By Quentin H. / December 18th, 2019
11) Fire Emblem: Awakening
Release Date: February 4, 2013
Patrick A says:
Released in 2013, Fire Emblem: Awakening was the first game in the series to make the leap onto the 3DS. Set about 2,000 years after the first game in the series, the game follows an amnesiac tactician who has a dream where they kill a man named Chrom. They wake only to meet Chrom and his sister. They then find that he is the brother of the Exalt of Ylisse and the leader of a small army called the Shepherds. From there the Shepherds are eventually pulled into conflict with bandits, other kingdoms, and a cult that follows the Fell Dragon, Grima.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is one of the best games to have been released onto the 3DS because of what it almost was: the series’ swan song. The title was almost the final entry in the series and for that you can see the effort which was put into it. The game was to be the culmination of the series and so incorporated some features from previous games such as children, the casual mode, and expanded the series’ support system. For newcomers the casual mode offered a great way to get into the series, and for those familiar with the series many staples were still present. References to previous games and characters were abundant such as with the weapons, Xenologues, and passing mentions in dialogue (especially from a certain hero of an epoch). The game was able to exceed expectations and save a series that was on the brink, for that it shouldn’t be a surprise that it should be included.
12) The Last of Us
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Leah McDonald says:
The Last of Us is a survival horror action-adventure set in a post-apocalyptic United States, where a fungal virus has mutated or killed the vast majority of the population. As Joel, it’s the player’s duty to traverse the inhospitable countryside to deliver Elly to a resistance organization in the hopes of finding a cure for the cordyceps virus that’s decimated the world.
On its face, The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic zombie game, but at its heart it’s the story of how humans cope with loss and find meaning in a world seemingly devoid of it. Naughty Dog takes advantage of the storytelling capabilities of video games to really put players in Joel’s shoes, to connect with Elly the way he does, and to survive in a world hellbent on destroying him. It’s visceral and sometimes messy, and in that way it better emulates human emotion and the world we live in than a traditional story ever could.
13) FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn
Publisher: SQUARE ENIX
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4 / PC / MAC
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Quentin H. says:
FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn is SQUARE ENIX’s second attempt at making a second online FINAL FANTASY title. You play in an MMORPG [Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game] world called Eorzea as a new adventurer who eventually falls in with the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. Throughout the main storyline and a series of optional sidequests (spread across three expansions, including the most recent one Shadowbringers), you fight against primals and an empire who seeks to conquer Eorzea, craft and fish the day away, and you can even help solve mysteries as only a Manderville can. Trust me, that last bit will eventually make sense.
As someone who played the original incarnation of FINAL FANTASY XIV, the re-launch as A Realm Reborn stands as a massive improvement over the prior release. This game, and its expansions, has some of the strongest storyline content of any RPG in the past decade. Yes, it is online. And yes, you have to pay a monthly subscription. But there is simply so much to do in Eorzea and the surrounding expansion areas that you are never bored and there is always a new battle just around the corner. And furthermore, the barrier to starting as a new player is incredibly low. Having learned their lesson from FINAL FANTASY XI, SQUARE ENIX engineered FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn to be as accessible as possible to anyone with a stable internet connection and who can play for even a short bit of time every so often. If you haven’t picked up this entry in the FINAL FANTASY canon, then you are seriously missing out on my personal favorite MMORPG of the decade.
14) Super Mario 3D World
Platform: Wii U
Release Date: November 21, 2013
Justin Guillou says:
At first glance Super Mario 3D World seemed like nothing more than a console version of the 3DS hit Super Mario 3D Land. However when you actually start playing the game, you’ll begin to realize that this excellent game stands on its own, as not just an excellent Mario title but one that acts as a neat middle-ground between the 2D and 3D style Mario games
I loved every second of Super Mario 3D World. The levels were very creative and looked gorgeous and the music has been stuck in my head ever since. The action was fast and engaging, it honestly felt like an arcade game at times. And the fact that you could play with up to 4 players was also a nice touch. It was also incredibly refreshing to be able to play as Princess Peach and later Rosalina. If that wasn’t cool enough, you can even turn into (incredibly overpowered) cats when you touch the Bell powerup! There is really something hilarious about seeing Mario characters beating up a bunch of Bowser’s lackeys while dressed up as cats. Not only was Super Mario 3D World one of my favorite Wii U games, it was simply one of my favorite video games in general. I can come back to it any time and still enjoy it just as much as I did the first time whether it be by myself or with friends and family. If you have a Wii U laying around and somehow missed this one, I highly recommend it.
And that does it for Part Two of this Best-of-the-Decade series, covering the years 2012 and 2013!
Are there any titles that you think that we’ve missed? Do you think 2012’s Dishonored or 2013’s BioShock Infinite deserved a slot in our Decade list?
Let us know in the comments below!
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