2013 was a great year for variety. Not only did a ton of games come out, but a lot of different genres were represented as well. There really was something for everyone. I didn’t get to play all the games I wanted to (I imagine a good stretch of 2014 will be me trying to catch up), but I did get to play some games with real lasting power – some of these titles are gems I won’t easily forget.
10. Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Lego games are what they are, and boy, do I love cape books. It also helps that this was my first game of the new hardware generation. A Lego game is a natural fit for the PS4′s early theme (polygons and particles everywhere!), and the Marvel branding allows for an overwhelming number of characters. Sure, I mostly sought after Spider-Man and Wolverine when I could, but seeing adorably goofy Lego forms of unexpected characters such as Howard the Duck made dipping out of my superhero comfort zone a worthwhile endeavor. READ MORE
The theme of Falcom and XSEED’s latest, Ys: Memories of Celceta, is exploration. Series hero Adol Christin has always been portrayed as an adventurer, but this time around, the focus turns away from combat and puzzles and puts most of its eggs in a basket of discovery. It is an interesting take on the Ys formula, but due to some technical issues and a few underwhelming design choices, the Vita debut of the series isn’t as exciting as it should be. READ MORE
Resogun is this generation’s shooter with lots of colors and particles and other fun tech demo-y bells and whistles. It’s a follow-up to the Super Stardust games from developer Housemarque, but holds more of a comparison to Geometry Wars mostly because of timing and placement. While Resogun really exists to make PlayStation Plus viable at launch and show off the PS4’s tech, it’s actually also a great shooter with a unique hodgepodge of genre hooks that work together as a cohesive whole providing aesthetic thrills, challenge and ample depth. READ MORE
“Pac is back,” touts the back of the box, despite Pac-Man not actually having gone anywhere. It’s cool, though; I get the sentiment. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a new cartoon for a new generation of Pac-Man fans, and this is the logical video game tie-in. It’s pretty inoffensive as far as platformers aimed squarely at children go, and has a bit of charm that ensures the game a full-page ad in this year’s GameStop Holiday Guide. As cynical a cash grab this may be, it isn’t without merit. READ MORE
WWE 2K14 is exactly what you should expect from a yearly WWE title, but a lot better. The mechanics have been tweaked to great effect, the customization options are mind-boggling and the story mode adds a healthy dose of history to the mix that will make fans both old and new very happy. READ MORE
The first few days of a major game release are always the best.
If you’re lucky enough to pick a game up on day one, there’s really nothing like it. The fandom is abuzz, every social network is on the same page and you suddenly have plenty to talk about with all of your friends. It’s a rush, enough of one to make the most grizzled of critical thinkers gloss over problems in the wake of that irreplaceable joy of discovery. Then, inevitably, a week passes. This is where longer games are put to the test. Plenty of them pass, but not without a few nasty bumps along the way. READ MORE
There is no denying the cult status of the original Disgaea, and its lovable cast of characters is no small part of that legacy. Laharl, Etna and Flonne are names that will instantly paint a smile on any fan’s face. Some would even argue that the subsequent titles in the series never harnessed the same energy as the first.
So here we are, ten years later, with Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness, a direct sequel to the first game that takes great pride in bringing the old gang back to the forefront. It is an exciting (albeit predictable) move for the franchise, but I cannot help but wonder if NIS ever gave us a chance to really miss these characters in the first place. READ MORE
The console version of Diablo III isn’t nearly as pretty as its PC counterpart. It hangs up sometimes when you use some of the more complicated skills. Inventory management is a bit clumsy, and some of controls are weird.
Yet, after a few hours with it, I have no interest in revisiting the PC version ever again. READ MORE
Before even starting Killer is Dead, the splash screen displays an illustration of protagonist Mondo Zappa shrouded in shadow, holding the sharp side of his sword up to a woman’s neck. Her eyes are rolled back in ecstasy; she finds pleasure in being preyed upon. This image exemplifies the tone of Killer is Dead: it is dark, violent and sexual, more often together than separate. READ MORE
DuckTales Remastered is just that: an HD conversion of an NES classic. It isn’t a remake or a reboot, and should not be viewed as such. Most of the mechanical and design changes are subtle. The real draw is the presentation: the adorable HD visuals and robust animations, fully-voiced cutscenes and yet another energetic Jake Kaufman soundtrack. As long as you know what you’re getting into here (or aren’t above choosing “Easy” mode), DuckTales is just as fun as it was on the NES, with a hefty helping of extra charm. READ MORE