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List of Games Beaten in 2013

An annual tradition. If a game's on here, I beat it this year. "This year" being 2013, inattentive future peoples.

As is now customary, some end of year statistics. Everyone likes statistics.

  • Total Games Completed: 65
  • 2013 Games Completed: 20
  • 2012 Games Completed: 12
  • 10+ Year Old Games Completed: 16
  • Games Started But Not Finished: 10 (5 of which are games I covered in May Madness last year that I still intend to complete, like Vessel and Closure.)
  • System Breakdown: PC (26), TG-16 (9), PS3 (6), DS (5), 360 (4), Wii (4), Wii U (3), 3DS (3), PS2 (2), Mega Drive (1), GBA (1), GameCube (1). (Quite a telling list, overall. TurboMento-12 accounts for most of those TG-16 games, if you're wondering.)
  • First Game of Year: XCOM: Enemy Unknown (figured it would be one of my favorites this year, until I burned out on its endgame.)
  • Last Game of Year: 9.03m (a very sedate and short game, in contrast to the year's first.)

List items

  • 06/01. XCOM's better than it's ever been, and is another example of what I've tentatively dubbed Neostalgia: When developers recreate a classic game and make it as good as people's rose-tinted memories of the original, despite the amount of necessary modernization the model had to go through. However, a single playthrough is enough to see me set for incognito antagonists for a good while. It's a great game; I just have others to play right now. Less stressful ones.

  • 07/01. Utterly ridiculous. It's a surprisingly competent RPG at its core, though.

  • 08/01. It didn't take long to "beat" Spelunky with shortcuts, but defeating the final boss at the end of the fourth area is merely the tip of the iceberg. I'm not sure I have it in me to do some of the ridiculous tasks these hidden areas ask of the player, let alone these BS achievements.

  • 11/01. Not so much "beaten" as played through the Arcade mode on the medium setting once. But then there's not a whole lot else to this game: Arcade mode is the only single-player mode, and it's just the same eight boring standard matches against bots for every character. I need to stop renting these fighters when I have no intention of playing online or local multiplayer with them.

  • 17/01. An anime melancholic Dark Souls for the Wii. Is what I'd use to reductively describe this game. It's a definite curio, like so much of the Wii's library tends to be. Also, what the hell, VGK? Chickenhead was like the least ominous thing in that game, even after he got all robotic Norman Bates.

  • 19/01. An excellent sense of style and an ingenious re-purposing of the hoary top-down 2D shooter as a series of half-strategic, half-instinctual fugue-state massacres. Less said about the ho-hum plot, the forced stealth level and the numerous bugs the better.

  • 29/01. Had no idea what to expect with Pandora's Tower, besides "it's the worst of the Operation Rainfall trio". Be that as it may, it's actually quite phenomenal. A combination of Majora's Mask, Dark Souls, Castlevania and a Roguelike, there's nothing quite like its particular combination of character action RPG, versatile chain combat and puzzle-solving dungeons and bosses. It's the graphically weakest of the three OP games, possibly the shortest, and absolutely the grossest, but there's a reason that campaign wanted all three to see the (American) light of day.

  • 30/01. The TurboMento game for January. You can go find that blog for more information if you'd rather, but Ninja Spirit's a breezy hour of ludicrous ninja action from a genre/era that's usually several magnitudes more difficult. Didn't even need to save state it.

  • 04/02. Finally checked out this CING classic, starring those scribbly Take On Me people solving crimes in the late 70s. Despite the constant game overs, it's a forgiving point-and-click game with a pretty riveting mystery at the core of it. Well, a whole bunch of mysteries really. Can't wait to get my hands on Last Window.

  • 12/02. Fairly solid 3D platformer in an era of gaming that has unfortunately moved on. I'll miss games like this, with its oodles of imagination and some neat ideas (how often do you craft weapons in a platformer?), when I run out of extant games of this formula. Maybe the Indie nostalgia scene can move onto 3D platformers in a decade?

  • 21/02. Old-school Mega Drive RPG that is based somewhat on Wizardry, which was about as absurdly popular in Japan as it was in its home territories. It's the precursor to the many Shining RPGs out there, but is of the few (along with Shining the Holy Ark) with this style of gameplay.

  • 23/02. The TurboMento game for February. A dungeon-crawler that plays more like Gauntlet than a traditional RPG. It's tough, but rewarding.

  • 03/03. Unprofessional Friday's break out hit, featuring a Jake the Dog that's not the Jake the Dog that everyone immediately thinks of. It's a buggy and flawed game, but an endearingly unique one.

  • 10/03. A game I replayed for a blog feature, then kept finding excuses to revisit. It's a massive timesink, but then I play a lot of those anyway. Besides graphically, it's an old CRPG that's managed to age fairly well.

  • 12/03. The first actual new game I've played this year, the Tomb Raider reboot's more than all right. I wrote a review for this one, though, so that's all I'm saying here.

  • 28/03. Feels like I've been playing this forever. Yakuza 2 continues where Yakuza 1 left off in terms of crafting a fully immersive world in the fictional Japanese districts of Kamarocho and Sotenbori and a pretty great "honor among thieves" story at the core of it all. Plus, holy shit all that side-content. Only Dark Chronicle has it beat in that department.

  • 31/03. March's TurboMento-12 game. Solid if unexciting action platformer in the vein of Astyanax and one of the earliest exclusive games for the system actually worth checking out.

  • 06/04. The puzzles were OK, but the draw was the batshit story and the always entertaining "locked in with a murderer" mystery premise. Oh, and that true ending, good lord.

  • 21/04. One of the largest Metroidvanias I've ever played, at least of the Indie variety. Zero RPG elements or combat with way more emphasis on platforming instead, which I suppose is a nice change of pace. It's a very sedate game, that's for sure.

  • 30/04. The April TurboMento-12 pick. Neutopia is very... well, it's quite... the thing is... no, it's Zelda. I can't gloss over it. It's Zelda, but without the guy with the green hat because he's a Nintendo copyright.

  • 01/05. Part one of May Madness. Best you read those blogs for opinions and such. Punchin'.

  • 05/05. Part five of May Madness. Liftin'.

  • 06/05. Part six of May Madness. Reminiscin'.

  • 07/05. Part seven of May Madness. Rythmnin'.

  • 10/05. Part ten of May Madness. Searchin'.

  • 24/05. Part twenty-four of May Madness. Nostalgin'.

  • 25/05. Part twenty-five of May Madness. Hatin'.

  • 28/05. The May episode of the TurboMento-12. Classic platformer, aged surprisingly well. I should probably avoid these multiplatform types in the future though.

  • 02/06. Part eight of May Madness, beaten after it had ended. Diabeaten.

  • 03/06. Part twelve of May Madness, beaten after it had ended. Gravitatin'.

  • 04/06. Part thirty-one of May Madness, beaten after it had ended. Maddenin'.

  • 13/06. Had been playing this one on and off since the 3DS Ambassador Program giveaway, but was urged to finish it after all the Yoshi's Island baiting on the Bombcast (and more sequel news at E3). Still as good as ever, though trying for 100% was as grueling as anything in Rayman Origins/DKCR. The 3 hour 100% speedrun from AGDQ I saw afterwards was darn humbling.

  • 22/06. I reviewed this one! Check the page, it'll be on there somewhere. Much like the noble vampyr itself, it's an impressive creature with just a few too many debilitating weaknesses.

  • 27/06. Very goofy photography action game for June's TurboMento-12. I love the mysteries that abound in the untranslated PC Engine wilderness. Almost like braving an unknown frontier (well, but for the thousands of other retro gamers that have come before).

  • 30/06. I despised this game, but it's hardly the game's fault. This was the first game, perhaps ever, that I've simply had to throw in the towel to rather than overcome with the obstinate perseverance I generally bring to a challenge. I just cannot manage the prohibitively high level of precision RHF requires for a lot of its tasks. Not even Ouendan has defeated me this utterly. It made me feel like an uncoordinated idiot and I've been more depressed lately than I've been in a long time. It's an inescapable fact of the aging process I ought to man up and accept already, but even so... Never would've suspected that such a happy and joyous game would be such a downer for me. I think I could use a nice, easy palette cleanser after this.

  • 12/07. Fantastic. While the layered story and interesting characters can be appreciated by anyone, it really works better if you're familiar with D&D and Infinity Engine games in general because of how much of that model it cleverly subverts for the sake of its storytelling. Hard to fault a game this clever.

  • 17/07. It has a few problems, but Project X Zone is a fun and extremely silly little strategy RPG. The goofy exterior belies some impressively in-depth combat, but its repetitiveness and relatively easy difficulty means it's not a game you will want to brute force your way through in long sessions for the sake of a timely review, let's just say. Could be why it's receiving such a mixed reception from critics.

  • 24/07. I think the Giant Bomb litmus test for "how obscure is too obscure?" is when you have to add the game's page to the wiki yourself. It's an auto-scrolling run-and-gun with a few clever ideas, but it's extremely goofy and almost impenetrable for non-fans of the anime to which it pertains. And that boss rush at the end, jeez. Would make for a good GCCX episode at least.

  • 28/07. I have a full review up somewhere, but in a nutshell I was more impressed with the game's potential for future greatness than I was about what is currently available. Seems like it'll find its true worth as a versatile framework for many Shadowrun adventures to come.

  • 05/08. I probably don't need to add this; I've beaten this game before. Twice, even. There's something about Sunshine's novelty that allows it to endure better than most of its kin. God, I can't wait for that aforementioned Indie nostalgic 3D platformer fad.

  • 12/08. Arbitrarily decided that beating the game on Hard mode and seeing its true ending was a decent cut-off point. Always something to unlock or some other challenge to conquer. It's a lot like Spelunky in that - and many other, really - respects.

  • 17/08. So glad I finally got around to TLJ. Between this and Planescape, I'm really discovering a lost (well, more like "ignored by me until now") trove of well-delivered video game stories. It's impressive in its scope too - I didn't expect it would be this long, even taking into account all the time I would waste being stymied by one puzzle solution or another. But then I guess it was called what it was for a reason.

  • 17/08. And Gone Home continues the streak of excellent narratives, with another expertly told story through a house laden with subtext-filled clues. I do kind of wish it had a bit more "game" to it, but I've no idea how the narrative would accommodate such a thing without losing its down-to-earth core. More ghosts, maybe? (I'd invoke Poe's Law here, but then people would just think I was talking about the ghosts from Zelda.)

  • 22/08. A fantastic JRPG, in that it didn't take longer than 30 hours, was constantly surprising me with where it went next or how a new enemy might attack and had a lot more M&L charm than even its predecessors. Probably my favorite game I've played this year and I can only hope more modern JRPGs take a leaf from its book.

  • 27/08. August's TurboMento-12 entry and a lot of dumb run and gun fun. I do wonder how effectively action games can be captured in screenshot LPs, but when you have as many awesome Engrish one-liners as this game it totally works.

  • 07/09. The one remaining core entry of the Zelda series I had yet to play, and thus a singular blemish on my record that I had to address. Spirit Tracks is totally fine, as most Zelda games tend to be. I said as much in its review.

  • 10/09. Diablo 3 is pretty to look at (vomiting zombies notwithstanding) and has polished the action RPG lootfest model to a fine sheen, but I've long since grown apart from that sub-genre. A single playthrough to see the (heavily spoiled) story through to the end was enough for me.

  • 12/09. Sometimes a guy just wants to play some new Picross puzzles dammit. These Picross e games are fine, if a little meager in their selections. Wouldn't mind something a bit denser and varied to sink my teeth into. Ah well, there's always

  • 29/09. September's TurboMento-12 entry. One of the few PC Engine games to have received a translation, at least according to RomHacking. Actually fairly solid little platformer, cherry picked the best (or at least the most interesting) parts of Super Mario Bros 2 and 3 and had a novel approach for a lives system to boot.

  • 19/10. Holy shit is it a relief to finally get this off my chest. A playthrough one and a half years in the running (though there was a pretty big gap in the middle there) finally concluded. Now I can watch Load Our Last Souls with a sense of smug seniority. (And be ready for that second one.)

  • 27/10. Radiant Historia's an excellent DS RPG that I'm thankful I was finally able to play. It meant importing it from the States, of course, but it wasn't as costly as I was anticipating. It's a very clever game with all its time manipulation and strategic griddlin'.

  • 05/11. Saints Row continues to impress with its fun anarchy and failure to give any kind of shit about difficulty balance or how much is too much. I wasn't quite as sure about all the self-reflection; kind of felt like this was going to be the last one. I'm sure they're working towards some kind of open world game singularity with how steadily more insane each entry is, so I hope Deep Silver lets Volition keep at it until we're all sucked into a giant purple vortex blaring out dubstep.

  • 09/11. I played ESJ for a bundle introspective and ended up beating it in one sitting. It's not especially long, but it does have a neat array of ideas in its short duration. It just doesn't quite live up to masocore contemporary Super Meat Boy, though; for one thing, it doesn't have that game's masterful rhythm, which is an unfortunate coincidence considering this game distinguishes itself from the crowd with its pumping raver soundtrack.

  • 20/11. Rayman Legends is the delight I was expecting it to be after playing Origins. Though more or less the same formula, it feels like the checkpointing is tighter and some of the less enjoyable difficulty imbalances have been fixed (for instance, most lums hover around in circles until you grab them, rather than vanishing almost instantly). I'm less impressed with how they integrated the competitive online parts, with achievements that require you play the online challenges for weeks and do well enough to score gold trophies over all the insanely-dedicated folk trying to do the same thing.

  • 27/11. The end of November saw me finally taking the plunge and buying a Wii U. I'm hoping Pikmin 3 and Mario 3D World will make it worth it, with other games of interest on the way. I can't say NSMBU was a big disappointment, because I know what to expect with these games, but it continues to amalgamate aspects of Mario Bros 3 and Mario World without adding anything of its own. If I have to keep fighting Boomer when 3D Reznor has yet to materialize, I'm not going to be happy with the way these games are going. Innovate just a little bit here, guys. You're a Mario franchise, for Peachsakes.

  • 29/11. Also Luigi is here.

  • 04/12. Well, it was only a couple hours long, but I'm including it. Part of Desura December Dementia Deux, BasketBelle was a cute game with some neat ideas. Can't really ask for much more than that from an Indie game bought for a handful of change.

  • 07/12. Not exactly a return to form for the Sly Cooper series, but a fairly respectable first chapter for the "Sanzaru era" of this franchise. At least they got most of the series' trademarks down pat, though it lacks the charm and finesse of the originals. I guess you could consider this the Halo 4 of procyon stealth games?

  • 09/12. Another competent Indie Metroidvania with a wonderful aesthetic style. I feel the game is a similar case to Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit in that both games are fun, have an absurd sense of humor and a great presentation but suffers from one too many rookie design flaws to elevate it to the same tier as Shadow Complex or Dust: An Elysian Tale. The checkpointing is a little off, the sidequests are underwhelming, the difficulty spike is abrupt and unwelcome and it feels like every piece of its design document was copy/pasted from another game (except for the Luchador parts). Even its portals are orange and blue, though given the game's proclivity for reference humor it's probably entirely deliberate. It's a strong enough contender, but it's just not quite good enough to be a champ.

  • 11/12. Antichamber felt in many ways like some sort of genius savant discovering first-person games for the first time and saying "well, why hasn't someone done this before? Or this?" Antichamber's array of mind- and reality-bending puzzles are at times subtle and others completely bananas, once you've managed to hit upon the lateral thinking wavelength that is required to solve them. The game, as if to sensing that most of its players won't be in the top IQ percentile, liberally strews around hints that also act as a form of collectible. The fast travel system also makes the game a far less confusing mess, at least in a navigational sense. I really can't fault anything this intelligent (or anything that made me feel this intelligent, more crucially).

  • 16/12. Since I've compiled my GOTY list for this year, I feel I've already made the case for why Rogue Legacy was one of my favorites, but here goes again: it took an Indie game mainstay of the incremental update system, as popular as any tower defense or physics puzzle-platformer feature, and found a way to integrate it in a game that also requires a degree of skill and finesse. There's a grand illusion that you're mastering the game far quicker than you normally would, sort of like the painstakingly slow improvement process of Dark Souls on fast-forward. It helps that it has some really catchy music and the tricky platforming elevates it above the usual ponderous turn-based "core roguelike" experience. Hey, if anyone wants to keep making platformer RPGs, have at it.

  • 21/12. It was fun to revisit a lot of NES games, some of them in an entirely new context. I reviewed the game elsewhere on the site, but it's an interesting experiment (albeit one with some precedence) and the sort of thing I'd like to see Nintendo do more often with its legacy.

  • 22/12. I wanted to like Ittle Dew. The Dr Katz-esque "jigglevision" animation, the reverence and irreverence to its obvious Hyrlulian sources, the strong focus on puzzles over combat or RPG mechanics. Ultimately, it did one thing wrong and soured me on the whole game. I feel so crappy for letting it bother me, but it did. (Disclosure: the crappy thing has to do with the Master Cave, and how several of its puzzles require an obscene level of timing, which goes against the paced, cerebral nature of the rest of the game's puzzles. Really off-putting.)

  • 27/12. The moment my Christmas duties were over, I booted up my new copy of A Link Between Worlds and worked on it between food comas. It's pretty short and easy, but its imagination and charm can't be denied. Importantly, Past-obsessed as it is, it still feels like a step forward for the series: it's been purpose-built to maximize the fun and minimize a lot of problems, both modern and omnipresent, with Zelda games: the over-tutorializing, the extraneous busywork before new dungeons appear, the strict linearity. It didn't just set out to homage Link to the Past, but to bring the series as a whole back to that golden era.

  • 31/12. Sure, why wouldn't I bum myself out on New Year's Eve? 9.03m is a short, barely-interactive tribute to the many Japanese people who lost their lives in the 2011 tsunami. There isn't a whole lot to it, and it's not quite as exploratory as I was expecting, but I don't feel like bashing something this sincere. It'd be like kicking a puppy. Into a tsunami.