Looking back, 2013 was a great year for video games. Lots of stuff happened in video game news; mainly the new console hype. I feel I played a lot of quality games this year. So, for my game of the year post, I’m going to highlight the games that I played in 2013. Just keep that “played” part in mind when you see a few games from years gone by on the list. I separated the list into categories to make it convenient for you… except each category only has one game.
Made Me Feel
I said a lot about Gone Home in my review. I suggest you read that. To summarize: I didn’t think I would like it, but ended up being one of the best games I have ever played. It captured so many emotions, and it had me hooked throughout my entire playthrough.
Best LSD Graphics
Antichamber is a game that surprised me. I saw it on sale for dirt cheap on Steam, and picked it up because I heard great things about it. You can read my review for more information, but the short version of it is: it’s really fun, and longer than I expected. It’s a fun world to explore, and it’s fun to learn the world’s rules.
Entertained Me With A Hilarious Narrator
The Stanley Parable
The Stanley Parable is a game that came out of nowhere for me. Markiplier played it on his channel. After I watched his first episode, I decided I need to play this game. And so I did. It’s a parody on choices in video games, all wrapped with a hilarious narrator. The game has multiple endings, and each ending can be found in short bursts. If you want to, you can play for a half an hour at a time, or find all the endings in one playthrough.
Surprisingly Really Good
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger surprised me. I haven’t played any of the other Call of Juarez games before Gunslinger. I read and watched a few reviews and it sounded good. It came out right on the heels of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (which I haven’t gotten around to playing) and reviewers were spewing mad praise for these two games from Ubisoft. Gunslinger is an over-the-top, bloody, western, arcade shooter. It’s tons of fun. It has a well implemented bullet time mechanic, which makes it nice to watch the blood explosions. The upgrade system is well implemented. The story is also interesting; its told from the perspective of an old bounty hunter who wanders into a bar, and he is retelling his stories to the eager listeners. Of course, he exaggerates some of the details. He paints himself into a corner, making him say things like “And right before my eyes, the path appeared before me,” causing the landscape to change for you while you play. It’s a good game, and worth the low price of entry.
I’ve played a lot of Torchlight II. I actually beat the story finally. I’ve also played some coop with a friend, and that’s so much fun. So much better than vanilla Diablo 3 (we’ll see how that ends up in March). So much interesting and useful loot, and it is so satisfying to kill monsters with your items and skills. It’s great, and it’s a steal at 20 bucks (and is usually on sale for cheaper).
Still Really Fun
I played quite of bit of Dishonored this year. Probably because DLC’s came out. I replayed the main story, and beat it without being detected and without killing anyone. I had a blast doing that. Then I played through Knife of Dunwall twice; one high chaos, and one low chaos. Still a freaking fantastic game and I’ve been thinking about playing through it again. I gotta play the newest DLC, The Brigmore Witches.
Still Really Really Fun
Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm
I almost forgot that Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm came out this year. I never really stopped playing Wings of Liberty. Heart of the Swarm added a lot, and is a value at only $40. Of course, I think you need Wings of Liberty to play it; it is an expansion. I liked the story a lot better in Heart of the Swarm than in Wings of Liberty. They redid the Battle.net interface when they released Heart of the Swarm, and it is infinitely better. They also added experience, which is a nice little bonus. You unlock portraits, decals, animations, and skins with the experience. What else can I say? I still love me some Starcraft and they did a lot to improve upon it.
I gave Hitman Absolution a fair chance. It was one of the few games that I played this year that I did not like. I didn’t finish it, but played quite a few levels. I just felt like I was being punished no matter what I did. I didn’t like it. As a fan of the stealth genre, this just wasn’t my cup of tea. However, I did have to play a little bit to nab that screenshot, and that was kinda fun, so I may give it another go.
God of War: Ascension
I didn’t beat God of War: Ascension, which is weird, because I’m kind of a God of War fanboy. I played and beat all of the previous games right before this came out, and I got burned out. It was fun; the combat is silky smooth as usual, and it is a little different, and more interesting, from God of War 3. I’ll pick it up again sometime in 2014 and play it to completion.
Fear and Insanity
Far Cry 3
I can’t remember why I bought Far Cry 3. I kept an eye on it ever since seeing the Vas “Instanity” trailer, but I was more curious than interested. I ended up buying it, and it’s a really fun game. It’s about fear. I really really really hate snakes. Snakes were pretty easy to avoid or kill in this game, but I dreaded hearing their rattling and hisses. I also learned that I really hate komodo dragons. Those bastards hide in tall grass and are speedy when they smell blood. They sneak up on you, which I hated. Other than that, the game was a lot of fun. Upgrading your abilities and weapons was enjoyable; maybe a little bit grindy. The outposts were the highlight for me. You were able to approach the outposts however you wanted. I like the stealth approach, but I did go in guns blazing a few times if I was in komodo dragon territory (I didn’t want to get snuck up on while I was crouching outside of the outpost). On a side note, I didn’t mind sharks, but a lot of people learned they were afraid of those things as well.
Much Better Than Expected
I followed the Tomb Raider reboot for a while before it was released. I bought it on sale from an Origin sale of all places. The reviews really surprised me; I didn’t think it would do that well. Tomb Raider is so much fun. It takes the combat and exploration of Uncharted, and makes it so smooth. I never realized that I didn’t want to press a button to go into cover before this game. It was a blast, and showing a strong, female lead in a video game is important to this lovely industry. If you didn’t pick this one up, I recommend that you reconsider.
I Haven’t Beaten Any Of The Other Games In The Series
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Tom Clancey’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist caught me by surprise. I played the first Splinter Cell game on the PS2, and didn’t like it too much. I even bought the HD collection for PS3, and tried to play through it again, but lost interest. Anyways, when a buddy of mine recommended it, I watched a few reviews. I was a bit intrigued. I picked it up on one of the Steam sales for $30. I have gotten so much joy out of it. I love the stealth genre, and this game is tons of fun. I might write up a full review of it. Playing the game to try to unlock the next weapon or armor upgrade is a blast. I love that the experience and upgrades spread across game modes, multiplayer and single player. Each level is sculpted with stealth in mind, but you could go in guns blazing if you so desired. The coop levels are designed with the same love as the single player levels. It’s a joy to hop on with a friend, and figure out the best route to the objective. There was a lot of love put into this game, and I would have bought it day one for full price.
Best Hack and Slash Fix
DMC: Devil May Cry
DMC: Devil May Cry was tons of fun. You can check out my full review if you want to know my thoughts. I really enjoyed the combat, and I have been thinking about revisiting it again on the harder difficulties. Plus, 60 frames per second on PC.
Over The Top Fun Cranked Beyond 11
Saints Row IV
I fell in love with Saints Row: The Third. I bought Saints Row IV right as it was released, and absolutely enjoy it. It takes the over-the-top nature of Third, and cranks up the dial beyond the max with super powers. I was worried that they game would be stale since they rehashed the world from The Third, but the super powers in IV adds a whole lot of fun options. The mission structure is a lot better, and all of the dialog is hilarious. Plus, all of the customization from The Third is back. Nothing like being a fat dude, wearing a school girl outfit, while flying through the air. If you liked The Third, you’ll love IV.
Definitely One of the Games In The Series
New Super Mario Bros. U
I got a Wii U a few months ago and the first game I played on it was New Super Mario Bros. U. I really enjoyed it, and I recommend reading my review. If you enjoyed any of the New Super Mario Bros. games, this is probably the best one, and you should play it. However, it’s probably doesn’t justify buying a Wii U just for this game.
Super Mario 3D World
I recently finished Super Mario 3D World. Well, not 100% finished. The very last world after Bowser is a pain in my ass, as they generally are. I’m having an extra bugger of a time this time though. Other than that, the abilities are lots of fun. The kitty suit is the highlight, but there are others that are just as fun. The only negative thing I can say is that it is similar to New Super Mario Bros. U. It’s three dimensional, but it just feels like a side scroller most of the time. It’s a lot of fun, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the Galaxy games, or even Mario 64.
The Best AAA Game
Of course I played Bioshock: Infinite, and I loved it. There’s so much to love. The story, the combat, the abilities, the characters, and so much more! We’ll be talking about this game for so long. If you play one game from this list thing, it should be this one. I don’t want to spoil too much, so I’ll keep this short. Since I should probably pick a Game of the Year, this is probably it. Really, most of the games on this list are worth your time.
I Didn’t Get To Play In 2013
This category isn’t really a category, therefore, exempt from the “one game” rule that I made up. These are the games that came out in 2013 and I want to play them, but I didn’t get a chance.
The Last of Us
I started playing The Last of Us. I played the opening sequence, and fell in love with it. It introduced me to an emotional journey, and sprinkled some action in. I played for about an hour or so, and just couldn’t handle it. You fight mostly human enemies in the beginning, which I was okay with. Once I got to a building full of zombies, I just froze. I saw them drunkenly shuffling around. I even killed one. I just froze after killing the one and watched the other two shuffle around in the background, like blind drunks. It wasn’t a proud moment of mine. I just shut it off. I plan on playing with a buddy of mine, which will allow me to pass to controller if I ever freeze again. I’m hoping to start that playthrough soon.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
I kinda shrugged off Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons as another indie game, getting praise because it was indie. But then I played Gone Home, and the same videos that talked about Gone Home were talking about Brothers. It sounded intriguing too me the more I looked into it, so I picked it up on a Steam sale. I just haven’t gotten around to playing it yet, but it’s next up in my queue.
Grand Theft Auto V
Of course I want to play Grand Theft Auto V. I’ve already played some at a friend’s home. I’ve been holding out for a PC version, like any member of the PC Master Race. If it doesn’t get an announcement for the PC before it is $30 or $40 on console, than I’ll buy it on PS3.
I need to upgrade my computer before I can get Battlefield 4. And I also have a fairly large back catalog of games to play, and another FPS (no matter how good) isn’t at the top of my list.
The Wolf Among Us
A Telltale game that isn’t based on a kiddie franchise, and doesn’t have zombies (at least, I don’t think it does); well then I’m going to buy The Wolf Among Us! Telltale are masters at the adventure game genre. I’ve heard really good things about this one, and I didn’t hesitate buying it when it was on a Steam sale. I’ll probably play this one after Brothers.
I bought Rayman Legends a while ago. Right after I bought a Wii U. I needed to buy something and I heard good things. I’ve heard it is a better platformer than Mario, which is impressive. I’m looking forward to it. I just need to finish some business with Super Mario 3D World.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has been in my backlog for awhile now. It’s over the top, with 80’s action movie cliches everywhere, so I’m looking forward to it. Not much else to say, except that you can flip enemies the bird.
Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD is another game I need to play. I beat the original Gamecube version, and, honestly, it’s my favorite 3D Zelda game. It has so much charm, and is fun. The only reason I bought a Wii U, is because I wanted the Wii U controller that has Wind Waker artwork on it. Worth it.
I want to thank you for reading this post. I spent a lot of time on it. You have no idea how long it takes to capture just one screenshot that best represents each game, especially when they are across several platforms. I hope you continue reading my website, and I hope your 2014 will be full of games.