Wednesday, December 11, 2013

EXP Podcast #254: 2013 Games of the Year

Is Ride to Hell our GOTY? Probably not.
2013 is coming to a close and it was, well, a strange one. As is tradition, it is time to choose and discuss our personal selection of favorite games! Join us this week as we revisit some of this year's best, and be sure to come back next week when we talk about all the big games that didn't quite make our list. Of course we would love to hear from you. What were your top three games of 2013?

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Show notes:

- Runtime: 40 min 07 sec
- Music by: Brad Sucks


  1. After listening to you two I wish my experience with Brothers had been more positive. How did you two feel about the ultimate fate of the older brother? For me the decision to follow the woman into the cave and what then happens inside felt out of character, and a reliance on a trite and sexist trope. For her to turn from damsel to literal "spider woman" was so frustrating that it overshadowed the entire ending for me.

    I'm with both of you on Gone Home, for me it was particularly interesting how it uses a lot of the language of the "immersive sim", and echos how you explored and interacted with the environment in System Shock or Thief.

    Tomb Raider was probably my favourite game this year too (with an exception I'll get) and I agree with Jorge across the board. It manages to achieve this absolutely appropriate sense of messiness in the combat without resorting to mechanics that are themselves messy or unclear. I doubt it'll work for everybody, and it's all an illusion in the end because no matter what happens you'll just start again from the last checkpoint; but when you come down to it all games are illusionary what matters is the veracity and coherence of that illusion.

    I believe Square-Enix have confirmed there will be another Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamics.

    I have yet to try Rogue Legacy, though my girlfriend has now become hooked on it.

    One last thing... Android Netrunner is so good! It's my real game of the year even though I think it technically came out in 2012.

  2. Neat picks, guys! I, uh, have yet to play any of them! This year seemed to splinter people into pursuing a lot of little side games that fit their niches.

    Top 10 Games of 2013:

    1. Papers, Please.
    2. The Cat Lady (Original release in 2012, Released on Steam in 2013).
    3. The Stanley Parable Demo.
    4. Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies.
    5. Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
    6. Saint's Row IV.
    7. The Journey Down: Chapter One (Steam release in 2013).
    8. The Last of Us (Really surprised I liked it so much).
    9. Betrayer.
    10. BioShock Infinite's Art Direction.

    There's A LOT of stuff that I didn't get to play or delve into this year that deserves mention: Tomb Raider, Zeno Clash II, Antichamber, Outlast, Ittle Dew, The Swapper, A Link Between Worlds, etcetera. I'm sure I would like this stuff, I mean, on principle.

    Least-Enjoyable-Game-For-Me-Personally-Of-The-Year: Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.

    Best things on the horizon (hopefully): No Man's Sky, Wasteland 2, and Bravely Default.

  3. Really? I absolutely LOVED Sly Cooper! What didn't you like about it?

  4. Papers please! Of course! Definitely deserves a mention.

    Meanwhile, have you guys played SpaceChem or Frozen Synapse yet?

  5. SpaceChem is glorious. I couldn't really get into Frozen Synapse, though; it seemed like a lot of tedious micromanagement. Plenty of people seem to really like it, though, so maybe I'll give it another chance.

  6. I'm really put off by micromanagement, so can't say that's been my experience of FS.

    I suppose you do have four (or fewer) soldiers to plan for, and if you want to win also the enemy soldiers (it's always handy to plot out possible enemy moves before you set your little dudes up to intercept them), but even then it's at most 8 dudes to keep an eye on. No RTS-style resource management or any of that stuff.

    I get a similar feeling of "OH YES" when accurately predicting what my opponent will do and countering as I do when solving a complex SpaceChem system - but in a fraction of the time. (Oh, okay, not quite as good, but still damn satisfying.)

  7. Woohoo! I'm glad I'm not crazy w/ my Tomb Raider love.

    Also, my Netrunner love keeps swirling. I'm about to buy a second core set so I can round out the cards that only came in a pair.

  8. I just picked up Papers, Please on the Steam sale and it's great. I enjoyed the demo version released earlier in the year, but this is definitely an improvement. I think I'm still happy w/ my list, but Papers, Please probably would have been fourth.

  9. Yea, Papers, Please would make #4 on my list.

    As for SpaceChem and Frozen Synapse, I've played both! SpaceChem is glorious and remarkably educational.

    Frozen Synapse was good too, but I didn't have many friends to play it with by the time I picked it up and it just never clicked for me.

  10. Well... if you want to take on someone who loves it but doesn't get to play it all that often, I'm OzLefty76 on Steam.

  11. I thought the visual transition went well; it certainly looked like Sly Cooper on next-gen, but I don't know, I got to "The Grizz" and I stopped. I guess I felt the villains didn't measure up to the previous games'. That being said I did really like Cooper's ancestors. I wish they'd have been given more time. Should I keep going, you think?

  12. It's everything great about depressing Russo Lit in game form!

  13. If the bosses make or break it for you, it won't get any better, I'm afraid. Still, the gameplay is fantastic, and the levels are all very well-designed. For me, it was Bentley's hacking minigames that were the turnoff. Didn't stop me from getting that Platinum trophy, though.