Games I Finished in 2013

Arranged in the order I beat them. At the end of the year, I will rank them from best to worst.

List items

  • 5/5

    Ghost Trick may be one of the best stories every told in video games. Not only is the basic premise of the game fascinating (you play as a dead ghost manipulating various objects in the environment), but all the characters and plot twists you encounter on the way make this game an absolute gem. And the music is so good. Shu Takumi, you have my heart.

  • 5/5

    It’s fitting that one of the best games of the generation came out the year that new consoles were released. The Last of Us manages to tell a superb narrative utilizing one of the most worn out tropes in media, the zombie apocalypse. Joel and Ellie’s intensely personal story hits an emotional mark that most stories in games have never even come close to approaching, and the way Naughty Dog shows the evolution of their personalities as well as the justification of their actions is simply exquisite. The stealth based gameplay was extremely satisfying as well, encouraging a variety of different play styles. From top to bottom, this is a transcendent game that I wish I can erase from my memory so I can experience it again for the first time.

  • 5/5

    The ridiculous amount of detail that Rockstar packed into Los Santos is mind boggling. As a Los Angeles resident, I’d rather avoid the horrific, real life traffic and stay home to simulate cruising the streets at my leisure. Whether it’s Grove Street, Little Seoul, or even the boonies of Sandy Shores, the city of Los Santos is truly a marvel. The crime-fueled story involving Michael, Trevor, and Franklin is engaging as well, and the heists that you’re pulling off by the end of the game were some of the most exciting gaming moments of the year. Actually, Lamar Davis alone guarantees GTA V a spot on this list.

  • 5/5

    The Ace Attorney franchise is one of my all time favorite series, and I'm pleased to say that Dual Destinies successfully continues the series' tradition of meshing together a charming setting with profound, heartfelt moments. The gameplay formula isn’t all that different from previous games, but there are plenty of seemingly minor, but intelligent tweaks to streamline the courtroom and investigation procedures. The excellent writing is a huge reason why the story is so effective, as in an adventure game like this, the crux of the game lies in its narrative and characters. And the final case, with its unexpected plot twists and insane revelations, might be one of my favorite cases in the entire series.

  • 5/5

    Leave it to the creators of Rapture to craft another wondrous, mysterious, and ultimately sinister world that is Columbia. Right off the bat, it’s obvious that this beautiful land in the sky hides a plethora of secrets waiting to be unearthed, and the process of discovering the true nature of Columbia was a fantastic adventure. Although the ending may suffer from a bit from the Chrono Cross syndrome (aka when a game has a massive information dump at the end), I thought the totality of the conclusion was really well done. Oddly enough, I also vastly enjoyed doing research and reading up on theories after I beat the game. Many lamented the shooting and gameplay, but I thought the assortment of different powers spiced up the combat, as I often cycled through powers depending on the situation at hand.

  • 5/5

    I know this is a controversial game, but after playing through the entire Metal Gear Solid series, I put Sons of Liberty as my favorite MGS game. Sure, the controls are still super clunky and awkward, but its story is absolutely bonkers in a way I can totally get behind. The way the ending completely goes off the deep end is amazing.

  • 5/5

    Ridiculously violent with frenetic gameplay and an amazing soundtrack. I love Hotline Miami.

  • 5/5

    Dead Space 2 is to Dead Space as Aliens is to Alien. And I like Aliens more than Alien.

  • 5/5

    I don’t consider myself a strategy savant, but after playing and loving XCOM: Enemy Unknown, I knew that I had to give Fire Emblem Awakening a try, and I’m glad I did. The only Fire Emblem experience I had was with the very first game on GBA, and I remember I couldn’t finish it because I wasn’t able to beat one specific chapter. Fortunately for me, Awakening makes great strides in helping newer players learn the ropes while keeping the in-depth strategy intact for longtime fans. But my favorite aspect of the game had to be building relationships through support conversations. This might not be very manly for me to say, but I had way too much fun playing cupid and debating which spouse was a best fit for each of the characters. Being able to recruit your children into your party was an awesome moment as well. Wait, I could marry and have children with my best friend’s daughter?! Now that is seriously messed up.

  • 5/5

    Although I’ve never played A Link to the Past on the SNES (I’m sorry!), Link’s Awakening on the Game Boy is one of my all time favorite games, so playing this new 2-D Zelda was simultaneously a nostalgic and fresh experience. But even without the nostalgia factor, A Link Between Worlds is an amazing game on its own. The game takes some big steps in altering the standard Zelda formula, like letting you tackle the dungeons in any order you want and making all the items available from the very beginning. But make no mistake--this is a Zelda game through and through, all the way from its ingenious puzzles to its beautiful soundtrack.

  • 5/5

    Even if I didn’t have an older brother, Brothers would’ve been an emotional gut punch. But the fact that my older brother and I are extremely close made Brothers an emotional haymaker that left me dazed. It’s astounding how the game conveys the personalities of the two brothers without any spoken language, and the fairy tale locales the game presents to you are stunning to look at. I felt as through the control scheme was built in service of the last gameplay puzzle, where the gameplay and story align in such a way that left an indelible mark on me.

  • 5/5

    If Gone Home isn’t a game, then celery isn’t a vegetable. Okay, I might’ve lifted that joke straight off of Tim Rogers, but that’s beside the point. Gone Home does such an exceptional job in its storytelling that it doesn’t really matter if it’s a game, movie, or vegetable. The seemingly normal items you would find in any household are created with such an incredible amount of detail, with textures so pristine and handwriting so neatly done. The references to the 90’s were great as well, as my daily life often requires me to remember what Chun-Li’s move list was in Street Fighter II. The short and sweet story may be simple in nature, but it’s a narrative so rarely told in video games that it deserves commendation.

  • 5/5

    I didn’t hate Assassin’s Creed III as much as everybody else, but I can clearly see why so many people fell off the franchise after the third installment. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, on the other hand, is a swashbuckling good time, fixing the most glaring problems with AC III while offering an expansive setting filled with treasures to plunder and shanties to sing. I loved traversing the world so much that before every story mission, I would explore all of the islands that were available and get every single collectible until I hit a boundary that would only be removed after I progress further in the story. And when I wasn’t terrorizing British frigates inside the animus, I was grinning ear to ear outside the animus, as those first person segments working at Abstergo Entertainment were just meta and goofy enough to make them supremely enjoyable.

  • 4/5

    What a ridiculous game. This game had no business being as much fun as it was. But the way they hid the "real" ending behind DLC was utterly stupid and ludicrous.

  • 4/5

    I love fighting games, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m absolutely terrible at them. Honing my combos and pulling off one frame links is something I’ll never be able to do, so the two button pleasure that is Divekick was my calling card. At first blush, Divekick is a laughably straightforward 2-D fighter, making it easy for newcomers to pick up and play. But after digging in a little, it becomes apparent that the diverse roster and the different properties of the characters give Divekick a level of complexity that you wouldn’t expect from a two button fighting game.

  • 4/5

    How do you make Saints Row crazier? Superpowers, aliens, Mass Effect, and Keith David.

  • 4/5

    Every time a new StarCraft game comes out, I feverishly play the single player, get my ass kicked in the multiplayer, and watch HuskyStarcraft videos for a solid 2-3 months. And then I never play it again.

  • 4/5

    Tomb Raider is a fun thrill ride of a game with a lot of exciting set pieces. But the way the developers set up this game as a serious and emotional story that shows the growth of Lara was misleading. Yeah, the first time Lara kills someone, she seems pretty shaken up. But then a few minutes later I'm choking out fools with my bow with no hesitation. I don't mind these moments of "ludonarrative dissonance" or whatever you want to call them, but the way Tomb Raider championed itself of having rid itself of that stereotype was a ridiculous claim.

  • 4/5

    The Bridge was a really fun and interesting puzzle game with a beautiful aesthetic, but it was far too short.

  • 4/5

    For a couple of weeks, this was my go-to game when I was on the john.

  • 4/5

    Looking past the wonky controls and gameplay of Metal Gear Solid 1-3 was easy because I knew that they were old games. But as a PS3 game, MGS 4 felt especially awkward because it was just similar enough to what third person shooters feel like today, but it just didn't feel quite right. It’s like how NES and SNES games feel cool and retro, while N64 and PS1 games feel undeniably old and dated. Regardless, wrapping up Solid Snake's story was great, and the last fight with Liquid was an awesome moment.

  • 4/5

    I absolutely adored this game's premise and story, but the way you had to uncover the "real" plot by playing through it again and again was cumbersome. Having to sift through the same dialogue and redo the same puzzles again and again was a laborious task.

  • 4/5

    A fun romp with wacky weapons and sharp, cartoony graphics. Sounds like a Ratchet and Clank game to me!

  • 4/5

    Yup, it's a Pokemon game. I will probably like it... Even if it's been following the same formula for over a decade.

  • 4/5

    See above.

  • 3/5

    To like MGS 2 over MGS 3 is heresy, I know. But things like the lack of a radar made the gameplay of Metal Gear Solid more frustrating than it already was. And even though learning the backstory of Big Boss is cool, I thought the totality of the story wasn't as interesting as MGS 1 or MGS 2.

  • 3/5

    I really like the Tales series, but this one just made me cringe. The story was all about friendship bracelets, promise rings, etc. etc. It was like I was watching an after school special. At least the gameplay was fun.

  • 3/5

    Antichamber is a fascinating game, but I thought the puzzles were too convoluted and esoteric for their own good.

  • 3/5

    I know that the point of the game was to show you how the menial and tedious task of sorting through papers can profoundly impact people's lives, but that doesn't hide the fact that the actual things you were doing were menial and tedious.

  • 3/5

    I can't really put my finger on why I didn't enjoy this game as much as I thought I would. I played through all of the worlds (including the more challenging special world), but I ended up just thinking the game was alright. Nothing really stood out to me.

  • 3/5

    This game took me more than 3 months to beat. I stopped and took so many breaks because Alan Wake just didn't grab me. I didn't think the gunplay was all that satisfying, and I couldn't tell you what the heck happened during the story. Was it a dream? Was he living in his own horror novel? Hell if I know.

  • 3/5

    In terms of its art style, Skullgirls is a gorgeous game. The fidelity of the sprites and the way they animate is astounding. But the fast paced, team orientated fighting style a la Marvel vs. Capcom isn't really my thing, as I prefer the more measured pace of something like a Street Fighter 4.

  • 3/5

    Stacking is undoubtedly a charming game. But I felt like it relied a little too heavily on its charm without providing a solid game to back it up. The simplistic and rudimentary gameplay couldn't hold up its own end of the bargain.

  • N/A / 5

    As a free game, I can't really give this a score. If you have 30 minutes, try this neat little game out.