Games of the Year 2013... So far


Games of the Year 2013... So far
Spoilers! Opinions! Upsets! NEON!

No list this time, just gonna drop a few bombs, filled with the truth. And sarcasm. But mostly the truth.
Let’s get cracking. Six months down. No shortage of titles. But what is the greatest game?
Well, I’ll tell you what it aint...

The Last of Us is NOT the Year’s Best.

Wait! I’m not trolling!

But The Last of Us so desperately wants to be considered good-like-in-the-way-people-think-movies-are-good, those of us who think games are unique and wonderful all on their lonesome feel like we’re being flipped the bird. The big, fungal infected bird!

Heralded as THE Game, not only of the year, but of the very Generation by those who presumably believe a game’s inherent worth is in its ability to ape OTHER forms of entertainment, the buzz circulating TLOU worries my brain.

I’ll freely admit TLOU is expensive, pretty, well written, excellently performed and superbly produced. But it’s also manipulative, familiar, predictable and glitchy. But crucially its GAMEPLAY is but an afterthought, a tide-over in service to its MOVIE BITS. So can we really in good conscious label this the best GAME?

State of Decay is a better GAME than The Last of US.

Pound for fleshy, infected pound, this bug ridden, twenty dolla Arcade title is more of a GAME than Naughty Dog’s latest...
Thematically identical to TLOU, Undead Labs set themselves the unenviable task of making both the Zombie Apocalypse seem fresh and the Community Simulator seem not so-dull-I-want-my-avatar-to-lay-down-on-the-main-road-while-the-10:15-to-Animal-Crossing-reduces-my-brainpan-to-turnip-juice!

Their solution: make the player do the heavy lifting. Survival, morale, resources, intelligence, medicine, ammunition, transportation, fortification, food, water, even the bloody 50+character narrative itself is in the gamers hands.
No time for watchin’, too busy PLAYIN’!

It IS goddamn hideous though...

Revengence revolutionised Hack/Slash gaming. And no-one noticed and/or cared.

God, I’m really not saying Revengeance is perfect. I’m not blind, deaf nor suffering from a headcrab!

It’s cheesy. It loses much in translation. Its cutscenes lack polish. Its environments are drab. The WRONG dude is the final boss. Hells, you can’t even weapon switch on the fly...

But... While God of War: Ascension flogs a dead centaur and Ninja Theory’s DMC reboot copies and pastes the original series like a boss, leave it to Platinum F-ing Games to re-invent the action game!

Vitally, and like ACTUAL COMBAT, Revengeance demands its players master two key skills...

Timing. Accuracy.

Three foes attack at once. One with a rifle. One with an unblockable moped sized novelty sledgehammer.
Raiden focus on the goon with the machete. He waits for the telegraphing flash. He waits a nanosecond longer.
Raiden parries.
Raiden counters, now temporarily immune to damage.
Raiden cuts through both left arm and core, gaining experience, health, power and yuck.
Raiden triggers Ripper Mode and proceeds to war-crime the heavy!
Raiden charges the rifleman, effortlessly deflecting the hurtling projectiles.
Raiden sweeps the legs and with his last volt of power, cores his final foe, absorbs his electrolytes and lands ready, having back-flipped purely for your continued entertainment!

Coupled with hours of quirky codecs, a thumping soundtrack, generation beating Boss Battles and the inescapable fact even a 30 minute play session can leave you utterly exhausted, on reflection, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance boasts the very finest gameplay of 2013.

Every 2013 Shooter plays second fiddle to Blood Dragon.
Think ye of wide open Levels, lashings of options, a sprinkling of science-fiction, and the freedom to ghost, ninja or tank your foes in an empowering combat experience...

Apparently you’re MEANT to be thinking of Crysis 3.
But Crytek made a balls of that, so Blood Dragon all the way!

And when you’ve fond memories of luring a heat-visioned quadruped Tyrannosaur into the midst of foes whose heads panic and spontaneously erupt in that order, what else SHOULD a man reminisce over?

Blood Dragon steamrolls this category, with competitors Metro: Last Light, Fuse and Gears of War: Judgement offering scant more than a flattering contrast in the areas of Design, Execution, Presentation, and Eighties.

Obviously Ubi Montreal’s re-skinned, re-funned, re-Biehn-ed Far Cry had some stiff competition in the form of Aliens: Colonial Marines.HOLY CRAP! I JUST USED UP THE NATION’S ANNUAL SUPPLY OF SARCASM IN THAT ONE SENTENCE!!!

I, of course, mean Bioshock: Infinite. And I apologise for scaring you.

With a steady influx of super-powered vigors, DNA switching tonics, quantum tears and gory, gratuitous, generous combinations, a more sadistic (and strangely colourful) dozen hours gaming is hard to find.

But in comparison to knife fighting a cyber-shark then chaining a Grenade and NINJA STAR takedowns before whipping out Ol’ Painless and screaming like a crazed Bill Duke only to growl a tastefully awful one liner and hang glide across the map, even that Bucking Broncho-Shock Jockey combo pales somewhat...

That said, Irrationalgames have more than violence up their sleeves... Mainly because their sleeves are actually transdimensional rifts between parallel realties achieved via form of quantum entanglement.

That said, is nerdiness really next to godliness at this level?

Bioshock Infinite Vs Tomb Raider – Brains Vs. Balls...sorta
Infinite brings the science like it was gunning for the prestigious title of poindexter-in-chief at a boffin convention. It bundles high brow science fiction with real world theoretical physics and sprinkles on a dash of political science. The result is a game that looks preeety clever.

And by digging on it, we look preeety lever.
And looking preeety clever is the dog’s unmentionables!

But, as a myriad of clichés would suggests, that all counts for shit when confronted with a strong, assertive, relatable female.
And Ms Croft aint one to skimp on the confrontation... as an island of pirates might attest... were they not skewered with arrows and buckshot...

Clinging to the mantra “If you can’t do something new, do something better” Crystal Dynamics knock it out of the park with Lara Croft’s reinvention. Sure it wears its influences on its sleeve, Uncharted Set Pieces, Portal Puzzle Rooms, Sandbox exploration, MGS CQC, but their dedication in depicting the metamorphosis of a brave young scholar into a grizzled, fearless adventurer without sacrificing her innate sensitivity is beyond impressive.

Tomb Raider innovates very little, steals very much and THAT controversy unjustly robbed it of its thunder (because the idiom ‘Rape and Pillage’ couldn’t possibly be attributed to pirates...)

But a more glorious a tapestry of tried, tested gameplay threads and immersive, emotive seams has yet to appear in 2013.
Tomb Raider (kind of out of nowhere) is the game to beat in 2013.
Not because it does ANYTHING new. But because it does EVERYTHING right.

Thank you for your patience.
Now, please feel free to tell me how much of an idiot I am...

Games of the Year 2013... So far on

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