Best Games of 2013
Best games of 2013 rated by general popularuty - in no particular order.
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag
Assassin's Creed 4 is something of a return to form for Ubisoft's open-world series. The action shifts from gloomy Colonial US to the sunny Caribbean and swaps the po-faced teenager Conner Kenway for his grandad pirate, Edward. Players should expect tons of quests, targets and buildings to climb, but best of all, it furnishes them with their own galleon, The Jackdaw. Players can explore the seven seas, engaging in naval battles, hunting sharks and even diving to the bottom of the ocean in search of treasure. Utterly essential on any platform you happen to own - although on the next generation is looks just a little bit prettier.
One this year's most addictive games was actually released on PC last year. Fortunately for console owners, Blizzard has done a fantastic job in porting over its superb dungeon crawler for the PS3 and the Xbox 360. Controls are tight and intuitive, menus are easy to navigate and co-op play is seamless. There's never been a better time to go to hell. Bring some friends.
While it may look like a Skylanders rip-off, Disney Infinity is actually the video game equivalent of emptying a toy chest onto the floor and making your own magic with its contents. The game's campaign mode is positively anorexic, but its Toy Box mode is a veritable candy shop for those with imagination. Here, you can create your own races, obstacles courses, constructions and challenges. You can then share them online, as well as 'borrow' the toy sets of other players. The requirement to buy more plastic figurines to unlock content is a little bit of a kick in the teeth, but overall, this is a must-have for gamers with children.
Lego Marvel Superheroes
Traveller's Tales delivers yet another magical Lego title this time weaving its adorable spell over the Marvel universe. Iron Man, Spiderman, Captain America, Wolverine and more are available for players to take control of, and while the lion's share of the action adheres to the standard Lego gameplay template, there are enough new kinks to make every thing feel fresh. The story is pulpy, but dead funny, and contains enough in-jokes and references to keep True Believers happy. A fantastic video game for players of all ages.
DICE's shooter looks every bit the part of a COD killer this year. While its campaign isn't the main draw here - although it's a substantial improvement on the one contained in Battlefield 3 - the game's online mode is a thing of beauty. Up to 64 players can wage pitched battles across a series of maps and match types, using a vast array of weapons, equipment and vehicles. There's even space for a couple of commanders to direct the troops on the field with second screen functionality. To top it all off, the game's destrcutible environments include massive set-pieces - such as dropping a skyscraper into the middle of a battlefield - which change both the map layout and the environmental dynamics. The new Frostbite 3 engine makes all the action look utterly eye-watering. Arguably one the best shooters from this or any year.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
While its title may hint that Call of Duty: Ghosts is a quieter entry in this FPS series than its predecessors, don't be fooled. Set 10 years after the collapse of the USA as a superpower, Ghosts follows the fortunes of several spec ops soldiers as they pick their way through the wreckage of the West. Developed by the Modern Warfare creators, Infinity Ward, with a script from the writer behind the movie Traffic, Stephen Gaghan, Ghosts comes packaged with a frenetic multiplayer and a decent co-op mode in which players battle alien dogs. It may be a case of 'business as usual' with this franchise, but, hey, business is good.
DmC: Devil May Cry
Ninja Theory's entry in Capcom's famed hack-'n-slash series may have dropped right at the beginning of the year, but what can we say? It made an impression. Rather than simply slavishly follow the stylistic dictates of the game's predecessors, the Cambridge-based developer has brought its own Western visual flare to the universe of Dante and demons. In this world, the forces of Hell caused the banking crisis, witches create inter-dimensional portals using street art, hackers are on the side of angels and soft drinks are literally made out of demon urine. Best of all, the series' fabled combat mechanics are present and correct - as is Dante's cocky arrogance. Unsheathe those swords, people
FIFA 14 has tried to mould itself much closer into a more modern representation of the game putting the emphasis on simulation more than it has ever before. The tweaks and improved game engine mechanics feel more substantial and noticeable than they have done in the last few FIFA games and while it should make it a tougher game to master, it should still offer that same satisfying football feeling. We have to say, though, that if you have the option, pick this one up on a next generation console. The Ingnition engine makes FIFA 14 makes the on-pitch action look more realistic than ever.
Batman Arkham Origins
Built using the in-game engine from Batman: Arkham City, Arkham Origins keeps most of the same gameplay as its predecessor, but bolts a brand new story and environment on. In Origins, the villain Black Mask has placed a $50m bounty on the Dark Knight's head, attracting every bounty hunter and assassin in Gotham to hunt Batman through the streets. Action is still the same satisfying cocktail of brutal combat, puzzle solving and terrorising bad guys in Predator rooms. There's even a rather interesting online mode to get stuck into - just try to avoid fighting over who has to play Robin.
On the surface, BioShock Infinite is the story of a hired gun out to save a kidnapped beauty in a floating city. But with thinking-man's developer Ken Levine at the helm, it is so much more than that; it's plot delves into quantam physics, alternate realities and it even points an accusing finger at fans of shooters and questions the legitimacy of their form of entertainment. Between its high-minded plotting and its gorgeously presented world, this is arguably one of the best games made for this generation of console and a culturally important title for the medium.
This year churned aout a lot of great games, couldn't fit 'em all! Now parden me I got a session of SWTOR to get back to.