Imitation is the sincerest way… to land yourself in hot water thanks to the highly litigious nature of our modern society. But despite what Disney’s pitbulls have to say nearly all forms of media and entertainment live by recycling, reusing, and rehashing whatever proved to be profitable. This is dreadfully apparent in our beloved video game world if you look at the mountains of shovelware out there. But stealing someone elses idea isn’t necessarily a sign that something will suck, in fact many great games have been made just reinterpreting someone else. The Legend of Zelda games seem to stand alone in their action/adventure/rpg whatever you classify them as but lets not forget that there have been 3 imitators who in my opinion gave Zelda a run for its money. So here they are!
As another year has passed and space year 2013 draws to a close, its that time of year when the Zero1gaming team set the fireplace going at Z1G towers, draw up the armchairs and debate their picks for 2013 Game Of The Year.
These discussions always start out with good natured debate, but rabidly degenerate in angry arguments and, finally, to fisticuffs, with many a noogie and nipple-tweak exchanged. Its not unheard of for the odd elbow drop to be thrown around too!
So, after the dust settled, the raw steaks applied to black eyes and the teeth picked up from the floor, the team Z1G picks for Game Of The Year can be revealed:
Paul Izod – Tomb Raider
Yes, yes, following my almost carnal review of Bioshock: Infinite, back in March, I probably should pick that. But I can’t look past Tomb Raider based on one factor: its the game I had most fun with all year, bar none. No other game this year made me keep coming back over and over, a game that captured that addictive magic where I’d gladly forgoe basic human needs just for more play time. Its that feeling that made me fall in love with gaming all those years ago and Tomb Raider brought that back for me and that’s why it’s my 2013 Game Of The Year.
Ed Prosser – Bioshock: Infinite
For me, game of the year was Bioshock Infinite. A Triple-A first-person shooter (and a sequel no less) which succeeded in blending engaging gameplay and narrative themes and ideas with a great visual aesthetic and good characterisation thanks to stellar voice acting from Troy Baker (The Last of Us) as Booker DeWitt and Courtnee Draper as mcguffin Elizabeth. The plot does an adequate job of keeping the show on the road, with minimal missteps and is paced well enough to keep you playing through till the end. All in all, a cracking body of work which, if you’re interested in games at all, you really should play.
Drew Pontikis- Payday 2
As infuriating as it is brilliant, Payday 2 if nothing else has certainly been the most addictive game of 2013. With hype reaching astronomical levels prior to launch, it immediately sold out across the country and gamers immersed themselves in a world of cooperative gameplay that is rarely available. Whilst many bemoaned the lack of level variation, the IQ bereft AI and the drill (oh God that drill!), people were as hooked on breaking into safes and meth labs as they were obsessed with collecting masks. Great fun all round, if you can get a copy.
Joseph Butler-Hartley - Bioshock: Infinite
My favourite games leave me pondering long after they finish, and all these months later I’m still attempting to unravel Bioshock Infinite. Painfully human yet cosmically surreal, the narrative and the characters will dig their claws into you and not let you go. To back up the story, the gameplay is incredibly entertaining and varied, and it’s probably the most fun I’ve had with a first-person shooter in a long time. Visually, it’s the most amazing game I’ve ever played, and I’d rate the first hour of game play as possibly the best hour I’ve had with a controller in my hand
Oliver Smith – Grand Theft Auto V
As I have been furiously convincing myself for several years, bigger is not always better. But every once in a blue moon, an offering of grand proportions manages to counter that argument with a mass of content that’s also laced with quality – Grand Theft Auto V is the pinnacle of such a concept. As expertly crafted as it is enormous, this mountain of content is one of the greatest digitised efforts ever committed to disc. A trio of expertly realised characters tearing through the greatest game-world ever made, make this criminally inexcusable game the satire-rich GTA that before now only dreams could conjure.
Kimmo Kuppe: The Wonderful 101
I’ll admit my blood oath to Platinum games contributed to this as my choice, but I did actually have some criteria for this choice. I didn’t want to pick a game that was a reboot, sequel, prequel, remake, or otherwise part of an already established franchise. I wanted something brand new. I also wanted to pick something that felt like a GAME in that it was a challenge and it had some replay value and some real improvement of skill. This disqualified a pretty big chunk of the expected GOTYs since lately games with zero gameplay but movie-quality story telling get all the props. The Wonderful 101 which came out for the troubled Nintendo WiiU fits my demands perfectly. Blending the action heavy deep combat Platinum is known for with a Super Sentai/Super Hero setting with unique controls that really utilize the WiiU gamepad, The Wonderful 101 should be required buying for anyone who already has a WiiU or is planning on getting one. And remember: The “1″ in the Wonderful 101…. is you.
The PlayStation Vita is struggling. You know it, I know it, and Sony must know it. Since its release in 2012 it’s struggled to gain traction amongst consumers, either due to its initial high price, the decision to use expensive proprietary memory cards, or the lack of standout games, the device is unfortunately languishing, but at least it has the Wii U for company.
Things may be looking up for Sony’s little black handheld. It’s compatibility and cross-platform functions with the PlayStation 4 are being touted left, right and centre, and finally we have the one thing that we’ve really need, the must buy game. A game that makes sure of the Vita’s functions without feeling gimmicky, a game that looks and plays beautifully, and a game experience that you can’t get on another platform. That game is here, that game is Tearaway.
Tearaway is from Media Molecule, the studio most famous for Little Big Planet and giving PlayStation its current mascot, Sackboy. Where the levels of Little Big Planet take place in a sort of ‘Micro machines happening all around us’ world, Tearaway takes place in a land based on paper, and origami. It’s a truly beautiful world and instantly feels at home on the hand-held.
The story starts with a message, a message that must be delivered to the face in the Sun. To be delivered the message needs a messenger, so you choose the messenger you look like either Iota or Atoi; another lovely aspect of Tearaway is its gender neutrality, neither Iota nor Atoi are referred to as male or female, just by their names. Once you’ve chosen your messenger then the game, and your story begins.
And this is your story, thanks to the Vita’s front and back cameras, plus the touch screen and rear touchpad, you are far more than a passive observer in this world. You are often called upon to help shape, open, create paths and parts of the world, and you’ll also have a hand, well fingers, in taking care of the cheeky scamps known as ‘Scraps’ that act as your enemies.
The Vita’s cameras also play a big part in the story. Every time the game pans out to show the sun, there you’ll be, usually as a live feed. Occasionally you’ll have to snap a picture of you or a scene and it will pop up in various places during the next level or so. You’ll also use an in-game camera to take snaps, you’ll come across items that have had their colour stolen by the Scraps and the only way to return it is to take pictures. As you take pictures of the white items you’ll unlock Tearaway paper crafts that can be downloaded and printed out in the real world.
It can take a little bit of time to get used to the touch controls and camera, but once you do they feel natural, and you get the distinct impression that Media Molecule have built a game around the Vita’s input methods rather than trying to shoehorn them into a game that doesn’t really suit it.
One thing that does stand out with this game is the audience that it is aimed at. More so than LittleBigPlanet, Tearaway is aimed at kids. The art style, the story, and the interaction is clearly focussed with a young audience in mind, death is inconsequential and the player never feels like they have failed when they do die. It’s all handled very well, the message is just to try again. Of course there’s nothing better as an adult than trying to relive our youth and Tearaway gives you that wonderful feeling of being a child, there’s innocence to the game that is often missed from games that are made by everyone except Nintendo.
Tearaway is a truly wonderful, enjoyable experience. It’s a truly uplifting game to play; one that is difficult to describe in words, one way to describe it is that it’s like a Saturday Morning cartoon show. But whatever way you want to look at Tearaway, the one thing it definitely is above all else – it’s a must buy game for the Vita.
The hardest thing about having a huge success is following it up. After the critical and commercial success of The Walking Dead, Telltale released the first episode of their latest episodic adventure game, The Wolf Among Us.
Well, my PS4 arrived just before midday last Friday. I promptly did not open it and went into work for a couple of hours, but when I got home, the packaging was torn asunder. Inside the large Amazon box was my PS4 and a copy of Need for Speed: Rivals (NFS:R). It was the only launch title that I could see me playing for more than just the campaign; I like playing FPS games such as Killzone, but I can’t stand playing them online, so once the single-player is done with, I’d likely never touch it again. NFS:R struck me as a game that I could enjoy for the lifetime of my console. Because who doesn’t want to play Cops and Robbers in an open world environment?
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