I haven’t written anything for this blog in awhile. I apologize to my two or so fans. Seeing as I feel quite terrible about it and all, and it just so happens that 2013 recently went the way of the Dodo and Polka Punk, I figured a clichéd top ten list would serve nicely to get me back into the game so to speak. However, I ran across the slight problem that I hadn’t actually played ten games from 2013. I remedied this rather lazily/ingeniously by just tossing some older games I had played a lot last year in and voilà a top ten list. Before I start, an honorable mention goes out to Last of Us and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag as I watched playthroughs of them but never played them. Thus, they sadly don’t make the list. Also, a shout out to Mount and Blade: Warband- The Clash of Kings Mod. It’s not on the list because I’m not going to put a mod on a best games list. That would be silly.
Yes, Skyrim. RPGs are my catnip and Skyrim is still fun as hell. I was planning on picking up the Legendary edition and getting some sweet dlc action. Sadly, I failed. However, I played a lot of the vanilla game in preparation for getting the dlc. I built up two separate save files to level twenty so I would have role playing options and such. Despite having played trough the whole game more than once since it was released, I spent a good few weeks with each character. It’s just one of those games you can keep coming back to over and over, like say Dragon Age: Origins or Fallout. Speaking of which….
9.) Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout:New Vegas is one of those games that had a lot of issues when it first came out. So much so that I actually never finished my original playthrough. This year, with the problems largely fixed I came back to New Vegas and hot damn, was it great. I finally got to experience the amazing game that hid under all the technical issues. I finished my first character and plunged into two more. Much like Skyrim I was able to just get totally wrapped up in the role playing aspects and spent an ungodly amount of the spring wandering the wasteland. Et non, je ne regrette rien.
8.) Sid Meier’s Pirates
While this is by the far the oldest game on my list having come out back in 2005, it is the newest to me. I was introduced to it not more than a week ago and have already poured twenty or so hours in. The game is highly under rated title from Si Meier, sadly over shadowed by the Civilization series. Sure it has it’s flaws. The game’s ‘plot’ is laughably cliché and bare bones, there is little customization options beyond naming your dude and ships (which really annoys a customization freak like me) and it honestly has pretty weak replay value once you do everything since you can’t role play too much. That said I’ve spent many a happy hour these past few days plundering the Caribbean for all her worth. It’s definitely a game I’d recommend and one I sincerely hope one day gets the quality reboot it deserves.
Mark of the Ninja is hands down the best stealth game I’ve played since Hitman: Blood Money. It can be rather hard and frustrating at times, but that just makes it all the more satisfying when you pull off the awesome ninja shit. Besides excellent mechanics, Mark of the Ninja also benefits from a solid storyline and stunning artwork to boot. The art work for this game is truly breathtaking. The first time I jumped in, I damn near creamed my panties at how great it looked. The game is just fantastic and since I’ve recently picked up some dlc for it, I look forward to diving back in.
6.) FTL: Faster Than Light
What can you say about FTL? It is hard. Really hard. I put twenty-two hours in before I beat the final boss for the first time. I took me four days to even reach the final boss. Despite wasting about forty or so hours of my life playing this game, I still never got all the ships and died so many time I couldn’t even come up with original ship names anymore. So, the question is, am I excited for the impending time drain that the up coming patch will be? You bet your sweet ass I am! FTL is amazingly fun. Much like Mark of the Ninja, but to an even greater degree, it’s a game were the challenge and difficulty keep drawing you back. It’s truly addicting.
We finally get to the games that actually came out in 2013! Huzzah! Anyways, yes, Gunpoint. Much like Sid Meier’s Pirates, this game is a recent addition to my steam library. I picked it up for like $3 during the winter sale on a whim. Unlike some of my other steam sale whims, this one was actually worth my money and then some. It’s an amazing game. For those of you who are unlucky enough to have not played it yet, it’s primarily a puzzle/problem solving game, with some stealth elements, all wrapped up in an engaging noir murder mystery/espionage plot. Also, you pretty much never use your gun. Using your gun fucks you over, like, super hard. So yeah, a somewhat misleading title I suppose. However, apart from false advertising, the only thing I can really criticize this game for is how short it was. I beat it in about four hours and immediately went into withdraw. On the other hand, it’s pretty rare for a game to leave me pining for more, so I’ll only count it as a fault if they don’t make another one.
4.) Wolf Among Us
Telltale makes great games. Although, this usually has little to do with with the game play itself, as pretty much every Telltale title I’ve run across has varied from ‘good but not great’ to ‘quick time event the game’. What Telltale has mastered is the art of story telling via the medium of video games. Though the act of serializing their games they made them much more akin to tv shows and the like, allowing for just plain better story telling than more tradition structures would normally allow. This style of theirs really broke into the mainstream with their flagship Walking Dead series, but it is this game, Wolf Among Us, that is in my humble opinion the their magnum opus. It’s a game that effortlessly immerses you in a hard-boiled world of murder, mystery, and mythological beings. The accompanying art work is fantastic as well, combining Telltale’s usual style with the the extra edge of comic book flair. The fact they actually had some of the artists from the Vertigo Comics helping them with the artwork really shows. Honestly, the only reason this isn’t my number one is because only the first episode is out so far.
3.) Grand Theft Auto Five
Grand Theft Auto V is the only console game that I’ve paid for this year. It was sixty dollars well spent. I must admit for about two weeks or so after I got it, it was all I played. The story, characters, and world all floored me. The story was engaging and not as half baked for insane as I expected. The characters were all relateable and likeable for the most part. Despite the fact that, y’know, they’re all violent sociopaths. The voice acting was really spot on and just added to the realness of the characters. Pretty much everything impressed me about the core game. The nice little details like it being harder to drive in the rain or your clothes only getting wet where they touched water were nice touches too. The only thing that really annoyed me about the main game was the ham fisted and clumsy the ‘satire’/’social commentary’. However, the multiplayer I found to be a bit wanting. I realize it isn’t done and hopefully all the issues I have with it will be fixed eventually. That said, there isn’t much to really do besides grind for levels and money or just be a dick to other players. The multiplayer is sorely lacking in fun criminal activities to do with friends. There’s only so many times you can knock over a liquor store before it loses it’s luster. However, they are going to be adding heists and other stuff soon so hopefully that will fix it. Also, on the personal gripe side, where are my fucking dresses Rockstar? Trevor has them in the main game. Yet you can’t wear one with a female character in multiplayer. In fact, generally speaking the female wardrobe is pretty shit compared to the male one. What gives Rockstar, huh? What gives?
Alright then, moving on….
2.) Bioshock: Infinite
It’s goddamn work of art. Look out into the world of Columbia at pretty much anytime in the game and if you take a screen shot you’d have something most people would be proud to hang on their wall. It’s that good looking. However, the world of Bioshock: Infinite doesn’t just look pretty. It is an incredibly engaging world full detail and depth to the point it almost feels alive. I spent hours just wandering around exploring all the nooks and crannies of Columbia. The characters and story aren’t too shabby either. The plot is solid, only falling flat once with it’s incredibly stupid ‘violence is bad… blah blah… you’re just as bad as the people who oppress you if you use it…blah blah’ shlock during the end of the Vox Populi subplot. The theoretical physics laced ending more than made up for that mild annoyance and had me geeking out for weeks after I finished the game. The game’s biggest strength outside of just how damn good it looks, however, has to be the core characters. Some of the side characters can feel a bit cookie cutter at times, but Elizabeth, Booker, and the Lutece Twins are all amazing. On top of feeling almost like a real person, Elizabeth also gets the bonus awesomeness of being an honest-to-god helpful AI companion. A statement that I’m 98% sure has never been uttered about any other AI companion in the history of video games.
1.) Civilization V: Brave New World
Yeah, that’s right, I’m above putting a mod on this list but will totally put dlc as number one. Why you ask? Well, Occam’s Razor would suggest the answer is I lack the ability to make any sense whatsoever. However, the real reason is because it’s not so much the dlc itself that earns the top spot, but the near perfected Civilization V as a whole. Civilization V was a strong entry to the series to begin with. It was no Civilization III, but let’s face it, no other Civilization game is ever going to be Civilization III. However, with the improvement of the religion and espionage game from Gods and Kings and the new engaging end game diplomacy and culture game, Civilization V comes damn close. I’ve honestly been like a kid in a candy store discovering all the goodies Brave New World had in store and I’m still not done. I don’t think any other game this year has gotten me as excited as Civilization V has or given me a more fun experience. And that, ladies and gents, is why despite being a dlc, it is my number one.