2013 was a great year for games. So great in fact that it's taken us this long to play through everything and make up our minds as to what were our favourites. I'll take the reins first I think!
Fortunately I think I've finally figured out what mine were. although the competition was very high. So without any more ado, here are my top five gaming triumphs from last year.
Developed by 2K games BioShock Infinite graced gaming platforms April last year with players taking on the role of Booker DeWitt in his search to rescue Elizabeth to clear his debt. He is transported, via lighthouse/rocket ship, to the city of Columbia to do so. I have to admit when I flew past the clouds and this flying city that is Columbia was presented to me I was genuinely taken back by how stunning it looked. One of Infinite’s strongest attractions, to me, was the art style as it was just simply gorgeous and captivating. Of course a pretty looking game is nothing unless it has solid gameplay, mechanics work well, an intriguing story with interesting characters to carry said story along and of course Infinite was excellent in every aspect. With enjoyable and challenging gameplay and a story that genuinely left me saying “what the fuck” to my PC monitor at several points I highly recommend you play this game if you haven’t. I myself have replayed several times to grasp some of the concepts in the story and every time I played I’ve found something new to feed my thoughts about the games universe.
Fire Emblem: Awakening
Developed by Intelligent Systems, the talented lot who are also responsible for Advance Wars series, Fire Emblem: Awakening came to us February last year and for those unfamiliar with the game (as I’ll admit it’s not the most popular franchise) it’s a turn based tactical role playing game where players have to guide their characters across various maps and defeat the enemy in almost chess like fashion. There were many aspects of this game which made it so important to my 2013 gaming experience, for one in order to attract new players to the franchise there was a mode enabled that meant when characters died they weren’t out of the game permanently but they players had the choice of the classic mode where the opposite was the case. Naturally I played in the classic mode because it meant that every turn I made I had to think several steps ahead otherwise I was punished for my lack of thought which it was I love about this game. You have to be aware of all of your enemies’ movements, whether they can reach your character and it makes it of so much more rewarding when you clear the levels with your party intact.
Ni No Kuni : Wrath of the White Witch
Ni No Kuni was developed by Level-5 and Studio Ghibli and I’m just going to have to pause here for a second. This was one of the main reasons I was so excited by this game before release, being a huge fan of Studio Ghibli (and anime in general) I was interested to see what kind of touches and influences they would bring to the game. Honestly throughout the majority of the game I felt as if I was in a Studio Ghibli film with the animated sequences and musical score composed by Joe Hisaishi (responsible for most musical scores on Studio Ghibli films) I was truly immersed. In terms of gameplay it was a pretty standard exploration of towns, dungeons and other places of interest. Traversing the over world had influences drawn from Dragon Quest which allowed exploration to not seem such as tedious task. Combat was slightly different than what I’m used to most RPGs but it was welcomed. When entering a fight it’s done in real time where you can take control of the main protagonist, who can use melee or magic spells, commands can be given to other members of your party who have their own specialties. Also there are “familiars” (essentially Pokémon) that can be used in battle and level up alongside the protagonist. It took me a bit of time to get used to but the combat sequences were enjoyable despite being somewhat repetitive.
That said this was definitely my favourite RPG of 2013 and if you’re a fan of the RPG genre as well as Studio Ghibli then this game is a must.
The Last of Us
Where to begin with one of my favourite games ever… Why not the story? The game sees take the role of Joel who must escort Ellie across a post-apocalyptic United States which has been overrun by an infectious fungus known as Cordyceps. Now seems like a pretty standard setting however what make it amazing are the characters Joel and Ellie. The incredible cinematic scenes really allow players to emotionally connect with the characters through their journey. The actual gameplay itself was pretty much perfect, except for a few aspects, which never really stopped the flow of the game and never taking you out of it. The mix between the more frantic action scenes and stealth sections offered a welcomed polarizing approach to the gameplay not making it boring or repetitive. The Last of Us also had some of the loveliest visuals I have ever seen on a console game. What I really appreciated was that this post-apocalyptic wasn’t full of dark dreary environments but rather nature had taken over, there were lush plants that had invaded urban structures keeping your surroundings interesting.
With one of the mother of all endings The Last of Us is definitely a game you need to play. It also has a very enjoyable, and overshadowed, multiplayer which adds hours of enjoyment to this already incredible game.
P.S. Looking forward to PS4 version because I bet it looks even more stunning on the beefier system.
The Legend of Zelda : A Link Between Worlds
A Link Between Worlds takes a top down perspective and is pretty much a sequel to A Link to the Past. Please don’t hate me when I say I’m yet to play A Link to the Past. Now in terms of Zelda it’s a standard story line in that something awful happens to Princess Zelda and you, Link, must rescue her. However there are some notable differences in this title, which is why I rate it so highly among the other Zelda games I’ve played. For starters it doesn’t follow the classic formula of find an item and use it specifically for the dungeon in the next linear order. Rather in this version players are able to rent as many weapons/items as they wish from hoarder Ravio at a price, then they can proceed to any dungeon in any order they wish. Now I like the idea of being able to have the choice to complete the dungeons in any order I see fit because I like having the ability to simply choose, which admittedly, is rather refreshing for this franchise. It seems like this is something which will be carried over into the upcoming Wii U Zelda game, which was shown off at this year's E3.
The mechanic of Link being able to merge on walls as a painting in to literally explore every crack was interesting and gave an interesting element to solving puzzles.
So hard to pick so few...
So there you have it!
What were your favourite games of 2013?
Or what are you really looking forward to this year? Go ahead and let us know in the comments below!