games / Columns

411 Games Top 5 06.22.13: Top 5 Best Games of 2013 So Far

June 22, 2013 | Posted by Sean Garmer

Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there, what game is the best of 2013 so far?

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Stephen Randle (Games Zone Reviewer, Quizmaster of Four Player Co-op, Organizer of Co-op Multi Games Podcast and Writer of Wrestling News Experience)

5. FarCry 3: Blood Dragon – While the original FarCry 3 was a decent game in its own right, this quirky little expansion/total conversion plays with the best parts of cheesy 80’s action schlock movies and gives you an unique experience that can’t be missed.

4. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger – A cool little game from a franchise that hasn’t exactly had a great track record, but the Western setting and the story really draw you in. The combat is a bit tricky and unforgiving, especially in duels, but when you get comfortable, you’ll have lots of fun mowing down cowpokes and varmints, including some of history’s greatest Western legends.

3. Tomb Raider – A shocking surprise for me, as I wasn’t even planning to give this game a shot, since Tomb Raider has not been a franchise I paid any attention to. No matter what Square-Enix says, it’s impossible to seriously call this a disappointment. It has a great setting, a great heroine, and a great story. In any other year, it would probably be my Game of the Year. Unfortunately for Lara, this isn’t an ordinary year…

1a. BioShock Infinite – Until a week ago, this was my runaway pick, and nothing else really came close. The game has flaws, yes, but as an overall product, it is the best game I have played so far this year. I love the setting, the characters, the story, the music, everything about it. Not playing this game is doing yourself a disservice.

1b. The Last of Us – I can’t officially make a choice until I finish this game, but at this point, it’s literally a coin flip between Infinite and Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic survival tale, and I feel like it’s going to come down to two things: the ending, and how much I enjoy the entire experience. The fact that this game is incredibly bleak might put it one small notch below Infinite in the end, but at the moment, it has so much going for it that it’s going to go right down to the wire for me.

Lee Jones (Reader Voice)

5 – Thomas Was Alone – Wow, I thought this would be an easy week but turns out I’ve spent the first half of 2013 catching up on last years games. I’m also starting to grudge how long games are (if your campaign is over 20hrs you better be an RPG or a GOTY contender!) as it means I’m sometimes stuck playing a game for longer than I want because I want to see how it all plays out (Risen 2 I’m looking at you) so my first pick is a bright and breezy 2 or so hour game. This isn’t a challenging game, its not overly complex but its gameplay works and the commentary throughout is really funny. You look at this game and think WTF but each shape has a personality and a story! Yes a little rectangle is given more story than most FPS leads. This is short and fun, I think you’ll enjoy it.

4 – Dead Space 3 – Well thankfully I didn’t need to play online co-op at all for this title (though I do grudge the load of trophies I won’t be getting) and the game played much the same as previous entries. I’ll be honest and say I think this is the weakest of the numbered titles (previous 2 were top 2 for GOTY for me) however it still plays well. Creating your own weapons is cool and the action moves along nicely (yes I said action, not so much a horror title anymore). Damn it seems I’m down on this game so I’ll just say if you like Dead Space this won’t disappoint, just don’t expect scares.

3 – Injustice: Gods Among Us – I loved the story, yes combat (Kombat?) was good but if you bought this game you bought it for the characters and the story. The story kept up its end. When a game starts with the Joker nuking Metropolis and tricking Superman into killing Lois Lane…. damn that’s a hook for wanting to know what goes down. So if you like comics (especially DC) you should check this out, absolutely worth it.

2 – Bioshock Infinite – Know how I said I was playing catch up on games, well I only just got round to playing and finishing this last week! Bad things, it should have dropped something from Original like Vigors (plasmids) and scavenging (at least until last 3rd of game) it felt like neither belonging in Columbia. Good things – How things end with Songbird, Elizabeth is pretty cool and helpful, world looks nice, trophies make you play the game differently but you won’t grudge it. It handles almost exactly like Bioshock, if it ain’t broke though.

1. Ni No Kuni – I don’t grudge this game a minute of time I gave to it. Right from the start I was hyped and it didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed the battles, the plot was good, the side quests were, well okay they were typical RPG stuff but some of them gave good character information that made the story mean more. Capturing a leveling up familiars was cool (especially as i’d never played a Pokemon game) though i dowish they evolved physically more significantly. Each area starts off kicking your arse but you soon match the creatures and by the end they’re running away from you, feeling badass is always a great feeling. I could have done with some more solisseum matches, finishing the last one was the most satisfied a game has made me feel all year. My top pick and I hope you’ll give it a try if you find the time.

Robert Cooper (Writer of Hammer of Doom Metal News Report, Weekly Contributor to Co-op Multi Games Podcast)

* Robert has submitted a list of “the best games he has played in 2013 period” meaning they are mostly from the past.

5. Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth 2- I didn’t get very far into this game, but from what I played, I liked it. I it actually a really good port of the RTS to the xbox 360, with the controls being pretty damn good for the limited amount of buttons one would have in comparison to a keyboard and mouse. Though there is a pitfall in the fact that it’s not as fluid, so micromanaging your attacks and units becomes a bit of an annoyance, but all in all this is a really fun experience, and I found it cheap and will definitely come back to it once I start clearing other games.

4. Assassin’s Creed- I had always wanted to play the original Assassin’s Creed, but had never gotten ahold of it for a good price, until this year. I had only played Assassin’s Creed 2 before, so I was curious as to the changes they made, and they were an improvement, for sure. I really do like the game, though, because while the combat mechanic isn’t AS fluid, and there are some weird happenings in the free running department, the game still has a strong story to it, and it is enjoyable for what is presents. Though, I must say that the objectives do get tedious after a while!

3. Pokemon Blue- This is kind of a cheap entry, because I’ve already beaten it like 5 times over my 15 years as a Pokemon fan, but I went back to playing this game, and while it isn’t as good as my nostalgia goggles tell me, especially when I go and play Silver, I still greatly enjoy the game. I’ve been grinding my team so that they can be in top form, and I don’t have to do what I did as a kid and keep losing because I didn’t have the patience to level everyone up in between gyms. There isn’t much more to say, if you’ve played Pokemon Blue, you know why I have it this far up on my, “My Top 5 Games I’ve Played in 2013”, it’s endless fun, and there is a real sense of accomplishment every time your Pokemon evolves. It also gets here because I went through Dark Cave in one run with no flash or revives, I ended up with my Gyrados having 10 HP, but I made it out alive!

2. Jade Empire- This game is great, it truly is, which is no surprise coming from the guys at Bioware, who always put out greatness. This is a game that is similar to Knights of the Old Republic (one of my, if not my #1 favorite game of all time) in the dialogue tree, and companion system, as well as the RPG aspects, though they aren’t as strong as in KOTOR. But what is strong, is the combat, you can have many styles for your character to use, and if you get good at the game, you become very hard to beat. Your styles are magic, which is ranged. Support, which does a status effect, like stun, paralyze, or my favorite, electrocuted. And you have your combat styles, which is kung-fu bliss. Once you get good enough, you can stasis lock an opponent to wear they never touch you. The story is also very epic, and well worth the time it takes for you to flesh it out. It has a really interesting morality system, as well, with the ways of the open palm and closed fist being more like philosophies that influence what type of person you are, but don’t dictate it. If you still have an original xbox, track this game down, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (XBLA Version-) I knew this would be number one, and if you’ve played the game, you knew it as well (that is, if you’ve listened to the Co-Operative Multiplayer podcast and know that I’ve been playing it). This is one of the best games I have ever played, it was the first Castlevania game to be in the Metroid style that it uses so well today, and the castle is massive, you can go almost anywhere in the castle, as long as you have the right equipment, which you will find as you go through the castle and beat the bosses, which are really awesome, by the way, they all have a certain epic quality to them, and not a single boss feels just tacked on. The game is hard as hell, too, because the castle isn’t like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, where everything levels with you, it’s more like Skyrim, where you can walk into a section full of enemies that will one hit kill you, and you can barely ding their armor. This game is one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever played, because the feeling of progression is so great, as you get stronger and get stronger weapons, enemies that made you crap your trousers earlier will be a joke. This game is pretty much near perfect, if you ask me, though the voice acting is the best worst thing, ever. Taking Alucard through the game and beat both the regular and reverse castle is such a great time, and no matter how leveled your character is, that fight with Dracula will still give you goosebumps every time. It’s a no brainer to pick this game up if you’re a fan of 2D adventure titles, or just great games in general, it’s pretty easy to pick up and play for 30 minutes, but it’s really addicting, so be warned. It came out for the PS1 originally, but you can find it on the marketplaces for 360 and PS3, so go out and buy it, you’ll love it, I promise!

Sean Garmer (Organizer of Games Top 5 And Weekly Contributor to Co-op Multi Games Podcast)

* I am also going to be contributing a hybrid list of Games from 2012 and 2013 * (sorry not all of us have money to buy the latest games out there.)

5. Rock Band Blitz: Anyone that knows anything about me knows I’m a big Rock Band fan. So, when Harmonix announced they were making this game last year and it was pretty much the final way I was going to get to use my 1,500 DLC songs in something new RB related I jumped at the chance. I liked that Harmonix went back to their roots to Amplitude and Frequency for this game. Making it something that was fun to play solo but also challenging. So, whenever I feel like just using my controller and not an instrument I press play on my 360.

4. Dust: An Elysian Tail: When I got this as a review copy I had been highly anticipating this because it reminded me of Odin Sphere. It is amazing one man did most of the work on this game because it is absolutely beautiful and fun to play too. The hero is interesting and so is his story. It may be discounted to 10 bucks now so I would go pick it up on the XBLA if you can.

3. Walking Dead: I’ve probably beat this game three more times since last year and I probably still haven’t seen all the different situations in this game. It is an epically told tale that I hope the sequel does even better. If for some reason you still haven’t played this yet? You need to go download this or buy it at retail NOW!!! This came within one vote of winning our Game of the Year of 2012.

2. Sanctum 2: I was surprised I enjoyed this game so much, but this FPS and Tower Defense hybrid is quite a neat game. You can play with friends locally or with people online, as you try to shoot down the creatures in waves that come to attack your core. There are four different characters and the towers can be upgraded so there are various ways to defend the core. If you were a fan of the first game, you may not like that the FPS parts seem to be a bigger part of Sanctum 2. But you really shouldn’t let that deter you because it is still a very good game.

1. Bioshock Infinite: I don’t know that anything coming out this year for this generation of consoles except Last of Us and Watch Dogs will touch this game. Bioshock Infinite far exceeded my expectations and I loved every minute playing through it too. Certainly a worthy sequel to the Bioshock franchise, especially after Bioshock 2 didn’t quite live up to the first game.

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Games Coming Out the Week of 06/23/13

Deadpool (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Muramasa: Rebirth (PS VITA)

Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 (Xbox Live Arcade)

Game & Wario (Wii U Only)

LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey (PS VITA & 3DS)

Spartacus Legends (Xbox Live Arcade & PSN)

Ride to Hell: Retribution (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Project X Zone (3DS Only)

Company of Heroes 2 (PC Only)

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Sean Garmer
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