Home > Gaming Wednesdays > The Cheap Ferret’s Games Of The Year 2013

The Cheap Ferret’s Games Of The Year 2013

It is the Most Newest Of Years (or at least it was last week when I originally intended to post this), which means that, like everybody who likes to write about video games has been doing the last few weeks, I’m going to write about which video games I enjoyed the most from the year 2013.

Please remember that I haven’t played all video games from 2013, so there are likely to be many omissions, and to be honest, extending it beyond five games from this year is probably not going to happen, so if your favourites are missing, feel free to yell them at me in the comments below.

Let’s goooooooooo!

5. Bioshock Infinite
(2K Games, Irrational Games, PS3/Xbox 360/PC)

Bioshock Infinite has been a bit of a point of contention for some people. It’s become somewhat cool to hate the game lately, with some claiming it was the worst game released this year, and in a year that also saw the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines, that’s a pretty far-fetched claim.

Bioshock Infinite was a victim of its own hype. Bioshock was absolutely fantastic, and people were expecting something on a par with it. The many trailers and teasers released over the last few years through the countless delays the game has suffered led many to expect a lot more from the game than was actually delivered.

So let me address this. Yes, the game was flawed, and yes it felt like little more than a series of combat arenas, and yes there were times when I wished I could have explored the world more, and yes, the original Bioshock was better (which is why I picked it for my top 15 PS3 games) but no, it wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be.

Bioshock Infinite was still an entertaining game with some great mechanics and some great art design, and had a plot that was engaging. While it certainly didn’t tread any exciting new ground, it did keep me entertained, and let’s be honest, isn’t that really what games are all about?

4. Tomb Raider
(Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics, PS3/Xbox 360/PC)

This is another game I always feel like I have to defend every time it comes up, because of the rabid classic TR fans that can’t accept change.

I enjoyed Tomb Raider 2013: Lara Can Do This, although much like Infinite, I do acknowledge its flaws. But I found it incredibly exciting, and it was nice to see the difficulty curve of the games slowly beginning to return. The last few Crystal Dynamics games weren’t known for their difficulty, so it was good to see this reboot bring some of it back. No, it wasn’t as tricksy as the old games, but I never expected it would be.

I was recently asked on Twitter what I would improve, and to be honest, I would have just made it longer, thrown more classic references in there and made the exploration parts feel more expansive. I would have possibly expanded on some of the survival mechanics too, but they were largely fine as they were.

But at its core, there was a good, interesting game that I had fun with. It was less linear than Uncharted (as much as I love those games), and was a much-needed kick in the pants for the franchise. Sure, it’s still failed to remove 1999’s The Last Revelation from my Tomb Raider top spot, but it’s going to take something miraculous to do that.

Tomb Raider 2013 was solid, and I look forward to the already announced sequel.

3. Tearaway
(Sony, Media Molecule, PS Vita)

Ah, the PS Vita. The Little Handheld That Could. The eternal running gag. The console wheeled out at every Sony conference to remind the world that it still exists. I do love the Vita. It’s a nice system let down by a lack of real support, but it tries its best, bless it.

That said, LittleBigPlanet boffins, Media Molecule, have made a game that shows the Vita used to the best of its ability, and made a game that you really should buy the system for.

Tearaway is set in a land made of paper, where you control a messenger named Iota or Atoi depending on which gender you chose, while your actual self sits gurning out from the sun like some demented version of the Teletubbies Sun Baby thanks to the Vita camera. The objective is to guide your little messenger buddy through the world using the power of touch screens and cameras and whatever else the Vita is capable of so that s/he can deliver you a message. Awww.

And “awwww” is basically the best way to describe this game. Tearaway is fun. It’s unashamed to be cute and playful and generally make you feel warm and fuzzy. It’s a game that demands you to be a part of its world, and even bring its world into reality since almost every character model in the game can be collected and downloaded to be constructed as a real papercraft model.

Tearaway is what happens when you let a developer obsessed with fun make a game they want to make, without interference. It’s a wonderful little game that I fell completely in love with.

2. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of The White Witch
(Namco Bandai Games, Level-5, PS3)

Speaking of games with worlds that I fell in love with, here’s Ni No Kuni. I’ve talked a lot about how much I love Drippy as a character, but I also just love the world of this quaint little JRPG. Technically this is a game from 2011, but it didn’t get a Western release until last year so it still counts as far as I’m concerned.

The Ghibli artwork is beautiful, and the game constantly feels like you’re playing a Miyazaki movie. The mechanics are simple to grasp but tricky to master. The sidequests and challenges feel enjoyable. The plot is standard fare, but has a Ghibli charm and is populated with lovable characters.

Plus, you know, Drippy.

1. The Last Of Us
(Sony, Naughty Dog, PS3)

OK, yes, fine, anyone who saw my top 15 PS3 games probably saw this coming a mile away. Anyone who follows me on Twitter and saw my comments about how this game needs to be on everyone’s GOTY lists unless they lack a PS3 to play it on, or if the professional publication doesn’t cover PS3 titles (e.g. Rock Paper Shotgun didn’t include it on their list, but they’re a PC-only site so they get a pass). The Last Of Us is not only my game of the year but my game of the generation.

The Last Of Us has achieved something many developers crave – it elevated video game storytelling to a more mature level without sacrificing gameplay in the process. It’s a tense action stealth survival exploration game with human characters that knows when to put the zombies back in the box for a little bit to maintain their impact.

The story blends with the gameplay at every turn. The characters are fleshed out and believable. The stealth sections are challenging without being too maddening. You feel vulnerable. You feel connected. You feel everything. Basically, this is All The Feels: The Video Game. Nothing I can possibly say will ever properly convey just how much of an impact this game had on me.

And that, my friends, is that. The Last Of Us is my game of 2013, and I look forward to seeing what 2014 has to offer.

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  1. ajrsblog
    January 9, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I have to agree with you on Tomb Raider 2013 it was a much needed re-boot because frankly Legend was a short levelled let down (although still better than Angel Of Darkness), Anniversary was my least favourite of them all including Angel Of Darkness and the Gameboy/mobile phone games! A poor-mans re-imagining of the original TR with too many vacant corridors they completely butchered most of the levels as well (though I highly enjoyed your lets play of it!). Underworld was as bad as Angel Of Darkness. With this next generation of Tomb Raider game Crystal Dynamics finally got it right, they focused on the one thing that mattered: Gameplay, sure we miss the Lara of old, you can’t make a Tomb Raider game without it being compared to the old ones of the PS1 era (of which I agree TR4 is still the best), but the world had moved on so Tomb Raider had too as well.

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