In the next few posts, we at Progress Bar have a treat for you with our deliberations for the best (or worst) games for 2013. In addition to the standard “Top of the Pops” lists, we have decided to create our own awards to showcase the various elements of each individual game’s quality, based on their own merits. There are 12 awards in total so take a load off and strap yourself in for this exciting experience.
The Eargasm Award
Awarded to a game that made us go insane with delight solely for the music design or track selection.
Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
The soundtrack and sound design of A Link Between Worlds stands out amongst the greats in a series well known for its iconic music and audio cues. Everything from the puzzle solving chime to sword swipes are masterfully done here, especially for a handheld title. There are some great, creative new songs to be found in the various dungeons of Lorule, but where LBW truly shines is in its reimagining of some classic themes from A Link to the Past. Hyrule Field, Kakariko Village and the Dark World themes have never sounded so good. The music of Skyward Sword was enjoyable, but Nintendo have really managed to recapture the magic of classic Zelda with LBW’s soundtrack.
Honourable mentions: Assassin’s Creed IV (Sea Shanties), Gone Home, Grand Theft Auto V, Resogun and Final Fantasy XIV
The OMGWTFBBQ Award
Awarded to a game that surpassed our expectations and left us slightly stunned, questioning why we thought it would be disappointing in the first place.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Even though it came from a series that had experienced massive highs just a scant three years prior, there was no guarantee that Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag was going to be worth playing at all. However, despite the dreary doldrums of Assassin’s Creed 3’s protagonist, story, location and atmosphere, Ubisoft got back in sync with the desires of it’s consumers with it’s piratical romp across the West Indies. With stunning visuals, a strong plot, a loveable lead and a memorable, sea-shanty based soundtrack, Black Flag reminded us all not to count this aging franchise out yet.
Path of Exile
Path of Exile has recently been released to the world as an amazing, free to play loot based, dungeon crawler that pits you and up to 5 friends against bandits, monsters and various other creepy crawlies. Don’t let the “Free to play” tag deter you, the game is financed only by “ethical micro-transactions” and the developers live up to this decision by not locking any content save for cosmetics.
It’s really interesting to see something other than money work so well as a currency system and tie into the world’s setting of inventing it’s own. After a few hours the game opens up immensely and you can become any character you desire using the vast web of 1350 nodes that provide passive bonuses to your character.It’s the most open game i’ve played in a long while and leaves me amazed that a game could have so much time and care put into it to make it a great experience for all.
Honourable mentions: Forza Motorsport 5, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Grand Theft Auto V
The Underachiever Award
Awarded to a game (or thing) which just didn’t live up to everything it was cracked up to be.
OUYA (Just in General)
For something that was hyped out the wazoo as much as the OUYA was, boy did it turn out to be disappointing. We were never under the impression that it would outperform an Xbox or PC but that didn’t deter people collectively putting together $8,596,474 expecting the be-all and end-all of the console generation. What people got instead was a beta of a console that had a controller that was meant for a 5 year old with poor reflexes, an interface layout that was obviously in need of some QA testing and some code that wasn’t copied directly from a smartphone.
Even after multiple updates, the console is severely lacking in something good that speaks to the gaming world. There was no specific launch title to bring gamers in and the rest of the console has turned out to be a pile of steaming… disappointment.
Honourable mentions: Batman: Arkham Origins, Fuse, Bioshock: Infinite, Xcom The Bureau, Need for Speed: Rivals, Rome II: Total War
In the coming days there are still 9 more awards to give out and our GOTY lists to discuss so stay tuned!