling no punches, not like they so love to do with the Uncharted games. Characters we loved were going to stay dead this time. There’d be no happy ending with everyone holding hands and dancing round a roaring campfire. The world had already gone to hell, and those left were only going to be dragged deeper down.
The ending is one of the most talked about moments in gaming for the year and for good reason. No epic conclusion, no dramatic revelations, just our two central characters having a quiet moment after all they’ve been through. We’ve come to love Joel and Ellie and in a single fleeting moment, that bond comes into question, leaving audiences to ponder if it truly “can’t be for nothing.”
Biggest Disappointment-Grand Theft Auto V
Yeah, this does seem like a bizarre choice since it’s the same year where games like Dead Space 3, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Gears of War: Judgement, God of War: Ascension, Forza Motorsport 5 and much more were released. Out of all those, this was the sequel with the largest gap between itself and the previous iteration and my hopes were as high as the clouds.
To be honest, GTA V isn’t a bad game. The fact that I finished it, which is more than I can say for something like BioShock: Infinite (I really don’t like BioShock games) speaks volumes to how determined I was to enjoy it, but alas, the end credits had arrived and I yearned for so much more. The pacing felt all over the place; one minute you’re hijacking a military aircraft by crashing another plane into its cargo hold, the next you’re driving to your next shootout with gunplay that has been bested by so many other games in the past. The few highs were high but the plentiful lulls in action were all too concerning.
Sure, the writing is strong, the characterization is great and the world is teeming with life….yeah, the game is good, but I just wish the gameplay could keep up, since for me, refined gameplay mechanics trump all over aspects in game design.
Then GTA Online came out, and whoo boy what a clusterfuck that entire scenario was. I’ll freely admit that even if they did keep up on all their promises for this component, I’d still not enjoy it because it still has the core gameplay problems that plagued the single-player, but also the fact that Rockstar has yet to make an impression on me with their online efforts.
Game of the Year-Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
It shocks me almost as much as it would shock any reader coming across this choice. I am beyond terrible at character action games like Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, God of War etc. Somehow, someway, Platinum struck platinum with this particular title. All from the get go, this game seemed destined to be a major catastrophe; a well-known franchise taken in an unknown direction, a troubled development cycle, Platinum receiving very little time to get out a finished product, but all that did was make the payoff all the more tremendous.
Just everything about this game fills me with joy and giddy excitement. The subtitle is dumb, the characters and their designs are fantastic, the writing is ridiculously corny and goes to places that will leave your jaw agape, and the music is a cheese topping filled cheese pizza with extra cheese on top with ear worms aplenty.
Finally, the gameplay just feels right and tight. Imagine Ninja Gaiden’s gratuitous violence cranked up to eleven, not to mention being able to choose what limbs to sever from your many foes. Blade mode has to be, for me, the biggest gameplay innovation of the year. Anyone who has longed for a game to have precision cutting at their fingertips cannot go wrong with Rising. The emphasis placed on parrying only adds to the experience, as you size up an opponent, eagerly watching and waiting for them to strike, only to pull off a staggering counter-attack that rips through their thick cybernetic hides.
The boss battles are another piece of the awesome Rising cake that helps sew this masterpiece together. When the soundtrack vocals kick in, you feel in the heat of the moment. When you land a devastating combo, you feel like you’re on top of the world. When you land that final hit and watch as the ferocious QTE takedown occurs, you are the cyborg ninja master.
Not since Dark Souls have I attempted to learn every intricacy and mechanic to master a game. Rising just opened its big veiny nanomachine infested arms and held onto me, not wanting to let go: The best gameplay of 2013, the best music of 2013, the best aesthetics of 2013, the best boss battles of 2013, THE BEST GAME OF 2013!
Sorry The Last of Us, BioShock: Infinite, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Gone Home, DOTA 2 (lol), but in the end, it has to be this way…
Here's to 2014 being a better year!