It’s been a long and fantastic year. I went to my first and second gaming conventions, I spent 3 months of the year in America, and started working on 2 games, both of which work, but aren’t polished. I quit a retail job, and went solo to try and make it in the gaming world (which hasn’t happened yet, but will one day!). It’s been a hectic year, but in that time, I’ve made sure to stick to my new years resolution, and have completed at least 1 game a week (it started as 1 piece of media a week, but being as I have a huge steam library and far too many consoles, it eventually changed it to games alone).
So to round the year up, here’s my top 10 list of my favourite games I’ve completed this year.
Honourable Mention. State of Decay.
State of Decay could easily have been my game of the year, having played over 18 hours and being totally invested in the world, I was ready to say that’s it, it’s amazing and everyone should play it. BUT this was until I came across bugs that stopped me from completing the main campaign. I’ll write a review in more detail soon, but lets just say, it’s a fantastic game that definitely needs to be polished up.
10. Gravity Rush.
If you spoke to 15 year old Daniel, you’d find a boy obsessed with everything Japanese. I’ve come a long way since then, and haven’t been as into Japanese culture and games for a long while, but Gravity rush changed all that. Its town is lovingly built, with characters that gleam with enthusiasm and depth, and the mechanics, whilst repetitive, are extremely enjoyable. I am genuinely excited about the prospect of another Gravity Rush, and would easily recommend this game as a must have for any new Vita owner.
9. Borderlands 2.
Borderlands 2 makes this list due to the sheer amount of hours me and my gaming buddy have invested into it (110+ so far). Its gameplay is fantastic, and the loot system just makes it as addictive as any casino game. The story isn’t great, but that’s not what you’re there for, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LOOT!
8. Batman: Arkham City.
Having loved the original so much, I knew this would be a hit from the moment I started playing. Everything about the original has been upgraded, from the fighting style, to the level design and graphics, everything is better than the first. My only regret? That I didn’t play this sooner.
7. Bioshock Infinite.
I didn’t write a review for Bioshock: Infinite when I completed it back in March, mainly because I was that blown away by it that I felt any comments I had on it wouldn’t do it justice. I played it again some months later when I returned from the US, and found that maybe I went a tad overboard in my praise for the game. It’s still a fantastic journey from start to finish, and will easily entertain any player for hours on end, but in hindsight, it wasn’t the best game ever, just a great accumulation of what story telling in action games, along with a fantastic setting, have transpired to become.
6. FTL: Faster Than Light.
Such a short and simple game in terms of mechanics, yet so hard/impossible to master. These great traits stand the test of time, and I can foresee myself getting addicted to this again very soon with its expansion and port to iOS. The iOS port is going to ruin my productivity, as then I’ll be able to play it at work and wherever I like.
5. Gone Home.
I was blown away by the way that Gone Home told its story through its gameplay mechanics. Even more surprising was Fullbright studios ability to know that most players aren’t dumb, so you were able to find out about a character both directly (through manuscripts you pick up) and indirectly (by the type of room they had or items they owned). If was fantastic, and has greatly influenced my thought process in making a story for a game.
4. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
The Production value of Brothers was absolutely astounding. Like Journey a year ago, Brothers put me on an emotional roller coaster, with its game mechanics and control system feeding into the overall narrative perfectly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game so perfectly realised as Josef Fares imagination goes wild.
3. Thomas Was Alone.
Thomas Was Alone changed my perspective on what it means and takes to build a character within a game. For all my life, I’ve been a die-hard graphics enthusiast, someone who upgrades his PC to try and play the latest and greatest on max settings. I’ve always been a stark defender of graphics building more immersive worlds and believable characters, but Thomas Was Alone has changed all of that. Here were a bunch of different shaped rectangles, that each had their own personalities and quirks, with more personality that any AAA game such as Crysis or Halo. I was emotionally attached to these little blocks, something I can’t say for all of the polished grizzly action men of this generation. I managed to give my thanks personally to Mike Bithell for this masterpiece at PlayExpo, and for all it’s worth, I hope he knows that this game will stick with me until the day I die, regardless of how much Mike thinks it’s over-rated.
2. The Last of Us.
It’s hard to talk about 2013 without mentioning The Last of Us. It’s a breakthrough in the games industry in marrying a serious plot with some serious game mechanics. It may not have been my game of the year, mainly because I did still have some gripes with the game (barely changing the uncharted gameplay model and making the story justify it doesn’t seem revolutionary in my book), but the game is still a landmark for me in how far our industry has come. I feel I can safely say, that’s something we should all be proud of.
1. The Binding of Isaac.
I’m hooked by the Binding of Isaac. Never have I found a game more enticing, more addictive, than when I’m exploring randomly generated dungeons with perils and rewards around every corner. The game mechanics are simple to learn, but hard to master, and work perfectly with the variety of enemies that want nothing more then to see Isaac die. To me, The Binding of Isaac is a perfect combination of game mechanics married with game design, and with a different experience waiting for you every time you jump in, it’s certainly addicting to keep on coming back for more.