2013 has been quite the year in gaming, especially for me. We finally got the sequel to a game that I’ve been waiting to play for over a decade. Another game went from being one of the franchises I was least interested in to one I think is a fantastic franchise. Other games let me take character from completely different franchises and put them into scenarios only your imagination could have dreamed of. New consoles have been released. Handhelds have proven that they still have what it takes to compete with the up and coming cell phone market.
Regardless of what type of games you like to play it’s been a great year for gaming. Digital markets have been growing to the point where the games you find on places like XBLA and Nintendo’s eShop are undistinguishable from the games you get in retail stores. I played a bunch of games this year, but here are the ten titles that I think stood out above all the rest this year.
To let you know how I came about this list. I started by putting down all of the games I played for the first time this year (as that’s the criteria we have for our End of the Year Lists on the site). I played 65 different games for the first time this year. I whittled that down the to the list of games that I would have considered for a spot on my GotY list and that brought it down to 23 titles. Of those eleven were 3DS games, eleven were Wii U games, two were Xbox 360 games and one was a Wii game. Then I whittled that down even further by going over any that I reviewed, thinking of the experiences I had playing those games and which ones stuck out with me most.
The one time Wii U exclusive Rayman Legends will be available on its sixth and seventh different platforms in February when the platformer heads to Xbox One and Playstation 4. February 25th will see Rayman and his cohort one the two most recent platforms available with new exclusive content. This time you’ll get to see Globox decked out in the style of Vaas from Farcry 3. Rayman will be getting his own unique outfit, the robes of an Assassin. Other costumes available are Ray Vaas and Splinter Ray.
That’s not all that will be improved when the title hits current-gen platforms. Ubisoft has promised that the load times will be improved, the visuals will be getting an upgrade and touchpad support will be available on the PS4. The Xbox One version of the game will get new time-limited achievements from 10 exclusive challenges.
At this point are there any systems that the game won’t be available on?
I’ve been playing the Assassin’s Creed franchise since the beginning. I thought every game got better from the beginning until the series hit its best during the events of Brotherhood. The story continued with Ezio in Revelations before moving on to a new setting, time period and hero with Assassin’s Creed III.
What You Need to Know
Ubisoft has decided that they want to continue to explore the history of the Kenway family, this time moving the setting back in time for the first time. Set during the Golden Age of Piracy, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag depicts the events that took place during the life of Edward Kenway, father of ACIII antagonist Haytham Kenway, and grandfather of Connor Kenway. You’ll take on missions both on land and at a much expanded sea. Exploring places like Havanna, Cuba, Kingston, Jamaica, and Nassau, Bahamas. Edward must fight his way through both sides of the Assassin and Templar’s centuries long conflict. Many historical pirates like Benjamin Hornigold, Anne Bonney, Jack Rackham and Blackbeard will make appearances befriending or fighting Edward along the way. There are dozens of islands to explore and hours upon hours of content to keep you busy for close to 80 hours if you do everything there is to do.
I’m just going to start this review by coming out and saying it. “I’m a 33 year old man that actually enjoyed my time with Just Dance Kids 2014.” There’s it’s out there. Now I can get on to talking about the game. Ubisoft has made a pretty good business out of getting people up off their couches and dancing. Yearly releases of these games including some of the biggest songs of the year mean people are dancing away, many of them using them as a supplement to their workout programs.
What You Need to Know
Just Dance Kids 2014 is pretty much exactly what the title says. It’s a dancing game featuring songs that younger kids will recognize. You hold a Wii Remote in one hand and dance along to the motions being displayed on the screen. The closer you come to recreating the dance accurately the more points you get. That’s pretty much all there is to it.
Watch Dogs, Ubisoft’s open world crime adventure, was set to hit stores shelves in November. Ubisoft announced today that the game will miss that original release date and has been pushed back to sometime in 2014. On their blog page for the game the company announced that they want to have more time in order to continue to work on the game.
“Our ambition from the start with Watch Dogs has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming. It is with this in mind that we’ve made the tough decision to delay the release until spring 2014.”
The game has seemed ambitious from the very beginning and if more time is needed to get everything working the way Ubisoft has said then the delay seems like a good thing. The game was first announced at E3 2012 and has been on the top of many people’s most anticipated games lists for a long time. We’ll keep you posted and will let you know when Ubisoft announces the new release date for the game. Right now it’s tentatively slated for some time in the Spring.
There’s a really awesome feeling you get when you successfully sneak around a half a dozen people who don’t even know you’re there. Lots of games have built stealth mechanics into the gameplay and do it in different ways. Ubisoft has a number of different franchises that use stealth, but one of the most famous is the Splinter Cell franchise. They’re back with another entry in that series starring Sam Fisher called Splinter Cell: Blacklist. I’m generally not a fan of this type of game as I usually end up botching things about 45 seconds into the level and having to gun my way out. I don’t get that opportunity as much with this game. Let’s see what I think about it.
What You Need to Know
Splinter Cell: Blacklist has you take on the role of iconic video game spy Sam Fisher. He’s been through a lot in this franchise, but now he’s in charge of a new group called Fourth Echelon that takes the place of an overly corrupt predecessor group. A terrorist organization calling themselves the Engineers wants America to remove their troops from every country around the globe and in order to convince them to do so launches something called the Blacklist, a series of terrorist strikes against America. Sam, and his group of highly trained operatives, set off in their mobile command center, the Paladin, in an attempt to stop this group and find out who is behind the planned attacks. Stealth is a key part of the gameplay and Sam has a huge arsenal of toys to help him sneak, dodge, and if necessary, fight his way to the head of the Engineers.
Ubisoft and Funko Pop have debuted their latest lineup of vinyl figures featuring some of the characters from the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Each of the main characters from the number entries in the series are represented as well as the character I affectionately refer to as the “Beakey Doctor”. I don’t collect a lot of these figures, but I might just have to make an exception for these characters. I really like that Plague Doctor. He almost makes deadly disases look like fun.
No official release date or pricing has been announced as of yet. The usual price for these figures is around $10 so I would expect these to fall in line with the rest of the series.
The Smurfs was another of those shows that sort of defined who I was as a small child. I remember watching the USA Network in the mornings as a kid and getting so excited when that ominous music came on and the lightning flashed signaling the beginning of a new episode of the Smurfs. The new live action movies have introduced the smurfs to a new generation of children and with that comes the inevitable tie-in video game. This time it’s being developed by Wayforward who also just brought another popular animated show to life with DuckTales: Remastered.
What You Need to Know
The Smurfs 2: The Video Game is an action-platformer based on the recently released movie of the same name. You play as one of a number of smurfs who are attempting to rescue a captured Smurfette. You move from left to right with one of a handful of playable smurfs through 30ish levels of platforming. You’ll collect smurfberries, rescue wildlife from Gargamel’s influence and generally save the day. You can go it alone or bring up to four of your friends to help.
Kickstarter has become the home of many video game related projects. Some of them have been successful, at least in terms of money, but we’re just now starting to see some of the games from the Kickstarter rush being released. Cloudberry Kingdom is one of those games. The Kickstarter campaign promised infinite levels and it delivers.
What You Need to Know
Cloudberry Kingdom is a game that prides itself on infinity. The game’s biggest hook is the ability for it to create an infinite number of levels, which would mean you could play the game every day and never play the same level twice. There is a story that features a traditional kidnapped princess with a hero who must rescue her. This story mode features hundreds of levels that get progressively harder and use the various special abilities of the hero. There are also multiple arcade modes that feature standard side scrolling platform levels, time attacks where you must grab collectibles in the level to add more time to the countdown clock. It also features a mode that gives you random power ups for every level. If that’s not enough you have a customizable level editor that will let you choose how much of each possible obstacle there can be in the level.
Let me tell you. I cannot wait until this game comes out. The Assassin’s Creed franchise has become my favorite franchise of this generation. I’m pretty excited about the stuff I’ve seen coming out of Assassin’s Creed IV, especially since the boat sections of ACIII were so good.
This 14 minute video of the Playstation version of the game shows off some classic Assassin’s Creed game play as well as some of the new things you’ll be doing out in the Caribbean.