Posted by: MarthTrinity | December 11, 2013

MT’s Top 10 Games of 2013

Howdy hoes! It’s been a long ass time since you’ve seen me at all around these parts and even longer since I’ve actually posted anything. I figured though, 2013’s been a pretty damn good year for video games. With that in mind, I decided to make a Top 10 of -MY- favorite games this year! Keep in mind this is all opinion, yadda, yadda, yadda. Be aware that there may also be spoilers within the article, so if you haven’t beaten a particular game, you may care to skim over that for the time being! So with that, let’s begin!

10. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle


Had this game been bad, you can bet your ass it would’ve topped my list of biggest disappointments for 2013 with ease, if only because I had to import it for like $80 and wait a whole hell of a long time to actually play it. Fortunately, it is quite good…and also the only fighting game (spoilers) to make it on the positive side of this countdown (more spoilers). So what’s the big deal with this game anyway? Well, as a big fan of the manga and of the Capcom fighting game before it, I was sort of iffy that this game would be any good when I found out it was going to be made by the guys who made the Naruto “fighting games.” Decent fun, terrible balance, mediocre gameplay is how I was afraid it’d turn out. Actually getting this game in my grubby mitts turned this all around however and what we got is quite possibly one of the best loveletters to fans of Jojo’s they could possibly deliver.

First and foremost, this game is just packed with all of your…well, most of your…favorite Jojo’s characters. From Phantom Blood all the way up to JoJolion, the fanservice train keeps a-rollin’ with tons of unique and recognizeable characters from every single part of this long running manga. Each character’s moveset does a great job of representing the characters and their abilities and insane amounts of detail have been put into everything from the facial expressions to the poses to even throwing in some musical references in their themes to the bands and musicians they’re referencing. The music is great, the graphics are crisp and have that distinct comic-esque look to them and the gameplay is solid and enjoyable, especially if you have a few friends around for some local matches. Even my friends who don’t know Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure in the slightest were having a blast playing this; it’s just so easy to pick up and flashy to look at that people can’t help but enjoy themselves.

It has its faults to be sure. The most glaring of which is the fact that I can’t read Japanese in the slightest, so it sort of brought down the game’s Story Mode…but even with an understanding of Japanese, I can’t see myself really being too interested in it, it being just a series of text screens in between fights. The whole microtransaction thing for the game’s Campaign Mode was also a bit of a bummer, especially when playing through said mode is the way you unlock all the nifty alternate costumes, taunts and win poses and such for each character. That said, the gameplay and fanservice really do carry this one onto my Top Ten for 2013…I’m still seriously debating buying it again when I can actually understand it…

9. Tomb Raider

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If I’m going to be entirely honest with you, let me state this right off the bat: I was never really a huge fan of the old Tomb Raider games. Yeah, I played the original trilogy and they were alright and all, sure it was fun locking the butler in Lara’s freezer, but they never really clicked with me. The controls always felt clunky and the gameplay just never really clicked with me. Jump sixteen years into the future and I’ve gotten older, Lara’s gotten younger and I’m enjoying it a hell of a lot more than I was back in the day. People gave this one a lot of crap saying that it was Uncharted but with Lara Croft…and then people gave -THAT- crap in return saying that Uncharted wouldn’t exist without Tomb Raider. To that I say…so what? They’re both a hell of a lot of fun to play!

Tomb Raider certainly went a little more heavy-handed with the whole “theatrical game” theme in this game, but I can’t say that’s really a bad thing. Sometimes a little eye-candy is nice…and I’m not talking about Lara’s sexy new redesign, although that helps as well. In all honesty, the gameplay feels a bit more like…well, actually gameplay than in the Uncharted series. The fights are fast and intense, giving you a real feeling that you’re actually a human being and not some T-800 Terminator bulletsponge. Lara’s a frail young lady and being out in the open in a gunfight is a fast way for her to get blown to bits…couple this with the fact that enemies will often times rush you if you’re just sticking back and it makes gunfights fast and action packed with little time to just sit around and wait for your health to regen. The real highpoint of Tomb Raider however lies within the…wait for it…tombs! Tombs, for the most part, are optional ways to get little extras, collectibles and upgrades. All that good stuff. This comes however only after solving the little puzzles and such inside. While not exactly mind numbingly difficult (and in fairness, Lara usually provides hints if you’re just standing around like an idiot), it provides a nice little change of pace from the platform jumping, guns blazing action of the title.

The story is interesting to say the least and while people may complain about Lara’s grief upon killing someone in a cutscene contrasted with her willingness to kill people in terms of gameplay, how would you react if it were you? Tomb Raider is certainly an example of “kill or be killed” and “do what you have to do” and that’s really up to you whether you’re fine with that or not. Overall, Tomb Raider is a solid action-adventure game with lots of little areas to explore off the beaten path. The combat is intense and there’s lots of upgrades and such to acquire throughout your adventure. My main gripes with the game are some annoying quicktime events and a slapped on multiplayer that you really shouldn’t even bother with, but even that doesn’t stop the game from being a solid experience from start to finish. Classic Tomb Raider it is not, but I don’t think Lara’s ever looked better…in any sense of the phrase.

8. Spelunky

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And now we take a break from raiding tombs…to raid some tombs! Alright, so I’m cheating just a little bit with this entry; the original Spelunky technically came out in 2009 and the HD remake of it came out on XBLA in 2012…but the Steam and PSN versions didn’t come out until 2013. Since nobody cares about XBLA and Steam is our holy lord and savior (and PSN’s a pretty nice chap too!), I’m allowing this one to go on the 2013 list.

A little background here: I will openly admit that I may be a little addicted to Spelunky. I’ve technically bought the game four times (once on PSN, once on Steam, once for agi and once for my IRL friend) and own it on three different platforms (PS3, Vita and Steam). I’ve played probably about 600 or so playthroughs of it and have beaten the game a grand total of -twice- out of all those playthroughs. Simply put, Spelunky is the definitive “one more try” title for me. This game -WILL- kick your ass the first time. You -WILL- bitch that it’s unfair when an arrow trap pierces your organs from across the map. You -WILL- complain when a spider attacks you from a pot you just whipped. But you know what? More often than not? It’s your fault.

Spelunky teaches you through tough love. It kills you and kills you and kills you until you get it through your fucking head. Oh you just got to the jungle for the first time? Congrats. Tiki Trap killed you, start again, slut. Every single time you die however it just motivates you to start again. You died because you did something stupid…and you -KNOW- you can do better than last time. Everytime you start over, the layout is different but everything you learned is still valid. The ways around the traps, the enemy patterns, item management; it’s all the same even though the game never is. I’ve logged 20 hours into this game on Steam alone (I just bought it again the other day mind you) with probably another 50 or so hours on PSN and I’ve still not seen everything this game has to offer…hell, like I said, I’ve only even beaten it twice.

The game is fair, the controls are responsive and it gives you almost total control over the game as you go through it. Don’t like the path that’s laid before you? Throw down a bomb and make a new one! You -really- want that jetpack but you can’t quite afford it? Just -TAKE- it! Sure “YOU’LL PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES!!!”, but the thrill of making your way through the Black Market when it’s full of murderous shopkeepers is so hard to describe. I’ve screamed such terrible, terrible things at this game…and yet I keep going back to it. Daily. -THAT- is how you know you have a great game.

7. Pokemon X

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I’ve loved Pokemon since waaaaaaaay back in the day when my grandma bought me Pokemon Blue. I picked Squirtle, partially because I thought it was cool looking and partially because I wanted that Blastoise on the cover. That was way the hell back in 1998 and to be quite honest, I never really had that sense of wonder again in the series. Silver was great fun, Sapphire I logged over 200 hours in and hell, I even played Diamond to death. But that’s where I fell of the train. I bought both Black and Black 2 second hand…and they were alright. I didn’t finish either of them and I honestly found them a little boring (although still an improvement over Diamond…I was just younger then). So it’s easy to see why I didn’t think too highly of the 6th Generation of Pokemon coming so soon after Black 2 failed to entertain me. About a week after I got X however, I was safely convinced that -THESE- games were the best Pokemon games yet. First off, let me start by saying what X and Y do wrong. The postgame sucks, Fairy Type is meh and a lot of the new Pokemon sorta suck.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s see what it does right. First of all, the graphics are great. Seeing all the new Pokemon in 3D is awesome, especially since this hasn’t really been done since…well, those games for Gamecube that we don’t speak of. The gameplay…well, it’s Pokemon. Everyone knows how to play Pokemon; whether you think EV’s are sent from God or just a cute little cat thing that evolves into a bunch of other cat things, it’s safe to assume you’ll enjoy it if you enjoy this type of RPG.

What stood out most for me in this game was just the sheer variety of..well, everything. Admittedly, I expected the trainer customization to suck; fortunately, I was sorta wrong…well, so long as your trainer is female. With lots of clothing variety, hairstyles and even being able to change your eye colour, X and Y go that one extra step to make your Pokemon adventure feel just a bit more personal…even if you’re still forced to wear a hat. The other thing I was genuinely surprised about was the fact that there’s a shitload of Pokemon here. When I started the game, I expected the run into generic derp rabbit, maybe generic derp bird, that sorta stuff. First thing I encountered?

Fucking Weedle.

I felt that sort of twang in my cold, cold heart. That heavy feeling of nostalgia, thinking back to the simpler times. Here I was, in 2013, doing the same thing Lil’ MT did way back in 1998; murdering Weedle late into the night. For the first time in God knows how long, I actually felt determined to beat a Pokemon game. To try my damndest to catch them all. To raise an actual team of Pokemon I -LIKED- instead of just the first six I came across and leveled up. The sheer variety of Pokemon in each area -LET- me pick Pokemon I actually liked. I plowed through six of the eight gym leaders in a single day. I literally played for twelve hours straight and I had -FUN- the whole time. By the time I reached the E4 Champion, it was down to me and my starter; Chesnaught. Mega Gardevoir stood between us and victory, and even though I had the type disadvantage…I like to think our friendship, the adventures we had, the time we shared…I like to think that’s what won the day; crit Wood Hammer. Mega Gardevoir fell.

We had won.

Then there was the parade. Spoiling as little as possible, I felt like I could relate; in the end, my Pokemon had returned to me. My ENJOYMENT for Pokemon returned to me. I felt like a goddamn kid again and really? It was the best Pokemon experience I’ve had since that first time Blastoise and I took down Gary.

6. Dragon’s Crown

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Admittedly, it’s not terribly easy for me to find a game that my IRL friends all enjoy playing. Fighters, shooters, RPG’s…we all tend to have our own “genre.” The genre of games we’re best at and prefer to play. While a lot of our tastes overlap, where it overlaps the greatest is the fact that we all play D&D together. Like actual D&D. Where we break out the tokens and the d20’s and die horribly because we have terrible teamwork.

So when I heard about Dragon’s Crown, I had a hell of a hunch that this would be the game that would bring us all together. Needless to say, I was right on that one. First and foremost, Dragon’s Crown is an absolute blast when you and three friends are sitting around the TV adventuring together for hours on end. It’s a game that knows you want to kick the shit out of your friends (and allows it in the town) but knows where to draw the line and get down to adventuring.

And so, the adventure begins. You pick one of six classes; Fighter, Amazon, Sorceress, Wizard, Dwarf and my personal favorite, the Elf. Each character is varied and unique with their own strengths and weaknesses as well as their own upgrade tree. The Elf is physically weak but has powerful arrows and swift movement to help her. The Wizard can make wooden golems out of the crates you find in your adventure and the Sorceress can heal the party up with some of her special abilities. Each character’s unique abilities is what makes the game actually feel like you’re playing a virtual D&D session. Sure you can solo the game by yourself, but you need all those pieces to fall into place to -really- triumph in the game.

The game itself also looks beautiful, as expected from a Vanillaware title. The graphics are stunning, both in character designs and environmental designs. The bosses are huge, flashy and challenging but the prospect of better loot keeps you coming back for more, even when a particularly challenging killer rabbit cuts you down to size. The controls are responsive, the customization is great, the battles are fast-paced and intense and the co-op gameplay just can’t be beat. Dragon’s Crown really takes side-scrolling beat-em-ups to a new level with a genuinely refreshing twist on a relatively tired genre.

As a title with a budget price, there’s really no excuse to not pick this game up if you own a PS3 or a Vita. If you’re looking for an amazing co-op experience with some buddies near or far, Dragon’s Crown delivers with ease.

5. Super Mario 3D World

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First off, a disclaimer. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually hate Nintendo, nor current Mario games. The very simple fact that this game is within the Top Five of my Best Games of 2013 list should prove that enough. Moving swiftly along…damn was I not expecting to like this game as much as I did. It seemed like the perfect storm of mediocre to me at its initial reveal, especially considering my “meh” feelings towards Super Mario 3D Land. What I got however may very well be the new standard of which I hold Mario platformers…at least ones in this style that is. It’s no Super Mario 64 killer, but it crushes any of the recent Mario entries with absolute ease. The platforming is tight, the levels have an actual feeling to them despite being modeled after the 3D Land ones, there’s lots of stuff to collect and my favorite feature; there’s five unique, playable characters.

This has been something I’ve been craving in a Mario game since NSMBW and it works great, despite the room for problems it could’ve had. If you have Peach and Toad run to the same place, Toad -WILL- get there faster. It does make a difference and it’s a welcome change from Random Yellow Toad being just as amazing as the legendary Mario Bros. in the New Super Mario Bros. games. It certainly helps a little bit that they even made Rosalina playable upon beating the game.

Moving along from that, Super Mario 3D World is just…damn does it have a lot of content. On top of your standard amount of Mario worlds, 3D World has a bunch of extra levels made playable upon beating Bowser one last time as well as three Green Stars per level and a unique stamp that can be used for your Miiverse posts. Not exactly the most thrilling use there, but it’s another collectible to throw on the pile. Top this off with some co-op gameplay and you’ve got a solid package that easily puts the previous co-op Mario games to shame. There is, admittedly, the downside in that you all share lives in multiplayer…but really, you’ll be having too much fun to really notice when you run out of lives. The game gives you a slap on the wrist, gives you five more lives per character and sends you off with a “You go back to having fun now, you scamps.”

In typical Mario form, the soundtrack for this game is also quite standout. Bowser’s carnival-esque theme in particular stands out to me as a highlight as well as the game’s main theme which is quite the earworm. I have to admit though, analyzing the game right now as to why I enjoyed it is sort of difficult. It’s hard for me to avoid saying “It’s just a lot of fun” and leaving it at that, but really? That’s how I feel. Super Mario 3D World is an absolute blast, a callback to the old school Mario games with a modern day twist. It’s a game I can play with my dad and six year old sister and not feel like I’m carrying the entire team. Sure they die all the time, sure I usually have to beat the bosses and make the tricky jumps…but we still all have fun playing it. And that’s a feeling I never really got from the frustration-laden New Super Mario Bros. Series. Those games weren’t hard, they were just annoying in co-op. This game isn’t hard…but it isn’t trying to be. From the first Goomba stomped to the final battle against Meowser (no, that’s not a typo), I actually had a great time playing a game like this with my family.

Now if you’re going to insist on making your titles all family friendly and easy, Nintendo? Make sure they’re all of this quality. I won’t have any problems with you if that’s the case.

4. Saints Row IV

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You! You got what I neeeeeeeed…but you say he just a friend. And you say he just a friend…

Uh…sorry about that. Alrighty…where to begin with this one. As you probably know, I’m quite vocal about my distaste for Saints Row the Third. As a huge fan of Saints Row 2, I was horribly disappointed to see a short campaign padded with DLC filler, crappy side missions that padded out the main campaign and an overall disappointing game with a few high points (http//deckers.die was still brilliant, even I’ll happily admit that). So where do you go from a game like that? Well, even higher, obviously. Saints Row IV shrugs off the gritty GTA clone persona and decides to go full on insane with the addition of aliens, superpowers and a simulation of previous game’s city, complete with crazy “glitches” and such. In reality, this move actually works in favor of it, at least for me, as it let me just enjoy the game for what it was in comparison to SR3’s half-hearted attempt at it.

Per usual, the character creation in SRIV is amazing, one of the best in the business in my opinion. The clothing options seem a bit more limited this time around, but in no time, I was running around Virtual Steelport as a sexy modern-day version of my Pathfinder character, shooting aliens in the face with freeze rays and hurling cars into the sunset with telekinesis. And that’s how Saints Row IV rolls. It’s a playground and a fun one at that. The city is littered with little collectibles to pick up (and lots of them too) and the game gives you access to a bunch of super powers at once as if to say, “There ya go kid, just gimme a shout when you want to continue the story.” I found myself playing for literally hours just running around the city, leaping from roof to roof collecting random stuff, blasting my custom soundtrack. Whenever I got bored of the city exploration, I’d jump into a story mission, do something over the top wacky, maybe get a new power-up or weapon out of it and then go back to exploring.

Steelport of Saints Row the Third felt so boring. So lifeless and empty. And while it’s true that this is technically the same setting, it felt 100% new to me now that I was able to explore it to my heart’s content. Feeling so powerful in a game sometimes feels really good. Yeah, challenge is nice and to be entirely honest, Saints Row IV is an easy game. You’ll rarely feel like you’re in any real danger of dying, but sometimes it’s nice to feel like you’re a god. It’s cool to leap a thousand feet into the air, rocket towards the ground and strike the pavement below so hard it creates a goddamn nuclear explosion. For a game that prides itself on its over the top nature, I find it amazing that stuff like that didn’t get tiresome for me.

As for the missions themselves, I felt like SRIV’s highs weren’t -quite- as high as the final Deckers’ mission in SR3, but they were a hell of a lot more consistent. Whether you’re saving the world from being blown up by a giant nuclear missile as Aerosmith plays or simply listening to your character and Pierce sing Biz Markie, this game is full of…well, simple fun. It’s not deep, it’s not exactly challenging, but it’s not trying to be. Saints Row IV just wants you to have a good time. It showers you in rewards not for that instant “wow factor” but because it wants you to enjoy yourself. Sure, you may never even ride in a car once outside of the times it makes you in missions, but the option is there…and it’s there in spades. You want a car? SRIV’ll give you one with Johnny Gat’s fuckin’ face right on the front. Or maybe a tank. Or a jet. Who knows? Take your pick.

Like I said before, it’s by no means the deepest game on my list nor the best, by technical standpoints or otherwise. The graphics are alright, but they’re nothing to write home about and there’s still an abundance of DLC slapped on…but overall, SRIV just felt like more of a complete package (haha) to me. Whether I was simply exploring the virtual Steelport or fighting alongside Johnny Gat in a 2D side scrolling beat-em-up parody, I was having a blast the whole time. And really, isn’t that what video games are all about? Having fun?

3. BioShock Infinite

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BioShock Infinite was an early leader for my Game of the Year as I mulled it over. I don’t really remember the last time a game made me really just…think upon completing it. Infinite touches upon something I’ve always found really interesting; if one thing was changed, how would that change everything else? The whole infinite alternate timelines for each different possibility is just fascinating to me, which is perhaps why the ending of BioShock Infinite made me…well, like I said, think. I thought back upon the game I had just played and everything sort of locked into place. All the subtle little hints throughout the game, all the rifts you use to fight enemies and such, it all sort of made sense.

I could go on talking about BioShock Infinite’s storyline for quite a while though, so I’ll try and speed this along just a little bit. Gameplay itself is very solid, especially for a FPS. There’s multiple guns to choose from, a bunch of Vigors to use in battle and being able to pull objects through the tears in reality and into battle adds a lot of variety to each gunfight. Sometimes all you need might be a bit of health, so you pull that through…or maybe you could use a bit of extra firepower, so you summon a turret to gun down the army of enemies you’re facing. Gear you can collect is a welcome addition to the series, adding some light RPG elements in the form of customizing your abilities in certain aspects but even so, the Vigors are what really steal the show in terms of shooting. Sure it’s fun to blast someone in the face with a shotgun…but it’s infinitely (hah) more fun to shoot a steady stream of CROWS into their face and watch as they run around in a panic. And while some of the Vigors are just simple fun like that, some are more tactical, like the Bucking Bronco that launches enemies into the air so you can pick them off like clay pigeons, or the Undertow Vigor which allows you to use watery tendrils to pull enemies in close for a Sky-Hook-based beating.

I think what really caught my eye with Infinite however was just how beautiful it looks, that’s what hooked me back in after BioShock 2 sort of scared me off. At first i was skeptical about how it was going to take place in a city in the sky…but Columbia manages to be eerie in a whole other way. The creepy residents, the casual racism, the constant propaganda, it’s everything BioShock does right to unnerve the player that not everything is right in this seeming paradise. And while we do have grizzled-white-man-with-stubble-holding-a-gun, Booker DeWitt, the character who (we all totally knew it) steals the show is Elizabeth. I can hands down say that Elizabeth is the greatest NPC escortee in gaming history. She doesn’t need constant protection, she isn’t whiny or annoying, she isn’t constantly getting kidnapped and screaming “LEEEEEOOOOOOOOON!” No. She’s a badass who is constantly finding shit for you. Ammo, salts, health, money, this girl’s got it all and she feels like such a -natural- character. When Booker executes an enemy with his Sky-Hook, she reacts in horror as any normal person would. She’s a mostly ordinary young lady in an extraordinary world with all of this stuff sort of just thrust upon her. She reacts to the simplest of things with absolute wonder, simply because she’s spent all that time locked up, guarded by the mysterious Songbird. Getting Elizabeth through this quickly becomes the player’s main goal simply because they get attached to her so easily. She may frustrate you at points, but she’s supposed to, afterall, no relationship or friendship is ever without tension.

Long story short, BioShock Infinite manages to take the wonder and mystery of the first game and recreate it in an entirely new setting. Columbia feels like a living, breathing city with dark, dark secrets that you’ll discover all too soon. It’s not a happy place and really, this isn’t a happy game. It’s one that’ll keep you playing though with only a few snags of frustration…but the great gameplay, excellent story, beautiful setting, and of course the lovely Elizabeth, will see you through to the end.

Or would it be the beginning?

2. Soul Sacrifice

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What would you give to achieve your goals? That’s the major question in Soul Sacrifice, and if it meant sacrificing $340 to get my Vita and a copy of this game, I’m certainly glad I made that sacrifice. Soul Sacrifice is an excellent Monster Hunter-esque game that basically sold me on the Vita. The game looks stunning visually and has an intriguing story and lore to boot. The game is structured via missions, whether they be slaying common enemies or massive bosses, the action is always intense and exciting. Managing your “resources” is a must in this game. You only get a certain amount of uses per attack and if you exceed those uses, you lose that attack until you “repair” it later. As the title implies, the game is all about sacrifices. You can use that one last use of a powerful spell to take down a fearsome boss, but you’re losing that in the process. Burn the flesh from your body and you’ll unleash a devastating attack…at the cost of halving your defenses until you can “repair” yourself. The price to do these repairs increases the more you do it however, so it’s always a debate whether you want to risk it or not to win the battle.

What will you give to win?

On top of this, the game boasts online multiplayer for up to four adventurers to take on missions with each other. This adds another interesting concept to the mix that’s explored a bit in the single player with CPU allies. Would you give your friend’s life to win the fight? Upon being knocked down, you’re given the option of saving your fallen ally…or sacrificing them to unleash another powerful attack at no real cost…to you at least. Begging for your life becomes all the most desperate when it’s not just some “downed” state you’re in. When your life literally depends on whether or not your friend will heal you or use you to further their own means depends entirely upon the players involved.

The game is challenging, to say the least. You’re able to level up your different stats in a basic way, either by sacrificing your enemies or saving them. This system allows for a bit of variety in how you build a character. You can either build a balanced character who will be good for any situation, a glass-cannon, a tank, or anything in between…it all depends on what sort of person you are. Bosses are hard and will take all of your skill to beat them the first time around as you try and learn their patterns and attacks. This is where Soul Sacrifice truly shines as the boss battles are huge, dynamic and exciting. There’s a huge variety of bosses to fight as well as a number of -FREE- DLC fiends to take on. Hell, the game even gives you the option of fighting the game’s final foe from the get go. It’s very much -your- experience.

Now I skimmed over this earlier, but the lore in this game is beyond excellent. Each of the boss monsters has a story to be told about them…afterall, they used to be just like you…they just weren’t as lucky. Giving these beasts sympathetic (or not so sympathetic) backstories is an excellent way of making the sacrificing concept all the more difficult to choose from. On one hand, they’re a murderous monster now…on the other, it really might not’ve been their fault. Dead beasts remain dead, although you can rewrite the contents of the book to save them and saving them obviously has the benefit of adding new allies to your ranks. That said, watch your back around who you travel with; you may save an ally every time he hits the ground…but the moment the tables turn, he may not hesitate to end your life as you scream for mercy.

Soul Sacrifice is a brutal game, both in concept and difficulty, but it’s very much a rewarding one. It’s a better Monster Hunter game than Monster Hunter in my eyes and quite easily one of the top reasons to own a Vita. No matter which way you cut it, Soul Sacrifice is your story; now what sort of person are you..?

1. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

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I lied a bit when I said BioShock Infinite was my early leader for GotY 2013, Jack had already carved that spot out with his high-frequency blade a month earlier. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is that underdog game that I couldn’t help but fall in love with immediate. Take the badass cyborg-ninja Raiden, give him an action game developed by the godly Platinum Games (creators of one of my favorite action games ever, Bayonetta), throw in an amazing soundtrack and you’ve got a winning combination for a game. I’m going to break this one down a bit more systematically, considering it’s number one on the list, so I apologize in advance for the more streamlined review.

Gameplay: The gameplay in Rising is simply top notch. The action is intense, the challenge is very real, the combos are fun as hell and the Zandatsu cutting is just beyond fun. From the moment I first laid hands on the demo, I knew this game was going to be something special. Starting out on the beach, I began cutting down the trees for the hell of it, slicing every which way until I really couldn’t cut them anymore; that took a while. Next, I cut down the staircase leading to the area I had to go. Well shit, three minutes in and I’ve already tra-oh wait…I can just run up the goddamn wall. Being able to cut anything…and they really do mean almost anything (except cats) is just such an empowering feeling, even if it’s something stupid like cutting a watermelon into chunks.

Raiden has a wide variety of moves to use and unlock as the game progresses and I found myself actually using a vast majority of these moves, unlike most games like this, if only because of how flashy and brutal it makes the combat. Cutting a guard down to size and then -LITERALLY- cutting him down to a thousand tiny chunks of robo-man just makes you feel really damn brutal. Even with all this power though, the game isn’t easy. Far from it in fact. Normal mode is very beatable, even for rookies of the genre, but the harder difficulties will give even action game veterans a run for their money. Thankfully, the game tends to avoid the whole “enemies just take a thousand more hits to kill” on higher difficulties and it actually changes up enemy patterns entirely, throwing end-game enemies at you in the beginning chapters.

Sound: This deserves an entire category to itself, if only because I immediately bought the soundtrack off Amazon soon after beating the game. The music itself, especially the boss tracks are fast, aggressive and ungodly catch. Each boss theme also gives a little more insight on the bosses through the lyrics. Admittedly, the band that does all the themes is very much a “studio band” as the live performances were downright shameful.

Story: Rising’s story is downright goofy, but in such a way that it feels sort of like a cheesy B-action movie, which sort of fits the rest of the MGS series just fine as well as Platinum Game’s typical storylines. It also sort of fits with Raiden’s role as the B-hero of the series. Characters appear, characters get cut down, bosses die, Raiden goes berserk, he talks in the most badass way possible, it all works on such a weird level.

The Desperado leaders, the Winds of Destruction, are all interesting characters in their own rights, all of whom have exciting boss fights (except Sundowner, fuck Sundowner) and have some interesting interactions with Raiden, helping to further the reasoning behind what Raiden really fights for. Sam, the new rival of Raiden, is also a fun character who turns out to be more than meets the eye. Both Sam and the mechanical wolf, Bladewolf also have campaigns of their own as DLC (which is free now) that add more to their character.

But who really steals the show is the last minute addition of Senator Armstrong; a hilarious parody of everything wrong with American politicians. He thinks the world should be survival of the fittest and he’s a good ol’ Amuricun boy who plays FOOTBALL. He’s not some crazy cyborg robot, he’s just got NANOMACHINES, SON! He beats the everloving shit out of Raiden for AMURICUH and all the God fearing Americans too afraid of the truth. He’s an absolutely terrible human being, but you can’t help but wonder if there’s some truth to what he’s saying…then you realize he’s, as Raiden puts it, batshit insane.

So yes! To sum up, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is just…damn is this game amazing. The action’s intense and over the top and it’s just so full of amazing, jaw-dropping moments that I can’t help but love it to death. I knew from the first ten minutes that I was going to love this game and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s short, which is a mark against it for sure, but even still, I found myself going right back in at a higher difficulty after I beat it the first time. This game literally -EXPLODED- out of the gate at the beginning of the year and remained just above the competition throughout the whole thing.

If Jack’s back and this is the way he’s going to be? Yeah, I don’t think I’d miss that Snake guy too much…

Honorable Mentions

Some games are amazing but not -QUITE- amazing enough to make it onto the list! For those games, they get an Honorable Mention! They fought hard, but they didn’t quite make the cut…but they’re still worth checking out for sure! In fact, I totally recommend every game on my list!
Rogue Legacy
Rogue Legacy got beat out by Spelunky in terms of that-one-addictive-rogue-like-that-I-keep-on-playing, but it’s still a damn fine game. With each character being a unique experience, challenging, constantly changing environments and a deep upgrade system, Rogue Legacy is certainly a must own game.

Fire Emblem: Awakening
I was a little late to the Fire Emblem party this time around and, while I admittedly haven’t finished it yet, Fire Emblem: Awakening so far blows away the competition that’s been released stateside. It’s more of that addictive strategy RPG gameplay you know and love complete with interesting characters and a good difficulty level for beginners and FE vets alike.

Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies
Phoenix Wright returns to the courtroom in what may be his best outting yet. The game starts off with a bang, pun somewhat intended and doesn’t let up throughout the rest of the cases. New character Athena is a welcome addition to Wright and company and even Apollo Justice manages to be a bit of a badass this time around; not to say anything of the new prosecutor, Simon Blackquill. With beautiful new graphics and writing as sharp as a tack, Dual Destinies will leave you laughing one minute and laying down the law with a well timed OBJECTION! the next.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Honestly, I almost forgot this game was released this year, as it sort of fell off the radar even before it was released. That said, Sly, Bentley and Murray’s return to action is an excellent platformer in a day and age where those are becoming increasingly rare. Despite not being made by Sucker Punch, Sanzaru Games proves that the series is in good hands. The game plays the return of the Cooper Gang fairly safe, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing? Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time doesn’t miss a beat with its excellent gameplay and lovable characters.

Rayman Legends
Speaking of amazing mascot platformers, Rayman Legends manages to outdo New Super Mario Bros. U in basically every aspect. The game is good old fashion hard as balls platforming at is finest with excellent multiplayer and crisp, beautiful visuals. Despite not being as mainstream as some of the other platformers, Rayman Legends is a must own game for anyone who likes fast, frantic gameplay. If one good thing came out of the exclusivity ordeal, it’s that people on multiple platforms got to play this excellent hidden gem of a game. I highly recommend both this game and Rayman Origins which I think most people passed up due to Ubisoft’s general shitty treatment towards the limbless hero prior to these two fantastic games.

And thus, that concludes my list of -MY- Top Ten Games of 2013! Stay tuned for another list I’ve got coming up shortly; my Top Five Biggest Disappointments of 2013!

~MarthTrinity

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Responses

  1. Good read MT! Great choice for number one. Love me some Rising; think it’s my favorite “current gen” action game. Really want to try out 3D World sometime now. Hopefully when I get a Wii U this Christmas, I’ll enjoy as much as you. Expect my own GotY list sometime near the end of December.

    Looking forward to reading your disappointing list!

  2. See Taints Row Bore, feel sense of betrayal

  3. seriously though, great list!

  4. The first wild pokemon you encounter in Pokemon X/Y is Pidgey, not Weedle. It’s hard coded in the game to be encountered on the second row of grass in Route 2.

    And now I go. To ruin some other person’s day. Junahu awaaaaaaaay!

  5. At least you commented.

    ….asshole. (D)


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