Weekend Confirmed 197 - 2013's Best Games of the Year

By Ozzie Mejia, Dec 24, 2013 11:00am PST

Merry Christmas to everyone from the Weekend Confirmed family! It's time to march into the end of 2013 and hosts Garnett Lee and Jeff Cannata welcome in a slew of guests to discuss all of this year's best games, as well as many of our favorites. The show kicks off with Naughty Dog's Jason Paul, Christian Spicer, and "Indie" Jeff Mattas talking about BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Tearaway, and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. That's followed by Shacknews' Andrew Yoon, Shane Satterfield, and Marcus Beer coming aboard to discuss Injustice: Gods Among Us, Metro Last Light, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, DMC: Devil May Cry, Saints Row IV, Super Mario 3D World, and Fire Emblem: Awakening, among many others. The third segment continues the Super Mario 3D World love with Shacknews' Ozzie Mejia, Insomniac's James Stevenson, and The Escapist's Andrea Rene, before they jump into Grand Theft Auto 5, Tomb Raider, Rogue Legacy, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The next segment picks up with Andrew, "Indie" Jeff, Christian, and James summing up the year in indies, before the entire crew comes into the studio to reveal the Weekend Confirmed Game of the Year! We also have holiday greetings from developers and listeners alike, all wishing our wonderful audience the happiest of holidays!

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 197: 12/24/2013

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Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 - 00:00:40 - 00:27:05

    Round 2 - 00:30:55 - 01:04:30

    Round 3 - 01:06:04 - 01:38:30

    Round 4/Game of the Year - 01:42:09 - 02:21:27

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Original music in the show by Del Rio. Check out his latest music video, I Brought It Here, featuring cameos from Jeff Cannata and Christian Spicer on YouTube. Get his latest Album, Club Tipsy on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page, and follow him on twitter @delriomusic.

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  • Man I was really hoping I wouldn't be the only one here to say this, but neither Last of Us nor BioShock Infinite is on my GOTY list at all. I don't dislike the games. I just think they were okay, but in no way exceptional.

    Well, maybe in the case of TLOU I'm comparing it to the pedigree of Naughty Dog's other work, but it just didn't blow me away. I found nothing wrong with it: the story and characters are well-done, the combat is an interesting mix of action and survival, etc. TLOU is solid, but forme it just didn't reach that upper echelon, kind of like what Garnett said about Metal Gear Rising.

    Actually you can go ahead say we have the reverse opinions of those two games, because Rising is absolutely on my GOTY list: excellently-crafted action gameplay and my favorite soundtrack of the year. It's crazy Japanese action gaming at its best. I thought the boss fights in that game were extremely well-designed and Platinum did a really good job of intuitively teaching players how to use the Zandatsu mechanic. Maybe I just miss seeing Japanese console games that are this good.

    BioShock Infinite I see as merely a pretty good first person shooter. In my opinion not only did the earlier themes of the story get chucked aside, what happened with those themes later in the story is downright offensive in some ways. I just don't like how the Vox Populi ended up with far, far less development than The Founders which made their portrayal just lazy. The story that the game does end up telling I feel is a lot less interesting despite its examinations on the nature of games. And once again, I thought the gameplay was solid but nothing to write home about.

    The one game you guys gave a lot of lip service that I actively dislike is Tomb Raider. I didn't even play the classic Tomb Raider games (before Legend), so I won't talk about how it's unfaithful to the series or whatever. My problem with Tomb Raider 2013 is that it's derivative. It didn't do anything for me that other action games didn't do better. Its shooting gameplay feels like a retreat of every other third person shooter, its scripted events are far less exciting and well-executed than Uncharted's, and its exploration is a huge missed opportunity. What feels especially offensive to me about Tomb Raider is how it grabs just about every popular mechanic of AAA games: loot, crafting, XP, challenges, highlight vision modes, etc. What you guys said about Dead Space 3 is pretty much how I feel about Tomb Raider. It's fine if a game chucks its old soul in favor of a new one, but in my opinion TR2013 threw away the soul of the old games in exchange for having no soul of its own at all.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 3 replies.

      • Nah it's not a Japanese preference. I'll admit I live MGR because it's an excellent new example of the Japanese games that seemed to stop coming out this generation, but I'm not sure that has anything to do with why I think TLOU is overrated.

        The game I compare TLOU to is actually Uncharted 2, which I still consider Naughty Dog's best PS3 games. The one thing in U2 I'd put over the others is its level design. TLOU's level design and overall sense of craft is very solid, but it just doesn't reach the heights of U2 in my opinion. I didn't find myself wondering what the next area would be like or getting excited about each new survival situation I'd be put in. The core combat system in TLOU is interesting, but the levels just felt like combat room after combat room. They're all pretty well laid-out combat rooms, but none of them really stood out. U2 has not only great level design, but lots of areas and moments that stand out based purely on gameplay like the hotel or the train.

        Now somebody might respond to that by bringing up Tomb Raider's "moments" which Andrea mentioned. While TR2013 tried to be Uncharted in a lot of ways, it's guilty of the problem so many AAA games are but Naughty Dog mostly sidesteps -- feeling too scripted and cutting control away from the player too much. TR's layouts just don't feel as intelligently-designed and the game doesn't let me figure things out for myself enough. Uncharted and TLOU (well except Uncharted 1) at least know when to shut the hell up and let me play the game. TLOU does this really well, but I just think its levels and gameplay eventually blurred together.

        And while TLOU's story and cut scenes were written well enough, I've gotten tired of both post apocalyptic settings and the father-daughter relationship that seems to be getting common in video games. To me it's starting to look like a crutch BioShock Infinite and TLOU use to give you a companion you'll quickly start to care about. There's also merit for the criticisms asking about the necessity of those relationships. How much does Elizabeth really need Booker if she can jump through time? How much does Ellie really need Joel after she's taken down dozens of men on her own and hacked a guy to pieces?

        Back to MGR, for starters I think its boss fights were really smart in their design while also challenging. The zandatsu mechanic itself feels novel and has some depth and a real learning curve to it. Enemies are varied and each one has patterns to be learned (which brings up the parry mechanic). All around to me it just feels like Platinum did a better job of making its game fun and engaging. MGR even has its own political story to tell, even if it is told in its own wacky way. Maybe you have to be in a certain mood to enjoy the soundtrack, but it's my soundtrack of the year.