With the end of January 2014 well in sight, I figure now is as good a time as any to dust off my keyboard and write up what my gaming highlights of the previous year were. To keep things interesting I have decided to limit myself to just one title per gaming system. My chart is made up of games I enjoyed playing throughout 2013, even if they didn’t necessarily get released that year. It may therefore include a few gems that I never got the chance to try back when they originally came out.
5th) StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm (PC) I’m not a huge PC gamer, preferring instead to play on consoles, but that is something I am trying to remedy in 2014. Right now I am hooked on Final Fantasy 14 and I am using my computer to read visual novels such as Katawa Shoujo. From the limited number of PC titles I played in 2013 I would have to say that Heart of the Swarm is the game I enjoyed the most. Blizzard once again knocked it out of the park with their next instalment in the RTS StarCraft saga. As you would expect the online multiplayer remains solid and I enjoyed the story, which this time focused on my favourite of the three factions (The Zerg.)
4th) The World Ends With You (iPad) I was tempted to pick Plants vs Zombies 2 as my tablet game of 2013, but EA’s decision to turn PopCap’s tower defence sequel into a freemium title really soured things for me. I don’t like being pressured into making in-App purchases or the fact that the game is incomplete. Still waiting on the future level guys. With that in mind I am selecting The World Ends With you as my iPad game of 2013. I never played the 3DS original as I was put off by the stylus controls, but this enhanced port fixes that courtesy of being on a system with a bigger and more responsive touchscreen. The soundtrack is excellent, the story that (unusually for an RPG) is set in modern day Japan is cool and the unique combat system shockingly proves that Square-Enix can still be creative.
3rd) Scott Pilgrim vs The World (PS3) By all accounts 2013 was a great year for the PS3. I didn’t however play many of the year’s big titles (GTA5, Bioshock Infinite, Last of Us etc.) The most enjoyable PS3 retail games I bought were Disgaea D2 and Atelier Ayesha. My PS3 vote however goes to a downloadable title that I acquired after buying a PS3 with a big enough hard drive to make online purchases viable. I loved Scott Pilgrim so much that I have replayed it countless times, something I rarely do when I finish a game. I think the reason I dig the game so much is that it takes me back to the days when I used to play Streets of Rage on the Megadrive. What elevates it from other brawlers would have to be the geeky humour you would expect from Scott Pilgrim in addition to its selection of toe tapping chip tune music.
2nd) Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS) As far as 3DS games go I would like to give Virtue’s Last Reward a honourable mention. If Fire Emblem hadn’t come out it would have been a contender for my game of the year. First person puzzle games aren’t normally my thing, but the storyline was so captivating that I couldn’t put it down. Anyways, moving onto my 2013 runner up – it’s no surprise that I loved Fire Emblem as I am a big fan of strategy RPGs. I have been hooked on the FE franchise ever since I discovered it on the GBA, although in recent years the series’ quality seems to have dipped as the creators have watered down the support system. Thankfully that was addressed in Awakening so not only do we get a solid tactical game, but also a great cast of characters that you can play matchmaker with in the hopes of recruiting their offspring to your army.
1st) Persona 4 Golden (PS Vita) Forget just 2013, Persona 4 Golden is one of my favourite games of all time. If Sony decide to scrap the Vita tomorrow, due to lacklustre sales, I wouldn’t be mad about coughing up so much cash for their handheld as it gave me the opportunity to play this masterpiece. Like a lot of the other games on this list, Persona 4 is blessed with an awesome soundtrack whilst visually the anime graphics have stood the test of time. Gameplay wise it has everything you could hope for from a JRPG with turn based battles. It’s the activities you do outside of combat that hooked me in the most though. The dating sim aspects you partake in are a joy as it allows you to spend time with the most memorable cast of characters I have met since Final Fantasy 9. Although I shy away from most of the Shin Megami games I adored Persona 4 so I cannot wait for its successor to come out later this year.
There you have it, my top 5 games of 2013. If I am still blogging this time next year it will be interesting to see what my picks will be now that we have entered a new console generation. Enough about me though. What were your gaming highlights of 2013? Let me know with a comment below.