Thomas’ Top 10 Games of 2013

10. Dragon’s Crown

Dragon’s Crown was one of those games that just felt great and looked great while playing it. This is one of the only true local multiplayer games that I have played this year. On top of that reason, I enjoyed it as well. The game had a lot to offer in individual gameplay, even when it came to playing with others. The weapon allocation and ability upgrade systems were both very interesting in ways that the game made every part of your gameplay somewhat strategic. I loved the art style above all else with a detailed depictions of abandoned castles and other medieval era structures. I found the fighting in the game to be very satisfying when your weapons looked powerful and seemed to dish out damage equivalent to their looks. The game’s dialogue between the player and NPC’s were well thought out. This game gave me a sense of extreme power as every medieval-fantasy game should give to its players, and I thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience. This game didn’t immerse me quite as much as I wanted it to, but I do think the music made the game feel more epic at least. This game is by far one of the most underrated games of the year from what I have seen thus far, and it should be recognized by more people.

9. Tomb Raider

I hardly have to convince anyone why this game managed to make my top ten. Tomb Raider was easily in the top side of the visually impressive games of this year. This breathtaking game made an impression on me through its constant drive for the player to survive as a single woman on a very strange and messed-up island. Although I hate quick time events in almost everything, this game presented its in such a way that made the game become more intense, as long as you didn’t miss it repeatedly that is. I found the upgrades and the usage at campfires as a unique system for the player to experiment with.  It was a good way to pause the real gameplay and allow the player to sort through their thoughts and upgrade their weapons and abilities at the same time. The game was easily the most dynamic game I have played when it came to overall presentation, specifically during climatic ending sections of a chapter. Overall, the gameplay, graphics, game designs were superbly done, and the game deserves praise for it.

8. Metro: Last Light

There are many reasons to place Metro: Last Light in my top ten. The first reason on the list of pros is the fact that it was the most immersive FPS I have ever played. The environment and general game quality astounded me from the start. This game took you into the life of a man living underneath the surface of a post-apocalyptic world in every way possible. The game showed the time and work that the developers put into the game through the intense battles between man and beast alike. The game never bored me and mostly kept me on the edge of my seat for the majority of the game. The gameplay was refreshing considering how it is in one the most overused genres in the gaming landscape. The level design, especially with the mutated monsters, was always wonderfully delivered and kept you anxiously looking for the next enemy around each and every dark corner. The writing and voice acting are a large part of what makes this game go from good to great. This game makes you feel like you’re in the game, holding the gun and making the decisions whether to engage the enemies or simply walk around them. The sneaking sections, which happen throughout most of the game, are what make this game just all the better. What Metro: Last Light achieved for me was something that actually scared me. I have always been unimpressed with the games that were meant to scare you, namely Dead Space 3 on a personal note. I have finally found a game that literally forced me to become paranoid and frightened about what was coming up. When I would walk into the next dark tunnel, I would feel some degree of stress every single time. This game maintained immersion better than any game I have played in my life. This game was a surprising favorite for me and earned itself a top spot in my list of favorites.

7. Ni No Kuni

This game holds a special place in my heart when it came to a game that I truly enjoyed tinkering with. This game is on the longer end of titles I have played this year, which I wasn’t too excited about committing to. I guess this proves that I truly am an Omni gamer when it comes to what I like to play, even though I do find myself in one genre more than others at times. I came into this game dreading the length of time I would have to put into it to complete it. I wasn’t necessarily excited to begin it, but once I started to really get into the nit and grit of this game I could not stop. The art style was easy on the eyes and the gameplay felt very open. I enjoyed the freedom to wander about the game as I moved from one town to the next through places like woods and bogs. The game’s music while in the field was soothing and had a feel of adventure to it. I enjoyed the fighting even when the opponents where unreasonably hard to beat or extremely too easy. The story was fine and suitable to the main character. I never once felt bored, and at times, I would find myself doing quests and nearly falling asleep at the controller due to the time I had put in for that sitting. I plowed through this game, all the way up the last section, where I then proceeded to search for side quests to bump up my load outs on each character. I felt immersed and engrossed with the gameplay and every aspect of the game altogether. I cannot express how much I loved playing this game and learning more and more about each and every one of my playable characters. The game was whimsical and almost as if dreamed up by a kid. I loved the design of the duality of the worlds and how they were intertwined with each other. It was overall a great game that I would recommend to anyone and to all ages. I would recommend this title as a good gateway game for anyone new to gaming.

6. Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock has always been a series that had piqued my interest, and I was excited for the third installment that ended up being my introduction into the series. I am relatively new to the series and I was not disappointed in what I got out of the game. I had some expectations coming in, and I found that every one of them was met, if not overly met. I enjoyed the style of the gameplay even for a FPS, and I enjoyed the design of Elizabeth’s rift manipulation ability and the beauty of Columbia as a whole. This game kept me guessing throughout, and I never was bored with any of it. It was engaging and a pure delight to play through. I enjoyed it so much that I beat it in two sittings. I felt the weight of the decisions that the game offered, whether or not the game was actually affected by them or not. I also found the story to be the most interesting of the year for me, due to the “what the heck” side of the narrative. The whole multi-universe idea blew my mind and I still am somewhat confused as to what exactly happened at the end. That may sound like a bad point, but it was something that made the game for me. I liked the change in pace, for a game to not give me a definitive ending and additionally confuse the heck out of me was refreshing and somewhat fun. This game covers so much stuff when it comes to philosophy and mind-shattering logic that I couldn’t keep up myself on most parts, which leads me to loving this game, and the way it makes you think about basically everything.

5. Tales of Xillia

I know this game won’t be in most people’s top five or even their top ten, but something about this game got me hooked, and that’s why it is sitting where it is in my list. I knew once I had beaten it, that I would be putting it in my top ten. I loved the art style, the game design, and the story. I loved the back and forth retorts made during gameplay, and I loved the overarching story that the game delivered. This game had me absorbed into the story of each character.  I also learned while playing it that the viewpoint of the main character really is dictated by the main character you chose in the form of what parts of the stories you see and what parts that you would if you were to pick the other main character. This is the first game that I have played that no matter which gender or main character you pick, they will both be in the main story of the game whether you like it or not. I found it interesting in the story development when I would see the other main character go off with another character and clearly be able to tell that something had gone down while they conversed in secret or off-screen. This aspect of the game made me want to replay the game over again as the other main character. Considering that, the game was considerably long and it still kept my attention every time I played it. There was clear character development, which is hard to see in most games. I have played only a couple games in the JRPG genre and I have to say this is my favorite. The ending seemed pretty conclusive, yet there is a sequel coming out. I cannot wait to dive into that one as I did its predecessor. I have nothing to complain about this game and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a solid story and emotionally provocative games.

4. The Last of Us

The Last of Us is one of those games that can easily get labeled as just another zombie game, but this is no mere zombie game, and it is nothing like anything that has come before it. The game design is beautiful and fully detailed from every area down to every corner. The amount of work put into this title must have been tremendous, and it makes my head spin thinking about the tedious work that had to have been done to make this game look so good. The game’s story was engaging and the whole theme of survival was stressed at every corner.  The gameplay was fluid and felt as realistic as a video game can get, from the sway of Joel’s gun as you shot at man and zombie alike to the reactions of Ellie when something fell over or she saw a zombie. The game’s little touches made this game into one of the best games I have ever played. Although some things didn’t make sense concerning the AI, I enjoyed the company of Ellie and Tess at the beginning and throughout the game with just Ellie. The things that happened around both Ellie and Joel were enjoyable and completely believable. I never once had thought this game was a simple third person zombie shooter. This game transcended its genre stereotypes and rose to become one of my favorite games of the year.

3. Pokémon X/Y

I have always loved this series, and this game came to be another great addition to the list of wonderfully created Pokémon games. I actually bought a 3DS just to play this title and I remember the excitement I experienced when I had finally opened up the long awaited game I had preordered a month ago at the time. This version of Pokémon took the game series I loved and handed me another addition to it with a little variation to make it its own game. This game looked great on the 3DS and the typical trend of going to Gym after Gym was just as I had remembered. Nostalgia was the main reason I had put this one at my number three spot in my list. I have played every title of the series besides that of the last generation. My knowledge on the series is pretty solid and coming back to it on the 3DS provided new experiences all of its own. I had enjoyed that game like every Pokémon title from previous years and found it lacking in content. Besides being on the 3DS and being in 3D, this title had little to offer in new experiences. Just so you know I only critique it because it is in one of my favorite series. I found the elite four rooms to possibly be my favorite parts of this game. The intricacies and time to build such an elaborate entrance to each of the elite four’s “throne” was what made this game for me as a veteran Pokémon gamer. I simply adore this series and all that stopped this game from being number one was the fact it lacked new content that is essential in each and every Pokémon game.

2. Fire Emblem: Awakening

If there was a game that I was simply impressed with everything as I played it, this was it for me. Fire Emblem was one of the most engrossing games you could ever play. I was emotionally involving with every choice I made when it came to the character development in the game. Due to the nature of marriage in the game, it gave it a good amount of replayability. I found the conversations between the characters I had set up to get married were what made the whole mechanic of marriage so interesting and wonderful. The story was solid and the art style was fantastic. The music and writing were both my favorite parts of the game. This game was addicting, and I never wanted to stop developing relationships with the whole cast of characters. One thing that made me love the game was the way they introduced new playable characters, each new character was unlockable through a quick talk with Chrom, the protagonist, and you can only do so through a battle. The game basically gives you the option to kill or take up the character. I hadn’t known this for the first two optional playable characters and I deeply regret my inaction to gain them as allies. I apparently played the game on the easier of two modes where no one on my team could truly die. What I mean by this is that during battles, even if my teammates were to die there, they would still be in my party after the fight was over. The harder mode actually permanently kills the characters for good for the rest of the game. This made the game much bigger when it came to character-character interaction and conversation possibilities. I thought the gameplay was good, but it wasn’t favorite type of gameplay to say the least. I loved this game and every aspect of this game worked perfectly for each function it served in the mechanics of the game.

1. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

My game of the year was a simple one for me to pick. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was the game that stood at the top of my list purely for the amount of enjoyment I had gotten from the game. I cannot properly express the sheer happiness I had experienced when this game came out. I was by far the most hyped person that I knew for this game. Once I had seen this game at E3, I just knew that I must buy this game at all costs. I was so excited for it; I even went out and ordered the limited edition tin and plasma lamp preorder. The first time I sliced a dude in half and ripped out his cyborg spinal cord was one of the best moments I have had in gaming ever. This game’s ability to make everything seem so real and so awesome just made me want to play it over and over. The only remark I have against it is that it wasn’t long enough. I loved everything about this game from quartering dudes to slicing bosses into hundreds of bits and pieces. Even the quick time events that I dislike were done in such a way that I could care less of what they actually were, and I just enjoyed every moment of the game. The story was good and the boss battles were epic. The scale at which Raiden fought bosses was on a scale of its own. One boss was tens of times bigger than him, and yet he could pick it up and toss it across the battlefield. The graphics were among my favorite, but the gameplay is really what sold me on the game. It was purely one of the goriest games I have ever played, and I loved it for that. This game gave me shivers of joy throughout my whole entire body whenever I did a successful zan-datsu and I will always remember it as the game that I just couldn’t get enough of.

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