A lot of very good games came out 2013. Sadly, a lot of very bad games also came out in 2013. But we’re not talking about those bad games. Heck, we’re not even talking about “best of the best.”
In today’s Fanatical Five, we’re going to talk about the games that seem to be getting passed over for Game of the Year awards. It’s always tough choosing between dozen upon dozen of viable candidates, hence why many outlets do a top-ten list so that they can give recognition where recognition is due, but even then some worthy games slip through the cracks.
As always, no list is “perfect,” but I believe these games deserve recognition. Without further or do, here we go, listed in no particular order:
Personally, the list for Game of the Year starts and ends right here. Rayman Legends, a game that suffered multiple lengthy delays, found a way to exceed my expectations. It’s vibrant visuals and charming personality won over my jaded heart. Packed with level after level of delightful platforming, Rayman‘s latest adventure not only finds a way to succeed as a game, but also as a showpiece for the Wii U console. Heck, it does a better job of showing what Nintendo’s newest hardware can do than their own killer app, Super Mario 3D World. This is thanks to the game taking full advantage of the Wii U GamePad, whether its through orientation of touch screen. It also helps that the game’s characters will hum memorable tunes in the climactic stage of each chapter.
Fire Emblem: Awakening
No one is suggesting that Fire Emblem: Awakening is an underrated game. The title is a masterpiece of storytelling and strategic gameplay. The biggest flaw against Nintendo‘s handheld gem, though, is the release date: February 4th, 2013. Yes, BioShock Infinite also saw an early 2013 release, but 2K’s shooter also came with plenty of hype, a high profile, and a memorable ending. If Awakening was still fresh in everyone’s minds, there’d be little doubt in mine that it would appear on more end of the year lists. Instead, it will be better known as one of the best games for the 3DS in this, the Year of Luigi. Given its company, that’s an incredibly high honor.
Pokemon X and Y
Speaking of that company, Pokemon X and Y looked to be more of the same old same old. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with that, but when your franchise is over ten years old, a change of pace is nice. At first, it looked like that change of pace would be for the worse. X and Y are incredibly enjoyable games, but Game Freak appeared to over-do things a bit. One starter isn’t enough; you get two! You also get roller skates! And a Lucario! And let’s make sure your road to the Elite Four doesn’t really bother you because lets face it, you’re not playing this game for the story. Well, maybe some of you are. Plenty of you, however, aren’t. You’re here for the end-game. Holy crap, what an end-game it is. Breeding has been simplified and become more accessible. The Friend Safari gives you access to dozens upon dozens of Pokemon to fill out your Pokedex. The entry into competitive battling has been lowered without sacrificing any of its challenge. Most importantly, though, is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to go back and play any previous entries in the franchise. Pokemon X and Y is a very good game. The more you spend time with it, the better it gets, like a wine growing better with age.
What a gem of an indie game. Released back in June, Gunpoint combined stealth, platforming, puzzles, and action. It’s a mix that won’t always work, but Suspicious Developments found a way for everything to come through. This is solely due to the main gameplay mechanic: you’re not walking around, but instead jumping. Everything situation involves critical thinking: can I make this jump? What are the consequences if I don’t? What are the consequences if I do? Add in a fair challenge, gorgeous visuals, and a delightful story, and you have a true indie winner. Sadly for Gunpoint, there were a lot of other indie games that shadowed over it. Don’t let that deter you from picking it up, however.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
It’s the game we never saw coming. Square Enix found a way to take a disaster of an MMO and turn it into something wonderful. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was a love letter to all MMOs on the market. Packed with traditional Final Fantasy storytelling, tired and true MMO combat that’s lively enough to keep your attention, and countless reasons to keep exploring, FFXIV is a game worth subscribing to. We could be here all night if I were to list all the reasons why it’s worth your $14.99 a month, but here’s the biggest one: nothing you’ll do is wasted. Killing those nameless monsters will complete tasks and earn you XP. Running to old starting areas allow you to level up other classes. You’ll need to fulfill level requirements on two classes to gain access to a job. Competing those seemingly useless story missions progresses a story that’s actually worth paying attention to. Working together allows players to complete area events for more XP. Sure, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn cherry picks the best other MMOs have to offer, but when the completed package is this good, that’s not really something you need to worry about.