Call of Duty: Ghosts (Rated M, Multi-platform)
The proverbial punching bag of the gaming industry, I can understand why people hate Call of Duty and Activision. They basically release the same game every year, but make minor tweaks, present new maps, and develop a lackluster single player campaign. Now as much as this may hurt my credibility, I am a Call of Duty fan; I even play their single player campaign every year. Well, except for Ghosts’s single player, which is so bad that I gave up after two hours. In fact, the developer Infinity Ward has not told a good single player story since Modern Warfare 2; meanwhile Treyarch has been doing a decent job with the Black Ops series.
Furthermore, the new multiplayer is plagued with problems such as spawning in open areas or in front of enemies. On top of this, some of the maps are too big, which could result in camping or the inability to find players. This is fine for games like Battlefield where the huge maps are apart of the gameplay, but this does not fit the fast pace nature of ‘COD.’ With this said, I do not completely hate this entry in the series; most of the multiplayer maps are welcome additions and the hated bigger maps force players to stick together. Even if I do not totally love the game, I still find myself playing it; that is why I am giving ‘COD’ the honorable/dishonorable mention of 2013.
Other Favorites from 2013
Resogun (Rated E10, PS4)
The hidden gem on this list; this game is a throwback to old arcade games, but instead of moving up and down, the level is circular. This game was developed by the Finnish company Housemarque and was the ‘spiritual successor’ to their popular Super Stardust series. This game is extremely fast-paced and the increasing difficulty helps the player forget about the repetitive gameplay. And like the arcade games that inspired it, the need to top the high score keeps the gamer playing.
What is shocking is the amount of fun that I got out of a free game. On launch day, Resogun, along with Contrast, was offered for free to all Playstation Plus members. To be honest, I probably would not have bought this game if it cost money. So I am happy that it was given for free because I got to experience a wonderful arcade game.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flags (Rated M, Multi-Platform)
Assassin’s Creed III was one of the biggest disappointments in 2012. People were ecstatic to play that Revolutionary War period piece; yet, the game is marred by repetitive gameplay and a storyline that is too ambitious for its own good. But the third entry also has some quality moments like the seafaring expeditions and the exploration; but still the good elements were brought down by the overall bad.
The positive thing about the fourth entry in this series (or seventh depending on who you ask) is that it sort of learns from the previous games’ mistakes. It allows the player to have freedom from almost the beginning; in Assassin’s Creed III the player is stuck playing the eight-hour introductory missions before he or she is able to explore. In this game, there is still an introductory mission, but the mission can be completed in less than thirty minutes. From there the players are able to explore anywhere they please, which is awesome because the exploration of the fourth game is the best part: it truly makes one feel like a pirate. I played the game for at least ten hours before getting into the main storyline. The boats are easy to handle and the ability to pillage other boats, while repetitive, never lose its fun. On top of this, this game adopts a lighter tone than the previous entries, which helps elevate the material.
But the developers took the good portions of the last game with the bad; the terrible following missions are back and scattered throughout the main storyline. Also, the climbing mechanic, which was ground breaking with the first game, feels dated; perhaps this is due to lack of innovation that results from a yearly series.
Bioshock Infinite (Rated M, Multi-Platform)
I may garner a lot of hate for this, but I was not a fan of the first Bioshock. I played the initial five hours and then never went back; so I was skeptical to buy the new entry of the series. However, I eventually caved in and was wowed by the experience. Everything in this game works: the storytelling, the action, the universe, the side-kick Elizabeth. From the moment, the player steps foot in Columbia, he or she is immersed in the story. Every aspect of Columbia was meticulously planned out and it feels like a fully realized world.
Also, I usually never explore in first person shooters, but this game had me searching everywhere to find out about the history of Columbia. The gameplay, which got repetitive towards the end, suffices to tell this amazing story. 2013 must have been the year of awesome twist endings because Bioshock Infinite has an ending that rivals The Last of Us.
Grand Theft Auto V (Rated M, Multi-Platform)
First and foremost, this is about the single player and not the debacle that is the online mode. This game needs to be mentioned on just the amount of gameplay available: well over seventy hours of primary and side missions. And the aforementioned seventy hours, do not include the amount time the player will get lost just driving around and exploring the huge map. When all is said and done, I spent well over a 60 hours playing this game and had a blast with every moment.
Minus a few bugs, which are going to be present in a massive open world game, this game is nearly flawless. The smallest details that were placed into this game are mind-blowing; some of these details I would have never thought to look for. On top of that, everything in this game handles better than GTA IV. The driving feels smoother and less clunky. The guns feel more responsive and the aiming is more intuitive. Last, the graphics speak for themselves. Minus the pop in textures that happen with open world games, Los Santos is a beautiful city to look at.
And if you want to read about my Game of the Year just follow this link.