By: Matthew Striplen
TOP 10 GAMES OF 2013
10) Surgeon Simulator 2013 — So, I like weird games. That said, what better way to kick off a top 10 list than with a weird indie game. Surgeon Simulator 2013 places you in the role of a surgeon (duh), but with a few hilarious twists. The physics are completely ridiculous and everything is totally over the top. Plus, the situations you’ll find yourself in are questionable to say the least. It’s definitely worth a play.
9) Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse — Remember this old gem from the days of the Sega Genesis? Even if you don’t, you’re in for a treat. Not having played the original, I was skeptical simply because of the average reputation of current Disney games. I was expecting a watered-down, generic platformer, but I could not have been more wrong. This game reminds me of everything classic games still offer us while updating and improving the features limited by the inferior technology of the original. Right from the start, Castle of Illusion pulls the player straight into the Disney movie world we all remember so well.
8) Grand Theft Auto V — What can be said about GTA V that hasn’t be said already? It’s crazy fun, crazy wild and crazy funny. The amount of freedom afforded in this game is simply staggering. There are so many different ways to play the game, a player is truly only limited by his or her imagination.
7) The Stanley Parable — Do you like feeling secure in your mental stability? If not, The Stanley Parable is the game for you. An eerie narrator constantly talks in your ear, directing your every move. It’s up to you whether or not to obey, but be prepared for the consequences.
6) Ethan: Meteor Hunter — Tired of easy games? Look no further than the little known indie gem Ethan: Meteor Hunter. Despite its innocuous looks, Ethan conceals some seriously hard puzzles, brilliant level design and mechanics with endless possibilities. This game brought me back to an earlier era of gaming where designers weren’t afraid to let the player die many, many times. I found myself screaming, yelling and jumping for joy in front of the screen. This game is definitely worth a shot.
5) The Last of Us — Gritty, terrifying and chilling realism; that’s what The Last of Us is all about. With its engaging story and gripping combat, this game is sure to thrill even the most hardened gamers. The fact that this game is ranked fifth is testament only to what an amazing year 2013 was for video gaming.
4) Stick it to the Man! — For those that haven’t heard of this game, which may be most of you, you’re in for a treat. This is by far the funniest game I have ever played. No game has made me laugh until I cried. By far the best aspects of this game are the script writing and voice acting. With its topsy turvy story and unique gameplay style, Stick it to the Man makes for a fantastic experience.
3) Pokémon X/Y — Okay, I admit it. I’m a huge Pokémon nerd. I’ve followed the series with near religious fervor since Generation I, and I nearly pooped my pants when I saw the first videos from the game. While certain aspects certainly lived up to and exceeded my expectations, others did not. I thought X/Y would be the installment that would truly revolutionize the franchise, but deep down, it still felt like a traditional Pokémon game.
2) The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds — When A Link Between Worlds was first announced, I will admit my skepticism. Despite my initial misgivings, I was quickly won over by the game’s creativity. There’s nothing like classic puzzles with new twists to bring it home. The game is difficult enough to make anyone scratch their heads, which is welcome in today’s world of oversimplified games. A Link Between Worlds is by far the best portable Zelda title in years.
1) BioShock Infinite — BioShock Infinite took nearly everything we’ve come to know and love about the franchise and turned it on its head… and hot damn, it works well. As a fan of the series, I came into the experience with very high expectations, but at the same time I knew “threequels” are not known for being blockbusters. This game does so many things right, from the vivid colors, the mind-rending story, and the adrenaline pumping music. Set in the floating city of Columbia in an alternate 1912, Infinite combines the best and worst of both futuristic technology and old-timey America into a thrilling adventure.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2013
Pokémon Bank/PokéTransfer — As I said earlier, I’m a huge Pokémon fan, so when I heard that the Pokémon Bank would be opening, I was excited. Then came the reports of the bundled PokéTransfer and how, for the first time in the franchise’s history, players would be forced to pay Nintendo for doing something that had been included in every game since Generation III: trans-generational trading. I was a little miffed, but the 30-day trial made me a feel a bit better. Then the final blow fell: “JAY KAY EVERYBODY! Whatever you may have thought about this service no longer matters because it’s been postponed indefinitely.” *sniff*
MOST ANTICIPATED GAMES OF 2014
4) Destiny — Despite not being a Microsoft gamer, I almost always enjoy Bungie’s games. The graphics alone are simply beautiful. With its intriguing story, Destiny looks to be a great new addition to the FPS library.
3) Super Smash Bros. (for 3DS/Wii U) — For me, the Super Smash franchise is synonymous with my childhood hangouts. After being a little underwhelmed by Brawl, I was worried the series wouldn’t recover. That was before I saw the addition of Mega Man. The new mechanics and sleek look made me very excited to see what Nintendo is cooking up for everyone.
2) Star Citizen — If you don’t say, “whoa,” after watching the trailer for this game, you don’t know what fun is. The sheer amount of detail is mind blowing. This is the type of game that makes me really excited about the future of gaming.
1) Elder Scrolls Online — I was late getting on the Skyrim train, but when I finally did, I was totally hooked. As I sunk hour after hour into the gorgeous world of Tamriel, I remember thinking to myself, “Thank God this isn’t an MMO, otherwise I’d be here forever.” Then Elder Scrolls Online was announced. Uh oh…
PlayStation Game of the Year: BioShock Infinite
Xbox Game of the Year: BioShock Infinite
Nintendo Game of the Year: Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Downloadable Game of the Year: Stick it to the Man!
Portable Game of the Year: Pokémon X/Y
Best Story: BioShock Infinite
Best Shooter: BioShock Infinite