Chuck’s Top 5 2013

What a busy and interesting year 2013 turned out to be for me. I lived in three different houses, worked two jobs with most times leaving from one and going right to the next, continued school for my hopeful career and throughout all of this I occasionally tried fitting in some games, work on the site and maybe even an hour of sleep. Free time was an elusive beast for me to say the least.

Last year was a whirlwind of emotions and ups and downs, but one that I found myself continually holding my head up high against. Indeed, 2013 was a year where I finally felt like an adult and was taking responsibility and doing everything that I could to improve myself and the things and people that I care about. It is a strange feeling to have seen the line and finally having the courage to cross it and start moving forward with your life, but it feels great nonetheless. Looking at the year to come I am determined to continue taking on various jobs and goals and working my ass off to complete them as best I can. This includes making the time for CA! and continuing to improve this site and moving it forward in interesting and exciting ways. Bring on 2014 and all of the hardships and greatness it will bring, i’m ready.

“Chuck’s Top 5 Games of 2013”
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5. Battlefield 4

Let me tell you something, when Battlefield 4 works, it works! Most developers upon releasing a game are relieved and filled with boundless joy on achieving a goal. Not so for the folks at DICE who haven’t been able to celebrate and relax with some fine wine and countless hours of sleep. Nope. The fine folks at DICE have found themselves within a tornado of hate and regret consisting of glitches, crashes, freezes, server outages, daily maintenance, lost progress and lackluster communication. While there can be any number of reasons for these issues, the fact is that they shouldn’t be around after a games launch, let alone several months afterward. But you know what? Myself, I haven’t run into that many issues while playing Battlefield 4. Call me lucky or just in blissful ignorance, but when i’m playing Battlefield I find myself having a blast. Whether its circling overhead in a chopper, crashing a jeep through a building or being caught in an epic corridor firefight; Battlefield 4 is never short of the series trademark “Moments.” There is a reason we at CA! included B4 in our Game of the Year awards and there is a reason it couldn’t win. A problematic product is not the best in its class, but nobody can deny the greatness that is lying just below the surface of its glitches and crashes. I for one am very much looking forward to Battlefield 4 coming into its own in 2014 and spending dozens of hours within its massive warzones.

4. Year Walk

Simogo have done the impossible; they have made an iPhone game stick with me throughout the entire year. A year with dozens of terrific experiences and surprises. Year Walk is unlike any mobile game before it. Featuring an intriguing story involving Swedish folklore and the consequences of our actions Year Walk manages to build tension and mystery while keeping you glued to your smartphone. Brilliant presentation and controls help to keep you going until the games dizzying end, and right when you think you may be done, you have only scratched the surface. The Companion App that some may miss altogether puts the final pieces into place in a fantastic conclusion that marks this as one of the best gaming experiences of the year, not just best mobile game.

3. Grand Theft Auto V

While some were irked that GTAV wasn’t a huge departure for the series noone can deny the sheer awe that comes from exploring the world of Los Santos. Rockstar North have crafted the most detailed and lifelike location to ever be seen in a videogame. Whether involved in a shootout in the ghetto, playing a round of golf near rich estates or piloting a chopper high above the mountains; GTAV offers players hundreds of hours of immersive and exciting gameplay like no other. The story is long, the characters insane, and the amount of side content and multiplayer options available are ridiculous. Grand Theft Auto makes sure gamers get their money’s worth and in a world with growing in-game transactions, that’s pretty special.

2. Shin Megami Tensei IV

I have never played a Shin Megami Tensei game before, although I have long wished to get my hands on a Persona title, I have never had the appropriate system at the time. I picked up Shin Megami Tensei IV on a whim upon its release, mostly due to Nintendo’s special promotion at the time. If you owned Fire Emblem and picked up Tensei IV, you got yourself $30 of eShop cash to spend however you wish.  I was instantly glad I took advantage of this offer. Not only did Shin Megami best Fire Emblem for me, it was also leagues ahead of Donkey Kong, the eShop game I wish I hadn’t purchased with that $30. Tensei IV offers gamers a unique setting and story that are coupled perfectly with its fun combat system. Combat is fast and exciting and provides plenty of depth with a “Gotta catch them all” attitude concerning the demons involved. Though there is plenty of grinding involved, it surprisingly stays fresh and the game keeps you engaged by consistently throwing new surprises your way. This is a mature tale that far too many have overlooked on the little handheld that could.

1. The Last of Us

Naughty Dog have proven time and time again that they are masters at creating likable characters and throwing them into outstanding cinematic situations. With The Last of Us however the team not only did away with the likeable charm of past leads, but also took a turn into depressing and dark territory. The Last of Us features tense firefights, horrifying enemies, an unflinching story and surprisingly fun multiplayer to create a perfect thrilling package that every gamer should pick up. The games terrific writing and absolutely perfect voice work by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson help to make sure that TLOU stays with you long after you have completed its story and put the controller down. To this day I am still thinking about TLOU and wanting to step back into its bleak world and experience it all over again. There is nothing more to say then you need to  pick this game up and experience the best game of the year from one of the most talented studio’s in the business.

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Chuck is the founder and editor of Counter Attack! and a co-host on the podcast CA! Radio. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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