J.Bear’s Top 10 Video Games of 2013

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J.Bear’s Top 10 Video Games of 2013

The end of the year is finally upon us. It feels like just yesterday we were booting up copies of Telltale’s “The Walking Dead”, “Far Cry 3”, “Borderlands 2”, and “Mass Effect 3”. But here we are, 2013 is coming to a close.

This year has been one of the best year’s in gaming, not only were we treated to some of the best titles to ever come out for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. We also took our first steps into the next generation of consoles with the PS4 and Xbox One. Though technically, the WiiU is a part of the next generation of consoles, it, unfortunately, is still struggling.

But nevermind all of that! This is about 2013, and the games that came out during this amazing year. But before we get into the meat and potatoes, here’s a quick disclaimer:

Note: The games that appear on this list solely reflect my experiences with said games. This list is completely based on the games I’ve played this year. Games that I did not play, will not show up on this list. So if your personal favorite games don’t show up on here, thems’ the breaks.

Now, on with the list!

Number 10: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

April 30th 2013

Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

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Now here’s a game that came straight out of left field. “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon” is a standalone game that is essentially an 80s style action movie running off of the Far Cry 3 engine. “Blood Dragon” is filled to the brim 80s pop culture references and pokes fun at a few conventions we’ve come to accept in most video games. The story for Blood Dragon really doesn’t matter, it’s all about the fun you’ll have running around as an 80s cyborg warrior of awesomeness. If you didn’t want to shell out all of that money to play Far Cry 3, you can play Blood Dragon and get a feel for the core gameplay of Far Cry 3.

Number 9: Rayman Legends

September 3rd 2013

Windows, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo WiiU, PS Vita

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I’m going to go ahead and tell you, I have not played a “Rayman” game before playing “Rayman: Legends”, and I have to say, it was a fantastic experience. “Legends” has a great combination of engaging platforming, interesting levels, and an awesome sound track. These three aspects combined make Rayman: Legends a superb game that’s fun for the whole family. But the thing that makes this game truly fun is that you can play co-op with up to four players at once. It’s essentially “New Super Mario Bros” but for every console. The PlayStation Vita version is exceptionally great since you can play the entire game on the go.

Number 8: DMC: Devil May Cry

January 15th 2013 & January 24th 2013

Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

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Here’s a game that sparked all kinds of controversy. “DMC: Devil May Cry” is a complete reboot of the “Devil May Cry” series and features a brand new look and feel to the series as a whole. With this reboot we got a whole new look and back story to series protagonist Dante and his brother Vergil. A move that divided the gaming community between those who were open to the new take on the series and those who wanted to stay true to it. In my opinion though, DMC was an awesome game. It took all of the best parts of the previous series and improved on them and, best of all, removed the half-assed puzzles that showed up in the other games. Granted, the combat system was dumbed down, but it just makes the game feel more accessible to a newer audience.

Number 7: Thomas was alone

July 24th 2012 & April 23rd 2013

Windows, Mac, Linux, PS3, PS Vita

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“Thomas was alone. Wow. What an interesting first thought to have.” These are the first words you hear in this wonderful game about a various kinds of rectangles. Yes, various kinds of rectangles, there are no human characters in this game. What really carries the entire experience is the characterization of the rectangles through the disembodied narrator of the game. Though this game originally came out in 2012, it was re-released for additional platforms in 2013. This is really one of those games that if you have a chance to play it, you should.

Number 6: Guacamelee

April 9th 2013

Windows, PS3, PS Vita

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This is a game that was a delightful surprise. “Guacamelee” is a Mexican folklore styled Metroidvania adventure game. By that, I mean it’s a game where you explore areas, come across inaccessible portions of the area and have to return later once you obtain upgrades that’ll allow you access those areas. Although Metroidvania games are my bread and butter, the aesthetic of the game is what really makes it a special game to play. Also, there’s a character named “Flame Face” who is a guy with a fireball for a head, which is awesome.

Number 5: Grand Theft Auto V

September 17th 2013

PS3, Xbox 360

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“Grand Theft Auto V” was by far the biggest game of 2013. Selling eight-hundred million dollars worth of copies of this extremely huge game. GTAV is so big, it could take a hundred hours to do absolutely everything in the game, and this isn’t even including the online portion “Grand Theft Auto Online”. Granted that number is entirely based off of my attention span and the fact that I inadvertently end up causing havoc. In any case, the biggest problem with all of the things you could in GTAV is that the story isn’t that great and the characters aren’t that likable. But either way, the sheer amount of fun to be had playing this game undeniable.

Number 4: Bioshock Infinite

March 26th 2013

Windows, Mac, PS3, Xbox 360

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There comes a time, every so often, when a story comes along that divides an entire community. In the case of 2013, that story came from “Bioshock Infinite”, the latest game from Irrational Games and Ken Levine. Infinite showed us that video games could give us experiences that can parallel movies. The story of Bioshock Infinite was a mind-bending journey in the floating city of Columbia. My biggest complaint with Bioshock Infinite was that mediocre shooting mechanics got in the way of an otherwise fantastic story. Don’t get me wrong, the gun play is fun and everything, but after clearing a room full of enemies with only a pistol for the 15,000th time, shooting dudes gets kind of boring.

Number 3: The Last of Us

June 14th 2013

PS3

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“The Last of Us” was the first game to leave me floored this year in terms of story and execution. The first fifteen minutes of the game managed to break my heart and subsequently stomp it into the ground with everything that followed. It was also the first game that had a protagonist that showed growth in a way I was not expecting. Joel is not the hero I thought he would be, hell, he isn’t even a hero. He was just a man trying to finish a job. There are moments in The Last of Us that are still with me all these months later. I’ve done things in this game that were necessary, but horrible. While playing it, you do not feel like a super solider, able to take on an entire army by yourself. In fact, fighting against one clicker is the most nerve racking thing ever. And they decide to put you against three of them at times. The Last of Us is a definite top contender.

Number 2: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

August 7th 2013 & September 3rd 2013

Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

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I didn’t think I would come across a game that could effect me in such a strong way. “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons” didn’t just make me feel bad, it made me cry. There has not been a single game, even on this list, before this one that has managed to do that to me. Brothers blends story-telling with gameplay mechanics so well that the entire experience feels seamless. At first, I thought I was just playing an interesting puzzle game with simple mechanics. But it turned out I was playing something much more than that. Something that goes beyond words, which I think is fitting since there is not a single real word said in this game. Perhaps this game effected me so much because of my personal experiences in real life, or maybe it’s because the story is that phenomenal. Either way, Brothers is one of the best games I’ve ever played.

Number 1: Gone Home

August 15th 2013

Windows, Mac, Linux

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“Gone Home” is a difficult game to explain. It’s not a hard game by any stretch of the imagination, in fact, to some people it’s hardly even a game. Gone Home is about a girl who comes home after a European backpacking trip, to find her family’s home empty. Nobody is home, nobody is there to greet her after her long trip abroad. Playing as the girl, you explore your family’s newly inherited house, and find notes scattered all over the place. As you do so, you slowly piece together what your family has been up to in the time you were away. Gone Home is literally a game about finding the story. I don’t want to talk too much about what happens as you find more and more notes because that would sour the experience. All I will say is this: Gone Home is my game of the year for 2013 because it does away with all of the normal conventions of video games that we’re all so used to and focuses solely on the story. This year, I’ve shot more people than I care to remember. I’ve blown up more cars than there are people in Texas. And I’ve seen terrible things happen to good people. So playing a game like Gone Home was a welcome reminder that video games are more than some throw away experience. Video games can be works of art that can tell story’s in ways other forms of media can never achieve.

So there you have it, my top 10 games of 2013! It’s been a great year filled extraordinary games, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what is yet to come.

But for now, see you next year!