2013 Year in Review

Here’s my first brand new post on my brand new blog!  I can’t believe its been over 2 years since my last post!  Well, I can, kind of.  I haven’t done too much outside of work for the past 1 3/4 years which kind of explains it.

Anyways!  I’ve imported most of the content from my old Gamefaqs blog.  I stopped posting on Gamefaqs while they got their shit together, which never really happened, then they got rid of most of the user pages entirely so my already rare enough blog posts got even scarcer.  Anyways, I think this is a better place for my blogs since it gives me a bit more control over the look and contents of the blog.

So, without further ado, let’s get this started!

What I got in 2013

  • Aliens: Colonial Marines – Collector’s Edition (360)
  • Animal Crossing New Leaf (3DS)
  • Ascend: Hand of Kul
  • Batman: Arkham Origins (WiiU)
  • Battlefield 4 (360)
  • Bioshock Infinite – Premium Edition (360)
  • Bit Trip Presents…Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (WiiU DD)
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts (WiiU)
  • Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (XBLA)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (3DS)
  • The Cave (WiiU DD)
  • Chasing Aurora (WiiU DD)
  • Cloudberry Kingdom (WiiU DD)
  • Dark (360)
  • Dead Space 3 – Limited Edition (360)
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening (XBLA)
  • Doritos Crash Course 2 (XBLA)
  • Duck Tales Remastered (WiiU)
  • Fable III (XBLA)
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
  • Gears of War (XBLA)
  • Halo 3 (XBLA)
  • Hybrid (XBLA)
  • I Am Alive (XBLA)
  • Jet Set Radio (XBLA)
  • Killer is Dead (360)
  • The Last of Us – Survival Edition (PS3)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD – Special Edition (WiiU)
  • LEGO City Undercover (WiiU)
  • Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
  • Metro Last Light – Limited Edition (360)
  • Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes (XBLA)
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (3DS)
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (WiiU)
  • Need for Speed Most Wanted U (WiiU)
  • NiGHTS into Dreams (XBLA)
  • Ni No Kuni – Wizard Edition (PS3)
  • Pandora’s Tower (Wii) x2
  • Pokemon Y (3DS)
  • Puddle (WiiU)
  • Rayman Legends (WiiU)
  • Shoot Many Robots (XBLA)
  • Spartacus Legends (XBLA)
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist (WiiU)
  • State of Decay (XBLA)
  • Super Luigi U (WiiU)
  • Tomb Raider – Collector’s Edition (360)
  • Unchained Blades (3DSWare)
  • The Wolf Among Us – Episode 1 (XBLA)
  • A World of Keflings (XBLA)
  • World Series of Poker: Full House Pro (XBLA)
  • The Wonderful 101 (Wii U)

This list is significantly shorter than my previous “Years worth of buying” list.  I haven’t been buying or playing as many games recently as I have in previous years, focusing instead on a growing movie collection.

I did notice while compiling this list that there’s an abundance of XBLA games.  Part of that is due to the growth of free to play games on Xbox Live like Happy Wars and Spartacus.  I haven’t really invested too much time into these games since I’m not too fond of the free 2 play model but I add them to my account anyways.  Another reason for the number of digital 360 games is Xbox’s recent Games 4 Gold program where they give free games to XBL Gold members.  Most of these games are old, some dating back to the first year or two of the console.  I’d already owned most of the retail games they’ve offered for download like Rainbow Six Vegas, Halo 3, and Gears of War, I did appreciate some of the XBLA games they added.  They recently announced the upcoming games will be Sleeping Dogs and Lara Croft and the Temple of Light, neither of which I have so that’s kind of exciting.

Year in Review

So 2013 was a big year in gaming having seen the launch of two major new consoles as well as seeing the rise of the microconsole with the likes of the Ouya and the Steam Machines (I understand they’re only in Beta but they’re in the hands of gamers now and they’re big enough news as it is).

I haven’t picked up either a PS4 or Xbone yet.  Still, I can’t say I’m chomping at the bit to get one.  The most memorable features on the new consoles seem to be the expanded social features which I can’t say are really driving me to purchase one.  Sure they’re meatier machines but that’s not really enough to make me want either machine.  On the other hand, I was there day one to get a Wii U and while it hasn’t been doing great, what little it has gotten has been well worth it.

The Wii U hasn’t done great in 2013.  Nintendo had a full year’s head start on the competition but all but squandered it, only really picking things up towards the end of the year when the new consoles’ releases were nigh.  That said, its not ALL doom and gloom for the Wii U, at least in Japan.  Wii U sales have been steadily rising for the Wii U week after week to the point  where last week it outsold every non-Nintendo platform in the country combined, over nearly 110k units in a week.  The caveat of course is that the Xbox One and the PS4 have yet to launch in Japan so who knows what the system will do once they do launch.  Considering the 360’s support in Japan, its difficult to see the Xbox One do so much better that it destroys the Wii U in that country but the PS4 is certainly something to watch out for.

On the games side, the Wii U saw some amazing releases.  Mario 3D World has gotten some glowing reviews, including Eurogamer’s GotY, Rayman Legends is an absolute joy to play, and Wonderful 101 is another unique game from Platinum.  Even the late ports released this year have reviewed well like Need For Speed Most Wanted U and Deus Ex Human Revolution Director’s Cut.  Unfortunately for Deus Ex, Square-Enix basically killed it with its pricing.  After being delayed for PS3 and 360 ports, the Wii U version released for $50 compared to the other systems’ $30.  The defense I’ve heard is simply that its a new game for the Wii U so it costs more while its a re-release for other systems.  Its a stupid argument, really.  While it may be a new release for one console, its still the same game being released elsewhere for $20 less.  Its the same issue with Mass Effect 3 on the Wii U.  When it was first released on Wii U the game was a full $60, which is already too much for a port nearly a year after its original release.  To add insult to injury, shortly before Mass Effect’s WIi U release, EA released the entire Mass Effect Trilogy on other platforms for the same price.  I’m sorry but how could EA really expect any sort of decent sales from a release like that?

Looking at other platforms, Bioshock Infinte was one of the major blockbusters this year though when I finally did play it a few months after its release I couldn’t help but be disappointed in it in just about every way.  The story, though dealing with the interesting subject of multiple realities, was never interesting.  The gameplay was incredibly boring and while the the idea for the setting was brilliant, a floating city based on a skewed interpretation of the founding fathers’ ideals, the execution was incredibly bland.  The fact that the city was floating was rarely reflected in the gameplay.  The only real concession to it was the fact that skyrails are placed all over the place but they’re not particularly well integrated into the exploration and they break the combat since you can spam some incredibly powerful abilities related to them.  Its easily my least favorite Bioshock game and its incredibly positive critical reception will forever puzzle me.

Other big games this year included Aliens: Colonial Marines, which Gearbox completely dropped the ball on.  Tomb Raider was a great game though more of a shooter now than a dungeon crawling puzzle game and not a reboot I felt was particularly necessary.  Dead Space 3, while an incredibly fun co-op action game has strayed from its horror roots much faster than Resident Evil did.  Call of Duty Ghosts feels incredibly bland.  Though I haven’t tried the multiplayer out yet, it feels far lower in quality than last year’s Black Ops 2.  Battlefield 4 had some serious struggles early on but its getting back on its feet and I’m really loving it so far.  Later on I’ll try to do a post more directly dedicated to my time in Battlefield but that day is not today.

The 3DS seems like it can do no wrong with amazing game following amazing game and sales that are the envy of every platform maker.  I, unfortunately don’t play it as much as I used to.  For a while earlier in the year I was getting a steady stream of Street Passes and multiplayer in games like Animal Crossing and Monster Hunter.  I’m wlso really looking forward to getting A Link Between Worlds.

I think that’s about it for my look back at 2013.  2014 is looking very exciting as the new consoles continue to grow, perhaps convincing me to pick one up at some point.  The Wii U has an amazing lineup of games tentatively schedules for next year like Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros, and Mario Kart.

Now to return to one of my favorite features, The LE Review!  This time we have what I’m sure was many a media outlet’s biggest disappointment in 2013

Aliens: Colonial Marines Collector’s Edition

 Aliens: ColonialMarines


Included:

  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Powerloader Figurine
  • USCM Dossier
  • In-Game DLC

Aliens: Colonial Marines:

    Your copy of the game disc

Powerloader Figurine

    : A reasonably sized figurine/statuette depicting a colonial marine fighting a xenomorph with a power loader.

USCM Dossier

      : This is an envelope filled with in-universe documents including a Mission Briefing, USS Sephora Schematic, Recruitment Card, LV-426 Recon Photo, USCM Iron-On Badges, and a USCM Graduation Certificate.

In-Game DLC

        : The two included DLC packs are mostly for multiplayer items like playable characters from the movie Aliens (Private Hudson, Corporal Hicks, Private Drake, and Sargent Apone), Ripley’s Flamethrower, Phase Plasma Rifle, and Sonic Electronic BallBreakers.
    Aliens: Colonial Marines is probably the most notorious games of 2013.  The game had a ton of pre-release hype which the game ultimately failed to deliver on.  In the midst of the hype and its positioning as a blockbuster triple A title, Sega announced an expensive Collector’s Edition to support the game.
    The main event of this Edition is the power loader figurine.  I’ve made mention in previous review that I’m not fond of overly large statues or figurines but there is something about this figurine that I really liked.  I’m not sure if its the statue’s size, which is large enough to be detailed and impressive but not too large that its difficult or awkward to find a place for, or if its the subject matter, which I am in love with.
    The USCM dossier is interesting.  The documents are neat, particularly the Sephora schematic, which is printed on vellum so it is partially transparent, and the dossier which looks as if it was printed on a dot matrix printer from the movie.  The rest of the documents are printed on more standard materials.  It would’ve been nice if the “recon photo” was printed on materials more reminiscent of the photograph its supposed to be.  The patches are nice and all.  I wouldn’t put them on anything myself but I can’t make any complaints as to their quality.
    Its hard to judge the in-game dlc.  Its certainly interesting stuff.  The additional characters and items are something any Aliens fan would enjoy.  The issue is, of course, that the game isn’t that great.  In addition, the dlc is mostly for the multiplayer mode and I’m not sure how big an interest there is in the multiplayer mode, even putting aside the final quality of the game.  If the game was supposed to be a new canon entry in the franchise then you would think fans would want things to enhance the canon experience they came for instead of adding additional bells and whistles for an afterthought of a multiplayer mode.
    The original price for this Edition was about $100, which is far too much considering the quality of the final game.  The figurine is pretty awesome as is the box, which combines with the figurine to make a pretty cool scene of the marine putting up a fight while being overrun.  The rest of the items in the box, while nice, don’t scream must-have.  However, this guy can be found online relatively cheap.  I found mine for $30, which I think is fair for the statue and hey, it comes with a game too…