My name's Ben. I'm pretty quiet but really easy to get along with. I've been playing video games since I was a little kid, watching my brother play the NES and sometimes playing with him. The first game I ever beat was Super Mario RPG, and that's when I developed a love for video games.
I was the Friday recapper for the Cblog Recaps team for 3 years!
Games that I thoroughly enjoy:
Shadow of the Colossus
EarthBound and Mother 3
Demon's Souls and Dark Souls
Persona 3 and 4
Team Fortress 2
Super Mario RPG
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
Mega Man Legends
Super Meat Boy
Beyond Good & Evil
Dragon Quest VIII
Final Fantasy IV, VI, VII and IX
Mega Man 2
Super Mario Sunshine
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Endless Ocean: Blue World
Other things that I thoroughly enjoy:
Studio Ghibli films
Eels (the band... and the animal too)
Kill la Kill
Hello, everyone! There have been so many Best of 2013 blogs already (which is awesome!), and I'd like to throw my own list into the mix, even though it's a little late. I also thought I'd add a few extra awards at the end just for fun. So, without further ado, here are my favorite games of 2013!
Top 10 games of the year:
10. Killer is Dead
When I head that Suda51 was making a new game with the assassin series in mind, I got really excited! Killer7 and No More Heroes were my favorite Suda51 games, and this one definitely brought back memories of those games. The bizarre plot was very reminiscent of Killer7, and the over-the-top boss fights were as amazing as the ones from No Mores Heroes. I wasn't really a fan of the gigolo missions (was anyone?), but that's OK; they're easily avoidable anyway. I played Killer is Dead primarily for the crazy story and boss fights, and I was not disappointed by either!
9. Runner 2
AKA that Bit.Trip game with the really long name. Bit.Trip Runner was always my favorite game out of the series, so I was really happy that it got a sequel! Runner 2 is set in an alternate universe from the other Bit.Trip games, and it definitely feels very different in tone. The Bit.Trip team got really silly with this game, adding in weird new characters like a pickle guy and an inverted merman, giving the characters alternate costumes and dance moves, and adding in voice narration (by none other than Charles Martinet!). The fantastic rhythmic gameplay from Bit.Trip Runner is still there, just with an added layer of silliness thrown in for good measure!
8. Rayman Legends
Rayman Origins was by far my favorite platformer from the last few years, so of course I had to play the sequel. While I think I prefer the first game overall, Legends is still a solid game which added several cool features. I really enjoyed the daily/weekly challenges and leaderboards, although the challenge levels could have used some more variety. The best new feature was the musical levels, where the game suddenly became a rhythm platformer, as you raced along to hilarious tunes. I wouldn't mind seeing more levels like those in the future!
Antichamber is all about mind games. The game will play tricks on you, and you'll keep falling for them again and again until you finally try something new or unexpected. You'll have to throw away everything you thought you knew about video games as you try and figure out the rules of this game's world. Unfortunately, I haven't finished it yet, but even so, Antichamber has left quite an impression on me!
6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
For how many hours I've spent this year playing New Leaf, I had to put it on my list somewhere. While it's not really too different from the other games in the series, I do believe it's the best one yet. This time around, not only can you customize your house, you can also customize your entire town! You can add landmarks and new buildings, and you sort of have a say in which neighbors stay or go. Traveling to other towns and inviting people over is easier than ever, although I do think there are still a few kinks to work out as far as the online portion goes. The Animal Crossing formula has always been addictive and fun, and Nintendo keeps perfecting it to make it even better.
5. Tomb Raider
I've always been a fan of the Tomb Raider series, although a lot of the more recent entries haven't really been so great. I think a reboot is just what the series needed, even though the new game seems to be straying away from it's predecessors in some major ways. While I could have done without a lot of the shooting gameplay and QTEs, everything else in the game was simply fantastic! The jumping and climbing mechanics are the best in the Tomb Raider franchise, the island setting was gorgeous, the new direction for Lara's character was brilliant, and while I didn't care for shooting down hordes of enemies, the bow was still really fun to use! While it's sort of sad to see the Tomb Raider franchise go in a completely different direction, at least it still remains an enjoyable game.
4. Papers, Please
By far the most unique game I played this year, Papers, Please seems to be impossible to define in terms of genre. The gameplay involves poring over passports and other documents, searching for discrepancies, and deciding who can cross the border into the country of Arstotzka and who gets turned away. Somehow, they took this seemingly tedious gameplay idea and turned it into a very compelling video game! You'll have to race the clock to get through as many people as you can while minimizing mistakes, so that you can afford to feed your family. I'm still not sure how the developer turned this idea into such a fun game, but kudos to them! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry some more over all the people whose lives I ruined by refusing them entry into Arstotzka...
3. Rogue Legacy
Rogue Legacy satisfied my itch this year for tough-as-nails platformers/roguelikes. It's a genre that's really been thriving lately in the indie game scene (Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV, Spelunky, Binding of Isaac, etc.), and I just can't get enough of it! I'll find myself dying over and over again, and yet I never get discouraged, and eventually I'll overcome obstacles which at first seemed impossible. It's a wonderful feeling when you finally succeed! Rogue Legacy is especially interesting, though, thanks to the ancestry and traits mechanics. All of the different traits and classes help to keep gameplay interesting, whether the world is black and white due to colorblindness, the text is all scrambled due to dyslexia, or everything is upside down due to vertigo (never pick vertigo!). Of course, when you finally get the perfect combination of class and traits and then die way too soon, it can feel pretty terrible, since you might never get that combination again. I'll always miss my gay Hokage warrior with ADHD...
Like Rogue Legacy, Guacamelee satisfied my other indie game itch for metroidvanias. Guacamelee was perfect in just about every way. It had engaging combat with awesome wrestling moves, excellent level design, challenging platforming, a nice dose of humor, fantastic music and more, all wrapped up in a charming Mexican luchador theme. I honestly can't think of anything they could have done to improve it!
Game of the year: Ni no Kuni
I love a good JRPG, and Ni no Kuni took everything I love about JRPGs and put it all together into one great game. They replaced the traditional turn-based combat with a more action-oriented combat system which I actually really liked. I could see the combat working really well for a Pokemon game, probably because the familiars in Ni no Kuni are very similar to Pokemon. The game is filled with your typical JRPG quests, lots of grinding, endearing characters, fantastic music, and plenty of hours of gameplay. Plus they had Studio Ghibli help out with the art direction, so the game is absolutely gorgeous! It may have a few flaws (too many tutorials, poor AI for team members), but it's pretty darn close to being the perfect JRPG!
Best game to finally release on a system I own: Spelunky
I waited very patiently for Spelunky to release on PSN, which it finally did this year. I already knew I was going to love it, having played the original on the PC, and I also knew I was going to become addicted to it. I've played well over 500 rounds this year already, having only beaten the game three times so far. I still haven't beaten Hell, though, so that's my current goal!
Best game that I didn't play until this year: Nier
Why didn't I play this game sooner?! Everything from the art direction, the music, the characters, the locations, the combat... it was such a fantastic little game, and I quickly fell in love with it. It's too bad it wasn't very well received, I think it definitely deserves more attention!
I've played it almost every day since I got it. Still plan on playing it for months to come. I may or may not need an intervention...
Runners-Up: Spelunky, Rogue Legacy
Best luchador: Juan Aguacate from Guacamelee
There were actually a lot of luchadors this year, which is great, because luchadors are awesome! Juan is an easy choice for the best luchador, being the playable character in a fantastic luchador-themed game. He also has the best mask.
Runners-Up: Hawlucha from Pokemon X/Y, El Luchador from Rayman Legends
Best beard: Wilson from Don't Starve
Seriously, that thing is magnificent! And it gets bonus points because you get to watch it as it grows!
Runner-Up: Joel from The Last of Us
Game of the year for every year: Dark Souls
It's still the best game of the last generation. I just hope they don't screw up the sequel...
Most anticipated 2014 release: Persona 5
Oh god, it's going to be so good! I can't wait! :D