With some especially strong titles from Nintendo and a completely new set of consoles from Microsoft and Sony, 2013 was a pretty good year for gaming.
1) The Last of Us (PS3)
The Last of Us seamlessly melds the mediums of cinema and video game to create an experience unlike any other. Utilizing the survival horror genre like you have never played it before, The Last of Us keeps you feeling frightened and alone in a world that is every bit as terrifying as it is beautiful. Easily the best game of 2013 and one of the best I have ever played in over 27 years of gaming.
2) Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)
The Nintendo 3DS is fast becoming one of my favorite gaming systems ever and games like Fire Emblem: Awakening are why. Crushingly difficult, well plotted and with more optimization than your standard strategy/RPG fare, this is an absolute must for any fan of this genre.
3) Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
Just…wonderful and one of the best reasons to go out and buy a 3DS.
4) Diablo III (XBOX 360/PS3)
I love the Diablo series, but the PC iteration of Diablo 3 felt very lackluster to me…it was unbalanced and just didn’t give me the desire to play it as intently as I did the others. Blizzard released a console version of the game in late 2013 and completely fixed everything that was wrong in the PC version, (including the terrible auction house) making this the infinite time suck it was truly meant to be. You could legitimately play this game forever.
5) Tomb Raider (XBOX 360/PS3/PC)
I was never much of a Tomb Raider fan, but with the reboot of this now classic series, Square-Enix has managed to get it right. Borrowing heavily from the Uncharted series, Tomb Raider is perfect in its execution. A gripping narrative and constant sense of foreboding helps to keep you enthralled the entire time.
6) Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
Not quite as good as the 2001 original for the Gamecube, Luigis Mansion: Dark Moon still manages to be a fun adventure title nonetheless. Gorgeous graphics, challenging puzzles and plenty of side quests kept me hooked.
7) Mario and Luigi: Dream Team (3DS)
Yet ANOTHER 3DS title makes my favorite list with Mario and Luigi: Dream Team. Visually stunning, perfectly balanced and full of all these great little Nintendo fanboy jokes, make this one of the most enjoyable RPG’s I’ve played in a long time.
8) Batman: Arkham Origins (XBOX 360/PS3/PC)
Batman’s third outing takes form as a prequel, with a new developer, and new voice actors for both Batman (Roger Craig Smith replaces Kevin Conroy) and the Joker (Troy Baker replaces Mark Hammil). The result is pretty damn good actually. I really couldn’t even tell the difference with the voice actors, especially Troy Baker who nails Hamill’s now classic Joker voice. A great narrative combines with equally great visuals, but I still couldn’t help but feel that maybe it might time for this series to take just a couple years off…as the formula is now starting to get that “I’ve played this same exact thing” feeling to it.
9) Crysis 3 (XBOX 360/PS3/PC)
The 3rd entry in developer Crytek’s visually beautiful, original sci-fi shooter series, Crysis 3, is just as solid as Crysis 1 and 2. These games (while decent story wise) were never narrative powerhouses, but the gameplay/difficulty level remains just as fun as ever.
10) Grand Theft Auto V (XBOX 360/PS3/PC)
If you’ve ever played a GTA game before, you know what to expect…hookers, guns, car chases, shootouts, etc…but with Grand Theft Auto V, all of that is elevated to an entirely new level of interactivity. It is flat out scary how large and alive the world in this game is. As tired of this series as I might be, I can’t deny its level of brilliance and narrative wonderment.
God of War: Ascension
An absolute travesty of a game, God of War: Ascension manages to take what isn’t broken, try to fix it, and as a result, smash it to bits. This once flawless franchise gets it’s first ever stinker.
Resident Evil 6
Now, I only played the demo for this, but that was MORE than enough…terrible on so many fronts.
Someone over at Irrational Games must have forgotten that games are supposed to be, well, FUN. I cannot argue the fact that this game as a narrative, is fantastic. It is. But as a game, it is a repetitive, dull, predictable hunk of garbage.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
A clunky, boring beat em’ up that had so much more promise than the final product delivered…10 back flips now!
With 2014 already here, it’s time to look at what newcomers XBOX One and PS4 have to offer, which as of right now, isn’t much. In fact this year as a whole, seems rather dull gaming wise. However, it’s still early and the bigger announcements usually come out around E3 time, so we’ll just have to wait and see. What say you?
-Sock Talk Jon-