Looking back at the best games of the year!
This year has been a highly eventful one in the world of gaming. We’ve seen multiple console releases in the PS4, XBOX One, and Nintendo’s handheld 2DS. Many of the most popular series received new installments, like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Pokemon, and much more. However, popular doesn’t necessarily mean good, and so this list looks different than most of the ones being put out. Please note that this is of course my opinion and as such I can only base the list on games that I’ve actually played. So without further ado, my top five games of 2013 (in no particular order):
At the low price of free for PS+ members ($14.99 otherwise), Resogun is a wallet-friendly option for those who need a good value from their games. This old-school spaceship shooter delivers the nostalgic gunplay of Galaga on a cylindrical plane with sharp visuals and particle effects. Featuring five levels and three selectable ships, Resogun only seems thin on content; the sheer number of trophies that encourage multiple playstyles encourages deep replay value. Add in four difficulties and online co-op and you’ve got a complete package for a nominal fee. If your gaming history dates back to the early 1990s like mine does, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not picking this game up.
No list of the best games of 2013 would be complete without Pokemon X/Y. With more features than ever before, Gamefreak pulled out all the stops to revive a franchise that in the eyes of this writer had been flatlining for years. Wonder Trade leads the charge as the best new feature, allowing you to instantly trade with anyone in the world. Want more control over what you get? Fire up the Global Trade System and specify what you’re looking for. You can now play mini-games to “super train” your Pokemon, making them stronger even faster. Finally, if you just want to chill out and enjoy your Pokemon’s company, you can go into Pokemon-Amie to play with them and feed them. With the most immersive experience in the franchise’s history, Pokemon X/Y is sure to please new and old fans alike.
EA’s hockey franchise has been going strong for six seasons now, and this year it delivered big time on its new Live The Life mode. Upgrading the previous Be A Pro mode into something far more deep, Live The Life much more closely mimics the career of a hockey player than its predecessor. You can gain endorsements, answer a variety of interview questions, respond to any other situations that arise, and of course, play the game and impress the coach and brass for your team. On the actual gameplay side, NHL 14 delivers more customization and more goals. Scoring is way up in this game compared to year’s past, and while in some cases it’s too easy to find the back of the net, you can always adjust the settings to your liking. If you’re looking for a top-flight sports game, you can’t go wrong with NHL 14.
Super Mario 3D World
While the same formula in use since the release of New Super Mario Bros. may be getting tired to some, the concept and gameplay of Super Mario 3D World adds a new element of adventure to the series. Famous for continuing to reinvent the wheel with its own IPs, Nintendo once again delivers a fun party adventure game that is just as enjoyable when played solo. One of the most welcome changes to this new entry comes in the form of the playable lineup. Instead of having two generic Toads, there’s only one this time and the open slot is filled by none other than Princess Peach. While I’d still like to see a bit more variety in that respect (maybe add Wario, Waluigi, or perhaps even Yoshi as a gimmick character), Nintendo has asserted their platforming prowess and brought another Mario adventure to the homes of thousands.
I conclude this list with a game that you might not expect. Flower is proof that video games are true works of art. The best way that I can describe Flower is that it’s the most soothing game I have ever experienced, and I’ve never found myself in a more peaceful state while playing a video game. The best part about the game is that you can spend hours in a single area without ever being told that you’re failing or that you should be doing something else. While you can clear each of Flower‘s levels by opening all of the flowers and turning the initially drab fields into lush, colorful landscapes, there’s no hurry to do so. You can simply fly around the level and enjoy the beautiful musical score if you like. If you own a PS4 (or even a PS3), you need to own Flower.