The Top Ten Games of 2013

First, because there were too many games to cover here, here’s a supercut I put together of some of the best games of 2013.

I feel that everyone putting together a best of 2013 list that truly cares about gaming only does so after slamming a recently emptied bottle of whiskey down on their desk and sighing deeply.

2013 was one of the most packed years in gaming history. From every available outlet poured titles that are without comparison, even when weighed against the entirety of gaming history. Sure, there was the usual flood of crap and frustration, but it seemed that bi-weekly we were getting one of those games that you just had to play. Of course, that’s because we were.

Even if you don’t take into account the launch of two next-gen systems and all the other major industry occurrences and just focus on the quality of the games themselves, you’d be hard-pressed to name to many other years ahead of 2013.

A lot of hard decisions had to be made when putting together this list, but I feel that this is as comfortable with the honors as I’m ever going to be. Just note that if you don’t see your favorite game, it’s either because I didn’t play it, painfully had to cut it, or just didn’t like it. The curious can ask in the comments below.

Without further ado, here are the best games of 2013.

10. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

ACIV

Let me get “Assassin’s Creed IV’s” biggest problem out of the way first. It’s still an “Assassin’s Creed” game. Therefore, it carries all of the faults of that series, including a far too simplified combat system, some seriously uneven mission quality and obligatory futuristic plot elements that are getting more and more superfluous.

But, sweet Jesus, this game is just pure fun. A lot of that fun derives from the perfect implementation of its pirate elements. “AC:IV” is the absolute greatest pirate game ever made. It gives you nearly everything you could ever want from the romanticized pirate experience many of us are familiar with, and does it with sheer glee. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this is also one of the best written and best acted games I’ve played in some time.

Were this game developed from the ground up as an entirely new series called “Black Flag,” it may be even higher on this list. As it is, though, there are few games more entertaining than “AC:IV” regardless of your feelings towards the series up until this point, or any specific video gaming turn-ons and peeves you may have.

9. Outlast

Outlast

The age of the true survival horror game seems to be coming to a close as a growing number of developers pussy out and implement more and more action elements into the genre in order to make it more appealing to a larger crowd.

That’s a true shame, as a game like “Outlast” shows the tremendous amount of life left in the traditional horror style. This is quite simply one of the most terrifying games ever released, and at no point does it give a damn if you are enjoying yourself while playing it or whether or not you feel safe. It’s an uncompromising realization of the potential gaming has in terms of conveying pure horror, and you’ll love every minute you hate playing it.

I’m so very thankful the new generation of YouTube players have spread the gossip of “Outlast” and all its terrible wonders and helped let the people know that for all the waves of shitty action games with occasional jump scares that dare label themselves horror, there are still some games that do it right.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

“Gunpoint” Has One of the Best Stories of the Year…But Not the One You May Think

Gunpoint-Steam-Screenshot-3

There is a story in the new indie game “Gunpoint,” but even though it’s nicely presented, and the dialogue is pretty good, I’m not sure I could relay it to you in any interesting or captivating way. Initially I found this disheartening, but considering one of the key features of the game on Steam is “all story stuff is skippable,” I don’t think the developer intended that to be the focus.

Instead the focus would have to be the perfectly executed gameplay that sees you play a freelance spy who takes missions to infiltrate various institutions, and often eliminate those in his path. Thanks to some handy gadgets that allow you to rework the wiring of a building though, even the most impenetrable fortress quickly becomes your personal playground should you be able to figure out the mini-puzzles of what items, should perform what functions, at what time, to put you in prime position to take out your foes and secure your objective.

It’s such a brilliant and novel idea, that mixes well with a more visceral and violent element reminiscent of “Hotline Miami” which allows you to tackle guards out of high story breakable windows, or just beating them to a pulp, and provides one of the more complete gameplay experiences in recent memory, as it caters to every intelligent need, and primal desire, the average gamer looks for. The possibility of this type of game was suggested by titles like “Lemmings,” “Oddworld,” or even good old “Mouse Trap,” but never, ever pulled off to this degree of success.

What I’m saying is play it. Play it now, tell your friends, and thank me later should you ever be able to pull yourself away.

But more to the point, as gleaming as the gameplay of “Gunpoint” is, it does have a story that matters. It’s just that, in this case, it’s not the one you get in the game.

Gunpoint-Steam-Screenshot-5

Instead the story that matters concerns the game’s developer Tom Francis and his shocking revelation that “Gunpoint” took only $30 to create (an amount recouped about a minute after the game went on sale) and, as pointed out by some pretty hilarious graphs, is so successful that Tom can now live his dream, and quit his day job to develop games full time.

More than that though, he says that he can do so with virtually unlimited creative freedom, and on his own timetable. Interestingly, he also contributes most of this success to the pre-release demo of the game which some insisted would hurt him financially, but instead gave “Gunpoint” recognition in places it would have never reached before. Tom insists he will always release a free demo beforehand from now on and, in case any major developers are listening, notes that its simply just the way he wants to treat people.

Due to the sheer quality of the final product, “Gunpoint” would have to be considered a success even if it wasn’t one of the most profitable games of all time. Because of those extra elements to this story though, “Gunpoint” is also successful on a human level as it’s a tale of of how far the right man, with the right attitude, and the right idea can go, not to mention the unlimited creative potential this still very young artform known as gaming possesses.

It’s a shame then that amongst the twenty-four hour gaming newscycle that so often includes negative press, dry industry press releases, and the “same old, same old,” that this story of the power and potential of an individual creator may be lost, if it even gets a chance at all.

Luckily though, even if the story is forgotten, “Gunpoint” itself is unforgettable and will always somehow stand as the manifestation of those greater ideas

  

Related Posts