Kyle is a contributing editor for Destructoid with a love for all that is bizarre and Japanese in the world. Raised in these here Cblogs, Kyle likes shiny things, long walks on the beach, and raccoons.
We just doled out a mess of game of the year awards, and they're all lovely games. That said, they're not necessarily all my favorite games of 2013. So, in the interest of full disclosure or something, here were the games I voted for.
Honorable mentions: Tomb Raider, Ridiculous Fishing, Electronic Super Joy, Killzone Shadow Fall, Pandora's Tower, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Project X Zone
I feel like Rain came and went without many people taking notice of it. And that's really a pity, because it's a heartwarming and enjoyable adventure. I really enjoyed the early 20th century France atmosphere, with the accordion music, and the graphical effects with all the water were just lovely. The ending made me well up a bit too, but I didn't full-on cry like I did last year with The Unfinished Swan.
Dragon's Crown got a lot of buzz for being offensive and all that, but that kind of distracted from the fact that it's kind of a great game. Say whatever you want about certain aspects of the art, on the whole it's just gorgeous. Along with the music and narration, it transports you to this world with fun brawler combat and RPG elements. I think this is a game I'll be returning to for years.
The Bit.Trip series is just all kinds of amazing. Though my love for the Wii tempered in recent years, I was quite the fanboy at one time and these games were a big reason why. Then Gaijin Games comes back with Runner2 and took the experience from the original title to a whole new level. I'm not sure auto-run platformers get much better than this.
I make no secret of my love for Japanese role-playing games (or Atlus) and Shin Megami Tensei IV is an amazing JRPG. It's oldschool, and can be pretty brutal at times, but it's all worth it. I fell in love with the game the moment a demon requested that I poop with him when I asked him to join my party. Scatalogical humor, it's the quickest way to a man's heart.
Killzone: Mercenary is the best portable first-person shooter ever. Sure, there's not a lot of competition out there, but it looks and feels like a PS3 game. And in some ways it's kind of what I would have liked Shadow Fall (which I also enjoyed quite a bit) to be. The multiplayer is limited and the Vita doesn't have the best input for shooters, but the quality of the game itself is undeniable. Where others have failed miserably, it's amazes. Simply put, Killzone is my jam and Mercenary might be my favorite in the series.
I don't really like 3D Mario games. I don't really know what it is. I grew up with the Super Mario All-Stars and that's the Mario I like. Super Mario 3D World, though, it's a hybrid. And it's a total nostalgia trip. It takes what I love about the New series and turns the experience on its ear, really going the extra mile to make everything loads of fun. If you removed the stupid star collection bullshit, it would be near perfect. I fucking hate that crap so hard.
Back to the positive vibes: OMG I love all the Plessie levels. Also, Neko Mario. KITTIES!
You can read my thoughts on Tales of Xilliaat length here, but you probably won't. You probably just looked at the pictures in this article and then judged me and called me a weeaboo. Really, though. Tales of Xillia is amazing. I called it a modern classic. The characters are so endearing. The battle system makes grinding fun. The music is, well, I'm listening to it right now. Seriously, just go play it.
The Legend of Zelda; A Link Between Worlds is a very long title to type out, but it's also a wonderful entry in one of my favorite series ever. This portable marvel harkens back to what I loved about the franchise in the first place. Not only that, but the game really streamlines the experience, cuts out the crap, and manages to put a new twist on the formula too. Isn't that what people have been begging for? Definitely one of my favorites, right alongside my beloved Majora's Mask.
Is Fire Emblem: Awakening the best SRPG ever or is Fire Emblem: Awakening the best SRPG ever? Dude, I could not stop playing this. It consumed my life for a little while there. Everything from the way it looks, to the way it sounds, to the gameplay, to the wonderful localization is just HNNNNNG. Ugh, I love it. I love it. I love it. Just writing this makes me want to replay it. I don't care if you hate RPGs, or strategy games, or don't have a Nintendo 3DS. Get one. Now. Play Fire Emblem.
Speaking of games that I couldn't stop playing, The Last of Us has scarcely left my PS3's disc tray since the game launched. After going through the wonderful campaign, which really wowed me in ways that big budget AAA games rarely ever do, I gave multiplayer a spin and was hooked.
I hate to use this term, but it's visceral. It's a really violent game, set in a violent world with terrible people that do horrible things, and I love it. The storytelling brings it all together. I believe in it. The quality dripping from virtually every facet of the experience gives me hope. Joel and Ellie's journey was magical -- in a horrifying sort of way. I believe in Naughty Dog now. Man, I don't even like Uncharted.
The competitive experience brings me back week after week after week. I'm still playing this game. The emphasis on collecting resources is really interesting, and I particularly like the round-based best of seven mode where you only get one life. It makes sense within that world, where you're hanging by a thread and trying to scrape things together and will do anything and use anything to survive. It's pretty much the antithesis of the Call of Duty-like multiplayer experience that I loathe. So, therefore it's amazing.
What is up Destructiod? This blog is about The Last of Us which is a videogame you can play. It is basically like that documentary called Tekken starting Qui Gon Jinn. In it you play as a man who has a job in human trafficking named Joel. My neighbor's name is Joel. One time he invited me over for a barbecue but I could not eat anything because I am a vegetarian and everything had meat on it and I was sad. Anyway, human trafficking is bad and you should not do it. Except The Last of Us makes you do it which is actually pretty tasteless actually. Shame on you Naughty Dog. You are a bad dog. A naughty dog.
The Last of Us also has a character that is a girl. Shocking I know. I am led to believe she is a very good character and is played by the actrice Juno from that one movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and the loud noises like those in the Tom Cruise movie War of the Worlds which I actually thought was pretty good actually. As you can see in the screenshot above, the graphics are very much photorealistic. They have advanced polytron graphics exclusive to PlayStation Three that other consoles do not have. So stop asking for a Wii U port. You cannot have my emotions.
I was very sad to hear you do not get to play as Juno. Someone on Twitter told me that this was sexist probably. Anyway, back to Joel the more important character in the game. Joel is a bad man and does bad man things. Joe hurts people. Joel also likes to steal things. Joel goes into houses that do not belong to Joel and takes things from drawers and shelves and other things that are not drawers and shelves to keep and use as if they did belong to him actually. This is wrong. And I believe it does not send a good message to the youths in America.
Speaking of this, if video games were real life Joel would go to jail and be arrested probably. That would be The Last we see of him! I am concerned The Last of Us may be too violent. I have been watching the Fox news lately and the pretty ladies and handsome men sitting on the comfy looking couch had some words for video games. Video games have come a long way from Pac Man and Pong they said. I agree with this. Speaking of men. Where is Mega Man Legends 3, Capcom? Back on topic now. Unfortunately video games are also very violent now and games such as Pony Friends for the Nintendo DS may be making people do violent crimes. Video games should be taxed like as are cigarettes and alcohol to stop the violence.
Another disturbing thing about The Last of Us is that it is scary like that other frightening shoot 'em up F.3.A.R or that other one which I seem to have forgotten the name of. Oh well. I do not like scary movies because they make me scared and then I have to sleep with the light on at night and my energy bill goes up and it is already summer and the air conditioning is on already and we are living in economic times. Thanks Obama. Anyway, the zombies frightened me and I had to change my pants. In conclusion, The Last of Us is not a classic of the genre like Resident Evil 6 but it can still be fun sometimes.
Update: Dragon's Crown also deserves a spot on this list. And from what I've played of Killzone Mercenary it'll be on here too.
We're a little over halfway through the year. Seems like a good time to do some reflecting or whatever. In no particular order...
Fire Emblem: Awakening is a modern classic. Intelligent Systems have crafted one of the finest strategy role-playing games in years. This alone is a reason to pick up a Nintendo 3DS.
I'm pretty sure The Last of Us has ruined AAA games for me. It sets such a high standard. Just about anything else pales in comparison. Naughty Dog have come as close to perfection as I've seen from a big budget release in a long, long time.
Tomb Raider is one of thsoe games that The Last of Us ruined for me. I couldn't help but constantly think about all its little flaws. Ad yet, like a summer action flick, I found it pretty entertaining. It's not great, but I couldn't put it down.
I love the Bit.Trip series. The way Gaijin Games blends facets of retro design into all-new nostalgia-laden experiences really speaks to me. Runner2 continues that trend. It's a pretty good time.
Released just a week into the New Year with little to no fanfare, Anarchy Reigns was sent out to die. And that's a real pity because this pseudo-follow-up to Madworld is one of the most entertaining multiplayer games of 2013. The murderous sport that is Deathball is well-worth the title's asking price alone.
Project X Zone is a game with little in the way of nuance. It takes characters from the vaults of Capcom, Namco, and Sega; and tosses them together into a tactical role-playinggame. It's total fan service and I love it.
Ubisoft repurposed the mechanics from one of my favorite releases of last year into a wacky new experience. Far Cry 3 is pure stupid fun. And it's great value for money to boot. More of this please.
Least favorite games...
BioShock Infinite, Time and Eternity, The Starship Damrey
Killer is Dead, Dragon's Crown, Killzone Mercenary, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Saints Row IV, Killzone Shadow Fall
Still in the Backlog...
Pandora' Tower, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Metal Gear Rising, Monaco, Antichamber
Videogames probably aren't real life. Link never has to worry about smelling terrible after jogging halfway across Hyrule. Diddy Kong eats plenty of bananas, but never has any poop to throw at anybody. (Sad, I know.) I think we can all agree, unless there's a zombie hiding in the tub, bathrooms are pretty irrelevant to videogames. (Oops. Sorry! Spoilers for Resident Evil 1 on the GameCube, y'all.) This makes Mario and Luigi pretty sad. If they weren't otherwise occupied saving princesses whilst moonlighting as professional baseball players, race car drivers, golfers, etc, etc, they'd be pretty damn unemployed because nobody needs a videogame plumber. Absolutely nobody.
Videogames need to be more like real life. And real life shoulb be more like movies probably. I think I saw a man use a toilet in a movie once. Also, a lady shower scene with frosted glass below the clavicle. I broke my clavicle once while skateboarding. That is pretty irrelevant actually. Anyway, videogames should be more like real life movies probably which David Cage said is good. We need more bathroom using. Like as did Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy with shaving and urinals. Urinal cakes. Mmmmm cakes.
Luckily, innovation is happening in this sector. Earlier this year I did reviewed a game called Corpse Party Book of Shadows (picture aboved) which did feature some ladies doing the hygiene. There was another Corpse Party which did also did the bath time except it was brother and sister instead of friends.
Croixleur also referenced bath time between friends, which is good for the environment as it does conserve the water. This theme is also present in The Last Story, where protagonist Zael can choose to peek on his friends Syrenne and Calista while they are also conserving water. Except Syrenne and Calista did not seem to appreciate the peeking. Don't peek, you guys!
Other innovation games include Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, God of War 2, teh Witcher 2, Persona 4 Golden, Prince of Persia Sands of Time, and Dishonored. So freinds, get INNOVATION, and scrub a dub dub in the tub.
A few weeks ago Destructoid staff submitted lists of our ten favorite games to release in the past twelve months. Those lists were concentrated down to just five nominees. And Telltale's The Walking Dead emerged the victor. Now that it's past midnight and the calendar gods have decided it's a new year, I figured I'd share my picks because of REASONS. Too much beer probably. Also, Hamza did it and I endeavor to be more like Hamza. I've even purchased some Rogaine for my arms.
#10 Code of Princess
It's been a long time since I enjoyed a side-scrolling beat 'em up. For some reason though Code of Princess really struck a chord with me. Its colorful cast of characters, role-playing elements, bite-sized missions, and gratifying combat really won me over. Code of Princess is very much worthy of being billed a successor to Guardian Heroes.
#9 Persona 4 Arena
Fighting games. I love them dearly, but I'm so bad at them. It might be a while before I defeat anybody online, but at least I can trounce a computer. And hey! P4A lets me spend more time in this awesome world with these lovely characters. That's enough for me.
Ever since I got my hands on SSX at E3 2011 I've been in love. The asynchronous multiplayer, the bright visuals, the techno soundtrack are all wonderful. But what I really dig about it is that the game evokes the feeling of the older entries in the series while delivering something very cutting edge.
#7 Lollipop Chainsaw
Lollipop Chainsaw is probably my least favorite major release from Grasshopper Manufacture since Killer 7. And yet, I still had a blast playing it. Something about that studio's style and Suda 51's humor really resonates with me. I really appreciate how saccharine and arcade-y this game is. Short and sweet. (With some foul language) That's Lollipop Chainsaw in a nutshell. I'll play it over and over and again.
#6 The Unfinished Swan
I'd recommend this one to just about anyone, but it seems like a whole lot of people don't seem to terribly fond of it. I'm not sure why exactly, it reminds me of Portal crossed with Flower. That can't be a bad thing. It just can't. It also got me a bit misty-eyed at the end there. I went in expecting a decent first-person puzzler and walked away with a storybook tale that warmed up my cold, stony heart.
#5 Asura's Wrath
I still wonder how I fell in love a game that's made up of QTEs but it happened somehow. The episodic anime-style of the whole thing was so incredibly strange but managed to be very wonderful at the same time and I really appreciated how absurd the whole thing was. Very much one of this year's visual treats.
#4 The Walking Dead
How in the hell is a point-and-click adventure game on this list? A really strong narrative, that's how. It made me cry. Like a baby. That's never happened before. Not on account of a game anyway. Stupid adventure game logic aside, Telltale really did do something special with that story and those characters.
#3 Far Cry 3
As the follow up to one of my favorite games of all time, Far Cry 3 had some pretty big shoes to fill and I think it did so admirably. Sure the story leaves a lot to be desired and it's a whole lot more linear than I'd like, but I really dig the combat and role-playing elements Ubisoft Montreal added to the equation. I can definitely see why some are calling it this year's Skyrim.
#2 Binary Domain
In addition to just being a lot of fun, Binary Domain really made me reflect on society and what it means to be a person. I think Sega and Yakuza Studio really did a wonderful job at making what could have just been another dumb shooter a very cerebral experience.
Journey harkens back to an era where things aren't explained in mind-numbing detail. It points the player in a direction, sets them on a path and says GO! Everything else just kind of unfolds from there and it's pretty magical. Also as well also, in an age when every game has a dull, tacked-on multiplayer mode thatgamecompan makes me really hopeful for what multiplayer experiences can become.
Honorable mentions: The Last Story, Sine Mora, I Am Alive, Q.U.B.E.