Rabidgames’ GOTY awards 2013 – The Good, The Bad and The Fugly

2013 was a rather odd year, and not just because the launch of the two next gen consoles. While there were a handful of excellent games, there was a shitload of average ones which were not deemed buying – some of them, like Arkham: Origins feel like a puzzle of rehashed stuff so the GOTY edition might be worth it eventually, Diablo 3 looks promising yet a tad too expensive for what is on offer (unless you love streamlined character progression); but mostly, a first glance revealed too much average stuff, too many generic ideas and sometimes even too much boredom. Some games have just been released on the wrong platform (why having all of them?). Also, two potential great games – the South Park RPG and Watch Dogs, have been pushed back to 2014.

Without further ado, let’s start with the …

Shame Index of 2013

Aliens: Colonial Marines The game is bad but that’s not the crime. The crime is we were being promised a good game, including misleading trailers and PR vapourspeak. Colonial Marines is the prime example of the kind of deceiving PR assholery and bullshit rip-off mentality we are subjected to these days. Let’s leave it at that.

Ride To Hell: Retribution Arguably, this is the worst game of 2013, and it exactly fits the definition of fugly. What started as a promising mix of GTA and Sons of Anarchy endured years of development purgatory before ending up as … this. No more comments needed, just watch (and pay special attention to the sexual encounters):

Microsoft’s Vision (thank Sony for the u-turn) Imagine an always-online console where you cannot sell your games anymore. No, not Steam, a console! That’s what MS had in mind with its XBox One. But thanks to Sony being smarter and basically every gamer on earth asking MS to go fuck themselves, they became sober again, ditching online once per day and bans on selling used games. So nothing has changed thankfully – for now! MS has shown its face, and Sony doesn’t really care about what we want, too, make no mistakes here. It’s just a matter of time until we are prey to their vision of digital, streaming future without middlemen and physical data …

Microtransaction Mania on PS4 and especially XBox One Be it Forza or Ryse or any other Xbox One launch game, be it Gran Turismo … microtransactions for full price games seem to be the standard for the new consoles. Just one comment: Let’s hope that ain’t the future!

DLC OF 2013

Well, that’s a pretty easy decision now, isn’t it? The only possible winner is Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen. For a small price, we got the whole original Dragon’s Dogma including all DLCs, Japanese voice overs and of course Dark Arisen, a dark island full of mysteries and deadly creatures. Dark Arisen is all a DLC should be (an expansion), and it’s also the biggest irony of the year – it’s a Capcom game!

Top 10 GAMES OF 2013

First of all, bear in mind this is only a list of games Rabidgames has played. True, Ni No Kuni or The Last of Us might be in here had Rabidgames played it. All the more reason to hate this exclusivity deal bullshit (although nothing will be more damning than confinining Bayonetta 2 to the ailing Wii U …)!

10. X-Com The Bureau: Declassified
Well, the existence of this game in the top 10 shows 2013 was not the strongest year. Basically, The Bureau is an average game in all regards; average story, average gameplay with some neat ideas, and … well, average everything. Good enough for the top 10 though, speaking or the average quality of average 2013.

9. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
This game is different. Simplistic. Beautiful. Interesting. Sadly, it’s also short. But apart from that, it’s an intriguing fantasy story with some twists and turns.

8. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
DLC or full game? Well, since it doesn’t need Far Cry 3 to run, let’s call it an arcade game. And it’s a fun one; Far Cry gone 80’s plus dragons equals even more fun. Sadly, the reddish look also guarantees headaches after a 3-hour session, and while it is fine for the price, the rehashed gameplay feels a bit stale after 60 hours of Far Cry 3

7. WWE 2K14
It’s not a revolution, but rather an evolution of WWE ’13. Sure, the Wrestlemania mode is not as cool as the Attitude Mode was – mostly due to the SuperCena overkill borefest, but the gameplay has been refined enough for the game to feel fresh. Plus, the AI is now finally a challenge. Let’s hope 2K gifts us a new mechanic in 2014. The groundwork has been there for a while, but we have to go from refining to reinventing now!

6. Tomb Raider
For a change, a reboot the world (or at least us gamers) needed. Lara’s metamorphosis from young, naive and inexperienced student to powerful killer/climbing/exploring machine might have felt a bit too sudden, but it still was a fun ride to witness. Tomb Raider felt fresh, ditching the comic tits for a proper character. To sum the game up, it’s the best Uncharted up to date. Quite the irony, huh?

5. State of Decay
Yes, this game is a technical mess. Bugs, glitches, old-fashioned gameplay … but fuck all of it, at its core, State of Decay is an amazing survival simulation. After finishing the main game, the Breakdown DLC even adds more to it. This game is undead proof that even a shoddy foundation can house an unforgettable experience – even in the overrun zombie niche!

4. Bioshock Infinite
Storywise, Bioshock Infinite pisses on all other games in its class of 2013. An infinite number of parallel worlds, twins who are more than twins, a stunning dystopia, a trip to Rapture, and with Elizabeth a character with a natural progression you actually care about, probably also because she isn’t completely useless like certain girls in a zombie apocalypse … So why isn’t Bioshock Infinite game of the year then? Well, the gameplay is solid and good, but at the end of the day, it’s just not en par with the excellent story.

The Triarchy

Yes, it is three games that were immense fun to play in 2013, and it is too hard to draw a line here. As a result, the top 3 games are simply listed alphabetically below:

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
It’s a simple formula: Breed an assassin with a pirate and you will get success. Big time success. AC3 felt like Ubisoft tried to fill one game with too much stuff (e.g. the economy system, which was part broken, part useless and part superfluous). Black Flag however manages to incorporate all the good stuff and make it actually good. Sailing alone is one of the best gaming experiences in recent years, and combat on foot has been improved as well. Plus, the presentation starts off light-hearted and Ubisoft’s self-ironic approach also makes the game more … well, fun. The icing on the cake is the story which spans through three time arcs. If it wasn’t for the awful amount of boring tailing missions, Black Flag would have stolen no.1.

Grand Theft Auto V
The fun. The scope. The world. The protagonists. The satire. The water. San Andreas. GTA V is a massive game with a shitload of stuff to do, and if you like playing and murdering online, there’s even more to do. Arguably, GTA V is the biggest game of this generation, and most likely also its swansong. It is masterpiece of mission, story and world design, and it is a satiric vision of contemporary America. Los Santos feels vibrant and alive, the desert mountains desolate if not for the cougars, and there is nothing like cruising along the coastal highway or diving for treasures in the ocean – at least not in a video game. But, admittedly, it’s a small but, Grand Theft Auto V is also a facade; behind the missions, the strangers and the freaks, and after you completed the story, San Andreas does feel a bit less alive than before. Still, GTA V might not be perfect, but at least it manages to border perfection!

Saints Row IV
As with GTA and AC, a relatively weak predecessor was followed by something unexpectedly strong; in Saints Row The Third, the over-the-ceiling-of-the-top design felt out of place at times, but if you take the gameplay out of the real world into the matrix, everything is fine. And this is exactly what Saints Row IV does. We can accept everything in a virtual reality. Plus, the characters finally feel like characters we can relate to; especially Shaundi’s transformation makes sense now, and we get to explore the fears and dreams (and nightmares) of our fellow saints. Of course, there is still something holding the game back from surpassing Saints Row 2: The DLC galore. Not only changed an add-on for SR3 into a full priced game, there’s another 40 weeks of DLC it seems; again, ripping stuff out of games to make us buy tiny chunks is a big no-no!

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