It's the end of the year and everyone is making GOTY lists. I decided to do something a bit different and talk about the best games I played this year without regard to when they came out. After all, most of the great games I played this year were from years before 2013, although I did play some great ones from this year as well. So you can expect much of this list to be a blast from the past.
The criteria for a game's inclusion on this list are that I have a) played it for the first time this year and either b) played it to completion or c) played it for at least five hours. For each game, I'm going to talk about how much I liked it as well as examining something that makes it great.
Honorable mentions that didn't quite make the list or didn't fit the criteria are Sleeping Dogs
, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
, Sleeping Dogs
, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
, Electronic Super Joy
, Thief: The Dark Project
, Shadow Warrior
(2013), Mirror's Edge
, and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
. It's obvious that 2013 was a great gaming year for me just from looking at the games that didn't make my top 10, but even more so from the ones that did. 1. Metroid Prime
Yes, as I mentioned in a previous blog post
, I didn't play Metroid Prime
until this year. This was mostly because I'd played a bit of Metroid Prime 3
a few years before and didn't get far because I was rather bad at it. But I'm glad I decided to give the series a second chance, and I'm glad I decided to start from the first game.
It's hard to describe what about Metroid Prime
is great, because the entire game is made of greatness. So I'll talk about the level design. The world of Tallon IV is colorful and diverse. Each area is distinctive and memorable. By the end of the game, I knew my way around Tallon IV. I had familiarized myself with the layout of a fictional video game world like I would a real place. That is immersion.
Now that I think about it, I could state that more boldly: Metroid Prime
is great because it's not afraid of backtracking. The backtracking in Metroid Prime
is what let me familiarize myself with the game and immerse myself in it. It's what makes the difference between Tallon IV and something like Bioshock Infinite
's Columbia, which felt more like a guided tour through a collection of pretty sights than a real place where people lived. Metroid Prime
really is unique in how the primary focus is on exploring the world and discovering everything subtly hidden in it, rather than being forced to see everything that the developers prepared. The freedom and presentation style give the game an immense deal of depth, and makes it a real treat to explore and scan everything to learn about your surroundings, making the game's world your own.
Overall, 2013 was a great gaming year for me - probably the best I've ever had. I hope you enjoyed watching me gush over a bunch of old and new games as if I weren't hopelessly behind the times.
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