2013 has been amazing: two new console releases, announcements for many anticipated games of 2014, and a huge amount of great games. The avalanche of excellent titles was so massive, it was difficult for this gamer to maintain an air pocket. There are still several sitting on my shelf that I can’t include in this list because I’ve not played them yet, so they’ll just have to be included in the New Year’s resolution. Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Gears of War: Judgement, Metal Gear Rising Revengence, Mario and Luigi Dream Team and God of War: Ascension, I’ll play you soon. Until then, here are top five games of 2013:
5. Bioshock Infinite
Ken Levine’s return to the Bioshock universe is a triumphant one. Instead of fighting your way through an underwater dystopia of splicers, you’re sailing through a white supremacist world in the clouds.
The world manages to suck you in, the combat is intense, and the narrative is filled with more twists and turns than a roller coaster; and “1999 Mode”will destroy all your controllers. This is a must play and a must buy for any gamer.
4. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
When you combine Level-5 studios with the minds at Studio Ghibli, you get a JRPG masterpiece. This title will take you back to the heyday of the SNES-era JRPGs. The game’s battle system is a fun one once you get the hang of it. You directly control your familiars as they battle on your behalf, capturing and evolving more as the story progresses. If it sound similar to pokemon, that’s because it is, but it doesn’t detract from the game whatsoever. The creatures are unique and the companions you’ll encounter are endearing. With it’s amazing anime-styled graphics, and beautiful over-world, it’s a story of discovery and stolen spirits that will truly win you over.
3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
A desire for nostalgia is deeply ingrained in many gamers. I love firing up my Dreamcast or N64, reliving college life, if just for a bit. I was thrilled when Nintendo decided to make a sequel to A Link to the Past. Unfortunately, I hadn’t purchased a 3DS yet, so I played real life Frogger on Black Friday in order to obtain one.
I’ve been enamored with my purchase ever since. Nintendo has reinvented Zelda in a way we didn’t think was possible. I love freely taking Link all over Hyrule, finding all the secrets, fighting monsters, and of course saving the world. The 3D looks great and gives the dungeons a depth we couldn’t have imagined when the original came out. Not only is this one of the best games of this year, it’s also one of the best Zelda games ever made.
2. The Last of Us
Naughty Dog’s jump from Drake to Joel is an amazing one. Not only did they craft a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat, they made you feel like you could die at any turn. The game is extremely detailed and beautiful, but behind the gorgeous dystopian aesthetic, danger is everywhere. Deciding when to avoid the stilted movements of a Clicker and when to attack it head on is crucial; if you haven’t conserved gear properly, sometimes you won’t even get those options.
The tightly woven story takes the most intriguing tropes of a desolate world: land reclamation by the earth, the creation of new familial bonds, and the transportation of humanities savior, and leaves you playing long past the point of exhaustion. You’ll need to rest or go to work, but the plight of Joel and Ellie will keep drawing you back to the television. You want to know who you may lose, or what fate will befall the two protagonists. Naughty Dog truly blew me away with this game, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next.
1. Grand Theft Auto V
It’s hard for me to put a sequel as my top game of 2013, but Rockstar has shown me that sequels can be amazing and inventive at the same time. While certain franchises rehash the same old thing each year, Rockstar took five years to create their latest masterpiece, and it shows.
The graphics are phenomenal and Los Santos feels alive; the voice over work is superb as well, and the main story that Dan Houser wrote will keep you playing hour after hour. Rockstar tweaked the controls to make the driving tighter, and went with three playable characters instead of one. All their stories intertwine and you’re are allowed to switch between them during heists and downtime. This adds an incredibly new dynamic that will be replicated for years in future open-world titles.
Story missions aren’t the only thing for you to do, there are side missions, robbers to catch, cars to steal, rampages to go on, and much more. It’s a little sad to think that we won’t get another GTA for half of a decade, but hopefully they’ll revolutionize this blockbuster franchise all over again.
Honorable mentions are , Pokemon X & Y, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Soul Sacrifice, Tomb raider, DMC, Batman: Arkham Origins, Dead Space 3 and Tearaway.