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Don’t Look Back Games of 2013


Don’t Look Back Games of 2013

Choo-choo, here comes the nostalgia train right down memory lane (no lie, I have literally driven down Memory Lane). As I prepare to move from a nice little apartment to a slightly larger condo, the packing process happened to include the transportation of my library of games for a variety of systems.

As other hoarder– err… hobbyists and collectors know, packing up books and games and things is a disaster and takes forever because every thirty seconds it’s, “Oh look! I remember this one! Damn, that was a good one. Let’s just open it up and reminisce for awhile…” I just love replaying old games. It saves money, makes it easier to ignore the Steam backlog, and so many great games just need to be remembered!

Some games, on the other hand, received only a rueful chuckle at best before being tossed unceremoniously into the shipping bin. Here’s to 2013 and its games I’ll never play again.

Time and Eternity

Towa slaughters a baker in single combat.

Towa slaughters a baker in single combat.

Look, don’t get me wrong. I loved Time and Eternity. I still listen to the soundtrack, but, as far as replayability goes, it’s not very high on the list – or at all.

Toki to Towa, as the game was titled in Japan, tells a hilarious story. It has great music. And when you’re done, you’re done. ‘Nuff said. Its narrative and characters are endearing, but not at the level that merits a replay beyond what’s necessary to see everything.

Cap it off with a battle system that isn’t what one would even jokingly call “difficult,” and Time and Eternity cements itself as a memorable title of 2013. And in 2013 it shall stay.

BioShock Infinite

I remember literally squealing with glee when this trailer was released.

I remember literally squealing with glee when this trailer was released.

Wait, what? How can a game of the year contender (and winner, for many) be in this article? Well, the sad fat truth is that I didn’t really enjoy Infinite as much as its fans did, apparently. Sure, it was very enjoyable and twisty and fun and crazy. It was maybe even worth a second playthrough, in the way that the film Memento could use a second watch.

However, BioShock Infinite for me was a pretty good “one and done” game. Again, the experience was definitely unforgettable. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I won’t return; it’s not that the story wasn’t compelling, only that the magic of the game lies not in the telling but the visceral feel of playing it for the first time.

Tales of Xillia

tales of xillia jude milla battle

Of the games on this list and those not getting mentioned, this one is the one true sore spot for me. I expected so much from this game. Yes, I know this was dumb of me (#sorrynotsorry), but I got caught up in the hype and the expectations that a truly good Tales game – one to finally succeed Tales of the Abyss, my personal favorite – would be released for the PS3. I was wrong. Not only was it kind of short, but it was easy. Very easy.

The story, of course, was at least fair. Characters like Milla Maxwell and Jude were a ton of fun to see interact, and the Tales tradition of the party members holding incidental conversations was enhanced by uncontrollable snippets from the party as the player travelled, making for a truly immersive experience. When it was done though, it was done. It left a somewhat unpleasand aftertaste, overall. Rather than revisit the game again from another character’s perspective, I shall allow this one to collect some dust and think about what it’s done.

These are the big ones that stood out to me as I packed my boxes and bins this afternoon. I have no regrets nor hard feelings; these games shall continue to stand proudly on display at my library’s new location, and I look to 2014 with hope for the good things to come. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll crack open Star Ocean: the Last Hope for the third time.

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