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TSA's Top 100 of 2013 Recap: 100-96 - Persona 4, PayDay 2 and Monster Hunter

Ninjas, monsters and clowns.

It might seem like a while ago now, but last December we counted down our top 100 most anticipated games of 2013. Now that we’re about two thirds of the way into the year, we thought it was time to take a look back and see where those games are now.

Some of them have released, some of them will be releasing later this year and some have been delayed until 2014. Over the next few weeks we’ll go through the countdown again, letting you know how the games did or where they are now. Obviously, some games (including many next-gen ones) were only announced this year, so you won’t be seeing every title, just the ones that made it into our top hundred last December.

First off is Persona 4 Golden, along with the upcoming Maia and PayDay 2 and the already released Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge and Monster Hunter Ultimate 3.

Persona 4 Golden

100. Persona 4 Golden

I’ve seen a lot of praise for the Persona series but to be honest it has never been something that’s grabbed me. Released in February, Golden was an enhanced version of Persona 4 exclusively for PS Vita, which added new features and even new story elements to the game, along with a new character named Marie. It also utilised the Vita’s wireless networking features, allowing players to call in for help during tough dungeon battles.


Is it titled Golden because of the moped?
If you’re still not sure what Persona 4 is all about, then it’s essentially a contemporary Japanese RPG which is centred around high-school students solving murders with the use of their Personas, which are described as manifestations of their true selves, with each having their own unique skills and playing differently in battles.

We didn’t review the game, but it seems to have been received extremely well, sitting at 93 on Metacritic, with 61 positive reviews and no mixed or negative scores. If you’re a fan of inherently Japanese RPGs – unlike me, I can’t stand them – then Persona 4 Golden might be a good choice if you’re wanting a deep game on your Vita.

Maia

99. Maia

Not to be confused with AutoDesk’s pioneering 3D modelling software Maya, Maia is an indie title which managed to get caught up in the hype around Kickstarter and was subsequently funded before we even included it in our Top 100 of 2013 list.

Since then, the game has launched on Steam Greenlight in order to get more interest for the title and you can vote for it to appear on Steam now. There’s still a bit of a wait for release – pre-orders aren’t even open yet – but don’t be surprised if the game slips to next year.

The game appears to be a strategy title in which you manage colonies on an alien planet, while avoiding the threat of creatures. This will include building housing and collecting resources by mining.

It has 2km by 2km of procedural generated world which seems like a really good idea, fitting in with the unknown planet setting perfectly. Inspired by 1970s sci-fi, this game looks both fresh and old-school at the same time; it’s definitely one to keep an eye on if you’re a fan of that genre.

As of now, there’s an alpha version available and the game has a nifty website which you can use to keep updated with release dates.

PayDay 2

98. PayDay 2

PayDay: The Heist was quite a good game. I bought a Steam 4-pack for my friends during the sale last year and then no one really played it with me, but what I did play was good fun.

The sequel seems to be reaching a bit further, coming to consoles on disc as well as PC, with four player co-operative play returning. They’ve cleared up the initial developer confusion, so you’ll be glad to know that the original developers are on board, hopefully willing to expand on the original.

There is much more information now than there was back when we initially did the Top 100 post; the gun combat is improved and the game will be much more stealthy, as any bank robbery simulator should be. There are 30 heists now, each with a lot replay value and – if the first is anything to go by – then there should be plenty of DLC on the way post-release.

Loot from heists will actually weigh something now, slowing down the players and adding a realistic camera tilt as they carry the loot around, with the cash then able to be used to purchase new guns and upgrades. There also seems to be much more of a story, with different phases being unlocked depending on how you do in a particular heist.

It seems like it’s going to be a big game – the director of PayDay 2, David Goldfarb said that “PayDay 2 has become just too big to reserve release on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network alone” so you’ll be able to pick it up on disc for these consoles and PC in just a few weeks on August 15th.

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge

97. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge

The original Ninja Gaiden 3 was received to mixed reviews, though the Wii U remake – Razor’s Edge – expanded the gameplay and added a lot of new features, and sits at a higher score of 69 on Metacritic in comparison to the original’s 58.


Blood.
The game followed the trend of most Wii U games and released on PS3 and Xbox 360 just a few months later at the beginning of April. The Wii U version was unique with the GamePad features, however, including touchscreen weapon selection and even touchscreen controls, though all versions included upgraded features such as new weapons, improved AI along with new enemies and a return of the Karma Counter.

So, the response was more positive than the original – they tried to fix the mistakes and succeeded in some regards – but it seems the game was just too flawed to be completely fixed and it was just good rather than great. Jim reviewed the PS3 version of the game, scoring it an average 5/10, concluding that although “Team Ninja has certainly spruced up a number of elements, they seem to have avoided the game’s most fundamental issues.”

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

96. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

I don’t seem to get along very well with some Japanese RPGs; I have Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on my 3DS but I just found it quite boring and the demo of the Wii U version failed to excited me too back when it released alongside the game in March.

Alex praised the game in his analysis though, particularly the connectivity features between the two games – similar to Sony’s CrossPlay features on PS3 and Vita – while also highlighting the GamePad’s features which allows for a “swift inventory and map system that works much better than you might think”. The graphics however, now in HD, made the game look “older than it is” unfortunately due to their dated style.

I still can’t see the appeal of chasing oversized Koala bears with wings around the map for ages in order to land a few hits on them, particularly with the clunkiness of the controls, but it seems a lot of people enjoyed it, with a Metacritic score of 79 on 3DS and 82 on Wii U.

We’ll be back tomorrow with five more games – that’s 95-91. And then every week day after that for the next four weeks, assuming everything goes to plan.

9 Comments
  1. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Payday was bought and enjoyed. It’s a strange, compartmentalised game where you feel like a little more effort with the “story” and things would’ve gelled a lot more. However, the mechanics of the game were genuinely solid. Also, there were some cracking secrets. Especially the Mayan gold which made you level up like an absolute whore… just by playing the first level! :-) Top stuff. :-)

    Comment posted on 22/07/2013 at 12:15.
    • Taylor Made
      Member
      Since: Oct 2011

      Is payday good? I have it for Free with plus, but scared to activate it lol I’m thinking it would be fun co op with a friend like Kane & lynch

      Comment posted on 22/07/2013 at 12:29.
      • bunimomike
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        T’is lovely fun with friends. To be fair, because the community isn’t multiplayer (in a competitive sense) it’s great. Most people are very helpful with newbie-folk. :-)

        Ooo, be warned. It’s a tricky game at first but as you start levelling up, your new toys/weapons/etc., become hugely enjoyable.

        Comment posted on 22/07/2013 at 13:03.
    • TSBonyman
      Member
      Since: Dec 2009

      I played the first two heists, found the scenarios interesting but the gunplay was a bit lacking imo so i’m glad to hear it’s improved for the sequel.

      Comment posted on 22/07/2013 at 12:50.
  2. Eldave0
    andUandU
    Since: Aug 2008

    Ahh Monster Hunter. Finally made a start on this over the weekend and I’m already hooked. Can see it being a lot of fun co-op.

    Comment posted on 22/07/2013 at 12:35.
    • Eldur
      Member
      Since: Nov 2012

      I’m with Blair on this one.

      I tried, really tried, to get excited by MH3U on my DS, but I just thought it was like playing a game out of time. Awkward controls, complicated menu & crafting systems and a shallow combat mechanic put me in mind of a mid-range 90’s JRPG crossed with a dull version of Diablo.

      Now Fire Emblem, on the other hand…

      Comment posted on 22/07/2013 at 14:39.
      • Eldave0
        andUandU
        Since: Aug 2008

        To be fair, I’m playing on Wii U with a pro controller, which seems to be how the devs intended people to play it :-)

        Fire Emblem is awesome!

        Comment posted on 22/07/2013 at 15:22.
  3. Kennykazey
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    I went into P4G with little knowledge of the series, but damn it’s a cool game. There’s a lot of cutscene-ish conversational stuff, but if you can handle that then there’s a lot to love. I’m still early in the game, but so far I’ve got no complaints apart from some mild jaggies, seems to be native res but with little aa.

    Comment posted on 22/07/2013 at 13:46.
  4. keaneplay
    Member
    Since: Oct 2010

    Persona 4 is hands down the best game on Vita in my opinion – I’ve put 100+ hours into it, whereas no other game on the system has hit even half that. However I love Japanese culture and all things anime/manga so would naturally like it anyway!

    Comment posted on 22/07/2013 at 23:27.