2013: My Year In Gaming - SnakePlissken722 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

2013: My Year In Gaming

Another year, another yearly recap blog post. In 2013 I bought a 3DS XL, built my own badass gaming PC, and got a staff position as PC Editor for Leviathyn. It was my first full year of actively writing and blogging online, and my first full year with Rogue's Adventures, my social backlog group. Oh, and I played a bunch of games.

At the end of 2012 I figured it would be a fun exercise to try and recap all the games I'd played and beaten throughout the year. Luckily I'm a stickler for tracking stats and between Raptr's hour tracking and my own manual entries at Backloggery.com I came away with a pretty decent picture of how I gamed all year. Read 2012's Year in Gaming post here.

This year I knew I wanted to write another recap and kept up with everything in a neat little document, updating it throughout the year as I acquired new games and beat old ones - hopefully making this year's recap even easier. It's a fun little exercise to look back and see what I've accomplished and if I've properly balanced my new games to completed games ratio - that backlog doesn't need to get any bigger! Without further delay, here is My Year in Gaming for 2013.

 

For a full explanation and recap of Rogue's Adventures read my Season One Recap, Season Two Recap, and this one year anniversary post on Organized Gaming.

 

January

 

The year usually starts out with me playing through my recent Christmas gifts, but I was so backlogged I was still playing games from my birthday last Summer! I finally finished Grand Theft Auto 4 as well as both DLC packs (I had previously played the base game on PC, but it was an awful, buggy port). I also managed to finish FTL: Faster Than Light (beat it once on Easy at least), Torchlight 2, and The Walking Dead, just a week or two before I put out my Top Ten Games of 2012 list (I usually wait till mid January to try and get through any Christmas gifts I can). All three would make my list.

I'd also recently acquired the Borderlands 2 Season Pass during the sale and played through the first two DLC packs with my gunzerker and my wife's assassin. Despite gaining a ton of games for Christmas I started off 2013 in really good shape.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventure - Broken Sword III, Resonance

 

February

 

After January's success I let myself slip back into some meaty strategy games. First was a run of XCOM: Enemy Unknown on Classic Ironman Difficulty. I named all my soldiers after Borderlands characters but crashed and burned about 1/3 of the way through. Classic is no joke, and Ironman mode leaves little room for error. I decided to take a break and come back to it later. I jumped back into Civlization V briefly, playing with the new Gods and Kings expansion pack. Although I was a year late I played as the Mayans and even earned a very rare achievement - launching a nuke with them in the game year 2012.

After GTA IV I still had one last 360 game from my birthday that I needed to play before I let myself dig into the ones I had gotten for Christmas - Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga. It had gotten mediocre reviews and definitely had that European vibe of cool ideas and mechanics but maddening UI and bland art style. Still I managed to have a lot of fun with it, and the fast-travel mechanic of turning into a dragon and flying around the semi-open world was indeed a lot of fun. Since there was no achievement tied to difficulty level I was able to 100% it, which is pretty rare for me.

Lastly I jumped back into some Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty to try and refresh before the new expansion came out in March. It was fun but I was worried that my wife's PC that I was still using was not quite up to the task for massive battles with multiple players.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Whispered World

 

March

 

I knew March was going to be a big month as it had two major releases that were high on my Most Anticipated list - Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm and SimCity. HotS was a ton of fun and I and my friends got back into Starcraft for a good month following it's release, though it was eternally frustrating that my wife's PC just fell apart when trying to handle more than a 2v2 match. I never tried to play competitively much any more but had fun playing with friends and enjoying the campaign (despite some stupid story stuff).

SimCity on the other hand, well we all know how that went. A crushing disappointment in the game's overall vision and a depressing laughing stock over its awful launch. A single player game that was shoe-horned into forced multiplayer and online servers proved as awful as some imagined, but the launch was so disastrous that EA eventually gave out free games to those affected (I picked up Battlefield 3, why not). I sunk dozens of hours and had a bit of fun sharing screen time and regions with my wife and friends but ultimately the wonder grew stale and I've yet to have a desire to jump back in all year.

But the real story in March was that I picked up Pokémon Black with a coupon and sale after an old friend and I had been reminiscing about the series. That turned into over 100 hours over the next few months as I fell in love with pokémon all over again, and got super excited for the new 3D entry coming in October despite not owning a 3DS yet.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - Beneath a Steel Sky, The Longest Journey

 

April

 

I was still playing through Pokémon Black and enjoying Starcraft II with friends, and was ready for another try at XCOM Classic Ironman. This time I read up on some strategies and played through very carefully, taking my time in each battle and planning out my entire research and tech plans ahead of time. The work paid off and I was able to destroy the final boss with a single turn from my sniper. I loved returning to XCOM and ended up writing a whole strategy guide here on Game Informer based on my experiences.

With Divinity II finished I could finally start digging into my Christmas games - in April! I had three big 50hr+ Xbox games that I wanted to finish before my birthday in July: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Resonance of Fate, and Dragon's Dogma. I chose Kingdoms of Amalur first and it would end up being my favorite. Amalur had a really fun action-packed combat system with a semi-open, MMORPG style world complete with bright WoWish graphics. My only complaint was that it had just a bit too much content and things to do, and found myself rushing through the last ¼ of it to get to the end. I ended up at about 60hrs played, and can heartily recommend it for fans of Action-RPG fantasy games.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - The Longest Journey, Dreamfall

 

May

 

Summer is usually pretty slow for games but I still had a ton of options thanks to the ever-growing backlog. I played a little Tropico 4 but couldn't get into the theme (and maybe was burned out from SimCity). Played a little Payday: The Heist but found it overly difficult and murdering cops is a bit more unsettling than zombies.

After withstanding a grueling mall day with my wife and mother on Mother's Day, I was rewarded with Injustice: Gods Among Us. Hey, I was on my best behavior! I'm normally not a fighting game guy but I really loved the very comic book storyline and Mortal Kombat fighting styles.

After Kingdoms of Amalur I started Resonance of Fate, a JRPG from 2010. It...was weird. The combat style was vastly different, based on movement and acrobatic gun play, and every fight was a brutal life or death dance. The storyline was awful and confusing, the world was a bleak gray city made out of strange tiles that you had to place to advance, and I felt myself nearly wanting to just drop it after several failed boss battles. But in the end I stuck with it (though it took me the next few months) as the combat was tactical and interesting and very rewarding when I was able to defeat some hard foes, and I liked the amount of freeform customization for each gun. I wouldn't recommend it unless you're really interested in niche JRPG games, though.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - Season Two begins with Half-Life 2!

 

June

 

I was slowly getting more and more excited for State of Decay, a zombie action-survival game created by an indie studio but with Microsoft's backing. I bought it on release and it ended up as one my favorite games of the year. Combining several genre conventions in open world driving and exploring with 3rd person action and base and resource management was enough to make me fall in love, and all that for $15! The base game alone I played for over 20 hours and would actually play again a second time to get 100% on achievements. I've even been diving into the DLC that adds a built-in New Game Plus with harder difficulties and infinite replayablity. Definitely my biggest surprise of the year, highly recommended.

I had taken a break from Borderlands 2 after playing through some of the DLC in January, and the wife and I finally played through the 3rd and newly released 4th DLC back to back. Very rarely do I play and enjoy all of a game's post-game content, but that was definitely the case here. Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep was especially hilarious and memorable. If you enjoy Borderlands 2, you really can't go wrong with any of the DLC, and Gearbox should be commended as a studio that knows how to make DLC for their marquee franchise (just don't mention Aliens: Colonial Marines).

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - BioShock 2, The Bard's Tale

 

July

 

Just glancing at my notes reveals that July was by far the busiest month of the year for me, gaming wise. As I mentioned earlier Summer is usually a slow period for the gaming industry, but for my birthday gift this year I received enough cash to order all the parts I needed to build a brand new gaming PC. If you recall I had lost my previous hard-working but long in the tooth PC to a failing motherboard and was waiting to upgrade, piece-meal style. Instead I was able to grab everything I needed and build my first ever PC from the tower up, reusing the case but putting together new motherboard, hard drive, optical drive, RAM, power supply, CPU, and video card. I wrote up a whole blog post about the experience of shopping, buying, installing, and benchmarking the new computer.

New PC + Steam Summer Sale + Some leftover bday cash = Lots of new PC games. Older games on sale like Just Cause 2, Witcher 2, Saint's Row The Third and Skyrim DLC were snatched up along with lots of new indie games like Reus, Sanctum 2, Rogue Legacy, and Shadowrun Returns. Yes I realized the irony in having this bitchin' new PC and playing a 2D pixelated game like Rogue Legacy, but I was super stoked to finally be playing on my own PC again, and was awash in PC gaming greatness once again.

My Xbox was far from ignored however. After I finally finished Resonance of Fate (having completed only 2 out of those 3 games by my bday) I played through The Cave. This Double Fine side scrolling puzzle adventure was on my Most Anticipated list from last year and released in January, but I was so backlogged that I waited till I saw it on sale. I had a ton of fun playing through as different combinations of characters, and ended up finishing the short-ish campaign 5 and a half times to get 100% achievements and endings. It was far more fun than grueling and had some nice co-op that I could enjoy with my wife. It's also incredibly hilarious. Highly recommended even if you only play through once or twice.

Finally I took advantage of some trade-in deals and birthday coupons (I should really write a whole post entitled The Frugal Gamer) and picked up Radiant Historia for the DS. I was intrigued ever since I saw Kim's post on RPGs similar to other JRPG franchises. Radiant Historia is quite similar to Chrono Trigger with a nifty time traveling mechanic (actually Chrono Cross in that there are two alternate time lines you bounce back and forth between). The political story and warring nations is very Suikoden-like and the small grid based combat is interesting without being a chore. I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped but it was one of the better JRPGs I've played in recent years, and it ended up making my Top Ten Nintendo DS Games list.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - Fallout

 

August

 

August was basically just July part 2, as I continued to play and finish many of the games I mentioned last month (though many more just got added to the backlog pile). There were two major events that happened this month: I began live streaming on twitch.tv for the first time and I got a job (gig?) as a freelance contributor writing for Leviathyn.com.

With this fancy new PC I decided to enter the wonderful world of live streaming. With Rogue's Adventures nearly a year old I felt comfortable chronicling my journey throughout and during a game, so live chatting just seemed like a natural evolution. I started off with an ill-fated run of Organ Trail, an old school homage to the classic Oregon Trail - but with zombies. That was just a test for the real project - a full let's play of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Even after all the games I'd played earlier in the year I was still ready to tackle XCOM again, this time with the PC version and naming all my soldiers after friends and family - then live streaming their heroics or demise. It was a big hit for Rogue's Adventures even if it wasn't technically a backlogged game, and I had a ton of fun going from streaming newbie to veteran. Once again I was able to finish the game on Classic difficulty with Ironman mode enabled, and I chronicled my journey in my Final Thoughts as well as a Top List of Moments from my live stream. Follow me on Twitch and Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more awesome videos.

Between August and September I finally played and finished the third Xbox game I'd gotten for Christmas, Dragon's Dogma. I had missed my previous deadline and now was dangerously close to running into Grand Theft Auto V's release, a game that was very high on my Most Anticipated list and a rare Day One purchase for me. Luckily I managed to finish the 3rd person Action-RPG just in time. It had some really cool moments and interesting features (notably the pawn system) but ultimately I found it just okay with a goofy story and bland fantasy world, with combat that wasn't nearly as enjoyable as Kingdom of Amalur's.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - Shadowrun Returns, XCOM: Enemy Unknown

 

September

 

Pretty much since I had first put together my PC in late July I was playing Skyrim off and on. It was the one game I was most excited to show off and dive back in to, and I went completely nuts with mods and enhancements. Plus I had gotten the Skyrim DLC I'd never played before. I continued a character I actually started last year, a dark elf thief/mage vampire I made specifically for Dawnguard. I picked him right back up and finished the mage's guild as well as both The Dark Brotherhood and the Dawnguard quest lines. It was a ton of fun though I took a break right after as Skyrim is one of those games, like Civ V or FTL that you could play for hours and hours at the expense of time spent completing games wasting away in the backlog. It's tricky to find a good balance, and I still need to dive in and play Dragonborn (and never did pick up my original Skyrim character - a warhammer wielding orc warrior). I'll get back to you again Skryim....

Finally on September 18, Grand Theft Auto V was released, and it was good. Really good. It was everything I wanted in the series and more, adding multiple protagonist and that satirical and incredibly offensive world that Rockstar loves to create. I wanted to at least finish the single player campaign before GTA Online was released in October, but it would take me about a month to finish and a few more weeks to get the coveted 100%. I adored GTA V, and the single player content alone would warrant enough to make it one of my favorite games of the year.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - XCOM: Enemy Unknown

 

October

 

October saw the release of GTA Online, though it was a really rocky launch plagued with server issues and stability. I only had major problems on the first day and after that GTA became the main game for my friends and I to play together for the next six weeks or so, before finally dropping off. I pictured Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer with some extra features, and got exactly that. The co-op missions were fun diversions, the open world was a treat to mess around with and hunt for bounties or cars, and numerous races and deathmatches proved a fun way to unwind and beat each other. My only worry is that it has since dropped off for us as Rockstar has been much slower in providing updates than I'd hoped - as of now they just recently added in the content creator (limited to races and deathmatches) and still haven't added in the highly anticipated heists.

This month Nintendo revealed a new limited edition 3DS XL based on the upcoming Pokémon X/Y games. I'd had enough; I had to have a 3DS and had to get my hands on the new pokémon games. I scoured through entertainment center and waded through a mountain of dust to gather various games and peripherals for my Wii, trading them in and nearly cutting the cost of a full priced 3DS XL in half. Sold! A week later I picked up Pokémon Y and it was love at first three dimensional sight. I haven't actually put near the amount of time as I did in Black (mostly due to much less post game content) but the new social features, 3D view of every pokémon and world, and new game mechanics like mega evolution make it by far the best game in the series for me. Fun Fact - Pokémon Y is the first game in the series I've gotten at release since the original Red/Blue in 1998!

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - Fallout: New Vegas

 

November

 

November was oddly a very slow month for me, new games wise. I was still playing GTA Online with friends but I'd finished the single player game. I was deep into Pokémon Y and was just finishing up my Skyrim vampire's adventure. I did grab new games from the Black Friday deals - mainly Lego Marvel Super Heroes, BioShock Infinite, and a ton of Adventure games from Daedalic Entertainment.

After falling in love with live streaming and videos, I began teaming up with another Leviathyn writer and video producer and we started creating a bunch of new video content for the website, showing off new games and providing commentary and gameplay footage. It's a ton of fun and if you'll allow me a shameless plug I urge you to check out LeviathynTV on Twitch and YouTube to keep up with all our videos.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - Fallout: New Vegas (Finish, begin DLC)

 

December

 

Aside from the usual holiday craziness, December was a much busier month. Starbound's beta released early in the month and I immediately coerced all my friends to pre-order and jump in with me. It's pretty freaking great you guys, even with character wipes and major patch updates impeding our play time and progress. In fact our play time has become much more rare and sporadic after the first few weeks but we plan on jumping back in fully soon, and I highly recommend it if you like these sandbox style games.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes proved a ton of fun playing through the campaign cooperatively with my wife. We've enjoyed Lego games in the past but Marvel was the first theme I could really get into and enjoy the world and characters. After we beat it I'd spend additional time exploring the cool gigantic hub of Manhattan unlocking more characters, gold bricks, and secrets. I don't quite have the patience and time to go for 100%, but it definitely gets a brick-y thumbs up from both of us.

I picked up BioShock Infinite on a Black Friday deal last month and was determined to play and complete the game by Christmas. I was honestly shocked at how cheap it was - I knew I wanted to play the game (and it made my most anticipated list) but figured I'd have to wait much longer to get it so cheap. I even randomly live streamed one of my play sessions. I really enjoyed the world and it had some neat combat mechanics with the sky rails and some crazy story stuff, but a lot felt like been there done that. I do enjoy this story-driven series but it's not one I pay top dollar for. Recommended but not quite as heartily as others I've mentioned.

At the very end of the year I picked up only a few games during the Steam Holiday Sale - Gone Home being one of the them. Due to the nature and length of the game I decided to live stream the entire game in one evening, and you can check it out here with my new webcam and headset (thanks Santa). It's really interesting as it crafts a first person adventure that doesn't rely solely on horror to draw you in, but instead the emotional drama and conflicts surrounding a typical family.

 

Playing for Rogue's Adventures - Fallout: New Vegas DLC

 

And there we have it - twelve months of gaming all written down for anyone insane or bored enough to read it. Oh, and for Christmas I got Fire Emblem: Awakening and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, so that 3DS is getting quite the workout. For whatever reason these yearly recap posts are a fun and cathartic end of year project for me, and along with Backloggery helps keep me honest in how comparing how many games I play and complete versus how many new games I acquire. The new year is already in full swing and I've already started my notes for 2014 to help in next year's recap. So it goes.

Thank you for taking the time for reading this insanely long recap (or at least skimming through the pictures and reading this final paragraph). With the end of Top Ten Tuesday and an increased role at Leviathyn I won't be posting near as much on my blog but I'll still pop in time to time, because writers gotta write. Have a wonderful 2014 and keep on gaming!

 

 

comments