Since 2013 is coming to an end, I thought I would take some time and look back over some of my favorite video games I played this past year. Note that I did not exactly say these are my favorite games from 2013–I’ve gotten a little behind on my gaming, so if I made a Top 5 list of games that actually came out in 2013, I might have to list every one I played.
Of the games listed here, some might have come out in 2013 and others have not, but they are all games I played in their entirety this year. I’ve probably missed your favorites…and I’ve even had to overlook some of my own favorites, because I played a lot of great games. So before we get into the list proper…
If I made a blog post like this a couple of years ago, there’s no doubt that Pokemon White would have made it on the list. Although I took a long hiatus from the series when I decided I was too old for Pokémon, I eventually came to my senses, realized that was absurd, and dove back into the series in time to be suitably excited when the new generation came along. Pokémon White had the best Pokémon story I’ve ever seen, so when I heard White and Black were getting direct sequels, I was ecstatic. For me, Pokémon White 2 was not quite as impressive, and I even took a long break from it because I felt like it was a more generic Pokémon game, rather than building on the plot-heavy nature of Pokémon White. For one thing, I disliked the changes made to Team Plasma.
Once I got deeper into the game, however, I realized the story was still there. If anything, the story was more focused on Team Plasma, and less on the player character. There were some genuinely awesome moments, and I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it.
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room
This one was really mixed for me. I found myself unable to resist from making it an honorable mention, even though in general, I’d say it was a mediocre game. Layton Brothers: Mystery Room is a spin-off from the Professor Layton series, which I love, but the two don’t have much in common besides the game. Instead of a puzzle-solving adventure, the iOS game took me into the Mystery Room as rookie detective Lucy Baker, who solves special cases with Inspector Alfendi Layton. More than anything else, the gameplay reminded me of a very streamlined Ace Attorney game. With fairly simple investigations and a lack of penalties–the worst thing that ever happened to me for getting an answer wrong was an insult from another character–it was hard to consider it a good game. On the other hand, there were some very funny moments, a few excellent plot twists (excellent both in nature and in execution), and enough depth given to Lucy and Alfendi to make me love them. Despite its flaws, I think Mystery Room has great potential, and I would love to see a sequel.
Now, let us move on to…
The Top 5 Games I Played in 2013
5. The Stanley Parable
It really hurts to put The Stanley Parable this low on the list. It is a great game, an amazing game–some would even question whether it’s a “game” at all, and that’s part of what makes it so entertaining. I played this game in the past week, and while I consider it complete, I know I haven’t found all of its secrets. This game made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions.
Until you’ve played it, you can’t imagine how hard it is to explain just what this game is about. Therefore, I think the best way for you to understand The Stanley Parable is to see its personality for yourself. When the company received a disapproving email, they transformed it into the Raphael Trailer. Have a look.
If you enjoyed that and want to see what a demo is like, check out what happened to the Game Grumps when they tried out the game.
That should give you a good idea of how strange of an experience this is. It’s incredible.
As a fan of Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect, it was only a matter of time before I got around to playing Dragon Age: Origins. I loved it. I was pretty awful at the combat, but things improved quite a bit when I got Wynne, the healer. I also had the DLC, and I loved Shale. Except for when the plot forced or encouraged me to use a specific character, my standard party was Wynne, Shale, and Leliana. My Warden was a mage, and I enjoyed that as well. There were some tough decisions near the end, and I feel rather bad about one of the choices I made–but that choice let me get the sort of ending I really love.
Best golem ever
The expansion, Awakening, was quite interesting as well. I liked the new characters and thought the story took some interesting turns. There was even a bit of a mad science thing going on, and you might know that I love mad science plots.
I have not played Dragon Age 2 yet, and I’m a little nervous because of the things I’ve heard about it. I’m super excited for Inquisition, though, so I plan to catch up soon.
Kind of like with Dragon Age, I’m really behind on this series. As the third one was being announced, I was playing the first one. And it was so much fun! I loved being Batman, the story and exploration of the Asylum were interesting, and the Joker had some great lines, but what really blew me away were the Riddler’s challenges. Collectibles, riddles, and little secrets to track down–I had so much fun as I obsessively hunted each one down. The audio logs were my favorites.
Of course, I’m going to play Arkham City. I’m a little wary of it, as it’s open-world (I’m one of those odd people who doesn’t really like open-world games), but since everyone praises it as being even better than Asylum, I hope to love it just as much.
Arkham Asylum also has the odd bonus of being a game I played while I was rather nervous. Playing it helped me calm down–and revisiting those same areas later on made me chuckle at the odd nostalgia attached to them.
My emotions… This game…
I started playing To the Moon in early January, because I knew the creator, Kan Gao, would be at MAGfest, and I wanted to at least have started his game before I went. It blew me away. In terms of gameplay, it is sort of a simple point-and-click adventure, in which you spend most of your time talking to characters and making your way through the story. And what a story it is.
The main characters are Dr. Neil Watts and Dr. Eva Rosalene. They work for a corporation that can alter a dying person’s memories to grant them any one wish (only in their memories, of course), before they die. Their current patient is an old man named Johnny, who wants to go to the moon–except he doesn’t know why. You travel back through his memories so you can implant his desire to go to the moon in his early memories, and lead him to strive for that goal his entire life. But there’s a lot more to the story than that, including some hysterically funny moments (usually involving Neil).
It also is one of the few games that has made me cry. There’s a good chance it will make you cry, too. And for those of you who have already played the game… just remember, everything’s alright.
There’s even a special mini episode created in honor of the holidays, which is available as of today!
Finally, my number one game I played in 2013 is………..
1. Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies
Is anyone really surprised?
I blogged about Dual Destinies once already, so I won’t rehash all of my points again. Besides, anyone who has talked to be over the past couple of months should be well aware of how much I love it. I will say that while it didn’t make me cry, it still messed with my emotions about as much as To the Moon did, as well as giving me new favorite characters in the series. And yes, I’m still obsessed.
I even wrote a fanfic (warning, that link will lead you to major, major SPOILERS about the game) based on Dual Destinies, and it’s through sheer force of will (and other looming priorities) that I’ve prevented myself from writing more fanfiction. (Update: I’ve since written more Dual Destinies fanfiction.)
Yes, despite all of its competition, Dual Destinies is my game of the year. And since Capcom has announced that the next game is in the works, well… I think 2014 is going to be an excellent year.
There are so many more games I played and loved, and I’m sure you all have your favorites as well. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments–though do mark any spoilers you might bring up.
Happy New Year’s Eve, and happy gaming!
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