Monthly Archives: December 2013
It’s been incredibly difficult for me to narrow down the best game of this year. I’d imagined earlier this year that I would be talking about Watch Dogs today but since that game was delayed there’s only one game left this year that I can talk about. It’s a game that itself, was delayed multiple times and came out a full year after its originally planned release date. BioShock Infinite is more than just a great game, it’s a work of art both mechanically and visually. It oozes style and visual flair while depicting interesting characters in an even more fascinating setting. BioShock Infinite was the best game I played all year.
After much deliberation, I have determined that The Last of Us has the best introduction to any video game I’ve ever played. It depicts a small town in the southern United States being overrun by infected in beginnings of a zombie apocalypse. In a mere 15 minutes I experienced fear, panic and heartbreak in a sequence that perfectly sets the tone for what’s to come. I won’t spoil any more details, so let me add that this game is worth playing for the introduction alone.
With Christmas only days away and the inevitable end of the year closely following it, I’ve reached that special time where I get to list off what I consider to be the best games of this year. Keeping with my tradition, I will be counting down my top three video games of 2013 throughout this week. There are only two rules. One, the game must have been released sometime in 2013, and two, I must have played the game myself. This list is subjective but keep in mind that any one of these games could be considered a legitimate contender for game of the year for any of you. These are all games you should play, if you haven’t already.
With this year coming to a close, it only feels natural to reflect on the past 365 days. It that time of year where everyone lists their top games and reflects on the year that was. In the last 12 months, records have been broken, franchises rebooted and the next-generation of gaming consoles “officially” arrived. Next week I’ll be presenting the best games of this past year but until then it feels appropriate to analyze the year 2013 in gaming.
The opening moments of any video game are much like the opening moments to a movie, it sets the tone for the rest of the experience. Unlike a movie however, a video game has to sell you on 10+ hours of content, it has a greater responsibility than a movie. A good introduction will give the player momentum to progress further into the game. Some of the best games of this past year demonstrated how an introduction should be done. I would like to examine what is it that makes a good introduction.
In some ways, the introduction is the most important part of a video game. It sets the bar, not just for the story but for gameplay. Any important mechanics from a cover system, to special abilities to controls need to be taught to the player. At the same time it must be more than just a tutorial. It can’t play like an interactive instruction manual, it needs to give the player something memorable. Above all else, an introduction should feel like any other level in the game.
In the last few weeks, a disturbing and ugly trend has reared it’s head. I’ve followed the arrival of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and I can’t help notice that a lot of games coming out for these systems are increasingly (mis)using Microtransactions. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Microtransactions in videogames are a form of monetization sells the player an item (usually in-game currency) for a small cost. These are most commonly seen in Free-to-Play games such as Farmville and Plants vs. Zombies 2, but have also found their way into more hardcore games such as Team Fortress 2 and Mass Effect 3’s Multiplayer.