Despite the onwards march of questionable business practices and the (now) almost obligatory impending sense of doom in regards to certain ways of gaming life (from certain channels), 2013 was a magnificent year on the gaming front. Just choosing the best games was a near impossible task and one I myself won’t even try to attempt. Respect to anyone who managed it and I’ve enjoyed reading all of your best choices of 2013.
2014 is shaping up to be a tasty one and whilst by no means fixed, here are my 6 most wanted from where I stand. Why top 6? It was going to be a top 5 but I got carried away and overshot the mark.
6 - Bayonetta 2
I haven't bought a Wii-U yet, but I think about it most days. I won't name numbers but I spent a lot of money on gaming last year. For me at least. I laid out on a new PC rig, bought multiple devices, new (and old) hardware, not to mention countless games. However, it's a new slate and only a matter of time before I get a Wii-U. To be honest if they'd released a white, deluxe, mario 3D world bundle i'd probably have two by now. Oh yes, Bayonetta 2. Excited.
5 - The Order 1886
From an embryonic stage I had a very good feeling about the Last of Us. As time progressed there was something larger than the sum of it’s parts that couldn't help from escaping through every reveal. No matter how hard the head kicked against the zombiesque, the heart knew something potentially remarkable was happening. Turns out that feeling was well placed. And then some. This isn’t a testament to some innate radar I possess but a masterpiece in the works.
Don't let me get carried away. I know this isn’t a Naughty Dog game and whilst I don't quite have the same strong feeling for the Order 1886, the feeling is coming from a similar place. My ears are pricking in a similar fashion. From the nothing i've ultimately seen of it there's this brilliant sense of potential and I’m infatuated with the choice of setting. I’ll be watching with interest.
4 - Child of Light
Amongst the people I bore talking about video-games to (sorry dearest), it's no secret that I have a pretty hard soft-spot for the new Rayman games. I can't even conceive of a better re-invigoration of the visual style than what Ubisoft Montpellier crafted. Even better, they seem emboldened enough to flex that engine some more and try something new. An RPG direction? What? Really? You have my full attention.
3 - The Witness
When Jonathan Blow speaks, I hear someone who has given an inordinate amount of thought as to what makes games. And luckily for us all he actually makes games. He's already achieved the remarkable; but I have a strong feeling his magnum opus is yet to come - something not only gamers should be excited about, but also anyone with even a vague interest in new art forms. Gaming still has so much open, unwritten space and people like Blow make me excited about what it's going to be filled by.
2 - Bravely Default
Feeling very good about this as it's technically already out and well received. I'm now just waiting for it to actually release on my end and lord knows it's pre-ordered the fuck out of. It’s high placing on the list is possibly due to it’s imminent arrival revving up my excitement.
I wasn't tuning in for early Final Fantasies and feel this could be the start of something equally as major. That’s if the forces of evil don't take hold and have them annualizing and over monetizing the spirit out of it. Nowt’ wrong with having a long-term vision for a game-world as long as you respect it. This means not selling it short and wanking it dry in the near-term in spite of itself. In fact after Final Fantasy all the Bravest, speaking of Bravely Default in such a way might be an ominous comparison. Even if it does end up a dried husk we'll always have this one.
1 - Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Apparently some people like to get rankled over the idea that games like Dear Esther and Gone Home are actually games. Personally I think acceptance is a more healthy perspective. After all minimalism is the philosopher’s stone of design and I think a lot of studios could learn a trick or two from these brilliant studies in sparse explorative delivery. Acceptance can lead to confidence and confidence leads to experimentation. It’s a good thing.
The game is set in Shropshire England, a place I know well through family. I associate it with feelings of security, warmth and comfort. I'm intrigued not only by the fact that a game is to be set there but for those feelings to be hijacked. It's a personal choice for the top billing but knowing the area intimately I can safely say there is something brilliant about the choice of setting for the night before the apocalypse.
By no means extensive. This is a general hope-list of things that’d I’d be chuffed to find out were actually happening, or have more solid details on. I'm not deluded enough to believe all of these would drop this year even if they were in development:
Firstly. Not a direct sequel but anything set in the Dishonored world. My third play through of Dishonored feels fresher than many games do on their first. I'm hoping the Thief reboot sates my hunger but i'm on the hopeful side of skepticism at this point in time.
Something like Ni No Kuni on the PS4. I didn't get along with Ni no Kuni in the end but love it nonetheless for what it is. This is a style and direction i'd love to see explored and refined in the future.
The Last Guardian. You know the score.
Another stinkingly obvious choice, but I’d be putting it on in if I pretended I wasn’t itching over this. Wii-U Zelda. I heard that the first dungeon in the new Zelda is similar in scale to Hyrule field in ocarina of time. I'm not sure what to make of that but it excites the hell of me nonetheless. It's sobering to think there'll only be so many major zelda games i'll experience in my lifetime, but I wouldn't change their scarcity for the world.
Anything media molecule end up doing on the PS4. If Tearaway is anything to go by MM guys have the ability to pretty much make my perfect game. Like playing a beautiful dream I don't want to wake up from.
Another Metal Gear Rising installment. I’d welcome a second slice of this anyday. Less sewer and more Japanese garden type environments wouldn't hurt this time.
For a war game - any war game - to be as touching Cannon Fodder.
Do any of these have anyone else excited? If not what's on your radar? Looking forward to a vintage year.