The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
Well, it's Christmas Eve and I have nothing better to do
than write up a blog for you good people. I've been busy with my new Zelda
Dungeon editorial writing job, so this one won't be my most lengthy piece.
While I sit here with more great games than I know what to do with, I almost
wish I could return to 2013's absolute best titles and relive the most amazing
experiences we gamers have had this year. For me, these were those games.
PS3 Game of the Year: The Last of Us
No surprise here. The Last of Us seems to be nearly everyone's
clear-cut winner for PS3 game of the year. Plenty of people even herald it as
the year's best title of all. The Last of Us didn't introduce any sort of
exciting or intriguing new gameplay elements, but it sure was fun. After all,
don't we play games to have fun? The real selling point for this game is the
story. There's not much unique about its post-apocalyptic setting, though its
effect on the characters is profound. Without spoiling anything, it's a great
character analysis of Joel that straddles the line between right and wrong.
My Score: 9.25/10
Wii U Game of the Year: Super Mario 3D World
I wish this spot could be filled by Pikmin 3, but alas, that
game simply did not live up to Pikmin 2's legacy. Instead, I found myself
greatly enjoying Super Mario 3D World. This is like the Super Mario 3D Land
that should have been. Don't get me wrong, I loved 3D Land, but it had some
problems. The challenge was so low, and the levels so short that the whole
thing went by in a dizzying blur. The extra worlds were an improvement, albeit
still not quite the challenge I craved. While 3D World begins with the same
almost degrading lack of challenge, the game becomes much more suited to
veteran players beginning with world 7. Great level design and delectably
chaotic co-op even save the early worlds from being too much of a drag.
The Cat Suit is also worthy of mention. It's so fantastic
that even the all-mighty Tanooki Suit is rivaled by its adorable charm and
all-around usefulness. One last flaw I'd like to cite is that the blocky levels
still feel built for the stereoscopic 3D of the 3DS.
My Score: 9/10
Xbox 360 Game of the Year (by Default Because it was the
Only 2013 Game I Played on 360): Dead Space 3
By all accounts, I should abhor Dead Space 3. Its arrant
disrespect for so much of what made the first two games great warranted much
criticism from the media. It threw out well-paced and structured combat in
favor of brutal Necromorph onslaughts. Don't even get me started on the story.
However, all that forgiven, it was an incredibly enjoyable game. I loved
experimenting with devastatingly powerful weapons, jumping into some co-op with
a friend, and laughing at impossible difficulty as if it were nothing.
My Score: 8.75/10
PC Game of the Year: The Stanley Parable
The Stanley Parable is a unique and very interesting game. Video games are all about interactivity, and this particular game is excellent at showing us why exactly that makes video games so special. Gameplay is as simple as walking through an office and interacting with various objects. A narrator is almost constantly present to guide you through the game, but he isn't like Bastion's narrator. No, this narrator attempts to influence your decisions, and always has something to say whether or not you cooperate. The delight in making your own decisions is the narrator's unpredictable reactions. Sometimes he tries to force you back on track, other times he tries to explain why your decisions are so poor, and often things get crazy and hilarious. The entire experience makes you take a second look at many game design aspects that we take for granted.
3DS Game of the Year and Overall Game of the Year: The
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I find the precedent that sequels are never as good as the
original to be far less true of video games than movies. Half-Life 2 managed to
knock Half-Life off the most-acclaimed PC game pedestal, Pikmin 2 was much
meatier and even more charming than its predecessor, and I don't see anyone
arguing that Super Mario Bros. is a better platformer than Super Mario Bros. 3.
Video game series seem to have a knack of bringing in great ideas and fleshing
them out to greater potential with subsequent entries. This principle is no
less true when it comes to The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
For a game that borrows so much from A Link to the Past, A
Link Between Worlds keeps familiarity to a surprising minimum. Fewer roadblocks
and brand-new secrets blend with a nearly identical landscape for a smooth
mixture of comfortable familiarity and rewarding exploration. The polarizing
art style even manages to set itself apart while still evoking nostalgia for A
Link to the Past.
The new item rental system is what really brings this Zelda
to heights that A Link to the Past never reached. The newfound freedom it
provides is a perfect fit for A Link to the Past's world. It hasn't changed the
way we think of Zelda, but it surely is a significant and welcome departure
from the standard formula.
This is one of those special Zelda games that stands out
from an already magnificent series.
My Score: 10/10