troubadorSymphony's Game of the Year: Fire Emblem Awakening

I won't lie, 2013 was a bit of a slow year for me in terms of gaming. Plenty of new games coming out, of course, however there was only so much time and money to spare. But of course, that doesn't mean my mind wasn't blown by a good few games here and there. After all, 2013 brought us some highly anticipated games such as Bioshock Infinite, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, GTA V, Call of Duty: Ghosts (hey, not my thing but it was pretty anticipated...) and, of course, Pokemon X and Y. Not to mention the arrivals of a whole new generation of consoles!

It's a little unfortunate I have to pick one game as my favorite for the year, since there are so many really close seconds. Bioshock Infinite goes without saying; fantastic gameplay, fantastic story, and of course fantastic music, not to mention exactly what you'd expect from the Bioshock series... I won't say any more on that matter.

Pokemon X & Y were also extremely close to being my favorite for the year. The changes they made to the series in this installment were enough to change my opinion on Pokemon from "good" to "amazing." I'm really fond of how simple it is to EV train Pokemon now; now I actually have the attention span to raise a team that will actually be able to compete with my friends who dedicate what seems like their whole lives to the game. Not to mention the revamped graphics, the character customization, the music... the game feels a LOT more accessible than previous Pokemon games.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was also one of my favorites this year; granted, I partially say that because it's fresh on my mind after getting my last heart piece just a few minutes ago, but that still doesn't change the fact that it's a great game. It has a great mix of feeling between classic Zelda games such as A Link to the Past but yet feels like it's still fresh. However, I felt the game was a little on the easier side for the Zelda series; I completed it entirely (all collectibles, etc.) in just a little over a week.

And that brings me to my personal game of the year, Fire Emblem Awakening. I've been a big fan of the Fire Emblem series since I first played Path of Radiance on Gamecube, then I went back and played the two games on GBA and fell in love. Since it had been a good while since the last Fire Emblem release, the remake of Shadow Dragon for DS a few years back, and a US version of
Shin Monshou no Nazo Hikari to Kage no Eiyuu was looking less and less likely over time, I was starting to forget about it a bit until Fire Emblem Awakening was first announced. I picked it up a bit after its release and I don't think I put it down until a couple months later. I loved how much they added strategically this time around; building up relationships between units, as well as marriage and children added whole new possibilities. Not to mention you could make your units even stronger by changing classes and picking up new abilities from your classes; it felt rather rewarding whenever my Grandmaster would pull off an assassination. Thankfully, they added the ability to fight against different enemies that would appear on the map even after you finished the game, so you could continue making your units even stronger to show off on Streetpass. The DLC was amazing too, with the ability to gain units from previous Fire Emblem games. Once you got bored, you could bring the difficulty up a level for a new challenge. All in all, Fire Emblem Awakening is a fantastic strategy game that will keep you playing well beyond the main story, and that's why it's my game of the year.

Here's to 2014 and all the new games we'll be seeing this year, like Super Smash Bros, Bravely Default, and many others that haven't even seen the light of day yet. Happy New Year, readers!

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