While browsing through my gaming news sources I came by some "Games of the Year" articles so I thought I'd write my own to sum up 2013's year of gaming.
I used to be a PC gamer but as my interest grew in Japanese exclusive Anime and games and, I started to have a proper income I moved to console gaming. Internet made it easy to import games and the Western games market didn't really interest me too much.
So anyway, games listed here are according to their first release date in their native country. A few I've spent time writing up reviews for but if I haven't, think of what's here as mini reviews.
Games of the Year 2013
I quite enjoyed the reboot. The direction was good in driving the prequel story as to how Lara Croft became the explorer she did. Then there was the RPG style points system for upgrading skills and collecting parts to upgrade your weapons. There were some QTEs but the game wasn't completely filled with them. Graphics were up-to-date for the PS3 which was a bonus.
The pre-rendered cutscenes were so good it would have been great to see a CG movie. Especially after watching the original teaser trailer for this game.
Acquire, Playstation CAMP, Sony Entertainment Japan Studios
If you missed my last post, Rain is a great little adventure game that's presented almost like a picture book. It's not a glum and gloomy as it looks. Gameplay is simple with a few puzzles to solve and if you get stuck, you get little hints. A short and sweet game exclusive for the PS3. If you like short stories with great artwork, you'll enjoy this.
Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki
Part of the ongoing successful "Kiseki (Trails)" series, Falcom added in a number of new elements that brought me back and go as far as spending time to get the platinum trophy. Despite all the big bugs that crashed the console or stopped the game from progressing, it was a very enjoyable JRPG. It's Falcom's first PS3 game.
A lot of the changes felt pretty much inspired by Atlus' Persona 3 and 4 games. When you're not exploring dungeons and beating up enemies, taking tests, spend time building up your social link with party members that in turn, benefits you in battle. The difference in exploiting enemy weaknesses is also significantly obvious compared to previous titles in the series.
One minor niggle was how hard it was to get the Treasure Hunter trophy because there was no counter but, that's just for anyone looking to achieve Platinum.
The original Bioshock and sequel built up quite a lot of hype but I didn't like them because they felt like survival horror FPS games. Don't like creeping around the dark waiting for things to jump out at me. Then I decided to give the series another chance because maybe they did something good to it. Glad I did.
I was pretty much captured by the nostalgic environments right from the opening of the game when you're arriving at Columbia "city in the sky" in an elevator. Everything looked so vibrant and despite the game plunging into chaos afterwards, it was still great to look at.
Gameplay was fun because you could run around eating and drinking whatever you could get your hands on to replenish health and "salts". The mixture of different powers give you different playing styles instead of locking you to a single fight.
Then there was also the lively Elizabeth, the NPC who tagged along with you and helped find items. The AI was done well enough that she was helpful during fights and didn't get in the way like most AI party members that run around on their own. That and the conversations between her and Booker were amusing to listen to. Plenty of good character development.
Music was good and the story was interesting - no time travel but parallel Bioshock worlds. The kind of material sci-fi fans would enjoy.
If the next Bioshock game stayed within this premise, I'd be looking forward to playing it.
Watching the puzzle element of the game in all the teasers that lead up to the release of this game, the idea of hacking people's memories piqued my interest. But it was a mixed experience when I actually played the game.
The action part of the game was kind of a mix between playing a beat-em-up/fighter game and an ARPG. You levelled up and can spend points unlocking new moves, which you can then chain together to create preset combos for certain effects such as healing or extra attack power.
I felt this part of the game wasn't very streamlined because whenever you started a combo, the moves you executed appeared which in turn, felt very limiting compared to other ARPGs.
Then we had the "Memory Remixes" which was to me, the highlight of this title. The downside was rewinding the the memories back and forth until you spotted something you can interact with before figuring out a sequel of events to change the memory. This degraded the experience for me as it became quite tedious to re-watch everything.
Looking to 2014
Hopefully we'll be seeing more quality titles for the PS3/Vita in 2014. For now my playlist for next year is looking like this:
- FFX/2 HD Remaster (PS3)
- Persona Q (3DS)
- Freedom Wars (PS Vita)
- IdolM@ster: All for One
- Persona 5 (PS3)
Well, see you all in 2014!