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Review Of The Year 2013: April

Dungeons, dragons, and... rectangles?

April wasn’t exactly a stellar month for gamers. With no huge releases, events or announcements many of us were busying ourselves and catching up on 2013′s latest and greatest, not to mention those neglected, ever-growing backlogs.

That’s not to say April was a complete write-off, mind you. Despite a few disappointments here and there, we also had a clutch of good games, one of which grabbed a much-coveted 9/10 when it launched on PlayStation 3 and Vita. I am, of course, referring to the sublime Thomas Was Alone. Incredibly simple yet endearing, Mike Bithell’s masterpiece introduced players to a cast of shapes, each with their own personalities.

Considering they don’t have faces or voices, the premise seems bizarre and slightly detached at first. However, through the narration of Danny Wallace, we began to feel something for these shapes, who eventually band together on quite an emotional journey. Thomas Was Alone is definitely one of our highlights from 2013 and we’re eagerly looking forward to Mike’s next project, Volume.

April also saw the launch of another, slightly more ambitious game. Defiance brought a unique experience to players with its massively muliplayer sci-fi shooter that, curiously enough, ran in parallel to a live action television series. The link between the two may not have been as pronounced as originally expected, yet both provided hours of quality entertainment. A very worthy effort, considering some of SyFy’s other programming.

Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter made a return in April with its fourth instalment. Though hardly ground-breaking, it won over those who felt betrayed when the series turned into an arena brawler with Dungeon Hunter III, but one series that didn’t see much of an improvement was Dead Island.

The original game, though incredibly flawed, had a certain charm and playability. So, when Riptide was announced, fans were once again full of excitement, just with a shopping list of fixes and improvements in mind.

Sadly, when the game finally launched, it soon became evident that Riptide wasn’t exactly a sequel. It was more of an over-priced expansion, tossing players a wealth of content but hardly revising any of the series’ core mechanics or systems. It was a bit of a let down, though the subsequent announcement of Techland’s next game, Dying Light, was a nice silver lining.

ROTY-Riptide

Another horror game that received mixed reviews was Deadly Premonition. The Access Games joint had previously launched it as an Xbox 360 exclusive, garnering a wealth of hateful reviews. It was one of those games that is so bad it’s good, as argued by Jim Sterling in his bonkers 10/10 review. When the Director’s Cut launched on PlayStation 3, it hardly came sailing in on a raft of improvements. Janky, unresponsive and absolutely garish, it was exactly what we expected.

Age of Empires II (now available in HD!) and Dragon’s Dogma also saw fresh releases in April. The latter came as a surprise to many, considering how the original Dragon’s Dogma was less than a year old. Dark Arisen packaged the core game with a lengthy expansion, Capcom slapping it with a reduced pricetag in the process. A strange move indeed, though one that probably helped to shift units, reaffirming DD as a fledgling Capcom flagship title.

Elsewhere in the world of action RPGs, handheld gamers finally got their hands on the much-anticipated Soul Sacrifice. Personally I found the game a bore despite enjoying the first few hours immensely. Soul Sacrifice had some great ideas, but the limited combat and repetitive design left much to be desired from the Vita’s supposed “killer-app”. It was certainly no Monster Hunter, proving that Sony still has a way to go if it intends to top Nintendo’s exclusive software line-up.

So April had little to excite, but May and June were both set to host some major events for us to look forward to.

9 Comments
  1. Scythegpd
    Member
    Since: Jul 2010

    But how was the weather???

    Comment posted on 22/12/2013 at 10:16.
    • Blair Inglis
      hisnameisblair
      Since: May 2009

      Comment of the year.

      Comment posted on 22/12/2013 at 14:25.
  2. Taylor Made
    Member
    Since: Oct 2011

    I don’t know how people enjoyed Thomas was alone, that game was pure boredom, my gf did enjoy it though 100% it.

    Soul sacrifice is really good, I don’t know how u can say it’s a bore, the idea is awesome, it’s more fun with friends the co op.

    Comment posted on 22/12/2013 at 11:32.
    • lambchop
      Member
      Since: Aug 2013

      I really enjoyed Thomas was alone, but it took me by surprise. I had a little go on pc but it didn’t grab me, but when it was given on PS+ for the vita I gave it another go and really got into it

      Comment posted on 22/12/2013 at 12:20.
    • ron_mcphatty
      Member
      Since: Sep 2008

      TWA was a simple game, not massively difficult, I can see why you weren’t bothered Taylor if you’re more into stuff like Soul Sacrifice :) I bloody loved it though, it has that same arty, existential pull as Journey and Flower.

      In April I took my car for a service and played almost no games, it was tres boring.

      Comment posted on 22/12/2013 at 13:18.
      • Taylor Made
        Member
        Since: Oct 2011

        I like to think I’m an all round type of gamer just don’t prefer one genre but then there is some games that are not games, the walking dead, journey, flower etc but guess everyone has a different definition of what a game is

        Comment posted on 22/12/2013 at 13:47.
      • ron_mcphatty
        Member
        Since: Sep 2008

        I don’t want to sound patronising (I probably will anyway!) but you might grow into those kinda of game. My tastes have changed massively since the PS3 came along, I also used to hate olives and now I’m addicted, hah!

        Comment posted on 22/12/2013 at 15:25.
  3. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    I’ve commented on this before, on TSA, but Riptide was literally a sequel. It started where you left off and continued the story. The very definition of the word “sequel”. However, it was an over-priced sequel which was a shame as it didn’t look to expand on things in any other way. Thankfully, it was more of the same and as I’d enjoyed the first one so much… this was a joy too.

    People looking for anything else would’ve been disappointed but at least the head of development was honest enough in interviews (before release) about its intention.

    Comment posted on 22/12/2013 at 16:46.
  4. wonkey-willy
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    how dare you…
    Thomas the poor rectangle…
    sure it didn’t fair well on ps3 ..but on the vita its quite simply charming…
    plug a set of ear buds in, send the kids to bed ,turn the lights down low,lay on the settee and crack on! loved it…
    dead rising was to be fair, slightly boring…

    Comment posted on 22/12/2013 at 22:20.

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