Zero Punctuation: Top 5 Games of 2013

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Azahul:
Thank you for that edit.A lot of the game's detractors in this thread seem to be under the impression that they can prove the game is impossible to like or enjoy. It's very strange. Personally, while I loved it, I can entirely see why people might not be comfortable with it. This is exacerbated by the fact that a lot of the "wrongs" people keep bringing up as evidence of the game being poor do turn out to be things I actually liked about the game's narrative. Proof positive of people liking different things.

I didn't read the entire thread but the few posts I did read, it seems like the discussion is going on like every other BI thread I read 'till now: a few good points and a lot of poor ones, like the post you quoted previously. If "the devs fear of alienating conservatives" is why somebody thinks the story is bad, I don't know, I guess, it's en vogue to not like the game but if you don't understand why people critisize it, you would be better off liking it instead and maybe enjoying another playthrough.

AldUK:

Silentpony:
First the community and now Yatzhee?! Will someone please tell me which version of Papers Please everyone is playing that such a incredible game?! I must have gotten like a beta release with all the bugs, crashes, poor optimization and sticky mess instead of the epic mind-altering version everyone else got.

I don't get it either. My best guess is because it is an indy game with subject matter that could be considered controversial, Escapist hipsters eat it up, irregardless of whether it's 'fun' to them or not.

You are the counter hipster.

You did not find it fun. Therefore, it cannot be fun. The people who claims it is are fooling themselves for indie-points. You just know better.
That is the type of snorting elitism that the mythical hipster is so disliked for, isn't it?

Of course, I am the one truly fooling myself for expecting any sort of response, I suppose.

With COD Ghosts though, it was like Spec Ops the Line done straight. It wasn't just depressing, but nationalistically depressing. The same trappings of the Line with more linearity as you can't choose how you want to suffer. That is what bugs me with some of you guys saying how COD is America Fuck Yeah when it is most of the time AMERICA FUCK NOOOOO!!!! since rarely we see the main character coming home alive with medals being handed out and a nice bit of R&R before going back to earn more bank. Instead they died unremembered and failed to accomplish their mission.

I've really enjoyed Ghost's multiplayer, but I haven't played the single-player game. Perhaps it's really terrible? Now I'm unsure if I even want to play the single player bit.

But let's be honest, millions of people don't buy the franchise because the single-player mode is any good. If you like COD's multiplayer FPS style then this is as good as it gets.

Biggest disappointment from my side? That it dropped the local 4-player mode. Something I used all the time. It did up the number of bots and still local 2-player. But COD used to be my easy party game for four friends at any time with the bottom two passing the controller.

However, on a positive, side, the little alien side game they have (Extinction) is a lot more palateable to me than the previous zombie side games.

Lightknight:
I've really enjoyed Ghost's multiplayer, but I haven't played the single-player game. Perhaps it's really terrible? Now I'm unsure if I even want to play the single player bit.

But let's be honest, millions of people don't buy the franchise because the single-player mode is any good. If you like COD's multiplayer FPS style then this is as good as it gets.

Biggest disappointment from my side? That it dropped the local 4-player mode. Something I used all the time. It did up the number of bots and still local 2-player. But COD used to be my easy party game for four friends at any time with the bottom two passing the controller.

However, on a positive, side, the little alien side game they have (Extinction) is a lot more palateable to me than the previous zombie side games.

Single Player campaign is as depressing as the Line. But then again, Modern Warfare COD has been rather bleak and depressing despite Yahtzee's idea of Jingoism. If it was Jingoism, the soldiers will actually come back with flawless victories. COD has anything but flawless victory.

gyrobot:

Lightknight:
I've really enjoyed Ghost's multiplayer, but I haven't played the single-player game. Perhaps it's really terrible? Now I'm unsure if I even want to play the single player bit.

But let's be honest, millions of people don't buy the franchise because the single-player mode is any good. If you like COD's multiplayer FPS style then this is as good as it gets.

Biggest disappointment from my side? That it dropped the local 4-player mode. Something I used all the time. It did up the number of bots and still local 2-player. But COD used to be my easy party game for four friends at any time with the bottom two passing the controller.

However, on a positive, side, the little alien side game they have (Extinction) is a lot more palateable to me than the previous zombie side games.

Single Player campaign is as depressing as the Line. But then again, Modern Warfare COD has been rather bleak and depressing despite Yahtzee's idea of Jingoism. If it was Jingoism, the soldiers will actually come back with flawless victories. COD has anything but flawless victory.

That doesn't necessarily sound like a bad thing. Though your comment seems neutral to where I suspect that's your point. That it's a matter of taste in whether or not games need to be flawless wins wrapped up for the player to relish or if they can have failures and shortcomings that force perspective.

That's right, Yahtzee!
Pirates for the win!

Lightknight:

gyrobot:

Lightknight:
I've really enjoyed Ghost's multiplayer, but I haven't played the single-player game. Perhaps it's really terrible? Now I'm unsure if I even want to play the single player bit.

But let's be honest, millions of people don't buy the franchise because the single-player mode is any good. If you like COD's multiplayer FPS style then this is as good as it gets.

Biggest disappointment from my side? That it dropped the local 4-player mode. Something I used all the time. It did up the number of bots and still local 2-player. But COD used to be my easy party game for four friends at any time with the bottom two passing the controller.

However, on a positive, side, the little alien side game they have (Extinction) is a lot more palateable to me than the previous zombie side games.

Single Player campaign is as depressing as the Line. But then again, Modern Warfare COD has been rather bleak and depressing despite Yahtzee's idea of Jingoism. If it was Jingoism, the soldiers will actually come back with flawless victories. COD has anything but flawless victory.

That doesn't necessarily sound like a bad thing. Though your comment seems neutral to where I suspect that's your point. That it's a matter of taste in whether or not games need to be flawless wins wrapped up for the player to relish or if they can have failures and shortcomings that force perspective.

All i am saying is Yahtzee thinks COD Ghosts is America Fuck yeah when so war IW depicts it as anything but fuck yeah. Givdn how horriying the losses are on your side.

Damnit I thought the days of disliking something popular just to be mysterious were over. Nope, Bioshock doesn't rate anywhere near my top 5. Well, come to think of it it might because it had decent gameplay and nothing came out this year. The story though rates piss-poor in my book. Oh well, I'm sure no one wants to lend me a soap box to extol my displeasure.

I guess just looking at my steam list State of Decay might be my top game for 2013.

Did not expect Bioshock to be his number one. Of the games I played this year that actually came out this year, it was probably my favorite though. I also was surprised to see Beyond Two Souls on the worst list. Don't get me wrong, I didn't think it was great (though I did really enjoy it), but I didn't think it was particularly bad either. I've never quite understood why David Cage games get so much more hate than Telltale games. I felt Beyond Two Souls had considerably more interaction than The Walking Dead, and found it more entertaining. And that's from someone who hates QTE

RobfromtheGulag:
Damnit I thought the days of disliking something popular just to be mysterious were over. Nope, Bioshock doesn't rate anywhere near my top 5. Well, come to think of it it might because it had decent gameplay and nothing came out this year. The story though rates piss-poor in my book. Oh well, I'm sure no one wants to lend me a soap box to extol my displeasure.

I guess just looking at my steam list State of Decay might be my top game for 2013.

Well to be honest, he isn't a fan of American's nationalism. Even though Ghosts is as far from that. Showing a desperate struggle by the US against a large threat

Adam Jensen:
Sometimes I feel like the only person on the planet who's played Shadow Warrior. An obvious choice for the game of the year. You all know it if you've played it.

HOLY SHIZ! Someone other than myself mentioned it on this forum. Same as you, I'm bewildered by how few people know of it. Especially Yahtzee since its made by the same guys who worked on Hard Reset & Painkiller. I got a feeling they took notes from Yahtzee's review of Hard Reset.

IrisNetwork:
HOLY SHIZ! Someone other than myself mentioned it on this forum. Same as you, I'm bewildered by how few people know of it. Especially Yahtzee since its made by the same guys who worked on Hard Reset & Painkiller. I got a feeling they took notes from Yahtzee's review of Hard Reset.

I think they did. The Hard Reset review included the line "I want to know cleaning up after the massacre will need a mop, not a broom", and Shadow Warrior includes a Viscera Cleanup Detail tie-in.

Johnny Novgorod:
I own BioShock Infinite and STILL haven't played it dammit. What's wrong with me? For once in my life I buy a game on the same year it's released and it turns out to be GOTY material and I haven't even played it yet.

Hah, don't feel too bad, that's par for the course for most of us. I have yet to play half of what I've bought.

On the other hand, I must be one of those weirdos who only liked Bioshock Infinite a reasonable amount. I found it a fun enough and competent game.

However, I am not in the camp of people who still thinks about the game, or found it some profound entry that remolds the landscape of videogaming.

Perhaps I feel this way b/c the buildup to its release raised a different series of expectations in me. Either way, still a competent game. And on the bright side, perhaps both DLC's will be out by the time to get to play it.

I was not thinking of Metal Gear until now, but now am interested. Ride to Hell: Retribution was a new one for me as I only hear extremely bad things about. I also have to get to Bioshock infinite, but caps I can only get to 5-10 games a month, tiny games.

canadamus_prime:
I haven't played most of those. Except for Bioshock: Infinite and I liked it. Although the ending kinda confused me.

Alright before I go into a general response here I'll give you the ending in a nutshell in the spoiler space below

SPOILER WARNING (in case it doesn't work)


-

I don't have a lot of time, but to answer a few questions about things like "How "Ghosts" could score so highly despite being panned here" understand that politics enters into it. Yahtzee, and other reviewers that pan "Ghost" do so largely for political reasons. You'll notice they go on endlessly about pro-Americanism, and how it's always the white Americans who are heroes, and how "paranoid" it is to present other nations as an aggressive military threat (even as real world tensions are building) and so on. Very little is generally said about the gameplay, not to mention that such reviews tend to overlook the other 50% of the population (perhaps more) that happens to disagree with the statements being made. I mean even now we have tons of tensions with Mexico and South America, immigration enforcement problems, saber rattling over trying to "re-conquer Texas" (long story, it's so far a fringe thing) and other issues. "Ghost" was pretty much the end of say "Machete" in reverse, where the Mexicans/South Americans "invading" the US are portrayed as being the bad guys, and rather than in an over the top "exploitation" movie it's done with a Tom Clancy/James Bond type flair involving control of a US created super weapon (which vaguely reminds me of "Goldeneye") which is used on the US,
and then used on South America when control of it is regained as a way of ending the war. In short of you lean towards the left wing "peace at any price" movement, and particularly if you combine it with demanding legalization of illegal immigrants as opposed to deportion (and probably cheered for the political aspects of something like "Machete") your going to find "Ghost" a problem since it represents pretty much the opposite of everything you want to believe. The observant will also notice the whole comment about hating Chinese people Yahtzee inserted, but again that comes down to conflicts with China's robber economy, it's military build up, and increasing belligerence which has lead to them recently contesting US territory (Japan's territory is basically US territory given that we largely use Japan as our major foothold into the eastern world). Basically any kind of Pro-American game involving anything remotely connected to the real world tends to get attacked... including by left wingers into the US... and also a lot of the reviewers knocking this kind of stuff (like Yahtzee) aren't American to begin with.

Whether you agree with me on a lot of the specifics, understand it's not about quality or the type of game it is (personally I don't care for FPS shooters) it's entirely about the premise, and honestly most reviews tend to be pretty straightforward about it. Yahtzee seems to be fairly clear on that point in particular. The basic impression I get from assorted reviews is that if you want a decent FPS game and like the "Call Of Duty" gameplay style and formula, this is a decent game, it doesn't do anything radical, but polishes up and inserts some balance revisions into a classic formula. If your politically on the left, or tend to be at least moderately anti-American you'll hate the single player campaign, in part because it's not rehashing the same points made in previous games in terms of left wing War/Nukes are bad. Rather it's balancing the scales by showing things from the other direction for a change.

As far as "Road To Hell: Retribution" goes, I think it fairly deserves the flak it's getting. The problem is that the game fundamentally does not work, it's a broken, clunky, poorly designed mess. When it comes to the content that's probably less of a factor because the target audience seemed to be fans of things like "Sons Of Anarchy" with you stepping into the role of a villain more than a politically correct "lone wolf" you have to expect it to be pretty offensive on a basic level. The trick to something like that is to get you to like the bad guys despite being terrible, terrible, people and want to see them succeed anyway, it's very difficult to do, and they apparently failed here. Case in point for example in "Sons of Anarchy" there was a big thing where one of the "Sons" was temporarily ratting on them because the cops found out one of his grandparents (I think it was) wasn't white. While the sons were not a strictly "Aryan" gang they were "Whites only" and this information could in theory get him killed, or at least exiled as a traitor (and one "traitor" they dealt with had his tats forcibly removed with a blowtorch when he refused to remove them himself, albeit it wasn't the same kind of situation... but you can see why he'd be worried). This was resolved later when it was mentioned by I think Tig (Sergeant At Arms, basically 3rd in command) that it wasn't a big deal because if he was "white enough to list yourself that way on paperwork, your white enough for us" or something to that effect.... the backlash over this story arc/subplot was minimal, and kind of says something about the audience for crime drama when you expect the bad guys to be well... not good. The point here being that I don't think the content of this game was as big a deal as some said, if they had managed to make a good game out of it, it probably would have succeeded for a niche audience.... but they didn't, and really "Deep Silver" should by all accounts be ashamed of the quality of the game itself.

Therumancer:

canadamus_prime:
I haven't played most of those. Except for Bioshock: Infinite and I liked it. Although the ending kinda confused me.

Alright before I go into a general response here I'll give you the ending in a nutshell in the spoiler space below

SPOILER WARNING (in case it doesn't work)


-

Yeah, ok, however the game skilfully avoids explaining how, not only is there reality shifting, but also time travel involved. And one thing that bugs me is how Booker figures he can solve all his problems by just shifting to another reality where the problem is already solved. Also I'm rather unclear as to how people in one reality would feel the deaths of their counterparts in another reality. That doesn't make sense to me.

canadamus_prime:
Yeah, ok, however the game skilfully avoids explaining how, not only is there reality shifting, but also time travel involved. And one thing that bugs me is how Booker figures he can solve all his problems by just shifting to another reality where the problem is already solved. Also I'm rather unclear as to how people in one reality would feel the deaths of their counterparts in another reality. That doesn't make sense to me.

Time travel: Universes could be out of temporal sync with one another. Time travel could be observed as the result of moving to a reality that started its calendar and technological advances sooner or later than others.

Booker: He's not a good person. Booker is violent, angry and he tends to act before thinking, which is why he assumes he can solve all his problems in another reality. And it has a tendency to not work out for him because of it.

Universe connections: Same way that the coin always comes up heads: That's just how Infinite's multiverse theory works.

leet_x1337:
Universe connections: Same way that the coin always comes up heads: That's just how Infinite's multiverse theory works.

It does raise a bit of a plot hole, though:

Johnny Novgorod:
I own BioShock Infinite and STILL haven't played it dammit. What's wrong with me? For once in my life I buy a game on the same year it's released and it turns out to be GOTY material and I haven't even played it yet.

If you found yourself liking Elizabeth as much as I did, you'll never hear Pachelbell's Canon without shivering in empathic anger. I won't spoil it any further for you.

Gunner 51:

Johnny Novgorod:
I own BioShock Infinite and STILL haven't played it dammit. What's wrong with me? For once in my life I buy a game on the same year it's released and it turns out to be GOTY material and I haven't even played it yet.

If you found yourself liking Elizabeth as much as I did, you'll never hear Pachelbell's Canon without shivering in empathic anger. I won't spoil it any further for you.

I'm getting a lot of mixed emotions in this thread but I think I'll like it. I arrived pretty late at the 7th gen party so there're higher chances of me getting phazed by graphics and such. And I did play through Infinite until around my arrival to Columbia, to test the game, and looked very promising thus far. I don't mind plot holes or soi disant pretentiousness so long as the gameplay is fun.

I enjoyed Bioshock Infinite quite a lot. It felt like a fresh take on shooters altogether, with a strong story to back it up. It just invoked a strange feeling of a universe thrown off-balance, being created, torn down and re-created as you went along with it, and it worked quite well.

And there will always be people who don't enjoy certain games or movies etc, and we all have our reasons. I don't like Neon Genesis Evangelion. One of my friends doesn't like Silent Hill 2. Everyone has a say in it, I suppose.

But yes, I had a great time with Infinite. I'd say it's probably my game of the year as well.

mrdude2010:

Ovrad:

Daniel Lowery:
Yeah, Ghosts was so bad that I couldn't even bare to finish it, and certainly deserves to be the worst of the year, while Ride to Hell deserves worst of all time.

And yet somehow Ghosts made it to the Escapist's "Reader's Choice Game of the Year", while a ton of great games didn't...

It's the same problem with democracy: we let idiots vote.

Sorry but that's not the point. The candidates were handpicked by the Escapist staff. During the voting, barely no one from the community actually voted for that horrible game.

I wonder if they just got lazy on their selection or put it there as a joke. Either way, it's a shame an actual good game didn't get the slot.

Did yahtze just point out the worst game ever and challenged developers to make an even worse one, claiming it would never be done?

I enjoyed it, but I am frankly shocked XCom wasn't in the top 5. None of those were better, IMO, and Yahtzee praised it pretty highly.

Irumeru:
I enjoyed it, but I am frankly shocked XCom wasn't in the top 5. None of those were better, IMO, and Yahtzee praised it pretty highly.

XCom: Enemy Unknown was on last year's top five.

The Bureau was a game he hated, and he didn't review Enemy Within.

all meh the meh king Yahtzee!!!!

Oh come on, Ghosts wasn't that bad. A tad repetitive perhaps but certainly not bad.

canadamus_prime:

Therumancer:

canadamus_prime:
I haven't played most of those. Except for Bioshock: Infinite and I liked it. Although the ending kinda confused me.

Alright before I go into a general response here I'll give you the ending in a nutshell in the spoiler space below

SPOILER WARNING (in case it doesn't work)


-

Yeah, ok, however the game skilfully avoids explaining how, not only is there reality shifting, but also time travel involved. And one thing that bugs me is how Booker figures he can solve all his problems by just shifting to another reality where the problem is already solved. Also I'm rather unclear as to how people in one reality would feel the deaths of their counterparts in another reality. That doesn't make sense to me.

SPOILER

[Spoiler] Well, their way of writing around this seems to be that Elizabeth actually makes most of the decisions and does the driving. I don't think time travel was ever really involved, so much as visiting different realities where different things had happened or where time had moved along at a different pace.

To begin with it's fairly straightforward where the plan is to simply visit a parallel dimension where a bunch of guns were constructed and bring them through to arm a revolution. However Booker winds up getting caught up in the events of that alternate world as opposed to the simple act of finding and bringing through some gun crates. This is where the game starts to really fall apart in terms of it's narrative, since really everything happening at that point is out of context of the beginning of the game, and any character you meet can be argued to be potentially very different from the ones Booker was dealing with to begin with. Basically the longer the game goes on, the less anything you do potentially matters because your no longer even working with the world you started with.

The "Future Elizabeth" meeting is one where she more or less pulled *A* Booker through, but half the point is that it's basically impossible to say if it's your Elizabeth, if your her Booker, and if it's simply a case where a couple of specific events match up. Something made clear when you see tons of alternative Elizabeths and Bookers during the finale.

Pretty much things wind up mattering so little your basic objective is "let's go to Paris" which makes sense because how do you even meet up with the people you think hired you when they are in a totally separate reality. The whole ending after the big skyship battle is pretty much a giant "Stop, okay this is just kind of pointless" moment because really the Comstock you whacked isn't even the guy from your original dimension, and really I was kind of wondering briefly if as a surprise it was going to turn out there wasn't a Paris in the dimension you were in (and say fly over empty ocean when you hit the coordinates) but it didn't go that far.

At the end of the day it seems like Booker is being kind of guided into the "solution" though he makes the decision to sacrifice himself. Presumably Elizabeth hatched the plan you see with other Elizabeths since you had them all converging at once.

Overall yeah... it's a mess, it makes a degree of sense, but it was a cop out "infinite paradox" ending. I get the impression that the developers made this game, couldn't think of a profound ending for it, so just basically squeezed out one of the most stereotypical "artsy" sci-fi resolutions.

Perhaps some of the DLC will wrap it up better, but I doubt it. Before you get into the "Anna crying" scene the basic gist of the thing is that nothing that happened during the game happened anywhere, and what's more as the "twins" point out even Booker's own recollections (what you think happened) could be considered spotty. Booker/Comstock and Elizabeth cease to exist, there is never a Columbia and apparently "real world history" happens as a result. [/spoiler]

Enlong:

Irumeru:
I enjoyed it, but I am frankly shocked XCom wasn't in the top 5. None of those were better, IMO, and Yahtzee praised it pretty highly.

XCom: Enemy Unknown was on last year's top five.

The Bureau was a game he hated, and he didn't review Enemy Within.

You're right. For some reason I thought he reviewed EW.

I am a bit surprised that Y-Man picked Bioshock Infinite as G.O.T.Y. There were some glaring flaws in it that just couldn't be ignored.

#1 What did Elizabeth think was going to happen when she supported the Rebels - Comstock would admit he was wrong and give minorities the right to vote?? Of course there was going to be a war.

"Nothing worse than a monster who thinks he's right with God"
- Mal (TV Show Firefly)

#2 How does the game go from making a tangible, passionate case regarding social inequality/slavery (arguably THE issue of our day) to a soft-science yarn-ball on the subject of alternate reality? What waste of great material.

#3 It was hard enough to believe that Andrew Ryan was able to scare up the resource to make Rapture from the bottom of the sea, but where exactly are the steel/wood/bronze mines in the clouds? OR, if anyone was importing that much material from the surface, how would nobody notice and start hiking commodity prices, thus making people on the surface go looking for someone to blame/sue/kill over it????

#4 Many props in the game are from much later in time (the radios are late 1930's/1940's design).

#5 W.T.F. is it with every building having a ticket booth (even in some of the homes). It is possible to reuse the same textures too much.

#6 The "Song Bird" plot line is lame. Not nearly well enough explained and its connection with Elizabeth is very arbitrary.

#7 Feels like a game that simply lost its way, or lacked firm direction to keep the pieces in sync. I would vote it "Biggest Disappointment of the Year".

Really glad to see Revengeance made it onto the list... the good side of the list, I mean. Also those description for each rank were by far the most entertaining of any top five list yet.

Metal Gear Rising was awesome. Loved that game. Game of the year for me.

This year was pretty bad when you consider mainstream gaming.

Spec Ops wa really beautiful,but also had some of the cheapest deaths and walling mechanics in years :( still glad to experience it!

Spec Ops wa really beautiful,but also had some of the cheapest deaths and walling mechanics in years :( still glad to experience it!

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