The 5 Best Games of 2013: Falling Back Into Gaming, 2nd Act


Previously on FALLING BACK INTO GAMING… Click Here!

After my assorted gaming past, my glorious return the gaming came in 2013!

WIND WAKER is a great classic game, either on Gamecube or in HD on the WiiU
WIND WAKER is a great classic game, either on Gamecube or in HD on the WiiU

I bought a WiiU in February, but even the newest Nintendo system couldn’t stir the gamer in me. It never helps that Nintendo rarely releases an exclusive A-List  at system launch.

NINTENDO LAND, which came with the system, was good for a laugh due to new ways to play mini-games with the “WiiU Gamepad Controller” (official name according to Nintendo). It was a lot like RAYMAN: RAVING RABBITS; it’s fun to play with a new innovative controller, but mini-games get old fast.

LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER HD did just come out a month or two ago, and is a fantastic game! It just isn’t… new. I mentioned it in my last post… it is a part of my gaming history.

Preface for the following list: I can only judge the games I’ve played, and, returning to gaming, the five below are about half of all the games I have experienced this year. There were others, like THE LAST OF US, which were critically acclaimed, but did not hold my attention the way these five games did.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK BETWEEN WORLDS Link and GanondorfTying it all back to Nintendo, I assume SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD would be worthy of the list, as would THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK BETWEEN WORLDS for 3DS. I just won’t get those until Christmas at the earliest because I’m poor as fuck!

If I waited, then how will you know which games are the best gift for the gamer in your life?

The Five Best Games of 2013!

Or, at least, the 5 that brought me back into the world of gaming. In  order of release, not overall quality.Sim City 2013

SIM CITY  – March Release Date

Fresh off the disappointment with the WiiU, I returned to a franchise I never mastered, one that I never found fun… until this latest iteration which suddenly made SIM CITYuser friendly!

I no longer have to create sewers and power lines! Zoning makes perfect sense! Oh, what a joy it is to create a city, help your townsfolk, then crush their hopes and dreams by the simoleon Las Vegas.

I played this game! A lot! And I liked it, damn you!
I played this game! A lot! And I liked it, damn you!

I’ve played many a ‘Sim’ game from the simple SIM TOWN at my Elementary School, to SIM SAFARI during my middle school years, and THE SIMS 1 & 2 in high-school. I bought SIM 3 post college, but never played it; a compulsive mistake I have made many times with many games.

(These mistakes did provide me with  many a game to trade in for the the very five on this list.

SIM CITY (2013) is the best in the franchise by being very user-friendly, yet still incredibly challenging and frustrating (in the good way a game should be frustrating!) as your town grows into a metropolis.

I especially love the region idea… even though I had no friends who own the game to play it with!

😦 Frowny Face

Instead, I create a new city every play session, all in the same region.

So, SIM CITY had me off to a soft start, I played loads of it for about a month, but without the online experience, eventually my excitement faded….

And it faded just in time for…

Deadpool PS3 Cover ArtDEADPOOL – Released June 25th

Not a perfect game. Not nearly as clean and original as the game every superhero game has been trying to emulate of late, BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM, but fun as shit none-the-less.

You have your attack button, your dodge button, your block button, your quick escape button, etc. The Deadpool difference is his wit (the game is hilarious), Deadpool’s ability to warp (his quick escape), his healing factor (just warp away and hide is a strategy), and his guns.

Actual guns.

With bullets.

Not many superhero video games give the hero guns. But the other superheroes aren’t Deadpool.

Basically, ‘BATMAN: ARKHAM anything’ with less sharp controls, more repetitive villains and ‘levels,’ but with the third person shooter twist. And the Mature comedic stylings of Deadpool.

The story kept me gaming til the end, and the controls didn’t scare me off. Winning!

Deadpool, takin' it sleazy, yo...
Deadpool, takin’ it sleazy, yo…

Then, a little game called GRAND THEFT AUTO V came out.

GTA V Cover ArtGTA V – September 2013

I’ve never gotten past stealing cars and running from the cops in previous installments of the franchise, but GTA V’s story sucked me in with three different characters from different backgrounds with different personalities, all wrapping together in a HEAT-style-heist-team in an entire state that was completely open to explore.

Like DEADPOOL, there is a funny game full of great satire. Clever writing isn’t something I previously associated with the GRAND THEFT AUTO games, but the entire world is a perfect parody of Los Angeles, with medical cocaine on the ballot, psychiatrists who cut sessions short just as your character is having an epiphany, and loads of hateable hipsters.

Los Santos mirrors LA in a way that I can recognize streets and neighborhoods and their positioning  after living in the city for nearly four years; my non-gaming years.

The game was fun as hell and the controls are great, even if the shooter mechanics need a lil’ work.

Trevor, Franklin, and Michael. Meet your players.
Trevor, Franklin, and Michael. Meet your players.

Meanwhile I needed a portable title to play in bed or while mindlessly watching MYTHBUSTERS on Netflix.

Yes, I still keep a Pikachu in my lineup. The lil' rat is too cute.
Yes, I still keep a Pikachu in my lineup. The lil’ rat is too cute.

POKEMON Y! – October 

Yes, back to Pokemon, as with every portable Nintendo system.

Was it the Pokemon we deserved?

No!  I’ve seen the graphic capabilities of the 3DS was playing OCARINA OF TIME 3D. That game graphics that were much improved from its N64 counterpart. Meanwhile, Pokemon still looks like a slightly glorified Super NES game.

It isn’t even a 3D game, unless you are in combat!

Though it seems half assed, comparing the power of the 3DS to what POKEMON Y could have been, it’s still a fun game, taking a great RPG franchise and evolving it slightly.

(I ain’t talking about the new Mega-Evolution feature in the game! Double snap!)

BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS – October 25thBatman Arkham Origins Logo

If SIM CITY, DEADPOOL, GTA V, and POKEMON Y had my curiosity, then BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS, had my attention.

Batman and Joker - Arkham AsylumIn the week preceding the release of BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINSI hit ARKHAM ASYLUM hard!

Batman fist to the Joker’s face; hard!

I’ve owned ASYLUM and ARKHAM CITY since I bought my PS3 in 2011, yet I never played either more than once. (Like I said previously, I buy games I don’t play… and then trade them in for the five I did.)

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM is perfect. As previously stated, this game nailed the attack, dodge, block, stun, and escape buttons that games like AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA: SUPER SOLDIER try to replicate.

Of course, a grappling hook is essential for many purposes, especially launching yourself into hiding should a fire fight get too hairy for the Dark Knight. The controls were spot-on, the discovery of Arkham Asylum relics and tapes added depth to the story which was already a delight to a Batman and Joker fan.

I think I'm in virtual love.
I think I’m in virtual love.

I must admit, I have not completed ASYLUM, though I am working to finish it now that I have beaten ARKHAM ORIGINS (which I will still address). I am on the big fight with mutated Poison Ivy, which gives me an excuse to post a pic of her here, as I somehow have the hots for Ivy and Harley Quinn.

The ARKHAM game franchise is THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy of video games. Simply, the best Batman videogames ever made. Gritty and real (neither as hardcore as THE DARK KNIGHT RISES), the trilogy of games is one Batman deserves. Games that are fun for a casual Batman fan and absolutely captivating for the comics fan.

Though each sequel and prequel (well, one of each) to ARKHAM ASYLUM are not as tight and perfect as the original, they are all great games I totally recommend… 100%!

The gameplay is the weakest in the newest, BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS, yet the story is my favorite: Batman must defeat a squad of assassins including Deadshot and Bane on Christmas Eve, one of his first nights on the job; allowing gamers to play his first encounter with Captain James Gordon and the Joker!Joker Batman: Arkham Origins

The story sucked me in, and though I haven’t collected every Enigma data pack and stopped Zasasz and the Mad Hatter, I did beat the main story. And it is  a fantastic (yet short) envisioning of Batman’s early capers. As you can imagine, with the entire city of Gotham to explore, there are A LOT of things to collect and villains to put away, compared to the 1st and 2nd entry into the franchise.

Bane and Batman - Batman: Arkham OriginsThankfully, I now have ‘New Game Plus’ so that I can play against much harder enemies and attempt to complete it 100%.

That is how much into gaming I am now, I am playing BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS a second time!

From nothing to playing a game through twice!

That is my fall back into gaming.

Pick up SIM CITY, DEADPOOL, POKEMON Y, GTA V, or BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS and get back into the swing of things! They also make a great gift for the gamer you love.

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