Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gryzor's Top 5 Best and Worst Games of 2013

With 2013 well and truly behind us, let's look back at the video games that made it stand out in a good way, and the video games that were total shit and almost set the medium back a decade.

The Highs
Let's start on a positive note with the games that rocked the house last year!

Fire Emblem: Awakening
You can always rely on Fire Emblem to perform on all four cylinders, folks! I was going to put this higher on the list, but between its mediocre graphics and often feeling like a grindfest (though definitely not as much as Disgaea does), it's more of a case of whatever it does right is done right to a fucking tee! I'd say the same for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but Fire Emblem: Awakening does the strategy RPG thing much better than Revengeance does the hack and slash thing.
Grand Theft Auto 5

I just think that it's amazing that they managed to make Grand Theft Auto fun again after the overly serious Grand Theft Auto 4. Was a bit disappointed by the lack of metal in its soundtrack and that they didn't use the three character structure to its absolute fullest potential, but fuck, when the city feels as alive as it does here with people, news stations and such reacting to everything that happens including missions, as well as there being a wealth of shit to do and a lot of fun missions, I'd like to think that it's easy to ignore the bugger ups.
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Holy shit, a Zelda game in 2D that actually plays like A Link To The Past, but still feels modern enough (which actually isn't that different - it's just that fucking timeless of a game) for people to get into without shitting the bed in regards to classic stuff! Makes up for years of mediocrity, I'd say! I mean, when was the last time a Zelda game had halfway creative dungeons and bosses instead of bullshit designed for an item - with said item likely being designed first? As much as I like Majora's Mask and Wind Waker, one more reminiscent of A Link To The Past and the good bits of the original is much more preferable.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Although I find it strange that Blood Dragon is the subtitle for Far Cry as only the mechanics are similar, fuck it - this tribute to those cheesy 80s "futuristic" action movies is a fucking good game and easily one of the funniest I've played in a long time! It'd be easier to look at this as more of a parody than an actual video game if the mechanics weren't all that tight; but since it controls finely and really lets you reel in that chain of badass kills you've just performed with ease, it's a game that more than satisfies my no-no places.
Papers, Please
This was quite a pleasant surprise! I mean, a game where you're a member of border security, making plane rides safer by making sure you don't let those pesky Essendon Bombers on board with their performance enhancing drugs! But really, it's the kind of game that manages to really make you consider all that's laid on the table and make your decision based on that. But then you also have to consider moral dilemmas such as letting a wife see her husband even if the passport's faker than Jessica Nigri's tits. A surprisingly refreshing take on what boils down to simple paperwork, but given the job, it makes perfect sense. Indie games doing what they do best right here.

The Lows
But they can't all be winners; here's a few stinkers from this year:

DmC: Devil May Cry/Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow - Mirror Of Fate/Lost Planet 3
Technically, these aren't bad games, but what they are, are horribly disappointing games from otherwise great series (or in the case of Lost Planet, a series with heaps of potential). The problem with these games is that they play like faceless interactive products, rather than anything that's given their own identity. Furthermore, even if these were new IPs, they'd still feel really fucking mediocre as outside of DmC's visual style, nothing really stands out as good. It's all passable, but it's clear that there's no real reason to waste your time with shit you've likely played better versions of (be they Heavenly Sword, Gears Of War, the first two Lost Planet games, and Symphony Of The Night).

Beyond: Two Souls
Not using the "not a video game" "criticism" or whinging about there being no consequences to your decisions - it wouldn't even be on this list if that was the case because it would simply be mediocre and not shit. No, the problem here is that in trying to be some David Lynch type of interactive movie, it instead comes across as a series of missing Home & Away episodes with Ellen Page making cameo appearances. Hey, the events in the game are tied together with such little care that it makes the overarching narrative a fucking mess that's next to impossible to follow. Just watch a David Lynch film instead, kids.

Adventure Time: Appeal To Stoned Hipsters
Oh hey guys, I'm being loud, random and ironic, am I funny yet???

No; it's humorless and so is this game. In fact, I'm convinced that it sucks all the fun out of any room that it happens to be played in. The dungeon is more repetitive than Tartarus, the gameplay is begging for more interaction than a simple timed block, and the jokes are begging for punch lines.

Flashback (2013)
Oh fuck me, this is just shit. Where DmC and Lost Planet 3 were horribly generic games that just so happen to be named after good games (mm that brand recognition), this shit is based off of an old game that was quite good (I mean, it was included with this remake) and tries to make that look like shit with unpolished mechanics, game breaking glitches, getting stuck on the floor and OH MY FUCKING GOD PLAY TEST YOUR SHIT GUYS!

The Walking Dead: The One That Wasn't Made By Telltale Games
ARRRRGH OH MY FUCKING GOD WE'RE NOT YOUR FUCKING GAME TESTERS!!! This actually had some great ideas and you want to know why I think that? Because later on in the year, The Last Of Us implemented most of them and did a good job of doing so! Play that instead!

The absolute worst game of 2013 is...
Ride To Hell: Retribution
That 1% you see on the box? That's how much of a fuck the developer gave during development - at least judging by what goes on in the game, anyway. Between the "mash X to win" fighting engine that does such a buttfucking awful job of emulating Arkham Asylum's combat engine that now the Arkham trilogy and Sleeping Dogs leave a bad taste in my mouth, ultralinear motorbike riding sequences with laughably shit quick time events and dry humping that I swear made my dick shrink quite a bit, it's clear that this game is almost as bad as Superman 64. In 2013, that's fucking pathetic.

The absolute best game of 2013 is...
Metro: Last Light
This game is the textbook definition of a game doing what it gets right really fucking well! What I mean is that in comparison to Metro 2033, it's not quite as hardcore - you always feel at least somewhat safe with a decent amount of ammo, air and supplies, and stealth was a bit easier to pull off as it didn't take too long to figure out the trick. With that being said, its mechanics are well fucking done. The shooting feels on point, the stealth still makes you feel like a badass, the atmosphere is still stronger than Atlas, the graphics are still fucking pretty in their own gritty way, and the story is still one of the most immersing pieces of work in this medium - which says about fuck all when you think about it really, but it's actually quite good! It's hard to deny that this game gets shit right and even with some omissions, it never feels like a shitty sequel unlike Dragon Age 2 - more like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, except way better. It's just fucking brilliant, really.

That ends this year's countdown. Some honorable mentions include The Last Of Us for going the way of Metro 2033 by placing emphasis on resource management and stealth in a survival horror environment (way better than arbitrarily limiting the player - something only Silent Hill did right), Pokemon X/Y for really pushing the Pokemon formula forward and polishing it up to a tee (not on the list due to lame post game content - get back into that for the inevitable Pokemon Z, Game Freak), and Rayman Origins for being a lot of fun (that would've made the list if not for Toad Story). Sadly, I do not own an eight generation console (unless you count the 3DS as one) - not that it made listing the best and worst much harder, but I'm sure you guys would've wanted me to sing the Wii U's praises and slag off the Playstation 4.. or something like that, I don't know. What I do know is that there are more games to come, and Sign Far Beyond is off of its hiatus as we all work on new shit. We promise to not be quite as inactive, you dig? As always, I wish you all the best for 2014!