FanBolt’s Games of the Year: Our Most Impactful Titles from 2013

Here at FanBolt I’ve always leaned towards the unorthodox side of doing things when it comes to announcing our games of the year. There is a reason I call it the “Games” of the year article and not a game of the year article that shows the best in each category. I don’t want to be another media source that touts at the greatness of Grand Theft Auto V. Los Santos is a gorgeous city to view from high above, but everyone already knows that and it really had no further impact on me beyond what was seen from the sky. I also don’t want to share even more about my Call of Duty addiction even though Riley totally wins pup of the year! GOOD BOY!

I like to have us focus on games that impacted us the most during the year, which means it may not always be the obvious choice. There were a lot of games that released in 2013 and we want to provide the reader with the most standout moments in 2013. We like to focus on the games that made a difference for us personally and, once again, share the enjoyment we found within them. These are our most impactful games of the year.

Strike Suit Zero
I’ve always loved a good space-combat title and it had been a while since I had played one before Strike Suit Zero showed up.

Here’s a game that didn’t impress me right off the bat. The first level is basic and even rather boring, though the second level became more interesting with a prettier background and more battles. The gameplay is extremely solid, but the moment that affected me most was the minute I found the Strike Suit and I began piloting the ship. Also, the change of music in that precise moment is impactful and energizing. With that, I had just come across an amazing new space combat game that had an awesome ship to pilot and beautiful weapons to unleash upon the enemy.

It was in that moment that I realized how great the progression is in the game, how wonderful the handling of the ships are, and how brilliant the Strike Suit is as a ship and a weapon for players to pilot. I had a great time playing through this game and it really brought back my love for space combat titles. I hope to see more from the Strike Suit in the future. – Andrew Stevens

Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Unlike The Last of Us, I’d be surprised if this game graced too many lists. That said, I couldn’t possibly bring myself to leave out the game that has brought me the most joy – and sucked away more waking hours than any other. I’m a fan of the franchise, yes, and this is the pinnacle of the series. I’d grown weary of Animal Crossing’s barely passable “updates” (looking at you, City Folk), but this game got it right. Boasting a slew of content and new features, even the most ardent Animal Crossing fans were treated to an experience that was refreshing and new. – Maxwell M.

Every year I always stumble upon a racing game that steals hours and hours away from me. This year, GRID 2 brought great gameplay with beautiful tracks to race around on. It’s smooth handling and tough competition in the world of WSR racing is a wonderful thing to be a part of. Creating a new league known as the WSR ended up being more exciting than I thought. I love pushing vehicles to their limits in order to win events and gain fans while helping establish a new league to take over the world.

GRID 2 offered some of my favorite visual moments I have ever seen in a racing game. I love using the hood view, especially when racing in a city to see the skyline reflect off my hood. The surroundings look incredible and the constant night-time fireworks are also beautiful. Even the small details are amazing. – Andrew Stevens

Killzone: Mercenary
Another controversial pick. I don’t think I’m choosing this game necessarily because it’s the best Vita game objectively. But it’s the most important release in my mind, because it’s the game that finally got it right. Branded as the system that could provide console experiences on the go, the Vita has failed to provide, save for a few games like Uncharted (which, admittedly, was mediocre in comparison to its console brethren). Mercenary is, in my opinion, the best Killzone game, and undoubtedly the best FPS on the platform. – Maxwell M.

Remember Me
Remember Me is a game that I remembered since its release. I had a very easy going and rather casual playthrough, but every bit of the game stuck with me. This includes its combat, platforming, and perfect soundtrack.

I really appreciated the combat a lot and how performing customizable combos is important for increasing attack power, gaining health, and more. It makes the combat more strategic than normal, and it’s a lot of fun to play. The story is also intriguing and it’s a lot of fun to alter someone’s memory to affect the current situation the player is in. This is definitely one of my favorite games that I kept going back to, having originally beaten it on PS3 and playing through it again on PC.

It certainly has a unique flare that gamers can easily appreciate as they get past the platform elements and fight through different enemies and bosses. It’s just simply wonderful for a casual play-through. It also features my absolute favorite soundtrack from the year as the music greatly helps establish the futuristic setting of Neo-Paris. I don’t think I’ve heard a soundtrack successfully accomplish a futuristic sound as well as this one did. – Andrew Stevens

Rayman Legends
Delayed. De-exclusived. Boycotted. Overlooked. All of these negativities applied to the launch of Rayman Legends, which is unfortunate because it’s easily one of the best platformers of this generation. Its drop-dead gorgeous art combined with brilliant level design and smart characters make for enjoyable levels, each and every one of them. Pile onto this a large number of modes and levels, including co-op, and you’ve got the complete package. – Maxwell M.

Need for Speed: Rivals
Here’s a late addition to my list, a game that I had not expected to consume my time as much as it did. Need for Speed has been a fun series, but this rose the bar in terms of open worlds and dynamic weather. As a racing fan, it was easy for me to fall in love with its wonderful gameplay and control. It’s also nice to quickly switch back and forth from a Police and Racer career to take on challenges from both perspectives. However, after loving every bit of what it offered and being in love with the absolutely gorgeous visuals, it was the arrival of a thunderstorm that sealed the deal for me.

The changing weather in the world of Rivals is incredible. It’s already a gorgeous game to run around in from one location to the next, but with it changing from day to night and with the random weather events, it’s just so much fun to experience. Having rain pour down on the vehicle, watching as lightning brightens the area, and hearing the thunder roll is just awesome. I also loved running from the police in the middle of a nighttime blizzard. Heavy snow with police lights lighting it up is just beautiful to see as well! – Andrew Stevens

The Last of Us
This isn’t the first nor the last time The Last of Us will be headlining GOTY lists this year. Games that release in the first half of the year are often forgotten about or not remembered as fondly as games from recent months, but this game made such an impact on me that it’s impossible to forget. From the brutal gameplay to the touching moments and the divisive ending, The Last of Us wore on me and tugged at my heartstrings simultaneously. I beat the game in a two-sitting binge, and felt completely drained at its end. Naughty Dog at its finest. – Maxwell M.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
The entire setup of Blacklist hit the spot in every aspect, especially with its enjoyable gameplay. I didn’t always need to be the stealthiest person out there, which is nice to not always have to be perfect all the time. It certainly is the preferred method unless someone wants to deal with a swarm of fierce enemies raining down on their location, but it is just easy to appreciate the missions and doing the best to execute them perfectly.

The finest part of the game is the story and how each mission is set up as the team holds their pre-mission briefings on the aircraft. Those moments, with the music in the background and the need to stop the terrorist threat, is simply motivating and urges the player forward to want to complete the next mission just to see what happens next. I never had a campaign fly by so quickly, even if the single player is rather short. I was purely in the zone and ready to eliminate all threats. – Andrew Stevens

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