best of 2013 – games

This is the final section I put together for the ‘Best of 2013‘ post for the Forbidden Planet International blog, which never appeared due to length.

I play various video games, but not as much as my husband Martin, who has offered a selection of titles he’s enjoyed this year, which are mostly PC-based and/or Indie. BioShock Infinite was considered (and not included – and we were both fans of the previous games), and we haven’t played The Last of Us.

I can certainly vouch for the first game on the list.

Tomb Raider
Genre: Action/Adventure
Designer: Darrel Gallagher
Writer: Rhianna Pratchett
Developer: Crystal Dynamics; Publisher: SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive

Pros: Well-paced, great writing, multiple approaches to most encounters, can develop character as stealthy, melee-focused, expert archer.
Cons: Some environment bugs – e.g. Tomb of the last adventurer can become unsolvable.

Path of Exile
Genre: Action RPG
Developer/Publisher: Grinding Gear Games

Pros: Complex open-ended character progression. Dark, gritty world. Currency items provide respite from bad luck with item drops. New approach to potions.
Cons: Tiresome inventory management, server lag. As with most ARPGs, story and action are like siblings that don’t talk any more – connected but separate.

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Designer: Dustin Browder
Writers: Chris Metzen, Brian Kindregan
Developer/Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

Pros: Highly polished, great story, everything you expect from Blizzard.
Cons: Sexualisation of Zerg Kerrigan is problematic.

Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy
Genre: Roguelike
Developer: Cellar Door Games
Pros: Sense of progression (legacy) without toning down what’s the core of roguelikes: dying … a lot.
Cons: You’re completely at the mercy of luck which can make the first few generations very frustrating.

Eador: Masters of the Broken World
Genre: Turn-based Strategy
Developer/Publisher: Snowbird Games

Pros: Solid turn-based strategy. Plenty of complexity and choice, affecting which buildings you must build to produce the units that can support your chosen heroes.
Cons: Random events happening that you cannot afford/handle can defeat you before you even run into the enemy. Several frustrating gameplay bugs.

Thanks to Martin for taking the time to assemble the list!

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