Welcome back! As we move into the second half of this top 8, (And ever closer to the end of the year. I really need to pick up the pace :ermm: ... ) I'm having a harder and harder time writing these pieces, because [s]GODDAMIT STARBOUND[/s] I've been so busy.
Anyway, on to Number 4, which is also my GOTY for 2013. 2 Birds, One Stone.
Title:Fire Emblem Awakening
Developer Intelligent Systems
Release Date April 19 2012(JP), Feb. 4 2013(NA), April 19 2013 (EU)
Let me start by saying this: According to my 3DS's activity log, I have 211Hours and 50 minutes of FE:A played.
Notice how #2 and #3 (O hai Devil Survivors!) combined don't even come close to matching it? This is that type of game.
FE:A is a turned-based strategy RPG where you, as tactician for your lord's army, must command your troops to victory in numerous battles. Lose a Unit in battle (at least in Classic mode), and it's gone for good. Now, I could go on, but I think to avoid this turning into a complete rambling mess, I'll just link Chris Carter's Review and you can find out exactly what this game is about.
I'm just going to point out the 3 things about this game I like the most or otherwise I'll be here all night.
#1: The characters. They make this game. You saw that playtime up there in that earlier screenshot? As fun as the gameplay is here, the only reason I keep playing this game to this very day is because of the characters. I want to see everything they have to offer. Every support conversation. Every unique line they can have in battle. These characters may seem like cookie cutouts on the surface (and granted, some are a bit... duller... than the rest) Not since Persona 4 have I fallen for a game's cast in such a way, and this game has a much wider cast than most.
And this isn't even everyone!
#2 The presentation. This is a very pretty game. From those shiny FMVs to the in-game battle engine to the little sprites dancing around the maps to the gorgeous character portraits used in conversations, everything in this game in this game looks great. Hell, every map even has some unique atmospheric actions going on like cinders floating around in a burning forest or sand swirling in the desert wind that you might not notice at first, but then you turn on the 3D and WHOA!
And the music? This is one of the best soundtracks of the entire year. Actually, I feel this is the best soundtrack on the entire 3DS. For starters, the themes you have in battle brilliantly use a variable mix between a softer, calmer version while you're still planning your moves, such as here and the much more intense Ablaze versions, like this. Some chapters, after the game decides to stab you in the feels, it will choose to have one theme override everything just to twist the knife some more.
Here's an early chapter (Beware! Minor early game Spoilers in the vid) played in its entirety that I found on Youtube, to give you an idea of how things mesh together.
OH MY GOD THE BEACH AND HOT SPRINGS FESTIVAL DLC MUSIC YOU GUYS!
If you have a 3DS, get this game. If you don't have a 3DS, BUY A 3DS AND GET THIS GAME. And there you have it. My GOTY, and the 4th best game I've played in the last 8 years!
What could possibly beat this? Stay tuned to find out!
In the meantime, should you ever StreetPass me, have fun! Don't let me murder you!