By: Casey Curran
TOP 10 GAMES OF 2013
Honorable Mentions: Tearaway, DOTA 2, BioShock Infinite, Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark
10) Grand Theft Auto 5 — That GTA V sits 10th is a great indicator of how good of a year 2013 was. This game was pretty much what I wanted out of Grand Theft Auto 4. The controls finally reached a point where running, shooting, and driving never felt like a chore inside the best GTA map to date. But while GTA V exceeded all of my expectations…
9) Saints Row 4 — …my favorite sandbox game this year was Saints Row 4. Even though I gave this game a 4 and still stand by that score for the amount of bugs, glitches, and freezes I encountered, there’s no denying just how much fun I had running up walls and leaping over buildings in virtual Steelport. I’m still humming half this game’s soundtrack months after playing it.
8) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies — I am a huge fan of the Phoenix Wright series, so I enjoyed the lawyer’s triumphant return to court. Dual Destinies streamlined many of the annoying parts that plagued previous AA games and delivered many more thrilling and bizarre courtroom sequences (including defending and questioning an orca) with great new characters like Prosecutor Blackquill and Detective Fulbright.
7) Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time — Any other year this would probably be in my top 3 or top 5 for sure. I loved being back with the gang, playing as Sly’s ancestors, and experiencing the series’ excellent mix of platforming and stealth.
6) Metal Gear Rising: Revengence — Bringing Platinum Games and Metal Gear together may seem like a weird combination, but the developer captured the series’ absurd nature pretty well. The action, meanwhile, was as good as action games get with some fun new ideas sprinkled in. It makes me wish more action games had a parry system similar to it.
5) The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds — After Skyward Sword disappointed me, my faith in the Zelda series was shaken. Fortunately, A Link Between Worlds offered just enough new elements to stand out from other Zelda games while still offering fun puzzles, complex dungeons, and epic boss battles.
4) Super Mario 3D World — 3D World takes the formula established in 3D Land, then improves on it in nearly every way. Four-player co-op and multiple characters were both welcome changes, but what really put it a step ahead was the brilliant level design and wealth of fun power ups. 3D World is as fun as games get.
3. Pokémon X and Y — As a huge Pokémon fan, the introduction of 3D graphics was enough to get me excited. The new Pokémon were the best since the original 150 while delivering a bunch of little touches that made the game more fun to play than ever. Also, it let me put a Bulbasaur on my team again. Awesome.
2) Rayman Legends — Old Rayman was good. Rayman Origins was great. Rayman Legends was perfect. I’m still coming back to this game all the time, and even when I get around to unlocking everything, I’ll still look for an excuse to keep playing. The music levels alone warrant a spot on this list.
1) The Last of Us — I had so much trouble putting this game down. The combat, while taking various elements from other games, felt unlike anything I had played before and never got stale the entire time. The story, meanwhile, was better than any movie I saw this year, delivering plenty of intense moments and well written characters with a perfect ending. This is not just my favorite game this year, it’s one of my all-time favorite games.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2013
Tomb Raider — After going three-for-three with Tomb Raider Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld, I was excited to see what Crystal Dynamics would do with a new Tomb Raider in a more open world style of game. Unfortunately, the game did not use this new approach to play to its strengths and offered much simpler and less engaging platforming and puzzles than the last three provided. While the combat was improved, neither the stealth nor the shooting mechanics were deep enough to make up for this. Tomb Raider was a game that did enough to work, but not enough to satisfy.
MOST ANTICIPATED GAMES OF 2014
5) Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — I love the Ace Attorney series, but will admit that the investigations can drag on a lot. So replacing them with Professor Layton puzzles in a Puritan witch trial sounds like a great idea.
4) Bayonetta 2 — Bayonetta is one of my favorite action games, so I’m excited to get a part two with online co-op.
3) Kirby Triple Deluxe — Kirby’s Return to Dreamland was my favorite game from 2011, and Triple Deluxe looks to keep everything that made it fun with a few new ideas to keep things fresh.
2) South Park: The Stick of Truth — South Park is one of my favorite shows, and Obsidian is one of my favorite developers. Couple them together in a game that nails the look and feel of the show with plenty of RPG goodness and we look to have a winner here.
1) Destiny — I’ve loved everything Bungie’s made, and Destiny does not look to change this. Everything about it looks to take what makes Halo great and enhance it to make a more fun game.
PlayStation Game of the Year: The Last of Us
Xbox Game of the Year: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Nintendo Game of the Year: Pokemon X/Y
Downloadable Game of the Year: Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies
Portable Game of the Year: Pokemon X/Y
Best DLC: The Citadel (Mass Effect 3)
Best Story: The Last of Us
Best Shooter: BioShock Infinite
Best Co-op: Super Mario 3D World