Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Games of 2013, Not the Top 2

We're getting higher and higher up the list and getting to the point where it became harder and harder to actually pick what went where.  This isn't new, of course, and is practically expected, but it -was- a little interesting since I knew immediately what my top two games were, no issue.  It was just these three that I had to think about for a moment until they fit properly into place.  I'm confident about their positions, as I was with 10-6, maybe even a little moreso, and I'm pretty sure my reasonings will make it fairly obvious and easy to see why things are where they are.  That said, no reason not to jump right in, as I did last time since there's no real disclaimers or anything for this batch.

5.  Tearaway

I had high hopes for Tearaway from the minute it was announced solely because I knew it would be coming from Media Molecule.  If there's any developer that instantly gets leeway with me, MM is certainly one of them, though it did help that Tearaway looked amazing from the get-go.  It was full of charm and had an absolutely wonderful art direction, what with everything -everything- being a papercraft thing in a lush, beautiful world.  It looked like it played well while also incorporating all sorts of Vita-unique controls, something that almost instantly raises the warning bell for most people, in a way that wasn't obtrusive or annoying.  It just looked like a lovely, enjoyable little game.

And it just was.  Tearaway was a delight from start to finish, playing at a wonderful little world absolutely overflowing with charm and whimsy and just proving to be a great little experience. Every piece of it was crafted with a sense of consistency within its own designs, so that even though you ran the full gamut of environments, it didn't seem forced or anything like that.  It is almost patently the definition of a "If you own this system, you need this game for it" scenario, because Tearaway perfectly encapsulates what a Vita game -can- be, being specifically for the platform, but without feeling constrained by it.  In short, please buy it.

4.  Tomb Raider

I think I start every one of my Tomb Raider introspectives with "I wasn't really hyped for Tomb Raider until I saw it released on my Birthday and got a good vibe", but it's just the truth.  I didn't really want to look into the Tomb Raider reboot since I'd never really played the previous games in a way that mattered or lasted, so I wasn't expecting much.  Yet, I explicitly remember going to GameStop one day, seeing the advert for Tomb Raider in the store and getting so excited that I went "Yeah.  Yeah, I'm gonna get that." and pre-ordering it on the spot.  It just looked so good, and not even from a graphics standpoint only.  It's hard to quantify just what I liked about how it looked aside from -everything-, but it just seemed fun and inventive, even if it borrowed from Uncharted, which borrowed from it initially.  It just looked so well put-together.

Actually playing the game proved that no amount of looking at it could actually inform you of how well-crafted Tomb Raider ended up being.  It was such a great experience that it prompted me to do a follow-up playthrough immediately after beating it the first time, something which I don't -generally- do for a lack of time, but it was worth it.  Tomb Raider was a game that demanded my time and rewarded me appropriately, and it's probably the best Birthday Gift I've ever gotten myself.  That's why I will be utterly unable to resist the Siren's Call that is the Definitive Edition on PS4 when I actually -have- a PS4 and there's the early lull in games.  The first time I find it on sale, it will be mine and that's all there is to it, really.  The great game that it was, but so, so much shinier?  Yes please.

3.  Soul Sacrifice

Soul Sacrifice is a game that I legitimately worried about whether or not I'd actually be able to -stop- playing it eventually.  It was pervasive, stealing every single bit of free time that I had; in situations where I would normally find myself simply listening to music or whatnot while I'm out and about, I'd be sneaking in quick bouts to grab some easy materials or throwing down with an Archfiend for a few minutes before hitting the Home Button to pause the fight for a later time so I could actually function and get about.  It was such that when I did finally quit playing it (temporarily) it was an entirely cold turkey affair and it was not easy.  I still want to throw it in, but I know doing so would be wholly irresponsible, as I have -far- too much going on right now to allow Soul Sacrifice to dominate my time again.

The game just honestly hit all the right points with me, and I'm not sure -how- it did that.  Combat feels fluid and fast-paced, but also has a good weight to it; it's not too heavy like Monster Hunter, but it's not too light either, it simply strikes the right balance there.  Playing a character that more or less relied completely on projectile weapons was an inordinate amount of fun, likely helped along by the fact that I was far more Sacrifice than Save, meaning my ice daggers and flame pins and such packed a punch, but there was just something satisfying about rolling around the battlefield, conjuring up the appropriate flying weapons and letting them loose over and over again.  Something that I cannot wait to get back into.

We're right at the finish line here, folks.  Next post will be the Runner-Up and my Game of 2013 and I'm sure you're all wondering just what it could be.  Rapt attention, the lot of you, clearly.  If you look over the list and you note the two -glaring- omissions so far, I'm sure you know exactly what two games are in the top, but the order might surprise you!  Or, it might not.  I don't know.  We'll just have to see!

Soul Sacrifice withdrawal is serious business, you guys

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