The time of the year has come where all games compete to gain the ultimate title, namely Game of the Year. In conjunction with VGX, formerly known as VGA, I and the rest of our writers at Leetgamers are also picking our favorite games of the year. Other than the release of next gen consoles, 2013 also can be said as the greatest year for gaming, as there are not just one or two games that can compete for the prestigious award, but many titles that could claim top prize. Before I announce my picks for best games, these are three honorable mentions:
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
For me, the game is definitely better than previous any Assassin’s Creed with the exception of Assassin’s Creed II, but not quite good enough for me to include it in my top 10.
Ni No Kuni
The most touching game ever, especially in term of its story. Rarely does a game combine a heartfelt and unforgettable story, but the confusing gameplay hindered it from getting a top 10 place in my list.
Yes, I am aware there is a lot of trouble with the game, but I found it enjoyable.
Without further delay, here are my top 10 games of year:
Beyond: Two Souls
Well to be honest, this is the weakest Quantic Dream game, despite having a star-studded cast that includes Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. In Heavy Rain, I felt the emotion that surrounded each of the characters despite the cheesy dialogue. Don’t get me wrong: Beyond: Two Souls is a huge improvement from Heavy Rain in term of gameplay, but falls flat in its story. There’s are emotional scenes like where Jodie Holmes was on the run and met several homeless people and where Jodie finally meets her real mother. Other than that, it was weak overall. Credit where it’s due because of its innovative gameplay, even though we have to watch every movement carefully to correctly pull off the QTE events. It fell short because there aren’t any major consequences like Heavy Rain if we failed the QTE sequences. Even so, this is one of the games you don’t want to miss, especially when it comes to stunning graphics.
Other than RPGs, I like games that challenge our minds to solve puzzles, like the recent game Zero Escape. I bet that game would be listed in my top 10 if it were a 2013 game. Anyway, unfortunately those types of games can be hard to come by, but fortunately the genre is well represented by independent developers. Then came Papers, Please, a puzzle game that depicts life as a Border Officer. Like any puzzle game, it requires a great deal of patience. Sadly, I can be a hot-headed person so when I make a mistake, I’m likely to throw a minor tantrum, but still I play them. Although the idea seems simple of checking immigrants’ passports, if you take the puzzle too lightly then it can spell doom for the immigrant trying to enter the country. With this game, we now know what it is like to be a border officer.
Resident Evil: Revelations
Jill Valentine’s return to the franchise is what elevates Resident Evil: Revelations to this position. A great return for the series to its original roots of Survival Horror. It’s not quite the same as older entries in the series, but if this mix of old and new styles points to the signs of future Resident Evil games, it will prove to be a step in the right direction. Mixing the modern and older formula RE games, this games reminds me of Resident Evil 4, minus the QTE and Ashley (Duh!!!). I’m excited to see one of my favorite franchises return to its former glory (or at least making progress to it).
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Last year, I was expecting Lightning Returns to be on this list, but then, at E3, Square-Enix decided to delay the western release to February, 2014. So to lick the wounds I had, I bought the brand new Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The original FFXIV had received negative reviews so a team was made to remake the game. With enhanced graphics and a brand new story that picks up after the events of FFXIV, I felt this game was made to be user friendly compared to the original. As a first timer playing a MMORPG, the game is the perfect platform for me to be introduced to the online world. Although I can’t say how bad it was with FFXIV, I’m sure this is a huge improvement over the original as it is widely appreciated worldwide. Well, I guess it’s okay because A Realm Reborn has an event based on world of Final Fantasy XIII and has special appearances by Lightning to celebrate the release of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Tales of Xillia
As I was a heavy RPG fan, I decide to try the Tales of ….. series as I’ve heard nothing but positive things. To my surprise, the game felt like Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, which is another favorite of mine. Free customization of special abilities is a welcome addition to the game, as well as party members’ costumes and appearances. The seamless battles, allowing for difficulty to be changed mid-gameplay, are fun. On a side note, Milla Maxwell does sound like Lightning although Lightning’s voice actress, Ali Hillis was Presa in the game. Speaking of that, so far I’ve listed two games featuring the voice of Ali Hillis.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Got it memorized? Although this is not one of the Kingdom Hearts series, you do really have to memorize the enemy movement as the game was hard. Even at normal difficulties, I remember throwing a tantrum because Metal Gear Rising’s normal enemies are hard, as are each stage’s boss. Originally named Metal Gear Solid: Rising, the game was easy at first but in latter stages became increasingly harder. The game’s controls are easy to learn but hard to master, just like the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”. But I did enjoy the battle with Jetstream Sam as the step to beating him requires great amounts of patience. Surprisingly, I beat him in one go. Platinum Games is great at making an action game. No wonder Hideo Kojima himself entrusted them to develop the first ever action game based on the Metal Gear universe.
Grand Theft Auto V
Apart from the gameplay, I liked the interaction that involved three main characters: Franklin, Michael, and Trevor. Each character comes with their own drama. I enjoyed every moment of it and did I tell you that this is the only GTA or Rockstar game that I completed on the current gen? The game is huge, bigger than Red Dead Redemption. Back to the interaction, Rockstar never fails to deliver us the chemistry among characters especially with the redneck CEO, Trevor Philips. Trevor was sometimes like a psychopath but cared about other people as well as we can see in one of the missions. Grand Theft Auto universe though, was never free from controversies.
I’m going to disappoint a lot of people because this is a heavy favorite to win the GOTY award and I have my own reasons for simply putting it in the top three. One, because I never ever played FPS before Bioshock: Infinite and two, while the story is interesting especially with the twist at the end of the game which I won’t spoil, the gameplay seems normal to me. The performance of Troy Baker as Booker DeWitt is excellent. The same can be said of Elizabeth. Bioshock: Infinite does trigger me to play the previous installments of Bioshock but till today, I am unable to. Maybe I will play them when I have the time.
The Last of Us
Another game that cast Troy Baker as one of its two main characters. The Last of Us has that “The Walking Dead” kind of vibe. I haven’t played Telltale Games “The Walking Dead” – Season 1 yet, but I can see why such a small, indie developer can win a GOTY accolade. The game has a lot to offer with the human survival instinct, whether we should believe in someone and the biggest question of them all, who are Joel and Ellie really fighting against? Not to mention the wonderful post- apocalyptic environment. The interaction between Joel and Ellie, begins with awkward moments and graduating to trusting each other in order to survive not only the threat from the Infected, but also from other human survivors. It was interesting to the point that both of them felt alive in real world. Another excellent performance from both Baker and Johnson.
Talk about surviving, this is the tale I’ll never forget. Lara Croft’s rise to the top is not only crafted by wonderful gameplay, but also with the story. The story might be mediocre as anyone would suggest but I kind of like of her struggle to become the adventurer we know today. I especially like the covering system and of course crafting a simple thing like making a lighter to bridging a gap between two gorges. I’ve got to admit, The Last of Us battles may be more engrossing compared to Tomb Raider but I’ll still pick a rebooted version of Tomb Raider anytime. The story also taught us that we’ve nobody to depend on but ourselves as proven throughout the game. Of course in an adventure like that, listening to other people’s opinions is also equally important.
Actually I’m kinda 50-50 on who should grab the title of GOTY between Tomb Raider and The Last of Us. So, that’s my list for 2013. What awaits us at next gen? Until then, I signing off from what it has been a great year for gaming, maybe the best since 2008.
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