This week, the New Game Plus cast and crew have revealed their favourite games of the year. To wrap this week up, our host Jason talks about some of his favourite things of the year.
I pondered for a long while how to start this piece that didn’t sound entirely negative, but gave up in the end. Despite the hyperbole and hype of a new console generation, 2013 wasn’t a great year for games, at least in comparison to 2012.
We saw the mobile marketplaces fall even further into pits of cheap clones and freemium games, the indie game delivered some memorable experiences while continuing to elude its true potential, and the big boys decided that $100 is still too low a price for a game, so they started adding paid consumables too. And don’t even get me started on how Sony pissed away 6 months of free positive PR. How bleak a picture that paints.
That said, it’s all about the games, and always will be. And while a lot of titles were obviously phoning it with the release of the ‘next gen’ consoles, there were some quality games on show. So here’s a rundown of my favourite gaming things of 2013.
[Watch New Game Plus’ Dota 2 review]
Nah, not really. But I genuinely spent more time playing Valve’s MOBA than any other game by a wide margin. It is also terribly hard to recommend to anyone who values anything about their life. Your chances of maintaining attendance at work/uni, a proper sleep schedule and enjoying intimacy with another person are severely reduced if you get hooked on the junk.
If you’re still keen though, the combination of competitive team based action and an extensive list of characters and strategies makes it an absolute winner, and there are always top tier pro matches happening on Twitch. This is the next big thing in eSports.
While not necessarily released this year, Playstation Plus is the single best thing that Sony have done in years. Hands down. Curating a monthly release of quality titles across their current platforms, Sony very quickly convinced me to hit up the much improved PSN Store every month for its next batch of titles.
As MS continued the 360 dashboard’s slide into an ad fuelled mess, Sony made the Xross Media Bar shine, allowing a massive accumulation of games that I eagerly tore through. It sucks that PS+ is required for PS4 online multiplayer, but as the owner of a Vita and PS3, it was a good year to game with Sony*.
*If you had a large data cap and didn’t buy a PS4 at launch
[Watch New Game Plus’ Papers, Please review]
Few phrases can make me roll my eyes quicker than “indie retro-inspired _______.” Sure, there are some winners that you could begin to describe like that, but they probably would have been good in Unreal Engine, anyway. So imagine when someone tells Papers, Please is an indie paperwork simulator with retro-inspired graphics. Yep.
Almost in spite of this, it succeeds brilliantly at avoiding the pretention of the majority of its peers, while making something as inane as border patrol policing tense and poignant. You check people’s paperwork, and process them in order to decide who is legally allowed to enter the country. That’s the whole game, but my brief description does it no justice. Think of everything you hate about watching Border Patrol on TV, and reverse it. Maybe punch that Kevin guy in his smug face while you’re there though.
[Watch New Game Plus’ The Last of Us review]
A recurring theme, but yes, The Last Of Us was this year’s best game. Tense, heartfelt and engaging, Joel and Ellie’s romp through middle America was simply divine. Every person and location feels real, and the gameplay flows organically between stealth and action. You’ve probably heard all the adjectives others have levelled at this game, and they are all true.
Just play it.
Honourable mentions are Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for not being anywhere near as terrible as you would expect a pirate themed AC game to be, and Killer Is Dead because you should all like Suda51 more than you do.