Oh it looks like I’ll be in charge of today’s portion of our Game of the Year week? Well, well, well, what a year this has been. Lots of big names, lots of small names that became big names, and lots of odd names only certain people remember. Of course, just because the same names get thrown around for game of the year doesn’t mean we can’t have a little diversity. You’ll find some surprising titles, some not surprising titles, and some completely left-field options. But hey! This is why video games are so great. This has been another banner year for the video game medium and as always our wonderful staff have chosen eclectic titles as their Top 5s for the year.
5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
4. BioShock Infinite
3. Super Mario 3D World
2. The Last of Us
1. Grand Theft Auto V
2013 was a truly excellent year for gamers of all kinds. We stepped into a new generation of consoles, indie developers are taking huge strides in getting their games out to fans on more platforms than ever, and Nintendo finished out the year with some of their best games in a long time. Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds are both spiritual successors to some of my favorite childhood games, made even better with modern game mechanics and 4-player co-op, and an all-time high quality of level design.
The stories of BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us got a reaction out of me unlike any other games in recent memory. I ended up spending nearly as much time discussing each game’s conclusion with friends as I did playing through the story. But I had the most fun jumping between the three protagonists and exploring the immense detail in Grand Theft Auto V’s sandbox. While the story was disappointing, there’s something about climbing Mount Chiliad while The Doobie Brothers plays on the radio, or any of the other thousands of possible scenarios that just can’t be found in any other game. But in all honesty, I’d rather not rank these games; each of them was fantastic and deserves to be played. I cannot wait to see where the devs will take us next year.
Runners-up: Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Dead Rising 3, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
5. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
4. Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds
3. Mario 3D World
2. Grand Theft Auto V
1. Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
I apparently really liked what Nintendo had to offer this year, and who can blame me? Both the 3DS and the Wii U started out slow, but Nintendo has implemented its tried and true technique of building a library over time as opposed to flooding the market with all of their triple-A titles right out of the game. My game of the year is a remake of a game that came out ten years ago, but I don’t think I mind considering I didn’t play the original too thoroughly. Also, GTA V was incredible.
5. NBA 2K14 (next-gen)
4. BioShock Infinite
3. Tomb Raider
1. The Last of Us
Devoun has a whole bunch of words to gush about his favorite games and he sent me his long paragraphs for his top 5 over Christmas. I asked if he could cut it down but you might need to blame the holidays for getting that message lost. For the sake of brevity however let’s just say he enjoyed The Last of Us‘s emotional complexity, Guacamelee’s mastery over traditional concepts, Tomb Raider’s excellent return, BioShock Infinite’s sheer complexity, and NBA 2K14 because of the Lakers. And I’ll have to apologize to Devoun later for simplifying his eloquent words later.
5: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
4: Gone Home
3: Saint’s Row IV
2: Animal Crossing: New Leaf
1: Bit. Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
It’s been an interesting year, in this, the year of Luigi Twenty-Thirteen. For a lot of people, there were some standout big games that defined the year for them— but for me, the year was defined by incredibly well-done different games. Usually whenever there’s a game of “alternative” tastes, it seems to blow up as some radical idea, but this year, all those games simply came, did a fantastic job, and moved on quietly. Between Blood Dragon’s joke-made-reality premise, New Leaf’s streamlining of a time consuming formula, Gone Home’s pure narrative gameplay, and Saints Row IV’s, um, addition of crazy stupid super powers, in the end, Runner2 was the game I was thinking about long after I finished playing. In a world where Hollywood-style shooters reign supreme, it was the rhythmic marathon starring a drunken pickle that ultimately captured my heart the most.
5: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
4: BioShock Infinite
3: The Last of Us
2: Grand Theft Auto V
1: Dota 2
2013 was a unique year for me gaming wise. It was one of the first years I had a gaming capable PC, and it was also the first “next-gen” year in which I could actually go out and buy my own console. I tried to base my top 5 list solely off of hours played, but games with strong stories reigned supreme this year. My number one pick may lead to scratch your head, but Dota 2 is a unique experience, one that involves several tens of hours to even begin to understand how deep the game really is. 2014 is shaping up to be another 2007, where next-gen finds its footing and we start getting games that will make dropping hundreds of dollars on a new console worthwhile.
5: Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut
4: The Last of Us
3: Killer is Dead
2: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
1: BioShock Infinite
Honestly a lot of small games were competing for the various spots in my list. Indies all throughout the year had been surprising me in terms of quality and content but as I sat down to iron out my list, only two things were certain; that BioShock Infinite was without a doubt my game of the year, and that I had to make sure the rest of the games on my top 5 list were ones I finished. So when I finally narrowed down number 5-2, it ended up like this. These were the games that left the biggest impression on me this year and I’m pretty happy about this list as it just reminds of all the good times I’ve had this year.