2013 In Review – Musings on Games

I’ve already gotten down to the nitty-gritty of stats this year, but I wanted to talk a little more about gaming this year, including some of the best games I’ve played.  Yeah, I’ve already made a GOTY list over at Game Podunk, but this is a list of the best games I’ve played this year, regardless of what year they were released.  So, let’s take a look at ten completely awesome games I’ve played this year.  Don’t worry, I’ll only have short blurbs for the games, as not to bore you.  Also, this is in no particular order, as ordering things is really a lot harder than it seems.

MARK OF THE NINJA – This game was just fantastic.  So many tools to get past obstacles, and the story just took some amazing twists and turns.  Also, that ending was just perfect.
MONSTER WORLD IV – I heard about the game many times in the past, but never gave it a try until it came to XBLA.  It’s impressive how well the game has aged, and how fun the platforming and action really is.
FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING – A game I was hyped for a long time, and I was not disappointed.  I especially like how accessible it is to newcomers.  Also, having the marriage mechanic was quite fun.
ICO – It took me a long time to beat this, but it was fantastic.  The atmosphere and the way it was presented were great, and the HD treatment was very nice, too.
KLONOA – This platformer was charming and unique, and also became deviously difficult near the end.  I liked Klonoa 2 just a little more, but the original stands up pretty well.
CRIMSON SHROUD – What a wonderful world this game alludes to!  Better yet, not everything is spelled out for you, and filtered through the perspectives of the main characters.  It’s wonderful storytelling.  It helps that the game has an intriguing battle system that’s fun to play, too.
MEGABYTE PUNCH – When I bought and played this game back in Alpha, I didn’t expect it to be such a well-polished and downright fun game.  Best dollar I’ve spent in a long time.
BIOSHOCK INFINITE – The original Bioshock made me motion sick from the water effects, so I thought I would have to put the series down for good.  Thankfully, I could play Infinite because of its setting, and it brought a great story to tell.
POKEMON Y – Sure, it might not have much of a post-game to speak of, but the leaps and bounds it makes in the social area (which Pokemon games really thrive on) really makes up for that.  I do feel X was the superior version, though…
DISGAEA D2: A BRIGHTER DARKNESS – It bought my favorite protagonists back to the limelight, and the storytelling didn’t even rely on empty cameos, but rather new characters and themes.  Also, D2 streamlined grinding to make this a more enjoyable experience overall.

While we’re at it, let’s look at some of my disappointments, to be negative for a bit:

CODE OF PRINCESS – I honestly expected a way more fun brawler.  Instead, I was more or less forced to grind characters to survive the story chapters, which made me not even want to try another character.  Eventually I just maxed out strength as much as I could and bullied my way through the latter half of the title.
DRAGON FANTASY BOOK II – Book I was really quite fun to play, which makes it even more upsetting how unpolished and sometimes un-fun Book II would feel.  Misspellings and glitches were everywhere, and despite its short length the title felt like it dragged on.
THE LEGEND OF DRAGOON – Look, everyone says this is a great game, but it really has aged terribly.  Forget Final Fantasy VII; The Legend of Dragoon is in serious need of a remake.  I see a good game and an interesting world in there, it’s just buried under a god-awful translation and archaic gameplay.

Hmm, what else?  Most of this year in gaming has been pretty tame for me at least, so I don’t have too much else to say.  Sony’s E3 showing was mighty impressive, and the idea of the Nintendo Directs were cool, though really only the first few impressed.  The new generation of gaming is here, but it hasn’t built up much steam yet.  I finally got a Vita… and now I have to send it into Sony because it’s having problems powering down and going into standby, so that’s a bummer.  I got a game I was seriously hyped about (Fire Emblem: Awakening), an announcement to a few other games I was really hoping for (Bravely Default and Drakengard 3), and overall the year was great for gaming, though maybe not the best for RPGs.

That about sums up my musings!  I have another post planned for the end of the year, so stay tuned.

2013 In Review – Gaming Stats Side

This isn’t a top 10 2013 games list or anything; I’ve actually already made one of those.  Instead, I want to look at my statistics of the games I’ve gotten and beaten, and an overview of what I’ve done, what I haven’t done, and how much I failed at slaying my backlog.  Also, it’ll have lots of numbers.  Let’s get to it!

NEW GAMES
I have received 152 new games this year.  Wow!

Out of those:

  • I won 32 of those games (mostly from winning someone’s Good Old Games account)
  • 12 were review copies
  • 5 games are from Club Nintendo
  • 6 more I got for free from other methods
  • I got one bundle (Build a Doujin Bundle), giving me 5 games on the cheap
  • I received 3 import titles, but I can only play 2 (the third is in Japanese)
  • I paid full price for 15 games (though most were cheaper downloadable titles)

151 might seem like a big number, but in all reality it’s far less than the massive amount of games I bought last year (191).  Of course, last year was more or less the ‘year of the indie bundle’, and I bought a ton of them.  Now, I own most of the indie games I care about via these bundles, and most don’t have enough games that really appeal to me anymore, which is why I only bought one bundle this year.  Also, I actually won a good portion of games this year, mostly from grabbing someone’s GOG account.  His account has about 40 games in it, and about 25 or so that I hadn’t already owned.  Finally, my writing gigs help hook me up with some games, too.  So all in all, while I got a bunch of games this year, I spent significantly less money than usual.  That’s a win in my book (but not to my backlog)!

BEAT/COMPLETE/MASTER

This year, I beat 47 games, completed 11 games, and attempted no master runs.  Some random notes on these:

  • 17 of these games I beat in April, as part of a challenge
  • 2 of the games I completed were games I beat already that required completion; the others fell in the “beat=complete” field, like the Telltale games

To be honest, I wanted to beat my beat/complete all time high numbers (47 beat in 2009, 14 complete in 2011), but I’ve only tied my high beat amount, and am still short on my complete amount.  I still may still topple the record, as I’m playing a game for review now and have to finish it soon, but I should get this post out before the end of the year and I have plenty of other things to write about for the end of this year.  Maybe I’ll do a marathon of Telltale games at the end of the year if I’m able and knock that completion percentage up…

MARATHONS

Console Elimination Round [x]
System – PS1
Progress – 1/12 beat
Time Left – Over

Summer Gaming Challenge (2013) [x]
Special – PS1 and Wii games only
Progress – 3/10 beat
Time Left – Over

A-Z Challenge [x]
Progress – 24/25 games beat (no ‘Q’ game)
Time Left – Over

Steam Recommendations [x]
Progress – 3/37 beat
Games Beat this Year – 1 (Portal 2)
Time Left – Infinite

Beat 20 Games in April (Challenge)
Progress – 17/20

I did a really, really bad job completing any marathons this year.  The one marathon I set up for myself this year (The Console Elimination Round) went absolutely terribly for me.  The only game I beat was The Legend of Dragoon, and it took me half the year to do it.  What happened?  I’m right at the end of Tales of Destiny, but I have no reason to really beat it, and no motivation to even try new games (the only other game I made decent progress in was Legend of Legaia).  The A-Z Challenge I got very close to completing, but with two weeks left I had to choose between one of two ‘X’ games: Xenosaga Episode 1 or Xenoblade.  I ended up not being able to motivate myself to finally beat Xenosaga, and starting an 80 hour epic was out of the question with my then work schedule, so I ended up failing that.  The Summer Gaming Challenge went pretty badly, mostly for the same reasons as the Console Elimination Round, but I did get to play through some good Wii games, and get a decent way into Pikmin (I need to finish that…)  Next year I probably won’t start any new marathons (except the Summer Gaming Challenge, I always find those fun and hopefully the RetroN 5 will be out by then), and focus more on the Steam games people recommended me to play (which is full of pretty long RPGs…)

WRITING

This year, I got the pleasure of joining not one, but two gaming sites to write for.  It was pretty exciting for me!  Anyway, I’m going to link all my important articles I wrote here, mainly to see how much I’ve written in the past year besides my blogs.

Reviews
Aquapazza
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness
Puppeteer
Cloudberry Kingdom
Megabyte Punch
Mystic Chronicles
Attack of the Friday Monsters!
The Walking Dead: 400 Days
Strike Suit Infinity
Strike Suit Zero
Publisher Dream
Pandora’s Tower
Bugs Vs. Tanks!
Yatagarasu
Carnage Heart EXA
Kersploosh!
Generations of Chaos: Pandora’s Reflection
Dragon Fantasy: Book I
Dragon Fantasy: Book II

Previews
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Features
Game of the Year 2013
Saints Row: A Look Back at a Quirky Series
4 Odd and Unusual Handhelds from the Game Industry’s Past
4 Odd and Unusual Controllers from the Game Industry’s Past
10 Great, Free 1OS Games to Get Your Mobile Gaming On
Memory Lane:
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
Free Video Game Music:
Jan/Feb
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November

Editorials
A Look at StreetPass Mii Plaza’s 4 New Games
5 More Disney Games that Deserve a Revisit

…Okay, that’s a lot more than I thought it’d be.  Almost all of it is for Game Podunk, as well… the only major things I’ve written for RPGSite thus far are the Dragon Fantasy Book I and II reviews.  Whew, that’s a lot of writing I got done!

That about does it for this stats round-up.  I’ll be doing more posts as the year finishes up!