The G1 Best and Worst Ever; Games of 2013
Hello everyone. Welcome to the first Episode of the g1 version of The Best Ever, the show that does away with all those lists and countdowns and gets to the grime and gritty, the number 1. The Best of Worst thing. Because its the end of the year, the topic of this episode is the Game of 2013. Which one was the best? Which the worst? FIND OUT NOW!!!!
My Worst Game of 2013 is a game that was actually released mid-December of 2012. I think the publishers intentionally released it then because the candidates for "Worst Game in 2012" had likely already been decided and they were hoping everyone would forgot the garbage they released by the time candidates for "Worst Game for 2013" began. Smart move, but it's hard to forget a terrible game when you drop money on it! And the awful game I wasted my hard-earned cash on in 2013 was Knytt Underground!
Knytt Underground had a lot going for it. It's visually stunning, and not only is it a Metroidvania, it's the BIGGEST Metroidvania to date. The map on this game is huge! Unfortunately, there's hardly anything to do in it. Sure, there's a ton to explore, but what's the point when there's really nothing to see? Yes, the graphics are pretty, but gameplay is always king, and Knytt Underground didn't deliver in that category. Most Metroidvania's have items for you to pick up in order to permanently boost your character, either with new skills or enhancements. KU gives you a Bouncy Ball form, and that's it. Everything else you collect is for fetch quests. The rest of the game is just you using the Ball form in different ways to get places. It's pretty boring, especially when you consider there really aren't that many enemies in the game.
If boring gameplay wasn't enough, Knytt Underground also failed to deliver with its story, theme, and execution. The setting was captivating, but the characters and dialogue were cringe worthy. Considering that Nifflas, the game's creator, wanted the game to be existential and thought-provoking with its talks about there being no God or afterlife, the dialogue is silly at best and immature at worst. And the pretentiousness of it all is painful! Nifflas actually inserts himself into the game as a character in order to give the most anger-inducingly lazy ending to a video game. Spoilers: There is no ending! I just saved you $15 and who knows how many hours of your life. You're welcome! Seriously, go to YouTube right now and check it out. I'll wait...
Wasn't it awful! Fuck you, Nifflas! Nobody gives a shit about "the metaphor for your life!" I get it: you think there's no God and everything just ends. But did you have to make a shitty game to tell people your opinion? Isn't that what forums and comment sections are for? And, yes, I know the other interpretation for the ending is "Who cares about why you played the game as long as you had fun?" There are two things wrong with that: 1.) I didn't have fun! This game was boring! And 2.) Hotline Miami touches on that exact same theme and does it in less than half the time with 400x the fun.
Nifflas and Knytt Underground, I award you with the title of "Worst Game of 2013." You both can suck it. Have a great 2014.
Sometimes, there are games that you play for a bit, and just don't like. You know they're bad, but the impact isn't there for you to sincerely care about what you've just experienced. Then there are those games that you may not sincerely hate, but you have this pretty despicable feeling inside of you that makes you think… "wow… I just wasted my time with this game…", and I can sincerely say that about Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Aliens: Colonial Marines is easily my Worst Ever Game of 2013. I was never a big fan of first-person shooters, but at least some of the most annoying names in the FPS genre are at least… functional. Hell, they are more than functional. They actually work. Sure, a glitch now and again gets in the way, but for the most part, they do work rather smoothly. But you can't say that about Aliens: Colonial Marines. It is incredibly buggy, which at times can lead to a near unplayable experience, sometimes right from the get-go. It's unavoidable, and it clearly shows a lack of effort put into game testing, something that never signals a worthwhile gaming experience.
Another ubiquitous flaw with Colonial Marines is the absolutely intolerable AI. This problem would be small if the genre wasn't so reliant on it. It's either a partner who doesn't know a doorknob from a dustpan or a Xenomorph that is basically asking you to shoot it down. It's a miserable sight to see.
Colonial Marines tries its best to be as canon to the actual Cameron movies as much as it possibly can, but none of the true chills or atmosphere really emulates the film series. The game feels more like a cash grab, using the series as a name rather than an aspect. The story is serviceable, but the characters are carbon cut-outs, all of them unlikable and severely dull. The ending is also pretty abysmal to, but I honestly only played a solid 5-6 hours of Colonial Marines, which wasn't enough time for me to make it to the ending. I looked up the ending later for sh*ts and giggles, but found nothing but a rushed conclusion.
I would say that Aliens: Colonial Marines had potential, but seeing as it was coming from Gearbox, the same people behind the disgusting and overall unsettling Duke Nukem Forever, I'd rather lay that statement to rest. With bugs everywhere, AI that will surely test your consistently dwindling patience, and a story and characters that make a dirty mop seem adventurous, Aliens: Colonial Marines is a failure at every turn. When you consider the many other problems at its core (including eye-sore graphics, a boring single player campaign, a rather disappointing multiplayer mode, and it's overall dull execution), Aliens: Colonial Marines deserves to be left at the bare bottom of the bargain bin.
Sure, the DLC seems to be improving the games many faults, but you can't excuse a lousy final product. A copy of Aliens: Colonial Marines is good for one thing; a solid snack for a hungry Xenomorph.
Originally, I was convinced that Aliens was the worst game of the year hands down. Then I was informed about the incredibly broken and micro-transaction flop that was Final Fantasy: All the Bravest. The original premise was kind of cool, a tablet based strategy battle that purely focused on the combat that called back old boss fights from other Final Fantasy games. The problem was that it removed all of the strategy parts. All you had to do was run your finger across the screen for your large team of old and new Final Fantasy characters to throw a random attack.
Any kind of strategy that the game could have had is randomized. You can’t choose which 30 or so members you have in your team. They are randomly chosen and randomly placed on the screen. The characters choose which enemies they attack, and you can’t even tell what anyone’s stats are. Even White Mages abilities are as simple as ‘attack’. White Mages are usually known for healing their teammates and should play a supporting role in the party. Nope. Just magic attacks like everything else. The whole game consists of swiping over your party and hoping you win. If a character gets wiped out, you have to wait three minutes for their health to regenerate, which can take a few hours if an entire team is wiped out. Alternatively, you can spend real money. This is fairly common for a free to play game, but it wasn’t free to begin with! Just checking iTunes now – hey look! It’s free now!
Then there are the rest of the micro-transactions. Every character is the same price, so if you want to buy Cloud or Terra, you pay your dollar. BUT NO! You can’t just purchase your favorite characters; you pay for one at RANDOM! WHY? You could easily end up paying over $20 for a single character that you want! There are also extremely short expansion packs that cost more than the original game itself that don’t add anything exciting at all.
It looks and sounds like a Final Fantasy game, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Get it? Because you touch the sc- never mind. Overall, it’s just a development team that just doesn’t care about its IP or its loyal fans. A strategy game with no strategy involved at all can barely be classified as a game and just isn’t fun or worth investing time or money into. I’d like to tell you more, but it would cost you a dollar. Final Fantasy All the Bravest is the worst game of the year because it took your money and had no gameplay.
What is my "Worst Ever Game of 2013"? When it comes down to it, it's more than just a bad game. There's the hype leading up to it, the game itself, and how you feel after playing it. The epitome of a terrible game, in that sense, is The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.
Just from start-up, the game is ugly. It's just bad. The graphics were hardly even close to being called current-gen, with badly designed levels, ugly character models, and bland textures. The levels themselves are riddled with random, inconsistent invisible walls, and some side levels even repeat throughout the game. From a gameplay standpoint, it's just a mess. The AI for the zombies is terribly broken, as there will be points where hoards will run into walls near you, and just keep running in place, ignoring you completely. Occasionally, if a horde does get a hold of you, you'll have to do this little mini-game where you have to aim your knife at their heads to kill them..but it's such a broken and easy method of dealing with hordes, as they come at you, one at a time, and hardly even hurt you.
That just falls onto the concept of wasted potential, which is what this game is. I mean, it's a game starring Daryl Dixon, for crying out loud! The game had so many great ideas..but just failed so badly when it came time to execute them. When driving from place to place, you can select which route you want to take, offering a way to save on gas, or find more supplies, but most of the time, it doesn't even matter. You can send out your survivors on scavenging missions while you handle the current mission, but most of the time they just come back near death with one healing item, or two bullets. The risk is nowhere near worth the "reward".
One of the biggest complaints I have about this game is the fact that even though your brother Merle is in the game, there is no co-op. You're all by yourself out there, as Merle doesn't even help while on missions, most of the time can just be found off to the side. And that brings me to the story. It's short, and lazily written with a terrible, abrupt ending. The game offers very little replayability in the form of pointless collectables and relics, the latter being the only thing that changes the game, making it even easier. Besides that, there is no extra content whatsoever.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is bad. It's a game that had good ideas, but dropped the ball when it came to pulling them off. It had all the potential in the world, but that's never enough to carry a game. It is literally nothing more than a lazily made, half-assed cash-in on the success of the Walking Dead franchise, and for that, I feel that it is the Worst Ever Game of 2013.
That's it for the Worst. Now its time fooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrr....
When it comes down to what makes a game great to me is how much enjoyment I get from playing it. While Bioshock Infinite and Fire Emblem Awakening are great games in their own right, they weren’t as fun as my favorite game of 2013: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. The first major reason for that has to be how this game is basically what happens if the best parts of 80’s actions movies were put into a blender. The soundtrack especially brings that concept out while you wreck shit up.
As for the gameplay itself, I was pretty addicted to it. I didn’t play anything else besides Blood Dragon for a couple of days as I found myself just roaming around the island to kill whatever was within my sights just so I could become an even deadlier killing machine. Also, this might be the only game in recent memory that I actually 100%'ed, so yes I enjoyed the ever living crap out of this game. I think this is well worth mentioning: YOU GET TO RIDE A BLOOD DRAGON WITH LASER CANNONS! That part alone could be worth checking this game out for if you haven’t already.
Regardless of that, Blood Dragon is a well-constructed game, because you get to choose whether to go kill things for your own pleasure, or explore the secrets of the island, or just do the story mission, and with controls that are easy to understand Blood Dragon without a doubt is my favorite game of 2013.
For the longest time I’ve loved the handheld side of the game industry over all else. I love console and PC gaming too, but would much rather spend my time playing a 3DS or Vita. So, of course my favorite title of 2013 is going to be the game I felt kicked off the 3DS’s excellent year of gaming, Fire Emblem Awakening.
Being one of my favorite game series ever, maybe this could be seen as predictable, but the game has built upon the series’ previous mechanics too well. The new Pair Up system, while a little broken, was a great new feature, the roster is the most balanced it has ever been, and the implementation of a Classic and Casual mode on top of the normal difficulty settings was a great way of attracting new fans while pleasing the old ones with the same brutal gameplay the series is known for. Visually, the game is a big step up from its previous 3D titles too.
Support conversations make a return, and of the game’s massive playable cast, it is possible to marry more or less any opposite gender character, giving it most elaborate form of the Support system so far. The game’s main story was diminished to a large extent due to this focus on breadth over depth, but for as much as I’d love a more story driven installment akin to Path of Radiance or Radiant Dawn that uses similar game mechanics, I can’t deny that Awakening is the biggest mechanical leap the series has made in a long time. Besides, there are so many support conversations it’s amazing they crafted a plot at all, and though some characters are annoying, the support conversation and characters are regularly charming.
What’s most amazing is despite feeling like the most complete title on the 3DS right now Intelligent Systems actually undershot the 3DS’s capabilities when making it. The handheld’s final specs weren’t in at the time, and they pared a few things down, fearful of system limitations, hence why the character models lacked feet. A quirk to the game that, as Sean Hinz diligently pointed out in his excellent review was a REALLY bad aesthetic choice. Nitpicking aside, that’s actually some very promising news.
It means the next installment has plenty of room to improve upon Awakening’s story and design, and more importantly get rid of the ugly lack of feet. Whether it does or not only time will tell, but in the meantime, I’m perfectly happy with what I have right now. And as a bonus to all of this the popularity of Henry and Tharja convinces me the game has taught people to appreciate ritualistic sociopaths...I had to mention that somewhere.
I have to say, 2013 had some pretty great games. Unfortunately, I have yet to play critically-acclaimed games such as the Last of Us or GTA V, but there are three titles which were all VERY close to being my favorite game of 2013: Fire Emblem: Awakening, Bioshock Infinite, and Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. It seems that Ni No Kuni won out though, and for good reason. THIS GAME IS SO GOOD!!!
First off, let's begin with who made the game itself. Ni No Kuni was created by the dream team (heh heh heh) of Level 5 (for the general game), Studio Ghibli (for its art style and characters), and Joe Hisaishi (as the composer.) The game blends several RPG elements from various games and does it pretty nicely. There is monster raising and battling portion (with said monsters being known as Familiars) similar to Pokemon, a Final Fantasy style overworld, and a Tales Of-like battle system. The combat is very fun and the monster raising works very well, as you use those Familiars as companions for three party members that will be in your party.
This game also has a ton of side quests, making for a large amount of post-game content that I have still yet to complete. The story does follow some pretty cliché fantasy norms, but there's actually some decent lore and backstory behind the two main villains (the Executioner Shadar and the White Witch), as well as the main character, Oliver. The game even pulls off an Okami/Kid Icarus: Uprising when you think the game is over. The soundtrack is really good too, with the main standouts being the main theme and the Fairyground. The best thing about this game, though: Gobforsaken.
However, this game isn't exactly perfect. The game does force grinding upon you at certain points in the game, and the game does have some pretty repetitive moments. Other than though, this game is a fantastic JRPG that harkens back to the days of the Gamecube and PS2 JRPG's, and is one of the best JRPG's of the last generation of video games. If you love a game with tons of content, a great story, fantastic soundtrack, and amazing visuals then GET THIS GAME. I assure you, you will not be disappointed.
And that's it. The official pilot of the Best and the Worst Ever all together in a nice package. What was your best/worst game of 2013? Say so in the comments below. Got a good topic to tackle? Also go and say so and maybe we'll pick it for the next blog. Until then, have a happy new year!