So 2013 draws to a close, and everyone's putting up their best games and moments and such. I figured I might as well join in. It seemed like a quaint little idea.
There's a problem though.
As I've said in the past, I'm terrible with putting things in actual order, and I doubt I could point out which game I enjoyed the most this year. So instead of doing a list, I'm going to offer a retrospective on some of the games I've played this year. What did I think of them, and more important, how I feel about them now.
So, with some reluctance, I present to you, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 2013.
In retrospect, I realise the game's lack of difficulty might put a lot of hardcore hack and slash fans off. Despite that, I loved Driftmoon
. It's a quirky, light-hearted adventure. It's Something that seems all too alien to the current RPG scene, that's over saturated by Witchers and Dragon Angst. For those who aren't particularly fond of the grindy style of hack and slash, Driftmoon
provides something more gentle.
won me over with its charm. It's got a cast of humorous characters, each with a distinct personality (with little moping in sight). The puzzles are creative, and the short nature of the game means I didn't get bored with repetition. It's aesthetics are simple, but delightful, and full of colour and variety. Driftmoon
has a lovable Discworld like quality to it.
This short fantasy joy ride has everything you could ask for; dungeons, skeletons, talking crabs, everything.
Kerbal Space Program
While I haven't had the chance to play with the newest update, I will definitely vouch for this game. No other game I played this year has the same sense of achievement. Yes, I did have to read a lot of guides to get things moving, and yes, the failures vastly outnumbered the successes, but it was worth it.
Half the fun of course is in building the most ridiculous rocket you can imagine, and them watching it try to take off in shambles. Many, many good Kerbals died in the name of comedy. There can be no regrets.
In retrospect, a part of me wonders whether I was a bit too generous with this game. While I certainly found the game-play both challenging and entertaining, there was never anything that stuck out as exceptional. Even the comparisons to old, top down Zelda
games comes up short due to Anodyne's
lack of items.
Despite those doubts, Anodyne
left a lasting impression on me. Naturally, it's overshadowed immensely by the big budget ďmatureĒ games, like Bioshock
and The Last of Us
. I think the Destructoid review did Anodyne
an injustice by calling it pretentious. Bioshock
and The Last of Us
speak to an older audience, with their father-daughter themes, which more reviewers would account themselves as. Anodyne
, I feel, speaks more to younger adults, a group which I find myself more sympathetic towards.
Perhaps it's that difference in audience that leaves reviewers with a less favourable view of Anodyne
There's no doubt about it, the rebooted Shadow Warrior
is the most fun I've had from the a first-person shooter for eons. With the exception of the lacklustre boss battles, there was nary a thing I didn't enjoy about this game. The levels were diverse and often a feast for the eyes. The guns all had their unique roles and styles.
Of course, it would be criminal not to devote some time to the fantastic swordplay. It's mindless and violent, but so damn fun. If there's something more fun you can do with demons than slice them apart, I frankly don't want to know about it.
I've vowed not to give this game another reply until it's in a more developed state. Maybe when beta comes around, I'll write about it again. In the meantime, I was impressed with that I saw of Telepath Tactics
With mechanics bearing a close resemblance to Fire Emblem, with a couple of twists to call its own, and some simple, old school looks, Telepath Tactics tickled me in all the right places. I've got high hopes that the slightly sparse alpha will path the way for an in-depth turn based strategy game.
If memory serves me correctly, which it so often doesn't, then Proteus
was in fact the first game I played this year. In fact, I think I played it on New Years Day. I've harped on about it on quite a few time in my entries. I'm rather enamoured by this title.
It's a relaxing experience, to sum it in brief. There's little else to do beyond walking around and taking in the sights and sounds, but the atmosphere is magical and bright. The changing tunes and ambient noises are a feast for the ears.
was the game that convinced me that there's something to these art games.
Another in a long line of indie puzzle games, InFlux
is a game I found rather disappointing. It's has the trappings of your typical artsy puzzle game, but I failed to find any of the meaning in the time I was playing it.
The puzzles were highly repetitious, and all too often were fraught with frustrations from the physics. Getting the little balls to roll around in an orderly fashion, only to watch them roll over a railing, was a headache, and not in any intellectually stimulating way. Everything else about the game was too generic. It's show of strange happenings were dull when compared to the abstract events of other puzzle games out there, and the visuals were all right at best.
did have one mystery that still eludes me. Why, oh why, did it always feel the need to tell me it was loading something, sight unseen. That little ring in the bottom corner is more engraved in my mind than anything else InFlux
had to offer.
Another downer of a game I played this year. While I love Inquisitor
in concept, I found it too weighted down in hack n' slash clichťs to be enjoyable. The idea of playing the role of the inquisition was fascinating, and the atmosphere of the game's world hit the mark perfectly for the subject concerned. Unfortunately, the investigative aspect of Inquisitor
was squashed under the unbearable battle system. Even on the easiest difficulty, enemies were spongy, and dealt fatal damage too quickly. In the end, Inquisitor
felt like drudgery.
Sadly, right from the very start, where I was force to circle a town and kill all the bats, my hopes for this game were fading. While the sound effect of my spell was amusing, it was not nearly enough to keep me interested in the terrible combat.
If only Inquisitor
had been a different sort of RPG. Something less combat focused, and more scope on the investigations.
Fire Emblem: Awakening
Let's not mince words here; Fire Emblem: Awakening
was a fantastic game. The visuals were polished, and the soundtrack was absolutely wonderful. There's plenty of variation with the difficulty, satisfying both the needs of the newcomer and the veteran. The skill system and promotion trees offered plenty of ways to build my army how I wanted, and there was never a shortage of battles to be had.
All is not well however, and I can't quite explain it. Even though I thought the game was a blast, I've had no urge to buy many of the DLC for it, or give it another play through. It's not the big picture, but rather lots of little things that nibble away at the thought of holding this game higher.
You see, the first Fire Emblem
released in the west (which was the seventh in the series), was one the most important games I've ever played, and sits on the mountain's summit with many other games I rank as my favourites. While Awakening
satisfied a lot of itches, it also felt rather lukewarm compared to the Game Boy Advance's interpretation of the series.
It's basically the same as how I feel about Skyrim
in comparison to Morrowind
; a brilliant game, which I enjoyed thoroughly, but couldn't fill the shoes of the predecessor. I suppose you can just call it nostalgia, if you're looking for a name for the face.
(I could fetch a screenshot for this, but that would require me a download a big, many gigs, patch. Not on my internet I ain't.)
I spent a good potion of this year sticking with this MMOFPS. I don't really consider myself much of an MMO fan by any stretch, but this game did draw my interest. Last year, I hooked up with the beta, and continued playing right up until October.
feels like a masterpiece jig-saw with just a few of the key pieces missing. There's too much potential to just ignore, but it's so rough around the edges it cuts me open. The open world combined arms is a tonne of fun, as battles could take unexpected turns and intrusions that would not happen in the likes of Battlefield
. Sadly, this pleasure was constantly hindered by the game's many faults.
What really made me pack it in was the bugs. Not any massive, game breaking bug, but just lots of little ones that eventually got on my nerves. I remember the moment that finally broke the camel's back. I had just been killed round a corner, due to the game's lag compensation, and when a team-mate revived me, I was forced to stare the menu screen without a mouse cursor, until I was killed again.
It was at that point that I turned Planetside 2
off, and I haven't started it up since.
This was a concept that really grab my interest a while back. The alpha came out, and I had a bit of fun with it. Ultimately however, Cube World
has taken a downfall for me.
Perhaps you think this is because of the complete lack of updates, until very recently, from the developers, but that's not the case for me. Sometime after getting my first taste of Cube World
, I just figured it really was not what I was looking for. It felt too MMO for my liking.
There's certainly a lot to like, make no mistake. The colourful, cubist visuals were surprisingly stunning, and some of the less typical races were amusing in their designs. I still believe it might be something worth keeping an eye on, just not something I'm all that interested in playing anymore.
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, many games in brief summary. Some opinions changed, and some remained constant throughout the year. It's been a very interesting year, with a great sense of variety.
What does next year hold, other than an assorted array of disappointments and controversies? Well, hopefully plenty of games, some of which I might take the time to play and write about. Naturally, there will be a boat load of AAA games, emotional games, and of course more games that are the Citizen Kane of gaming.
All of those will be promptly be ignored by my pretentious self.
You can also read this on my personal blog