6. Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time 5. Bravely Default 4. The Wonderful 101 3. Grand Theft Auto 5 2. Assassin's Creed 4 1. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
2013 was a notable step up from last year. Whereas 2012 was such a mediocre year that I could name all of its worthwhile games on two hands, I'd at least need to be Goro in order to name every good game from 2013 on my hands. This may be a result of needing to end the seventh generation on a high note - whatever the actual case may be, I'm happy with it. I wasn't exactly happy with how Tomb Raider, Devil May Cry and Bioshock were handled this year - the former two were story driven and yet, they were both rubbish; the latter focused so much on aesthetics that the gameplay became hopelessly mediocre as a result. Thankfully, at least Sly Cooper and Assassin's Creed were handled with care. Granted, both had a nonsensical time travelling concept, but both of them either ameliorate or at least lessen the issue by either having a silly story with some fairly well written dialogue, or by having its past plot be infinitely more interesting than the time travelling concept. Grand Theft Auto was given some respect - it went back to what made the PS2 Grand Theft Auto games awesome and - my disappointment in the soundtrack and not taking as much advantage with the three character thing as they could've aside - I dare say that Rockstar had exceeded expectations. I'd also say that Metal Gear, Fire Emblem and Zelda were also handled with care, but not to the same extent as Sly or Assassin's Creed.
Anyway, let the discussion begin - Desmond's ancestors VS Sly's ancestors!
If 2013 did anything especially right however, it reminded me of the core essence of gaming - fun. Well, okay, it also had moments of being pretentious and downright pandering ala Gone Home, but it's hard to give two shits about that game when Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and The Wonderful 101 (and Sly 4, for that matter) were so much goddamn fun! The Wonderful 101 was like a flurry of style with just enough substance to want to keep going, just to see what else it had up its sleeve. Blood Dragon, on the other hand, is like a parody of 80s pop culture and modern day first person shooters. Even without the comedy, it feels like a better version of Far Cry 3, which was quite an engaging game in and of itself. Blood Dragon is a lot tighter, making things a bit easier whilst making kills feel even more satisfying. From stealth kills to lunging right up to them and wrecking them old school... goddamn, it's good! Grand Theft Auto 5, as I had just said, put the series back on track after the rather melodramatic stylings of Grand Theft Auto 4, and between all of the activities that you can do and all of the hell that you can try to raise, it's still a joy to play through it. I'll take San Andreas over it if given the opportunity, but 5 was still pretty good. Hell, Bravely Default even made traditional turn based RPGs seem like fun! Although we'll never see a developer top Skies Of Arcadia or Suikoden 2 anytime soon, being able to experiment with different jobs whilst utilizing the brave default system so that you don't get your bells whipped is enough to keep you playing, and the characters are a joy to be with.
6. Dragon's Dogma 5. XCOM: Enemy Unknown 4. Far Cry 3 3. Sleeping Dogs 2. Silent Hill: Downpour 1. Mark Of The Ninja
2012 was a year full of underwhelming released, but the hits at least encompass what makes gaming still worth your time. Far Cry 3 is like that hand reaching into your still beating heart and showing it to you before putting it back in - it came out late, but it's a very good game. Perhaps the story isn't very good, but the sheer amount of things to do in that game - all of which are fun - is more than enough to keep you coming back. Same deal for Dragon's Dogma, which has a fantastic combat engine and even better bosses, but it's pretty mediocre in terms of story. XCOM: Enemy Unknown.. well, I've made it clear that I haven't played the old school games by even remotely praising this, but hey, I enjoyed this a lot so I'll want to play the old school games. Sleeping Dogs and Silent Hill: Downpour had great stories that not only keep your interest due to some deep themes (Sleeping Dogs is all about loyalty whereas Silent Hill: Downpour is more about a prisoner's journey for enlightenment and true freedom), but also give context to the gameplay, whether it relates to their structures or their "flaws".
My #1 may come as a big surprise when most people would either pick Dishonored, Far Cry 3, Journey or Hitman: Absolution (derogatory name pending as I have yet to play that game), but trust me when I say that Mark Of The Ninja, whilst not being as heavy handed as the likes of Sleeping Dogs, Silent Hill: Downpour or Spec Ops: The Line (the latter isn't on the list due to mediocre gameplay), is an intriguing tale that's backed up by excellent stealth gameplay (something Dishonored lacks, giving you plenty of tools and powers to compensate for its lackluster stealth gameplay) and fantastic level designs. Like Far Cry 3 and Dragon's Dogma, this was a lot of *bleep*ing fun to play through. Truth be told though, there are only two A's and three A-'s with Dragon's Dogma receiving a B+, which I feel sums up the year - underwhelming. Other years would have all six of my picks receiving A-'s at the very least and 2 A's and 4 A+'s at best (if you want me to do other years, just give me the word and I'll see what I can do).
Is this the beginning of the end? Maybe not - Anarchy Reigns, Ni No Kuni, South Park: The Stick Of Truth, Bioshock: Infinite and The Last Of Us are shaping up to be pretty sweet games, and it's only a matter of time before more good games come out. Mark Of The Ninja, my #1 pick, literally came out of nowhere - I just stumbled upon it on Steam. Far Cry 3, my #4 pick, came out pretty damn late in the year. The rest had hype, but only amongst smaller communities whilst games I found merely found good like Dishonored and Journey got jerked off like Ron Jeremy during a filming session. So there you have it, my picks for 2012. If you have any comments or queries or you want my opinion on other games released this year, please comment in the comment section down below, and I'll see you later.