GOTY 2013

Woof, this has been a tough year for me, gaming wise. Busy, busier than I would have liked to have been. Which leaves me with a list that is, uh. Well.

List items

  • Papers Please is game of the year. I don't even know why I'd write anything more than that, but I will. It does everything better than the other games. Player choice. Story through gameplay. Style. Attention to detail. In a year where I might have played every game that came out this year, Papers, Please would still be right here at #1

    Glory to Arstotzka.

  • Yeah ha ha, Earthbound. It was re-released this year for WiiU but I didn't even play it on the WiiU, I downloaded a ROM. I played it in 2013 though, and you know what it's fantastic. It plays with expectations in ways that little else matches, and galvanizes in the end with a conclusion that is legitimately moving.

  • The thing I like least about Assassin's Creed games? The ridiculous Desmond stuff. The things I like most? Being a ridiculous assassin in the past.

    This game eschews the former and delivers on the latter. That's what I want. They did it.

    It's ridiculous in completely new ways, for sure, but to a degree that is so bizarre that I almost give it a pass. And yes, the game starts to wear thin for some time and it's paced... uniquely. But that doesn't change the fact that I am a pirate with a gun and a sword and I sail a boat and shoot people.

  • It's the zerg. I love the zerg. They're my favorite.

    It's also... kind of really dumb, story wise. But unfortunately I expect very, very little from Blizzard in that department these days.

  • What Diablo III lacked, to me, in atmosphere and gameplay, Path of Exile delivers in. It manages a really great skill tree with a good loot system that managed to scratch the Diablo itch that Diablo itself no longer scratched.

  • The writing is underplayed but hilarious and the mechanics are solid. My only complaint is it is short, very short.

    But the ending, I have to say, must have been one of my favorite moments of empowerment in videogames ever. Just a fantastic moment where the gameplay made me feel like I was executing a cutscene.

  • It feels strange, to me, to have Civ V on my GOTY list. This is because when Civ V first came out I basically hated it. Little by little they have managed to make it stand on its own, apart from Civ IV. They've finally gotten to a place with Civ V that is unique, it is no longer an inferior product to Civ IV, just a different one.

  • The apocalypse has had an apocalypse.

  • I like Ice Pick Lodge too much. Just too goddamn much. The Void, as I mentioned in the previous GOTY list, is probably my favorite game of all time. Certainly my favorite art game.

    Knock Knock is smaller in scope, shorter too, and simpler. But it still pulls off that weird ambition they have to make the player discover and experiment with the gameplay on their own as part of the story, only revealing to them the game's systems via cryptic message.

  • I got XCOM this year because I got it in a deal off of Amazon in order to buy Bioshock Infinite. As I mentioned previously, I got burned badly by Civ V's original release, so I only came around to XCOM slowly.

    That said, it's a great game. Not quite as replayable as I'd like, with a very limited tech-tree, but I played it through to completion and enjoyed myself the entire time.

  • Which brings me to Bioshock Infinite, the game I got XCOM bundled with.

    It's still on this list because I recognize the style and effort that went into it. I enjoyed some moments of Bioshock Infinite, and up until a certain point, I was even excited with what it was showing me.

    But... after awhile of playing, all interest fled. The setting feels empty and uninteresting, the villains are a far cry from Andrew Ryan, and the plot is a mess. A big one.

    That said, that first half had me, and had me good.