The Five Best, Forgotten Games of 2013

2013 had many fantastic games, but some were forgotten a bit too soon.

2013 was a year of fantastic games. Gamers returned to the streets of Los Santos, they raided some tombs, pillaged and plundered, fought infected with Troy Baker, and visited a floating city in the sky with Troy Baker. Unfortunately, many fantastic games of 2013 were missed, ignored, forgotten, or overshadowed by the big-league games of the year.

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5. Saints Row IV

What do you get when you combine the stupidity of Grand Theft Auto, the gameplay of Prototype, and writing that varies between childish and brilliant in the best way possible? You get Saints Row IV.

In Saints Row IV, you, the leader of the 3rd Street Saints, have become President of the United States after literally falling into office. After surprisingly, successfully running the country for some time, the President finds him or herself in the midst of an alien invasion by the Zin Empire, run by a pompous alien named Zinyak. The President then finds themself in a virtual reality similar to The Matrix and is tasked with saving the human race from inside the simulation with the help of the rest of the Third Street saints and their newfound superpowers within the simulation.

Stupidity and fun combine into the funniest game of the year.

The game is as ridiculous and stupid as it sounds, but from hilarious DLC where players can save Santa Claus from the clutches of an evil doppelganger to a gun that literally fires dubstep music, Saints Row IV is the epitome of what it means for a game to be fun from beginning to end. Parents often find themselves decrying Grand Theft Auto for a multitude of things, but Saints Row IV revels in this criticism and not only embraces what Grand Theft Auto claims to do ironically (unsuccessfully), but it also delivers one of the most fun, entertaining, and hilarious video games of 2013.

4. Dead Space 3

Having dealt with enough aliens and death to last him several lifetimes, Isaac Clarke returns in Dead Space 3 to finally put an end to the necromorph threat once and for all and save humanity. Isaac has the help of a new crew of people and a familiar face and enters the frozen world of Tau Volantis, where he faces new foes both human and necromorph alike.

Dead Space 3 thrills from beginning to end.

Many gamers criticized Dead Space 3 straying further into action territory rather than horror, but with a new weapon crafting system that lets you create almost any combination of weapon imaginable, the frantic gameplay of desperately trying to reload in time remains and excels even further than in previous titles of the series. Dead Space 3 may not be the horror game the first Dead Space set out to be, but it thrills, scares, and excites like an action movie in all the best ways, making it one of the most entertaining games of 2013.

3. Resident Evil: Revelations

Resident Evil is, by default, pretty stupid. The series revolves around scientists using zombies for global power because that’s apparently a logical course of action. Nearly twenty years since the first Resident Evil launched on the original PlayStation, Resident Evil: Revelations tells an epic, over-the-top, downright stupid story of bioterrorism that we can only expect from Resident Evil. And every second is fantastic. Unfortunately, Revelations was largely ignored thanks to its initial release on the 3DS and its mostly forgotten HD release on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

Revelations is stupid, overly-serious, and over-the-top, but also somewhat self-aware in its stupidity.

Unlike Resident Evil 6’s split campaigns, Revelations tells stories in a style more similar to 24, where players control characters during important moments in the story. The main story centers around Jill Valentine from the first game, with Chris “the Boulder” Redfield showing up too. Revelations is like a good bad movie–it’s pretty awful and stupid, but it does it so well that it’s difficult to not enjoy it. Once players take off the rose-tinted glasses, they’ll find a fantastic third-person horror game in Resident Evil: Revelations that is similar in quality to Resident Evil 4, but with modern control fixes that make the zombies your enemy, not the controls.

2. Remember Me

Remember Me is arguably the best new IP of 2013.

Remember Me did everything right. It was a new IP, it had strong gameplay, it had a unique story, it had brilliant design, and it had a spectacular soundtrack. Ironically enough, Remember Me was quickly forgotten thanks to the game also receiving poor marketing. The game also created a bit of a stir when Capcom execs told the now bankrupt Dontnod, Remember Me’s developer to change the protagonist from a woman of mixed race to a guy because “You can’t have a female character.”

Despite the shortcomings, Remember Me was a fresh action-brawler that had clear inspiration from Tomb Raider, among other popular franchises. The game was unique, fun to play, and entertaining from beginning to end.

1. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Stealth has always been quickly ignored and forgotten except by the most dedicated fanatics in the video game world. The stealth games of old such as the original Thief and Deus Ex are almost entirely gone, and the sequels of those very games have fallen into modern conventions of fast-paced action that forces players to look for stealth portions.

Blacklist is the pinnacle of action-stealth.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist, however, manages to hold true to both the stealth mechanics of old and the action tropes of modern gaming and combine them in a way that makes Blacklist possibly the best game of the series. Blacklist follows the story of Sam Fisher as he and his team attempt to stop a terrorist group called the Engineers from completing a series of escalating attacks against the United States. Each mission is gripping, the gameplay is top-notch, the stealth is as tense as ever, and the production value is clear. Blacklist also features Perfectionist difficulty, which ups the ante by taking away the win button that Mark and Execute has become and also removing the ability to see through walls with sonar goggles, resulting in an homage to those dedicated fans of stealth games of old like Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid that will test series veterans to their breaking point.

Blacklist didn’t succeed as well as expected.

Sadly, Splinter Cell: Blacklist underperformed according to Ubisoft, which puts Splinter Cell’s future up in the air. Ubisoft also changed voice actors, opting for a younger voice actor instead of the refined Michael Ironside, which drove many series veterans away from the game. Despite these issues, Blacklist received almost universal praise, and managed to cater to both the action junkies of modern games and the stealth purists of days past. Action-gamers may not get everything they want in Blacklist, but more open-minded gamers and those who are faithful to the stealth genre will find a deep action-stealth game full of customization, a thrilling story, and intense gameplay.

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Brian S
Brian transcribes for a tech company in Bellevue, WA. His favorite games are Max Payne 3, Dragon Age II, Life Is Strange, Tomb Raider, and anything involving Batman. All his reviews are spoiler-free. His brow is perpetually furrowed.