It’s 2014, has been for about a week now, and our look back at one of the more mixed years worth of games in recent memory continues with another best and worst roundup! I already took the plunge and chose my picks for the best and worst horror games of the year that was, and now it’s time for the rest of Dead Pixel’s contributors to do the same. Some of these you may see coming, others could be surprising. Check them out after the jump!
BEST: The Last of Us. I know – HOW ORIGINAL. But as we step into a new year, it’s the one game that sank into my consciousness and stained the insides of mind long after I put down the controller. No the story isn’t particularly unique, but Naughty Dog’s break-taking presentation – coupled with the cast’s enviable voice work – often made it feel that way. It remains one of my favourite games of the generation, not just 2013.
WORST: … I don’t have one. I have no idea why not – hating games usually comes pretty easily to me – but if you want I can replay last year’s Resident Evil 6 and hate that again?
BEST: The Last of Us — This game had me crying in twenty minutes. You know what scene I’m talking about. The characters, the setting, the acting and the gameplay all adds up to one of the most unforgettable experiences on this generation. As Vicki said in her review, this is immersive interactive storytelling at it’s incredible, terrifying best. For the longest time this was my pick for the coveted number 1 spot, that was until I played…
The Swapper — Perfection’s a funny word. What does it even mean? Hell if I know. All I do know is that The Swapper achieves everything it strived for and more. From the gameplay that brilliantly compliments it’s story, the difficulty curve which only gives slight tutorials before leaving you to figure the game out for yourself and the fantastic yet dark ending, it’s perfect. I could go on, which I did in my review, but to put it simply, The Swapper is my Game of the Year, go play it.
WORST: Deadly Premonition Director’s Cut — I have it on good authority that the original game on the Xbox 360 is actually functional and perhaps even good. I wouldn’t know, as my only experience with the game is through the PC version which is just atrocious. From the quicktime events that rarely work to the horrible gun mechanics, this is simply a horrid game that pretty much broke me.
BEST: Year Walk — Based on a Swedish legend, of sorts, Year Walk uses the iOS platform better than any game I’ve played. The controls are unique, the environment is sparsely beautiful, and the puzzles are challenging, which is why it deserves a spot on the list. Don’t forget to download the companion app, as well.
Knock-Knock — A surreal and somewhat overlooked game from last fall, Knock-Knock is an unnerving little game about a paranoid house-dwelled (named The Lodger) whose job is to keep the lights on in the house so the spirits won’t haunt him. It builds to a weird crescendo and is a blast to play while wearing headphones.
The Walking Dead: 400 Days — The first season was a soul-wrenching experience, sure, but this interstitial volume shows that the team at Telltale doesn’t necessarily need to go back to the well in order to find interesting stories from the zombie apocalypse. Placing gamers in tense, often unpredictable scenarios gives 400 Days an anthology feel, and I hope to see some of those characters again in the second season.
WORST: Plants Vs. Zombies 2 — I know this might be a bit of a stretch, but Plants vs. Zombies 2 was kind of a letdown for me this year. I loved the first installment, but the weird metagame involved in deciding whether or not to spend money was a real turnoff. PvZ2 made some cool changes to the existing scheme, but it never quite hooked me. Also, way too much Crazy Dave.
BEST: I can’t think of a better horror game in 2013 than Outlast. It’s terrifying in a way that I’ve never truly experienced in a game, and until there’s an Oculus Rift in every home, there’s no quicker way to peed pants than Outlast. In fact, my reason for Outlast being the best horror game of 2013 is only a few sentences because it’s also my worst horror game of 2013.
WORST: I will admit that if you look on my Steam account right now, I likely have about 22 minutes logged on Outlast. I can barely play it. You know why? It’s too scary. I’m horrified of this game. In those 22 minutes played, a good 8 of them were likely me, pacing around the Mount Massive Asylum courtyard as I fumbled with my camera batteries.
I don’t even scare easily! I can watch any horror movie and chuckle along. Very few things in the realm of movies or music can “get to me” if you know what I’m saying… That weird feeling that makes you look over your shoulder, wondering if you should take your headphones off, just in case. So yeah, Outlast terrifies me, and it’s horrible. I hate every second of playing this game. You should absolutely buy it.
Now you have our picks for the best and worst of 2013 — what are yours?