Twinfinite Staff’s Top 5 Games of the Year List – Tuesday Edition!
Welcome to the Twinfinite Tuesday Crew’s Top 5 GOTY list for 2013. Our staff has pretty diverse tastes, and 2013 is no exception. Below you’ll see lists of some of our staff’s personal favorite games from the past year, followed by a paragraph explaining it.
We’d love to hear what your favorites this year were, so leave a comment. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy!
I think it speaks volumes that only one of my top 5 picks is a proper AAA release; 2013 was truly the year I became fed up with the AAA stream of regurgitation. FPS and military themes became dead concepts to me and I really spent most of the year playing games I’d missed this generation, but BioShock Infinite felt like a real mould-breaker for me (a story I CARED about in a shooter?!) and Enemy Within, despite only being a downloadable add-on, very quickly rejuvenated my adoration for XCOM. Meanwhile on the PC, smaller titles were blowing me away left and right, with Gone Home’s crushing story and subtlety surpassing the love I had for Dear Esther and leaving some seriously powerful memories. It’s got a hefty price tag, make no mistake, but Gone Home is not one to miss in the long run.
A little later, Twinfinite’s Extra Life livestream gave me an excuse to finally get around to Outlast, an indie horror title that took enough cues from Amnesia and Fatal Frame to become a terrifying cocktail of its own. The first game to scare me in a long time, Outlast was stylish, polished and had some masterful sound design. A lot of places have rated it around 7/10, but for me, Outlast was a triumph. None impressed me more so than Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, a game which from start to finish like it was made FOR me. Nordic and Germanic folklore, minimalist storytelling and dialogue reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus, and a genuinely innovative control system: Brothers just ticked all the boxes, and I was entranced. It takes a game like Brothers to remind us the best games aren’t made with million-dollar budgets, they come with a bunch of people with a lot of love. Do yourself a favour and catch this one on the next Steam sale.
2013 has been a pretty lackluster year for me gamewise. When asked to come up with a list of the 5 best titles of the year, I was struck by a disturbing thought; had I even played 5 games that came out this year? It turns out that yes, I had, but most were so thoroughly unimpressive that it just felt wrong to include them in the running (Tomb Raider, I’m looking at you). I’ll admit, this is largely because my computer’s a heap of shit that’s incapable of running anything except the original Starcraft and, inexplicably, Braid. Much as I would’ve liked to, I didn’t have to opportunity to play any of the indie games (Gone Home, Papers, Please, etc.) that are at the top of other people’s GOTY lists. And, to put it bluntly, I was too poor and/or cheap to buy some of the console contenders, like The Last of Us and GTA V. So after much deliberation, I’ve come up with my little list.
My GOTY is Year Walk, a creepy and beautiful iOS adventure game that’s unlike anything I’ve ever played. Despite (or perhaps because of) all the hubbub surrounding BioShock Infinite as GOTY, it made my list. And because I’m an ardent Ron Gilbert fangirl, (the Monkey Island series will forever hold a special place in my heart), I included The Cave, which is both hilarious and profound. Divekick also made my list, as I’m fortunate enough to have a good friend who’s got a great PC: many a night was spent drinking, laughing, and dive/kicking. Finally we’ve got Dota 2, which I confess, I’ve yet to play (shit-heap of a computer), but I’ve enjoyed the heck out of watching competitively.
My Top 5 for 2013 spans a number of genres, with a couple of titles that call back to my roots as a gamer in Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and Super Mario 3D World. Both Mario and Lego Marvel Super Heroes reach out to my inner child – as well as my actual child, a six year old budding gamer in his own right.
The odd fit in this group is definitely The Novelist, which snuck its way in by breaking the trends of my gaming experience, and doing it with fantastic storytelling to boot. Ultimately, my choices are the games from the last year that made the most memorable impact on me, or simply captured my attention and free time by their excellence, fun value, or other qualities that drew me in and made me remember why I love being a gamer.
I had to mull over whether BioShock Infinite or The Last of Us would stand at the top of my best games of 2013. On a different day BioShock Infinite could be my number one, but for today The Last of Us holds the spot. TLOU‘s story and universe might not be as complex as the other title, but what it has over it is the story about it’s characters; specifically, the story between Joel and Ellie. The way Naughty Dog presents and develops these characters truly makes you feel for them more than most other games. TLOU is one of the best cinematic games ever created, and that’s why it takes top spot.
Believe me, I’m as surprised by this list as anyone. I liked (but didn’t love) Saints Row the Third, enjoyed old Devil May Cry but never really missed it, thought Metro 2033 was deeply flawed, and wasn’t much of a fan of BioShock. So how the hell did their sequels all end up on my Top 5 list?
Well it’s simple really; each of them kept me what was great about their predecessors while fixing their problems at the same time. In the case of BioShock Infinite, Irrational Games shortened the overall length of the experience and made sure its ending was every bit as unforgettable as its beginning. In 2013 I rediscovered the joy I get from video games, and no game evoked a stronger sense of shock, excitement, horror, and pure exhilaration as BioShock Infinite.