The year 2013 was a great year when it comes to the video game industry and not so great when it comes to certain releases and events. Here we will list the most notable, best and worst the world of interactive entertainment offered us this year.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Two Worlds: More than 20 years ago the only Zelda game to hit the Super Nintendo was released and was very well received. To this day it is still said to be the best Zelda game by many. In late 2013, it received a proper sequel. Nostalgia is a factor for picking this; nonetheless it’s a great Zelda game with iconic music and gameplay.
New Consoles: This entire year was exciting from a news standpoint. Waiting for the new console reveals, the potshots between Sony and Microsoft and finally having the PS4 and Xbox One in our living rooms was worth the long, long anticipation.
Gone Home: Over the past year or so, artistic games have been popping up everywhere. In that mix are indie games with stories to tell. The best representing this category is Gone Home. The story itself is a patient and enthralling journey through an empty house in which the story is told to you via your own investigation. No spoilers here, Gone Home is one experience you need to take yourself.
Japanese RPGs return: The past couple of years have been cluttered with Western style RPGs and finally in 2013, the JRPG returned triumphantly. There are a slew of great titles from Fire Emblem Awakening, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Tales of Xilia and Final Fantasy, gamers nearly drowned in the flood of JRPG heaven.
Trevor: You can talk all day long about how awesome Grand Theft Auto V is, but the best thing out of that entire game is a character. Sure you have an engrossing story, sandbox gameplay at its finest and an entire online mode worthy of being a game released by itself … But, I found myself enjoying the character Trevor more than anything else. It is psychotically fun to watch the antics on screen performed by Trevor and almost scary what an entertaining factor he is alone.
Oculus Rift: No longer will you have to visit the amusement park to experience a virtual reality. Soon enough this attraction will be mounted to your face and you’ll be directly in the experience while comfortably seated in your computer chair. There are already some games taking advantage of this technology and many more companies said to be developing their own VR headsets. This is one trend I can’t wait to go full retail.
The Last of Us: This is one of my favorite games of 2013 and without a doubt it will top many lists for game of the year. Visceral gameplay, well-developed characters, detailed graphics and arguably the best story ever told in a video game from this past generation all packed into one tense journey through zombie-ridden America. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t sink your teeth into this one.
Online gaming and broken releases: How many big games have been released this year and how many of them have had their hiccups? A pretty big handful: from Grand Theft Auto Online having a rough start to the SimCity disaster (no pun intended), this year was full of disappointments when it comes to game launches, especially on the online front. Thankfully, most of the games that had a troubling start are being patched or have already been fixed. Sadly, you can’t come back from a straight up cancellation.
Call of Duty and Battlefield 4: Two very different games, two very different issues. Battlefield 4 has probably had one of the worst launches this year for nearly every platform it was released on. It’s been shrouded in controversy for well over a month since its release and still many players cannot have a solid gaming experience online and sometimes offline. Call of Duty: Ghosts however really hit rock bottom this time. It is clearly evident that something needs to change with this franchise. Call of Duty is tired and recycled at this point, with Titanfall just around the corner; there is a lot to fear.
Nintendo still hasn’t gotten their act together: What can I say? I love Nintendo but the past few years I’ve just been face palming with every other piece of news I hear regarding the big N. The Wii U is entering Saturn territory, their online structure is light years behind its competitors and most of all, they aren’t milking key franchises like Metroid, Star Fox and F-Zero, all of which are begging for HD or portable iterations.
Discs and no progression towards a fully digital future: Sadly, this next generation of consoles won’t be benefiting from a near complete digital future. Microsoft had it right initially, but backed down because of the massive outcry from the console gaming audience. If you own a PC, then you’re in the right place. New games are pretty much available day one on the console storefronts, but many would still prefer the game disc to sit in their consoles.