I think one of the things that bothers me about journalism is just how uniform it is sometimes. What I am referring to are end of the year, best-of lists, and I know I have said this before. It seems no matter what site you are on, they are all pretty much the same. Now I know what you’re thinking. Well, if those are the best games out that year, it makes sense that all lists would have similar games. But I have to ask, if someone is just re-writing a list that is already out there, what is the point? In thinking that, I began forcing myself to think outside the box about gaming in 2013.
Yes, we all know GTA V was friggin’ stellar, but what about all the awesome games that kind of got ignored? Well, this list is about them. These are six amazing games from 2013 you MIGHT not have played. Note, if you have played these, feel free to back me up in the comments so the good people know what they are missing.
Mark of the Ninja
You know, Mark of the Ninja was one of my very favorite games of the entire year, and one of the best downloadable games from 2013. It is like a 2D version of the old PlayStation ninja stealth game, Tenchu. The hand drawn art style was stunning to behold and really pulled you into the world they were conveying. On top of that, you have a MetroidVania type level design (meaning the levels went vertically and horizontally). If there was one gripe about the game, it was that it might have been a little on the easy side. But I, for one, did not find that as a negative aspect.
The very idea of being a ninja is the idea that you can kill hundreds of unsuspecting people without anyone ever knowing you were around, and that is just what Mark of the Ninja accomplishes. Add to that a great soundtrack, slick animations, and a game that was fun and nostalgic, and you have what I very much consider a must-play game for last year.
DMC (Devil May Cry Reboot)
Okay, I know Dante was impossible to like in this new Devil May Cry reboot. I also think the game constantly trying to make him naked was a bit weird, too. But if you managed to look past those two insignificant problems, you were left with an incredibly intense brawler that actually had some of the best level design of last year. Oh, and some TRULY batshit crazy boss fights. I think the problem a good deal of people had was with just juvenile it all felt. Lots of F-bombs, half naked heroes, and boobs. But, and I truly believe this, DMC had one of the best brawler game mechanics I have played in a long time.
You could switch between weapons and fight styles on the fly, and you had a shit-ton of gadgets and weapons you could use to accomplish your feats. On top of that, the visual and level design was incredibly well executed. This is he game Deadpool should have been.
Also worth nothing. The game had the best use of typography I have ever seen in a game. You may think that is insignificant, but it isn’t. Watch how much typography and fonts get used and integrated in the next generation of gaming and you will see just how ahead of the curve this game was.
A Wolf Among Us
This broke my heart. With Walking Dead, Telltale finally mastered their formula. Big name licenses with tough decisions to be made by the player. And even though all the world screamed the praises of The Walking Dead games, no one said squat about this game. Why was that?
Okay, so it may have been a little glitchy at times. My game did keep freezing for seconds at a time. I can understand why that would take people out of the game a little. But, that is but a minor gripe in a game that is just so perfect in every other sense.
I really believe the reason many people did not play this game is because unlike Walking Dead (and Back to the Future and Jurassic Park) where everyone knew the back story, no one did here. The problem is, with Wolf Among Us, a great many people have not read the brilliant Fables comic book, so they thought they would not “get it”. But Telltale knew this might be a problem and created a great deal of in-game canon to catch up those who may have been going at it blind. If that is the reason you avoided this game, you missed one of the best adventure games of the year. Hell, I liked it more than 400 days and the first episode of season two of the Walking Dead game.
Trust me, just play it. You get to be the big, bad wolf, and how badass is that? Add some noir elements and you have a game you will not likely forget anytime soon. Oh, and Telltale, WHERE THE F*%$ is episode two? You’re killing me.
Speaking of killing….
Metal Gear: Revengeance
I know the game is only six hours long. I also know that the sword mechanic is not used quite as freely as was first forecast. BUT, I also know that this is a game made by the same team who made Bayonetta (one of the best action games of the seventh generation) and that it is just as blisteringly insane as that game was. Oh, and it takes place in the Metal Gear universe. That only adds to the insanity.
It also features Raiden. I know, we all still resent him from being naked and taking over Sons of the Patriots, but what if I told you he EASILY trumped Snake as the new key badass in this series? What if I told you that even in six hours, you still feel like you got more out of this game than most other games from this year? What if I told you this game had one of the most insane final bosses EVER??!!! Would any of this make you want to play this game?
Well, it should.
Revengeance was balls-to-the-wall action at its finest. Sixty bucks for six hours is a little much. But now that you can find it used and for a third of that price, what is your excuse?
What happened to platform games? There was a time when they made up 60-80% of gaming. Now, we are lucky if we get a handful a year. Well, Puppeteer was the game that I borrowed a PS3 to play, I was that intrigued by it. And my God, was I glad I did.
First off, the visuals. The visuals of Puppeteer are nothing short of stunning. This is a world you would THINK came from the mind of Tim Schafer and Tim Burton. It just oozes a visual style that is quite unlike anything in games right now. Add to that a really dope head-swap mechanic and you have a game that rises well above the crop of most of the games people are talking about from last year.
Puppeteer is so cool, even non-gamers stay in the room to watch people play it. That speaks volumes in itself. I feel like this is the game Pixar would make if they made a game right now.
Yup. It finally happened. A PC game on one of my game lists. It is not that I don’t dig PC gaming. I just don’t have a rig for it, and my consoles meet those needs just fine. But people kept telling me to play Gone Home. They kept telling me it would have a huge impact on me. So finally, I caved, and boy was I glad I did. I need to be careful talking about Gone Home. The beauty of this game lies in the way it reveals itself to you.
Gone Home is not so much a game, as it is an interactive narrative that changes the way we look at just what a game can say and do. This one just barely edged out Stanley Parable from making the list. Both amazing games you need to play, stat!