Saturday, 28 December 2013

CeX's Games of the Year, 5 – 7

Ah the FPS-adventure – a tried and tested formula that some may consider to be overdone now. What a pleasant surprise it was when Bioshock: Infinite came out and proved to us all that games can be led by story as opposed to gameplay. This was a journey that simply couldn’t be missed.

Straight off the bat it was difficult not to fall in love with Bioshock: Infinite. An enchanting world in the skies hooks you as a dramatic and engaging story unfolds before your very eyes. It was obvious that Bioshock: Infinite’s gameplay was dated (in fact pretty much didn’t change since Bioshock 2) but no one cared because it was all about finding out what happened, what was happening and what was going to happen.

As a series Bioshock has always been philosophical in nature and perhaps that’s what sucks us in but you can’t question how well the developers challenge morality and other intriguing issues. It is games like these that make it vividly clear how video games as an entertainment source can be thought provoking and emotion evoking. Bioshock: Infinite stood for everything that’s great about video games and is an excellent ambassador for the industry as a whole.

So if you’re tired of playing Call of Duty or Battlefield 4, maybe it’s time you took a step into a fictional world that will challenge your mind and engage you on a different level. Bioshock: Infinite is that game that gets you thinking and makes you want to see out the story to unravel the mystery before you.

Fire Emblem: Awakening is a glorious return for the franchise and a wonderful example of what the Nintendo 3DS is really capable of. However due to the brutal difficulty curve the series is known for, not many people have had experience with the franchise. This is a crying shame because veteran RPG gamers classify Fire Emblem as a staple and must-play experience and this tradition is kept alive with Fire Emblem: Awakening.

Fire Emblem: Awakening is not only the most accessible portable RPG available; it’s also the most engaging with the most depth. Opening the door for newcomers while keeping the same intensity traditional fans crave means there’s something for everyone to enjoy here.

Perhaps the best thing about Fire Emblem: Awakening is its stunning production value. An incredible story intertwines thought provoking and engaging gameplay. The ability to actually lose characters due to death imposes a sense of responsibility and purpose on you – something that many games have never come close to properly creating thanks to death being ultimately inconsequential. Fire Emblem: Awakening ensures every decision you make is the best possible decision for victory and survival and this results in one of 2013’s most entertaining experiences on a portable console.

When I first completed DmC all the way back in January I said to all of my friends, “this will be a contender for game of the year come December” and I still stand by that statement. Dante returned in incredible fashion bringing with him memorable action, great gameplay and one of this year’s best video game soundtracks to boot courtesy of Combichrist and Noisia.

DmC had a lot of work to do considering the series had gradually lost the spark that made the original Devil May Cry so special. Developers Ninja Theory opted for a reimagining of the series by taking Dante back to his early years. Younger Date was witty, charming and a perfect video game hero, his badass attitude is always unforgettable and this is especially prominent here.

DmC is the only hack’n’slash adventure on our top 10 list and considering other games like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Ninja Gaiden 3 all came out in 2013, it really says something about DmC’s quality. The gameplay was perfectly balanced and the ever-engaging grade ranking system had you battling for those perfect scores. Plenty of weapon, enemy and combo variety meant there was lots of different ways to play the game and lots to come back to.

Perhaps DmC: Devil May Cry’s best feature was the incredible art design implemented. Throughout the game Dante would traverse the barriers between worlds and the design was incredible – fragmented buildings, endless morphing and other artsy movements made this game incredibly pleasant for the eyes. There’s no doubt that DmC: Devil May Cry was one of the best games 2013 had to offer, as it impresses thoroughly across the board.

Igor Kharin.

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