Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 Gs (and Bs) OTY

The time has come, once again, to look back on the year that has befallen us and to call to account the games that have presented themselves for our consideration.

My Game of the Year: Spelunky
Runner-up: Hearthstone

Past years' picks, for reference:
2012: Dota 2/Diablo III
2011: The Witcher 2/SpaceChem
2010: Mass Effect 2/Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
2009: Demon's Souls/Red Faction: Guerilla
2008: Metal Gear Solid 4/Gears of War 2
2007: BioShock/Halo 3

Here, alphabetically, since I lost track of the chronology, are all the games I've finished in 2013. 33, liberally counted. That's pretty good, I think.

Anno 2070
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Bioshock Infinite
Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Ep. 1
Dear Esther
Diablo III (Inferno)
Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches
Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall
Fallout 3: Broken Steel
Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta
Fallout 3: Operation: Anchorage
Fallout 3: Point Lookout
Fallout 3: The Pitt
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas: Honest Hearts
Gone Home
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned
Gravity Bone
Mass Effect 2: Arrival
Mass Effect 2: Firewalker
Mass Effect 2: Kasumi - Stolen Memory
Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker
Mass Effect 2: Overlord
Shadowrun Returns
Starcraft: Brood War (Protoss)
Starcraft: Brood War (Terran)
Starcraft: Brood War (Zerg)
The Stanley Parable
The Walking Dead: 400 Days
Tomb Raider

Past years' totals:

I've taken to counting DLC or anything that feels like a completion as just that. I cast aside my tokens and in/out policies, though, and have begun a more laissez-faire approach to the backlog, which is immense. I just buy whatever and play it whenever, if ever. It's working well, so far.

The Booklog, began this year, has seen only middling activity. I wish I had/would make more time to read, I really do. Maybe that'll be a good New Year's resolution for 2014, along with all the usual stuff. I've never picked a BOTY, or even really ever thought in those terms, but let's give it a shot.

Book of the Year: A Memory of Light
Runner-up: The Martians

Books read this year, a pitiful 9 in all:

Fallen Angels
Descent of Angels
Tales of Heresy
The Martians
Telegraph Avenue
A Memory of Light

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wrapping Up 2013

We're nearing the end of the year, and it's time to start thinking about Game Of The Year proceedings here at 9 Parsecs, and on Call Of Podcast. In light of that fact, I have been making a slight effort to look into 2013 games to try to cover as many bases as possible. Here are the meager fruits of this half-hearted effort:

Poker Night 2 -- OK, this wasn't really for GOTY consideration at all, it was just installed and I had a few minutes to kill with something. I played a handful of short Texas Hold 'Em tournaments and got a sampling of the mildly entertaining presentation of the game. I think maybe the assortment of characters in the first game resonated more. But then, maybe not. These are not poker games for serious poker enthusiasts. I'm not sure who they're for, but since they're never more than $5 and are a novel distraction and feature a base level poker functionality, I keep buying them.

Teleglitch -- It's Doom meets Hotline Miami meets Rogue, but with Quake's decor. It didn't really do much for me, despite the lauding I've seen it get elsewhere.

Monaco -- Designed as a co-op, top-down heist game with a trippy aesthetic, I expected to immediately vomit and uninstall, but to be honest I enjoyed the hour(ish) I spent playing this. About half of that time was spent co-op with a couple of randoms. It was sort of fun, and had nice music. I wouldn't go out of my way to play more, though.

Battlefield 4 -- I guess this is a 2013 game. I have only played one round so far, but it seems like a Battlefield game. I think 2014 might be this game's year to shine.

Apart from trying to tick boxes next to 2013 games, I've also done some quick hits on:

Wasteland -- The original, rereleased leading up to Wasteland 2's release, which I find to be a little too archaic or my tastes. This is like going back to play the first Dragon Warrior or something, but Westernized. I would like to really give it a shot, though.

Company of Heroes 2 -- The first game I ever streamed myself playing! It was a short lived disaster. I only ducked in long enough to see how the streaming worked and have the first person on my team in a 4 on 4 match go "WTF dude?," at my immediately apparent ineptitude before I quit out. Not sure what I was thinking, here.

Diablo III -- Esteban finally saw the light and has gotten into the game. I jumped in with my Barbarian as he was finishing up Normal to skip a few beats ahead in the game, and then later went back and killed Diablo on Normal with my now level 28 guy, and will probably move him on to Nightmare next time I play. Or should I go back and complete the parts of the game I skipped? I'm torn.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown -- I aborted my problematic Normal/Ironman game and began a new one, which so far is coming along very well. I'm starting to get into the game more, and wish I had more time to play it.

Hearthstone -- The game was recently updated with some changes to a few problematic cards and a new ranking system for constructed deck play. I continue to jump in and do the daily quests, though I sometimes wonder why. I think Blizzard needs to add more of a reason to keep playing the game, especially outside of Arena. Constructed play is nothing but a ladder grind, and luck has such a heavy hand in any game of Hearthstone that it's hard not to chalk up wins and losses just to luck of the draw rather than any skill surplus or deficit.

Spelunky -- I keep hitting the daily challenge every day, now on Vita/PS3 as well as on the PC version. I have a hard time wanting to play outside of the daily, though. Usually one or two runs will do it for me, especially if one happens to go on to the Jungle or beyond.

Assassin's Creed -- I've put some unholy amount of time into IV so far, and have not yet finished up the story stuff. I want to do that soon. I'm curious what happens with Kenway in the end, and whether Haytham figures into the end of the game at all. I re-installed AC III this weekend, too, just to play through the opening stuff again. The Kenway line is pretty interesting, which is why I'm curious where Edward ends up in the whole Assassin/Templar conflict. So far he's been killing a bunch of Templars, but for his own reasons; he's not explicity with the Assassins. Not yet, anyway.