eGamer Awards 2013: Best Action Adventure Game
As always, this genre was filled with amazing titles, and it continues to excite and inspire us. The thing we all love about the action adventure genre is that there’s always at least a handful of top quality games to look forward to, and here we’ll be taking a look at the best of them to determine which title shines brightest. 2013 was no different with many possible nominees and plenty of variety within the genre. First, let’s go through the rundown explaining what this award is about.
The action adventure genre is usually the go-to place for massive production values, epic cinematic experiences and over-the-top action and flare. It’s undoubtedly a grand genre with tremendously high expectations and quality, and only the games that show excellence, go the extra mile or truly make their mark on the entire genre will make it to the top here. It’s perhaps one of the more bold categories, with a wide variety of elements to consider varying from game to game. However, in the end, the game that will walk away with the trophy will be judged as the best and most complete experience overall.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was perhaps one of this year’s pleasant surprises. After a few years trapped under the weight of its own narrative and lack of direction, Black Flag broke free of its series’ shackles. The game gave us a rich open-world with vast oceans and no shortage of things to do. It was not without its flaws but had perhaps the most visceral and ruthless combat of any game in the series yet. It is rare that most of the eGamer team are in agreement on something and in this case we all absolutely enjoyed playing Edward Kenway and exploring the open seas of the Caribbean.
The Last of Us
It may not be able to beat the open-world splendour of some of its competitors but The Last of Us delivered an action game that was a rollercoaster ride of an experience that had been polished to a shine. It took the tired zombie genre and used it as the backdrop for a truly captivating and enthralling narrative experience. It may have had some issues here and there, particularly with regards to stealth but that didn’t prevent the gameplay from not only being solid but also complimenting the tone of each confrontation as you end the child. Of course, this game is also on the list because of the wondrous character that is The Last Us’ Ellie.
Grand Theft Auto V
Leaving GTA V out of the nominees would be travesty. This game broke sales records to become more of a phenomenon than a game on a disc. It managed something ambitious with three protagonists and an entire city at their disposal. This was highlighted with the brilliant heist missions and absolute variety afforded to players. Los Santos truly felt like your sandbox to play in. It was certainly not perfect but GTA V is arguably the best Grand Theft Auto title to date.
DmC: Devil May Cry
Perhaps a surprise addition here on our list but despite death threats and scorn, developer Ninja Theory produced a fun and highly entertaining Devil May Cry. It may not hold a candle to its predecessors in terms of the depth of combos but fighting demons in this was certainly never a dull affair. Perhaps one of the game’s strong points were a select few of its boss fights – wonderfully designed spectacles. By far and above the place where DmC shone brightest was its unique visual style which was colourful and demonically tainted at the same time.
Everybody knows who Deadpool is but not everybody is aware of just what a brilliant character he is. The merc with a mouth finally got his own video game this year and despite some lacking aspects, the game was pitch perfect. It played out like an issue of Deadpool complete with hallucinations, voices in our hero’s head and the sort of zany, oft immature, humour that makes this character so lovable. Deadpool is not only faithful to the character but is also a game with genuine humour which is rare.
Saints Row IV
For a series steeped in wackiness, Saints Row IV ramped the insanity up to 11 with aliens, superpowers and hilarity. There was a staggering variety of things to do with memorable moments throughout the main story. Sure, it could have improved in a number of areas but this doesn’t register too much when you’re having the time of your life. Saints Row IV was easily one of the most entertaining games of the year with great weapons, fun cameos and no punches pulled. Best of all, it has a dubstep gun.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Blacklist marked a return to form for the Splinter Cell franchise after a few years of trying to rediscover itself. Most importantly, the stealth mechanics is really great with the gameplay at large having plenty of variety and customisability. With an intriguing story and wonderful co-op this game was highly entertaining. Any mission can be completed in a lethal or non-lethal manner, it is entirely up to you as the player and this is the mark of a great stealth game.
It wasn’t Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, because while it was amazingly fun, it’s story was a case of wasted potential while its modern plot was an absolute mess. The game’s mechanics may hold up but are grievously dated. It’s still a great game but there’s too much to ignore.
DmC: Devil May Cry didn’t walk away with the prize because it’s story fell flat and overall the game could have improved in a number of areas. The game was rather easy and lacked the gameplay depth of previous titles.
Deadpool didn’t win the prize either, and while we very much enjoyed the game it was sorely lacking in some areas. It was a brilliant game for being faithful to the character and capturing what Deadpool is about. However, it had pretty typical gameplay and dull level design.
It wasn’t Saints Row IV either because while it may have been some of the best fun we had all year, it was clear that the game could improve in some areas. The city was a bland affair for the game’s extravagance and side missions became a grind. Visually, the game felt dated and looked exactly like its predecessor.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist may have been a great return to form for the series but it still has some way to go. Graphically, it felt outdated while gameplay had a few inconsistencies that were very noticeable. Side missions lacked refinement and the multiplayer team balancing was iffy.
This may surprise a number of people, but Grand Theft Auto V didn’t end up winning, even though it did pose a strong argument. The bottom line is because we felt that it didn’t reach its full potential, and there were things it could have improved on. Our complaints are few, sure, but our winner did enough to rise above it, and in the end the decision ended up being mostly unanimous.
It was up against some stiff competition but ultimately The Last of Us just stood out amongst its competition. GTA V just, just lost out in actual fact. It lacked an open-world but made up for it with a beautiful, detailed world that captured the ruins of society with a strange allure. The game played out with a tense atmosphere that helped the incredibly compelling narrative. At its core was some great gameplay that was befitting of the setting but what really made this game stand out was its story. We saw Joel and Ellie form a relationship that became the focal point of the game. More specifically, we saw Ellie develop from a companion to protect into an ally who’s got your back all while being one of the most lovable characters to ever grace a game. Without spoiling anything, the game delivers a powerful and emotionally charged character-driven narrative that takes hold of you and doesn’t let go until the very end. There is very little to fault The Last of Us for. It’s a well-polished and brilliantly delivered game that few will ever forget.