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2013 Personal Games of the Year

I've decided to finally make a formal list of my favorite games that I played this year. Some of these games were released before 2103 or I have played before but I still think those games are good enough to still be some of the best games I've played this year.

List items

  • Dota 2. I never thought I would have been so into a MOBA game. I never bothered to try and play League of Legends as the game didn't interest me but something about Dota 2 pulled me in. The innately complex nature of the game and its systems had me fascinated. It wasn't until The Daily Dota feature began that I finally bit the bullet and tried to actually play and learn the game. 300 plus hours later, I'm still playing that game on a semi-regular basis despite being terrible at it. The experience of coordinating with a group of friends is real enjoyable, even with a large gap in the relative skill levels. Even though the low points of playing this game can be real low at times, the highs are just as high. It is actually because of this game that I wasn't able to play more games this year.

  • pop'n music is probably one of my favorite rhythm game series. It involves hitting 9 oversized buttons in time with the song. This being the 21st version of the game, they finally got around to making some really smart UI changes to the game. The ability to sort with a better folder system and re-rating the difficulty scale to end at a seemingly less arbitrary number are some of the welcome changes to the series. I still find that as similar as this franchise is to beatmania, DJMAX, and other rhythm games of that ilk, it is super fun to just mash on very large buttons, not to mention the types of songs present are a lot more diverse compared to the electronica themed beatmania. The past pop'n music games have generally been good at keeping the UI consistent with the theme of the respective entry's subtitle and this game does not disappoint. It is a pleasant to look at with its bright, soft colors that complement its very friendly style. Overall, it has a very cohesive design to it. The songs added in this game are mostly great. It helps that Konami has been doing a fantastic job adding songs at a decent pace. This is the best pop'n music yet and a game I will gladly keep on playing.

  • The Last of Us was a game that I was immensely looking forward to. It was one of the driving reasons why I went out and got a replacement PS3 when my old on broke down. I didn't really care much about the "zombie" aspect of the game, but as it being a Naughty Dog game, I was on board. I'm not exactly sure if the game lived up to exactly my expectations, but I'll be damned if it isn't a great game. The combat may have not been my favorite part of the game, but it definitely did its service towards the feel of the game. The story is where this game shines. I got really attached to Joel and Ellie through the course of the game that at a point, I almost didn't want to see the game end. The ending however, was one of the best moments of that game and I'm glad I was able to experience it.

  • I have a soft spot for JRPGs, but I love strategy JRPGS. As a fan of the series, I confess I've never actually finished a Fire Emblem game to completion, yet I loved playing them. It is probably because I easily spend hundreds of hours getting all the best stuff, making sure nobody dies, getting everybody properly levelled, etc., that I get too distracted to actually beat the game. The inherent challenge in that game is something I welcome. The numerous mission restarts never made the game feel unfair, as all the mistakes I made were clearly evident. Beating a level with no deaths was rewarding. The handheld nature of the game also proved to be a plus, as I would constantly put my 3DS into sleep mode if I had to do something and immediately pick off where I left off.

  • Bioshock Infinite. There's a lot to love about this game. Columbia, the characters, the story to an extent, but not so much the gameplay. Going around exploring and experiencing Columbia was definitely one of my favorite parts of the game. The world seemed fully realized in its design and it was a joy to explore every nook and cranny of the flying city. I thought the characters in the game were great, save for some of the crazy story stuff in the latter part of the game, and each had an interesting arc to them. The story itself on its face is good for the most part, if you don't really think to much about it. There were some great moments in that story that definitely stand out. The gameplay was my least favorite part of the game. I was never that fond of the combat and the was a lot of it. I was definitely reminded of this when I played the dlc recently. The strength of the world that Irrational built in addition to the characters and story made this game one of the most memorable games of the year for me.

  • Yes, this is a mobile game, but it's a mobile game that I have played quite a bit of. The mobile nature of this game belies the amount of depth present in its mechanics, and the game is essentially all mechanics. The presentation is lacking, the audio consists of the same handful of tracks, and the lack of information surrounding some of its basic gameplay systems are all forgivable to an extent after tapping into the depth of the mechanics. Formulating a strategy to take on a dungeon with what monsters you have, building a team of monsters, and levelling those monsters to earn new monsters proved to be a enjoyable experience. The actual puzzle matching gameplay is your almost standard match 3 gameplay that requires some degree of skill to effectively utilize your monsters skills. The fusion of Puzzle Quest and Pokemon proved to be quite successful in the actual mechanics of the game, making this game definitely one of my favorite games this year.

  • Being my first actual foray into beatmania as a self-proclaimed rhythm game lover, I really enjoyed this game. I've dabbled in playing before but I never was able to commit to playing due to the lack of a proper way to play it, due to either not being in close proximity to an arcade machine or having a proper controller to play at home with. Even though I am 20 entries late to the series, I found the massive song list, compounded from all the previous entries in the franchise, to have quite a bit of songs I enjoyed. I also really liked the presentation of the game itself, as the game had a simpler theme with its UI and design. The gameplay is what it is and proved to be really rewarding passing progressively harder songs. Definitely a game I played quite a bit of.

  • I already knew I liked Persona 4 Golden before I even played it. Watching the endurance run already provided an attachment to the game and its characters. Having never played the original, or any Persona game for that matter, and knowing the story beforehand, the game still proved to be one of my favorite games this year. The standard JRPG turn based battle system may be rote, but it is still perfectly fine in this game. The characters and their arcs are probably the best part of the game. They are all great and your investment in them is what makes the game what it is.

  • Another JRPG on the list. I've always enjoyed how the Tales games played, and this one is no exception. It's way more satisfying to do battle as there is direct control of a character fighting. Comboing skills and spells to take down enemies in conjunction with your party members is still fun. The story is more or less your standard JRPG fare with some real likable characters. Overall its a real enjoyable JRPG experience.

  • My battlefield experience lies primarily with Bad Company 2. I own 3 but I never got around to actually playing it. Battlefield 4 is the first "true" battlefield game I have played. Its just fun to play. Being able to essentially do what you want on the map is real satisfying. The large scale nature of the game provides an excellent way to breed the type of battlefield chaos you want. A building collapsing on you, aircraft crashing in front of you, riding in a vehicle with your friends and immediately getting blown up are just a few examples. The flow of the game is also a nice change of pace from the fast, twitch based shooters such as Call of Duty. The game also looks fantastic. In my experience playing on the pc, I haven't run into that many issues of the game crashing either. Battlefield 4 is just fun to play in spite of its myriad or reported technical problems, earning its spot on this list.

  • Great game. Hard game.

  • The 1.2 patch led to me playing a whole lot more of Terraria this year.

  • I really enjoyed the look and puzzle design of this game.

  • The dlc that launched this year provided a great excuse to revisit this game. The loot lust still existed and co-op, as always, is still fun.

  • DJMAX Technika is probably one of my favorite rhythm games so the Vita incarnation is a solid version of the game, despite it being on the easy side.

  • I really like the original Sanctum, but the added persistence, classes, and overall content made this co-op game really fun.

  • Never playing a Tomb Raider game before, but I enjoyed playing this game.

  • Real fun experiencing what this game had to offer. The narrator is fantastic.

  • The first half of the game is alright, but the second half of the game is ridiculous in a good way.

  • I loved playing Saints Row 4, but it didn't resonate as much with me as Saints Row the Third did