The number 13. Long considered a harbinger of bad luck for athletes, astronauts, hotel occupants, and especially sexually-charged teens camping near lakes, its wingspan of terror definitely seams formidable. But could 13's cold touch also affect the release of video games?
At the end of every year since 2010, I have posted my annual best games of the year awards (along with a few dubious accolades). But this time around, I struggled to find that spark, that excitement that's usually there for me during "awards season." Last year, to me, was overall a very disappointing year in the history of video games. Maybe it was just bad luck to release a game in a year ending in 13; perhaps it had more to do marketing "over hype" of key titles; or in the end, it could also be chalked up to console fatigue. Regardless of the reasons, there were games I thought I was going to love - especially Aliens: Colonial Marines - that turned out to be not even playable. Others I was excited to try and wholly expected to be great - namely Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us - had stories that were so surprisingly and painfully slow that it took them half their length to get even somewhat interesting. And I have yet to return to finish them. Finally, though it inevitably happens every year, the delays and cancellations of 2013 were among the most disappointing of recent memory. Prey 2, of special note, was my 2nd most anticipated game of the year (1st in 2012), and then the bomb was dropped towards the end of the year that the publisher needed to start over with a new developer, and the release date floated away into the who know's region of space and time!
Luckily, there were a few bright spots that were able to poke through the shroud of gloom. So here is my ultra trimmed and pruned list of the best, and worst games of 2013. (Note: Awards are based only on played console titles (my PC needs upgrading). Additionally, I didn't pick up a next gen system till February of this year. So out of fairness, I have not included next gen games here).
1. Worst Box Art - Bioshock Infinite.
While there were certainly other covers that were more poorly designed technically speaking, Infinite still easily wins this award as its box art blatantly catered to the gaming masses and severely lacked distinctive Bioshock-esque or even Infinite-based (uh, hello...where's Elizabeth?) themes.
2. Most Over hyped - Aliens: Colonial Marines
3. Most Frustrating - Beyond: Two Souls
4. Most Epic Fail - Aliens: Colonial Marines
1. Best Graphics - Technical - Remember Me / Artistic - Bioshock Infinite
2. Best Sound Design - Dead Space 3
3. Best Music - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
4. Best Voice Acting - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
5. Best Gameplay - Dead Space 3
6. Best New IP - Remember Me
7. Most Overlooked - Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel
8. Best Box Art - Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
9. Best Achievement Art Style - Bioshock Infinite
10. Most Memorable Moment - The amazing and perfect ending of Dead Space 3
1. Game of the Year - Dead Space 3
Runners-up (in order of preference): Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Metro: Last Light, and Saints Row IV
2. Main Game I Wish I had Played - Lost Planet 3