Tag Archives: 2013

Games of the Year-2013

25 Dec

Hello one and all, it’s the end of the year and that means it’s time for ranking various products side by side and figuring out which one is the best! Just kidding, I’m going to indulge in the new trend of picking, “Games,” of the year and telling you why a handful of games deserve more attention than the rest. So sit back and enjoy my ramblings as I recount the 2013 year in gaming.

Top 10 Games of the Year

10. Rayman: Legends

Not completely surprising but all the same this game is a testament to staying true to your-self. Michel Ancel keeps the colorful, cartoony spirit that was present from the first Rayman game from 1995 alive. A current example that not only is the 2D Platformer genre is alive, but that it’s also able to thrive and innovate in new ways. The main game is enough to warrant a purchase but the game is packed to the brim with musical levels that are some kind of magic and it even features a pseudo HD re-release of the first game. Here’s to more Rayman in the future.

9. Pokémon X/Y

Finally the Pokémon game fans have been waiting for since the old days of color. A slew of New Pokémon and a beautiful presentation come from developer, Game Freak’s, latest title. The one thing that’s been missing from Pokémon has finally returned i.e. effort. Interesting, fun, collecting and strategy gameplay with a traditional story will put older fans’ hearts at ease for the new generation of children entering into the Pokémon fandom.

8. The Stanley Parable

Don’t call it a copout but this game is one that can’t readily be explained. The epitome of non-games, The Stanley Parable satirizes current gen games while keeping with its own unique feel. Explore the office building where Stanley works as you try to find out where your fellow employees have gone all while the narrator keeps pushing you in the right direction, if you want to of course.  The narrator alone is something magical, but coupled with a game that always keeps you guessing this one is an immediate recommendation.

7. Papers, Please

There are games that are made by hundreds of people and still attain panning from critics and end up feeling like a waste of time. But the indie hit Papers, Please, which was made by one person, stands as one of the most unique experiences ever birthed from the mind of a creator. Experiencing a world through the eyes of a checkpoint guard puts things in perspective. Simple gameplay and a rustic presentation keep Papers, Please above the rung and in our heads as a source of intrigue.

6. Bioshock Infinite

After Bioshock 2, the lackluster sequel to one of the best games of all time, everyone was spinning in anticipation before the release of the latest foray into Philosophy: The videogame. Infinite presented a new look into the world crafted by the folks at Irrational Games which saw the player in the preverbal opposite of Bioshock’s Rapture. The opulent Columbia, a floating city in the sky filled with a living breathing society that the player gets to explore. Even though the gameplay may seem generic the experience as a whole will stand tall in the halls of gaming history.

5. Tomb Raider

Reboot the dying franchise by taking notes from more successful games in the genre, an amazing amount polish and keep its own “girl power” flavor and you have the best Tomb Raider game to date. Shrugging off the years of meme worthy campiness that the older games and Angelina Jolie put on and comes out like a glorious butterfly from the cocoon of mediocrity. Square Enix and the developers seem to love the series and while the game takes a more serious tone it’s all for the setup of a strong character so that future adventures can have that added, relatable layer in the newest addition in the action genre.

4. Injustice: Gods Among Us

What do you get when you marry the tight intuitive controls of street fighter with the colorful and diverse nature of the DC comics universe? One of the greatest fighting games in recent history Gods Among Us is an example of a company pouring its time and resources in what’s really important, the game, or more or less everything you see for the most part. The cut scenes are stiff and the story is old but the game is new and fun which is why it outsold.

3. Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus

Ending the year in a surprising little treat the good folks at Insomniac games delivered a short but sweet addition to the Ratchet and Clank Franchise. Into the Nexus is packaged as a sort of epilogue to the PS3’s “Future” series and stays true to the run and gun/platform gameplay. Complete with ridiculously fun weapons like a gun that turns enemies into snowmen while playing Jingle Bells and a new jetpack mechanic that made the game 10 times as fun as you live out your Looney Tunes/Rocketeer fantasy. A welcome return to form and a sign of goodwill that the franchise is still alive and will most likely thrive in the coming generation.

2. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

A lot can be said about this game but one factor remains clear and that is that this game is the shot of juice that JRPGs needed. Not adrenaline but “juice,” the juice of heart, effort, and a story that can stand among the greats. Ni No Kuni captures that same magic that made the old Final Fantasy games great. Able to balance pathos and levity and create a world filled with endearing characters brought to life by the beautiful artwork done by Studio Ghibli. The gameplay may be frustrating at times but it never gets old and here’s hoping that a franchise was born.

1. Grand Theft Auto 5

The latest in the world sized series that takes the best of the genre and makes the most of its seemingly bloated budget that has since seen turn a profit on at least five times the investment and for good reason. The parodied world of Los Santos and Pike County are the tremendous settings to the parody of California with deserts, mountains and a beautifully realized city are a gigantic playground for madness and mayhem. Three different characters to play with, the game never gets old and gameplay that addresses fun over function. A game that is a non-stop thrill ride that left its mark this year as the greatest.

Have a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Here’s to a great New Year and may 2014 be a better time for all. Thank you for reading and as always I’ll see ya later!



To(o Good!)mb Raider

27 Mar


The new game Tomb Raider, a reboot of the franchise by developer Crystal Dynamics has the player taking the role of the “new” Lara Croft. She’s an amateur archeologist fresh from college, as she embarks on a journey with her friends and mentors into the uncharted territory Known as the Dragon’s Triangle. After a storm hits the ship housing Lara and the rest of the crew is wrecked and they wash up on the jungle island called Yamatai inhabited by a mad cult. They soon discover that they can’t leave, owing to an ancient curse put on the island. It’s up to Lara to find her friends, evade the cult and unravel the island’s mysteries.

Whether you’re new to the franchise or already a seasoned raider, it’s likely you’re familiar with the name Lara Croft. She’s basically the embodiment of “kick-ass.”

But the new Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft gives her something of a character facelift. Rather than the stoic warrior, she’s now more feminine, more human. And that has the effect of making her more relatable.

The story may sound like your typical B grade horror story, but it’s all rolled out through an organic series of events, and it actually works as far as the set-up goes. And it introduces players to some key features in the gameplay, one of which that resembles the detective vision in the Batman games. Tomb Raider’s version of this, dubbed Lara’s, “Survival Instinct,” desaturates the screen’s color and highlights clues and environmental wrinkles that might help Lara through puzzles. In addition, whenever Lara finds a new treasure or artifact it can be examined more closely in the menus, often revealing new information about the item.

The game shares parallels with another fantasy-adventure game series, Uncharted, and shares a lot of its mechanics. A third person Platformer accompanied by use of different weapons such as pistols, rifles, shotguns, etc. But a unique weapon in the game and the new icon for the franchise is a Bow and Arrow which along with the other weapons can be upgraded if the player has collected enough building material called salvage found across the island.

The player also can opt to use stealthy silent kills during combat as opposed to the run and gun tactics which usually result in a swift death. The game sports a great deal of challenge as you cannot just use one strategy to take out all enemies. Some enemies use full body shields and others go in to force close combat making the player employ the extent of their arsenal and abilities. The game encourages players to use strategic and tactical in their approach. As ammo becomes scarce, players who have been wasteful with their rounds will find themselves out of options and out of luck.

Visually the game is mostly monochromatic tones during dramatic scenes. But soon the graphics give way to sweeping landscape shots of the island and the different places you’ll visit, lending a nice bit of scenic beauty to all the the gloom and doom.

The game also pays great attention to detail; the beautifully rendered monumental locales, the fine grimy details on Lara in different environments and even her weapons so finely detailed that you can see the individual wooden sticks that make up Lara’s first bow.

The games only real problems lie in its multiplayer, which has various poor-men versions of games like capture the flag and others. They had a distinctly “tacked on” feel to them, and they’re pretty much pointless.

But make no mistake: the single player campaign is definitely worth the $60 price of admission. The new Tomb Raider has it all: a good story, fun gameplay, great graphics and above all a protagonist who’s human enough to make you care about her.

That’s not an easy thing for a game to do.

Two Thumbs Up!

This has, is and always will be my opinion.

Thanks and see ya later!