With top 10 lists and top 5 lists being so prevalent at this time of the year I though it only sensible that I throw my hat into the already overcrowded cloak room of lists of games that stuck with me over 2013. I’m not sure if I’m going to pit these games in any particular order just because all of them in their own right are stand out titles that everyone should make the effort to play.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
The first game that I want to talk about is Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Now please bear with me because I know that this isn’t a game that stands out as one of the talking points of 2013 but anyway. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was a game that was on my radar from the second it was announced, for clarification I loved Far Cry 3 (2012) it was a game that I had low expectations for but after I played and finished it I was blown away by how much of a success this game was for me. So when Ubisoft announced a short downloadable game with an 80’s undertone and its set in the world of Far Cry 3, well let’s just say this was a game I wanted to play.
So yes now to what made the game something that stuck with me through 2013. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was a game that humour running through it that made the game fresh and from a tone stand point very different. When you first go through the tutorial that leaves you giggling long after it’s done is just one example of how the game continually makes mundane moments in other games, a constant joy in this game.
The only thing that is slightly lacking for Blood Dragon is decent gameplay. It takes from Far Cry 3’s gameplay and the only evolution that is made it is an arm mounted laser and super human powers. These additions make the game a silly type of fun but the lack of evolution leaves something to be desired.
But away from the negatives, Blood Dragon was an extremely fun, witty game that I played for much longer than I was expecting to and I hope that short little action games like Blood Dragon are continually noticeable in 2014.
The Stanley Parable
The next game on my list is one that seems to very much divide people. When people play and finish The Stanley Parable, they either think that it was great, fun and worthwhile game to play while others think the game to be a pretentious thesis on games, meaning it can’t be considered a game. I am very much in the first camp; I felt that The Stanley Parable was some astute commentary on games but also a witty and fun to play game that by the end left me with a smile on my face.
I think that games like this need to exist. When you look at other forms of entertainment, you will always find ones that hold a mirror up to itself and say look here’s where we are right now and it’s up to you to decide if what you see in the mirror needs to go away or is just where things need to be. With the Stanley Parable I think it shows that where games are just now is maybe not great. With the annualisation of games and a dumbing down of content, things have certainly gone down an unfortunate path. But in a weird inception like way the industry is better than ever because of games like The Stanley Parable which we weren’t getting to play 10 years ago and if they did crop up, either no one knew about them or even cared them.
So it’s existential reasons like this coupled with a game that delivers a fun and witty story, some interesting characters and gameplay that makes it easy for anyone to pick up and play.
Now Bioshock Infinite is a game that has had an interesting trajectory over the last few years. From first being announced back in 2010, to showing up on store shelves in March of 2013 this game was delayed multiple times, it had game mechanics and levels that never ended up being in the final product and for a while it seemed like one of those games that would end up in development hell indefinitely. Late march of last year it finally came out and everyone seemed to love it; I mean it had everything from wonderful characters, to a beautifully imagined world and a story that still sticks with me today.
But since its release the mood on Infinite has changed and this love and praise that so many were given it has disappeared and has turned into a constant barrage of gripes ranging from: hating the gameplay, to finding the story too difficult to follow etc. So now I’m entirely sure where this once beloved game rests for a lot of people.
I know one thing though, and that is that I absolutely loved this game. Bioshock Infinite was a really special game and with the forward thrusting power that is Ken Levine behind it, this game was a true stand out of 2013 for me. The writing in this game, the beautiful world of Columbia, the characters that were filled with so much life, a story that left me gob-smacked by the end everything in this game just worked. This was a game that, when I finished it I just wanted to talk to someone about it because I loved it so much.
Now Gone Home is a game that I kept hearing about for the longest time, every time I visited a news site, watched a video or listened to a podcast that was related to gaming, Gone Home was always one that people brought up. So of course I had to check it out and Wow.
When I first started playing Gone Home I thought it was going to be another one of these jump scare games that you always see someone playing on YouTube. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Gone Home is a game in a house where you interact with no other characters, you don’t vault over cover, and you don’t save the planet. You just experience a story. A story that for a video game is very different and it’s a story I don’t want to spoil any of, I just want people to experience this game. There isn’t much else I can say about this game without giving away the brilliance of some of its moments, all I can say is that this is definitely a stand out title for 2013 and it’s little indie games like this that keep the industry evolving and fresh.
The Last of Us
The final game on my list is a game that I felt was truly special and that game is for me and I’m sure many other people a game that blew them away. So far I’ve made the effort to not put these games in any specific order, that’s mainly because I think it would be unfair to rank these games as all of them are stand out games on their own but when it comes to the Last of Us this is a game that I will probably continue to put at the top of lists that I end up forming.
The Last of Us continued to exceed my expectation the longer I played it, with a beginning that kicks the players straight in the gut from the word go, to story and gameplay that keeps you enthralled and challenged the whole way through, this was the swan song of the previous generation for me personally.
I think that this game has proven that a story of such intensity, coupled with fun and engaging gameplay can be done and can be done very well. The Last of Us delivered a story to players that never faltered, it just continued to live within the beautifully created world and the two in tandem worked so well in causing me to lose myself in the world. But this world and story would not have been as great as it was without it being populated with some brilliantly fledged out characters that very much elevated the story and gameplay.
I think you can clearly see from how much I’m gushing about this game that for me The Last of Us was a truly special game and I don’t seem to be the only one. The Last of Us has continued to pick up every award that it has been nominated for (quite deservedly).
The next year of games is now really exciting because with this great calibre of games we had in 2013 I’m very excited to see what is coming next.