It’s that time of year again. In which I mean the end of it. So now that we’re starting to prepare for 2014 and trying to recover from the Blot Interactive Christmas Party, we took a minute or two to reflect on our favourite games of 2013.
There were a lot. And we talk about a lot of good ones here. So this list isn’t complete by any means, but these are some of our favourites. Enjoy.
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
This Zelda. Man. Leave it to Nintendo to blow us away when we’re not expecting it. Throwing a change-up into dungeon progression was a genius masterstroke, and the new 2D wall mechanic is inspired. Definitely one of the best Zeldas in years.
Around the office there was basically a week or two straight where all we were talking about was how good the rebooted Tomb Raider was, and it also found its way onto our Best Games of the Generation post a few weeks ago. Fantastic gameplay systems, a solid story, phenomenal graphics, and one of the best iterations of the bow and arrow in recent memory made us at Blot fall hard again for Lara Croft, 17 years after she made her debut.
“I know I’m really digging a game when I start obsessing over it while I’m not playing it. There are three games that have done that to me over the past three years: Skyrim, XCOM, and Rogue Legacy. I loved every laboring, elating, sometimes soul-crushing minute of it. The feeling you get when you get the build you’re looking for and have a great run through the semi-random castle isn’t matched by too many games, and the icing on the cake is how the wonderful story ties so tightly to the game’s mechanics. And, bonus points for being made right here in Toronto. Fantastic stuff.”
This game is THE BEST FACEBOOK GAME EVER ohmygod who MADE IT!?!
The Last of Us
The game alone earns a top spot on our list just because…damn. Damn. You breathe this world, with its decay, its monsters (both human and fungal), and its grim determination to squish any hope out of its inhabitants. You get to know Joel and Ellie so well that every action they take, no matter how insane, feels completely plausible. The story is one glorious gut punch after another, leading up to a wrenching and completely realistic conclusion.
All of that alone earns The Last of Us a spot on this list already, but what takes the cake is the inspiring talk on the game Neil Druckmann, Creative Director at Naughty Dog and the lead designer and writer for the game, gave to us and a few hundred others in attendance during the IGDA Toronto keynote a few months ago. Hearing him weave his tale on the game’s development and seeing how long he worked to have this story realized (over a decade), gave us one of our best game-related experiences of the year. Well done, Neil.
“I know DOTA 2 has been out for some time, but it wasn’t fully released until a couple months ago. So why is it my game of the year? Well, it has so much depth, from the 112 different heroes, the multiple play styles, the small exploits, the amazing voice work, the 600,000 average players online, to the very competitive and exciting tournament circuit. I could go on about it forever, but it all comes down to the effect it has on me and my friends. Every time we play, we jump on Skype with our headsets on to plan who we are going to pick and what strategy we are going to use. We aren’t the greatest players in the world, but every match is a good time. Sometimes even weeks or months later we remember amazing or terrible matches we had and always have a good laugh about it. It’s not just the game that makes it the game of the year, but the lasting effect it has on me and my friends which makes it the best game of 2013.”
“Lately, I’ve been playing Hearthstone, Blizzard’s new collectable card game. The game features the familiar cast from the World of Warcraft universe and uses concepts and spells from that game and translates it into seamlessly into a card game. When I was growing up, my brothers and I played Magic, which transitioned into Yu-Gi-Oh, and I was itching for another card game — Hearthstone looked like a very promising one. The beauty of Hearthstone is that it is online and it is free to play. I remember spending a ton of cash on Magic and yet getting very few cards which I valued. Hearthstone, on the other hand, does a great job of letting you play the game and letting you buy card packs with in-game currency. The fact that it is online makes it so much easier to play against your friends. I’ve played a ton of games against my brother and my friend who played Yu-Gi-Oh with me in high school and I didn’t even need to drive over to their houses to do it. Hearthstone is set to be released in the New Year, and I expect it to do very well considering how much I have been playing it since I’ve gotten a beta invite.”
Save the Earth: Asteroid Defense
Jeez this game is almost as good a CHAT FU!! The team who made this must be sooooo cool.