Top 5 Action / Adventure Games Of 2013

Posted: December 27, 2013 in Reviews

This was a great year for gaming. Not just with the launch of the next generation but with a lot of AAA titles that made me proud to be a gamer more so than most other years. We are slowly moving closer to the mainstream with each passing year, and while 2014 may finally be the year we get there, 2013 was a huge push in that direction.

There will be a number of these articles going up between now and New Years Eve but I figured this was the best place to start because the action / adventure genre encompasses so many games, it is the hardest to whittle down to a top 5 list.

So, without further ado, let’s get started with No. 5:

No. 5: Splinter Cell: Blacklist

 

I have been a hue fan of the Splinter Cell series since it’s inception 11 years ago back in 2002. I’m a sucker for a lot of things, but 2 of them are stealth games an Michael Ironside’s voice. So when these two came together, I knew I was going to love it. It was just the icing on the cake that they turned out to be awesome games as well. Some might say that the newer Splinter Cell games are not the same as the originals, and those people would be right, but we live in an ever evolving world and need to be able to adapt to change.

The biggest change for Splinter Cell: Blacklist was the removal of Michael Ironside as the voice of Sam Fisher in favour of a new, more youthful voice in Eric Johnson. For any “Smallville” fans out there, you may remember him as Whitney Fordman from the first season. He has a good voice, and he does an amiable job as Fisher, but he can never match the gravelly, masculine voice of Ironside. But at the end of the day, the voice actors don’t make the game (normally) and if the game is enjoyable, it should not matter who is voicing the characters. Luckily, Blacklist is an immensely enjoyable game that is up there with the series best.

Blacklist essentially serves as a reboot for the series (hence the new voice actors). It keeps the backstory and lore from previous games, but gives Sam a new lease on life and de-ages him a little bit so that it is more believable that this man can do the things he can do. The story follows Fisher and his team of miscreants as they trail a terrorist group who are executing a series of increasingly devastating attacks on the United States that they call “The Blacklist”.

The missions are tight and focused, even though there are always 3 approaches to take; Assault, Ghost and Panther. I had hours of fun with this game, even going so far as to achieve the Platinum Trophy in it. The only reason this is the lowest title on the list is that there were just so many other great games this year!

No. 4 DMC: Devil May Cry

 

Devil May Cry is another one of those series that I have loved since the beginning. The original was one of those games that was cripplingly difficult but never frustrating. The second made a few stumbles (the Diesel promotion in the game didn’t help!) while still retaining most of what made the game great. Then 3 came along and made it all better. 4 was a fantastic game marred by a terrible protagonist.

A reboot may not have been necessary, but after playing DMC, it was sure as hell welcome!

Capcom decided to hand off development duties to Ninja Theory, the studio behind the under-rated PS3 launch title Heavenly Sword and the criminally awesome Enslaved! So I was cautiously optimistic that this was a good match. I still remember playing the demo and then kicking myself for playing the demo, since the game was not out for another few months and I would have to wait to enjoy more of it! Everything about it just worked, the story, the art style, the gameplay, all of it just clicked together into one supremely awesome package.

If you haven’t played this yet, you really should. And now is as good a time as any since it is 10 euro’s in most GameStop stores, and free on Playstation Plus for those of you who are members.

No. 3: Grand Theft Auto V

 

Is anyone surprised that this made it onto the list? It will be on most peoples Top anything lists for this year, and will probably be in a lot of people’s “Games of the Generation” lists. And with good reason. It was years in the making and made by Rockstar, a company that has consistently churned out quality titles, however infrequent they may be. Regardless of my feelings on the story and tone of GTA IV, it was still a great game all around. I personally preferred Saints Row The Third to it, as it was more fun, but something you are never short of in Grand Theft Auto V, is fun.

The dynamics between the 3 main characters are a large part of what works in this game. The missions are also epic and fun in equal measure. It’s everything you would want a GTA game to be, but so much more. It took some notes from Saints Row in the whacky fun department while still retaining the grounded approach we have come to know and love. This is the best GTA game we are ever going to get, so savour it while you can!

No, you might be asking yourself; why is this not number 1? Or at least number 2? Well, put simply, while it is a great game, I am compiling this list based on fun had while playing and a number of other factors. And the remaining two games on the list just were more fun for me than GTA V. Please don’t bun me at the stake!

No. 2: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

 

No doubt a surprising inclusion on the list, but this is the game that I have been playing non-stop for 2 weeks now. Before this, my favourite Assassin’s Creed game was “Assassin’s Creed II” but this (if you’ll pardon the pun) blows it out of the water. It’s fun, it’s thrilling, it’s epic, the story is awesome, the gameplay works on so many levels, and it is without a doubt, the best PS4 launch title available. Would that be different if Watch Dogs had release at launch as planned? Yes, but that isn’t the case, so Assassin’s Creed IV stepped up.

I’ll be honest, after the cavalcade of mediocrity that Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Assassin’s Creed III were, I was ready to give up on the franchise entirely, even going so far as to declare outright that I would not buy IV. And I was steadfast in my resolve. But, since I am married to a woman who is a big time gamer also, and also a huge AC fan, we ended up getting it anyway. I didn’t play it though, just watched, at first. The more I saw, the more curious I got. So I picked it up and started playing..I haven’t looked back since!

There are a number of new features in the game that I won’t spoil for those who haven’t played it yet but needless to say, it takes all the best parts of 3 (which were few and far between) and builds upon them and improves them in every single way! If you haven’t played this game yet, go out and pick it up. If you have yet to pick up a next generation console, it is currently available at GameStop for €34.99 both online here and in stores everywhere and in lots of other places around the world!

No. 1: The Last Of Us

 

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To the shock of no-one, The Last Of Us is my number 1 action / adventure game of 2013. It is a masterclass in storytelling that few games achieve and also a masterclass in acting from the verstalie, talented and frickin everywhere Troy Baker (Saints Row, Bioshock Infinite, Batman: Akham Origins to name a few) and Ashley Johnson; a relative newcomer to video game voice acting.

I was hooked from minute 1. I have always been a big fan of story based games, be they RPG’s, action games, even the occasional shooter with depth. This game is all about the story and the relationship between the two main characters. The gameplay and action are merely there to offset everything. While playing The Last Of Us, it was the first time in a long time (maybe ever) that I was playing the game just to get to the next piece of the story, not for the gameplay or to have fun. That is special. And you know a game is different and breaking the barrier between games and movies when it makes it into top 10 lists for movies, when it isn’t even a movie!

We need more games like this. I don’t think every game needs to be like it, but if we had more games like this, the gaming industry would be all the better for it. And as far as all the awards and praise it got, it hasn’t seemed to phase our main character Joel at all:

And that concludes the top 5 action / adventure games for 2013.  Keep an eye out for some other top 5 lists that I will be posting over the next couple of days and thanks for reading!

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Comments
  1. […] like The Last Of Us claiming the top spot in my Top 5 Action / Adventure Games of 2013 these are the kind of games that we need more of. We don’t want them to all be like this, […]

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