GAF Games of the Year 2013 - Voting Thread - VOTING CLOSED

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tagged by Blackace
Jun 7, 2009
1. Pokémon X/Y ; The mainline Pokémon series experiences a more than successful transition into 3D. Whilst the overworld is noticeably lacking stereoscopic 3D, the 3D models and battle animations bring an enormous amount of charm and life to the core of these games. Combine that with improvements to features and rejigs to combat mechanics across the board and it's clear Game Freak knocked it out of the park once again. Game Freak has sculpted such a strong foundation over the years, so when you see them making some of the most drastic changes to the formula in generations only to still produce such a solid product, it really is an incredible achievement that you are constantly reminded of when you play it.
2. Lego Marvel Super Heroes ;
3. Grand Theft Auto V ;
4. BattleBlock Theatre ;
5. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ;
6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ;
7. StreetPass: Monster Manor ;
8. Fire Emblem: Awakening ;
9. Tomb Raider ;
10. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ;
2012. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed ;

Incomplete, but I'm keeping this here just in case I don't get around to writing up the rest of my reviews. I think that should be valid as is anyways.


Jun 6, 2011
I'm surprised the Call of Juarez game was so well received. I remember the previous one being panned.

And lol winnie the pooh

Edit: After reading that I feel like too much of a wimp to try Monster Hunter, haha.


Sep 30, 2006
Ottawa, ON
1. Bioshock Infinite ; Fun gameplay, and greatest plot twist in the history of videogames since MGS2. The simple thing that pushed this to the top was the addition of Move controls.
2. Tekken Revolution ; It's a shadow of the game TTT2 is, but it's till Tekken... and hence it's still a masterful fighting game.
3. The Last of Us ; ND deserve a lot of praise for what they achieved, but having one of the most unlikable protagonists in history pushed this game down more than it should have.
4. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance ; A Platinum games title, all that needs to be said.
5. Rayman Legends ; A game that shows how magical local co op can be.
6. God of War: Ascension ; Easily the best gameplay ever seen in a God of War title. Story, boss fights, and set pieces aren't as strong as other titles, but the huge change to a more skill based gameplay made me enjoy this game a ton.
7. Dragon's Crown ; Disgusting art design, but I still ended up buying it since I'm a sucker for local co op titles.
8. Puppeteer ;
9. Ratchet and Clank Into the Nexus ;
10. Soul Calibur 2 HD Online ;

2012. Mass Effect 3 ;

Those are literally all the games I bought this year.


Jul 16, 2007
1. Bioshock Infinite ; Fun gameplay, and greatest plot twist in the history of videogames. The simple thing that pushed this to the top was the addition of Move controls.
2. Rayman Legends ; A game that shows how magical local co op can be.
3. Tekken Revolution ; It's a shadow of the game TTT2, but it's till Tekken... and hence it's still a masterful fighting game.
4. The Last of Us ; ND deserve a lot of praise for what they achieved, but having one of the most unlikable protagonists in history pushed this game down than it should have.
5. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance ; A Platinum games title, all that needs to be said.
6. God of War: Ascension ; Easily the best gameplay ever seen in a God of War title. Story, boss fights, and set pieces aren't as strong as other titles, but the huge change to much more skill based gameplay made me enjoy this game a ton.
7. Dragon's Crown ; Disgusting art design, but I still ended up buying it since I'm a sucker for local co op titles.
8. Puppeteer ;
9. Ratchet and Clank Into the Nexus ;
10. Soul Calibur 2 HD Online ;

2012. Mass Effect 3 ;

Those are literally all the games I bought this year.
Ah finally someone loved Ascension besides myself, I enjoyed just as much as the others.


Feb 21, 2012
I'm surprised the Call of Juarez game was so well received. I remember the previous one being panned.

And lol winnie the pooh

Edit: After reading that I feel like too much of a wimp to try Monster Hunter, haha.
It was a big surprise Gunslinger was as good as it was, as its previous entrant The Cartel tried to bring it to modern times to copy COD and utterly failed. Gunslinger is also a budget downloadable title, cheaper and shorter than your average game thus not overstaying its welcome.


Feb 21, 2012
Great read and great list man. I love your images, specfically the gifs. :)
Tales of Xillia and Spelunky are both in my honorable mentions, but I forgot to edit them in my list haha. Let's see if I can make some room...
Thanks! I actually wanted to add more honourable mentions but I already had to cut about 30% of my comments to get under the character limit.


Cretinously credulous
Apr 11, 2007
1. The Last of us ; This game, man! This game! Half life 2 has been my game of the forever since 2005 and I never thought any other game would come even close. Then Last of Us came along and took the same spot. Now both of these games are my 'game of the forever' and Last of Us is my game of the generation. Thats how much I loved this game! I, personally, didnt find a single flaw in the game. Usually, no matter how much I like a game, there would be one or two sections of the game that I would simply hate and would wonder what the hell the game designer was thinking while designing that level (like Capra demon in Dark Souls), but not in this game. There was never a single moment where I felt that. The only game that shares the same distinction for me is, you guessed it, HL2. As countless other people have said, the story is strongest part of this game. I have not encountered a better story, more fleshed out characters or better pacing in any game. Another thing that the game excels is in merging the gameplay with the story and atmosphere and world. The slow, cautious and slightly hard gameplay gels with the world the characters are living in. And the background score, oh my God! Most games try to pound you with music, trying to show how great it is. Not this game. The music is there, but very subtle. It enhances the world, rather than stealing the thunder or trying to be blatant. Also, I have never seen better character animation, especially facial, in any game. I could see it in the eyes, on their face, what the characters were thinking or feeling. They didnt need to say it. Amazing. Hates off Naughty Dog. To me you are the best studio in gaming right now and I will be there for whatever you do next.
2. Brothers: A tale of two sons ; The only game ever that I finished in one sitting. Loved it. Loved the atmosphere, loved the gameplay, loved the story, loved the graphics. I often judge games on the basis of sections and levels and moments I can remember very clearly and nostalgically, long after finishing after the game. And there are so many moments and sections of this game that I recall. For that, the game is my second favorite game of the year.
3. Grand Theft Auto V: Probably the best realized open world in a modern setting (or maybe in any setting). The characters were deplorable, and I believe that's what Rockstar were going for. So thumbs up for that, I guess. But on the other hand, the constant pounding of 'satire' was too much. It was as if the game became satire of the satire. Didnt like that much. And one or two sections (like the
scene were too much. On the other hand, it had hundreds of amazing sections, great gameplay and was fun to roam around. :)
4. Bioshock: Infinite ; This game is here for me only because of the phenomenal first hour. The game simply blew me away in the first hour. And then, the game simply tanked for me. By the time I was halfway through the game, it started feeling a chore. The ending again gave some satisfaction though. So for the beginning and ending, BI is at fourth for me.
5. Dead Space 3 ; A lot of people didn't like it, but for me the game was really atmospheric, especially in the second half. I didnt mind the twist either.
6. Tome Raider ; I voice acting was really distracting and over the top for me, but the gameplay and setting was nice.
7. Assassins creed 4: Black flag ; Loved the huge game world, amazing graphics and sense of exploration. The characters left a lot to be desired though.
8. Splinter cell: Blacklist ; If not for some really hard difficulty spikes, especially if you are going for full stealth, this game would've been higher. Nonetheless, it was nice to see Splinter cell going for more stealth roots.

Didnt play many games this year, so only 8 from me. :)


Aug 16, 2009

1. The Last of Us ; Excelled in its storytelling thanks to an emotionally gripping script and flawless voice acting to back it up. Powerful cinematic sequences coupled with the small moments of dialogue throughout gameplay resulted in superb character development, add to that the awesome animation and you've the most believable characters in video games today. Beautifully presented with every inch seemingly lovingly crafted with stacks of attention to detail, all accompanied by Gustavo Santaolalla’s lovely soundtrack; strengthening the impact of every emotion felt. Despite not making huge strides on the gameplay front it still delivered fairly deep and satisfying mechanics with its gunplay, stealth, and crafting that most importantly integrated with the narrative seamlessly. Playing on the higher difficulty settings went a long way in enhancing the tension and atmosphere, and ensuring you played the game exactly as it was intended; on your toes using everything at your disposal. Not only my game of the year 2013, but my favourite game this generation.

2. Grand Theft Auto V
3. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
4. Assassin's Creed IV : Black Flag
5. Splinter Cell Blacklist
6. Bioshock Infinite
7. Batman: Arkham Origins
8. Tomb Raider
9. Gone Home
10. Remember Me

x. Rayman Legends
x. The Stanley Parable
x. Resogun ; Dont have a PS4 yet but managed to get in an hour of play time. Right from the get go it was a joy to play, now it might just have been me still relishing the new PS4 controller, or seeing all the beautiful voxel chaos in front of me at 1080p/60fps, but Resogun just felt pure and right in the brief time I had with it. I've never been a huge fan of pure gameplay experiences but they've been growing on me with stuff like Rayman recently, I think Resogun is the game that could turn me around on them.

2012. Deadlight

Quick nod to Alan Wake's American Nightmare and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, liked both but couldn't fit them on the list.

Mr. Sam

Nov 9, 2007
London, England
I've waited and waited and waited, trying to catch up, but I guess I just can't wait anymore. Deep breath!

1. Bioshock Infinite ; The only time I've sat there, open-mouthed and awed at a videogame this year has been during Bioshock Infinite's final half an hour. The original Bioshock is one of my very favourite games, and Infinite feels like a worthy - if flawed - successor.
2. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; I'm a big fan of the Assassin's Creed franchise but also among the first to point out the games' flaws. Black Flag scales down on the animus fluff and adds in an honest-to-God piracy simulator. I've not felt as immersed in a time period since Red Dead Redemption.
3. Rayman Legends ; Concentrated glee reduced down to videogame form - as slick and beautiful as 2D platforming gets.
4. Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon ; My favourite 3DS game in a year that included a new Pokemon, a new Zelda and a 'new' Donkey Kong Country.
5. Tomb Raider ; This was, and this sounds hilarious, my first ever PC game. I actually feel it's tremendously underrated.
6. Tearaway ; The reason I purchased a Vita.
7. Grand Theft Auto V ; I've fallen out of love with the open world crime simulator but there's just no denying just how sprawling and polished GTAV is. It deserves that new number.
8. Pokemon X/Y ; Unfortunately, I've just not got the same enthusiasm for Pokemon these days that saw me paying three separate visits to the Black and White world. That said, just what's been done here deserves a nod.
9. The Last of Us ; Didn't like it nearly as much as most people. Still liked it though!
10. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; The only game this year that I've played in the back of a car. And then had to stop playing because I started to feel ill.

2012. Hotline Miami ; The soundtrack's on my iPhone.


Jun 7, 2004
i should have mine up tomorrow. having trouble with placement of the top five now that i'm writing up reasons for them.


Mar 10, 2013

1. The Last of Us; "Endure and Survive"
Seriously you can go wrong with Naughty Dog, the story is dark and adult, the characters felt a alive thanks to the great voice acting, the visual are beautiful and haunting, the gameplay slow and brutal, the music was perfectly fit in every possible moment, even the multiplayer was unexpected and addicting. This game in a whole is peerless there's nothing much to be said anyone who's anyone needs to experience this game. BUY AND PLAY THIS GAME!

2. Gran Theft Auto V; "Computer gamers with their computer rigs. All they do is cry. They will never get the game."
Rockstar does it again! It created the one of the biggest gaming world and if that wasn't enough it added 3 protagonist each with their own personalities and the ability to switch between them in a matter of seconds. Great story and characters, hilarious side missions, amazing graphics for an Open World game and a fun Online multiplayer. Even though the game may have felt empty, Single Player Heist and GTA Online not living up to the hype, GTA V is a Technical Marvel that shows what the 7th generation of consoles were capable of.

3. Bioshock Infinite; "He doesn't row?"
Seriously Mr. Levine you make another twist like that and you might end up killing me. Anyways Infinite story was crazy good, the twists even better. The art directing is jaw dropping it made Columbia fell alive but I'll be honest gameplay was very repetitive but it was mildly fix by use of Vigors and I found the lack of Puzzles or Variety very disappointing but thanks to the great story and characters and some interesting collectables, Bioshock Infinite should be a must play.

4. AC IV: Black Flag; "In a world without gold, we might have been heroes!"
Yes another AC game, but this time they got it right. This is one of the few games that can make you feel like a Pirate. The plot is entertaining, characters are intriguing, world is beautiful and the gameplay is pretty much AC with slide of Pirate duties like boarding a ship, being involved in ship battles, looting chests and looking for treasures with maps I mean what else can you ask for!

5. Tearaway; "But a story is only a story when it's shared"
This should have been the game that showed off the capabilities of the PS Vita because it uses every one of them with perfection. The story was sweat and joyful, platforming was nice and easy maybe even to easy and the music was amazing. All in all this was fun a portable game and crown jewel for the PS Vita.

6. Tomb Raider; "I hate Tombs"
As an Uncharted fanboy, I have to admit this game was satisfying. While the plot is not as exciting as an Uncharted one, everything about this game shines. Gameplay was addicting, graphics were beautiful , the exploration and tomb raiding were great and just everything felt like what proper Tomb Raider origin/remake should feel like. This game is the definition of Adventure and can't wait for the sequel.

7. Splinter Cell: Blacklist; "There's a fine line between stupid and brave, General."
Man this game disappeared of the face of the earth, I know the replace Michael Ironside but come on the actual game was pretty damn good, especially the co-op missions, graphics were good and had a ton of replay value. And who would thought that the best part of the game would have been the multiplayer, do yourself a favor and at least give Spec vs Mercs I promise you it is fun. The game had weak sales and that makes me sad but I'm glad I gave this game tried.

8. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; "I was wrong. You're not greedy... You're bat-shit insane!"
Only crap I have never had so much fun cutting down trees XD. Anyways this game was great but criminally short, graphics were and gameplay was satisfying I felt like every cut mattered. Oh and that awesome soundtrack was crazy good. Anyways it is one of the must plays of 2013 and it should be noted that the plot is not as convoluted and confusing as all the other Metal Gear games, so anyone new to the franchise is good to go.

9. Batman: Arkham Origins; "I am the reason the criminals breathe easier when the sun rises."
I know I know this one doesn't hold a candle against Arkham City and Asylum, but I think it has the best plot out of the 3, even the characters were once again well perform specially Batman and Joker. The gameplay is almost exactly the same as all the Arkhams and I think that's alright. But side mission were uninspiring and the bugs were annoying. Plus the multiplayer was fair addition and boy is it fun playing as Batman or Robin and hunting down the players. All in all one of the few good prequel games of this generations.

10. Beyond Two Souls; "I was born with a strange gift, or what they called a gift."
Yes it the does not live up to the hype set by Heavy Rain, I'm actually surprised there was such a hype given some of Gaf's criticism towards Heavy Rain. With that out of the way I though Beyond did better than Heavy Rain in almost every way. Story was actually just a intriguing as Heavy Rain was but it certainly had some slow moments, Gameplay was slightly improved and was made easier which was not necessary, Graphics improved massively showing the horse power PS3 still has, and Characters were life-like than the Heavy Rain characters thanks to great voice acting. So yeah I think this was one of the great games this year and I can't wait for Quantic Dream next title.

x. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time; "What could possibly go wrong?"
If it ain't broke don't fix it, that's the motto I went into this game and thanks to that I loved it. I have to praise Sanzaru Games for making a game true to the source material and while it may have been disappointing that they really didn't add anything new, I'm still glad they continue the franchise and I can't wait for Sly 5!

x. God of War Ascension; "Destroy the oath. Kill Ares. Have your revenge."
Not sure if the focused of making this game was mainly for the multiplayer, but am glad it happened if that was the case. While Ascension was an unnecessary prequel heck I think it could have been a perfect title for the PS Vita, the story mode was intended for the hardcore fans, the graphics were O_O yeah! But the gameplay is still GOW it really didn't add almost anything new and the multiplayer felt a bit bland after a few sessions. Still I think the title deserves a mention for it trying to be more than just a cash in unlike a certain other prequel with the initials of GOW.

2012. Far Cry 3; "Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is?"
All I have to say is Vaas better be back for another Far Cry, because his "Insanity" speech is still hauntingly good.


Mar 18, 2009
1. The Last of Us ; Masterpiece. Nothing else to say.

2. Grand Theft Auto 5 ; Good story and characters, gigantic city and a lot of stuff to do in it. Best GTA game since Vice City.

3. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm ; Blizzard being Blizzard, they made another great RTS.

4. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Platinum being Platinum, lol. Great action game.

5. Gran Turismo 6 ; PD fixed what needed to be fixed. GT has its quriks, but it's still my favourite racing series.

6. God of War: Ascension ; While it's battle system worsened it's still an epic game with stunning visuals. Great boss fights and maybe the most epic finale of a GoW game.

7. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag ; AC returns to it's glory. Great atmosphere and I was always a fan of pirates and a sea.

2012. Fez ; I don't have Xbox 360, but I got this game as soon as it hit PC. Beautiful experience.

I wish I played Bioshock Infinite. I own the game but never got in the mood to play it althought I love the series. Oh well, I will probably mention it in the next years lttp.


Mar 25, 2005
Getting my list up, since I won't have time next week.

I didn't complete as many games as I would have liked in 2013. Ni No Kuni and Atelier Ayesha are still on the backlist. I don't own a Wii U, and I never got around to picking up Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion, A Link Between Worlds, GTAV, and several other titles that might have made the cut off. As such, my 2013 list will probably look different if I revisit it in a few years.

Anyhow, here are the games I wish to highlight:

1. The Last of Us ; After some of the novelty/excitement of Rogue Legacy wore off, I decided that the Last of Us was still my GOTY. The characters were extremely well done and the atmosphere was excellent. For a game as bleak as TLOU, there were a few moments of real beauty. I found the combat system to be fun and flexible. As others have mentioned, fighting a group of human opponents was completely different than fighting a group of infected, allowing the game to avoid some of the issues I had with the repetitive combat in the Uncharted series. Finally, the game had an excellent soundtrack. The main theme by Gustavo Santaolalla is probably my favourite main theme of this Generation.

2. Rogue Legacy ; Rogue Legacy is basically a Rogue-like take on Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, with some Indie humor mixed in. Along with Hotline Miami, this is one of the most addicting "one more try!" games I have played in awhile. The first night I played the game, I ended up going to bed nearly 2 hours later than I had planned. I thought the character progression system was pretty novel for a rogue-like. Your average "game" is much shorter, especially if you suck like I do. A good run for me might last 30 mins. However, since you can pass on any equipment, special abilities, or stat upgrades you happen unlock to your descendants/next lives, you don't feel like all of your progression has gone down the drain as is the case with some Rogue-likes. All you lose out on is any cash you are unable to spend. I often found that my gameplay goal was to stay alive long enough to collect the cash necessary to unlock something cool on my character progression tree.

3. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; Fire Emblem is perhaps my favourite game series, so I was extremely excited to get my hands on this game in early 2013. Overall this entry ended up being good but not top tier for the franchise. I'm not sure why this title scored so much higher in professional reviews than the past titles, but it might come down to the presentation, which is indeed a series best. The core gameplay is fun as always. However, the introduction of repeatable DLC maps/Random battles, and the resetting of character levels with a class respec, has broken the series' RNG-based character progression. On Normal and Hard, it is quite easy to max out all of your major stats for a given unit, and as a result, the end part of the game is way easier than the beginning. I haven't played the title on Lunatic, but previous entries didn't force you to play the hardest difficulties before requiring strategy. Still, there was a ton to like in Awakening. The localization was top grade, and the support conversations were often genuinely funny. I'm glad to see the character matching system return from FE4, and I enjoyed planning which units to pair up in an effort to create the best offspring. The artwork in this entry was much better than the previous two DS games, and the soundtrack was as good as ever. While this was not my favourite Fire Emblem title, it still ranks as one of my favourite titles of the year.

4. Desktop Dungeons ; Desktop Dungeons finally received its official release this fall, after spending over 3 years in beta. If you played/enjoyed the freeware version several years ago, I'd heartily recommend the final product. The developers have made a ton of improvements over the years. Since almost no one bothered reading it, I will borrow a few paragraphs from the OT I made for the game:

What is Desktop Dungeons?: Desktop Dungeons is a quick-play roguelike puzzle game that gives you roughly 10 minutes of dungeon-crawling action per serving. Choose from one of seven races, and over a dozen unique classes, as you tackle dozens of quests and challenges in the game's 15+ randomized dungeons. Make it out alive, and you can use your hard-earned booty to build up your kingdom, unlocking even more options.

Why should I care?: Besides being extremely addicting, Desktop Dungeons is a great intro to the world of roguelikes, curtailing some of the complexity of the genre without skimping on the difficulty. While the game mechanics seem simple at first, there's a ton of depth to be found as you start to master class strategies.

5. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; I picked up Brothers during the Winter Steam sale. I haven't been as active on the gaming side this year, and had never even heard of this game previous to then. Seeing the praise in the GAF Steam thread, and seeing the 90 metacritic rating, convinced me that the title was worth taking a $4.66 risk on. I'm glad I did. Brothers is one of the better examples of a "Show, don't tell" story in interactive media. Very little is spelled out for you (the characters don't even speak an intelligible language), but you start to piece together the events taking place in Brothers' fairy-tale like world as you work your way through the 3 hour adventure. I suppose that the hook of the game is the innovative control scheme. You control two brothers simultaneously. One with the left stick of your controller, and one with the right. You can make each brother interact with the environment with the appropriate left or right trigger. I'm glad that the game wasn't an action combat/title, because I often mixed up which brother was being controlled with which stick if the right stick bro was on the left of the screen and the left stick bro was on the right. This resulted in one of them attempting to run through a wall until I realized I had things crossed. Other than that though, the controls worked well. If it looked like you could interact with an object or character, you usually could. The game also had a great attention to detail. I particularly enjoyed seeing the game's human and animal characters react differently to each of the brothers. Overall, this was a very well made, if short, little game.

6. Bioshock Infinite ; I feel like Bioshock Infinite could have been the best game of the year, if it didn't try to be a sequel to Bioshock. While the genetically spliced powers really fit the setting of the first game, they didn't really make sense in the world of Columbia. I also feel like this game could have benefited from less combat and more exploration. Columbia was beautiful, and I just wanted to explore the floating city and talk to its people early in the game. It was sort of frustrating that I was not allowed to do so. I think I would have preferred a more open world take on the game. There was still a lot to like though. The battles that incorporated skyhooks were fun. I enjoyed the characters (especially Elizabeth) and story, other than the not all that necessary twist ending. Also, as I mentioned, this game had some amazing scenery.

7. Pokemon Y ; Pokemon X/Y was a solid addition to Nintendo's long running series. If you were not a fan of Pokemon before, I don't think this game will do much to change your mind. However, this is the perfect starting point for relapsed Poke fans who want to reacquaint themselves with the series. Pokemon X/Y has by far the largest variety of Pokemon to catch in the wild, seeing the return of most of the original 150, and several other favourites from Gen 2-5. Also, with the new visuals, we finally get the true 3D pokemon title that many people wanted in the Gamecube/Wii eras. I don't have much more to say about this title. It's Pokemon. I can't really comment on the multiplayer scene, since I am too lame to try that.

8. Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign ; Let's get one thing out of the way. Marvel Puzzle Quest is a F2P title. Yes, it tries to get you to purchase in-game currency to open up character slots, roll for new characters, or heal your units. Yes, you have to wait around for your units to heal after combat. However, it is extremely addictive, and quite deep when you get into the game. The game retains the basic gameplay of the previous titles. You play through Bejeweled-like "match-3" puzzle battles, where you and your opponent take turns matching gems to power up your special skills. Unlike the previous puzzle quest games, you now use a team of 3 superheroes, each with 2-3 unique skills, instead of a single character. This leads to a lot more thought going into team building, as it is to your benefit to pick characters with complementary powers. While the story battles are OK, the real draw of this game is the many tournaments. In these tournaments, you play against AI versions of other players' teams. If you beat them, you gain tournament points, which unlock progression prizes, and allow you to move up in rank compared to everyone else participating. Other players can also beat AI versions of your team, causing you to lose points (but not any unlocked progression rewards). Bigger prizes are given out depending on your rank. While finishing in the top 10 of these tournaments would probably require IAPs there are some pretty good prizes available in the rank 50-200 spots (depending on the tournament), and I have been able to regularly land in these places without spending a cent. While the game does require you to wait around for your characters to heal, even this is done in a pretty fair manner. You can instantly heal or revive a character using a health pack. Health packs can be won as prizes, and as long as your number of health packs is below 5, they regenerate at a rate of one every 30 mins. In practice, this means that you can play the game for 2 hours or more at a time without being encumbered by healing wait time. It took me awhile to figure everything out, but now that I have gotten the hang of the game, MPQ is quickly replacing Puzzle and Dragons as my go-to "I have 15 mins to kill" phone game.

9. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; I liked SMT4, but feel like it was a step down from the previous games. The gameplay is still good (and planning out your monster fusions is fun), but the characters are sort of boring, and I didn't really care about the story. Furthermore, I don't think that the encounters were as well balanced as previous entries. It was sort of easy to break the game part way through. If I had gotten around to a few of the games I mentioned at the start of the post, this game would have probably been bumped. However, I wanted a full Top 10, and SMT4 was good enough to make that cut. Sorry Tomb Raider, Long Live the Queen, and others.

10. Kingdom Rush: Frontiers ; I really liked the first Kingdom Rush game, and Frontiers is just as good. If you haven't played the series, Kingdom Rush is a tower defense game with a few extras thrown in. You get one Hero unit that you can reposition at will. This hero unit gain EXP that you can use to unlock useful skills over the course of the game. As is standard, you place towers of a variety of types, that can be upgraded several levels, giving them more defense and stronger attacks. You also get a tech tree that you can use to make your towers even more lethal. There are a few annoying "please make some IAPs!" pitfalls though. All but 3 of the hero units are behind a Paywall. I wouldn't mind if you were given the chance to unlock these characters through gameplay, but that isn't the case. Instead you need to pay $3-7 to unlock the better hero units. Sort of a misdemeanor in a game that wasn't F2P in my mind. However, that is a pretty minor annoyance in a game that provides hours of entertainment across maybe 2 dozen maps.

2012. X-Com: Enemy Unknown ; I really wish I played this game sooner, as it may have been my GOTY last year. Basically a western take on Fire Emblem, completing with the infuriating permadeath of your favourite units if you make a stupid strategy decision!


Mar 30, 2011
1. Animal Crossing: New Leaf; My first AC and one that I have played every single day since it came out. It's addictive, adorable and sure to keep me busy throughout 2014.

2. Bioshock Infinite; Everything about this affected me. The Sci-Fi story, the beautiful music, stunning setting and fantastic revelation at the end. Almost perfect.

3. Super Mario 3D World; Pure and fleeting magic, over and over again. The Cat Suit is the greatest powerup in Mario history and the huge diversity in mechanic/themes made for one of the most joyful experiences I can ever remember. OST of the year is found here too.

4. The Last of Us; This game made me feel a huge amount (yes, I cried) and it scared me shitless while doing so. I found it a little repetitive, but it was hugely rewarding just for seeing the relationship mature.

5. Tearaway; A constantly unique and captivating journey. Well worth picking up a Vita for, it feels like the machine and yourself are one while playing this and this is the most personal game of 2013.

6. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; I have to give most satisfying game mechanics to MGR, slicing through enemies was immensely pleasurable. Raiden is one of the coolest and most badass protagonists of the year, and I'm not just talking about when he wears his sombrero.

7. Beyond: Two Souls; I'm a huge fan of David Cage and while I didn't enjoy this as much as Heavy Rain, I still found many segments of it to be enthralling. The highlight for me was Homeless and the best decision I've ever had to make in any game (at the end). Really great stuff with astonishing visuals.

8. Fire Emblem: Awakening; While not a huge Strategy and RPG fan, I found this a massively fun game filled with brilliant characters and exchanges. I played on casual and still found the battles to be tense and awesome. Marriage in games FTW.

9. Pikmin 3; This should have been higher for me, but I felt the multitasking ruined it for me (as I am a noob at doing more than 1 thing at a time). Still, those fruits and Wingmins stole the HD show for me this year.

10. Muramasa Rebirth; Stunning on the OLED screen, a perfect game for a gorgeous system. Gameplay is hugely repetitive, but satisfying button bashing and superb characters/locations make this essential.

Honourable mentions go to games that I didn't play enough: Luigi's Mansion 2, Zelda 3DS, Tomb Raider and Ni No Kuni.


Jan 12, 2009
1. Dota 2 ; Over 1500 hours played in under one year played. I can't get any other games beaten because of this.
2. GTA5
3. Ni No Kuni
4. Spelunky
5. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Oct 9, 2007
1. Super Mario 3D World; I played the game exclusively with my 3 kids. It was one of the best multiplayer experiences ever. We had a great time working together to get stars and stamps and are now close to 100% completion. With 4 players, the parts that other complained were too difficult, like the boss rush, were doable although still quite challenging.
2. Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon; I loved Luigi's personality. He is a hilarious coward. Its the most character development in a mario game I have ever seen (although thats not saying much).
3. Fire Emblem Awakening; I really enjoyed this game even though I was not a fan of the genre.
4. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies; More legal wakiness. Great writing.
5. The Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds; My favorite handheld Zelda now.
6. Pikmin 3; More of the same, but I love Pikmin and its been so long of a wait since the last Pikmin game.
7. Rayman Legends; Some complained about the glowbox levels, but they were one of my favorite parts of the game (2 player Wii U version ).
8. The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker HD; The Earth and Wind temples are some of my favorite dungeons ever.
9. Mario & Luigi Dream Team. I have loved every game in the series. The current episode continues my love.
10. Soul Sacrifice; I put over 30 hours into this game. Great co-op play


Aug 13, 2013

1. The Last of Us; While it's story was phenomenal, there were other elements of the game that lingered behind it. Nonetheless, it was a jack of all trades type of game, and imo, thats really hard to nail.

2. Fire Emblem: Awakening; Hell, sometimes I can't even explain it. The game is just fun. It provides a good challenge and some interest gameplay while keeping a fairly nice digestible story which Japanese developers lack.

3. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4); Despite it's shortcomings and lazy story, Black Flag succeeds in many areas. From the environment, to the experience, to just feeling like a badass, Ubisoft shown that pirates could be their forte. Unlike other open world games, Black Flag provides a lot to do that is relatively to who you are: a Pirate.

4. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm; It's campaign, errr, while not the best we could see out of Blizzard, is not what we look forward to. No, its that fine piece of multiplayer action that delivered and provided a great balance of PvP.

5. Grand Theft Auto V; While it may not top every list, it will be on every list because of the obvious: Rockstar, open world, technical marvel. Need I say more? Despite its crude shortcomings that made me put this last on my list, GTA V succeeds in showing that we could build more out of less and still deliver a quite exhilarating experience (while it lasted). The mods for this game when it hits the PC will be insane.


Jul 24, 2009
Took me too long to get to this, so here we go.

1. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ; (Region: USA System: Wii U/3DS) Monster Hunter is everything that gaming USED to be. It’s everything that used to make gaming so mother fucking special before it became the AAA homogenized mess that it is today. Monster Hunter isn’t about pouring millions of dollars into creating the most beautiful chest-high walls the world has ever seen. Monster Hunter isn’t about watching a bunch of scripted events that cause buildings to crumble and planes to crash the second you cross a magic line on the ground, creating a spectacle game that’s more engaging to watch than it is to play. Monster Hunter isn’t about throwing in every gameplay mechanic it can think of in a half-assed attempt to appeal to everyone. And Monster Hunter most certainly isn’t a “Press X to Win” game. Monster Hunter is about one thing and one thing only. Hunting Monsters. And it is unapologetic about it.
Monster Hunter succeeds in making this task feel purposeful because you’re not just wiping out wave after wave of baddies just to get to a boss and fight it, lather rinse repeat. There are smaller monsters running around to be sure, and many of them would like to make you their dinner, make no mistake. But the game never requires you to kill wave after wave of baddies just to get to what you’re ostensibly there to do, which is hunt big fucking monsters who can make your character shutter at the mere growl of such a beast. In fact you’re kind of incentivised not to waste time on the small fry unless you’re in need of some Raw Meat or a very specific material because you’re on a time limit. Can’t dawdle around deary, we’re giving you 50 minutes to get your shit in gear and if you spend it all lollygagging you lose and have to start the mission over from the beginning.
What’s that? You want us to tell you how to beat the monster? Tough luck, figure out the attack patterns yourself. Hm? You can’t see the enemy’s life bar? Yeah, we’re not telling you that information, you’ll have to figure out how well you are or aren’t doing by watching for the visual cues, and maybe if they start limping or something on them changes color. What’s that? You can’t find the lock on function? Piss off, learn to aim your damn weapon yourself you wimp. Oh what is it now? Oh, the Rathian attacked you while you were healing yourself. Better learn how to time that better, because that’s totally on you.
Monster Hunter can be punishing, just like many games of yore could be. But everything that punishes you in Monster Hunter isn’t the game being cheap or pulling some bullshit instakill attacks out of its ass. If you fail, it’s because you didn’t play well enough, or because you didn’t prepare properly. Maybe you didn’t bring potions with you, or antidotes for monsters that’ll poison you. Maybe you didn’t take the time to upgrade your equipment, or forgot to eat a stat-boosting meal before going out to fight. You want to get further in Monster Hunter? You’re going to have to earn it.
Now, I’ve mentioned once or twice that this is everything games used to be. And yes, let it be known that this also means some of the bad things about old school gaming came along for the ride too. I will fully acknowledge that. For one, the game doesn’t do much to explain anything. At times this is great, but at other times this is confusing, especially when you eventually realize that “Book of Combos” does not mean new “Combo Attacks” but rather “Increased Success Rate of Combining Items”. The controls aren’t the most intuitive either. Like, to shift through items you hold the L shoulder button to open the items menu and press Y to shift things left and A to shift them right? Yeah, like some older games of my childhood, the controls require “getting used to”. And understandably, many people aren’t fans of weapon degradation. I know I hate suddenly seeing a message appear stating that my weapon needs to be sharpened. Grrrrrr.
But you know what? I found I’m willing to put up with a few minor hiccups to enjoy a game that is unashamed in it’s gameplay first, other bullshit never approach. It’s the same reason why I love playing games from the old Nintendo and Sega days, when the tech and memory limitations didn’t allow for game makers to pretend they’re film directors. Sure, many of them included things like stories and likeable characters, but they didn’t have the tech to be much more than games. That was all they could do. Fuck, we all saw what happened to Sonic years ago when it tried to be all about the “touching” stories of Sonic and his friends as they watch him hit on a human princess or about “badass” darker emo hedgehogs touting shotguns and being all “dark” and “edgy”. Instead of just being, you know, high quality platforming action. If only they’d spent that time and manpower on the gameplay first approach Sega might not have needed to spend the last seven years trying to rebuild his reputation, but I digress.
Now, I’m not against games that want to be “more”. I want to see games push limits and try new things. But if you’re going to do that, do it in a gameplay way, like Shadow of the Colossus where the focus is still on one core gameplay mechanic. Where everything in the game serves that one mechanic that you’ve balanced and polished to a mirror shine. But if you’re not going to push the boundaries and try to create something genuinely new than please for the love of all things that used to be good in this world, do it like Monster Hunter. Be a game. More than that, be a focused game. Make your gameplay purposeful. If you’re game is about shooting, make it about interesting shooting challenges the player needs to overcome, not just “here’s a bunch of baddies and chest-high walls, now go shoot them!” Isn’t that what made Portal so great? If you’re game is about jumping on stuff, make everything in the game center around jumping and the execution thereof. Even if your game is just about the beating up of a bunch of dudes to fight a big dude at the end, the LEAST you can do is not wrestle control of the game from me and force me to watch the character do spectacular flips and parries as I think “Wow, I wish I was doing that!”.

I fucking love Monster Hunter, it has all its priorities right.


Sep 14, 2013
1. Toki Tori 2+; There seems to have been a conspiracy to not play this excellent puzzle based metroidvania, fortunately I wasn't part of it. If you can stomach the cute chicken aesthetic there really is nothing like this aside for maybe Fez and Full Bore.

2. Race The Sun; Fantastic arcade game. Technically it may be an endless runner but it feels more like the kind of thing SEGA would put out in the late nineties.

3. Volgarr the Viking; Forget FTL, forget Shadowrun and the Giana Sisters, this is the game that singlehandedly validates the game Kickstarter craze. Thank you Tim Schafer.

4. Shadow Warrior; Satisfying action and a lot of fun.

5. The Swapper; Best puzzle platformer this year (that's not Toki Tori 2+).

6. Zeno Clash 2; Combat may not be as tight as the previous game but exploration is immensely enjoyable.

7. Teslagrad; Pretty, nice puzzles and cool minimalistic storytelling.

8. Valdis Story: Abyssal City; Great combat and exploration platformer. I think I may like it even more than Dust and Guacamelee. If only jumping around was a little tighter.

9. Metro Last Light; Atmospheric and pretty enough to forgive its linearity.

10. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed; Very good kart game. Half Outrun and half Mario Kart.

2012. Spelunky; This and Dark Souls are my favorite games of this century without a doubt. Can't wait to see what Derek Yu comes up with next.


Dec 10, 2012
I read the rules, and remember the rules from last year, but I'm still a little iffy on it, so I shall ask. Persona 4 Golden was only just released in Europe and Australia in 2013. Is it able to be voted for in the regular voting or does it have to be a LTTP entry?

EDIT: Never mind, found the spreadsheet.


Dec 18, 2008
It's getting late so I thought I'd throw something together and edit it later on if need be. Rankings are somewhat arbitary

1. Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate; I got this with my 3DS seeing as the black model came bundled with the game at the time. All I was really lookng forward to was the colour scheme and then man, this shit is crack. I started out thinking, "What is this bullshit, collecting meat and shit." Then I took on my first Great Jaggi and after finally dropping it after 20 minutes I was like. "Man, that shit was satisfying." A couple dozen hours later I was killing G.Jaggis in a matter of seconds with a giant fucking sword that I crafted out of a goddamn dragon whose kin I slaughtered mercilessly to craft an array of adornments fitting of the bad motherfucker I'd become. The progression from bum to giant animal slayer was just amazing. I enjoyed the game so much I thought to myself, "You know what, I wanna play this online." so I fucking bought a Wii U just so I could do that (not entirely true given another 2 entries here). Man, this game is just crack. CRACK. I finally weaned myself off it after about 3 months of relentless play. Just, fuck that was crazy.

2. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; Compared to other games on this list that I've played between a hundred and several hundred hours, somehow this one is the one that resonates the most. Maybe it's the combat or the insanity that surrounds it but, there's something about this game that speaks to me on a fundamental level. It's just so cool so play. Cutting things = awesome. Cyborgs = awesome. Cyborg dogs = is this even a question? The game takes the seriousness of the MGS franchise and takes the piss. The final reveal by the main antagonist is seriously of the most amazingly absurd things I've ever witnessed in a game and then the ensuing boss fight, my fucking brain, this is so amazing. The typical MGS badass crew makes for some of the most enjoyable boss fights in the genre, balancing spectacle along with testing your understanding with the skillset. This culminates in a final boss fight that truly demands that you know how to play the game, something rarely seen anymore. This game scratched an itch I didn't even know I had. I expected it to be great but, I wasn't expecting this. Camera issues not withstanding, this is one of the best action games I've ever played.

3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds; Almost exactly what I always wanted from a Zelda game that I never thought to ask for. The freedom afforded in this outing is ironically a revelation given that the last game to offer such was its prequel. I take some issue with the item rental system trivializing the complexity of dungeons but what was there felt like a good work out of each themed item. Not mind-bending but enough to give that pleasant feeling of accomplishment every time something went my way. This game felt like a nice fresh salad. I can't think of any other way to describe it. It went down easy and I felt good about myself afterwards.

4. Etrian Odyssey IV; This was my first exposure to the Etrian Odyssey franchise. I tried the demo on whim and while I expected some waifu anime shit as a given I GOT ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THAT. This is a real ass dungeon crawler. This game is serious.

5. The Last of Us; Smarter people have said everything I could have said much better than I could have. I'll add that the game was exhilarating playing on Hard with Listen mode off. Yeah, it was a survival game for dummies but the mastery with which it was crafted has to be commended. I enjoyed the story too but not as much as I was thrilled playing the game itself.

6. Dragon's Crown; I love beating things up and I hate that I love collecting randomized loot. This game combined those two things in a way that makes almost too much sense. Pummeling things just feels so good. The game is beautiful and the amount of depth is striking. This ain't no button masher.

7.Super Mario 3D World; An excellent game but I didn't get any of that whimsy or wonder that I usually associate with 3D Marios. Not really a negative, it just didn't inspire that feeling. It was like my favourite cup of coffee. A familiar comforting taste.

8. Fire Emblem: Awakening; A by the numbers story hurts the game somewhat. Still, I had a wonderful time with this. A colourful cast of characters and some surprisingly enjoyable dialogue. The tactical gameplay was hurt somewhat by the lack of difficulty outside of Lunatic which requires some gimmicky play for success. Still, a very enjoyable.

9.Pokemon X; What's there to say? It's Pokemon. The online aspect is really well done. Wonder Trading and battling provided a lot of entertainment well after completing the game. A proper end game is why this isn't in a higher position.

10.DOTA 2; I'm still not entirely sure I get this game yet after 100 hours of play. It could be that I'm not playing with the right people or, I'm in fact, a bad teammate. Still, the time I played was enthralling despite my confusion. When things come together its magical. Disappointingly, I've only had a handful of games that felt that way. I'll keep at it though.
Aug 20, 2005
1. Super Mario 3D World ; Nintendo Knows how to make Platformers and this is up there with the other great Nintendo platformers with its amazing gameplay, Colourful graphics and outstanding Music.
2. The Last of Us ; Combining the best story ever for a Videogame with great gameplay and truly amazing Cast of Characters.
3. Papers Please ; The Mundane made Great and extremely sad at the same time.
4. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm ; Still the King of the RTS .
5. Grand Theft Auto V ;
6. Rogue Legacy ; Tight tight Gameplay and Extremley Additive.
7. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ;
8. Bioshock Infinite ;
9. Ni No Kuni ;
10. Age of Empires II HD Edition ;
x. The Typing of the Dead: Overkill ;
x. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ;
x. Fire Emblem: Awakening ;
x. DuckTales: Remastered ;
x. The Stanley Parable ;
x. Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag ;
x, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F ;
2012. Borderlands 2 ;


Oct 10, 2011

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Playing this game was pure bliss and much of that sensation was thanks to the removal of the needless fluff that the last games in the series had that would keep them away from perfection. Having magnificent parts in a game is important but avoiding having segments that overstay their welcome or full of poor gimmicks is essential too at the time of contributing to the overall good taste a game can leave and that's something A Link Between Worlds managed well. The return to the 2D gameplay and the simplification of the story played a role in that, but I hope this game is used as a foundation for future 3D Zeldas in terms of pacing.

Another aspect of this game that helped in my decision was the rewarding exploration it offered. Not being in a hurry of trying to tackle the next dungeon because I was busy in the overworld trying to discover all the secrets that there could be waiting for me was a lovely experience. It was helped by the change in the structure of the game to make it less linear so even if it decreased the difficulty of the game in the end I really appreciated it for contributing positively to the overall experience. I also liked the item upgrade system and how it was directly linked with the exploration of the overword.

The fluid gameplay was also one of the factors that made me enjoy this game so much. I thought I couldn't differenciate well or didn't care if a game had 30 or 60 FPS, but thanks to playing this I'm now in the "60 FPS even if it means so-so graphics" camp. The rough graphics are a minimal sacrifice when one considers what the 60 FPS bring to the table in the Zelda experience. Since the title screen showed for the first time a part of the overworld I was impressed at how much of a difference doubling the framerate could make in a polygonal Zelda game. The real impact of that design decision was in how good it felt controlling Link in his adventures with responsible controls and a quick flow in the animations besides of being really pleasant to the eyes.

2. Super Mario 3D World ; There have been lots of Mario platformers lately but I'm always impressed at how the geniuses at EAD can put even more innovative ideas with each new iteration of their games. Climbing stuff with the catsuit was incredibly satisfying, as so it was using the variety of old and new items this game has. The differenciation of each playable character, even if it isn't that groundbreaking, brings different ways to tackle each level enhancing the experience. It was also nice seeing some new environments that join the maybe too familiar places that we find in these games.

The multiplayer new to the 3D entries added another layer of fun thanks to the cooperative rivalry it generated. With a lack of leaderboards, the points that are accumulated at each level find a good home when 3D World is played with others and generate a sane competitive climate which causes everyone involved to improve. The final stretch of each level trying to catch the top of the flag was the climax of that situation when the primal instincts showed at their maximum levels and I must say that I had an adrenaline rush each time I was in that situation.

3. Toki Tori 2 ; In a game that consists of a maze of interconnected areas one would think that if a place seems unreachable it's because you don't have enough tools to get there yet. The reason I appreciate this game so much is how it subverted that way of thinking and showed me that, ultimately, the real obstacle between my character and that place was my imagination. Even if it doesn't have powerups, this game can keep the feeling of selfimprovement by increasing the understanding of the environments and the limited moveset of the playable chick thanks to a really intelligent level design that teaches you as you progress all the potential of your only two possible actions, stomp and whistle. A special mention also goes to the fantastic ecosystem of little critters this game has, which creates a giant puzzle that shows how some simple machanics can carry an entire game forward if they're solid.

4. Bioshock Infinite ; I stayed away from First Person Shooters for a long time until I played the first Bioshock earlier in 2013 and it did remind me of why I played them before. Thanks to my reignited interest I could play its sequel, one of the best games of this year. I'm not a person that puts much importance in the story aspect of games that aren't RPG but I can say that in this game it was really engaging and the plot twist caught me off guard. What I liked the least about it was how almost every character you meet wants to kill you. A special mention goes to Elizabeth, who I really liked from the start, and the Lutece twins, as crazy as they were.

About the gameplay, I thanked how some random enemies weren't damage sponges like in the first game and the ones with high HP were obvious ones like big robots or armored soldiers. The vigors and the rails added the needed variety for a shooter like this and it was fun killing enemies after making them float or falling on them. The only complaint I have is that just when I was more focused in the game, it ended. Fortunately, I still have the DLC to play to have more Bioshock goodness.

5. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D ; I played the original until the sixth world and I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have because of the somewhat high difficulty. Thankfully for clumsy players like me, the 3D port remedied that by introducing an easy mode and I could experience this marvelous platforming experience till the end. In a game where even just the simple act of jumping on enemies is satisfying I really can't explain why I liked it as much as I did other than saying that I loved the level design and that Monster Games did a very good work with the extra levels. My main complaint are the minecart and rocket levels, which showed their ugly face in many occasions. Thankfully, I could endure them thanks to the great music and the promise of good levels later.

6. Fire Emblem Awakening ; The basic gameplay in which each Fire Emblem finds its roots is really solid and that makes it pretty difficult to find a bad game in the series, and this one isn't an exception. Awakening is a celebration of the series' history and mixes lots of elements from prior games like skills, a world map, split promotions, etc. that I found great from a variety perspective. The introduction of the pair up mechanic introduces some depth to the battles choosing between more powerful units by having them together or having them separated as always and be able to perform more actions. The marriage system adds the always fun art of playing eugenics increasing the replayability and there were many side missions. Sadly, the game's difficulty curve is a bit iffy and the missions's objectives aren't varied enough, so those are things I hope they improve in next entries. About the DLC, I caved in and bought some of it even if I thought it was a bit simple, so it speaks of how much did I like this.

7. Persona 4 Golden ; It has already been said why this game is great many times but there is never too much praise if we're talking about something like this. The characters have such believable characterizations that make you care about them without the developer insisting in it, the music is masterful with a delicious mix of styles, the dual structure combining dungeons and the calendar system is really well done without getting tired, and the the new additions to the fusing system make it less random, reducing the waste of time searching for specific Persona and skill combinations.

8. Luigi's Mansion 2 ; What I liked the most about this game was the exploration of the mansions and looking at everything that could be manipulated by the poltergust hoping that I would find some of the secrets that the game had scattered around. The variety of mansions brought more puzzles with them and I was always excited to know what new toys could be found in every one of them. The main problem I had was the mission structure of the game as it restricted the exploration. What made it worse is that it was supposedly handheld friendly but some quests would be too long, making such a system pointless as the only way to save was to end the mission.

The multiplayer brings much fun and I appreciate the developers for putting the effort of adding it as I spent many hours playing it.

9. Pokémon X/Y ; The sixth generation of mainline Pokémon games brought many new mechanics that I liked like the Mega Evolutions, better travelling options like rollerskates and rideable pokémon, the super-training, etc. but what was the most important change with respect to older games was the move to 3D models in battle even if it was just aesthetic. Having 3D models instead of sprites gave more personality to each pokémon and I could see details that I couldn't appreciate until then, making me love them even more. That also made me like the new Pokémon faster thanks to discovering some cool characteristics just by seeing their animations.

The pace of the game is really quick and it doesn't drag the player, and thanks to the grand amount of wild pokémon in this game the replayability is very high. The major problem is a lack of side content in the post game apart from the Battle Mansion, local and wi-fi battles that made me stop playing too fast.

In the technical department, I liked the menus and I thought they were pretty fluid but other parts of the game had some performance problems that couldn't be explained by the complex geometry because it simply wasn't there.

10. Bravely Default ; When I was talking in the A Link Between Worlds part about games having certain annoying parts that destroy the general impression of a game this one has exactly that problem. Bravely Default has lots of notable elements and at the end of the day they are what made me have this game in this list, but there's a certain glaring flaw that puts it at the end of it instead of being a solid top 3 choice.

Let's talk first about the outstanding things this game does. First, the excellent Job System returns with lots of new options like more jobs, many passive abilities and each job having more command abilities than usual. The introduction of the Brave and Default system spices the classic turn system and increases its strategic depth. The artistic department shines when seeing the magnificent towns this game has even if there aren't many. Finally, thanks to the amazing job of Revo the music was superb.

The story is serviceable and it can reach some dark tones but when it gets a bit better it destroys the pacing of the game. Without telling spoilers, I can only say that the second half of the game is a chore to complete and dragged down the general opinion I had of the game until that point. Having said that, it's something that can be easily remedied in the sequel and I hope it can be my GOTY the year it releases.

x. Papers, Please ; It's interesting how a game that basically amounts to 'spot the differences' can be so engaging. The idea behind having a mundane work didn't sound really good but when playing this I certainly found the charm of it and I was reminded about how playing a grass mowing simulator could be more fun than the real life activity. The real merit of Papers, Please is having a choice system integrated within the normal gameplay and it really affecting the outcome of the game.

x. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; The second honourable mention goes to another chore simulator. The charm of this game for me comes mostly from the other villagers and their dialogue that can be pretty funny and full of interesting references.

2012. Gunman Clive ; This game is an excellent tribute to old sidescrollers and brings back that gameplay perfectly. The artstyle and music are lovely and contribute greatly to that feel evoking of westerns. Having the ability to choose between multiple characters also increases the replayability and together with all its other qualities makes it a must have if you have more than 2 monetary units.


Neo Member
Apr 5, 2011
1. The Last Of Us: I can't wait for Left Behind.
2. Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
3. Bioshock Infinite
4. Super Mario 3D World
5. Gone Home
6. Grand Theft Auto V
7. Tearaway
8. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
9. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag
10. Tomb Raider


May 11, 2009
1. Grand Theft Auto V ; GTA is back with a vengeance. After a more serious approach with IV, V returns to form and very strongly. 3 characters with overlapping narratives and motivations works very well and keeps the pacing flowing nicely (well excluding near the end of the game which feels rushed). The heists are the icing on the cake which have big risks and big rewards. GTA Online is also a fun diversion and adds a whole new level of gameplay after completing the main story.
2. State of Decay ; Probably doing the only remaining thing I wanted in a zombie game, it added a survival layer. A survival based open world zombie game which added balancing the search for supplies and survivors along protecting your base and keeping your fellow survivors alive. Permadeath also keeps you on your toes, as any wrong move can hurt your group when you lose your strongest survivor. The negative I found was narrative being weak and a lot of plotlines end abruptly or don't seem as well thought out as they could have.
3. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon ; The stand alone expansion/DLC to my 2013 GOTY Far Cry 3 it streamlines elements from that game, adds in an 80s flair and crazy techno laser future. A goofy open world first person shooter that plays up 80s cliches and probably has my favorite game ending on-rails sequence taking the action up to crazy levels as you ride a titanium plated cyber dragon.
4. Papers, Please ; Being a border control agent has never been this fun. While the gameplay is simplistic, the bureaucracy, characters and branching plotlines make this game a lot more enjoyable than I thought. The day to day events are never boring as dealing with smugglers, revolutionaries while trying to make enough money to pay for your family's well keeps the pressure on you while increasing rules and documentation add new twists to your job everyday.
5. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; Assassin's Creed is back with and it's a pirate game. A huge turn around from AC III, the tropical setting, refreshing storylines (both real world and ingame) and tweaks to gameplay made this Assassin's Creed fun to play again. The Templar setting and focus offers a different view to the conflict seen in the last few games and the open world Caribbean make this the Pirates of the Caribbean game I wanted to play since Legend of Black Kat.
6. Retro City Rampage ; Part tribute, part demake and all fun Retro City Rampage is an 8 bit styled open world game that honors tons of 8 old Nintendo games.
7. The Last of Us ; The Last of Us surprised me with interesting characters and great gameplay. After a slow start, The Last of Us's story is as intriguing as it is insightful providing a nice counter to the upbeat nature of the Uncharted games. The ending sequence is one of my favorite of this year and a powerful conclusion to a journey that takes almost a year to complete.
8. NES Remix ; Minigames based off of old NES franchises? While the price may seem high, the mixture of nostalgia and some surprisingly difficult challenges captivates my friends and I whenever I boot this game up. Sometimes based on the best moments of games (nothing like beating the original Zelda in 5 minutes) or all new challenges and twists for existing games. The stand outs are the Remix stages that challenge everything you know about these classic games keeping it refreshing and in short enough bursts to prevent a lot of frustration.
9. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I remember after playing New Super Mario Bros, really hoping Nintendo would give the same treatment to The Legend of Zelda. A Link Between Worlds feels like that game and presents the portable Zelda experience that I felt missing from the DS games (I could never stand the stylus control methods). The nostalgic overworld but changes to the classic Zelda formulas keep things from feeling stale.
10. Metal Gear Rising: Revegeance ; Short enough to not wear out its welcome but crazy combos and a take of the Metal Gear formula that takes itself both seriously and acts like a parody all at the same time. A great action game, nanomachines son.
x. Tomb Raider ; The reboot to Tomb Raider is beautiful and fun. While it borrows a bit too heavily from Uncharted, Tomb Raider does offer more exploration opportunities and a decent enough origin story.
x. Bioshock Infinite ; While the gameplay wasn't that great Bioshock Infinite's ending provides a fitting end to the Bioshock series or a way to provide infinite sequels.
2012. Persona 4: The Golden ; Finally completed the game this year and it's still as awesome as ever. The characters and gameplay are top notch and the social aspects are just as intriguing as the main story.


Jan 30, 2013
Due to not owning the likes of the Wii U or 3DS, I can't make a top ten list this year. I just know for a fact if I'd played Mario3D world or if I'd finished ALBW then both those would easily be in my top ten. I still haven't got around to NI No Kuni or Tales of Xillia either.
Cop-out Hindle!
Make a list based on what you played.
Your platform of choice is part of the equation.
and please remember....

You don't get nobility points for not participating.


Mar 25, 2005
Cop-out Hindle!
Make a list based on what you played.
Your platform of choice is part of the equation.
and please remember....

You don't get nobility points for not participating.
Yup. I'm positive that Mario 3D World would have made my top 10 if I owned a Wii U, as I have really enjoyed every 3D Mario title thus far, even Sunshine. Alas, no Wii U means one less vote for it.


Jan 30, 2013
1. The Last of Us
2. Ni no Kuni
3. Dragons Dogma Dark Arisen
4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; Very impressed with UBI. Faith restoring Impressed!
5. Knack ; Because suck-it hippie reviewers. This game is great at what it wants to be.
6. Grand Theft Auto 5
7. God of War: Ascension
8. Metal Gear Rising: Revegeance
9. Tales of Xillia
10. Beyond: Two Souls


Jan 30, 2013
Yup. I'm positive that Mario 3D World would have made my top 10 if I owned a Wii U, as I have really enjoyed every 3D Mario title thus far, even Sunshine. Alas, no Wii U means one less vote for it.
I'll one up you!

I'm positive 'Fire Emblem Awakening' would have made my top three but... but ... I really have no excuses. My son has a 3DS


Jul 28, 2011

1. Fire Emblem Awakening ; This is the only game all year that I finished, started over, and finished again without really playing anything else. The return of real support conversations--with more obvious upside and consequences--was incredibly compelling to me. Layer that on top of the stellar foundation of Fire Emblem gameplay, and you have my favorite game of 2013.
2. Super Mario 3D World ; The 3D platformer has been more or less dead for a decade at this point, but Nintendo doesn't care and neither do I. Mechanically perfect, this game's boundless creativity and sumptuous art and music make it sublime to play. The return of the Super Mario Bros. 2 playable cast also gives me considerable pleasure.
3. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan ; Another lovely, lonely installment in my favorite original series of the past decade. The live recorded music, 3D cel-shaded monsters, and a more piecemeal labyrinth structure are all departures from past entries. In the end, the game is stronger for it, and this is my favorite Etrian Odyssey game yet.
4. Pikmin 3 ; It was a long time coming, but this game was worth the wait. One of the better-looking games I played this year; the microscale, photorealistic style is a singular pleasure. Gameplay is greatly enhanced by Wii remote controls, and the audio design--sound effects in particular--is excellent. Overall, this is another worthy entry in the tragicomic Pikmin saga.
5. Rayman Legends ; Frantic gameplay, wildly creative design, and beautiful art and music make the modern 2D Rayman platformers joyous to play. This one is even better than the already excellent Origins, so it's an easy inclusion on my list.
6. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; An excellent game, both as a follow-up to Link to the Past (my favorite game of all time) and as an experimental new direction for the Zelda series. Smart, fast gameplay and an excellent tribute soundtrack are particular highlights.
7. Spelunky ; I'm usually not one for arcade-style games, but this one is the exception. Bruising difficulty and surprising depth compel me to fire it up every day for the daily challenge.
8. Rogue Legacy ; A fantastic Metroidvania game. The conceit of each life being the next guy in your ill-fated lineage was a nice twist, but the gameplay and clean retro style are what kept me playing.
9. Civilization V: Brave New World ; A strong upgrade for a game I already loved. The new cultural and diplomatic victories are more complicated and satisfying, and there's a good mix of new civilizations with some interesting mechanical twists.
10. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; An earnest, likeable game from a series and a genre that I wish we would see more of. Over sooner than I'd like, and a sequel will probably be a long time coming.

x. Disgaea Dimension 2 ; Played Disgaea before? It's another one of those. Still, I can't deny that it consumed dozens of hours of my time.
x. Pokemon X/Y ; Another Pokemon game with a lot of things going for it. The lack of post-game content was disappointing and led me to put this one down sooner than I'm accustomed.
x. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ; A fun, endearing little game with some rough edges.
x. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; One of these years, I'll finish an SMT game. 2013 wasn't that year, but I recognize quality when I play it.
x. Dragon's Crown ; Another Vanillaware game that I wanted to like more than I actually did. Better online matchmaking would go a long way here.


Jun 17, 2004
Space Junk Galaxy
1. Super Mario 3D World ; How does Nintendo continue to do it? Four player Mario 3D platform gaming nirvana.
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Zelda returns to its roots! ALBW surpasses ALttP on every level. Cannot wait to see what Nintendo has in store with Zelda Wii U!
3. Pikmin 3 ; Beautiful graphics and addicting gameplay.
4. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; The definitive AC experience. All the things we love of AC plus plenty of new fun things to do. Erases the bland taste of AC Wii.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD ; The magic of WW with a prettier face and streamlined gameplay!
6. Pokemon X/Y ; Pokemon taken to the next level. Finally some amazing graphics to match up to the great gameplay. All the new additions only add to legend of the series.
7. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ; The fun of the original multiplied by 100.
8. New Super Luigi U ; The Year of Luigi manages to take New Super Mario Bros U to the next level in terms of challenge. A must have for all Mario 2D fans.
9. The Wonderful 101 ; Creative gameplay and interesting ideas add up to a fun and unique experience


Mar 17, 2006
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; It might look like a remake of LttP, but this game innovates on the Zelda formula more than any game since Zelda II.. all while keeping what makes Zelda games great, with incredibly designed dungeons and simple but really fun combat.
2. Super Mario 3D World ; Maybe not as stunning as Galaxy, but the levels are just as well designed with even tighter gameplay and wonderful multiplayer.
3. Fire Emblem Awakening ; Possibly the best SRPG game ever. Props to 8-4 on the impeccable localization.
4. Gunpoint ; Because it is a perfect representation of this. Well done, Tom Francis.
5. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; Maybe not the best AA game, but it's still fun and engaging with a strong finish. And the DLC episode was great.
6. FIFA 14 ;
7. Civilization V: Brave New World ;
8. Saints Row IV ;
9. Pokemon X/Y ;
10. Pikmin 3 ;
x. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD ;
x. BioShock Infinite ;
x. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ;
x. The Stanley Parable ;
x. New Super Luigi U ;
x. Shadowrun Returns ;


Dec 25, 2008
1. The Last of Us ; A solid game. Nice story and cinematics
2. Tomb Raider ; Enjoyable when not a shooter. The story was awful.
3. The Swapper ; This game was made for me.
4. Ni No Kuni ; Not the best jrpg but it when it gets things right it can be awesome.
5. Bioshock Infinite ; A story that made me think, gameplay that bored me.
6. Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons ; An ok attempt at copying Team Ico.


Nov 13, 2009
I think it's time to add Volgar the Viking to my list of games to play, it's on a lot of lists...
Ya, I watched Brad from Giantbomb play all the way through it (grinding my teeth a lot of the time) and having seen it make many lists in this thread, now have it on my 'to buy' list as soon as I clear some of my existing backlog.

Europa Universalis IV has also been added to that list, after reading many positive comments in here. The demo is pretty great...

and against my better knowledge, I started playing DOTA 2 - due to this thread - for the first time since playing the original Warcraft 3 mod... this is some rabbit hole to have fallen in, though there is something cute about a very evolved tower defence game being so popular and successful in 2013 /reductivity...


Nov 16, 2006
I think it's time to add Volgar the Viking to my list of games to play, it's on a lot of lists...
Do it quickly, you'll like it!

No bullshit trial and error; your moveset is clear, each enemy has a specific pattern and counter, each encounter is designed to force the correct answer out of you.

Punishing yet fair hardcore 16-bit action at its finest.


Dec 6, 2007
Paris, France
Contrary to past years where I could barely fill my top 10, in 2013 I played 18 eligible games, and I'm having a hard time making a choice and then ranking them...

1. The Last of Us ; (PS3) I can't wait to start another playthrough around Left Behind's release.
2. Puppeteer ; (PS3) Most underrated game of the year for sure.
3. Tearaway ; (PSVita) The quintessential Vita experience, justifying its existence.
4. Grand Theft Auto V ; (PS3)
5. Velocity Ultra ; (PSVita)
6. Thomas Was Alone ; (PSVita)
7. Beyond: Two Souls ; (PS3)
8. Guacamelee! ; (PSVita)
9. Luigi's Mansion 2 ; (3DS)
10. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; (3DS)

x. Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons ; (PS3)

2012. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; (PS3)


May 23, 2007
1. The Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds ; Even if I felt it was a short game I really loved how it was implemented the 3D for the puzzles, the side quest are really fun and the extra you get with Hero Mode made me start playing it again.
2. Brothers A tale of two sons; Short, fun and with that special add on at the end of the game that makes you smile and realize that even pressing a trigger can get you emotional.
3. Ace Attorney Dual Destinies ; An amazing installment of this franchise, fun, interesting and brings back a lot of memories while creating new ones. I'm really glad Capcom made this possible.
4. Splinter Cell Blacklist ; The most fun I had with a game that could be frustrating at certain moments, and playing co-op was a blast.
5. Pokemon Y; The game feels perfect, it is fast, fun and brings all a pokemon trainer may want.

2012. Far Cry 3 ; So good that you can play it over and over again just for fun, the perfect mix between a sandbox game and a FPS.


Jun 7, 2004

1. gone home ; unlike a lot of western-made, story-based games, this one stuck with me. for a game that has an emotional core which the story revolves around, it's removed from the emotional manipulation usually seen in games (death and tragedy). i don't normally care for this sort of thing. the difference is the design. gone home is wonderfully designed.

gone home had to be set in the 1990s. it's a time with mostly modern technology (answering machines, television, lights), so it's easy to relate to, and it's also the last decade where messages weren't heavily traded via text messaging or e-mails. more than providing a nostalgic setting for many players, it's a framework that allows the story to be told, and it's a story told mostly through messages discovered around the house, with narration from sam to further explain her thinking. the messages are handwritten, typed, and printed on various kinds of materials. there's information crumpled in a trash can, pinned to a bulletin board, hidden inside folders, and tucked away in desks. every character has their own voice/writing style, and handwriting. all this goes a long way to pushing the authenticity of the characters and the drama that happened over the past year.

one thing i immensely enjoyed was how the developers didn't force the player through every single note. in fact, of the four or five stories happening around the main character, it's easy to miss all but the main one. such elements are left to the player to find and decipher at their own discretion. it's a refreshing change of pace from most story-based games where you have to sit there and appreciate the writer's genius. for me, being able to pick up and interact with virtually anything in the house made me more connected to the world of gone home and the story itself.

this was done all with what i can assume was a limited budget. it isn't a very lengthy game, and it isn't graphically impressive either. these are two elements i feel work in its favor. had gone home lasted any longer, i think the story elements would have outstayed their welcome. a more graphically realistic home might have entered the uncanny valley. instead, there's enough information there to let your mind fill in the gaps. the same is true of the story. by giving the player rough ideas of big events, it lets them paint the picture of what happened before they arrived. engaging imagination that way has been done in other games before, although usually as part of a bigger quest.

the graphical quality, the length, the setting, the style in which the story is found, the way handwriting reveals personality- those are all the design choices i love. as far as the artistic elements go, i greatly appreciate how much more relatable it is than most games with an emotional center. seeking acceptance from peers and family, fear of the unknown, and regret over life not turning out as you'd planned- it's far more understandable to most people versus a lot of topics serious video games choose to indulge themselves in.

gone home wasn't the most fun i've had in a video game from 2013, but it was by far the most affecting. i only hope that it becomes the blueprint to follow for developers who wish to tell a story first and foremost in their games for years to come.

2. new super luigi u ; who knew all the nsmb series needed to be super difficult was a time limit and the removal of checkpoints? each level in new super luigi u feels like a condensed level from nsmbu, taking all of its best ideas and cramming them into a 100-second dash to the finish line. it's a game that starts off challenging and becomes far more so by the end of its ten hour run. it doesn't end on the same exclamation point that was champion's road or the perfect run, but that's okay, because the game features at least a dozen miniature versions of those levels.

and while the presentation is basically new super mario bros. u painted green. i think it speaks to the level design that i was too focused on obstacles to care.

3. super mario 3d world ; i swear, it takes ead tokyo two tries before they really nail anything, but oh boy do they ever nail it. whatever problems i had with super mario 3d land are absent here. super mario 3d world has an overworld, difficulty that ramps up, and more vertical platforming thanks largely to the cat suit. it feels like a game somehow lost in time, where the 3d super mario series built on the 2d series instead of working as collectathons. super mario 3d world is the 3d mario game i wanted from my childhood, and it's a dream beautifully realized with its level design and presentation.

4. tearaway ; tearway's platforming isn't special, the story borders on pretentious, and the combat becomes annoying… yet i couldn't help but enjoy myself.

the center of this game is just one hero: paper. this idea informs all the design decisions in the game. it establishes the game's world, provides an interesting aesthetic, and an easily understandable way of interaction. paper is familiar. it's folded, crumpled, torn, and handled all the time. putting that in the center of the player's hands is good communication. it's good problem-solving. it's good design.

the simple act of making the player the sun beaming down on the world did more to make me more invested than any other platformer that attempted to have an interesting story too. and at the end of the game, not only does it make sense, but it's a a story with an actual message. it invites the player to consider imagination.

5. the legend of zelda: a link between worlds ; like super mario 3d world, a link between worlds also felt like something lost in time. it could have been the first 3d zelda with its emphasis on vertical dungeons and occasional switch to 3d space to show link walking as a painting on walls.

the dungeon design is great, making full use of the painting mechanic and two decades of zelda history to make it more interesting. the music is wonderful, the overworld puzzles are nice. everything is condensed down into a great experience.

however the freedom in progression is the biggest star of the game. the rental shop offers hints as to what the most difficult dungeons in the game are, but it lets the player run move about at their own pace. so what if you run into enemies that can kill you in one or two hits- you might also find a treasure chest with a special item inside. those are the consequences of your actions. that's adventure.

6. fire emblem: awakening ; while this may be the easiest game in the series, it also is one of the most interesting. there's a new emphasis on character conversations now that there are multiple generations in the mix. have two characters become lovers and it produces a new character who carries over their stats. it also changes strategy on the battlefield, as families will start fighting alongside each other (for further stat-boosting). it's a small idea that gives the player a lot of control over the way characters act, making playthroughs more personal and unique.

7. rayman legends ; the levels in rayman legends are easier than its predecessor, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when they are still inventive and original. it doesn't hurt that the game is packed with content. rayman legends also did something that i can't recall any game doing before, and that is making me laugh from the presentation of the level design. the final level of this game is almost maddening, but absolutely hilarious.

8. bit.trip presents… runner2: future legend of rhythm alien ; i wasn't expecting this. i thought this would be a rather simple runner platformer, but there are quite a lot of obstacles and collectibles to change up challenge on the fly. it feels like a very customizable and also directed platformer. i do take issue with some elements, like the backgrounds being hard to distinguish from the foreground in some instances, but overall this was a great surprise.

9. pikmin 3 ; pikmin 3 combines the somewhat stressful beat-the-clock elements of the first pikmin with the laid-back attitude of pikmin 2. it's also a game that utilizes the gamepad fairly well. in addition to providing an extra layer on presentation of the story (video communication is done through the gamepad to other crew mates, but on the screen it shows the character holding the pad and the same image that's on there), it also streamlines strategy. after nine years of waiting, pikmin 3 almost felt like a sendoff for the series- one last return combining the old formulas while also providing its own twist. if this is the end of the pikmin series, i am left satisfied.

10. brothers - a tale of two sons ; it's hard to get me to care about death in video games as a driving force when it's so overdone these days, and brothers is no exception. however, the unique control scheme and puzzles centered around it succeeded at showcasing personality between the two characters while rarely ever wresting control away from the player. it's a welcome change in completing puzzles where other games might have had the second character controlled by an a.i.

x. the stanley parable ; i think the stanley parable exists outside of lists and video games. it's a video game- i wouldn't want to take that away from it- but it exists as a commentary of video games. in that sense, i agreed with it quite a lot. it had much to say about choices in games, about video game storytelling, and the role of the designer and the player. the fact that there's not a lot for the player to do has me wondering if it's also commentary on story-based western games. it's also one of the reasons it keeps it off the list. for anyone who really likes stories in games, and can't understand why i don't care for them for the most part, i recommend checking it out. it's a good and humorous ride.

x. nes remix ; i'm not traditionally a fan of minigame compilations or microgame compilations (like warioware). i think nes remix succeeds because it plays off familiar video games and introduces achievement-like challenges. i feel like i'm being taught how to play 30 year old games in new ways. and the actual changes to old games in the 'nes remix' categories are a lot of fun.

x. the last of us ; once upon a time, the last of us was on my top ten. then i played gone home and realized that what the last of us seeks to do, gone home does far better.

despite that, i do appreciate the things the last of us does well. the acting, animation, and direction are all top-notch. scavenging is a great idea that fulfills a couple categories (world-building, character-building, and netting the player supplies). the story characters and the gameplay characters also don't feel like two different things, and the ending in particular is great for pulling back from a very obvious and manipulative ending for something to ponder instead.

x. ys: memories of celceta ; never having played ys, or anything from falcom, i didn't know what to expect. memories of celceta scratched an itch for a lighthearted rpg that i didn't know was there. it doesn't have the memorable characters from skies of arcadia, the dungeon design from the legend of zelda, or the sprawling overworld of xenoblade chronicles, but i was able to enjoy it for what it was. the combat system never got old, and i was compelled to complete charting the map 100%.

x. grand theft auto v ; i remember when grand theft auto iv was coming out. four years after san andreas, i couldn't imagine what sort of craziness would be added on top of hijacking trains and flying around in jetpacks. then most of the stuff from san andreas was removed and the game focused heavily on a disjointed story.

gta v is a return to form, bringing back its juvenile satire, gigantic game world, and focus on gameplay. i was skeptical of the three-person main characters idea, but it truly made missions far more interesting than they'd ever been. however, the story meanders a lot. this has an affect on missions as they slowly become more and more tedious. the best parts are the heist missions, which require a lot of buildup and planning. it gives the player more control over how they turn out. unfortunately, the heists are not the central part of the game.

for all it does right, i don't think it wows me anymore. maybe if this came out in 2008, i would have been impressed, but it feels like there's a huge large world full of potential that's never lived up to. i still enjoyed my time with it, but i was glad when it was over.

x. metal gear rising: revengeance ; this is the last game that felt 'lost in time'. revengeance is some sort of ps2 game that someone decided to finally make in 2013. the story is lovably ridiculous and the gameplay and presentation is similarly over-the-top.

x. pokemon y ; last year, pokemon black 2 was on my top ten list. that was mostly because i only played 13 games from 2012. pokemon y might have made the list too had it been a slower year. it's definitely pokemon, except with a far bigger focus on presentation. i think what stood out to me most was the music. everything else is kinda okay, and i didn't like the constant turning me back at the beginning of the game.

x. the wonderful 101 ; the last honorable mention goes to hideki kamiya's newest fever dream. i don't know if i actually like the wonderful 101- there's a lot of times where the player may as well be watching a cutscene, and half-baked gameplay is introduced to break up the game's established action game stuff. it starts and ends on pretty good notes, and it's just a shame that the game bookends itself around a soft middle.

2012. sleeping dogs ; this could be the reason why gta v isn't higher on my list. sleeping dogs actually had likable characters, decent motivation, and some focus. i don't like that the world is so small, but it felt organized. the combat, hijacking, and environment interactions also helped me feel a lot more involved than i usually am in sandbox games.
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