Top Ten Games of 2013

24 02 2014

1 | Rayman Legends
After really enjoying Rayman Origins (and Rayman Jungle Run for that matter) I was blown away by how much better Rayman Legends is. My only real complaint against Legends is that the Murphy implentation in the Lucha Fiesta world isn’t great (a relic of this originally being a Wii U exclusive).

I stopped on multiple occasions to take in just how visually striking the 2D art is. Controls are tight and responsive. Content is varied and always egnaging which was a problem I had with Origins at times. Even the dreaded underwater levels are amazing thanks to added stealth gameplay. Legends is an absolute joy to play and a reminder of how fun games can be. Oh did I mention how awesome the music levels are? They’re incredible and I wish there were more.

2 | DMC: Devil May Cry
This game caught me somewhat off guard as I have never gotten into DMC despite my favorite genre being third person action adventure. Even more surprising was how solid the gameplay is coming from Ninja Theory. Their last game Enslaved: Oddysey to the West is one of my favorites from the past several years but not for its gameplay. DMC succeeds largely because of how much style is on display with its visuals and level design.

DMC’s controls for using your many weapons (trigger modifiers) put a vast amount of attacks at your disposable without having to memorize tons of combos. I wish the story had been more consistently over the top but what’s there is fine. Traversal is a blast.

3 | Batman: Arkham Origins
Leading up to its release I had largely written Arkham Origins off as it looked like a carbon copy of Arkham City. Though I had bouts of deja vu while playing Origins it successfully captures the previous two games (developed by new studio). Origins may be the best of the trilogy only failing due to the originality and innovation introduced by Asylum.

The Arkham series solid gameplay still holds up. Though melee combat remained interesting throughout thanks in part to new tweaks I found the stealth sections to lose steam quickly. Boss fights implement your gadgets in an engaging way and are further helped by villains jumping in and out of the story. Speaking of narrative Origins is very well written and paced much better than Arkham City. A more colorful palette and comic book style provide a striking backdrop for your adventures as Batman.

4 | The Last of Us
A great character piece very reminiscient of Children of Men. The amount of combat feels unnecessary and intruded on my investment at times. There is a particular stretch around the Dam that feels like pure filler. Incredible amount of varied and detailed art helps to create a very strong atmosphere. Definitely a game with flaws but a story certainly worth seeing through.

5 | Puppeteer
The first item I have to bring up with Puppeteer are the visuals. Absolutely beautiful artistic direction that is both imaginative and in large quantity. The story in Puppeteer is a simple fairytale but is excetued well thanks to great writing and mostly solid voice acting. Gameplay mechanics are simple but feel unique due to smaller level design and the ability to cut with scissors. The act of cutting is best on display in the games clever boss fights. Though the cutting mechanic should remain enjoyable throughout I found it to be a bit overused and the game in need of one more mechanic to balance it out (maybe simply the oppositive of sewing something back together).

6 | Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
I was suprised by how much I enjoyed this atypical entry in the Call of Juarez franchise. Heavily influenced by Bulletstorm’s arcade style shooting experience. Its defining feature is the narrative framework which has the level changing as the narrator revises the story.

7 | Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Successfully captures the feeling of going on an adventure. Beautiful art direction is reminiscent of Middle Earth. Though I never got a full grasp of the game’s unique control scheme and at times hated it the moments when it worked really added to the narrative.

8 | Saints Row IV
This game is pretty dumb and that’s great. Saints Row 3 missions are more memorable but the superhero powers make this a lot of fun. I probably had the most fun just running, jumping, and gliding around the city. Hey that’s normally the part I hate in open world games.

9 | Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
I should have written something down after playing this. It was a lot of fun.

10 | Honorable Mentions
Remember Me
Tomb Raider
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Bioshock Infinite
The Swapper
The Stanley Parable

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