Reposted due to an edit not changing the preview.

10. The Wolf Amongst Us ep 1
I call shenanigans on putting the first episode of a five part series in the top ten of the year if Walking Dead 2 isn‘t in the list, synth and neon sexy shenanigans Well TWD2 isn‘t out as of writing, if it‘s great I‘ll make an ammendment. Telltale’s Walking Dead was second on my goty list last year but this has engaged me far more just off of one episode. That shit was crazy now I want to read the comics and more than anything continue the darn story, the ending was Whoa. Further side notes, not too interested in a Borderlands Telltale game, love Game of Thrones but not sure it’s necessary, don’t stretch yourselves thin Telltale. After the fact: Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 1 came out and it was excellent, still I’d rather continue the adventures of Bigby than watch that autistic girl die, you know it’s gonna happen.

9. Gunpoint
Gunpoint has an Angry Birds slingshot effect going for it with it’s secret agent trousers and it is an absolute joy flying about the place, diving through windows with a security guard in your arms and using them to cushion your fall. Just madly fun and the writing’s dope too. Ghost Trick vibes were also felt with the rewiring and I love me some Ghost Trick.

8. Phoenix Wright Dual Destinies
Man I wish these boys would make another Ghost Trick. But hey it’s Phoenix Wright, one of the best written games around, which is handy for what is essentially a text adventure. I defended a killer whale in court, also that new girl is hot, just saying. Virtue’s Last Reward was my numero one last year so me and text adventures kinda get along.

7. Zelda: Link Between Worlds
I got so wound up before you get the master sword because you couldn’t buy weapons from Ravio and I’d get all killed up on bosses and lose my rented items so I’d have to roll through dungeons all over again, man that sucked. However now I’m minted buying and upgrading and having a grand ol’ time in Hy and Lo rule. The music is super don, the freedom to do dungeons in whatever order is also nifty and that get on the wall painty mechanic is really rather saucy indeed. Minish Cap should be on the eShop, Sort It Out Nintendo.

6. Super Mario 3d World
Shit’s no joke after you take down Bowser, it was all fun and games til the Star Galaxy now it’s suddenly gotten evil, I shall play as you one day Rosalina. This is my favourite Mario game since 3d Land which was in turn my favourite since 3 so it might be my favourite full stop. Then again I’ve only had it a couple of weeks, it’s so good, Wii U has come through with reasons to own the console this year I just hope they can keep up the momentum next year.

5. MGR Revengeance
This game is great. Something in my original analysis was causing the filters to not post so this is all you get. Swoosh, fluid, slo mo, spines, that but in more words

4. Bravely Default
This game is great. Default, Default, Default, Default, BRAVEBRAVEBRAVEBRAVE. (This segment was flagged by the filter too) Unacceptable!. Jobs, stacking etc. Marvellous.

3. Bioshock Infinite
Racist Disneyland featuring skyhooks. I remember when this was announced 3 years prior and it seemed impossibly far away. Then it finally came out and was really good. Great world building, story, barbershop interpretations of God Only Knows and that bananas ending everyone was talking about. It was always going to have a cool story, all the Bioshock games have em but this round they upped the combat a bit with the skyhook shenanigans coasting around the place. Minerva’s Den project lead and writer Steve Gaynor worked on this a bit til he left to make…

2. Gone Home
… Gone Home. Minerva’s Den was so my shit it impacted my bowels. Walk around the house reading letters in the 90’s and having plot exposition told to you through voice over. The sense of place through detail is astounding and the story is plausibly the most realistic and heartrending I’ve ever seen in a game. Also a master stroke with the pacing at the end when you think *redacted* but *redacted*, genuine panic. Art game blah blah etc. Dope, and it put me onto Heavens to Betsy and Sleater Kinney, props.

Other Stuff I liked:
Year Walk, Device 6, Monster Hunter Wii U, Windwaker Wii U, back to the schedule:

1. The Last of Us
Earlier I said that the sliding in MGR was maybe my greatest moment of the year but it’s not, it was dying in The Last of Us, the surge as you’re getting slaughtered followed by sudden blackness and silence at the point of death is poignant and brutal. The opening of the game is another high point, it was paced perfectly, and the bit where I thought *blank* might be dead, and the ending. Sure the game was essentially Manhunt down to the sneaking around and brick/bottle throwing but it was polished and a darn sight classier. Also there was a giraffe.

I made a video accompaniment of my top 50 games, but it was junk so it's gone.

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30. Lego City Undercover
The loading times are insane, you can hire a hooker and do the subsequent laundry before it’s loaded up. Hate Lego games, can’t stand them, enjoyed this a lot however, was probably the writing, Adam Buxton was involved. Like an old cop show, music was cool, tried to play Batman 2 right after it and it was salty trash in comparison. The 3DS game was misty, did not rank.

29. State of Decay
Got killed after about a week of being alive, at night out in a field helping some bellend who wouldn’t run away with me, lost interest after that, had a great time prior however. Multiplayer would have been awesome. Would go back had I not sealed the 360 away, maybe next Steam sale.

28. Beyond Two Souls
I was nothing but nasty to that flapjack special forces fella because he was a jerk, then the next scene is a romantic meal with him, then I let him get his eye cut out because he’s a jerk then the game ended with more romance, way to choose your own adventure David Cage. Also the whole Native ghost ranch section was a thing. Also singing a great Beck song does not inject your game with emotion, it’s lazy. Despite these criticisms I enjoyed it a lot more than Heavy Rain, maybe it was crippling those kids and setting the house on fire. Jerks.

27. Kentucky Route Zero
This is lower than it would be if there wasn’t a 6 month wait inbetween episodes, only two are out as of writing and they are a classy, abstract point and click adventure through an ethereal underworld. It’d be top five honestly if the rest of the eps are as good as the openers, see you on the 2015 best of list at this rate Kentucky Route Zero. If I’m still alive., if you’re actually finished.

26. Fire Emblem
Advance Wars is my shit son. So by proxy so is this. Those people have tiny feet, they look like hooves. I disabled the battle animations to quicken things up and had a wiley time. Would make a great commuting game, if only I had somewhere to commute to. There are 13 of these and I’ve only played two.

25. DmC
People like to hate on this game because there’s a new Dante, if I don’t like something I generally leave it alone (why Aliens Colonial Marines is not on this list) , partially responsible for why I’ve stopped reading the comments on anything, I live a calmer less rage filled life now. Game was cool, I love Ninja Theory they paint such pretty pastel pictures and they totally included a Futurama Slurm factory story in this. Alex Garland.

24. Saints Row 4
This looked terrible on the 360, they didn’t do a disc release for the PC (Virgin Media throttle Steam because they‘re out of order, sort it out), it was a tonne of fun regardless. Was a lot like Prototype only you could smoke illicit substances out of light bulbs and run super fast (Australia did not get this mission) which sure was childish and not cool. Grow up Saints Row 4 you awesome rascal.

23. Grand Theft Auto 5
Couple of tips I wish I’d had before I started, always call for taxis and ignore the side missions. I reckon about half my 28 hour playtime was spent driving to my next locations and toe trucking, and by half I mean 3 hours maybe til I figured no thanks and rang for taxis. Really got into the story in the final stretch there. Trevor was a cool character, I enjoyed his presence immensely. Lynch.

22. Peggle 2
You either Peggle or you don’t, I Peggle. It’s been out a day as of writing this and I spent all yesterday Peggling and it may have been the most constructive thing I did all year, even if I only won twice in the 30 or so online matches I was in. Flippin’ Peggle man. New powers, new boards, old Peggle. No local multiplayer, whaaaaaaaa.

21. Splinter Cell Blacklist
This is higher up than it should be, or is it? Hmm. I liked everything about it except for the QTE tacular final showdown which messed me up, I just don’t have the physical ability to press buttons as fast as games demand from me. That british dude from 24 was the main bad guy, you know, Chloe’s husband? Oh yeah the Guatanamo section kicked my arse countless times til I realised there was a ladder to the left of a watch tower, my bad.

20. Layton 6
The final adventure of Professor Layton and his assistant, The One In The Yellow, oh and a small child who just chills with him on his super dangerous adventure. I have enjoyed all of these and that it opened up a bit by letting you choose your destinations for egg searching was cool even if I took this freedom and did it left to right. What I do dislike about Layton is how dumb it always makes me feel come puzzle 60ish, I’d have been breezing through then bam I’m using those hint coins, making me feel as dumb as I am, the nerve. Layton will return with my boy Phoenix next year hopefully.

19. Stanley Parable
I forgot Outlast when I compiled this list what to do… Oh Stanley Parable you meta delight. I did everything other than play the baby fire game for two hours and stop the explosion (time will tell if there really is a solution, I think it’s better that there isn’t). Stanley Parable is super cool, the demo is awesome too. I love you The Stanley Parable, but you’re very short and I’m oh so tall.

18. Corpse Party Book of Shadows
More text adventuring this time with a quasi first person view, rolling around a haunted alternate world accidently not touching a desk 5 times or some shit. Yep, I resorted to guides and just enjoyed the side stories and alternative takes of the Corpse Party story. My favourite part was going to that house out in the country, accepting rides from strangers then them disappearing and going into the house that just appeared out of nowhere, yep, that’s sure what I would have done in that situation, those brave, mental kids.

17. Outlast
Did Outlast in one sitting, bought it in the same purchase as Stanley Parable and another game further down the list, plausibly the greatest Steam purchase I made as all three knocked it out the park. Strolling around a mental hospital with nothing but a video camera for company. Jump scares are cheap but they sure were effective at the start, odd that I became immune by the end. Also odd that the story devolved into science experiments at the end, then again it was inevitable. What a great little game, relied little on puzzles which edges it above the Amnesias in the same genre.

16. Pikmin 3
The time limit is theoretically gone, but you do have to stock up on fruit to survive so not really. It’s Nintendo’s real time strategy series and it sure is similar to the others, great times were had though I have not finished it, I got distracted by…

15. The Wonderful 101
… this, which is like Pikmin meets Viewtiful Joe by way of Okami. Clover Studios were the best. Platinum are now the best. 101 was nails to me, I got mucked up an awful lot yet still I came back for more whacky jelly slinky shenanigans. It’s all a bit mental and the drawing wasn’t super accurate and what I will say is did you notice how when the DSLite came out it had it’s stylus slot on the right as opposed to on the top? Then they released the 3ds and put it on the top, then put it on the right for the XL because it’s way better there. Why did they put the stylus back on the top for the wii u controller? it’s not intuitive and it winds me right up, sort it out Nintendo.

14. Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon
Back to the mansion and this time it’s portable with bite sized missions. Another thing worth considering Nintendo is being able to save mid mission since some of these go on for close to an hour and your battery life ain’t great. Sort it out Nintendo. The Mansion games are the tits, I liked Capcom’s Gregory Horror Show a lot as well, in a similar vein but with mental illness.

13. Tomb Raider
It’s Uncharted only Lara isn’t mega smug like Nathan Drake and there’s a point halfway through that feels like it should be the end. This is some terrible writing, it’s as if I’ve been stream of consciousing this entire list then again who’s reading this? The only person I speak to here is Celes and I don’t think he’s still active. Why won’t they let me join in their reindeer games!? What’s a reindeer game? Tomb Raider is surprisingly solid, will I buy it for the next gen consoles? I dunno man they changed Lara’s face, which is a strange thing to do.

12. Tales of Xillia
A JRPG, finally, my favourite gaming genre. I miss world maps but the giant corridors that replace it are fine I guess. The game actually feels a bit cheap, can’t explain it, mayhaps it really is just that it doesn’t have a world map, but it was still great to play. Not looking forward to the sequel because paying off a debt as a mechanic sounds about as much fun as student loans only here it’s automatic and I didn’t piss away the money damaging my internal organs with intoxicants.

11. Dead Rising 3
Capcom come through in the clutch after for some reason pouring millions into Lost Planet 3 (not sure why I played that), I think I read somewhere that GTAV cost more to make than Capcom has in money full stop, I wish them well. Ride around town having a freaking ball messing up zombies then getting agitated by bullshit bosses, it’s Dead Rising all right, only with autosaving, it’s not loading forever and there’re less time limits in the default mode. Resident Evil made me into a cautious, bullethoarding, zombie avoiding survivor and that instinct has meant I have not been killing these folks and levelling up as much as I should be, much to my detriment. Looks fine, the reason I got a One at launch to be honest (Quantum Break's probably a higher reason actually), worth it. I dig the series.

My Best Games of 2013 50-31

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50. Contrast
Thanks PS + for your most kind welcome gift to the next generation, a game that looks and controls like it was made on a Net Yaroze: sincerely An Ingrate. Vitriol aside I really cannot get into this game, it’s hot garbage. Lost In Shadow was alright in retrospect.

49. Sonic Lost World
Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations are hot games, so hot in fact that I replayed through them both the week prior to Lost World’s release. Sonic Lost World was not a hot game. A sonic game with a run button. Traded in.

48. Dead Island Riptide
More of a ‘further adventures’ than a sequel. The beach level in the first may have been the only time I enjoyed this series. Word has it it’s more fun with friends but who has those? Games which I didn’t like that didn’t make the list: Aliens Colonial Marines, Monaco, The Cave.

47. Dead Space 3
Those three games prior were all games I actively disliked, from hereon out I have positivity and a few critiques. For example, DS3, positives: the floating around in space bits were cool. Critique: was action packed. So was the second one but it still had some semblance or survival horror about it this was way more gun ho. Put on a coat it’s cold out there.

46. Ryse: Son of Rome
After the first mission I was ready to launch this into the sun, turret section and sloppy combat but it was a week until the ps4 release so trading in immediately would have been futile so I persevered. You know what, wasn’t bad, shallow and looked pretty and eventually the combat clicked and I wasn’t taking no guff. Historical facts I learned from the game include people in Scotland based their whole existence on the movie Wicker Man (could be accurate) from animal masks to an actual Wicker Man. York was pretty even back then. Boudicca at some point in her career invaded Rome on the back of an elephant, that’s official.

45. Crysis 3
Played this on a console like a PAUPER. I don’t remember much about it other than it was a Crysis game with big open areas and it looked cool. It may have left a bigger impression, maybe my memory just sucks.

44. Final Fantasy 14
Rolled through Realm Reborn on the ps3, I got out of the first major area then when it opened up with airships I was like “naaah, can’t be bothered”. The mmo genre isn’t one of my favourites but there was a rad song in it, gonna see if I can find it… nope, it was rad though rest assured.

43. Puppeteer
Felt and looked a little Little Big Planety, so quaint yet sloppy, seemed alright, I lost interest though. Played without a Move because I’ve got enough junk cluttering the surrounds of my television thank you very much. Might go back.

42. Killzone Shadow Fall
In fairness I only rocked this game for a couple of hours and it didn’t seem overly intuitive in it’s signposting despite having beacons, aka I got lost a bunch also for an action packed fps akin to the CoDs I sure would have liked the aiming to snap to target. That may be a toggle in the options, one day I will check. Sure looks pretty, doy.

41. Remember Me
The combat and exploration were gash, never felt as fluid as I’d have liked. However the sense of place and the story were rather cool, I enjoyed my time in the world, when it wasn’t reloading checkpoints because I’d missed a jump or I wasn’t stuck in a 15 minute battle in one area because I clearly didn’t get something in it’s Arkham’s Creed combat knock off system.

40. Batman Arkham Origins
I was critiquing the signposting in Killzone just a moment ago and here we are again, what was going on? A distinct lack of polish and that gosh darn bridge man, tedious. Story pulled me through yet again, that Joker’s a cool character. Side note, I bought Blackgate and thought it was blah so it’s not on this list, poor Vita can’t catch a break.

39. Anarchy Reigns
This was sloppy, yet great fun, the closest to Power Stone I’ve seen in a while, something tells me Platinum’s A-Teams were working on other more awesome projects however. Sega shit this out without fanfare, though we were lucky to get it at all so thanks all the same. God Hand is a great game.

38. Gears of War Judgement
Solid, polished, boring. More of the same, what I will say though is the optional risk reward challenges in each area did spice it up a little, not bad at all just, well it’s Gears innit, this and Ascension exist for the sake of a few squeezed pennies methinks.

37. Killer is Dead
Suda’s phoning it in at this stage, he had three games on my list last year and this time he was supposedly going back to the glory days of Killer7 but it was more of a parody. We’re fighting on the moon, here’s a talking steam engine. Looked rad and played good, will play again.

36. Mario & Luigi Dream Team
Or: The point I connected the dots that the Kingdom Hearts composer did the music for the M&L games. Didn’t finish it due to other distractions but I was having a good time, liked it a darn sight more than last year’s Sticker Star. Nintendo had a dynamite year for games as will be evidenced in the rest of the list.

35. Attack of the Friday Monsters
A game where you walk around talking to people and occasionally card battling in order to progress. Digged the atmosphere and had a good ol’ time. Dumb game still won’t let me give that baker her laundry though, it was one of my first quests and she just won’t accept it. Sidenote: Starship Damrey was also from the Level 5 3DS camp this year and it was alright, once again, liked the atmosphere.

34. Need For Speed Rivals
I have never been so wound up as I was playing as a racer in this game, it’d be like hey you won the race, you’ve got many megabucks better get back to the base to bank them and boom! A cop side swipes you as you’re about to get there and you get wrecked losing everything. Colossal bullshit, this happened about three times and I was ready to destroy my xbox one because I am mentally stable, then I remembered you could play as a cop. Playing as a cop is rad, put about ten hours into it. Don’t care for the online functionality, as strangers flipping with me isn’t high on my enjoy list.

33.Tearaway
Vita came through with an actual game other than Soul Sacrifice this year (it was fine, didn’t play enough to pop it in here). If Mario hadn’t come out at the same time Tearaway could have been a contender. Great utilization of the vita’s various and pointless functions (rear touch, woooo). Like it a lot more than the Little Big Planets.

32. Animal Crossing New Leaf
Rocked this game for the first fortnight then abandoned it, now I’m scared to go back, they’ll be so disappointed in me. The game devolved into me doing all the weeding, chatting to everyone then going bug hunting on the island so I could buy the people a camp site then they’d be like “thanks for the campsite, we need a hospital” build your own hospital you layabouts. Busywork the game. Sure was suckered in for that fortnight though.

31. Resogun
Cannot beat the last boss because the game likes to give me points instead of shields or lives for saving humans. Every time I hear “points” I get wound up, you can keep your points Resogun no one I know is on the leader boards anyway. That aside, pretty saucing’ game.

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10 Hitman Absolution

After a lengthy hiatus developing other franchises, one excellent (Kane & Lynch) and one not so good (Mini Ninjas), IO Interactive have finally returned to their flagship series. Blood Money dripped onto our consoles and rigs 6 years ago and was really rather marvellous, to the point that I’ve been playing through it maybe once a year (it’s pretty short once you know how to do it). So, after dicking around with QTE’s and getting trigger happy with cover based shooting how is the new Hitman? Well it’s excellent, thanks for your concern. You can run around undetected, concealing corpses and setting up elaborate death traps or when that inevitably goes wrong you can actually shoot your way out this time, allowing the not so secretive sort to get their fill of the story even if they can’t play the game as a puzzle. The magic behind the shoot everything method is that it’s actually satisfying this time, and possible. The only drawback in this relatively lengthy (following K&L 2’s three hour run length) is that you seem to spend an awful lot of time with your hand slightly over your face to conceal yourself from guards and the like, this is similar to the original Assassin’s Creed’s ’just put your hands together in a praying way and no one will bother you’ theory, which was dumb then and dumb now. At least it would be dumb were it not activating a handy Batman Detective mode, which is just what a Hitman needs in a crowded train station. Jesper Kyd’s off making the music for Assassin’s Creed now, didn’t really notice his absence truth be told. Keith Carridine is blazing as the bad fella.


9 Spec Ops The Line
If there’s one thing I dislike in the games world it’s the military shooter, mindless, repetitive wankery, throw a sci fi backing to it and I’m easily swayed but rolling through the middle east or 1930’s Europe? done to death. So why did I get involved in Spec Ops The Line? Because someone tipped me off that there was more than meets the eye. This came out the same day as Amazing Spiderman and they both came through for rental the same day. I spent my Saturday afternoon rolling through this, then reloaded and replayed about 4 of the chapters (choices!), Sunday was spent playing Spiderman, it wasn’t terrible, but fresh off Spec Ops, yeah it wasn’t great, contrast.
So yeah, third person cover based shooting in Dubai with a bunch of ‘merican tough guys, I could see how I might not be into this, HOWEVER, there’s a catch, it has a really decent story, actual character arcs, like the story is better than Bioshock and I bring that up because like Bioshock it’s created a world all of it’s own. The sand storm riddled Dubai is essentially Rapture but with sand instead of water, a civilisation bought down by politics and decaying because of it’s ludicrous location. The bread and butter of the game is standard runnin’ coverin’ n gunnin’ and it’s solid enough, what makes this game rise to the top however is the choices you will make and the consequences of your actions. Shit gets real, or does it?! I won’t give anything away but play this on easy and just roll through the story, it’s absolutely wildin’, you are not the hero and frankly the script treats soldiers with more respect and empathy than has ever been seen before. This shit right here is stones, heart of darkness.


8 Dishonored
I read an article on Cracked about Dishonored and they kept mentioning Bethesda as if they had any hand beyond funding in the development of this title, that wound me up a little and so I am sharing that information with myself and possibly others (naaah). Last year I loved Deus Ex’s reboot to death and those folks are hard at work on a Thief sequel, so in the meantime the Arx Fatalis fellas Arkane Studios have thrown their keys into the bowl for some stealthy fun times. I have played through Dishonored twice, once, I just played it like any game, doing what I’d do (not actually what I’d do, I’d run and hide and get killed) and dealing with the consequences, I ended with a high chaos rating and a sucky ending. The second time I rolled through without getting detected or killing anyone resulting in ‘low chaos‘, I got a rather nice ending and essentially a different gameplay experience. Worth rolling through it in different ways is all I’m saying, there’s definitely replay value here and with any taste you’ll likely want to go back into the world of Dunwall. Dunwall is a steam punk, almost Victorian City 17 with a gorgeous watercolour style to the textures and bit more freedom on the exploring side of things.
There’s stuff to do which is what I’m all about and seeing everything will take a few replays, for example, if you shivved Nanny Rags early on then you’ll miss out on a fantastic end to her character’s story, then again, if you didn’t mess her up then you’ll miss out on the utter surprise all the rats gave me first time through. Being sneaky is more of a challenge to yourself and a reason to get a daylight last level but in doing so you won’t get to utilise a host of powers that can be used to really take down those guards who are only following orders. Stop time as someone’s shooting at you, pick up the bullets and fire them back, then summon a swarm of rats just because you can. So it’s like Bioshock mixed with Thief? Sure, boy I can’t wait for Infinite and Thief 4 but in the meantime and inbetween time Dishonored is a gap worth falling into.

7 Binary Domain
Third person cover shooters, who needs them?, those Gears games got progressively suckier and people just ate them up, so what about Binary Domain caught my attention? Much like Spec Ops the Line I’m always on board for a good story and Binary Domain delivered a tour de force. Set in future Japan it’s a rag tag squad of multi cultured heroes versus the robots that have taken over because there’re humans that turn out to be robots now and the shit just hit the fan. Terminator meets Battlestar Galactica theoretically but this is the Yakuza fella Toshihiro Nagoshi so there’s style and ridiculousness and holy balls is it ever neato. The really interesting part of the game is the interaction between squad members, depending on what you’ve done or said to them they’ll behave differently in battle and towards you. You’ve pissed off one of your crew and now you expect them to take an order to flank some robots and now they aren’t doing that for you, so be nicer and better in battle and maybe they’ll come around to the idea of taking orders.
There’s a tonne of variations as to what happens as the game goes on depending on how you’ve treated your co workers and there are twists aplenty, just a really meaty piece of fun fiction. If I haven’t swayed you yet there’s a French robot called Cain who is simply one of the greatest characters ever thrown in a shooter, programming a French accent into an English speaking robot is ingenius. The combat is a chunky superstar as you chip away the layers of metal covering the chassis of your robot foes, yeah this game is just fantastic and it’s a shame it didn’t have online co-op or it might have sold a little better. Sales or no tis a marvel and I for one anticipate a sequel somehow (if Yakuza can be on it’s 7th game or whathaveyou then why the hell not?).

6 Journey
If you haven’t played Journey then you either don’t have a PS3, or you haven’t heard of it, or you don’t have the money or you have no interest, so there’s lots of reasons, but if you have the funds, interest and a ps3 you should probably pull the trigger and pick it up. That Game Company, the clowns that made interactive screensavers Flow and Flower have made a game of true beauty and camaraderie with Journey. A plat former with simple puzzles, the game can be finished in about an hour and a half, and occasionally I’ll fire it up and front to end it just to relive the magic. Drop in co op can occur at any moment but the joy of this, seeing as I loathe strangers on the internet, foul mouthed little *bleep*, is that there’s zero griefing, it’s just not possible. You communicate via chirps and journey (!) together through the deserts/mountains helping but never hindering on your age old quest to that light at the top of the hill.
If you’re a nice guy you’ll help the other wanderer find some cool stuff to make their scarf longer, and you’ll develop your own chirpin’ language with one another, and if the game’s working properly once they log off or you get too far ahead of them, they disappear, and you will be heartbroken. For what is essentially a silent movie the ‘story’ packs quite an emotional punch as your trials and tribulations both alone and with a partner seem increasingly more hopeless. I’m talking about the ending there really but the tone of the game is one of a dead world, a past civilisation buried by time, the occasional flying scarf and the gargantuan monsters that imprison them the only life left. The music is fantastic in terms of conveying and manipulating the emotions you’re supposed to feel when and where, for example the sand surfing as the sun sets on the desert section of the game is the definition of joy. What an experience this game is.


5 Theatrhythm
It’s worth noting that as I have written this lengthy list that I have been listening to a play list of music from the Final Fantasy games (with some Mistwalker ost’s thrown in), I did the same throughout school and university, lyric less mood music that relaxes me and instils a pleasant sense of warm nostalgia as I write terribly. So with that in mind, the opportunity to play a rhythm game that focuses on the music and worlds of past Final Fantasy’s is one I grabbed with both hands, and a stylus. I played this on the 3DS upon release and on a weekly basis after, though an iOS version is now available for who enjoy the weird friction of fingers on touch screens, I’ll take mine with a stylus thank you very much. And thanks indeed, to the fine folks at Indiezero (Electroplankton) for making a rhythm game I adore aesthetically, musically and best of all, gameplay-wise.
Tap and swipe to the ever scrolling onslaught of commands vaguely relating to the music that’ being played, mess up and your crew starts to die, succeed and you take out more enemies. Other modes include a ‘field’ mode where you tap and swipe as you roll through the world of the relative game and a bizarre cut scene thing where moments from the past series are shown as you follow instructions. All the main Final Fantasy titles are represented through to 13 with three songs and three stages available for each, acing all the difficulties takes some time and patience, but thanks to the levelling up and powers you’re awarded it always feels like you’re getting something out of it beyond the fun you get from playing the game. The dark notes stuff is bananas, bizarre song choices usually at absurd difficulty levels that reap more rewards upon completion, mainly, more dark notes, so there’s a lot to do, and I just keep going back in. A love letter to the games of yore, throw it in the 3DS and never take it out.

4 Gravity Rush
Earlier this year I was at an event for Playstation Vita prior to release, there was Uncharted, Wipeout, all the launch stuff and I demo’d all of it, starlight, like a big PSP with better graphics I thought. Which isn’t actually the case, the Vita is an amazing piece of kit and it now has upwards of 6 games I really like, so it’s about on par with the Dreamcast, hopefully it doesn’t die like the Dreamcast. There was one game I played there though, a game I’d never heard of, Gravity Daze, so I loaded it up and took it for a spin. I left the event adamant that everything sucked except that gravity shifting game because that shit was stones. Cue a month or so later when the console was released, without Gravity Daze, that rascal had been pushed back, and so I imported the Japanese copy, which turned up the day after launch. That game was played to death in Japanese, I do not speak Japanese (there’s a fun question and answer section that took quite a while because of this) but I still played it for the sheer thrills of changing the direction of gravity and flying around the place. A few months later the localised version titled Gravity Rush finally hit store shelves and that was scooped up, so now I have two copies of the same game on my shelf.
I am happy to have purchased it twice because I could have died without knowing the simple joys of gravity manipulation and also I could have gone through it without knowing what the hell was going on hence the English purchase. The people that made Siren made this game but this is no derelict town full of zombies, it’s a rich, colourful environment that is a privilege to be in. Kohei Tanaka of End of Eternity/Resonance of Fate is on music duty and it is mighty similar a soundtrack, actually a city in the sky is a similar concept too, hmm, EoE/RoF is fantastic and so is this.

3 Sleeping Dogs
Not a huge fan of the GTA games but I suppose I should thank them for their inspiration on Saints Row 2/3 and Sleeping Dogs, they’ve taken a template and refined it into a fun time for all. That’s not where the influences end for Sleepin’ Dawgs, this right here has stolen the combat out of the Arkham games much to it’s benefit. Play both sides of the law as you delve into the criminal underworld of Hong Kong as some detective guy who horribly murders anyone who dares raise a hand to him. You really mess people up in SD, the environmental kills are often brutal and inappropriate for an officer of the law to be utilising, putting faces in fans, skewering folk on swordfish heads, electrocuting peeps with eels, the dude is wildin’. But he gets the job done damnit, sort of, the story is endearingly pulpy, ridiculous and surprisingly engaging .
Onto more of the pros in this seemingly conless pro cons breakdown, Driving is excellent, fighting is satisfying, movement is slick. More ‘stuff to do’ in this also, taking down drugs dens, gambling, karaoke singing, dating, hacking, hijacking moving trucks and all of it’s a tonne o’ fun. I’d be remiss in not mentioning the licensed soundtrack, there’s a couple of Lorn tracks and some FlyLo so you can spend some time waiting for those to come on the radio. As for unlicensed my boy Oh No did the title screen music and oh my gosh Oh No I own all your albums and I think it’s really cool that you got hired for this to make some original tunes for a video game. He also did some tracks for the localised Blazblue and GTA Chinatown Wars aswell as some Street Fighter 4 remixes so he’s getting around the videogame circuit. Oh No’s not the reason the game is so high though (Lorn too), it’s simply the mishmash of mechanics that blended so well into such an enjoyable vidya game.


2 The Walking Dead
Telltale were my heroes for a little while, finally bringing back the Sam and Max franchise into the modern world, Monkey Island too, Back To The Future even but they were all games based around the same time tested point and click template. I do not read The Walking Dead comics, I watch the show but I don’t really enjoy it, the characters are too whiney, so when Telltale announced plans to adapt the comic into a game I didn’t really care. The Walking Dead does away with the adventuring styles of it’s past, for the most part, there’s the occasional puzzle sure but nothing that doesn’t make logical sense. No, TWD is a game about decisions, who to feed, who to side with, and the consequences of those actions. People will die because you messed up and even if you don’t mess up, people are going to die and it’s all in the writing. The strength of the script and voice acting is near peerless and you’ll develop ties with these virtual characters to the point where when it comes to disappointing them it’ll feel like your guts have been ripped out, an ever present danger in this world.
It’s a game of talking to people, a little exploring and then maybe crying a little when you realise the game is willing to go places others won’t. I’ll keep this one short because it’s all too tempting to divulge details of the story, so I’ll just allude to some plot points, this game will emotionally tear you apart if you let it and if you don’t, well I see Activision’s making a Walking Dead adaptation for you soulless monsters. That is to say a lot of people overlooked this game because it wasn’t about killing zombies, but, luckily a lot of people purchased it and Season 2 is a reality, oh God what will happen?!

1 Virtue’s Last Reward
I expected this to be top of my list and here it is, unsurprising considering the amount of times I’ve read myself through my import copy of 9 hours 9 persons 9 doors. And so the sequal is here, I opted to play on the Vita because the Vita is region free and the publishers had the nerve to release this a couple of months earlier in the ‘mericas. Importing damages sales of the game when it hits these shores but if you’re gonna put months inbetween the release dates then you can suck a bag of dicks, (that goes for you a thousand bags Atlus with your Persona 4 Arena region locking FIASCO).
Aside: Persona 4 Golden on the Vita is my favourite game of the year, mentioning this in the middle of a review of my listed game of the year seems a bit inappropriate. Alas, I wasn’t counting remakes of games, if so you can bet your spleen the Okami, DMC, Silent Hill and Zone of the Enders remasterings would have been swimming around the top thirty and tripe like Resident Evil 6 wouldn’t have been mentioned at all. With Persona 4 plausibly being my favourite game of all time (with 3, FF9/12, Portal, Braid et al as company), Golden is an expanded version of an incredible game and I think it’s just ACES! Back to the number one game that wasn’t a remake:
Excuse me, yes I spent a lot of time in the world of 999, solving puzzles and bending dimensions as my companions and I ventured our way out of a ‘sinking ship’, and so here’s a direct sequel. We’re back in another Nonary Game with a mostly fresh cast and we’re gonna escape gosh darnit, or die a whole lot of times trying. Unlike 999, the timeline for decisions and story splits are all laid out on one handy menu so when you hit a bad ending you simply get spit out onto the map and you can decide which decision you want to make differently, looks like this. As you can see from the image there’s a lot of book icons, signifying a lot of talking, for most intents and purposes this is a visual novel, a story where you occasionally have input. I usually play console games after work and portable titles at bedtime in lieu of reading a book, I got invested enough in the story here to just pretty much get into bed when I got home, raking up tens of hours within the first week. If for some reason you don’t want to read a 30-40 hour novel then it probably isn’t for you, and that’s fine, I love it though. There are puzzles to break up the story and they’re brain benders, that is to say they require some semblance of effort, taking notes and whatnot and you shall persevere to get back to some of that precious story. So not for everyone, maybe not for most but for those into this sort of thing, including myself it is most indubitably the (non remake) game of the year for 2012.

I wrote this for you.

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20 Fez
I remember looking forward to this around the time Braid came out, ‘years in the making’ and at first you think, for what? A relatively easy plat former with a novel dimension twisting mechanic? Well yes, but not only that, as you jump and twist your way to cube pieces you start to notice recurring symbols, and later still rooms that start to explain the symbols, and so begins the metagame of translating languages into button presses. Which of course sounds bananas, and it is but if you get into the scribbling of codes and even if you look to the internet solution board there’s an incredible depth to this stylish plat forming monster. All set to a wonderful chip tune soundtrack by Rich Vreeland who made January which is also worth your time.

19 Tale of Graces F
There aren’t as many JRPGS around as there were prior generations, and that’s a great shame because they were traditionally my favourite genre. Vesperia is my favourite of the Tales series but who am I to turn down another cookie cutter story of kids fighting above their weight class to save the world? The lack of an over world map in lieu of interconnecting corridors is a tad disappointing and the world doesn’t seem as detailed as it maybe should be, then I remember that this is infact an upscale of a Wii game that never made it to western shores. Glad it finally made it over (still waiting for Xenogears and Grandia 3 over here in England, one day, one day). Combat is as expected, really rather cool. You know what I liked? That Star Ocean 4, I should play that again.

18 Liberation Maiden
Grasshopper’s 4th entry on this expansive list, big year for those fellas and this one’s actually directed by Suda51, the hero of the new world. It’s a Panzer Dragoon Shmup hybrid that isn’t on rails, you’ll effectively find yourself strafing around targets and shooting the bejeebus out of them all while being the teenage girl president of Japan (I assume it’s canon for the real world). The music is super kickin’ and the visual styles are colourful and this here game gets hectic. So the E-Shop isn’t completely worthless, with this and Crimson Shroud jumping on at the end of the year to save me from taking 3ds carts out of their boxes and all that cuffufle, helps that they’re both better than most of the boxed releases in the first place.

17 Sonic and Sega Allstar Racing Transformed
There comes a time every year when a Call of Duty game comes out and other games stop coming out for fear of losing sales to the behemoth. I’ll rent or borrow the CoD and it’ll be CoD and that’s that, you people can spend your money on whatever you want, I recommend new duvet covers. This years brave contender aka a game put out to die and at a discounted price was Sonic and Sega Allstar Racing Transformed and as far as arcade racing games go it’s pretty bleedin’ marvellous. Made by the fine folks at Sumo (Outrun 2) in the country that is home to Forza Horizon, Burnout, Project Gotham and Wipeout (The UK, ‘not just good at those awful Lego games‘ we should put that on our flag) and featuring just a shit load of stuff to do, neat character roster and references to Sega’s hay-day aplenty. It’s just wonderful.

16 Silent Hill Downpour
The best Silent Hill since Shadow of Memories, which was in turn the best since 3, 4, 0 and Homecoming aren’t great, this is. To get the negatives out the way, Akira Yamaoka, the sound designer and musician for previous entries went off to Grasshopper (displacing Masafumi Takada who did the amazing Contact soundtrack) so Konami and Vatra hired Daniel Licht of Dexter fame, and he made music that sounds a little like Dexters’ in places instead of foreboding terror. The enemy designs are thin on the ground also, about five of them, and a lot of them, the statue ghost people are frickin’ awesome though, like the game. Crash your way into Silent Hill as usual and go on a merry adventure through it, combat is solid, exploration is disorientating without a map, puzzles are present and there’s a cast of characters for you to inadvertently choose their fate for by your decisions. Bunch of endings, crazy atmosphere, I’d say this was a return to form, and worth a go, if only for the Hansel and Gretel stage play bit, which is just mental.

15 Final Fantasy XIII-2
I was disappointed by Final Fantasy 13 upon release, I played it to completion in about a week but I wasn’t a huge fan, the characters were utter garbage and the linearity was dissapointing (and no it didn’t ‘Open Up’ 25 hours in, it just featured one huge map for one bit then right back to the corridors, an insult I threw at FFX when that came out, oddly people didn’t seem to care too much then but they should because X kinda sucked too in comparison to other entries). So how did I wind up liking a sequel to a disappointment? There’s more to do and the tale of ’future boy’ and his time travelling antics is much more fun that jogging down a hallway with a stuck up bint like lightning. In turn I’ve enjoyed going back to 13 because of this game, so we’re all winners, I like the world a lot more now and I’m excited for the parkourlicious part 3. Bright, colourful, fun I loves this shit, it’s got a bit of Chrono in it too with all the time switching to change the future, soundtrack is fantastic, this song and it’s mind bending map were my world for a couple of days as I levelled up for the finale and slowly worked out how the hell to get to the other side.

14 Far Cry 3
In this game you can release a tiger into a pirate outpost and it will murder everyone, and while you’re laughing it’ll turn it’s sights on you. Far Cry 3 has a story, and that Vaas sure is rather great as a character but otherwise it’s hard to care about the rich kids you’re saving, no one likes youth, beauty nor privilege that’s why we watch horror movies, so to actively have to give a shit you’ll have a hard time and find yourself rooting for Vaas. But it’s not here for it’s story it’s here for it’s massive island filled to the brim with radio towers to climb, animals to hunt and outposts to liberate. It’s not broken like Far Cry 2 was but in turn it’s less ambitious, yet more fun. The skill tree allows you to do more mental stuff so there’s your reason to keep going, sod the kids, go punch a shark and release some tigers. Just go and have fun.

13 XCOM Enemy Unknown
This would be higher if I could crack the back of the difficulty curve, although word has it they’ve patched out a bunch of the problems that had left me screwed. I love my tactics games, FFTactics, Tactics Ogre, Disgaea et al and so a gritty, chunky reboot of the Xcom series was something to be excited about. Half base management and half skirmish there’s a lot to do and a lot to screw up as countries withdraw funding for the programme just because I never paid them any attention, babies. Unlike the aforementioned tactical games there isn’t much of a story beyond saving the earth through time management so it’s theoretically not something I’d be interested in, but alas, the combat is really rather lush, fluid and a joy to play. Shame I reload almost every time one of my team dies, probably why I haven’t finished it yet, I have however doomed the earth on 3 separate occasions, you’re welcome.

12 SSX
Snowboard Super Cross has returned and it was good, the people rejoiced and took to beating all my times and scores. The whole autolog function was heartbreaking for me in Need For Speed Hot Pursuit as every time I booted the game I was informed that I was terrible and everyone on my friends list was amazing. SSX is a little different in that not many of my friends got it so I had a little breathing room, and in fact it’s a whole lot different because when I returned after half a year a lot of folks had got it and I was still generally on top, maybe because I did almost everything that the game had to offer and who has the time for that? Because there’s a lot to do. I had a week off work when this came out and pretty much spent the first half of the week flying down mountains, and the latter half trying to beat Griff in the death zone (I can NOT DO THIS, look how easy this asshole makes it look, this shit is impossible and stupid, *bleep* this game), regardless this is my Sports Game of Forever.

11 Syndicate
You, the person that didn’t buy Syndicate, you could have killed Starbreeze, one of the greatest developers of the generation, how do you sleep at night? Get a new duvet and get out of my sight. Starbreeze now own the Payday The Heist fellas so I imagine they’re doing okay actually, you can keep you duvet, the moral being that this is a slice of short but sweet cyberpunk action that was criminally overlooked. I generally dislike first person shooters unless they bring something interesting to the table like Singularity’s mishmash of influences or say Syndicate’s powers of ‘making people kill themselves and others’ or ‘guns that can fire around corners’. Just as an aside, everyone in the voice cast is amazing, Brian Cox, Rosario Dawson and Michael Wincott all rock it. The Co-Op’s supposedly pretty great but I know No One That Owns This Game and I ain’t playin’ with no stinkin’ strangers, so if you know me, buy this and hit me up. The single player campaign alone warrants a super high placement on this list, maybe even higher than it is, what’s in the top ten that I can swap? No not that, that maybe?! No, well perhaps. One of the top 11 Games of the Year!

The answers to last week’s Ambigious List of untitled games:
30 Layton 5, 29 Uncharted Vita, 28 Zombi U, 27 Max Payne 3, 26 Black Knight Sword, 25 Hotline Miami, 24 Sine Mora, 23 Spelunky, 22 Rhythm Thief, 21 Kid Icarus
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AMBIGUOUS EDITION

30

This rascal is pretty much the same game as its four forefathers, only now with an almost lifeless polygonal representation of the main cast. There’s a lot less tapping the scenery too thanks to a bizarre magnifying glass mode that makes you scan the environments. The puzzles are all there and a fun little story is had, the overarching conspiracy plot still makes no sense to me but I’m sure one day all will be revealed. Had a great time for the most part but you’ll spend a couple of hours exploring some ruins in third person that is just stuffed with Shiren style ‘you move they move’ puzzles that was beyond my comprehension towards the end, it would have been a nice change but it didn’t half go on. I shall continue to purchase these games and feel a faux cleverness a hundred odd times per game.

29
It’s the system seller that didn’t sell systems, or as many as they would have liked, regardless it’s the same polished cover based action you’d expect and the protagonist’s as likeable as ever, for a merciless foreigner killing machine. The meat and bread of the game is as solid and fluid as you’d hope though it’s not quite as grandstanding as it’s older brothers in terms of everything collapsing at any given opportunity. The only decision that irked me is one that irks me in most day one games for consoles with new functions is the inability to not force you to use said functions at any possibility. Dusting off artifacts and tracing inscriptions with a touch screen is just obnoxious, balancing using the gyroscope is there too. You’d have hoped after the jump from 1 to 2 was a raging success for them after dropping all the six-axis shit that they wouldn’t have thrown a bunch of gimmicky business all over their portable edition, oh well.

28
And after slamming touch screen antics it’s time to praise some, the new pad used as an inventory? Pretty neat. I am getting tired of my wii u commanding me to “Look At The Gamepad” in every game though, I can figure that out because you went to a third person mode that’s looking at the ground, don’t tell me what to do. It’s inventory management and high stakes, aka the most Survivorlest of the survival horrors this year, and with the hot wet action still birth of Resi 6 still coating my nostrils it was very nice to be scared again. Has a Demon’s Souls quality to it in that if you die then you’re going back to a checkpoint only as a different character and if you want all your hot loot you’re gonna have to make you way back there to kill your old character and get your stuff back… so not like Demon’s Souls at all then, the point being that there are consequences for your foolishness. This’d probably be higher if I wasn’t so scared to play it (because of the consequences) not the Beefeaters.

27
Another sequel to a beloved franchise, this time Sam Lake isn’t around so the story’s not as pulpy and hilarious as past entries. The style’s more Tony Scott’s Man On Fire than neo-noir and it’s quite annoying because of it. You can’t say no to production value though, aesthetically it’s a joy, adding cover mechanics and ramping up the difficulty neutering your diving around antics, not so much. But if you forget the series’ pedigree and look at it as a neat cover shooter with a hot soundtrack it’s really rather good. The niggling thought that these guys could have been making a sequel to Rockstar’s greatest game Bully instead of this though remained present in my head, I hope now it’s over and didn’t sell to expectations that they’ll hopefully go back, and it’ll be based in a private school, in England, and I’ll be there listening to Slum Village in the corner and ignoring all the antics like ten years ago. Make my life a game Dan Houser you hipster.

26
This oddity came out in December after I’d drawn up a rough top 60 list, what got dropped? Ragnarok Odyssey! Because I only got about a week of questing in before my copy of Persona 4 The Golden showed up from overseas and ate what was once known as ‘reading time’ off of my schedule. Ragnarok was pretty blazin’, I wish I’d played it more but: Persona. This game however, another entry for the big homeboys at Grasshopper Manufacture. Difficulty is my only complaint, once you finish the game it makes you play through it again with different enemy configurations and they will mess you up. Worth noting that the last boss took me two hours and I got a rage headache that lasted until the next day from losing whatever semblence of cool I have and screaming at the tv. Think ghouls and goblins but with paper craft art and the same neon lights/medieval juxtaposition that was found in Shadows of the Damned. The music was done by Akira Yamaoka, the Silent Hill dude and he makes great music.

25
And while we’re on the subject of hot soundtracks, holy shit, I’ve definitely spent more time listening to the music for this game than I have playing it, and that’s not a sleight to the game, this game is hard. A top down murder simulator where you carefully plot your plan of attack and get murdered, try it again and get murdered, come up with a new plan and get murdered, get tired of it and run in going crazy; and get murdered. Much like Super Meatboy it has an instant reload mechanism and each floor should take less than 30 seconds if your plan goes right so it’s never super annoying to have been killed, it’s a joy to get back in there (especially with that pumping soundtrack, oh god). My favourite part of it is when you’ve succeeded on your rampage of coke addled shotgun toting extravaganzas and the music cuts out and you have to leave the building past the 20 or so blood spattered corpses you left in the wake of your destruction. Do You Like Hurting Other People? Yes, a lot, the game suggests it’s a bad thing though, art games right?

24
SHMUP! A tale of anamorphic animals and the wars they wage, if you bother to read the story this is crazy dark, there’s genocide and *bleep* references and you wind up killing those you love by mistake. It’s just lovely to look at though and once again Akira Yamaoka steps in with a soundtrack unlike any he’s made before to really layer on some style. Otherwise I’d say this is like a regular ol’ shmup, but it isn’t! there’s a time mechanic instead of lives so when you get hit rather than losing a life you lose some time off your clock, time is added for the destruction you cause. The biggest budget shmup I can think of right now, an absolute joy, says me, with 10 gamer points in it despite having finished the campaign. Gamerscore isn’t everything but why is there a wall. Came out on the Vita recently and I’m a little tempted to double dip for some bullet dodging action on the go. Grasshopper’s third game on the list, I wonder if they can manage a fourth?

23
Here is a game that I have not finished, I’ve died 200ish times and keep going back to die some more. Mechanically it’s sound, the game is not at fault for my self destruction, it’s because I got sloppy and lack skills. Unlike Number 25 on the list, when you die you don’t instantly reload you go back to the bleedin’ start dontcha, like Number 28 on the list, only the price you pay for shortcuts is significantly higher, will you have the money or the rare item the cave maker dude requires when you get to him? No? tough shit you’d better hope you do the next time you see him, if you ever get to him again. Save damsels, whip snakes, enrage shop keepers, it’s all rather adorable and the soundtrack is pretty kickin’ (something common of a lot of games on this section of The List) but beneath the cute exterior is a game that wants to see you die and will proceed to watch it happen as many times as you let it.

22
Now this is Number 30 on the list but done better, with a more ridiculous story, a better art style/audio design and of course, music dance mini games instead of puzzles. You’ll samba de amigo (for serious) your way through challenges, swipe your way through a cooking course, run from the cops on rooftops all in a dayglo Parisian wonderland with a dog called Fondue and you will be charmed damnit. Coming to mobile devices (maybe it’s already out) but it’s an awesome addition to the tiny 3Ds library and I hope that when Sega comes out of it’s current financial woes that this sold enough copies to warrant sequels, yearly preferably. Thanks Sega, now where’s Anarchy Reigns? and stop making Sonic Episodes you clowns, they’re terrible.

21
It’s the return of a character I’d probably have never heard of if not for those fumbly Smash Bros games the kids like so much (you might not see Playstation All Stars on this list folks because: personal preference, I say folks: Celes). I enjoyed half of this game an awful lot, the Panzer Dragoon half, if you change the control system to auto-fire you can just wave the stylus over your target and shift around with the circle pad without any need for the shoulder buttons. Shit gets real when you hit the ground and have to explore on foot however, real annoying! But still, playable, I never did try that ridiculous stand they bundled in because if you failed to make a game enjoyable without breaking your wrist thus needing a stand then you have failed at some point. The game is cheeky and irreverent, frankly, rather amusing, maybe a bit mental but it’s always a joy, when you’re in the air.

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40 New Super Mario Bros U
Another New Super Mario Bros makes the list, although this isn’t exactly the pro end of the list to wind up on. The Wii-U controller displays the same image that is on the tv for this game, which is wildly distracting so I generally play it on the pad and the TV is off, so for all the talk of Mario being in HD it didn’t make a difference to me after all. It’s a fun game, less tedious than the 3DS’s entry in the series, those Koopas are still dancing to the music though. The handholding feature of ‘die enough times and Luigi’ll do the level for you’ has been utilised multiple times on my play through, then I’ll hammer through several levels without dying, odd, uneven maybe, but always enjoyable.

39 Dust: An Elysian Tale
The art style of this game put a lot of people off because it’s a little cutesy, bizarrely cutesy considering how dark the story gets, juxtaposition. It’s like a real silky smooth Castlevania, meaning there’s backtracking but the combat is such a mental joy that you won’t mind. You’re all getting your familiar to cast spells then you’re spinning your swords so they go tornadoing around the screen and the combo metre goes up and up and gosh darn I should go back to this baby if only to knock some folks off the leader boards. Worth noting that Dust was essentially made by one dude, quite an accomplishment considering just how dense and lush it all is.

38 Darksiders 2
The sequel to Darksiders, this was THQ’s last big hope, then no one bought it, and they should have, if only to help secure the release of South Park The Stick of Truth and the new Metro. If you bought it for the game itself, that’s fine too. Darksiders 1 was a Zelda clone with an offensive metal style, look at all that armour, ridiculous. Darksiders 2 is a Zelda clone that also rips off Prince of Persia’s plat forming. If you put aside the influences you can enjoy it for what it is, a barnstorming Zelda clone with Prince of Persia’s plat forming… damnit! You can summon a horse and it appears from the ground, so that’s something new.

37 Nintendo Land
Party games, on a modern Nintendo console? Get out of here, you’re lying, surely, no? Well there’s 6 solo games, Yoshi, Takamaru and Falcon’s all blow, Donkey Kong, Balloon Trip and Octopus’ Dance are all alreet, surprisingly challenging. Solo/team efforts Zelda and Pikmin are pretty tootin’ good, Metroid, not so much. Mario, Animal Crossing and Luigi’s are the competitive offerings and I’ve only played each one once with a housemate, she seemed to not enjoy them, I’ll have more opinions when I hire some ‘friends‘ but to be honest for a 100 an hour we should probably be doing something less wholesome.

36 Halo 4
Hey Halo, what are you doing on this side of the list? Oh you’re the 6th entry in a series that’s barely changed since day 1, I see. Still a fine game, the skyboxes are the highlight once again, and the cool alien guns that are kept together by gravity, watching them form the first time you pick them up is pretty cool, otherwise, business as usual, or is it? Why, there appear to be some non Covenant enemies that are essentially reskinned Covenant enemies, oh and a lot of the old Covenant enemies. So business as usual indeed, 343 didn’t drop the ball although I enjoyed ODST’s noir stylings a great deal more. The lack of a firefight mode is concerning.

35 Paper Mario Sticker Star
This is one jazzy game, I wonder how Nintendo can be so offensive with their terrible Mario Kart music one game then be wonderful this and the Galaxy games. The sticker’s as attacks concept is dumb and frankly concerning as I’ve found myself just running past enemies lest I waste some precious stickers on a fight that’ll only reward me with coins anyway, which is a shame because the time based combat is as joyful as it always has been. There’s a lot of moments in this game where you have to use an item you’ve found to further your progress, the majority of the time it’s never been intuitive so there’s been a lot of FAQ browsing going on. The loveable charm allows me to overlook the decisions they’ve made and it’s still a rather nifty addition to any 3DS library.

34 Assassins Creed 3
What can you say about Assassin’s Creed 3 that hasn’t been said about every game in the series since 2? There’s hunting, and you can run through trees. The story and main missions are still a boring mess but once again the sheer excitement of running around and diving on folks can’t be beat. Except by Dishonored, which we’ll blink to a little later. Yeah so more of the same old bollocks but occasionally when desperate enough I’ll throw in an Ass Cree and get absorbed for a couple of days, then I go back to resenting it for not being as interesting as other games. The combat does feel a little better this time.

33 Torchlight 2
Click on ‘em, click on ‘em! Oh yeah that’s some good loot. As a gent who played the XBLA release of the original a whole bunch the lack of gamepad support was initially jarring to me but it ‘clicked’ with me eventually, yo ho ho. The atmosphere and music is top notch, the progression addictive, the graphics are charming. I’d probably buy it all over again if it got a console release, playing this sorta game in bed, balancing a mouse and keyboard isn’t really ideal for long hauls.

32 Resident Evil Revelations
The good resident evil of the year, unlike those offensive Raccoon Cities and 6’s this entry is actually playable without scowling. Without the bonus circle pad pro side thingamajig it actually feels more Survival Horror than it probably is as you struggle to aim and strafe in the tight corridors. Chris and Jill return for some adventures on a ship, and in a city and in some mountains. Has a disjointed story and some questionably dressed side characters and the story is ridiculous, really, a giant future eco city completely destroyed and no one appears to mention it in the far more pedestrian 6. The blue worm head things do show up in 6 though, in fact they were the highlight, because I was thinking about Revelations whenever they showed up, good fan service.

31 Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance
You have pets/familiars and you can stroke them and play games with them, in return they will become stronger than you ever imagined! That’s not the draw of the game though, we’re all here to venture further into the rich fiction of Kingdom Hearts (luls). After the rather gash DS offerings I am happy to report that DDD is more on par with the fantastic Birth By Sleep, which I love to death and wish it was released digitally so I could put it on my Vita thus bypassing the whirring of a UMD drive. Once again you move with the circle pad, and choose spells with the dpad which works a treat, exploration and combat is fine, the graphics are real good for that lil 3DS and when you press the Y button crazy bananas shit happens. The World Ends With You cast features predominately, which is cool, I’d buy another of them. So long as Dream Drops and Birth Sleeps keep happening I’m not too fussed about KH 3, KH3 feels like it’s missed it’s chance this generation anyhue, next gen Disney nonsense ahoy.

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50 Assassins Creed Liberation
It’s Assassins Creed, but on the go, I.e in bed after lights out. For once the adventures of the assassins’ portable outing is pretty much the same layout as the console experience as opposed to some top down business. There’s a dumb clothes changing mechanic that allows you to fit into certain areas easier than others but it only slows things down, the story’s not up to much, the framerate occasionally suffers and guess what, the Vita has a touch screen so you should swipe on it to perform combos, bloody first generation games, making use of all the hardware will allow. Running around roof tops and jumping on peeps is great fun though and the combat, like Ass 3 has been simplified so as to remove the frustrations of the past. So yeah, I like this game, if only for exploration, word to Crackdown.

49 Yakuza Dead Souls
Here’s a weird one, how did this get distributed oversees while the PSP games and that Feudal prequel are missing in action? No worries, this game has shoddy shooting, but it’s fun as all hell, locking on and unloading clips. A whole lot of back tracking too, and probably too much time spent in the sewers as you navigate area to area. For an RPG it sure is chock full of arcade action, chock full of a lot of things actually, chock a block some might say, it’s long, but magical, and a fine way to whittle down the hours while we wait for Yakuza 1+2 HD and 5. Gosh 1+2 HD better make it over here, the small stutter between screens in the PS2 originals does my head in. If Shenmue had continued as a series would it have had a zombie spin off? Would you feed an undead kitten dried brain matter? Zombie forklift day job? I like to imagine so.

48 Silent Hill Book Of Memories
This is probably higher than it should be, look, sometimes you just want something to do while you’re not giving your full attention to something else, see: tv, music, friends, family etc. A Diablo-esque dungeon crawler with Silent Hill enemies and little to no atmosphere, tis still a ball jogging around piping nurses in exchange for keys. This game was delayed forever, I’m glad it didn’t get lost by Konami because it’s pretty dope, it’s just not Silent Hill. Is it better than Heroes of Ruin?… yes. I like the timing involved in the combat. Wayforward made this game, they also made the Adventure Time 3DS game that doesn’t have an EU release date and the bloody 3DS is region locked.

47 The Darkness 2
Where you at Starbreeze? Somewhere in the 20’s of this list? well if you’d stuck around you could have been in the 40’s! Think about that next time you’re still a company. Darkness 2 is short, like this description. Oh go on then, some more: Controlling the darkness tendril whips with the analogue stick works great and it makes me wish Skyward Sword could be controlled with the classic controller because waggling and pointing made you game uncomfortable to play. Has something of Bulletstorm about it all throwing peoples around the place and the comic book stylings look nifty.

46 Touch My Katamari
It’s Katamari and it’s a joy and it’s too short as is the case with all the Katamari’s. I own We Love Katamari, Beautiful Katamari, the PSP one and Katamari Forever, the original Damaci never came out over here, odd. This is nifty, I imagine it’ll pop out every year for a 4 hour roll about, just like the rest. Music’s dope, the game feels nice on the Vita, looks pretty and I have a great time playing it, however I still can’t handle the King of Cosmos’ dismissive attitude of my final products, bloody ingrate, it’s not funny it winds me up, damn you, I try so hard, why won’t you love me?!

45 Asura’s Wrath
Another short game, probably because the ending was released as DLC which is just shady. Still, if you imagine it ends as it did in the retail copy it’s pretty much par for the course because the game is fifty shades of craze. For the most part Asura’s is a cut scene and quick time event simulator, with occasional fast paced combat added in just to make the player feel that they’re actually playing a game. Some bananas stuff goes down, giant elephants, Gods, getting knocked out for hundreds of years at a time only to climb back up some tower to watch some more cut scenes. As loose and hectic as the fighting is I still rate it more than the looseness of God of War and the other tat that followed in it’s footsteps, Dante’s Inferno, Castlevania Lords of Shadow etc. DMC, Revengeance and Bayonetta are coming to batter you with finesse God of War Ascension! You hear me!? You suck.

44 Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 is really rather good, it’s just not as good as 2, it doesn’t feel as ‘open’, eaves dropping is a rude way to get side quests and Space God. Yeah so it’s fantastic but it’s disappointing, following 2 we expected the second coming not a bit more of the same, still it could have been worse, it could have had 3 dungeons that it slightly changes the layout of and calls it a different location, yeah I see you Dragon Age 2, you joker. Galactic readiness.

43 Lollipop Chainsaw
Suda 51 has two games in this top 60, Lollipop Chainsaw was the highest profile of the two and also the one that sold the most. For all the talk of sexy exploitation the people sure ate it up, which is worrying because Grasshopper might see a pattern and get less peculiar with their games. Killer is Dead 2013! My boy James Gunn wrote the dialogue for this game, he’s currently in the process of writing and directing Guardians of the Galaxy which I doubt will be as awesome as Super. Oh Lollipop Chainsaw? It’s a puzzle game where you try to get zombies in a corner while weakened and take off as many heads as possible in one swipe in order to Sparkle Hunt. Some may also perceive it as a hilarious and whacky shallow brawler, we’re all right.

42 Guild Wars 2
For about 25 hours I was having a good ol’ time jogging around catching rabbits for folks and helping out fellow travellers as they got into trouble with the local wild life. There came a point though where the level cap seemed too far off and I couldn’t be arsed doing variations of the same ten quests in a new area in order to level up and proceed. Also I didn’t have a crew which is kinda the point of these MMO’s, so I hear, maybe some companionship would have spurred me on, aww shucks. Still as far as these things go it’s massive, beautiful and pretty darn neat. I prefer FFXII though for my single player MMO needs, I prefer FFXII over pretty much everything actually.

41 Alan Wake’s American Nightmare
Wake is back in a download only adventure with three areas that you go back to three times. The story is compelling and your repeat visits are ever shortened so it never gets boring. The combat is tits as always, dodging, ducking and diving. Mr Scratch is back, there’s a prominent Kasabian song for some reason and the environments are not forests. I played this baby in one sitting and would go back, will go back, to Night Springs! Remedy really are those dudes. The original Alan Wake is maybe in my top ten of the generation, this calms the shakes in the wait for a sequel.

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60 New Super Mario Bros 2
Coin Rush Mode?! Oh boy, I can’t wait to play through these levels again for the privilege of seeing a coin tally go ever upwards, now that‘s what I call a reward. Weird incentives aside the game itself is perfectly enjoyable, if not particularly inventive. A case of more of the same it is then, tis Mario, although I’ve got my eyes on those koopas dancing in sync to the music, what’s their angle? You've gotsta run left to right and jump around a bit, preferred Mario 3D Land which was nostalgic without pandering.

59 NeverDead
The Metal Gear Ac!d geezer is behind this, hooking up with the developers of Aliens Vs Predator (the good one from the 90’s) and Aliens Vs Predator (The bad one from the 10’s). It’s a game where you roll around on the floor chasing after limbs that have become unstuck, also, occasionally they’re still attached and you’re running around the place shooting up demons. You can tear your head off and throw it, that is to say it’s a big ol’ barrel of stupid (half broken) fun. Tis proper frustrating though so despite being really colourful and having characters that I enjoyed I didn't see it through to completion. One day.

58 Resident Evil 6
How did this beat NeverDead? Because for 6 innocent hours I was sorta kinda having a good time. Then Chris’s campaign happened, glummer, then Jake’s, glummest, Ada, errr. It’s a game that outstays it’s welcome with sloppy mechanics, tedium and some other words. The vehicle sections in Jake’s campaign are amongst the worst anythings that have ever occurred, a lot of the game reeked of CoD ’me too’. I’ll always have those 6 hours where jovialities were had and for that it makes the list, unlike say, Papo & Yo. Mercenaries was dope.

57 Trials Evolution
For a few amazing days I was a competitor, half my friends list was rushing home to get their balance and speed perfected, and I was right there in the middle of it vrrring along, then inevitably I hit a wall, but this is Trials, there’s lots of walls to hit. I got distracted by some other fine game and when I returned all records were broken and most folk had stopped playing so what would be the point in beating them if they’d never know about it, personal satisfaction? pffft. See also: anything with an Autolog, returning to Hot Pursuit is heartbreaking.

56 Borderlands 2
When there’s three years between a game and it’s sequel you expect the new one not to feel like an expansion to the original, just like NSMB2 they’re cramming more of it into expectant customer’s faces, and you just lap it up don‘t ya? Yoooooouuu! BL2 has a sweet voice over bloke/villain/glaDos who’s reasonably entertaining and there’s a metric tonne of fun to be had if you surrender your cynicism and accept that it’s just mo borderin’, running backwards shooting hit points off things can be rewarding, if there’s a hot new gun to be looted. Green arrows up.

55 Mark of the Ninja
See this bloke right? He’s got a poison tattoo that’s driving him crazy yeah, so he’s got to save his clan or something before he becomes a mental, kay, all stealth and stuff right? The pitch. This game has the best iteration of stealth I’ve ever seen, vision and sound cones everywhere so you know exactly what‘s going to happen before you do it. Were you to mess up you’re gonna get dead pretty swift but it’s your own damn fault, the mechanics were all in place. It’s by the fellas who wasted your time with Shank but this is smooth, silky and a joy to play, zipping around on the ceilings and what not. This should probably be higher on the list but I got a bit bored, which can be said of everything on the list thus far.

54 Sound Shapes
This was initially a Vita exclusive but following low sales of their console Sony wussed out and made it cross play with the PS3, which equalled me playing it on the PS3 on a bug ol‘ screen and better sound. Now what to say, the plat forming is sloppy and frustrating, I do not play about 80% of the game, the 20% that I do, I do often. Beck’s got three tracks on this baby and they’re all phenomenal stuff. I love Beck and were it not for his original hot messes thrown into this I wouldn’t have bothered, glad I did though. You effect elements of the music as you platform through. Spiral Staircases is one of my songs of the year and it’s only playable which is sort of an annoyance. I might go and play through Beck’s album again, a weekly occurrence.

53 Quantum Conundrum
Not to be confused with Quantum Theory, Conundrum is a different word than Theory. As a Portal fan I was on board for another puzzle filled Kim Swift adventure through the absurd and that’s what I got. Criticisms include it not being as funny, atmospheric or tight as the Portal series but it’s not without it’s charms. Shifting dimensions for puzzles forces you to think in ways you otherwise never would (or google an faq from time to time) but it was all rather rewarding. The forced first person plat forming was a tad disorientating as is often the case. Still, a charm offensive will excuse faults every now and then.

52 The Amazing Spiderman
A video game adaptation of a movie? Madness. Peter Parker gets his Bruce Wayne on for some timed based combat, sure it’s a knock off but it’s still a reasonable use of your time. Webbing your way around an open environment has always been the real draw of the Spiderman licence, back in Spiderman 2 the webs connected to buildings though, here they attach to mid air, which is odd. The missions spend a lot of the time in the sewers neutering your swinging’ but hey, that’s where Curt Connors is alright? Probably. Also there’s an escape prompt for when you’re seen in battle where you fly to a corner of the ceiling to begin your stealthy shenanigans anew. Not great but solid. The photography side quests were the highlight.

51 Prototype 2
Heller is for heroes. More swooping around an open world city shenanigans. The difference between this and the first Prototype was that I finished this, in about two sittings, I had a blast doing it too. All running up walls and having tendrils and stuff, it was great, meaty. A huge number of Radical’s employees were laid off after this which puts them in support team mode for Activision, like Raven who made the incredible Singularity but now they probably do art assets for something instead, for shame. Hulk UD and Simpsons Hit and Run were dope games, so was this. I applaud you Radical, but you didn’t make my top 50 this year, another crushing blow I’m sure.

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