As most gamers should know, the passing of the current year always seems to evoke the feelings that it was a better, more interesting, more disappointing, or more dangerous year than the previous twelve months. The community and industry of gaming is not an exception to this phenomenon, with the constant refinement of technology and increasing number of overly anticipated titles. It appears as though there is an increasing number of entries in flagship franchises, exclusive first or third-party titles, reboots of franchises, or games that are promising the latest in gaming innovations. 2013 was chock full of all of this and more and the final results of the year beg the question, “Was this the greatest or most disappointing year for gaming thus far?”
It could go both ways.
2013 kicked off quite strongly. It was the year where next generation consoles would finally fall into the hands of anxious gamers and new entries in popular series such as Bioshock, GTA, Pokemon, and Batman would make the rounds.
The year started off with mixed feelings, as the new reincarnation of Dante in DMC left gamers either elated or sorely disappointed. Ni No Kuni came to America around the same time. It was heralded by JRPG fans and is arguably one of the best games to come to the west for some time. Both titles quickly faded into the horizon, however, as the next group of big blockbusters entered the arena.
March brought two games that the public had been awaiting for years. Bioshock Infinite was hailed by both critics and players alike for its fantastic story and unique world. However, some regarded its shooting mechanics as poor in regards to the high quality of the rest of the game. Tomb Raider suffered from the opposite problem. While the gameplay was undeniably the most fun and exciting part of the experience, the story felt weak to many. However, both games are regarded as two of the best titles of the year, with Tomb Raider even appearing on SheAttack’s Top 10 Games from the 7th Generation.
March also brought the mediocre God of War: Ascension and the let’s-forget-that-ever-happened Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. I’m not going to elaborate further on The Walking Dead because, like I said, let’s forget that ever happened. Survival what?
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and Fire Emblem: Awakening stormed the handheld scene during this time as well with both garnering quite positive reviews. Awakening in particular has been lauded as the best title to come to the 3DS thus far, bringing back life and new fans to the Fire Emblem franchise. The addition of Animal Crossing: New Leaf stole every last minute from gamers and left many feeling quite satisfied with their 3DS purchases for the first time in a while.
June also brought the hottest new and PS3 exclusive title of the year, The Last of Us. Landing near perfect reviews from across the internet, TLOU managed to win Game of the Year on IGN and make a comfortable home in the lists of many gamers’ “Best Games of the Last Console Cycle.” June also brought us, Deadpool: The Game, a game quite differently received. Both were released within the span of a week and a half.
The summer seemed quiet, with anticipation brewing for the countless titles spewing out in the fall. However, one lone title, Pikmin 3, became the first truly great game for the Wii U. Grand Theft Auto V was the next behemoth to drop, gathering almost as much accolade as TLOU. The release of Pokemon X and Y brought a fresh take on the long-running series, and giving gamers another excuse to polish off their 3DSes. However, the rest of the year seemed to spiral downward after these two titles.
Batman: Arkham Origins and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, while being good games, managed to be two of the biggest disappointments of the year. Many gamers regarded Black Flag as a fantastic pirate game, but not a fantastic Assassin’s Creed game. People played it to fire cannons at ships and search for treasure, not to learn more about Templars and their latest evil plot. Similarly, Arkham Origins was a pretty good action game, but it brought nothing new to the highly praised Batman series and felt much more restricted in scope than previous entries.
However, by far the biggest disappointment of the year was none other than Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls. People either loved it, hated it, or thought it would make a much better movie. Interactive story games can be hard to give an overall opinion to, but most gamers agreed Heavy Rain had a better story and brought innovation to the world of gaming almost four years prior.
Super Mario 3D World was the second title of the year that managed to bring in sales for the Wii U, gathering mostly positive reactions from Mario and non-Mario fans alike. However, the game failed to leave a final impact for the year.
So now that big question from way up top should be answered. Was 2013 the greatest or most disappointing year in gaming? I would have to say it was both.
2013 will forever be remembered as the year that managed to give players The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V, Bioshock Infinite, and Pokemon X and Y all within mere months. Also, the sheer amount of big games released this year seems to be much higher than usual, although the introduction of new consoles is probably partially to blame.
However, the disappointments this year seemed to come in a large wave towards the end of the year, leaving a bad taste in many gamers’ mouths. Next generation consoles have still failed to leave any noticeable mark just yet as well, and the year neither began nor started with a big bang.
While it can be argued that great successes and huge disappointments are normal and occur every year in the gaming world, the problem this year was the noticeability of the two extremes.