Best of 2013

2013 has been a curious year in gaming for me. Overall, gaming has dominated my life a lot less than it has in previous years - I think that is why I somehow feel like games haven't stayed with me the same ways that games of previous years (my obsession with the Mass Effect games, Deus Ex, etc as examples).

But trying to nail down a top-10, I struggled to remove games - so, probably, while the games haven't caught me quite as hard as some games of previous years, this year has given us more games than usual of unusually high quality and interesting content.

GG, 2013.

List items

  • Warfame is still in Beta. Warframe's story is not extremely expanded. Warframe has problems.

    Warframe is also the perfect game when you just want to play for 15 minutes, get some progress towards your next goal, or if you just want to unwind.

    It's a companion when you listen to podcasts and watch movies.

    And when you want a challenge, you crank the difficulty up to 11 and go at it with everything you've learned.

    Warframe is an amazing game.

  • (at this point, I have not played the DLC)

    There's a lot to love about Bioshock Infinite. The characters, the music, the atmosphere, the setting(s).

    There are some things I don't love (boss fights, the shooter mechanics and more), but what I'll remember is Elizabeth, Colombia, Compton, the Lutece's (best new characters!), Booker, Songbird and all the crazy shenanigans.

  • I felt like I'd been waiting a long time for a game like Antichamber. It's such a clever game with very few and simple mechanics used in very clever ways.

    I feel that it's inevitable for it to be compared to Portal - and while Antichamber is much more barebones, I do not feel like Antichamber disappoints. Of course, it's a very different (more laid back) style of humor, and the puzzles are typically much more cerebral than they are action-based.

  • A lot of people probably have figured this out about me by now, but I like epic, over-the-top, ridiculous things. Add in the best sword mechanics we've seen so far in video games. And have it made by Platinum Games...

    What you are left with, is a game with game mechanics that perform better the harder you pressure them - the sword feels clumsy when you are getting started, and when the enemy isn't putting pressure on you, but the harder situations you are put into, you'll realize more and more what you can do and not do - and you'll end up feeling genuinely badass... if you can keep up ;)

  • It is the near future. The Apocalypse has had an Apocalypse.

    There are so many wonderful things going on with this game - the 80's cartoon, the power metal sound track, neon snakes, cyber sharks and demon crows. Silly one-liners. Neon.

    And it doesn't outstay it's welcome.

  • I almost forgot about Papers, Please on this list! Shameful!

    I think that Papers, Please may just be the most interesting game this year. It's not really fun to play, it's not really feel good. But it's so super-compelling - and I feel that it's important from the perspective of furthering what video games are and can be.

    Papers, Please is really good.

  • Hoooooo-E.

    I played through Saints Row 4 with the same friend I co-opped my way through SR3, and honestly, there were very few sequences where we weren't laughing - this is a very clever game.

  • I may be the only one (probably not) who loved Remember Me. It's a really interesting cyberpunk-ish story, and some of the graphical design in the game is off the charts.

    Mechanically, the combat system is interesting, but doesn't quite deliver what I wished it would have.

    Also, I do feel that the uncharted-style navigation/exploration is a bit old hat at this moment - and Remember Me doesn't do it as well as Uncharted did in the past.

    That said, I realize that the game won't be for everyone. But for me - I'm going to make sure to look very closely at what Dontnod produces next, because Remember Me was a unique experience that I will remember.

  • Payday 2 is really cool - where Payday (1) struggled with difficulty curves and stuff, I felt like Payday 2 was a lot more open to people who were not willing to put the effort into mastering the game from the get-go.

    I've put a lot of hours into Payday 2 with friends, and I hope to put many more into it.

  • I love David Cage's games, and Beyond: Two Souls did not change that. I like how he's trying new things in every game - even if they are not always entirely "innovative" or existing mechanics in new ways.

    What Quantic Dream usually delivers, even though they tend to go quite off the rails in the third act, is emotional games where you actually get invested into the main character(s).

  • Black Flag is probably the strongest game since Brotherhood. It really doesn't hurt it that it makes the 'Desmond stuff' more optional than it has ever been in the past.

    I've said it before - in my opinion, Assassin's Creed remains the strongest annual franchise, without any real competition.

  • Rogue Legacy's mechanics probably broke Rogue-likes/lites for me - the constant meta-progress is really something that I enjoyed. And was a great game to play for short periods - just getting a few short games in during lunch or something.

  • Unfortunately for Shadow Warrior, it was released in the same year as Revengeance, preventing it from being the premier sword-simulator of 2013.

    While I'd passed on the original Shadow Warrior because I didn't appreciate it's particular flavor of humor - I appreciated that the new game kept the tone, but purged some of the more questionable commentary that it spouted in the past.

    Unfortunately, the game is a bit long.

  • While Gone Home didn't touch me as closely as it appears to have touched many others, I do feel like it was a very important game for many reasons - among them being that this is the kind of game that will makes steps towards legitimizing video games as a form in the eyes of a lot of people who think games are just murder simulators.

  • Great, clever mechanics. Cool (kind of branching) story. Really enjoyed Gunpoint.