Yes, yes, before anyone starts givin’ it all a’that I am perfectly aware that 2 of these games were released in 2012 but I have 2 kids dammit and only got round to playing them this year, (the games, not the…oh forget it).
And yes, OK, Jesus, I also know that Borderlands 2 was released last year but such is the sprawling splendour of Gearbox’s second visit to Pandora, I haven’t finished playing it yet therefore it ain’t on the list.
Oh for Christ’s…..yes, I am also aware this is the second list in a row I have done, but this is my end of year round up so leave me alone.
Jesus, I won’t bother next time.
Let’s start again……
My Top 5 Games That I Played and Finished of 2013
There. Happy? Good.
So, the year is nearly out, and these pages are where I spit my lyrical badness about games, hence the duty rests upon my shoulders to share with those of you that care enough to be reading these scribbled uttering’s what the year 2013 said to me through the language of video gaming.
It was a good year. A year of some frustration, as ever in this world in which we so often dwell. A year of some true classics that will stay with me until the end of my days, be them soon or late. And a year of some missed opportunities on my part that I hope to redeem in the coming year which lays before us in all its unknown potential. With that in mind I shall also cast a hopeful eye yonder to the games of 2014. Join me, and see if we can’t get your fancy tickled.
I have a principle; one which I have stuck by for many Earth years. Never overlap games. The only exception to this is a healthy – and necessary – mix of a single player venture and a co-op undertaking, the latter of which can only be played when the planets align and all of my clan are free from the trappings of verus orbis. This principle has held me in good stead throughout my ageing years, but it has one drawback, as you will see from my listings below. I cannot play all the games I wish, and often some games are forsaken – at least for a time – as others are prioritised. This means that it can be many months after a release before games are played, especially when coupled with the fact that I have a day job, a family, and other such priorities which devour much of my life’s time. Follow and share this blog to the extent that I am offered a living in game journalism or advertising revenue and this issue should go away, but until such a time, this is simply how it must be, alas.
Far Cry 3 and The Swapper both suffered from this, hence that deliciously different duo from a year since past appear on my list today. Skyrim and Borderlands 2 have also found themselves dragging behind the times as the unrelenting march of time soldiers forth. Arma III, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2 (I think I’ll abbreviate that from now on….) and Payday 2 – all of which suffer that blessing-and-curse of being co-op – are yet to even be played (expect to see them on next years list….). Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 will also feature in early 2014. Though it’s true both franchises are becoming somewhat tiresome, they are still decent enough, fun shooters which usually deliver what I expect them to.
Then there are the games which for one reason or another I simply missed, but which I endeavour to catch up with throughout the forthcoming year. Of those, I think Naughty Dog’s Playstation 3 exclusive ‘The Last of Us’ is the biggest on that list. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, from the premise, the script and characters, the gameplay and perhaps more than anything the story. I hope for a PC port (admittedly unlikely), otherwise I shall have to invest in a PS3.
Also on this list are a couple of relatively low-profile gems. ‘Gone Home’ developed by an Oregan (US) based indie quartet called The Fullbright Company is extremely high on my must-play list. A first-person adventure game, you play a woman who comes home after a trip abroad to find her entire family is missing. You must explore the house for clues to discover what happened to them. Although apparently short, this game won Best Indie Title and Best PC Game at this years VGX.
As well as that, Starbreeze’s ‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ will be high on my play list. Another story-driven adventure game, this revolves around two brothers trying to find their way in the world, solving problems and overcoming obstacles in an attempt to find the tree of life to help their dying father. Story is again key here and reports of poignant moments have me intrigued.
There were of course some F**KING HUGE titles which came out which didn’t interest me then, and they don’t interest me now. GTA V, Assassins Creed: Black Flag and Injustice: God’s Among Us stand out in that crowd. We also had a new Total War, a new Saint’s Row and a new Tomb raider. All very ‘meh’. This goes for the whole ‘next-gen’ thing too, which as I’ve previously gobbed off about, thus far has done little to moisten my loins.
^ Respawn Entertainments ‘Titanfall’ – oooh mumma.
Before I unleash the list, let us look forth to what the coming year may offer. I cannot deny 2014 could potentially reap a bumper crop. Atop that tree sits Titanfall, Dying Light and Elite: Dangerous, all of which have me aching for an upgrade. There is also the reboot/sequel (not sure which) of Thief, The Division – providing it’s a proper PC version and not some standard-issue lazy-ass Ubisoft port – Among The Sleep and Sniper Elite 3. Rounding off that list is the new Wolfenstein, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zero’s, maybe Destiny if it’s proper co-op, Mad Max and back-to-the-old-skool (hopefully) shit-your-pants survival horror The Evil Within. Hey, who knows, maybe there’ll even be news on Half Life 3, Left 4 Dead3, Furious 4, Doom 4 and Rainbow 6: Patriots (is it even still called Patriots? Who the fuck knows), or something juicy with the Unreal 4 Engine. Maybe……ok maybe that’s pushing it.
So here we have it. My top 5 games played-and-finished of 2013. It was tough: titles like Blood Dragon and Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army were difficult to leave out, but leave them out I did. For behold, these are they that hath madeth the cut.
5 – Metro: Last Light (4A Games)
Ha, didn’t see that one coming did you. If you want atmosphere, here’s the game for you. The first Metro was good, but I was always being constantly frustrated with the gameplay and weapons. This time round, Ukrainian outfit 4A nailed it. If for no other reason, this game goes on the list because it’s the first game in a looong time to genuinely put the shits up me. Some genuinely scary moments that leave you really not wanting to walk into that room. Providing your rig can take it, pick this up for tuppence on Steam and don’t sleep for a week.
Check out the excellent trailer here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2djDE_kwH3Q
4 – The Swapper (Facepalm Games)
This (2012) indie game is one of the coolest and toughest little bastards I’ve played in an age. Side scrolling 2D (ish) puzzle game which is dripping with atmosphere and IQ straining problems. You awake on a derelict and deserted space vessel and quickly find your only way to salvation is a clone gun which can not only make physical copies of your body which mimic your every move, but also gives you the ability to transfer your consciousness to one of said clones. A dark, melancholic and almost hopeless feeling seems to haunt your every step. Another bargain on Steam.
Check out the trailer – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AidyRHYg74c
3 – Shadow Warrior (Flying Wild Hogs)
It had to be in the top 5, it just had to be. I haven’t had this much raw, unashamed joyful slaughter since The Tournament. For my fully fledged felating of this piece of class see my earlier blog devoted to Lo Wang and his choppy-shooty-hacky-slashy escapades. This game does the following; it gives you lots of fucking demons to slay and lots of ways to fucking slay them. It doesn’t just wheel you round arena to arena a la Serious Sam, it actually has progressive levels like a proper FPS. It’s fucking brilliant, and it’s fucking tough. If you get to the end you should be awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery. Guess what, another steal on Steam.
Seriously, check out the outstanding trailer – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwjB2Re_Sso
2 – Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal)
Where to begin, this 2012 game had the lot. It maintained all of what was so good about Crytek’s first in the series and erased all that was so shit about the second. An outstanding open world that seemed to somehow brim with authenticity. The addition of a plethora of wildlife always kept you looking over your shoulder and yet also gave the game that hunting sub-plot for the upgrades. The gunplay was sublime, with a fat roster of upgradeable weapons including the outstanding bow and arrow. Missions never felt like a chore, it was always a pleasure to go and kill a small band of pirates using any combination of brute force or ninja stealth that you saw fit. And of course there was Vaz, one of the all-time great gaming villains. What a classic.
Honestly, check out this wicked trailer. Do it! – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6gnOVJsCsM
1 – Bioshock Infinite (Irrational games)
If you took any one of the key elements present in Irrational Games’ almost flawless Bioshock sequel, and transferred them to another game, that game would be elevated ten-fold in stature. Just like the first incarnation of the franchise – also from Irrational – this game fused so many incredibly well done aspects of the genre in to one almighty goliath of a game that towered over almost everything else. The World – Columbia; the floating city in the sky, was so detailed, crafted with such obvious love and such nurtured attention that the first hour-or-so gameplay was spent literally just looking around in awe. The gunplay and skyhook mechanics were nothing short of a giddy joy to play. The righteous satisfaction (and in some cases extremely challenging) of laying waste to the varied minions of Zachary Comstock, the Vox Populi or Jeremiah Fink et al had me feeling like a boss on multiple occasions. Speaking of those, the characters were once again fleshed out with real personality, real character, aided by an excellent script. Elizabeth is an instant great in the characters of the gaming world. Then there’s the story. I won’t say much for those that haven’t played it, but the story is possibly Infinite’s trump card. As poignant, engaging and immersive as any film.
The game as a whole feels like the work of a team of extraordinarily competent professionals in every aspect. It’s clearly a crafted piece of art which has been cherished, nurtured and cared about and I think the whole team at Irrational can be (and probably is) extremely proud of their contribution to the glorious world of games.
It also had my favourite trailer of the year. Check it out…..
or here if above isn’t working – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Mrr-0p-kkg
Roll on 2014.