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Jordan Haygood posted a article in FeaturesThanks to a group of Europeans stealing land from Native Americans once upon a time, people in the land of the free have a holiday where we give thanks for being able to consume very large amounts of food. This holiday is, of course, Thanksgiving. But as gamers, we have certain other reasons to be thankful. Whether a bad game got an overhaul and became good, a game was localized that we weren“t expecting to be, or a game is just sooooooooo good, there are plenty of games we can be thankful for. So let“s take a moment and give our thanks for 10 games that came out of 2013. Note: This list is in no particular order. They“re still numbered, though, because SHUT UP AND JUST GO WITH IT. #10 Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Did you ever play Final Fantasy XIV when it was first released? Remember the disappointment? The anger? The murderous thoughts flowing through your mind? That wasn“t just me, was itâ€¦? Whether it was or not, there“s no question that many gamers were disappointed, and for many different reasons. So then Square Enix goes and listens to the angry letters and just sorta â€œrebirthsâ€ the game, breathing new life into it to create what is essentially the â€œA Realm Rebornâ€ version. And guess what – the game is good now! So good, in fact, that I must give Squeenix my thanks. 14 of my thanks. â€‹ #9 Fire Emblem: Awakening A fact you may not be aware of, Fire Emblem: Awakening was almost the very last entry into the series. Prior to that game, sales were spiraling downward with each new entry. But all that changed when this 3DS title became a massive success in both Japan and the U.S. One could say Awakening was a big â€œawakeningâ€ for the franchise. â€¦Okay, that was badâ€¦ But of course, the level of success this game was met with was met with for good reason – it kicks ass. If you think about it, this game kinda pulled a Final Fantasy, as it was almost the final game until it became more successful than expected. Though in Fire Emblem“s case, there were other entries before it, but that“s beside the point. And while we should all be thankful for this game being so good, I“m sure Nintendo themselves are very thankful for it saving their beloved franchise. â€‹ #8 Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Ever watched a Studio Ghibli film? You“ve sure been missing out if you haven“t. In fact, as a gamer who has been a big Ghibli fan since the days of Hayao Miyazaki“s Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, I“ve wanted to play a game made by the studio, in the same style as something they“d make, for a very long time. With Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, that dream finally became a reality. Obviously, Studio Ghibli didn“t create the game themselves, as Level-5 played a big part in its development, but still. It“s by no means a perfect game, but just the way it looks and feels gives me that Ghibli level of joy. And for that, I am truly thankful. â€‹ #7 EarthBound Sure, EarthBound actually came out for the SNES back in the 90s, but have you seen the price it goes for these days? You certainly can“t give anyone $100 and expect to walk away with the game, I“ll tell you that much. Well, maybe if they were old people selling it at a garage sale without doing any research, in which case BUY IT, BUY IT, BUY IT! Other than owning a legitimate copy, your only real option was always to, y“know, break the law. But in 2013, it finally happened. After gamers everywhere begged Nintendo for a re-release, whether through the Virtual Console on the Wii, Wii U, or 3DS, or just some collection thingy, the Big N finally gave it to us through the Wii U eShop. Thank you Nintendo. Now I can finally stop breaking the law. And for around $10, that ain“t bad. â€‹ #6 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies Remember the sequel to Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth? I wouldn“t be surprised if you don“t, seeing how Capcom refused to translate the game into English. And because of that, many gamers were wondering whether the 5th entry into the core series would suffer the same fate or not. Especially with Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney taking so freaking long. But alas, it happened. We were stuck with a digital-only release, keeping us English-speaking peoples from having a choice in the matter, but it happened. And not only was the game given a release that would allow to play it, but it ended up being a fantastic game in its own Wright right. Seriously, Capcom, I owe you one. Actually, I owe you about $30 plus tax. Which I paid. So I guess we“re even. Thanks anyway, though. â€‹ #5 PokÃ©mon X/Y PokÃ©mon was born way back in 1996. And ever since the first entries, whether you knew them as PokÃ©mon Red and Green or PokÃ©mon Red and Blue, the style of the following generations has largely remained the same, while receiving updates to accommodate the advancements in technology. And while the 5th generation, which included PokÃ©mon Black and White, followed by PokÃ©mon Black 2 and White 2, received a certain level of 3-dimensional upgrades, it wasn“t until the following generation that the series made its true transition into 3D. As far as 3-dimensional transitions go, PokÃ©mon X and Y was seamless. The series was transformed while not taking away all we (the fans) had come to love from the series. It was time for an upgrade, and Game Freak, Inc. not only pulled it off brilliantly, but ended up creating quite possibly the greatest PokÃ©mon generation to date. Thanks, guys, for making something so awesome. â€‹ #4 Tomb Raider There are times in a franchise“s life when its parents/guardians must make the decision to either keep it running the course it“s on or give it a reboot. And once Tomb Raider received its new guardians in the form of Crystal Dynamics, it seemed it was time for the latter option. And while some franchise reboots areâ€¦questionable (did you know Sonic “06 was intended to be one?), others manage to pull it off fairly well. In Tomb Raider“s case, we got a reboot that was actually a pretty fantastic game. No more was protagonist Lara Croft known as just some badass chick with some, uh, noticeable features; she was actually a deep, compelling character that the player could feel for (assuming they have emotions) in â€œTomb Raider Reborn.â€ The game still has its flaws, but I still found the game to be quite a bit better than the original. Thank you for making a successful reboot, Mr. and Mrs. Dynamics. I appreciate that. â€‹ #3 Rocksmith 2014 Before you call me a cheater for throwing a 2014 game into a 2013 list, hear me out! Rocksmith 2014 was most definitely released this year; in October, in fact. The name of this game/educational tool/jam session? seems to fall in line with all those sports games that have the following year tacked onto the current year“s game title. But that“s not what“s important here. What IS important is the fact that Rocksmith 2014 is just plain awesome. It“s essentially the same thing as Rocksmith, but turned up to 11 (see what I did there?). Seriously, never have I had such an easy time attempting to learn guitar while also having a similar level of fun as when I play Guitar Hero or Rock Band. What Rocksmith helps me accomplish, Rocksmith 2014 does better. And for that, I am grateful. â€‹ #2 The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Many a Zelda fan who was alive in the 90s will tell you that if they had to choose a favorite, they would choose A Link to the Past. Some will likely go with Ocarina of Time, but there“s no denying that A Link to the Past was a compelling game for a lot of people. So it“s exciting to see a sequel that takes place in the same world(s) (unlike the Oracle games and Link“s Awakening) and plays so similarly. And you know what? It might just be as good, too. Nintendo always has a knack for introducing new mechanics into a game, basing the game around that mechanic, and ending up with something truly magical. The whole Link drawing thing is actually really cool and adds an interesting level of challenge. There“s a lot more I could say about this game, but I“ll refrain from drawing out why I“m so thankful for this game. Just my saying it“s a sequel to A Link to the Past should be reason enough. â€‹ #1 Super Mario 3D World Back at E3, when Super Mario 3D World was first announced, many gamers were a bit disappointed by the way it looked. Unimpressed, a lot of people were asking Nintendo to just give us another Galaxy instead. But then more trailers were released, and people began giving their opinions a 180. And now that the game is out, we now know just how freaking fantastic this game is. Not only is Super Mario 3D World a really, really, really fun game for solo players, but when you play it with family and friends, the level of fun rises tenfold. Seriously, the sheer level of enjoyment I get from playing this game reminds me of why I got a Wii U in the first place. This game is bliss, Nintendo, and I am truly thankful for that. Do you agree with any of the games in this list? What games are you thankful for this year?
This preview is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game When the original version of Final Fantasy XIV Online come out, it was met with general distaste. While it was well-intended, bad design choices and its buggy release forced Square Enix to take the game off the servers last year. Since then the company has been hard at work on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, a new MMO built from the ground up as an attempt to regain fans and give them an experience worthy of their time and money. Now that the game is entering Phase 4 of the beta, it's time to ask... will A Realm Reborn give fans a reason to come back, or will it be another failed attempt? Jumping into the beta, I was first treated to a beautiful opening video giving some backstory to the world of Eorzea. During a grand war, a moon falls and the elder primal Bahamut is released, wreaking havok upon the world. It isn't certain how exactly the primal is stopped, as it is muddled and misremembered constantly in the minds of the people. However, eventually Bahamut is stopped, and five years after this event (named The Calamity) is where you, as the player come in. The opening video is pretty informative to someone like me, who did not play the original version of Final Fantasy XIV. Also, it's worthwhile to note that this backstory actually ties into the original game. The player's main quest in the original was to find a way to stop or mitigate the damage the falling moon Dalamud would cause, which eventually ended up in the player's failure, thus The Calamity. After the video, it's time to step into the world and create a character. You can choose from five races and eight starting classes. The game assures you that you can change classes later--in fact, it's as simple as changing your equipped weapon! I did not try this myself and just stuck with my original pick of Lancer throughout my time with the beta. The character creation process allows a lot of customization. You can tweak the appearance of your character in a grand number of fashions, insuring that your character will in fact be unique amongst the groups of players. You can also choose one of two sects out of each race, which will affect your appearance. For example, Midlander Hyur (the human race) look like a typical human, while Highlander Hyur are more muscular in build and look more like vikings. Afterwards, you're dropped into one of Eorzea's main cities, after a cutscene introducing you more into the world. Which city depends on your race and class, and every city has a few starter quests to get you familiar with the game's flow, mechanics, and even the city's layout. The city I was in, Gridania, was a wonderful forest city, and was really just a joy to walk through as I completed the quests. It was a bit large for what the city offered, but those bored with walking could easily teleport to various areas of the city crystals and the Aethernet. As with most MMOs, A Realm Reborn focuses a lot on completing quests. Retrieving and delivering items, beating up a set number of monsters, and other staple quests will be found here. However, there is also the neat addition of FATEs, or Full Active Time Events. They are basically world and time-sensitive events that anyone can join in on. For example, one FATE I stumbled across was to beat a large number of the newly-spawned enemy in the area. Players also get rewards based on how well they did participation wise, so you can't just get rewards for coming to the FATE and not doing anything. For a game so focused on 'beat this number of enemies' for quests and the Hunting Log, the battle system has to be engaging and good... and that's no problem for A Realm Reborn. Combat is fluid and fast-paced, and using skills is intuitive. For 'Disciples of War' classes (basically any physical class), skills are used with TP, and for 'Disciples of Magic', their spells use MP. This can help to juggle abilities later on in the game with various class masteries, but in the time I've played in the beta, having both was not all that helpful. My only main concern for Final Fantasy XIV is how repetitive the quests may become later on, a problem with many MMOs. However, with the game's emphasis on story, the main story quests will entertain the typical Final Fantasy crowd well enough. Also, the inclusion of party dungeons helps to keep the MMO fan busy, even when they don't feel like doing the average run of quests. It's also a boon that you level up relatively quickly, so that if you're not a high enough level to attempt the next major story or guild quest, it's only a few minor quests until you're of the right level. Final Fantasy XIV:A Realm Reborn may still be in beta, but it's already shaping up to be a great MMO experience. The game comes out August 27th, so if this piqued your interest, consider giving A Realm Reborn a preorder!