It’s that time again…time to wrap up another great year in video games. Not only did 2013 bring us some of the most memorable games of this generation, it also saw the launch of a new generation of hardware, with both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles arriving just in time for the holiday shopping frenzy. Sadly, the launch wasn’t as monumental as gamers had hoped, with many of the anticipated new titles getting pushed to 2014 leaving behind a small collection of current-gen games getting a PC-quality facelift. Interestingly enough, what few true next-gen originals that did release this year barely registered on our list of nominees when it came time to choose the best games of the year.
For 2013 we are continuing last year’s format of not breaking up the awards into an insane amount of system and genre categories. We are simply going to give you the top ten games as voted on by both our readers and our writing staff. Unless otherwise noted, winners were selected independent of any particular game system or format, and just for kicks, we’re showing last year’s winner for each position.
These are YOUR awards! The gamers have spoken… ENJOY THE SHOW!
10. Max: Curse of Brotherhood (Our Review) For a game that has only been out for two weeks and is also an Xbox One exclusive, I was amazed how fast this shot up the leaderboards, nudging out some of the seemingly more popular titles. With its fresh approach to puzzle-platforming, Max is not only one of the best platform games I have personally ever played, it is also the best Xbox One game currently available. Last Year: Hitman: Absolution
9. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Our Review) Sam Fisher makes his final appearance on the current gen with a next-gen remodel in both visuals and gameplay. With its open-world presentation style players could seamlessly move between solo, co-op, and versus gameplay, and the perk rewards kept you coming back time and time again. Sam Fisher is still the king of stealth-action combat, and we look forward to seeing what Ubisoft can do with the franchise using next-gen hardware. Last Year: The Walking Dead
8. Gone Home (Our Review) One of the most talked about games of 2013 was Gone Home, the indie darling from The Fullbright Company that put players in a big empty house and asked them to find out “where did everybody go” simply by wandering around room to room searching for clues. Rife with tension, 90’s cultural influences, and a gripping multi-faceted storyline, Gone Home might not have a lot of traditional “gameplay” but it certainly made an impact with gamers. Last Year: Max Payne 3
7. Tomb Raider (Our Review) The reboot of the Lara Croft franchise was all over the top ten this year; one time reaching as high as the #2 spot, but she eventually settled into 7th place. This new vision for Tomb Raider was one of the most impressive action-adventure games of 2013, and I look forward to seeing her again in 2014 when her Definitive Edition comes to next-gen consoles. If you haven’t played this new Tomb Raider yet you don’t know what you are missing. Last Year: Journey
6. Grand Theft Auto V (Our Review) No matter how much you want to grumble about no PC or next-gen release there is no denying the impact that Rockstar’s open-world crime simulation had on gamers this year. With its massive world map and compelling storyline so large it took three characters to tell, and its new online component, people will still be playing GTA5 on their old consoles when that PC version finally drops in 2014. Last Year: Halo 4
5. Saints Row IV (Our Review) With a one month head start on GTA5, this presidential, superhero, action, adventure, comedy, sci-fi, quickly rose to the top of the charts and our award leaderboards. Saints Row IV and GTA V were constantly swapping positions on the list right up until the last day of voting, but silly cyber superhero fantasies set in the “Matrix” eventually won out over the more realistic crime drama set in a fictional Los Angeles. Last Year: Mass Effect 3
4. BioShock Infinite (No review available) Just because we never got to review BioShock Infinite doesn’t mean we didn’t get to play it. We did and we loved every minute of this truly inspired game. Loaded with lore, style, story, and great action set-pieces, the core game alone kept gamers busy for hours on end, and that’s before all of the fantastic DLC started rolling out. BioShock Infinite is truly one of the most captivating and imaginative games of 2013. Last Year: Borderlands 2
3. The Last of Us (Our Review) It’s rare that a system-exclusive title gets this high on the leaderboard, but when the game is as good as The Last of Us I’m not that surprised. From the heart-wrenching opening to the thought-provoking ending, gamers are carried along on this rollercoaster of suspense, drama, and emotional father-daughter bonding I would have thought impossible in a video game. If you own a PS3 then this game had better be in your game collection, or you are a soulless human being. Last Year: XCOM Enemy Unknown
2. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Our Review) Who would have thought that Starbreeze and 505 Games would release the best game of 2013. Voting be damned, and with all respect to the actual winner and the people who voted for it, Brothers is my personal pick for the best game of the year. Until you have experienced the sheer genius of the control scheme – something that will actually require you to tap into previously unused brain functions – you can’t begin to imagine how “magical” this game truly is. While best on the PC, the game does require a gamepad, but it’s worth buying one just to experience this journey. You’ll finish Brothers in a few hours but you’ll be talking about it for months, as this game sets the new benchmark for the genre. Last Year: Dishonored
1. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Our Review) Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum… Ubisoft may have tipped the scales in their favor by having this game available on pretty much every platform out there, but having the largest audience only matters if you have the game to back it up, and Black Flag is easily one of the best (if not the best) installments in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It takes the much-loved naval component from the last game and uses ship battles and high seas exploration as the fundamental core for an all-new pirate adventure where Assassin’s and Templars are more of a footnote than a fixture. A solid multiplayer component and more DLC adventure awaits for Season Pass holders, so set sail for undiscovered adventure in our 2013 Game of the Year pick. Last Year: Far Cry 3
So there you have your top ten of 2013, but what about the games that didn’t make the final cut. There were so many great games and many titles made their way into the top ten and fell out during the course of voting; titles like:
- Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
- The Stanley Parable
- Metro: Last Light
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf
- Injustice: Gods Among Us
These all made their way into the top ten at some point during the voting process and deserved an Honorable Mention. The competition was fierce this year, which is great for us…the gamers, and things are only looking better for 2014, as we have numerous 2013 titles pushed into the new year and the a whole new generation of consoles and next-gen games to look forward to. And speaking of the future, we also wanted to list the Most Anticipated Game of 2014:
Can Ubisoft win Game of the Year three consecutive years? You’ll have to wait until next December to find out. 2014 also marks the year that we see some serious system-exclusive competition, as hardware manufacturers try to lure you into their camp with a big name title, as well as the rebirth of PC gaming as Valve unleashes their “Steam Box”. Here are some system exclusives to keep your eye on:
- PC: Star Citizen
- Xbox One: Titanfall
- PlayStation 4: Infamous: Second Son
- Wii U: Bayonetta 2
Well, that wraps up our (and your) picks for the Best Games of 2013. There were so many awesome video games this year, and so much to look forward to in 2014. We’ll be here to cover it all, providing you with all the latest news, trailers, reviews, and more.
See you next year…