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Top ten of 2013

January 14, 2014

After years of reading lists from magazines and websites I finally have a space and a reason to write my own. My list is taken from the games that I’ve played over the year so I’m not constrained by release date. I just have to have played, completed and written about the game for it to qualify.
In reverse order we have.

10. Alan Wake. Xbox 360

Separate award: Most improved personal feelings towards a game the second time around.

Separate award: Most improved personal feelings towards a game the second time around.

This surprised me the second time around. I had been bored the first time I had played through this atmospheric third person horror game and the harder game setting mixed with repetitive combat pushed me away. Spured on by a new focus and blog I decided to change the difficulty down and suddenly the story, setting and characters shone like Alan’s trusty torches.

9. Wipeout 2048. PS Vita

Separate award: Game most likely to make you pray that hover boards/cars arrive next year.

Separate award: Game most likely to make you pray that hover boards/cars arrive next year.

One of the free games I got through PS+ during my console-less two week holiday. It is pretty much perfect as a hand held game and you should play it if you haven’t. It doesn’t get much better in a racing game than that and gives you a reason to ignore your brother in law while on said two week holiday.

8. Defence grid. Xbox 360

Separate award: Game best representing a genre taken over by plants and Zombies.

Separate award: Game best representing a genre taken over by plants and Zombies.

Tower defence games are ignored by a huge majority of gamers. They think it looks boring and pointless or complicated and not worth the time. It’s a huge shame because the pleasure of working out the correct sequence of towers and mowing down hundreds of enemies while relaxing at the end of the day has no match. Defence Grid is an excellent example of this and was probably ignored by many when it was given away for free. PLAY IT.

7. Dead Rising 3. Xbox One

Separate award: Most blood spilt in a video game ever.

Separate award: Most blood spilled in a video game ever.

The best new generation game currently available. It may not be the most graphically impressive of the bunch but it is filled with fun and good game play so I’ll let it off. The amount on screen at one time is at the same time impressive and scary. If you have an Xbox One you have no reason to not pick up this game and spend dozens of hours killing zombies in dozens of ways.

6. Gravity Rush. PS Vita

Separate award: Game most likely to make you want to play through nausea.

Separate award: Game most likely to make you want to play through nausea.

While it may cause motion sickness, it’s still a brilliant example of writing and characterisation making a game a must play. The protagonist Kat is charming and funny without any recorded dialogue. The animations and writing create a rich world in which you’ll spend dozens of very enjoyable hours. Still free with PS+ on the Vita and a must play if you own the system.

5. Flower. All Sony systems

Separate award: Game with the least subtle political message about looking after the planet.

Separate award: Game with the least subtle political message about looking after the planet.

Flower has been around for years but its release on the PS4 came at the perfect time for me. This game really stands on its own because of its simplicity, beauty and style. You don’t need to be going through any emotional trauma at the time to appreciate it. It really helps though.

4. Super Meat Boy. Xbox 360.

Separate award: Game most likely to make you feel like a cloven hoofed idiot and a Ninja.

Separate award: Game most likely to make you feel like a cloven hoofed idiot and a Ninja.

The first game I played this year had such an impact on me. SMB showed me the importance of tight controls while seems to be a lost art currently. A game in which you have no one to blame except yourself…….. annoyingly. SMB is the best example of a simple idea, done well, can over shadow games with huge budgets and staff rosters.

3. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Xbox 360

Separate award: Best character name. Rex Power Colt

Separate award: Best character name. Rex Power Colt

This could be the best example of a First person shooter available to play on any system. The mechanics work really well and the guns are satisfying. The world is open and a joy to explore. It’s challenging yet forgiving. The story is as over the top as the 80’s action movies that it’s lampooning which informs the vivid look and colour scheme. The length of the campaign is just right and fills you up just like the little bears porridge. Because it’s so good it’s difficult to sum up in a small paragraph so please go and read my actual review.

2. Grand Theft Auto V. Xbox 360

Separate award: Most lovable psychopath. Trevor.

Separate award: Most lovable psychopath. Trevor.

Nobody’s giving GTA any love in their end of years honors and while the accountants at Rockstar probably don’t mind I don’t think we should be so quick to discount the best example of an open world game ever released.
The level of detail in such a huge world is remarkable and testament to the time spent creating the world. There are times in which the characters don’t make sense and the difference between how the player watches them and how they play them can be jarring. I still had a huge amount of fun this autumn and I’m still intrigued about what GTA online will become over the next year.

1. Bioshock Infinite. Xbox 360

Separate award: Best ending (Not trying to be funny, It just is)

Separate award: Best ending (Not trying to be funny, It just is)

The feeling I had when I finished Bioshock was nothing like I’ve experienced in any other game and that’s the main reason I call this my favourite game of the year. Two intense days after release where I smashed through the excellent campaign lead me up to THAT ending and I couldn’t have been happier. I enjoyed the combat, possibly due to my love of the Bioshock series. But this is my list and nothing could top that experience this year.

So there you have it. A wildly irrelevant list of games that I like that no one else will be able to connect with as they’ve probably played games that only came out this year. Regardless, please feel free to let me know what you think and if by some twist of fate you’ve played all these games, let me know where I’ve gone wrong.
XBL, PSN and Twitter @Urbundave

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