The Best (and worst) of 2013 – Nick Lynch
BEST LOVED GAMES
Probably the most anticipated (and the best selling) game of 2013, Grand Theft Auto V is a beautiful masterpiece of gaming history. By using the tried and tested GTA formula that has been honed over many years, Rockstar have, once again established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
By utilising three protagonists and to not just be in control of their destinies as individuals but work together cohesively in the many dramas that unfolded was brilliant. As I marvelled open-mouthed at the gorgeously realised landscapes around me, GTA V made me want to explore every nook and cranny it had to offer and indulge all of my video game fantasises in one fabulous package.
Couple that with a solid, refined and fleshed-out multiplayer ensured that I came back for more every time, despite a rocky start. Grand Theft Auto V should be on everyone’s wish list this year.
As a long time fan of the Bioshock series, this was a must play for me in 2013. Set in a gorgeously stylised dystopian city in the skies, the latest instalment, Bioshock:Infinite is once again a twisted labyrinth of crazy enemies and robots on a quest to take down some exalted demi-God of the people. Some have argued that Infinite is too similar to what has come before to separate it from the pack, but that’s no issue for me.
The powers that the protagonist, the ever-cool Booker DeWitt, wielded to defeat all manner of enemies looked great on their own but in combination were even more impressive. Riding the skyrails at break-neck speed to drop on an unaware member of the Vox Populi to unleash your powers, is just awesome.
Then there’s Elizabeth, the damsel in the tower. A classic story unfolded before me, peppered with time travel and alternative realities, all against a back drop of an early 20th century America, albeit one that flies 5,000 feet above our heads. Complete with giant, robotic, gun toting, George Washingtons. Oh, and an ending you’ll never forget.
Columbia is waiting for you…
This year, Tomb Raider wasn’t so much re-booted as it was kicked up the arse. Lara Croft is back, but it’s not who we’ve come to recognise. This Lara is much more understated, and not just in the chest department. The latest installment of the lengthy series is a prequel and finds our hero on an expedition with her friends and colleagues to find an ancient lost city of the coast of Japan.
Through some of most awe-inspiring visuals I’ve ever seen, I raided, scrambled and shot through the gang of mercenaries hell-bent on ending my life in the worst way. And I mean in the WORST WAY. To fight them off, Lara wields all sorts of weaponry that can be totally customisable, or you can go headlong into one on one combat using some of the best Quick Time Events this side of Resident Evil 4. Add on a solid multiplayer and a TON of collectables, it’s sure to keep you coming back for more.
One of the controversial points that the critics had when Tomb Raider came out was how much her ass was kicked for the duration of the game. I winced several times as cutscenes showed our brunette bombshell get blown up, show with arrows, fell hundreds of feet and many other grisly happenings, all to get up and stumble to next pulse-pounding area. It’s amazing to see how Miss Croft cut her teeth, and a honour to be witness to raiding her first tomb.
This prequel is a polished, visceral experience which will have you so engrossed from the start, grimacing all the way to the finish.
I’ve turned from ‘Oh, great…a reboot’ to ‘Oh, great reboot!’
Far Cry: Blood Dragon
In this stand alone expansion for last year’s incredible Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon takes us back to the island but with 80′s tinted glasses.
You play as Rex Power Colt (Coolest. Name. Ever.) a cyborg warrior voiced by Terminator stalwart Michael Biehn, on the hunt for a rogue agent on a island filled with huge dinosaurs, (the titular Blood Dragons) threatening your very existence. Could this game get any better? Nope.
I loved the premise, the characters, the 80′s pop culture references, the humour, the stylized visuals and the fact it plays just like Far Cry 3, one of my favourite games of 2012. There’s loads to do to, despite being an expansion pack. I relished collecting and hunting, all the while being stalked by the Blood Dragons, who can also do your bidding if you have the right bait.
It’s worth a punt for the soundtrack alone!
Aliens: Colonial Marines
A game 13 years in the making (read: build up), Aliens: Colonial Marines promised so much, but delivered so very little.
I first played it at Eurogamer last year, and after queuing for an hour it could’ve been any old tripe and I would’ve loved it. It was a straight deathmatch between Aliens and Marines, and while fun for the 10 minutes I had with it then, buying it on release in February for 40 of the Queens was probably the biggest disappointment this side of Valentines Day.
I expected there to be so much more that what I saw at Eurogamer, but there really isn’t. The graphics are dated and really buggy, to this day something Gearbox have yet to fix. The trump card of this awful deck is the ability to play as either Marines or Aliens in a multiplayer environment, but the balance of power and ability is shifted so strongly towards the Aliens it becomes a mind-numbing chore very quickly.
Avoid, even if it’s a fiver. Do what I did and spend that fiver on Fallout 3: New Vegas.