2013 in Games: The Best So Far

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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I  really had to think if i wanted to include Animal Crossing: New Leaf on this list. In the 5 or so weeks I’ve had it; I’ve ploughed over 30 hours of my life into it, and for the most part its been enjoyable. However like all Animal Crossing games, it eventually loses its charm; but for the first 25 or so hours it was genuinely a joy to play. My main problem with the game is that everything takes so damn long to do. Just walking in and out of a shop takes 2 dialogue boxes more than is needed. Its frustrating.

 

That being said, if you’re happy to spend an hour or so a day maintaining your town, talking to your village people and paying off what feels like a never ending house loan; then there is a lot of fun to be had here. Just know that eventually; you’ll grow sick and tired of it and want to bash Tom Nook’s face in.

**I’ve come across a big negative here. I really did enjoy my time with Animal Crossing.

Gunpoint 

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Ahh Gunpoint. You beautiful, little game you. I wrote about Gunpoint in a previous post; and my opinion on it hasn’t changed much. Its a truly fantastic game that not enough people have played. You should go play it right now. The mechanics are fun, the sound and visuals are a joy and its cheap.

Metro: Last Light

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(Coincidentally this is the 2nd game on this list that i got for free through a promotion (Thanks Nintendo, Nvidia); but that’s another story, onto Metro: Last Light)

Metro: Last Light is a follow up to 4A’s original post-apocalyptic FPS; Metro:2033. Metro: Last  Light see’s you continue the story of a Russian survivor by the name of Artyom. Unlike its predecessor; Last Light received both critical and commercial success; selling more copies in its first week in the US than 2033 did in its entire lifetime.

Metro: Last Light might be my Game of the Year nominee when all is said and done. From the very atmospheric intro I found myself totally engrossed in this game. The characters feel real, the story is well plotted and interesting, and the gun play is tense and requires you to actually think about what you’re doing; if you rush into an area that’s heavily defended, you will die. Finally, it looks absolutely sensational on PC. Its just a shame about those god awful cut scenes.

If you are into highly atmospheric games that require you to spend a significant amount of time being quiet, this might be the game for you.

Sim City

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And now for the controversial entry on my list. Sim City’s troubles; both before and after its initial release have been well documented. From broken features, to fans not being able to get online to play the game for a 6-7 day period. It was a total mess, and even worse; it was a total mess that could have been avoided with a little foresight.

However i put 30 hours into this game inside a 10 day period, i couldn’t put it down; but I’m not sure why. I see all of the various problems with the game, like how it becomes about as fun as watching paint dry after the first 5 hours in any one city; but I kept returning, kept laying down insufficient roads and messing up my town’s layout. Why? Because for the opening 5 or so hours in any one city, this game is a blast.

What happens after the initial 5 hours is a lot less enjoyable. The game wants you to play with friends; however (at least in my case), i very much wanted to play alone. Sim City is basically broken at this point. If you want to run one successful city, tough. At some point you are going to run out of space, water, oil, and have to open up a neighbouring city. At this point the game loses almost all its interest for me. Unfortunately it looks like something MAXIS built the game around, so there’s no way it’ll be patched out of existence. Which is a shame, because I know there’s a good game in here somewhere.

So whilst I don’t think it’ll make the cut for potential Game of the Year nomination’s, I want to give it some credit. This game has been battered ever since release; and for the most part that’s totally deserved.

Call of Juaraz: Gunslinger

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This game came out of nowhere to blow me away. Everything from its fantastic setting to top-notch narration makes this game one of the best of the year. A title that will no doubt be vying for people’s GOTY votes and a game that you simply must play.

Gunslinger is a download only arcade FPS that lets you travel in search of some of the biggest and baddest that the Wild West has to offer. Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassady and his Sundance Kid; they’re all here, ready to be shot up and defeated.

The story is fantastic; fairly short but fantastic none the less. You play as Silas Greaves; a legendary, but ageing Bounty Hunter. The story is told by Silas who’s describing his adventures to a group of people in a bar. As the story progresses you’ll hear those bar patrons question the validity of Silas’s story telling, which in turn effects how you progress through each mission. Worlds will shift, pathways will open up; you even avoid death a few times after Silas revisits just how exactly a certain plot point went down.

Further enjoyment can be found in the games Duel and Arcade modes. Duel see’s you going man on man against some of the most famous characters from that era. Its not an easy game play mechanic for sure, but for the most part its fair and practise makes perfect. Arcade mode is basically story mode without the story – also the action doesn’t stop. Fight your way through hordes of bad guys, string together combo’s and increase your overall score. Its very very fun.

Honourable Mentions

A few more games that I’ve enjoyed this year; but perhaps didn’t deserve a place on this list.

Tomb Raider

Super Hexagon

Bioshock Infinite

Thomas Was Alone

Kentucky Route Zero

Luigi’s Mansion 2

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