Thursday, January 2, 2014

Opinion: Best and Worst Games of 2013

Dustin's Best and Worst Games for 2013
Originally Copyrighted and Published by Blast Away the Game Review on 1/2/2014
Written by Dustin Murphy

 When it comes to 2013, we were filled with some of the best moments in gaming, and at the same time some of the worst. What does this all lead up to? Well when it comes down to it all of us have that gut impact of "oh man that was awesome". Meanwhile, there are a few of us that also had those gut wrenching moments that made us absolutely want to cry. By cry? I mean sob in a corner like a little kid who just got their candy taken away by a bully. In the spotlight there's always that knight in shining armor to save us all, and that's where we will do my top ten and bottom ten games for 2013.

Best Games of 2013:

#10: Diablo 3 (Blizzard Entertainment, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360)
  Blizzard, starting back in their days of Lost Vikings had always made some of the best games I'd ever gotten my hands on, and that legacy continued to venture forth with games such as WarCraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. Back in 2011 there had been murmurs leaking through the internet and the gaming community that a console release of Diablo III had been leaked by an anonymous source only to later be confirmed. In releasing Diablo III for console, console players were able to visit a version that seemed to nod its head to its successful predecessor Diablo II back on PC. With it? Players got a fully functional, online friendly, and heavily applauded version, with one flaw - no Battle.Net support, which meant no PC gamers could transfer characters to console. 

#9:  Rune Factory 4 (Neverland Co. - 3DS)

  Nodding it's head at previous Rune Factory titles, Rune Factory 4 gave handheld players a console like experience in their handheld. Taking many aspects from old hack 'n slash games, Rune Factory 4 introduced itself as an RPG with a very lively world, one that required players to maintain relationships, farms, equipment, and of course your own relationships with family that you create.

#8: Soul Sacrifice (Marvelous AQL and Japan Studio - PS Vita)

  After a long break from Mega Man, creator Keiiji Inafune once more returned to his roots, and by that we mean dark ones. Soul Sacrifice is a title about sacrifice or saving, but with each sacrifice goes a part of a soul, one that can be infused with others and unfortunately lost because of it. Soul Sacrifice gives players a delicious taste for co-operative gameplay while also achieving a highly detailed combat system. Soul Sacrifice can call itself a proud to exist title with its upcoming "sequel" - Soul Sacrifice Delta.

#7: Ys Memories of Celceta (Nihon Falcom Corporation - PS Vita)

  Arriving as a re-imagining of Ys IV, Memories of Celceta takes players once more into the role as Adol; who this time has forgotten everything about his journey. Having done so, he brings up new traveling companion Duren who will assist him through much of the title, and with him - new companions. In this hack 'n slash, beat 'em up, and collect as much loot as possible; Ys Memories of Celceta delivers upon the origin, which it was built. Featuring a new game+ type mode and of course countless hours of collectible hunting, every fan will not be disappointed by the graphics, storytelling, or sound.

#6: Pokémon X and Y (Game Freak - Nintendo 3DS)

   Much like past entries, Pokémon X and Y features a new list of Pokémon to train, new battles, new enemies, and even new side quests players can pick up as they progress through the story. With many features (some not available - Pokémon Storage to be an example) has included things such as friends safari, Pokémon GTS now being part of the interface, and of course battle challenges being made for players to fight each other randomly through connecting to the internet. They can also overpower each other.

#5: BioShock Infinite (Irrational Games - PC/PlayStation 3/XBox 360)

   Following up where many people craved more Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite offered a first time voice actor for the main protagonist; Booker DeWitt. With it we also see the first time the main protagonist has also gotten a co-op A.I. by the name of Elizabeth who has joined him on the adventure to escape from Father Comstock and his falling apart utopia; Columbia. On this adventure in first person, players will fight new enemies, pick up new abilities, and of course go in for a new take on the Bioshock universe.

#4: Splinter Cell Blacklist (Ubisoft Montreal/Shangai/Tornto) - PC/PlayStation 3/Wii U/XBox 360)

     Following up the previous title, Splinter Cell Conviction, players once more take on the role as a newly voice acted Sam Fisher. Having left the series as Sams voice actor, Michael Ironside, now replaced by Eric Johnson, will take on an international terrorism organization known as "The Engineers" who has obtained a list of names they consider, "The Blacklist". In an attempt to stop the organization,the president activates the newly formed group by the name of Fourth Echelon, which is headed by members Sam Fisher, Charlie Cole, Isaac Briggs and Anna 'Grim' Grímsdóttir  who now find themselves in a adrenaline filled fight to stop "The Engineers" before they can do more damage than they already have. 

#3: Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Capcom Studio 1 - Wii U | Eighting - Nintendo 3DS)

   Once more featuring a robust adventure, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a remaster in many ways of the successful series that had only formally launched in North America and much of the world on PS2 and PSP saw a second console launch on the Wii as Monster Hunter Tri, only to follow a few years later as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U and the 3DS. In it players with the console version can go online and offline in order to do the offline campaign, free hunts, and of course trading or they can go online and take on massive hunts with friends while voice and text chatting. Unfortunately Nintendo 3DS owners were left with a much less alternate if they didn't have a Wii U due to the lack of online support, but fear not, if you had friends near by with it, and a circle pad pro to make the game friendly - you are in luck. For those that have both versions, they are able to enjoy the best of both worlds with this community focused title.

#2: Beyond Two Souls (Quantic Dream - PS3)

   It's not every day you see former Juno star Ellen Page grace the screen with legendary actor Willem Dafoe in a video game. With a powerful story backing it up as well as quick time events, Beyond Two Souls delivers a heart grabbing, ear pounding, tear jerking, emotion filled game that will drive players to not leave their screens due to the elements that unfold within it. Unfortunately the game itself gets distracted a few times on the course to the main campaign and will leave people cringing for about an hour, but luckily, it's worth it. The story is told from the aspect of Jodie (Page), her caretaker Doctor Nathen Dawkins (Dafoe), and big brother like friend researcher Cole Freeman (Kareem Hardison). The game takes place with her and a mysterious forced by the name of Aiden who aids her through her toughest and her ugliest moments of life. Truly a game worth the rating of #2 for 2013 on my personal list of top 10 games.

#1: The Last of Us (Naughty Dog, Inc. - PS3)

 The Last of Us was no surprise to be a game that would test the boundaries of right and wrong as well as the need to survive. In the Last of Us you take on the role of Joel and his teenage adolescent side-kick Ellie in a post-apocalyptic world where zombies (infected by a fungus) exist. The problem with them? They give zombies from The Walking Dead and Resident Evil a run for their money - why? They don't require mutations to become super ferocious, instead infection duration, and that alone is scary enough if you ask me.

The Worst of 2013:

#10: Aliens Colonial Marines (Gearbox/TimeGate Studios/Nerve Software - PC/PS3/360)

   Having been one of the most games in recent history; Aliens Colonial Marines was a nightmare. With many of the assets players had seen before having been scrapped, and then launched, it is not a wonder to why this title came out as bad as it did. Unfortunately, only the PC version can say it has been "tweaked" to what we saw in the pre-rendered demos, and that's not saying much. For a game that was supposed to be as great as it was - it was not as great as it appeared.

#9: Defiance (Trion Worlds, Inc - PC/PS3/360)

  Unfortunately this game had a lot going for it when the idea was pitched to the public and the enthusiasm began. Over time players have seemed to begin to thin out due to the lack of content that provided a balance between show, game, and player needs. Unfortunately, it seems the game has no plans at this time to head to the XBox One and PlayStation 4 or even hinted at players obtaining this title as it releases. We can only hope that when and if it does, it'll go free to play, and allow those who have already purchased it and the season pass to obtain it for free or contact Trion Worlds, inc for a refund and or a new version. We can only hope at this rate of the games decline on consoles and or PC.

#8: Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (Insomniac Games - PS3/PS Vita)
  As a Ratchet & Clank enthusiast I had to say I was quite excited for the title and the ability to play it on multiple platforms. When it finally came to the PS Vita after months of wait, it was an eye sore, and one that I'm glad to have not experienced to its fullest. When it comes to graphics, it's never been much of a big thing, but when more than a handful of gamer's say something; it's a problem. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have any plans in order to fix existing and or problems with this title. We can only hope that if another one heads its way to the handheld, we'll see a bit of a upgrade in graphics, and hopefully user friendliness.

#7: Fire Emblem: Awakening (Intelligent Systems | Nintendo SPD - Nintendo 3DS)

  We all love a turn based strategy and RPG mash up, this was one of the titles we had to cringe at most, and there was only a few reasons, but they were enough to drag it down. Unfortunately it was because of replay value, add-on content, and well those peg legged feet that seemed to haunt the character designs and horrendously flaw them. Lets go to say, this title as it were, was very well crafted in graphics, class builds, and map design. In the long run, many of the fights felt as if they were the same, mechanics didn't change, and unfortunately enemies became rather repetitive with their infamous one-liners.

#6: Payday 2 (Overkill Software | Starbreeze Studios - PC/PS3/360)

  Unfortunately for a game that had a lot of potential to stick a campaign onto it, Payday 2 was one of those that not exceed past a tactical shooter with a co-op build, it truly lacked in campaign. Unfortunately, 505 Games seemed to have a hard time getting it into stores outside of those who had it pre-ordered. This title is truly not as breath taking as it could be, which is not much to say, and unfortunately it does not surpass that of what it could have done. Lets just hope Payday 3 is as good as two and introduces an actual campaign versus online co-op component.

#5: State of Decay (Undead Labs - PC/360)

  Zombie games are a dime a dozen anymore and this is something I'm not up for. With as many bugs as the game has it seems that the problems haven't been fixed for console, which doesn't bode well, and an unfortunate problem is; some of them can't be fixed. With this it comes down to being unable to have populations more than thirty two people. This is what has deterred the positive aspects of this game.

#4: Mega Man X (Capcom - WiiU)

  As a Mega Man enthusiast this was a no-brain-required type purchase. Quickly this title was obtained in hopes that it would have some resemblance to the PSP version Mega Man X Maverick Hunter that released on the PSP. This is something that was curiously not-present in the WiiU eShop release, but for those who want to experience an SNES classic, they will not be dissapointed.

#3: Hitman HD Collection (IO Interactive - PS3/360)

  Hitman when it premiered on consoles became an instant smash hit and became in later years, a classic. As the generations moved on so did the gamer's, but some whispered their need to experience Hitman once more as Hitman: Absolution released. Well that didn't bode well for many who did not experience the game or had and wanted to once more. Unfortunately as a side effect, many of the bugs moved with it, and left the game at its original pure form except for being HD.

#2: Crysis 3 (Crytek - PC/PS3/360) 
  When Crysis became an instant smash hit and ended up taking the gaming industry by storm because of its graphical prowess. Crysis 3 attempted to do just that on the consoles and succeeded in some ways, unfortunately not as well as PC, and that's not including many of the lockup bugs that players began to report. For a game that was known for such detail it seems the final entry into a well known series suffered a tad bit on the release group. Hopefully this is something that doesn't show in future titles and will allow them to show off their true capability with next generation of consoles and PC.

#1: SimCity (Maxis - PC)

  This was probably the worst case of gaming mess ups in 2013. When Maxis released SimCity many players found the game unplayable, lag ridden, broken, and of course encountering many of the games bugs as well as DRM errors. With this came a swift action required by EA in order to fix the game, not including disabling some of the games features such as online leaderboards, achievements, and of course no offline at all. If you were intending on a offline experience, this is a big problem, and we caution you to avoid. It seems folks still flood the DRM filled market and do not stand to have this problem fix. We hope Maxis does this as Rock, Paper, and Shotgun stated that they could easily change one line of code to enable the online. Sorry Maxis, we love your games, but we hope you see that DRM is slowly exiting the gaming world.

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