It's that time of year again, when I take a moment and look back at all the games I've played over the last 12 months. Below are my Top 10 favorite games from this past year.
2013 was another great year of gaming, as well as finally letting Mario's younger brother get a chance in the spotlight. There were some amazing experiences to be had on all platforms, but I'm going to focus just on the games that I've personally played.
This game was a classic when it came out on Wii in 2010, and this new 3DS version takes all the great gameplay and level design and brings it to the palm of your hand! New, easier and adjustable control schemes make for a tighter experience, and an all-new world with brand-new stages await those that have the skills to unlock them! One of the best platformers of last generation, and undoubtedly one of the best platformers released in 2013!
#9 3D Galaxy Force II
Okay, technically this isn't really a *new* game. This is a remake of an old SEGA game from back in the 1990's. BUT! This is the first time I've played it. And man, this may have been worth the wait. High-intensity shooting action, visually varied enemies, attacks and environments, and some of the best stereoscopic 3D sprites seen yet. Arguably the best of the bunch of the 3D SEGA Classics series.
#8 SteamWorld Dig
Oh man. What a fun game! Admittedly, I haven't finished this one, but it's on my to-do list! This little indie game had a lot going for it. Beautiful presentation, challenging gameplay that puts your reflexes to the test, and...it was just plain fun to play! The digging is enjoyable, the exploration is satisfying, and I could see myself going back to this game again and again in the future. I really dug this one.
#7 AiRace: Speed
I do love me a fun racing game! And man, AiRace Speed delivers on fast, visceral action. This game is unique in that it doesn't require the player to be "attached" to a road or race track - the entire game is done in the air! The challenge is done by guiding your futuristic aircraft through tunnels full of obstacles, multiple alternate paths, and trying to get the fastest track time. With a very clean, pristine presentation, thumpin' techno beats, challenging gameplay, online leaderboards and an achievement system, this game really delivers. I highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys futuristic racers like WipEout or F-Zero.
#6 Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate
Ah, Castlevania. This one got some mixed reviews when it came out, but I fell on the side of enjoying it. Developer Mercury Steam successfully put the Lords of Shadow gameplay onto this 2D handheld adventure, while also appeasing to fans of the older games with fan-favorite abilities. (whip-swinging from Super Castlevania IV is back! The map system made famous by Symphony of the Night is back and better with the ability to make notes! Trevor Belmont is back!) Great graphics, a solid adventure clocking in between 10 and 15 hours, and an unlockable harder difficulty for those that demand more from their games. The storyline is great too, as it not only works as a stand-alone entry in the series, but also fits in perfectly with the new legend being wove by the console game (and its sequel). A must-play for action fans, and of course Castlevania fans alike.
#5 Project X Zone
Craziness. That's the word to describe this epic cross-over game. Mashing the characters from famous Capcom, Namco and SEGA franchises together to battle inter-galaxy foes (as well as some familiar faces) is a fan-service dream come true. Music from the old games the characters come from are back and remixed to sound both new and nostalgic. The attacks are screen-filling explosions of...well, explosions most of the time, but also energy blasts, whirling blades, gun shots, ki-fireballs...and more. The graphics do seem rather basic most of the time, but when the battle scenes go "full tilt" it actually gets really impressive. Be sure to have your 3D slider up during those sequences...it's eye-popping!
#4 Animal Crossing: New Leaf
After all that chaos from Project X Zone, sometimes it's good to dial it back a bit and take it slow for a while. Animal Crossing fills that need like few other games do. As per usual for the series, you start off moving into a town full of talking animals (for some reason?) and you can begin your life as a free individual and do things at your own pace. But in a new twist on the old formula, you are elected mayor (despite showing up in the town just the day before) and you can sculpt the village as you see fit. Place your home wherever you like, set up new village sites and shops, like a camp site, a café, a music club, and more. For the first time you can also swim in the waters, and play all-new mini-games and challenges on an island far off from the mainland. You can also meet up with friends online, trade various items, chat it up, send each other mail, and play games together. It's the ultimate "lean back and take it easy" kind of game, and a perfect game to play over the course of the year...and possibly years to come!
#3 Fire Emblem: Awakening
This was actually my front-runner for my favorite game this year, until the next two in the list were released. Fire Emblem's classic strategy gameplay is back in full force, with the added benefit of being able to "team up" with other party members and unleash new potential attacks and abilities. Building relationships with your army's members is more intuitive and addictive than ever, and might draw more attention away from the epic storyline than you might expect! If the 20 to 30 hour campaign isn't enough for you, you can even download new missions via DLC, and challenge other Fire Emblem players via StreetPass. Beautiful presentation, fantastic music, and an SRPG adventure for the ages...a must play for all 3DS owners, IMHO.
#2 The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Ah, The Legend of Zelda. One of Nintendo's most revered IPs ever. And man oh man, this one is a doozy! An official sequel to the SNES masterpiece, A Link to the Past, Nintendo built a game that is equal parts new, innovative game design and proper, well-paced nostalgia. Link is free to explore Hyrule at his discretion, take on the game's various dungeons in just about any order, all the while enjoying some really great stereoscopic 3D visuals, an unfaltering 60 frames per second, and one of the best, if not THE best Legend of Zelda soundtrack ever. Another must-play game for all 3DS owners. An instant classic.
#1 Pokémon X
And finally, my #1 game of 2013: POKéMON! ....what can I say? I really like this series. Capturing innocent animals out in the wild and forcing them to fight each other for my amusement just makes me happy. So long as it's covered up in this wonderfully colorful, cel-shaded, kid-friendly adventure full of whimsy and exploration, that is! If enjoying a huge, sprawling adventure with tons of content, great online features, and some of the best RPG gameplay this side of DragonQuest is wrong...then I don't want to be right! This is another game that will last me for months and possibly years to come. A quintessential addition to the vast 3DS library, for sure.
And there you have it! ....what? Oh, right. I know, I know. As I mentioned in the beginning, 2013 was The Year of Luigi. And yet... I didn't list any games that featured the lean, green machine. Well, that's kind of a problem I have - there are so many great games to play, I didn't get around to them! I do have Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and Mario Party: Island Tour on my to-play list, though. I'll get around to them all...eventually. Probably. Assuming my time in 2014 isn't taken up too much by Bravely Default, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, Shovel Knight, and Chibi-Robo. Though I'll certainly make time for games Luigi *is* in, like the upcoming Super Smash Bros. and of course, Mario Golf!
In any case, that's the list! Did I leave anything out? I'll admit I haven't played Etrian Odyssey IV, Rune Factory 4, or Shin Megami Tensei IV, yet. I suspect those will be brought up by others. Let me know what else I missed! And thanks for reading - happy gaming everyone! Cheers!
In any case, that's the list! Did I leave anything out? I'll admit I haven't played Etrian Odyssey IV, Rune Factory 4, or Shin Megami Tensei IV, yet. I suspect those will be brought up by others. Let me know what else I missed!
Er…I guess I'll bite on this one! 3DS had a good year for sure, but where're these bad boys?
Hhmm, interesting list Grant. It was a good year for 3DS, that much is certain! I've definitely had my eyes on SteamWorld Dig, for sure. AiRace: Speed looks cool. Your top 3 are awesome games that I unfortunately haven't played yet!
Yeah, I was tempted to post my own Top Ten thread but it would look kind of weird without Zelda on it (since I haven't played it yet).
Since I won't be posting my own Top Ten thread, I'll go ahead and mention here what I think are my favorite games of the year (only games that released this year are included. I actually played a lot of games this year that did not release in 2013!):
10) Zen Pinball 2 (Wii U eShop) 9) Pandora's Tower (Wii) ohh, I hope someone read my review for the game... 8) BIT.TRIP Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Wii U eShop) 7) HarmoKnight (3DS eShop) 6) Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) 5) LEGO City Undercover (Wii U) 4) Need for Speed Most Wanted U (Wii U) 3) Pikmin 3 (Wii U) 2) New Super Luigi U (Wii U) 1) Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Like I said, there were still a bunch of 2013 games I haven't played yet. That's why I made this thread here.
This list will probably change by the end of the year, and then change even more deep into 2014 when I finally get around to a lot of my 2013 games, but here goes...
Actually played: 10. Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move – A decent take on moving the Mario / DK formula into 3D, although it ultimately didn't stick with me. 9. Spelunky – I feel like I should have liked this more, but the kind of “hardcore” way to progress made it tough to keep coming back. 8. Gunman Clive – Decent Mega Man inspired platformer and only $2. 7. Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Probably the best one in the series, although I couldn't quite get into it like I did the original. 6. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies – Great comeback, some flaws but ultimately one of the better in the series. 5. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – A pretty solid Dragon Quest clone that rises above due to Studio Ghibli's story and characters. 4. Bit Trip Presents... Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien – A really good follow-up to one of my favorite indie games that was held back a bit by having “too much”. 3. Guacamelee! - Awesome Metroidvania brawler with a bunch of nods to classic NES franchises. 2. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon – Totally surprised me, wasn't a huge fan of the original but this one was better on pretty much every level. Online multiplayer is awesome too. 1. Super Mario 3D World – I don't think I'm going nuts over this quite as much as some are, but it's still pure, unadulterated fun and I get excited to get back to it whenever I can.
Played but didn't make my top 10: Attack of the Friday Monsters! Mighty Switch Force! 2 Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo
Own but haven't played: Bioshock Infinite Fire Emblem: Awakening Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Pikmin 3 Shin Megami Tensei IV The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Want to get: Antichamber BattleBlock Theatre Edge Gone Home Hotline Miami Kokuga Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Puppeteer Rayman Legends SteamWorld Dig The Last of Us The Stanley Parable The Wonderful 101 Tearaway (don't own a Vita though so... doubt I will)
Nice list! 3DS-centric as expected, but a good list nonetheless. Did you not play Shint Megami Tensei IV, Phoenix Wright, or Mario and Luigi Dream Team? Just wondering if you left those out intentionally.
Edit: alright, I see you haven't played the two Luigi games yet. What gives? It's the year of Luigi for cryin' out loud!
I haven't played most of these games. Although I HAVE most of them...
But I've been playing though Mirror of Fate over the last couple of weeks. I have my issues with it, but it's a decent game, overall. If only they had just called it "Dracula Story", instead of "Castlevania". What's IGA up to these days, anyway?
I've always wanted to try AiRace Speed. It's good, huh?