As 2013 comes to a close, we would like to help you remember another year of great games with as our staff counts down their personal top 5 games of the year. Once again, we have a multitude of different favorites across every system, genres, and styles, from the adorable to the grotesque. Check it out and be sure to let us know what your favorites have been this past year in the comments section below! And now, a look at our prime examples of gaming excellence in 2013:
The most shocking thing about my list is probably that The Last of Us isn’t number 1. I did a lot of deliberating before I decided to list Dual Destinies as my top choice for Game of the Year, but I really do think it’s a deserving game. The Ace Attorney series is wonderfully written, but it never makes me cry. The Last of Us made me cry. I think that’s about as much explaining as my thought process needs. Dual Destinies is truly awesome and one of the best games and games in general that I have played to date.
5: FIFA 2014
4: Foul Play
3: The Wolf Among Us
2: LEGO Marvel Superheroes
1 : Grand Theft Auto V
No other game gripped me as tightly as Grand Theft Auto V did this year. Even after finishing the story mode a few weeks after the game released, I still find myself running around Los Santos as Michael, Trevor, or Franklin causing as much havoc as possible. All that and I still haven’t even fully dived into GTA Online which when I do play it, keeps me gripped for 8+ hours at a time (especially those Top Gun missions). Then, LEGO Marvel Superheroes proved that title after title, Traveller’s Tales brings the heat and puts out a great game with hours upon hours of replayability. The Wolf Among Us had a great first episode and, in my opinion, built up more suspense for the second episode than even The Walking Dead did. Foul Play has you playing as an English gent with a bitchin mustache and a monocle or a ragamuffin chimney sweep; ’nuff said. FIFA 14 is a great sports game with a Manager mode that I can easily spend days immersing myself into.
5: The Last of Us
4: Tomb Raider
3: Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine
2: Gone Home
1 : BioShock Infinite
This was the first year in my life in which narrative has been the decider of Game of the Year. 2013 was a crossroads, where a lot of new things came out that challenged how we thought about the relationship between narrative and gameplay. The Last of Us, at number 5, challenged how we thought about morality and violence in the context of narrative, and while in my opinion it did not get there without slightly kneecapping itself, no one can deny its resonance. Tomb Raider, at my number 4, felt the most like a traditional game, but it challenged tradition in a different, perhaps even more daring way: putting a female lead front and center and being unafraid of making it part of the point, coupled with heart pounding action in a way that gives Uncharted a run for its money. Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine and Gone Home, my number three and two, represent opposites of game theory: no narrative versus all narrative, pure mechanics versus practically no mechanics, both pinnacles of their genres.
However, to me, the best example of challenging everything we knew about games this year, and my Game of the Year, was BioShock Infinite. It is all of these things taken to the highest degree, a scathing critique of American Exceptionalism , a twisty, high minded science fiction story that dabbles in the wilder side of quantum mechanics, a meditation on the nature of the creativity and game design itself, and above all else a tale of redemption, absolution, sin, and regret. All the while, you roar around the skies of Columbia and take part in some of the most finely tuned gunplay and action ever seen in a first person shooter. It is the culmination of all the wonderful accomplishments of game development this generation, and I cannot think of, for me, a more wonderful and worthy choice for Game of the Year.
5: BioShock Infinite
4: XCOM: Enemy Within
3: Pandora’s Tower
2: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
1: Fire Emblem: Awakening
2013 for me was a good year of gaming. While not too many new titles were released that truly stood out among the others, those other games that took existing franchises and made vast improvements on them made 2013 a truly good year. BioShock Infinite slides in at the bottom for being just different enough while keeping up that riveting narrative we’ve come to hope for from games, while the excellent expansion to the 2012 XCOM title, XCOM: Enemy Within, easily takes its place as a paragon of how to add to a strategy game without upsetting the balance (too much). Ni no Kuni and Pandora’s Tower stand tall as my favorite original games for the year, and Fire Emblem: Awakening takes my number one for finding the perfect combination of a number of different gameplay elements framed by a tale of epic proportions with a flawless execution on the Nintendo 3DS.