2013 Games of my year

2013

I don’t play all the games that come out every year.  I don’t even play all the AAA releases.  I do however play a lot of games.  In 2013 I played a total of 49 video games and consider 32 of them finished.  I get a little nerdy when it comes to tracking video games I play and games that I want to play and if you’d like, you can view my spreadsheet to see everything that I did play in 2013.  You may notice that quite a few of the games on the list are games that didn’t come out in 2013.  That’s ok.

The year started off with me on a huge Nintendo Wii kick.  At the end of 2012, I decided to not  pick up my pre-ordered WiiU and instead get a bunch of games and stuff for my neglected Wii.  I started off strong with the Wii, playing 6 games and finishing 4 of them – which is more games that I’ve played on the Wii since I got it (on it’s launch day).  Something else interesting is the fact that I picked up a Playstation Vita in November and started playing the hell out of it.  I ended up playing 3 PSVita games and finishing 2 of them.  The 3rd, I’m 2/3 the way through it and it will probably be finished before the end of the year.  I also snagged a Nintendo 3DS XL on the cheap around the holidays so next year will probably have a large representation from the portable gaming space as I attempt to catch up with all the games I missed.

Without further ado, here is the top 10 games of my year starting at number 10 and finishing up with a few honorable mentions:

10. Far Cry 3 (PC)

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I picked up and started playing Far Cry 3 at the very very tail end of 2012 where 95% of the game I played in 2013.  After being really bored of open world games, Far Cry 3 sucked me in and had me hunting around for collectibles, climbing radio towers, and doing all of the side quests I could find.  The game was just fun and had a lot of emergent moments due to the AI design and the animal presence in the game.  Ultimately the story fell a little flat, but had one of the greatest villain character performances in any game that I have played.  Unfortunately, that villain wasn’t even the main villain and ended up being defeated prematurely.  I’ll go ahead and mention Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon here as it’s basically a standalone mod of FC3 proper.  It’s also great and rewarding and fun in it’s own little 80’s action movie way.

9. Crysis 3 (PC)

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Crysis 3 sits in a weird place where it’s quite a bit better than Crysis 2, but not quite as good as the first games in the series.  It is, however, a technical masterpiece.  Crytek really blew it out of the water graphically with this game, but that isn’t the only thing Crysis 3 has going for it.  Being a bad ass taking down droves of bad guys is always a good time, and the suit powers and environments just make it that much better.  Crysis 3 also nailed it in terms of multiplayer as well.  Apart from the standard deathmatch modes, there was a unique mode called Hunters which had you controlling a nanosuit wearing super soldier with permanent cloak, or being a normal run of the mill soldier.  Get killed by a hunter? You become a hunter.  It was a great unique game mode that kept me coming back the way most multiplayer shooters do not.

8. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm (PC)

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Why Kerrigan!!?!!?  You were supposed to be the chosen one!!  I really like Starcraft.  After really enjoying the campaign of Wings of Liberty, I finally got to play as my main race in this great tale of revenge.   Kerrigan is just… angry and controlling the swarm as her was great.  The gameplay and upgrade systems have never been better and the story ended very satisfyingly and leaves me anxious to play the final expansion of the 3.  I didn’t get as into the multiplayer as I would have liked, but I imagine that I’ll dabble back into it as I always do.

7. Spelunky (PC/PSVita)

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Spelunky is the best “one more try” game that I think I have ever played.  It’s tough as nails, but so satisfying when you finally accomplish something.  I originally played this game on the PC and then later began playing it on the PSVita where I think it is absolutely perfect.  I was finally able to make my way to the end boss and finish him off, but the daily challenges keep me coming back every day to keep my skill up.  I imagine that with the portability of the PSVita I’ll continue playing this game for some time.

6. Bioshock Infinite (PC)

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I am a huge fan of the Bioshock series.  I’ve played through Bioshock 1 and 2 multiple times and thoroughly enjoy everything about them.  Bioshock Infinite takes us to a setting that couldn’t be more different from the underwater city of Rapture to the incredibly designed floating city of Columbia.  Everything about the art design and detail of this game scream perfection.  It was a delight exploring every square inch of Columbia on my way through this rollercoaster story about politics, ethics, greed, love and family.  Beautiful.

5. Grand Theft Auto V (PS3)

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I never made it through GTA4, and to be honest, I haven’t finished GTAV (I believe I got sidetracked by some other big release).  The difference?  I’ll be making my way back to GTAV in the near future and continue on with the wild antics of Michael, Franklin and Trevor.  The characters of GTAV for me are the definite high point and the way Rockstar blended each of the 3 distinctly different characters into the main story was nothing short of spectacular.  Of course all of the chaos, gun play and grand theft auto that we’ve come to expect from a GTA game are all fully intact and as fun as ever.  The inclusion of GTA Online added something else to do with your friends, though I wish the open  world part of it was s little more fleshed out.  Regardless, even if GTA Online wasn’t a part of GTAV, it would still be a good enough game to make the top 10 games of my year.

4. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

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It really is a shame that it took me this long to play this amazing game and it’s sequel (which I’ll be playing some time in 2014).  Super Mario Galaxy is a game that is just plain fun – everything about it.  I couldn’t help but smile while travelling throughout the galaxy exploring the world the wizards at Nintendo dreamt up.  First party games are what keep Nintendo alive and I’ll continue to buy and play them as long as they keep making them.

3. Tomb Raider (PC)

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I have a confession to make.  This was the first Tomb Raider game I ever really played.  But that’s ok, because it was a game that combined treasure hunting, tomb raiding, rock climbing, exploration and great combat all into one neat package.  While the game is often compared to the Uncharted series, it’s a very different game.  I had more fun playing Tomb Raider, was never bored and felt like it was the perfect length.  The game also looks amazing (on PC) and I think it’s great that they are bringing it to the PS4 and Xbox One in the definitive version.  If it adds anything extra, maybe I’ll check it out.

2. The Last of Us (PS3)

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Aside from the dark story beats and sometimes gruesome visuals, there was never a time when I didn’t enjoy playing The Last of Us.  Naughty Dog did it again.  They created a game focused around the characters and surrounded them with an incredibly detailed world and weaved a story that arguably has been told a number of times, but not with the finesse on display here.  Naughty Dog clearly shows us the extent of their mastery of the Playstation Hardware that they’ve built upon through the Uncharted games.  The only unfortunate thing is that it wasn’t on the PC where the graphics really could have been taken to the next level.  I look forward to what Naughty Dog can do with the PS4 hardware.  The Last of Us truly is a masterpiece and is probably one of my favorite games of the PS3/Xbox 360 generation.

1. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag (PS4)

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I’ve kind of slowed down on the Assassin’s Creed games.  I’ve played them since the beginning and have come to enjoy their quirks and their great gameplay.  However, their annual release came to be somewhat of a burden and nearing the release of AC4: Black Flag, I didn’t think I was ready for another Assassin’s Creed game.  I have never been so wrong about a video game.  Assassin’s Creed 4 for me has completely jump started the series.  It does a fantastic job of portraying what it would be like to be a pirate in the early 1700s.  Everyone loves pirates right?  Then why don’t we see many video games about pirates?  Because no one has taken the chance of building out a game based around pirate ships and naval combat… too risky.  When Assassin’s Creed 3 added the little bit of naval combat and saw how much the gamers loved it, making a pirate game was a natural fit – and they really did a great job with it.  Add the naval combat and exploration with the great combat engine that Ubisoft has evolved throughout the years and you get a great game.  I’m now again interested in Assassin’s Creed games and will look forward to the next version no doubt releasing November 2014.

Honorable Mentions:

Metroid: Other M (Wii)

Most people hated this game, but I found it to be quite the enjoyable Metroid game, though a little different.

Battlefield 4 (PC)

I never finished the single player of BF3, but did finish the BF4 campaign.  Though I doubted the “levolution” that was so present in BF4 marketing, it really made the multiplayer stand out.

Hearthstone (PC)

I loved the WOW TCG.  So it’s not a surprise that I really enjoy Hearthstone.  It’s a great game.

Tearaway (PSVita)

The first game I bought for my brand new PSVita.  Aesthetically pleasing and fun little platformer that showcases all the extra bells and whistles of the PSVita.  It also puts YOU in the game!



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