Monday, January 6, 2014

Top 5 Best Games of 2013

I think it's a well documented fact that I love video games. I know that most of my views come from my movie reviews, but video games are my bread and butter. I've loved them since I was a kid, and I'll probably love them until the day I die. That being said, 2013 was an interesting year for games. You had the launch of not one, but two consoles, and even had the third console, the Wii U, begin to pick up steam. As would be expected for a transitional year like this, the games that were released were good, but not quite as good as previous years. There was a lot of empty space this year and made it pretty difficult to pick 10 games that I could call "the best of the year". So instead, a Top 5 would work just fine for this year. As always, my opinion may differ from yours and you're entitled to whatever opinion you want. My favorite games will not be everyone's favorite games, but respect should still be paid. So here are my personal Top 5 Best Games of 2013!

Honorable Mention: Rayman Legends
I've never been a big fan of the Rayman series for a number of reasons. Up until recently, I've viewed the series as being a bare bones platformer that didn't have anything going for it besides being tangentially related to the Rabbids games. That all changed earlier this year when I tried the great Rayman Origins for the first time. It still stands as one of the most polished platformers in recent memory with great controls, visuals, and beautiful sound design. Rayman Legends is no exception. You'll be seeing a review of this game once I finish my other Top lists, but suffice to say that this game deserves all of the accolades its been getting, and I'm actually not that mad that the game was delayed last year from February to September. It might have hurt the sales of the game in the long run, releasing right next to a certain game about grand vehicular crimes, but the experienced was polished and the best 2D platformer I've played all year. The only reason why it's an honorable mention is a fairly simple one; I haven't beaten the game yet. I'm almost done with it, but it would seem unfair for me to put a game on the list that I haven't fully beaten yet. Still, Rayman Legends is a game that everyone needs to play. It's available on pretty much every current console and is even scheduled for release on the PS4 and Xbox One this February. Pick up this game at all costs.

Number 5: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
When Link Between Worlds was announced earlier this year, I was skeptical about it. I've always been a fan of 3D Zelda games much more than 2D ones. There's no real preference as to why, it's just that I played 3D Zelda games before 2D ones and I liked the 3D ones more is all. So when I heard that Nintendo was releasing a followup to Link To The Past, I would think that it would be a decent Zelda game that doesn't really defy any new ground. And you know what? That's exactly what we got. But what we got was a streamlined and much simpler Zelda game that cuts the tedium from previous games and makes the game focused around exploration and action. While I wouldn't go and put this in my top 5 Zelda games, I still think that this game is a really solid effort and is a great game, it's just not great in Zelda standards. I'll have a full review of this one up later as well, but just let it be known that an alright Zelda game is still one of the best games of the year. That speaks miles for the series itself. LBW cuts down all of the fat of the series and gives you all the items you want essentially right off the bat and lets you explore around two separate worlds, and even going so far as to say you can do whatever you want. Want to go explore whatever dungeon you want? Go right ahead! Want to collect all of the heart pieces first? No problem! Want to just explore and get 100 little critters to upgrade your weapons to the max? Hell, we were waiting for you to do that! It's a simplification of the Zelda formula, but a long deserved and well needed one. If the console games were this streamlined, then the next Zelda game may be the best yet.

Number 4: Bioshock Infinite
Going into 2013, this was one of the most, if not THE most anticipated game of the year. I know people were anxious to play The Last of Us, but I was more interested in playing Infinite than ever setting foot into Naughty Dog's post apocalyptic wasteland. The floating city of Columbia was just way more interesting and thought provoking, and when the game came out, it lived up to the hype... kind of. Everything about the game was outstanding, with the exception of the gameplay. Gameplay was actually rather limiting, with Booker Dewitt only able to carry two weapons at a time. The actual game itself was just a standard shooter, but everything about the game rose above and beyond what I'd thought it be. The entire game is gorgeous and goes to show that you don't need to have real world aesthetic to make a beautiful game. The cartoony world of Columbia is one of my favorite gaming locales now just for how beautiful it is. From a nice sunny day to a torrential downpour, everything about the game's environment was breathtaking to see. And of course there's the story itself. Contrary to what most people may say, I didn't like the ending all that much. I thought that it over complicated things and was rather anticlimactic. Also, whenever any movie or game decides to incorporate the big element of the ending, I tend to groan and over think the plot and lose interest in it. Still, the characters make the plot worth wild, and I love the relationship between Booker, Elizabeth, Father Comstock, and the Luteces. I may not like the ending, but that still doesn't stop Bioshock Infinite from being one of my favorite games of the year.

Number 3: Super Mario 3D World
Is it a surprise to anyone that 3D World is in my top 5? No? Good. Cause if anyone was at all shocked that the Nintendo fan put a 3D Mario game on his best list, then you probably need to be checked out. This is the best Mario game since Super Mario Galaxy, and you can make a legitimate case for Galaxy being the best Wii game ever made. Every world is full of life and energy, and the fact that no two worlds are exactly the same make each world feel all the more fresh and fun. With this being the first 3D Mario game to add 4 player co-op to the mix, I was wondering exactly how it would turn out, and the results are just spectacular. More so than the 2D Mario games, World's multiplayer is exhilarating and is the culmination of adding multiplayer to Mario games. Not only that, but if you want to fully complete the game, that means you're gonna have to beat the game several times in order to have every character complete it. While it may not be the most challenging of Mario games, it's a natural evolution of the series that makes it fun for everyone to pick up and play this game. Hell, when I was doing four player co-op, one of our players never even touched a Mario game, and he was having a blast playing it. The new powerups make the game feel alive, and it's probably the single reason why you should own a Wii U. This game is the holiday must have of the year, no buts about it.

For more information, pop on over to my original review here

Number 2: Pokemon X/Y
No matter what your console preference is, there is no denying that the 3DS was the console of the year. It had the most and the best games released on it, sporting fantastic games like Fire Emblem: Awakening, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Animal Crossing New Leaf, Ace Attorney 5, Mario and Luigi Dream Team, and my personal number 5 for best game, The Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds. But none of that can even hold a candle to the juggernaut that is Pokemon X and Y. When these games were announced at the beginning of the year, people were already in hysterics over the new 3D graphics and the starters, but when more features like Mega Evolutions and the Fairy type were announced, people went nuts. This generation might not have had the most substantial leaps forward in terms of gameplay, but much like LBW before it, this game took the essence of Pokemon and distilled it into the best its ever been. The new graphics make Pokemon battles actually feel like real battles instead of sprites fighting sprites. It also boasts a huge amount of Pokemon that can be caught in game before post game content. There are hundreds of Pokemon that can be caught in the game, and there are only a few that require help from friends to get. Plus the games streamline leveling up Pokemon to the point where anyone can do it without much difficulty. Die hard fans may call heresy to the fact that it's easier than ever to get to the Elite Four and the Champion and that the game is "too easy", but the feature itself can be turned off to make it just as difficult as you want it to be. Pokemon X and Y were the first Pokemon games since the 2nd gen that I fell in love with as soon as I booted up the game. I don't know whether or not X and Y is better than Gold and Silver, but they can damn close regardless.

To see why you gotta catch 'em all, go to the original review here

Number 1:  Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
It was really touch and go between X and Y and this game as to what would be my Game of the Year. But then I had to think about how often each game comes out. Pokemon releases usually come out once every two or three years, but the fact that Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time brought the series back from an over 6 year hiatus is enough to push it over for me. This game is everything that I would have expect a modern Sly game to be and more. Almost everything about this game is fantastic and worth the over half a decade wait for it. The only thing that was disappointing was the story, and even then while I might not be a fan of one particular plot twist that doesn't make sense in any context, if it opens up potential for more stories to explore in later installments, then I'm fine with it. Thieves in Time has everything that the series is known for in spades. Goofy and memorable bosses? Check. A lot of collectibles for you to explore around and find? Check. Hidden treasures? You better believe it. A fun sense of humor? Undeniably. This is a series that I have missed for far too long and is a great reminder of what a great game is. This game was released the same day as Dead Space 3, a game that was filled with apathy in its design and trying to appeal to a mass audience while losing the identity the series once had for being a horror series, and making use of microtransactions to alleviate the cost of development, which required the game to sell 5 million units to justify development costs. Contrastly, Thieves in Time is a game made by people with a genuine love for the series that didn't sell as many copies as Dead Space 3, but still was dun, inventive, and had more heart and passion behind it than any other triple A game released this year. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a reminder that just because we live in a modern age of triple A development costs that small, and still equally successful games can be made. It took ages to get a new Sly game, but he's back, and I'm hoping that he's not going to leave for a while.

Only one more list to go! See you in a few days for my favorite films of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment