5. TOMB RAIDER
When Tomb Raider was first announced, I thought it was a completely needless reboot of a deservedly dead franchise. So I was understandably surprised by the final product. The plot went some weird places at the end, but the story was a mostly interesting “come of age” tale of sorts, and Lara is now a character worth rooting for (in addition to ogling at). The shooting and melee combat was solid, and the production values were impressive. There were several over the top sequences that were just plain awesome.
+ hopefully the beginning of a much better franchise
– actual “tomb raiding” takes up a regretfully small amount of the game
I had a blast playing Guacamelee. It hearkened back to the more old school, side scrolling beat ’em ups of my younger years, and offered a great amount of challenge in the later levels. The look and feel of the game was very unique, and it had a great sense of humor in it’s settings and characters (Goat Man was a personal favorite). Learning new super abilities opened up more combat and exploration options in a very smooth learning curve, and the platforming was equally frustrating and rewarding. My favorite part of the game though was the distinct graphical style; no other game on this list had the same flair.
+ enemies are all fun to fight
– end game bosses can be unfairly hard
3. GONE HOME
Gone Home is less of a video game and more of an interactive story, and it’s one that is well worth experiencing. The game is beautiful in a completely understated way, and the little voice acting that there is, is very well done. The 90’s punk rock music that plays really helps to set the mood of the character you’re searching for, and every room opens up a new mystery and adds more depth to the backstory. Put shortly, everyone that owns a PC should play Gone Home.
+ completely worth exploring every inch of the house
– picking up objects to get to the hidden letters underneath can be tedious
2. BIOSHOCK INFINITE
I won’t rehash my reviews of these top two games, if you’re curious about my in-depth thoughts, you can read the individual posts. But to put it succinctly, the reason Bioshock Infinite isn’t at the top of this list is that it just doesn’t hold up to the original game. The world is still completely unique and interesting, the story still twists and turns in surprising ways, and the combat is still fun (if unrefined), but Infinite just can’t compare the the feeling that I got while playing the original Bioshock. Infinite is still an amazing game, but it can’t stand on it’s own the way that my number one game can.
+ ties back to Bioshock in an awesome way
– relies on audio diaries to tell the most interesting parts of the story
1. THE LAST OF US
After beating The Last of Us, I kind of knew then and there that it would be my number one game of the year. It’s the complete package, beautiful graphics, engrossing world, fantastic acting, riveting story, and satisfying shooting/melee mechanics. But the thing that really elevates it to being one of the best games of the generation is the way the story is told. The Last of Us relies on it’s actors to portray the mood and emotions in a way that few other games have ever attempted, and the risk completely pays off. At times, the range of facial expressions had me completely forgetting that I was playing a video game at all, and I was only reminded when I was dropped into seemingly unsurvivable combat situations against intelligent enemies, both alive and dead. Naughty Dog has gotten criticism in the past for having floaty shooting mechanics in the Uncharted series, but the mechanics completely work in The Last of Us. Joel isn’t a trained killer, after all. He’s just a man that’s trying to survive day to day. Honestly, I could go on for days about the kind of man that Joel is, but this isn’t a character breakdown, so I’ll just say that he’s not a good man. At times, he isn’t even a man worth rooting for and I found myself wishing that I wasn’t playing as him. But that’s part of what made this game so damn good, the characters are “real” people that are trying to survive another day. They’re selfish, but wouldn’t we all be if we were constantly in danger of a brutal death? Ugh, there is just so much to say about this game that I could go on like this for another hour, and that’s why it’s my top game of the year. No other game left me thinking in the way that The Last of Us did, and most of those thoughts were not happy ones.
+ ambiguous, risky, and completely satisfying ending that makes me never want a sequel
– the multiplayer is fine, but it detracts from the overall single player feel of the game
Didn’t see your favorite game from 2013 on this list? Let me know how much of an idiot I am in the comments below!
Also, if you like video games (and I would assume you do if you’re here), then feel free to check out my Youtube channel where I upload gaming videos several times a week!