You've already seen Andi's post on his titles of 2013, so now its my turn:
A GOTY award is a subjective thing. Not many people out there would agree with this choice or even understand it but there has been no other game this year that Ive actually felt much of an impact from aside from this. The journey of Jodie Holmes with which you take on Beyond is one of the most emotional Ive come across in any form of entertainment. I can see why it has its haters though. Beyond's gameplay mechanics are so far removed from the rest of the industry (telltale games work on The Walking Dead comes close though) that I can understand that issue, but for me it makes Quantic Dreams games feel unique in an industry that relies on tried & true mechanics. In my review I stated that its a perfect swansong for the Ps3 as the next generation kicks in, but I personally found it to be much more than that. The way Beyond split the industry at launch means there wont be many who will share this opinion, but all great pieces of entertainment get people talking & debating and Beyond: Two Souls did just that and more.
How could I not give this game a mention? After spending so long playing Japanese versions of the series on PsP, SEGA finally decided to give us a release of the latest entry in the US/EU. The game is as superbly playable as always but what makes it great for me is the editing options that were included as the amount of content available from fans to download means it'll take a while to tire of this entry. In my review i stated a Vita release would've been better which we will thankfully see next year, but the Ps3 version is still thoroughly playable.
My love for this series started with Mk2, but its this release that I see as being worthy of mentioning to anyone that will listen. It takes everything the previous entries have done and improves things while also adding more aspects to its mechanics and structure. Even more parodies & the like ensure the game is even more of a laugh to play through as before, with the always amusing Neptune back taking center stage. The usual trappings of niche Jrpg's like Visual Novel-esque cutscenes & difficulty spikes mean most people overlook the game, but its become one of my favourite games of the year due to it seeming to have a unique charm not found in the more Mainstream Jrpg's.
Notable Mention: Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable
One of my favourite Niche series received a remastered version of its best entry on Sony's swanky handheld and soon became my most played game on said format. Interestingly, there was additions to the content instead of the usual 'streamlining'. Aside from a few extra missions & the inclusion of Pale Wing, Online co-op and Versus was also added to the fray. Gameplay has always been king with the series and theres nothing quite like blasting away at a huge fire breathing monster until it collapses into a heap of rubble that was a city. You wont find the EDF series many spectacles in other releases. Its Niche & Budget nature means not many will sample its superb gameplay, but that doesn't mean it should be cast aside due to lack of exposure.
I had been looking at giving this game a try for a while. It wasn't until a review of it was requested that I finally decided to bite the bullet. I went in expecting an average Jrpg and came away surprised. Very surprised. More than anything, its combat system just has to be sampled. The way it effortlessly mixes aspects of turn-based & real-time mechanics into its combat system is perfectly executed. The game isn't without it faults, but then what game is. If anything its a reminder to everyone that the PsP was, and still is for me, a great handheld platform for Jrpg's.
In my review I gave the game a 7/10. I could see that it was a good game (not a great one) when playing it but I couldn't help but shake the feeling that I'd done all of it before. I hadn't sampled the Pokemon games on DS,so I'd had a nice break from the series and was hopeful of some worthy additions to the formula from the games GBA days. Unfortunately, I didn't find the additions to be good enough to overlook the fact that the game hadn't advanced in the time Id taken away from it in any meaningful way. Its a game I may go back to sometime and try again, but it left me so disappointed the first time I'm not sure if that would improve anything.
Next year is looking like a good year. Looking forward to EDF 2025 & Senran kagura Burst in February to kick things off but its the Vita that's caught my eye for niche releases with the likes of Hyperdimension Neptunia PP (Possibly Rebirth 1&2) Project Diva F, Demon Gaze, Dynasty Warriors 8 and much more. I'm looking forward to seeing what the WiiU can push out to try and entice me to bite (Hyrule Warriors is a good start Nintendo) but I will be purchasing a Ps4 as early as i can and covering some of the news & releases for that too.Theres so much to look forward to next year for all platforms that it could get even better than recent years.