My Favorite Games of 2013

[Reposted, Now Appears on GIO.]

Aka “Taking Reiner’s Idea for my Own Needs”

I apologize in advance, but I feel now- eleven out of twelve months into the year, is as good a time as any to start giving you some of my top titles for the year in gaming. Sure, it won’t make it any easier to make a choice for Game of the Year, but what the heck right? Anyway, without further ado, I will give a brief description of each choice, my score if I reviewed it- as well as my score if I didn’t here but have of course played it, and some extraneous thoughts. Enjoy! I will be sure to update and re-release this blog with any new additions in the coming month(s).

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DMC: Devil May Cry (2013)

I never personally reviewed the game on GIO successfully because I accidentally deleted the draft of it I was working on and just didn’t quite get around to it, however, I was looking favorably upon the game and have enjoyed it since to 100% completion- with the exception of some of the achievements from the Vergil add-on. DMC is one of the better reboots of the year in a year filled with them, and is an excellent new vision for direction in terms of that series as well, just when it was starting to become a little stale. I had some qualms about Dante’s new look, but I’ve got to say- his personality is virtually unchanged in most ways, and he’s more of a punk than ever.

My Score: 9/10

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Antichamber

Antichamber is a thinking man’s game- step aside Chess and Stratego. This puzzling performance will bend what you think you know into what you truly do not understand and then teach you how to comprehend it all over again in new ways. Oh, and by the way, just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of it- it’ll throw in some new hook to reel you in another way. Crazy isn’t it? The insane world that Antichamber dishes out and explains through gameplay is virtually unparalleled- making even Portal seem flimsy in comparison at times, but obviously having been a major inspiration for some of the puzzles and inside jokes. There’s even cake involved, well- sort of.

My Score: 8.5/10

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Dead Space 3

As skeptical as many were with the more action-oriented approach over horror orientation in this next title in the Dead Space series, I can fully attest that Dead Space 3 can still turn on the chills and thrills at times- more so on the chills side of things though I suppose, literally. I gave the game pretty excellent rating, and one that even slightly edged out the GI Staff rating assigned to it, ever so slightly. I enjoyed the new gimmicks and gameplay, as well as the coop, even if there were flaws along the way. No game is flawless, no matter how good it is, and that’s just a fact of life. But, despite some of the flak it got for other reasons, and the whole up-in-the-air deal with Visceral being allowed to create a fourth, I’m happy to say I got to play, enjoy, and 1000 (or 1250, as it may be) Dead Space 3.

My Score: 9.5/10

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Tomb Raider (2013)

Another excellent reboot that makes this list, Tomb Raider was an excellently paced new adventure to set off Lara Croft the path we now know and recognize her for. Before she was a tomb raider, and before she could dish out pain as an untouchable heroine, she was a vulnerable young woman in some extremely unpleasant circumstances. But oh, what a joy they are to play through, however unpleasant they may be for the parties involved. Lara’s misadventures on an island that time seems to have forgotten (Lost?) are handled excellently, and with only a few minor pitfalls along the way- both literally and figuratively at times. Despite poor multiplayer, not for lack of trying, the game turned out better than I initially expected.

My Score: 9/10

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Hotline Miami

Although I spent most of the time having absolutely no idea what was going on around me, much less why, Hotline Miami is an excellent homage to retro gaming and manages to desensitize the carnage and violence you wreak throughout by making it fun to get higher points scores. Now, I’m not saying desensitization is the correct way to approach things, but I am saying that Hotline Miami- for all of its insanity and reckless abandon with baseball bats and firearms, is an excellent game to dig into when you’re feeling antisocial and want to go on a figurative rampage. Instead of actually killing people though, at least keep it virtual and feel free to let loose as much as you want. That’s what Hotline Miami is good for- blowing off steam.

My Score: 8/10

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Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite released to mostly universal acclaim and praise, with the rare few voices of dissent here and there. I for one, was on the righteous side of people enjoying the game, despite its somewhat overly complicated to explain in one blog of an ending, and its repetitive nature on multiple playthroughs. If anything, Bioshock Infinite is (in game, and the game) an excellent example of the illusion of choice and grandeur- two lessons we had thought we had learned already at the end of Bioshock 1. Apparently we hadn’t. Either way, Infinite impressed and impresses, and is definitely one of the highlights of my year thus far. If you haven’t played it, or you’re scared because you think it might be too over-the-top violent, you’re truly missing out.

My Score: 9.5/10

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Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustice takes the success of the most recently released Mortal Kombat game and puts it into a rich fighting experience featuring the characters and culprits of the DC universe. Forget the half baked game idea behind DCU vs. MKU- Injustice more than makes up for that half-hearted game. Not only does it have an awesome and scary storyline, but it features a rich roster of characters, and it has everything from super moves to procedural damage. Not to mention, it manages to be pretty rough- but still garners a decently age friendly rating as well. Win-win, no? Even if fighting games aren’t your forte or your thing, you can still get some pleasure out of at least attempting this one, and it’s a pretty polished experience for what it’s worth as well…

My Score: 9.5/10

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Metro: Last Light

I was one of the few who seemed to absolutely love Metro 2033 for all of its existing flaws and odd gameplay mechanics, giving it the 9/10 I did. However, I loved the sequel released earlier this year just as much for virtually the same reasons, and so did a lot more people- therefore, they must be doing something right (4A first, and now Deep Silver). That having been said, if you haven’t already, you should really check out the post-apocalyptic choice-driven shooter. It’s more survival and stealth than anything, but it does a better job of catering to most types than its predecessor did, I’ll give it that. There’s a mission for virtually everything, and the campaign is pretty fun to play through. The DLC isn’t all that great, but is worth it for the low price and the extra content levels and bonuses definitely. Last Light might be part of humanity’s last hopes, but it certainly won’t be a fire that is extinguished any time soon. I can’t wait to see how the series progresses in the future.

My Score: 9/10

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The Last of Us

I gave The Last of Us some pretty glowing and positive remarks when I reviewed it not too long ago, in fact giving it a near perfect score- one it fully deserves. While it has a few emotional and physical pitfalls along the way, it is a pretty steady and well thought out post apocalyptic journey- one that you’ll soon want to playthrough once more after completing, just to see what you may have missed the first time around. What it may lack in rich detail at times, it more than makes up for in difficulty later, and therefore provides and enriching and fruitful experience as a whole. And I wouldn’t have wanted Joel or Ellie’s adventures to be any other way. The ending might shed a different light on the events of the game up until that point, but I couldn’t let that ruin anything for me, revelations aside.

My Score: 9.75/10

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Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun Returns is the Shadowrun re-envisioning I’ve always wanted- forget that crappy 2006 reboot and the other pretenders. Not only was this kickstarted campaign pretty faithful to the original game itself in design and encounters, but it also provided an excellent diversion in the form of map editing as well. It may have been a little on the short side, but with its success, the promise for more is just palpably hanging there ripe for the picking. I can’t wait to see more where this came from- whether from the guys who crafted it, or from another, bigger developer who sees promise in returning to the old classic.

My Score: 8.25/10

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Outlast

Outlast is a game true to its name, and with one simple premise: survive. It isn’t without its mishaps both in terms of gameplay and graphics, and yet the experience of frightfully running from your soulless pursuers more than makes up for it somehow. It takes a few pages from Amnesia in terms of not being able to wield weapons against your foes, and in only having a minimal source of light as your companion- and yet it is a remarkably more chilling experience in all its simplicity. It is a game that makes me all the more excited for others like it, especially the promised Soma from the creators of the Amnesia series. I myself enjoyed Outlast quite a lot, despite some low points in the short campaign, and gave it a pretty respectable score across the board.

My Score: 8.5/10

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Grand Theft Auto V

For all you Shakespeare enthusiasts out there, you’ll love this parodied quote coming up. Grand Theft Auto V is ‘lesser than GTA IV and yet greater’ and it is a game that proves that ‘fair is foul and foul is fair’. All’s well that ends well, right? That seems to be the case here- well, except for some of the endings of the game, but that’s besides the point. The amount of content in the currently DLC-free game, the side missions, and the world itself are ripe for the picking and full to the brim with stuff to do- both mundane and insane. And that’s before you even factor in the interesting new online mode that is ever evolving into something bigger and better. Two great games essentially for the price of one.

My Score: 9.5/10

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The Wolf Among Us

I know this particular tale is far from finished, but with the release of the first episode alone, The Wolf Among Us has already gotten me more hooked even than Telltale’s other episodic release- The Walking Dead. That’s pretty impressive first of all, and I’m really excited to see how this new world evolves- both in relation to the already-established series of comics, and to the vision Telltale has in mind for it right now. I mean, it’s hardly all drunk, flying green monkeys, but it is almost all incredibly interesting and virtually never-before-seen stuff as well, which makes for the best of tales indeed.

My Score: 8.5/10

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Well, that’s it for this guy right now. I think I’ve hit most of the major players in my mind that have been fun throughout the year, even though there were a lot more games I’ve enjoyed- just not to the extent of these hallowed few. Ironically enough, they form an unlucky number at their current strength of thirteen strong, but oh well- it’s not a Friday or anything so I suppose I’m relatively safe for now- knocking on wood. Anyways, good night for now folks- I’ll update this later if need be.

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