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

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Dec 31, 2008
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My effort in this year's GOTY isn't particularly commendable, because of other things in my life at the moment, but here is a quick run-down:

1. Kentucky Route Zero ; I love the fantastic literature in video game form.
2. Papers, Please ; Good moral dilemmas without too obvious indicators.
3. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen ; Great animation work, interesting storytelling, superb ending, excellent combat+boss fights.
4. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; Much darker story than anticipated. Gameplay isn't particularly noteworthy, but I like the theme and plot of this game to consider it to be one of the good games of this year.
5. Gone Home ; Great subversion of first-person horror mechanics with a fresh theme for its plot.
6. The Last of Us ; Good writing and acting performances.
7. Gunpoint ; Surprisingly engaging mechanics and interesting moral evaluation system.
8. Papo & Yo ; Heavy-handed storytelling, but an interesting plot that might have hit too close to home for me.
9. Guacamelee ; Fun coop game.
10. Beyond: Two Souls ; Frustrating quality of writing, but good main character, interesting themes, and uncommon genre in the blockbuster gaming space.
x. Remember Me ; Nice aesthetics, good main character, decent linear platforming and combat .
x. XCOM: Enemy Within ; An improvement upon an already good formula.
2012. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition ; One of the best games of this generation, no doubt.
Half of your list is the same as mine so good choices, but just a heads-up: KRZ is not eligible for voting this year as not all episodes are out yet! Keep it for 2014
or 2015 at this rate:(
 
May 30, 2013
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1. Last of Us ; Shows some of more developed characters I ever see in a game. They grow during the game, they change, and got attached to them. The gameplay is very good, besides being simple, it works. And the best graphics and sound of PS3 doesn't hurt.
2. Grand Theft Auto 5 ; The city is even better, the gameplay, best in the series. The characters, well made, but the story and ending...wtf.
3. Bioshock Infinity ; Art direction and history. Absolutely amazing. The weak gameplay hold it from a better position.
4. DmC: Devil May Cry ; Stunning gameplay, very fun, very good art direction, weak characters and history.
5. Papers, Please ; An achievement. simple graphics with style, very smart gameplay.
6. Tomb Raider ; Very well made, rounded, fun, but soulless.
 
Jan 3, 2013
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1. Persona 4:Golden ; Great soundtrack, amazing characters, and a game that filled me with joy. I don't really play that many JRPGs outside of pokemon, but this one clicked with me right away. The combat is fast, and I had a lot of fun with fusing personas.
2. Tearaway ; I've rarely smiled so much while playing a game, as I did when I was playing Tearaway. The game is short, but like Journey it feels like it has a perfect length. It simply doesn't overstay its welcome. The game is absolutely gorgeous and is one of the most charming games I've ever played
3.Pokémon X&Y; I love Pokémon. I love the combat, I love collecting Pokémon, and I love beating the crap out of the Pokémon League. Pokémon X&Y allowed me to do all of this in 3D, so it was obvious that it would be on my list. There were some minor performance issues, but that didn't stop me from completing the Kalos dex. Now bring on the Pokémon Bank so I can finish the National dex!
4. Lego City: Undercover ; The script is hilarious, and running around in Lego City was really fun.
5. Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien ; I usually don't like rythm games, but I had a lot of fun with this one.
6. Ni No Kuni ; Loved the presentation, the combat was good enough for me to enjoy it. The prettiest game of 2013
7. Earth Defense Force 2017 portable ; You run around blowing up giant bugs and robots, what's not to love?
8. Super Mario 3D World ; I was quite disappointed by Super Mario 3D World. It's a really good looking game, and finding the green stars is fun, but the lack of focus on exploration made the game a lot weaker for me. I like exploring 3D Mario levels at my own pace, having a timer ruined that. The game felt way to linear, and the multiplayer wasn't that fun for me.
9. Bioshock Infinite; I love how beautiful this game is. The story was good, the gameplay was fun, although I did get bored of it near the end.
10. Velocity Ultra ; A great shoot em up game that I was addicted to during my trip to Spain. Everyone should play this
2012. Sleeping Dogs ; Looks fantastic, fun gameplay, and I loved the story
 
Apr 15, 2012
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I may not have time to come back and elaborate on the rest.

1. Super Mario 3D World ; EAD Tokyo has once again proven why they're the best in industry. The game controls like a dream, has phenomenal level design, and is always throwing new ideas at you. 3D World, like the other 3D Marios, encompasses everything I love about gaming.

2. Pikmin 3 ; There's nothing quite like the Pikmin series. It manages to be extremely unique while maintaining great level design. The third entry is no different with it's fun setpieces (never thought I'd be using that word in conjunction with a Pikmin game) and addicting fruit collecting. This game is one of Miyamoto's best.

3. The Wonderful 101 ; This is basically Saturday morning cartoons in game form and I love it. It's fast paced and absolutely ridiculous in it's presentation. Beyond that, though, is a gem of a game that has heart breakingly bombed. The amount of options you have in combat makes for an extremely organic experiece; combine that with great enemy design and crazy bosses and you've got one of the best pure action games ever.

4. Pokémon Y ;

5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ;

6. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ;

7. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD ;

8. Bioshock Infinite ;

9. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ;

10. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ;
 
Feb 23, 2011
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1. Bioshock Infinite ; This has been a tricky year, which has made picking a clear winner difficult, but Bioshock Infinite won out in the end. It's a story-driven game that doesn't skimp on the "game" part, as you leap from airship to airship taking down enemies with a huge variety of weapons and powers.The attention to detail is superb (the "retro-ized" songs especially), and the vivid, beautiful world is worthy of the "Bioshock" name. With any luck, we won't have to wait another six years to see Irrational's next release!

2. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; After the disappointment of ACIII, with all it's bloat and poor mission design, I was initially skeptical about the pirate angle. That all changed after my first sea battle during a storm. The plot and the protagonist bring a more laid back atmosphere than the last few games, and you never feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options/useless side missions available to you. Even the modern aspect was more enjoyable than previous games, helped by the fact that it doesn't take up too much time or importance compared to the "main" story. Plus: Sea Shanties.

3. Batman: Arkham Origins ; Arkham Asylum is probably my GOTG, and Arkham City isn't far behind, so even a relatively straightforward follow-up like this proved to be quite enjoyable. The combat has been tweaked slightly, perhaps for the worse, but all of the classic elements are there, while the new ones have been well-integrated. Great voice acting and a superior story to AC is a bonus.

4. Total War: Rome II ; My most anticipated game of the year, and it still delivered that classic TW gameplay, despite a very shaky launch period. I suspect I may be in the minority that liked some of the changes, such as limiting the number of deploy-able armies and fleets, and the merger of cities and regions; rather than constraining the player, it adds another level of management (do I keep my last army in reserve in an unstable province, or send it somewhere it's desperately needed?) A slight disappointment with the glitches and odd design decision, but with any luck, CW will spend more time polishing their next title, and continue improving this one in the meantime.

5. Splinter Cell: Blacklist ; This year's big surprise, a sentiment probably shared by others in this thread. I went in expecting Conviction 2: Conviction Harder and got an excellent stealth game instead. In true Splinter Cell fashion, the game's bursting at the seams with content, including co-op/side missions that offer some of the best moments in the entire series. Lethal/non-lethal play and a shit-ton of gadgets and customization options are massively welcome, as are the number of ways Fisher can tackle most scenarios. The campaign does have a few forced action moments, especially later on, but they're outnumbered by forced stealth/non-lethal sections. The only real disappointment is SvM, which Ubisoft unwisely decided to make more "action-packed", diminishing what made it so unique in the first place. Let's hope Ubisoft puts out another Splinter Cell game of this caliber.

6. Battlefield 4 ; I got this a few months after launch at about half the price, so I think I missed the worst parts of the launch. As it stands, it's a big improvement on (Vanilla) BF3; the maps are far better than the lackluster selection we initially got with the previous game, and there's considerably more weapon choice. There's an undeniable thrill in fighting guys on a skyscraper rooftop before leaping out as it collapses. A definite improvement on it's predecessor, although the fact that BF3 had Operation Metro makes that a relatively easy feat.

7. GTA V ; This would almost certainly be higher if I actually owned it. Alas, I am console-free at the moment, so until the PC version is released (if it is), I've only been able to put about 10-15 hours into it on my bro's 360. R* puts an incredible amount of care and polish into every game they make, and it shows here; there's no game-breaking bugs usually associated with open-world games, no flat textures and detail-less landscapes once you go off the beaten track, and the voice acting is up to R*'s usual level. The fantastic soundtrack is also worth a mention, even if they did break GTA convention by including an OST. The only thing I feel that's off is that the shooting mechanics aren't as good as Max Payne 3's, which is frankly baffling. Again, if I had more time with this, it'd almost certainly be higher.

8. Tomb Raider ; I'll be perfectly honest, I've never really played a TR game before, so I was playing the reboot with nothing to really compare it to. Having said that, I found CD's effort to be a rock solid, fun TPS gameplay with added hunting and crafting elements. It's absolutely beautiful on PC as well.

9. Papers Please ; It should probably be higher, but I haven't got round to playing it that much. This is not just down to time, but also the game's relentless pressure. Every day you need to reach a quota while doing a decent job, make life and death decisions, all the while worrying if your son will get medicine at the end of the day. It's actually exhausting to play, which I feel was the developers' intention. An interesting game that's probably more admirable than it is fun, although that's in no way a bad thing.

10. Far Cry: Blood Dragon ; Too much of a reskin to score highly, but anything containing the line "Mark IV-style, Motherfucker!" deserves a spot on the list. Dat Soundtrack.

x. Gunpoint ; A fun little indie stealth title with a great soundtrack and brilliantly witty writing.

2012 - Call of Duty: Black Ops II ; It's almost embarrassing to admit this, but I've had a huge amount of fun with this. Yes it's COD at the end of the day, but nothing else gives you the satisfaction of a 1v6 clutch in S&D.
 
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1. SMT IV ; Even though I found it a bit too easy, everything else met my expectations, which is pretty incredible considering I've been waiting for this nearly ten years and the amazing Nocturne (or Lucifer's Call as it's called here). That was well worth importing a US 3DS to Germany.

2. Persona 4: Golden ; Yeah, I'm a bit of a SMT fan (living in Europe sadly), but heck, the game is nearly perfect, and so fun to play

3. GTA V ; Like every GTA, it gets a bit boring in the end, but god, every time I start the game, the work Rockstar put in this just impresses me

4. Ace Attorney: Dual Destiny ; AA at its best, 'nuff said

5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

6. Super Mario 3D World

7. Rogue Legacy ; played 20h in less than a week, that hadn't happened to me for a long long time (outside of vacations)

8. Rayman Legends

9. Zelda Wind Waker HD

10. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; I'm really not a fan of tacticals, but this one I found pretty enjoyable

x. Bravely Default ; I'm still playing it, so can't really rank it here, but god, that job and brave/default system is godlike

x. Tomb Raider ; A lot did it do wrong, which is why it's not on my top 10 list, but god was the game beautifull. And a few scenes really came out great.

2012. Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland ; Well, you really have to turn off your brain while playing it for fear for it to melt, but aside from that, the alchemy system still works for me. God I would kill for a Mana Khemia 3...
 

Dance Inferno

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Dec 30, 2008
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I didn't really play that many games this year, mainly because I spent the early part of the year finishing up games that came out in 2012 (and playing hella Borderlands 2). As such I don't have a full top-ten list, but that's OK. While there were good games this year I don't think this was a particularly great year for games. Everyone points to The Last of Us as the pinnacle of what a game can achieve in terms of merging storytelling and gameplay, but in my opinion Naughty Dog has yet to top Uncharted 2 in terms of perfecting game/plot balance. Lots of people also drooled over GTA V, but in all honesty I feel like Rockstar lost the magic touch after Vice City. The few hours I played of GTA V totally and utterly bored me and I could tell its missions were going to grate on my nerves. I spent a bit of time with Diablo III as well, and while it was fun it failed to sustain my interest somewhere through my Nightmare run. It's a fun loot game with great combat, but there's something to be said for a game whose campaign can't be plowed through in a day.

There are also a bunch of games that I haven't gotten around to playing yet. For instance, I bought Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and Batman: Arkham Origins but haven't put enough time in either game to be able to give them a rating.

So what games did I actually play and enjoy this year? Let's take a look.





2012. Spec Ops: The Line ; There has been a lot already said about this game (it may just hold the record for the number of LTTP threads on GAF), but suffice it to say that it may have the single best plot and story of any game this generation. With all the conversation about ludonarrative dissonance recently, this game comes out and gives the concept a swift kick in the nuts. To put it in another way, no game has ever colored the way I view other games like Spec Ops did. I remember playing Sleeping Dogs right after playing Spec Ops and I had a crisis of conscience at the first mission that asked me to shake down an honest businessman because it seemed like a morally bankrupt thing to do. A game that can shake me emotionally like that is deserving of nothing but praise.





9. Puppeteer ; One of the most charming games of this generation, the art style of this game is really what hooked me when I first saw videos of it. The way the levels are set up as if you were viewing a stage in the theater, the hammy over-acting by the villains, the delicious bloom lighting that exudes warmth, this is one of the best looking games of the generation. It may not have the highest resolution textures or the biggest draw distance but it looks gorgeous nonetheless and is a pleasure to partake in.

The game isn't too difficult since you need to get hit three times to die and even then the game gives you an overabundance of lives. But that's OK because I don't see this as a game that tests your skill as a gamer. This is just a game to put on when you want to kick back and be entertained, and it does that very well.





8. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; I picked this up for $5 in the Microsoft New Years sale and finished it over two sittings. This is the type of game that I want more of: a relatively quick 3-4 hour experience that can be finished in one or two sittings and which is more about the experience than the gameplay. It's basically a movie in video game form, which isn't surprising considering it was conceived by a film director. That's not to say that there isn't much game here, but rather that it's not concerned with presenting a compelling gameplay loop so much as it wants to use some light gameplay mechanics to tell a story.

The game isn't very difficult but there are certain sections where you will need some serious dexterity in controlling the two brothers separately, so it's not a game I would give to a non-gamer and expect them to enjoy. However, the story it tells is quite good and some of the mechanics it uses to convey emotions towards the end of the game are really well executed. The final puzzle in particular had my hairs on end when I finally figured it out as it was a rare example of using gameplay mechanics to convey emotion and character growth. Highly recommended.





7. Call of Duty: Ghosts ; I don't play games because they're artsy or profound or the current focus of the cultural zeitgeist. I play games because they're fun, and Ghosts is a whole truckload of fun. I have bought every mainline COD since COD1 (with the exception of COD3 and BO2) and have played them mainly for the campaign. I loved the multiplayer in COD4 and have hated it in every COD since, so imagine my surprise when I booted up Squads mode and found myself having more fun online than I have since COD4. I honestly believe Squads may be one of the most groundbreaking features for online multiplayer in quite some time.

Thing is, COD multiplayer is pretty frustrating by design. You die very quickly, there are lots of perks and attachments and guns that could be considered cheap, and people are not above camping or dropshotting or quickscoping if it will help them win. And yet COD always has a very sweet, rewarding gameplay loop that makes it one of the most satisfying shooters to play. What Squads mode does is keep the addictive COD gameplay but take out the frustrating humans and replace them with bots who are, surprisingly, not brain dead. Playing MP against these bots is really fun, as they are actually competent but never resort to cheap tricks to win. It's what multiplayer would be if everyone constantly moved around and played the objective. Ghosts has become my go-to game after a long day at the office, which is something that I never expected.

Oh, and Extinction mode is a buttload of fun too.





6. The Last of Us ; The Last of Us was good, but it was definitely my least favorite AAA game of this year. I would actually rate it below Brothers and Puppeteer if they weren't such short games. The only reason it pips Ghosts is because it has a much better story, but I actually prefer Ghosts' gameplay to TLoU. That came as a shock to me because I live for cinematic, linear single player games. Uncharted 2 is my favorite game so I really expected to like TLoU. However for some reason the game just didn't click with me. Sure the story was well told and well acted but there was something about the game that just seemed to drag on and on. There was very little variety from one encounter to the next; you're either sneaking around an environment killing infected or sneaking around an environment killing survivors. Sure the environments change but the gameplay remains the same for the majority of the game (the exception being Winter, which was a fun chapter). If I wanted to spend 75% of my time sneaking around I would play a dedicated stealth game instead. The combat was hectic and fun but since the game had such a strong stealth focus I always felt like I had "failed" if I found myself engaged in combat. I had also played this after playing Tomb Raider a few months earlier and I think Lara controls much more fluidly and responsively than Joel.

Naughty Dog is unparalleled when it comes to storytelling, screenwriting, voice acting, graphics, and cutscenes. They are nothing short of technical wizards. However I think their gameplay has been lacking ever since Uncharted 2 and I'm not sure why. The majority of the infected/survivor encounters in the game were more chore than fun, and for that I have to dock the game a bunch of points.





5. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; The tail end of this year had me inadvertently swept up in JRPGs, which is a pleasant surprise considering I haven't played a truly great JRPG since Final Fantasy X. I had generally given up on the genre over the course of this generation after playing duds like Final Fantasy XIII, but Ni no Kuni is a glim
mer
(heh) of hope and shows how magical the genre can still be. The art style is downright sublime, with the charming and lighthearted Studio Ghibli art direction elevating Ni no Kuni above pretty much any other game I've played this year. There is so much whimsy and personality in the location and character designs that it is hard not to smile when you come across a new city or NPC. Traveling between the fantasy realm and Oliver's hometown of Motorville is not only a nod to Dark Cloud 2's time-traveling mechanic but is also a fun way to break up the momentum of combat and questing. I think I actually prefer Motorville's design to the more fantastical towns you visit.

The combat is an interesting mix of real time and turn based combat, which really shines in boss fights but falls somewhat flat during regular mob encounters where there is really no reason to do much more than attack spam. Boss fights though really push the tactical element, requiring you to properly time your defensive commands and manage your positioning around the arena. The monotony of its overworld and dungeon combat holds the game back somewhat, but overall it is a well-crafted JRPG and has reignited my interest in the genre. It may also hold the record for most animal puns in a video game, which is a very good thing.





4. BioShock Infinite ; I initially had this ranked fifth, but after some contemplation I realized that I couldn't justify ranking this below Ni no Kuni. I didn't know whether I would like this game going into it; I didn't really like BioShock or BioShock 2 very much. I thought they had interesting plots that were let down by a horrendously unwieldy and boring combat system. Thankfully the combat in Infinite is much improved on its predecessors, with a versatility and dynamism that is usually reserved for an arcade shooter. Combining vigors with gun combat actually worked well in this iteration compared to its predecessors. Additionally, the world of Columbia is very well realized and imaginative. I was playing on the 360 and my jaw literally dropped the first time I stepped out of the church into Columbia. I was blown away with the graphics and art direction that this 7 year-old system was throwing at me. The puffy clouds that you could swear are made up of individual wisps, the various islands floating beside you, bobbing up and down as they travel across the United States, and the terrifying Songbird in his relentless, screeching pursuit of Elizabeth. The world of Infinite took some damn creativity, that's for sure.

The plot also happens to be one of my favorites of the year, with the relationship between Booker and Elizabeth surpassing that of Joel and Ellie in TLoU. The thing about the relationship between these two characters is that Elizabeth is much more useful to you, the player, than Ellie ever was in TLoU. Sure Ellie could sometimes throw a brick or stab a guy in the back, but there are very few feelings in gaming that come close to being in a heated firefight, ammo quickly dwindling down to zero, and having Elizabeth toss you a box of ammo as you are down to your last magazine. In situations like this you are actually thankful that Elizabeth is tagging along for the ride. Additionally, Elizabeth actually reacted to your actions much more than Ellie ever did. Walk over to a bench and Elizabeth might sit down on it for a few moments. Stand near a group of people and Elizabeth would stare at them curiously. Interactions with her happened organically whereas interactions with Ellie were preceded by a prompt to press Triangle. Moreover, I don't think there was a more touching moment this year than walking into a basement and up to a stray guitar propped up against a chair, only to have Booker sit down and start strumming while Elizabeth sings a hauntingly beautiful song. Goosebumps all day, every day.

Last but not least, I just have to talk about the ending (no spoilers here). I didn't understand the ending at first but after reading up on it and fully grasping its depth I have nothing but respect and admiration for it. The fact that Levine didn't take the easy way out and give us a simple ending that everyone would understand is to be commended, and I hope more developers follow suit.





3. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX ; Kingdom Hearts comes in at third place in spite of itself. This is probably the worst designed game on this list, to the point where I basically was unable to progress past Wonderland without searching out an online walkthrough and using it every step of the way thereafter. It is not always clear where you need to go in a level, and sometimes you need to retread several areas multiple times and do some really obscure shit in order to move the game forward. It is very annoying and, quite honestly, frustrating. I was in an underwater world at one point and was completely lost, as I had fully explored every area and could not figure out where I needed to go. Looking up a walkthrough I realized I had to go seek out some random dolphin and ride him in a circle in order to get a dolphin to spawn in another area that I would be able to ride to a new location. What the hell??! The only reason this game gets a pass is because it was originally a PS2 game and as such its design decisions were based on a different era of gaming.

Aside from that though Kingdom Hearts is the most magical experience I've had this year. I never played any of the KH games, and while I did expect a strong JRPG sensibility I was not prepared for just how powerful this game's nostalgia factor is. You might spend 30 minutes navigating through a maze level from hell, but as soon as you hit a cutscene with Disney characters all is right in the world. The first time I ran into Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder I had a massive ear-to-ear smile that just would not quit. The combat in the game is actually quite fun once you start incorporating magic and it actually rewards skill and pattern recognition, especially in its challenging boss fights. But again, this is all secondary to the exploration and wonderment you experience as you revisit worlds that shaped your childhood. My friend said it best when I told him I was going to play Kingdom Hearts for the first time: "That game has heart."






2. Tomb Raider ; Lara Croft. It's good to see you again. I never really played the old Tomb Raider games but I did play the hell out of Legends and found it to be an incredibly fun game at the time. As such I was pretty psyched for Crystal Dynamics to put their stamp on yet another Tomb Raider game, even though this was a reboot of the franchise. Yes, the game basically eschews anything resembling puzzle solving. Yes, the "tombs" in this game are hilariously simple one-room puzzles that take all of 15 seconds to figure out. Yes, the game is basically an Uncharted clone. But it is a very, very good Uncharted clone. In fact, it surpasses Uncharted in a number of areas.

The game takes place in a quasi-open world, with the ability to revisit certain areas after receiving Metroid-style upgrades and equipment, which alone makes the world a lot more believable and tangible. When I get the shotgun I'm not just using it to shoot baddies, but I'm going to trek back through areas I had previously visited and I will shoot out flimsy walls to access secrets that were previously unreachable. This gives me the sense that I'm occupying an actual environment rather than a linear level that I can only experience in a very specific way and can never return to. The combat in this game is also a lot more responsive and satisfying than in any Uncharted game. Hell, Lara was taking cover contextually months before Joel ever did, and the upgrade system gave the guns and combat a lot more depth than I expected. The fluidity of the combat took me by surprise and I found myself enjoying all the encounters I got into, never feeling like I was forcing myself through them just to get to the rest of the game. This was a major issue that I had with TLoU and a big reason why I didn't enjoy that game as much as I wanted to.

I think, though, that what I love the most about the game is just how the entire game world feels. Lara's animations are second-to-none this year. She uses her hand to ward away the heat from a nearby flame. She limps heavily after being attacked in a cutscene. She immediately drops to a predatory crouch when she hears enemies nearby. She stands majestically atop a mountain after making a particularly difficult climb. You actually feel like this character is inhabiting the world in front of you, reacting to stimuli with her physical actions, which is a very refreshing thing to see. In addition to that, the world itself just feels dangerous and angry. Never on the PS3 have I seen weather effects so awe-inspiring. Rain, sleet, snow, and wind all feel substantial and menacing, and it all just adds to the threats that Lara is facing. In fact, I put it to you that Tomb Raider is the best looking PS3 game this year (although that may have more to do with Nixxes' porting wizardry). At the end of the day, Crystal Dynamics achieved what many thought was an impossible task: putting Lara back in her throne among the most respected mascots in gaming.








1. Splinter Cell: Blacklist ; Damn you, Ubisoft. Seriously, damn you. The anger I feel towards you for creating one of the best stealth games in years, the kind of game I have been waiting a very, very long time for, but then marketing it as an action-packed, gung ho third person shooter is appalling. I didn't even buy this game at first because I figured it was going to be trash like Conviction. It is appalling because this may very well be the last Splinter Cell of this caliber that we ever see. The shooter fans that it was marketed to didn't buy it, the stealth fans who would have really enjoyed the game didn't buy it, the game completely missed sales expectations, and the next iteration of Splinter Cell will very likely deviate wildly from the stealth perfection that this game offered up.

People around here already know how much I love Blacklist. However, I don't think people realize just how good of a game Blacklist is. This is a game that places you at a starting point and tells you where you need to go, but gives you near-complete freedom in how you want to want to get there. Do you want to hide around corners assassinating guards with your blade? Go for it. Do you want to shoot some noise making darts to lure guards away from your intended path? No problem. Do you want to shimmy up walls, using ledges to avoid guards, and then drop into a manhole and use an underground passage to cross underneath a heavily guarded room? Sure thing. Do you want to go HAM and get into firefights with everyone in your path? Do your thing. I keep replaying levels over and over again and I'm stunned by the number of options and paths at my disposal. It's not just that you have a wide variety of tools to use, but also that the levels were designed with multiple paths and hidden traversal options that are not apparent until you do some exploring. These levels are incredibly well designed and they reward replays by giving you new and unique methods to traverse the environments that you may not have noticed on your first run. You can go through each mission without disturbing any of the guards, which is one of the most satisfying endeavors I have attempted in gaming. Many games tell you they're open-ended, but very few games actually deliver on that promise.

It doesn't hurt that the levels are all set in pretty interesting locales, such as a South American mansion, a Middle Eastern special forces building, and an American shopping mall. Foreign guards will actually speak in foreign languages with no subtitles, which will freak you the fuck out when you are trying to sneak through a group of them. "Did they see me? Are they coming over to investigate or are they heading elsewhere? Should I move or should I stay put?" The guard AI is pretty intelligent, with different guards reacting differently to your actions. One guard may go over to a noise-making dart to investigate it, another will call for backup first. Guard patrols are randomized every time you restart a checkpoint so you cannot predict with certainty where guards will be. Certain guards wear armor and cannot be attacked from the front, forcing you to rethink your tactics if one is approaching your position head-on. The game forces you to think on your feet and improvise when things don't go your way, and unlike similar games it actually gives you effective tools to do so. Smoke grenades, tear gas, noise-makers, shock darts, mines, night vision, thermal vision, whistling, and more are at your disposal for when times get tough.

Finally, I just have to talk about Spies vs. Mercs, which is far and away the surprise of the year for me. This multiplayer mode is the most fun, unique, engaging, and addictive multiplayer mode of the year, and possibly the generation. I know it's a carryover from an older Splinter Cell game so it's not really "new" per se, but having never played this mode previously I was blown away with the amount of fun I was having. I never thought anyone would be able to make an asymmetrical multiplayer mode that I would actually enjoy, but I'll be damned if this mode didn't suck hours upon hours of my time. There is literally nothing as satisfying as working in a team to track down and kill a spy as he is nearing the end of a hack, or the rush of evading four mercenaries by crawling through a vent at the last moment as they all converge on your position with grenades and assault rifles at the ready. SvM is a mode that everyone needs to experience, if only to see that there are other ways of crafting a fun multiplayer experience that doesn't involve killstreaks and capturing flags.

Safe to say, Blacklist is a very fun, very refreshing, and very underlooked game that needs to be played by anyone who is remotely interested in stealth. The levels are very well designed, with a very strong focus on catering to multiple play styles. Spies vs. Mercenaries is a rollicking good time with relatively few anger-inducing mechanics for a MP game, and I haven't even discussed the side missions, which are some of the most fun in the game and add a ton of replayability to an already stellar game. Do yourself a favor and pick this game up. I promise, you won't be disappointed.
 
Jul 19, 2007
3,204
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905
I'll edit in reasons shortly.

1. The Last of Us; An achievement in Videogame storytelling, Although closer to a summer blockbuster than an oscar nominee it is progress no doubt,
2. Assassin's Creed IV; After the shitfest that was Assassin's Creed III this totally redeemed the series. Sailing around while the moon bounces off the gently laping waves onto a tropical island is magical.
3. Gone Home;
4. Battlefield 4;
5. Brothers A Tale of Two Sons;
6. Dead Rising 3;
7. Grand Theft Auto V;
8. Pokemon Y;
9. The Wolf Among Us;
10. NBA 2K14;
 
Oct 27, 2004
103,739
3
0
34
Nowhere, PA
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.
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...
Just got it. Only played for five minutes, but it does seem engaging. Excited to really play it through. Thanks for the nudge guys :D
 
Sep 15, 2009
5,737
0
0
So much has been said on these and I'm fairly late to the topic so I'll just leave my list.

1. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Never thought I'd have a Metal Gear game or a character action game as my GotY, but this is too damn hotblooded and adrenaline-inducing to not put up top.
2. The Last of Us ;
3. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist ;
4. DmC: Devil May Cry ;
5. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger ;
6. Rogue Legacy ;
7. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ;
8. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ;
9. Year Walk ;
10. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ;
x. Thomas Was Alone ;
x. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon ;
2012. Forza Horizon ;

Notable things I think I'd love if I played them would be Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, and Guacamelee!. Put about an hour into both. Still need to get around to them.
 
Jan 29, 2012
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0
1. Splinter Cell: Blacklist ; Damn you, Ubisoft. Seriously, damn you. The anger I feel towards you for creating one of the best stealth games in years, the kind of game I have been waiting a very, very long time for, but then marketing it as an action-packed, gung ho third person shooter is appalling. I didn't even buy this game at first because I figured it was going to be trash like Conviction. It is appalling because this may very well be the last Splinter Cell of this caliber that we ever see. The shooter fans that it was marketed to didn't buy it, the stealth fans who would have really enjoyed the game didn't buy it, the game completely missed sales expectations, and the next iteration of Splinter Cell will very likely deviate wildly from the stealth perfection that this game offered up.

People around here already know how much I love Blacklist. However, I don't think people realize just how good of a game Blacklist is. This is a game that places you at a starting point and tells you where you need to go, but gives you near-complete freedom in how you want to want to get there. Do you want to hide around corners assassinating guards with your blade? Go for it. Do you want to shoot some noise making darts to lure guards away from your intended path? No problem. Do you want to shimmy up walls, using ledges to avoid guards, and then drop into a manhole and use an underground passage to cross underneath a heavily guarded room? Sure thing. Do you want to go HAM and get into firefights with everyone in your path? Do your thing. I keep replaying levels over and over again and I'm stunned by the number of options and paths at my disposal. It's not just that you have a wide variety of tools to use, but also that the levels were designed with multiple paths and hidden traversal options that are not apparent until you do some exploring. These levels are incredibly well designed and they reward replays by giving you new and unique methods to traverse the environments that you may not have noticed on your first run. You can go through each mission without disturbing any of the guards, which is one of the most satisfying endeavors I have attempted in gaming. Many games tell you they're open-ended, but very few games actually deliver on that promise.

It doesn't hurt that the levels are all set in pretty interesting locales, such as a South American mansion, a Middle Eastern special forces building, and an American shopping mall. Foreign guards will actually speak in foreign languages with no subtitles, which will freak you the fuck out when you are trying to sneak through a group of them. "Did they see me? Are they coming over to investigate or are they heading elsewhere? Should I move or should I stay put?" The guard AI is pretty intelligent, with different guards reacting differently to your actions. One guard may go over to a noise-making dart to investigate it, another will call for backup first. Guard patrols are randomized every time you restart a checkpoint so you cannot predict with certainty where guards will be. Certain guards wear armor and cannot be attacked from the front, forcing you to rethink your tactics if one is approaching your position head-on. The game forces you to think on your feet and improvise when things don't go your way, and unlike similar games it actually gives you effective tools to do so. Smoke grenades, tear gas, noise-makers, shock darts, mines, night vision, thermal vision, whistling, and more are at your disposal for when times get tough.

Finally, I just have to talk about Spies vs. Mercs, which is far and away the surprise of the year for me. This multiplayer mode is the most fun, unique, engaging, and addictive multiplayer mode of the year, and possibly the generation. I know it's a carryover from an older Splinter Cell game so it's not really "new" per se, but having never played this mode previously I was blown away with the amount of fun I was having. I never thought anyone would be able to make an asymmetrical multiplayer mode that I would actually enjoy, but I'll be damned if this mode didn't suck hours upon hours of my time. There is literally nothing as satisfying as working in a team to track down and kill a spy as he is nearing the end of a hack, or the rush of evading four mercenaries by crawling through a vent at the last moment as they all converge on your position with grenades and assault rifles at the ready. SvM is a mode that everyone needs to experience, if only to see that there are other ways of crafting a fun multiplayer experience that doesn't involve killstreaks and capturing flags.

Safe to say, Blacklist is a very fun, very refreshing, and very underlooked game that needs to be played by anyone who is remotely interested in stealth. The levels are very well designed, with a very strong focus on catering to multiple play styles. Spies vs. Mercenaries is a rollicking good time with relatively few anger-inducing mechanics for a MP game, and I haven't even discussed the side missions, which are some of the most fun in the game and add a ton of replayability to an already stellar game. Do yourself a favor and pick this game up. I promise, you won't be disappointed.
 
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; It has been a while since I last enjoyed a Zelda game. They often feel bloated and invariably I end up abandoning them, fed up with their conventions. This game though, I didn't want it to end. It is a magnificent package top to bottom. The art is fantastic, the music is masterful, the gameplay is solid and in general, it is an incredibly fun experience that uses nostalgia as a (small) platform to catapult itself into great heights. By streamlining the old known Zelda experience, and putting enjoyable gameplay and clever puzzles in the forefront, ALBW reminds you of what makes Nintendo great, and what a fun, no-nonsense game should be.

2. Path of Exile ; I don't feel it is pedantic to say that Path of Exile is the Diablo 3 game we never had. Born out of love for one of the best games ever created, PoE manages to take so many things as inspiration and still come up with ideas that feel fresh, daring and ultimately successful. The deep, labyrinthine skill system, the class and mechanical variety, their inspired form of currency, the atmosphere, the impressive loot, their commitment to creating new and exciting events, are but few of the things that make it shine above the rest, and put a lot of AAA developers to shame. Not only is the game pretty fantastic on its own, the developers Grinding Gear Games even manage to make it all work with one of the most friendly monetization systems out there, which only show the amount of class and respect these guys have for the player's and their own game's sake. Each passing year, the term F2P becomes synonymous with more and different forms of abuse, towards the player base and the games themselves: gutted and fragmented in the search for quick profits. It is an incredible achievement that this game manages to be truly F2P, with no compromises and no shame to be had.

3. Papers Please ; A little bit bleak, dark and extremely fun, Papers Please is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. It takes mastery to make a game about the repetitiveness and hardheadedness of bureaucratic work in a dystopian regime while making it enjoyable to play and interesting to experience. Mechanically, the game challenges you with its clunky analog interface, which is designed to work against you and put you under pressure. Thematically, the game goes even a step ahead, painting an all too real picture and making you think about how being efficient is at odds with being successful, in many different ways. I also love that the game never goes too far, and doesn't feel preachy or pretentious. It lets you explore, decide and take from it what you wish, even if that is just beating your clearances record from the previous day.

4. Dota 2 ; I'm not much into these sort of mega-competitive affairs, but this is one experience everyone should have at least 1...hundred hours. Dota 2 is also an important game. It does so much that other games should be embracing in terms of casting, tournaments, player and creator friendliness and business models that it is a shining example of why Valve is just miles ahead of the competition in every respect. The reason this game is not higher is that I stopped playing it when it threatened to consume my life, and I had the good sense of admiring it and enjoying it from a distance.

5. Grand Theft Auto V ; GTA V is a return to form on what makes the series great. Production values that go beyond what any other game can accomplish. Fun and interesting characters, detailed, breathing and living worlds filled to the brim with secrets and things to do. There's not much to say about this that hasn't been covered many times before. Even when the multiplayer sucks, and the story is a bunch of nonsense, the game is still a lot of fun.

6. Marvel Heroes ; It is Diablo with Marvel characters. What else do you want? But seriously. I don't expect this game to be on many lists, if any. It had a rocky launch, and it isn't quite there yet in terms on what it can be, but god if it isn't trying super hard. On the one hand, the way this game has progressed since launch is nothing short of impressive. It really shows what a dedicated group of talented people can accomplish in a short amount of time and that is why it is on my list. On the other hand, the game still has quite a few blemishes which will always keep it from true greatness in my eyes. It is nonetheless, extremely fun and my most played game of the year. If you give it a chance, it will likely surprise you.

7. Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed; Who knew a Sonic game can be this fun. Well, technically it isn't a Sonic game, that's why. But seriously, as far as this list is concerned, this is the only game that has made me go: "hey friend, come here and play this right now with me". Filled with content, challenging, great looking and surprisingly fair, this is the karting game you always wanted to play with family and friends.

8. Pokemon X ; My last Pokemon game was about a decade ago. Not much has changed since then: the game is still very rooted in its conventions, it is still a bit too obtuse about easing the player experience, yet even now, it remains an unmatched formula worthy of the success. Sorry, brb, gotta catch them all.

9. The Swapper ; Atmospheric, clever and challenging, The Swapper is one of those games that stick with you because they aim to do something very specific, and they do it right without going too far about it. This game is very smartly designed to make you think, learn, and apply what you know to progress in a way that never feels frustrating or defeating. Puzzle games often suffer from a lack of balance in those respects, but the Swapper manages to keep it all the way and shine in an overcrowded market.
 

TheDuke56

Neo Member
Aug 8, 2011
14
0
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1. Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds ; Not just the nostalgia made this one of my favorite games this year. It is an excellent game on its own.

2. Path of Exile ; It filled the void that Diablo 2 left for me.

3. Super Mario 3D World ; I loved 3D Land, and they expanded upon the pure fun and amazing level design in ways I was happy to experience.

4. Bioshock Infinite ; I enjoyed the story, but the world they built was the most enjoyable part for me. I enjoyed exploring Columbia.

5. Rogue Legacy ; It combined many elements of my favorite game types in a seamless and incredibly fun way. I can't believe no one did this before as well as this.

6. Saints Row 4 ; Just as fun as the third, and more of that is never going to be a bad thing considering how much I enjoyed it.

7. Dragon's Crown ; A game type I never expected to see again, and so well refined with so many added features.

8. Injustice Gods Among Us ; Well designed and fun to play fighting game when I don't generally enjoy fighting games.

9. Guacamelee ; Great gameplay and excellent sense of humor in a well designed game.

10. Brothers A Tale of Two Sons ; The gameplay was interesting and the game was beautiful.
 
May 2, 2013
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0
0
Tallahassee
Not too many come to mind, honestly.

1. The Last of Us - What's there left to say that hasn't been said? Superb gameplay, sublime presentation, and excellent story. It'll be a game I won't hesitate to buy again on PS4.

2. Tomb Raider - This one was surprise for me. I was interested in the game for a while, but it ended up being a lot more fun than I expected. I was never really all too fond of Uncharted - I enjoyed the first game well enough, but I never really felt any drive to play the others what with me not being the biggest fan of Indiana Jones, so I didn't expect to like Tomb Raider as much as I did. The atmosphere and tone of it all really made a world of difference in the end, though, and I enjoyed it for being much darker and more interesting than Uncharted ever was for me.

3. Tearaway - It's rare to play a game with this kind of charm and honesty nowadays. It's such a simple, fun little title with clearly a ton of heart put into it, and I appreciate it for that. It's nice to have something that's just... nice. At least every once in a while.
 
Aug 15, 2007
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1. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; If someone said my GOTY was going to be Animal Crossing in the beginning of the year I would've said you're crazy, yet here we are. There's something very therapeutic and soothing about Animal Crossing that few games can imitate - this was a very stressful and chaotic year for me, and being able to just relax and build Biggtown one tile at a time was exactly what I needed. It's a game that lets you play how you want it and almost never pressures you in any way, and I feel like that's something I can really appreciate now that I couldn't a few years ago.

2. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; I love this game because it's simultaneously dumb and smart. The story and atmosphere are insane, but the game is excellently paced and challenges your knowledge of the mechanics in a way few games do and many more should. Also, this game has some of the best bosses I've fought in a long time. Slicing a giant robot in half with amazing/terrible buttrock playing in the background literally put a huge goofy smile on my face.

3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I've got to be honest - I'm not the world's biggest Zelda fan, but I went into LBW cautiously optimistic. What I ended up getting was a Zelda that felt like it was tailored specifically for me - no hours long tutorial, dungeons with clever puzzles that don't overstay their welcome, and a semi-open world that actually encourages the player to explore and see what's out there. My favorite Zelda in ages.

4. Pokémon Y ; Game Freak has been refining Pokemon like a fine blade year after year, and they never try to fix anything that isn't broken. The visual presentation is way better than it's ever been, and the combat is still very accessible with just enough depth. Pokemon doesn't always click for me, but this one definitely did. This was the perfect game for my work commute.

5. Bioshock Infinite ; Not the best FPS I've ever played, but it does have fantastic presentation and a story that kept me interested until the end, when my mind was thoroughly blown.

6. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; I've always been an Ace Attorney fan, and thankfully this one didn't disappoint for me. While it did have some weak spots (I'm looking at you, Case 3!) it ended stronger than any AA game has since Justice For All, and that's a hard act to follow. Not to mention the game is absolutely gorgeous and one of the few 3DS games where the 3D really works.

7. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; I'm the first one to say this game isn't for everyone, but for someone who has a strong relationship with his older brother, this game really resonated with me emotionally. The presentation is great, the world is well realized, and the last half hour or so brings the game together perfectly.

8. Guacamelee! ; I really enjoyed this game because it combines a bunch of things I love to begin with - a combo-based fighting system, tricky platforming, a metroid-style map, and gorgeous 2D art. An underrated gem, in my opinion - hopefully Drinkbox gets to do bigger and better things.

9. The Stanley Parable ; While it succeeds as a biting commentary of the current state of the games industry, it's also worth pointing out this game is just funny in a way few games are. It also does an excellent job of messing with your expectations.

10. Saints Row IV ; I feel like there's only one way to sum up SR4, and I mean this in the most loving way possible - YO THIS GAME IS DUMB

x. Gone Home ; While it didn't affect me as much as it did some people, I have an enormous amount of respect for The Fullbright Company and what they managed to pull off. The atmosphere is top notch and the story stays engaging throughout.

x. Dota 2 ; Well, I put 80 hours into this game so I guess I should talk about it. I could write a laundry list of things I hate about Dota 2, but the fact of the matter is this - when everything works and your team is coordinating correctly, it's an amazing feeling for all of the pieces to come together. The other side of the coin is that when everything falls apart it really sucks. I don't regret my time spent with Dota, but I'm proudly 6 months sober.

2012. Skullgirls ; I never really gave this game a fair shot on consoles, so I gave it another chance on PC and I'm glad I did. While I do wish the execution barrier was just a little bit lower, it does a really good job of what it sets out to be - a balanced Marvel 2 where every character is unique. Also, while I feel the art is inconsistent, the animation and the music are ace.
 
Feb 4, 2013
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1. Rayman Legends ; No game provided me with more fun and laughter playing co-op with friends than Rayman Legends this year. The level design is impeccable, The art is beautiful, The music levels are insanely fun - what more needs to be said.

2. Persona 4 : Golden ; I jumped in the series last year and it's undoubtedly one of the best RPG series around. Great characters, a well written story and a game that shows you don't need the flashiest graphics or effects to emotionally connect with a storyline.

3. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; An emotional tale which wraps you up in it's dark fairy tale story. It has some of the best use of a controller in a game using them to connect the player with the characters.

4: The Stanley Parable ; A thought provoking game which deconstructs various video game elements in a brilliant manner which never feels insulting to the player's intelligence.

5. FEZ ; An extremely relaxing game despite some obscure puzzles. Beautiful pixel art along with great OST also helps.

6. Last Of Us ; Last of us isn't doing anything particularly groundbreaking with it's setting, but it's characters and story more than make up for it.

7: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; MGR feels like a genuine sequel to MGS4's plot in many ways. We see the effects of the MGS4's story in the world. This along with the excellent codec conversation makes it feel like a Metal Gear game. Gameplay is also top notch with slice and dice action, multiple weapons and excellent boss battles.

8: Bioshock Infinite ; Story constantly keeps shifting and defying the player's expectations until the very end despite some questionable design choices in the gameplay department.

9: Tomb Raider ; Tomb Raider has many good gameplay encounters in it. It never overstays it's welcome despite the rather mediocre storyline. If anything it's just great to be able to explore the island to find it's various secrets.

10: DMC: Devil May Cry ; A great action game which is a lot of fun on harder difficulties. Despite the controversy with the characterizations, they didn't matter to the core gameplay experience that much.

2012. Xenoblade Chronicles ; I haven't finished the game yet, but the revamped RPG mechanics alone warrant it's inclusion in this list.
 
Jun 6, 2004
20,976
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1,555
40
Amman, Jordan
1. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3DS ; this was my first DKC game and I'm a believer now. I used to be skeptical of the series (after briefly trying one of the SNES games on an emulator once), but I really loved grinding through the challenging levels of this game, trying to 100% each one before I move on to the next. The process was immensely rewarding even when I die 40+ times in a single level to collect everything. Quite different from Mario.

2. The Last of Us ; this was my first "big console game" in a long time. It was also the first time in a long time that I was actually looking forward to the cut scenes and rejoicing in watching them (typically I loath cut scenes and lengthy story elements in games, because they typically suck). I took my sweet time exploring every nook and cranny of the world and soaking up the beautiful environments; my playthrough took over 35 hours! I only wish I played it on Hard and/or without Listen Mode. Hopefully for my next playthrough.

3. 3D Super Hang-On ; never played SHO before, and it was love at first sight. The gorgeous sprites, the simple gameplay, the smooth 60fps, great soundtrack, and all the customization options and cabinet modes make it a true gem of a port only available on 3DS.

4. 3D Shinobi III, Return of the Master Ninja ; I played this on the Mega Drive back in the 90's but had little memory of it. The Expert Ninja mode is a great addition to the controls.

5. 3D Galaxy Force II ; best 3D effect on 3DS? The fact that a 25 year old game can truly WOW and impress in the visual department in 2013 is a testament to SEGA's avant garde status in arcade gaming, and M2's passionate dedication to their craft.

6. Super Hexagon (Android) ; I believe this is eligible according to the rules. Another instant classic of genius design and aesthetic simplicity, and unrelenting difficulty in video game form from Terry Cavanagh.

7. Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien ;

8. 3D Sonic The Hedgehog ; nostalgia bliss.

9. 3D Streets of Rage ; When the 3DS was first released I had lofty visions and expectations for the Virtual Console and 3D Classics, which didn't come to fruition, until M2 started pumping out these impeccable remasters. Never has the phrase "SEGA does what Nintendon't" been more true for me.

x. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ; Honorable Mention, didn't play much of the game, but really liked what I played so far.

2012. Journey ;
 
Nov 10, 2006
3,691
0
0
Ukraine/Germany
1. The Last of Us; Better story than in the Uncharteds, much better gameplay, same production quality. Can’t top that.

2. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen; Excellent expansive RPG, surprise hit of the year for me.

3. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag; I don’t think I have finished any of AC games (maybe only the first one, don’t really remember), even though I played them all. I may also not finish AC4 as well, but for other reasons – pirating part of the game is just too much fun. :)

4. Ni No Kuni; I knew I would love this game after seeing the first screens and it didn’t disappoint. We need more output like that from Japan.

5. Resogun ; Was in love with it after first trying it at Gamescom. Like it even more than Super Stardust HD. Sort of crossover between schmup and twinstick shooter, surprisingly accessible at low difficulties and hard as nails if you like it that way.

6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf; One of very few 3DS games I played this year, constantly put a smile to my face. Sorry, son, I need your 3DS for a few more minutes…

7. Killzone: Shadow Fall; Graphical next-gen showcase and much more fun to play than previous Killzones due to more open level designs.

8. Paper, Please; As someone who was born in USSR, this game has touched me in some sensitive place. If game were rated by impact/MB, this one would win GOTY easily.

9. Tomb Raider; Tried to outdo Uncharted and failed at that, but made a quite a good game. If only they would add more tomb-level puzzle it would be much higher in my list.

2012. Puzzle and Dragons; I’m from EU, but played the US version, so I’m putting it here. The game ate quite a lot of my time last year, took a few month to get off the hook. Good job GungHo.
 
Oct 31, 2007
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1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; A Link to the Past is one of my favorite games of all-time, so I was already excited when they announced this, but also very sceptical after how the last two handheld Zeldas turned out. But this is like a return to true form. They took ALTTP as a template and learned from it. That means: less handholding, faster gameplay and an overworld that's small enough to get everywhere in a minute or so. The new dungeons are short, but clever. The new ability to merge with walls is simple, but it brings a new way to approach puzzles. And the music! The music is wonderful, most of it are remixes of old ALTTP tunes, but they're absolutely great, especially all the different variations of the dungeon theme.

2. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; It's hard to talk about the best aspects of this game without spoiling anything, but at the very least I can say: the cases are great, I really enjoyed all of them, the characters are wonderful with quirks and animations that are a joy to watch and the twists are surprising, but work well within their logic. And then as a first for the series, there's a DLC case. And what a great one it is. It even has its own catchy pirate song. If this game has one fault, it's that they toned down the difficulty. Which means, there are fewer situations when you have to think hard about the case to find a contradiction or the right evidence, but it leads to a faster flow of the whole trial. And even if you should still lose your case, you can start right back where you lost. It takes away some of the tension, but then again, in earlier games it just meant you had to save before every statement when you were low on "health", so this is actually a welcome addition. Wait, make that two faults, because sadly, we here in the West didn't get a retail version of this wonderful game, my AA collection is crying.

3. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan ; First things first: they threw away the wonderful music style of the all its predecessors! Good, now we're done with the worst aspect of this game. On the other hand they added an overworld map that is actually meaningful and fun to explore. Besides all that, it's still your typical Etrian Odyssey games and that means it's a damn good game. The dungeon design is very well done, the battles are challenging, but not too hard and F.O.E.s are still roaming the lands. But now you can see them, it can be quite scary when you turn around and suddenly a huge bear stands right in front of you. And to get back to the music: it still has a wonderful soundtrack, one of the best I heard this year.

4. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; In a way this reminded me of Mega Man 9, even if that's just because of one thing. For both games, when I played them, I thought "I didn't think they still knew how to make them like that". In SMT IV's case that's a rather curious thought for me, because I haven't even played much of the older games of the series (I always plan to do it "someday", though), but I could still recognize the different tone and atmosphere this game has. And it's a great game, a game that still dares to punish you if you make bad decisions, a game that forces you to use all of the arsenal you have and maybe think about your setup from time to time. And it gives you freedom, after a certain point in the story, you're free to explore the city as you like, including areas that are probably just too much for you. Plus it has one of the funniest Game Over scenes I've seen in a while (at the least for the first two or three times). I thought hard about putting this on a higher spot, the game would really deserve that, but Burroughs made me decide against that. It's a companion AI that constantly has to inform you about stuff at the most unfitting times and it annoyed me so much that it brought the whole game down for me. Honestly, my problem with this game is not that it feels too much like an "old" game, quite the contrary, everything I don't like about it are the modern design choices, like Burroughs, like DLC, like the quest board. But still, I don't want to complain too much, it's a fantastic game, and I almost forgot to mention the fantastic soundtrack, it's absolutely wonderful.

5. Pikmin 3 ; Even to this day the Pikmin series is still unique. It forces you to plan your day well, to select your Pikmin carefully and at the same time is so incredibly charming. It's just a joy to play. And it's well-written, too. Plus it looks great and controls well. If you have the opportunity to do so, place the GamePad on a stand next to you and play this game with a Wii+Nunchuk, it's really the best way to play it. The only complaint I had is that sometimes your Pikmin like to fail at basic pathfinding, which is especially brutal when you want to cross a bridge with a large group and half of them decide to rather drown in the river and die. And trust me, you don't want to see your Pikmin die, you'll feel guilty for the rest of the day.

6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; I still don't understand this series. Basically, it's all about nothing. There are no real goals, there isn't even much to explore. But I also can't stop playing it. I guess it wants you to set your own goals and its limitations force you to come back another day. And you will come back. If you share it with someone else, it becomes even more addicting, sometimes you'll play just to talk about it later. I don't understand it, but it's great.

7. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn ; I usually don't play MMOs, in fact I usually completely avoid them because of the additional fees. But this one caught me. I took advantage of the beta to get a chance to experience it without a fee and immediately got hooked (well, let's say immediately after I got through the lengthy beginning). It has a fun and easy battle system, huge worlds to explore and there's just always something to do. The music's great and it actually feels like a Final Fantasy game, something other recent entries in the series didn't always achieve. But, it also taught me that I'm not an MMO player. I don't spend hundreds of hours on one game, I didn't even care all that much for playing in a party. Every time my monthly subscription ran out, I looked back at the month and I realized I hardly even played. So then I played it for a few hours in the last few days, loved it again and resubscribed and then put it aside again. So, I guess in the end I had to realize, it's a great game, but MMOs just aren't for me.

8. Tales of Hearts R ; I hesitated to put this on my top 10 list because I can only judge "half" of this game. This being a Japanese import, I sadly couldn't understand anything said in this game, but that didn't keep me from enjoying it. The battle system is great. It's basically an evolution of the one already used in Tales of Innocence R (which I played shortly before this and also enjoyed) with the improvement of tha ability to "warp" behind your enemies (in the air and on the ground). This small addition makes it play quite a bit faster and most importantly better. And this game finally brings back puzzles in dungeons! The newer games seem to avoid them more and more (Xillia hardly has any at all), I was very happy to see so many in this game. It does have ports that all look the same, though. And it has Sakuraba, so don't expect anything from its soundtrack. It's a shame, I so enjoyed his absence in Tales of Innocence R. So, it's a great game, I had a lot of fun, but it might have been higher on the list had I understood anything of it.

9. 3D Galaxy Force II ; It's SEGA arcade games at their finest. The whole collection of 3D Classics SEGA released at the end of this year are wonderful. Perfect emulation, well-done 3D effects that really add to the games and a huge amount of options. This one I had never played before, but I immediately got hooked. When I first played the very first level, I thought I was playing an arcade Wing Commander game, a type of game I really miss nowadays. But it's really just the first level, other levels take you to planets that remind me more of games like Gradius II or Space Harrier. The good thing is, it also plays really well and fast. Lock on and shoot everything in your way, avoid stuff that's coming your way and brake around tight corners. Good thing, this version allows you to set acceleration and your basic-gun fire to automatic, it kinda hurts your hand otherwise. There's enough stuff around so that you will never just hit everything, you have to explore the levels to find the best way to shoot the most enemies and structures, and you will always find new ways to do so. The final level will hurt your brain, in a good way.

10. Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale ; This is my last-minute addition to this list. I don't know why I ignored it for so long. It's a wonderful and charming game, it's the playable Ghibli movie other games just strive for. It's just one of the games that make you feel happy when playing them, in big parts thanks to the great music. And it's got a (simple) card game! Plus it looks great, it has some of the best applications of the 3D effect I saw in a while.


x. NES Remix ; This was another late surprise. It consists of a series of small challenges within Nintendo's first generation NES games and additional challenges that shake things up a bit. They even manage to "summarize" their games pretty well with this. When you played all challenges you get the feeling you've just beaten Super Mario Bros. or the Legend of Zelda, it's kinda strange how well that works. The remixes on the other hand often try to just screw with your head. They are a lot of fun and demonstrate well how small alterations can change the whole feeling of a game. And damn, this game is addicting, "just one more time" at its best. In the end, though, it's also a big advertisement for their VC service, it makes you enjoy games you probably wouldn't have played without it. And then it makes you want to buy them. It could have done without Tennis and Golf, though. Not even this game can make them look good.

x. DoDonPachi Saidaioujou ; This is probably Cave's last game on the 360, but hopefully not for consoles altogether. It has a good selection of different modes and ships to play. As with most Cave games, the scoring is easy enough to understand and hard enough to actually do to motivate you for a long time of score attacks. Usually, a game like this would be higher on my list. But this one also comes with some new annoyances. There's the constant operator talking in 360 mode, the strange outfit selection and the music's...not so great. Well, that and the fact that an even better Cave game was also released this year, the PS3 port of Ketsui, but being a simple port that one's not eligible for vote, but it still makes DDP Saidaioujou look a bit worse in comparison.

x. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse ; This one surprised me. It's actually a very well done remake, that's a lot closer to the original than it appears at first sight. They did a very good job at translating it to a 3D environment.

x. Ys: Memories of Celceta ; I guess after how much I loved every Ys game I played recently, my expectations for this were just too high. It's a great game, but for most of it, my reactions were "it could have been better". The music's nice, but it could have been better. Boss fights are nice, but they could have been better. And so on. In the end, it's a good game but it's one of the weaker entries in the series.

2012. Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper ; So much content, so much to do and so much fun. The WiiU version brings the very welcome addition of Off-TV play (though they did their best to hide it behind an oddly named menu option) and the ability to play in multiplayer mode with one player playing on the GamePad.
 
1. Tomb Raider ; Incredibly fun and and thrilling gameplay, in great looking environments, wrapped up in a well constructed story.

2. Skylanders Swap Force ; Cartoon like hack and slash action, perfect co-op experience for a parent & child or two siblings, amazing innovation in character design.

3. The Last Of Us ; Emotionally affecting story, with well refined gameplay and superbly written characters.

4. Flick Kick Football Legends ; Incredibly addictive and concentrated gameplay, respectable freemium model, skill based rewards, great art style, perfect mobile game.

5. Gone Home ; a wonderful adventure, intriguing and unique story, fantastic atmosphere

6. Super Mario 3D World ; another amazing spin on the old format, great new innovations and integration of old ideas, perfect balance of difficulty and replayability

7. Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons ; Unique control scheme, fun mix of dexterity and light mental puzzles, emotional and unique story
 
1. Steamworld Dig ; My favorite game of 2013. The controls are spot on and the pacing is fantastic with all the upgrades that make you want to play just a little more.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; It just plays like a dream and felt like it had the perfect length to me. I would have liked a little less verticality in the dungeons and perhaps it lacked a bit in atmosphere, but I thought it was an amazing handheld Zelda experience.

3. Pokemon Y ; Oh, another Pokemon game. The story is still bad, but it sure looks nice, and the online elements work really well this time. Shame about the terrible streetpass functionality though.

4. New Super Luigi U ; I loved New Super Mario Bros U, and this one's great too. I've probably lost more lives than ever before in a 2D Mario platformer, but the upped difficulty works well with the shorter levels. The only downside is that it's impossible to play with 4 players without Nabbit.

5. Streetpass Mansion ; Streetpass is one of my favorite 3DS features, so I had to put at least one of the new games on my list. Mansion is probably the most enjoyable, with Garden as a close second. Just 4 more tickets...

6. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; Fire Emblem is one of my favorite series, and while Awakening is a good game, it still felt like a disappointing Fire Emblem game. No mission variety (every chapter is either rout the enemy or defeat the boss), less strategy (broken pair up system, random reinforcements everywhere) and the story also seemed like a huge step back from the console Fire Emblems. Still a good game, but disappointing.

7. Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo ; Nice little 2D platformer that was dirt cheap. It's very basic, but the controls feel tight and the game offers plenty of content.

8. Game & Wario ; It's a bit of a mixed bag. There's some great games in here, and also a lot of games that I haven't played more than once or twice. Some of the cluck-a-pop rewards are even better than some of the games. Great party game though.

9. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; It's an Animal Crossing game. I guess it's the best one yet, but with every new Animal Crossing game, I just spend less time on it than the previous one.

10. Luigi's Mansion 2 ; Lots of atmosphere, and I love Luigi, but the levels often seemed too long.
 
Feb 2, 2012
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I've didn't get the chance to play a lot of games released this year, even though I've bought so many.

1. The Last of Us ; Absolutely stunning and fun game. easily one of my favourites of the gen. Exceptional story and characters and combat/stealth systems that really belong to that ruthless world. And that soundtrack was mesmerising, although scarce and bleak, but so damn fine. I really don't have any major complains other than few minor performance issues. Also I can't wait for the DLC, and that speaks a lot since I don't usually go back for games for their DLC.

2. Bioshock Infinite ; Amazing world, probably one of the best first hour of any games I've played. Walking in Columbia for the first time and taking in all that atmosphere was something else, Until the combat starts, while the combat was fun and varied on how you can approach it, the way it was setup as arenas got old really fast halfway through the game. Just like TLOU, the story and characters were top notch. Awesome OST and the art style, damn, Columbia is a sight to behold (on PC ;b)

3. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; Fun and extremely atmospheric game. The puzzles are fun to figure out, although on the easy side, but the controllers took time to adjust to. While it is a short game, it was enough time to care for the characters and that ending was unexpected in the way it was presented.

These are the only games I've finished, I really should've played more games this year.
 
Mar 3, 2009
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Looking back at my previous personal GOTY lists, I noticed sometimes I didn't include games that looking back were some of the best games of last generation like NCAA Football 11 or 2010 FIFA World Cup not because they weren't a lot of fun to play but because they didn't had a lot of improvements compared to previous games. Now I noticed what a huge mistake it was trying to vote like I was reviewing games and not listing the games I had more fun playing. So I've tried to change that this year.

1. The Last of Us ; It definitely helped that my excitement for this game was near zero. I don't like games with zombies and I only bought it because people started saying it was great and not about zombies at all. Well besides the great intro of the game, the first couple of hours did nothing to make me excited and I even started regretting the purchase to a point where I spent a couple of months before putting the disk on my console again. And I'm surely glad I did because the game just picks up the pace and the combat gets even more stressing and tactical without feeling cheap. Like I said I don't like zombies but my favorite parts of the game were entering a room and seeing a group of clickers and wondering about the best approach to kill them without making me an easy target. The Fall/Winter part of the game were nothing short of great, I had a blast even when I thought the odds were all against me and it kept building on it until the perfect culmination to a very enjoyable journey.

2. Football Manager 2014 ; If you want a game with a lot of new features this is not it. But if you want a game to be your only game for 1 year this is the perfect choice. There is not a game with a bigger replayablity like FM 2014. And year after year it's still fun and infuriating when you start believing the game is trying to screw you when you suffer 2 unexpected defeats in a row. But even then I just want to play one more game, one more week even if it's 4am... to be even more perfect, only if they hurry and also release it on the Vita like they promised.

3. Killzone: Mercenary
; Unusual campaign structure but it works really well on the Vita. Story wise there is not much here, the objectives are clear from the start, just kill guys to earn money to buy guns and equipment and the carrot worked for me because the game is fun to play. The 4 vs 4 multiplayer lacks the classes differentation that we are used to in the KZ franchise and the low number of players sometimes makes it a little empty.

4. Gran Turismo 6 ; They made the game more streamlined and increased the variety of series and tracks while still offering the different challenges of variable weather and day-night cycle. The inclusion of amazing tracks like Bathurst and Spa alone makes it a much better game. However some problems remain, sound and damage are major problems this series continues to have and they are unexcusable in my opinion. In the end I keep having fun driving in the game with my racing wheel but without a doubt it would a lot more enjoyable if the sound and damage weren't so terrible.

5. Thomas Was Alone ; A game about squares and rectangles. A narrator talking about squares and rectangles. Squares and rectangles that end up having more personality and emotions than characters with lots of polygons and forced emotions voiced by popular actors. A story that just start building in your head and it's built around the challenges presented by the platforming aspect of the game. Quite remarkable job by the developer to make more immersed in a game with black walls, squares and rectangles than most games.

6. Resogun ; The game does a very bad job explaining how it works. At first I hated it because I didn't know how to release the humans or how to see if I had boost or overdrive. But after learning how the game works it just clicked and I saw what everyone was saying about this game. Fun game designed to be played over and over to improve scores and I definitely see myself going back to it for a long while.

7. FIFA 14 ; It's on my list solely because of the current gen version because the last gen demo was atrocious. I hated everything about it, players moved like they were overweight and never controlled a football before. Everything felt unnatural which is not how FIFA 14 current gen plays. The inertia and mommentum is there but it feels natural and works like it should. It still needs to improve the teammate AI (PES 14 is miles ahead in that department) and it's still nowhere near the greatness of 2010 FIFA World Cup but I'm once again excited about the future of the franchise.

8. MLB 13: The Show ; Not a lot of improvements but I had a lot more fun playing it this year than the last 2 iterations of the franchise and the online actually worked this year. On the other hand they really need to revamp franchise mode.

9. Killzone: Shadow Fall
; I love the multiplayer but I hate the campaign. The campaign looks great but there is nothing much there besides great graphics because guns lack the traditional KZ punch and the game feels dull to a point where I just stopped 2/3rds into the campaign. I will probably end it sometime but even KZ3 had a much more enjoyable single player than this game. Maybe I will discover which other games they copy-pasted besides Crysis and Dead Space. Fortunately the multiplayer is miles better than KZ3 and the dependency on a good teamwork really shows how much better designed it is. Could it be better? Yes, better maps would definitely help but the core mechanics are solid and the multiplayer is a lot of fun to play.

10. Call of Duty: Ghosts
; Unlike Black Ops II, the campaign follows the COD formula entirely and it works. The pacing and variety is top notch and amazingly the game manages to have more vehicular combat in the campaign than BF4 which is a franchise known for vehicular combat. Add that to the Extinction Mode which is very well designed since it basically forces you to work as a team if you don't want to kill even if you have the best skills in the world. Unfortunately the multiplayer which is also the most important is easily the worst part of this game and one of the worst COD multiplayers ever. The way to be good at COD Ghosts multiplayer is not to know how to use the adequate guns or know the map flow, it's knowing how the spawns work. That to me it's not playing the actual game, it's taking advantage of a broken part of the game.

x. Battlefield 4 ; Instead of trying something different than COD they just removed all parts that are unique to Battlefield from the single player and the quick time events. I didn't hated the campaign but in the end it was just a forgettable experience with cringe worthy dialogue. Multiplayer was fun when it worked, which is the best I can say about the game. It would probably be higher in my list if I had played more multiplayer but when I wanted to play it, the game didn't allow me to.

x. NCAA Football 14 ; Such a shame we are not going to get a NCAA Football game on current gen because NCAA Football 14 improved a lot of the worst areas like recruiting and defense and with new hardware they could easily fix another big problem: slow menus and waiting for weeks to advance.

x. Need for Speed Rivals ; This is a game that could have easily be the number 2 on my list if the developer didn't make some of the worst design decision I can remember. You can't pause the game during a private/offline game, you can't restart an event if you are being followed by the cops (which is 95% of the time playing as a racer), you can take damage during cutscenes between accepting an event and actually starting the event, after a crash and consequent cinematic cutscene sometimes the game respawn in the opposite direction that you ended up after crashing and because of the cutscene you don't know where you are after respawning facing a different direction, rubberbanding cops that teleport right behind you, it's one thing to have racers doing that to keep it exciting but when you got away from the cops you shouldn't be penalized for it. It's manufacturated tension and the developer is actually saying to players "you've done your job escaping but we don't care about you". But underneath all this crap, it's a fun game and that's the only reason I keep playing it. I want to love it but the developers decided that the game doesn't want to be loved.

2012. LittleBigPlanet Vita ; Best LittleBigPlanet game ever made especially because of the clever touch implementation (except for the backtouch use on The Arcade). Unfortunately it still has the same problems as previous games: single player is great because the levels feel polished, created levels are never as good as the original levels, so it doesn't have a long lasting appeal especially considering the single player is very short.

Overall I felt 2013 was a much better year after the last 2 terrible years. And I think 2013 was good even considering I missed on a lot of potential great games because I don't have a 3DS or didn't have the time to play like Brothers, Stanley Parable, Gone Home, AC IV, Tearaway or Ni no Kuni.
 
Jun 14, 2009
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1. Europa Universalis 4 ; No game has emulated the tension and strategy of renaissance international politics like this grand strategy game. Be able to play any nation in the world is awesome. New editions, such as trade routes, are great. This is the first time in the EU series that I have felt no desire to download a mod to improve the experience.
2. Civilization 5: Brave New World ; I have always enjoyed Civ 5, but BNW improves so many things. Going for a culture victory is now my favorite way to play!
3. Gone Home ; The game only took me 2.5 hours to complete, but the story and the way in which it was told will stick with me for a long time.
4. Pokemon X
5. Fire Emblem: Awakening

I didn't play that many games this year, but these are 5 good games so I am happy with the list!
 
Aug 16, 2006
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1. Spelunky ; If you step too close to a Tiki trap, it will stab you. If you pass underneath a spider, it will drop on you. Spelunky follows a very basic set of rules, but the randomly generated seeds manage to constantly catch you off guard. Insanity is just one misplaced bomb away. An arrow trap might set off a chain reaction of destruction that couldn't have been choreographed more perfectly. Each stage and each world is unpredictable, unforgiving and challenging. Every time you think you've seen it all, you haven't. There's always another secret to uncover. There's always another challenge to overcome. Ghostrunning, eggplants, hidden stages, ancient relics, alien weaponry, robots, vikings, the list goes on.

2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the loving home that welcomes you with open arms when you're sick of other games. It's the videogame equivalent of a never-ending summer vacation. New Leaf's new features, most notably the addition of mayoral duties, finally made me appreciate the series' unflappable charm and endless customization. The more I played, the more attached I became to my town and it's whimsical villagers. So attached, in fact, that I spent more than 130 hours with the game. Animal Crossing never quite left behind it's N64 roots in terms of visuals. Blocky character models, low-res textures and garish colors plagued the series for most of it's existence. New Leaf looks softer, more defined and just a lot more pleasant.

3. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; The barrier to entry with JRPGs always seemed a little high to me. Campaigns that last dozens of hours and complicated battle mechanics always seemed like too much of a hassle to put up with. Everything changed when Level 5 announced Ni No Kuni and went straight for my achilles heel: Studio Ghibli. This game is aimed squarely at fans of Studio Ghibli's anime masterpieces. There's references left and right, Joe Hisaishi's score constantly delights and of course you're treated to a lavishly produced anime cutscenes every now and then. Level 5 held up their end of the bargain, delivering an engaging battle system and a story that is refreshingly earnest and very charming. Tidy, ent it?

4. Super Mario 3D World ; Cat suit, playable Peach, fun Miiverse integration and level design perfection make this one of my favorite Mario Peach games of all time.

5. Muramasa: Rebirth ; I never thought that visuals could have such a profound impact on my experience with a game, but Muramasa's beautifully stylized characters and lushly painted landscapes added immensely to my overall enjoyment of the game. Muramasa delivers rock solid arcade action that I simply did not expect from the makers of Odin's Sphere. The game let's you carry and wield three demon blades, each with their own health bar and stats, making it harder to simply mash your way through enemy hordes and bosses. Of course it wouldn't be a Vanillaware title without a bit of eroticism: There's beautiful princesses, a demon trapped in a girl's body, remarkably well endowed fox spirits and more than a few bath scenes. Praise Kamitani!

6. Tearaway

7. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

8. The Last of Us

9. Luigi's Mansion 2

10. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance


x. Rocksmith 2014 ; A shockingly effective learning tool disguised as a Rock Band-style rhythm game.

x. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

x. Gunpoint
 
Mar 14, 2012
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1. The Last of Us ; Gut wrenching narrative w/ strong memorable characters. Gameplay is fantastic. Graphics are some of the best in the PS3. Naughty Dog at their best. This is not only my favorite game of the 2013, it's my favorite ND game.

2. Grand Theft Auto V ; Giant sandbox open world w/ tons of things to do. Rockstar addressed many of the complaints of GTA4 here and even included a fun multiplayer. What more can you ask for in a sandbox?

3. XCOM: Enemy Within ; The original game was already a fantastic strategy game, but this expansion only made it that much better.

4. Saints Row IV ; Heavily inspired by a certain movie, this zany sandbox may not have the best story but it makes up for it with crazy, over-the-top fun.

5. Civilization V - Brave New World ; This is the best expansion released so far for Civ5. Obligatory for any strategy fan and especially if you own the original.

6. Star Craft II - Heart of the Swarm ; It's been years since Wings of Liberty and so this expansion couldn't come at a better time. This is for anyone looking to get their StarCraft fix.

7. Bioshock Infinite ; This is a beautiful game w/ amazing art direction. A strong narrative w/ a twist ending makes this one of the best games of 2013.

8. Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons ; Sometimes the best things come in small packages. This title is one of them. Brothers is a unique gem and one of my biggest pleasant surprises of 2013.

9. Tomb Raider ; It seems every game released nowadays has multiplayer component. Tomb Raider is no exception. But even w/ the less than stellar multiplayer tacked on, the single player is still a great experience and comes highly recommended for any fan of action adventure game.

10. DmC ; One of the most controversial games of 2013. Ninja Theory did a fantastic job w/ a beloved franchised. As for the story, well let's just say story has never been amazing in any DMC game. Regardless, the gameplay mechanics feels great, and that's what matters the most in an action game.
 
1. The Last of Us ; Perfect balance of gameplay and story, had gripping dialogue and amazing game mechanics. One of the best games I've ever played.
2. Spelunky ; One of the best action platformers of all time. Amazing replayability with daily challenge allows me to play for months and (possibly) years to come.
3. Grand Theft Auto V ; The world of Los Santos is designed so meticulously to the point of near photo-perfect. Tens of hundreds of replayable hours off and online, with tons more content on the way.
4. Papers, Please ; Forcing the player to organize their documents to optimize work performance is a truly innovative aspect for gaming. A dark, disturbed, dytopian world worth remembering years down the line.
5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Nintendo does it again, designing a thorough world with tons of secrets, dungeons and characters.
6. Super Mario 3D World ; Finally, a unique Mario game! Fan of the 4
/5
character playable party, unlockables and variety. NOT a fan of the White Tanooki suit.
7. Killer Instinct ; The type of game that produces hype-inducing combat and battles that seem to be what the Xbox One's Game DVR was exclusively intended for.
8. The Stanley Parable ; Excellently subversion and commentary on the state of games and game development. Designed to get the player thinking about a topic not discussed often in other games.
9. BioShock Infinite ; Visually stunning, socially aware (too bluntly, but still), memorable dialogue. Would be higher if it wasn't so tryhard.
10. Winnie The Pooh: Home Run Derby ; Fan of difficult games, tried my damn hardest to be the dark Norse devil lord that is Christopher Robin. 37 is the best I could do. I have failed you, Master Xenu.
 
Jun 6, 2011
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I played DmC through in the last two days and while it wouldn't make a top ten list for me, it wasn't a bad game, maybe just an unremarkable one? I had no prior Devil May Cry experience so whatever was changed was mostly lost on me.

For some reason I had this idea that nu--Dante would be this smug-ass jerk asshole idiot or something until some climax of the game teaches him to soften up or whatever, but instead by maybe 35% of the way in he's always pretty righteous and bland most of the time.

I had a longer post written but I guess this thread isn't the place. Just wanted to comment on a 2013 release I just squeezed in that has appeared on some lists.
 

CorySchmitz

Junior Member
Jul 17, 2012
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  1. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ; “Most addicting game of the year & the most fun I’ve ever had playing a video game online”
  2. Tearaway ; “Best ending of the year/Most precious game of the year”
  3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; “Best Legend of Zelda game in a long time & nonstop fun”
  4. The Last of Us ; “Best AAA game of the year”
  5. Puppeteer ; “Best use of stereoscopic 3D of the year/Best graphics of the year/Most fun gameplay mechanic of the year (scissors)”
  6. Attack of the Friday Monsters ; “Best nostalgia-trip of the year”
  7. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; “Best RPG since Persona 4 Golden”
  8. The Wonderful 101 ; “Characters action game of the year”
  9. Gran Turismo 6 ; “Best racing game since MotorStorm: Pacific Rift”
  10. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ;
Kentucky Route Zero was my #2, but I guess it doesn't qualify.
 
Apr 8, 2006
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1. Bioshock Infinite ; I thought long and hard about what I wanted to be number one on my list this year. The choice between Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us wasn't an easy one. The reason I went with Bioshock had a lot to do with my love of the science fiction elements of the story. Last of Us has better characters and a better journey but it was ultimately a different take on the zombie tale. After Bioshock ended I ended up reading a couple of books on the concepts portrayed in the game as well as having many in depth discussions on GAF. It JUST edges out The Last of Us as my Game of the Year.

2. The Last of Us ; Naughty Dog continues to knock it out of the park. I love the attention to character in their games. They offer cinematic experiences without sacrificing gameplay. I want to play more of The Last of Us but I'm not sure I want a sequel. The ending was just perfect.

3. Lego City: Undercover ; This was the biggest surprise of 2013. I'm generally not a huge fan of Lego games. It's usually the same formula with a different skin. I took a chance on Undercover after hearing all the GAF love and it paid off. The game is hilarious, packed with content and fun to play. This may be on par with The Last of Us for the best writing of 2013. The dialogue is hilarious and there are a lot of references to past detective TV and movie tropes/characters. This is THE must own game for the Wii U. I want a sequel.

4. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; I wasn't sure whether this game was for me. I struggle with JRPGs these days. As a 35-year-old I don't have the same amount of time that I used to. Ni no Kuni delivered a great adventure with a battle system that deep without being overly complicated. It also helped that every time I turned it on it felt like I was playing a Miyazaki movie. The game is gorgeous.

5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; The last Zelda game I played to completion was Twilight Princess. A fun game but not the best Zelda by a long shot. The last top down Zelda game I finished was A Link to the Past and it still stands as my favourite of the franchise. ALBTW doesn't quite love up to ALTTP but it brought back that same feeling I had as a child playing Zelda. For that I am grateful.

6. MLB 13: The Show ; The Show ends up on my list every year. This year however I played a franchise season to completion and won the World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays. It was a fantastic experience and the first time I have ever won a championship in a sports video game via a Franchise/Season mode. Can't wait for The Show on PS4. I am sure it will be on my list next year.

7. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; I kept putting off ACIV due to franchise fatigue. Thankfully I did get around to playing it because the pirate setting was a lot of fun. It does a lot to make up for the issues of ACIII, a game I liked but was still disappointing. Edward is a far better protagonist and the hints at what could be happening next in the present day are intriguing. ACIV got me excited about the franchise again. They seriously need to give it a rest for a year though. Work on making an acceptable next gen engine for the ACV. Thanks.

8. Forza Motorsport 5 ; I have played about 30 hours of FM5 and I still can't get enough. I didn't experience the grind may have been talking about with this game.

9. Grand Theft Auto V ; I actually haven't finished GTAV but I still love to dabble in the open world it offers. The game is so much fun just to drive around in. The attention to details is like any other game I've played. I do need to get around to finishing it though.

10. Saints Row IV ; I love how each Saints Row game continues to get more ridiculous than the previous iteration. I was a little hesitant about the super powers at first but the game eventually revealed itself as the true sequel to Crackdown and I fell in love.

x. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; This game took away 35 hours of my life and I had a lot of fun while I was playing it. However, it didn't make the top ten due to the fact that it simply became tedious after a while. I still love the concept though.

x. Super Mario 3D World ; This game was sitting at 10 for a while but I decided to change it simply because I'm starting to feel fatigue. Not with the game necessarily, but with the franchise in general. The game is itself is fantastic, but I simply don't have the drive to go back and collect the same shit I've been collecting in every Mario game for the last several years. Dare I say that Super Mario Bros. needs a serious twist in formula.

2012. Persona 4: Golden ; I finally got around to devoting sufficient time to this game in love 2013. I haven't finished it yet but this would have probably been at the top of my list in 2012 if I had devoted more time to it then. The characters and setting are fantastic. I love the attention given to their school life and relationships. I'm going to miss these characters when the game is done.
 
Feb 14, 2005
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Well, that's new: somebody put a hentai game as their GOTY. I'm inclined to disallow it, per the TOS.

TOS said:
You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use NeoGAF to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise in violation of any law.
 
Dec 24, 2010
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1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; The latest chapter in the Zelda series walks a fine line between nostalgia and innovation, becoming easily one of the best games in the franchise since the N64 days. Not everything works flawlessy and the difficulty level is unfortunately on the low side of the spectrum, but overall it feels like a much better thought out game than the last main entries in the series.

2. The Last of Us ; Naughty Dog builds upon the foundations laid with the Uncharted series, creating one of their best games to date. The beginning of The Last of Us is slow and there are definitely some problems with the IA and some gameplay mechanics, but when it starts to deliver, both on the combat and narrative side, few games can compare, revealing a much more grounded and personal story that could appear at the start.

3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; It might be a bit on the short side, but Revengeance is pure action game joy: deep combat system, crazy plot, over the top characters and one of the best OST in years. Big, dumb, fun.

4. Guacamelee! ; A perfect mix of metroidvania progression, tight platform sections and humor

5. Bioshock Infinite ; Despite some issues in the shooting department and a couple of plot elements that don't hold up very well after scrutiny, Infinite remains a fine experience, with one of the best artistic direction seen in years, memorable characters and locations. It drags a bit in the middle, but beginning and end are bound to leave a lasting impression

6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; It starts slow and takes time to introduce its unusual control system, unfortunately without ever offering a considerable challenge to the player, but Brothers's strenght lies in its ability to recreate the atmosphere of an old fairytale in videogame form, including darker elements that you would not except to find in a game of this kind.

7. Grand Theft Auto V ; With a wonderful world and very well written characters, GTA V doesn't revolutionize the series or raise the bar in videogame storytelling, but it definitely feels more like a proper GTA game than the mildly disappointing fourth episode.

8. Rayman Legends ; Legends lowers the difficulty and loses almost completely the more difficult wall-jumping mechanics from its predecessor, but fortunately introduces new elements that increase the variety of the game. Some of them are not so well thought out or feel at times unneccessary, but the musical levels and the time trials offer some of the best moments in a platform this year.

9. Batman Arkham Origins ; It would be easy to say that all the good elements of Origins are taken from Rocksteady's City and Asylum, and it wouldn't be so far from the truth. But the new developer managed to build upon the solid foundations with a better story and some neat gameplay changes. It might not be the best Arkham game, but it's a worthy entry in the franchise.

10. Gone Home ; It remains to be seen if audio diaries and documents to read are the best way to convey a story in videogame form, but the story of Gone Home is definitely worth telling, especially the easily missable side stories hidden away in the empty mansion

x. XCOM: Enemy Within ; Managing to resolve some of the most glaring issues of the vanilla version, Enemy Within introduces a new level of depth to one of the best games of last year. Not all the content is on the same level of quality, but for the most part the additions are well made and returning into the shoes of the XCOM Commander is definitely a worthy experience

2012. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; Some of the darker elements of its prequel might be lost, but the story in VLR is as gripping as 999's thanks to the perfect integration of the typical multi-branching story of a visual novel with the Zero Escape's lore.
 
1. Tearaway ; That's right - it's Tearaway, not TLOU. This game evoked such a wonderful feeling of joy and happiness the entire way through, and it's been a very long time since a game has done that. One of the most beautifully realized worlds, from the art design to the exquisite music with so many little details throughout. This is a game that I foresee playing many times through, and loving each and every time. One of the best reasons to own a Vita.

2. Guacamelee! ; I really struggled for whether this should be in the #2 slot or #3, but similar to Tearaway, I had to nudge it higher simply for having more fun with it. Similar to above, the whole package of Guacamelee! was beautifully put together with gorgeous artwork and top notch music. Combined with fantastic gameplay, this was a real treat on Vita.

3. The Last of Us ; Not much more that can be said here that hasn't already been said a thousand times over. Brilliantly crafted gaming, and Naughty Dog at their finest.

4. Hotline Miami ; Picked this one up blind following all the raves from GAF when it first came out, and I'm really glad I did. Despite getting my ass handed to me over and over again, something compelled me to push through. Once again, excellent music really stood out, but the quick restart aspect somehow managed to keep me playing, even when constantly getting killed.

5. Killzone: Mercenary ; Proof that an excellent FPS can be achieved on a handheld, even after the mediocre COD outing. Absolutely stunning visuals, amazing controls, smart SP design with the mission structure and replayability and excellent MP. Probably overshadowed by its release timing, but definitely a worthwhile game.

6. Resogun ; Housemarque does it again, taking the most basic of concepts in the form of a twin stick shooter and turning into digital crack. Graphically amazing thanks to the voxels, this is another that will be returned to over and over again.

7. Knack ; Reviews be damned! I've had an absolute blast playing Knack. It may not be the biggest graphical showcase on PS4, or the most complex gameplay, but it is really just out and out fun, at least for me. Never really got the hate for this.

x. Spelunky ; Felt I had to at least recognize Spelunky in some way. Perhaps I just haven't put enough time in with it for it to really click with me. I can see why it gets the praise that it does, but it also destroys me with regularity. Given more time with it, I would likely rate it higher, but it certainly deserves mention for what it does.
 
Dec 7, 2008
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1. Dota 2 ; One of the best games I've ever played. Tried it once and didn't know what I was doing but I tried it again about a year later with a friend and I've been hooked since then. I've never played a game that's deeper than Dota 2 and where I still learn new things ~700 hours in.
2. Rogue Legacy ; This is a blend of two of my favourite genres: Metroidvania + Roguelike. There's just something about randomly generated levels and the replayability it provides that really resonates with me.
3. Guacamelee! ; Really great metroidvania with amazing combat and a great art style. Also: You can play as Jonny Bravo.
4. Risk of Rain ; This is another game with (semi) randomly generated levels. I really enjoyed the mechanic of making the game harder the more time you spend playing it. It keeps you trying to maximize what you do with the time you spend in a level.
5. Sword of the Stars: The Pit ; Another roguelike. I really liked the crafting in this game. Haven't tried the addons yet but I'll definitely revisit this.
6. Warframe ; Ninjas in space. I really enjoy playing this with friends and was really wowed by the graphics the first time I played.
7. Brothers: A Tale of two Sons ; Great game and I liked the two stick mechanic. It also had the perfect length for me, really focused the game down to the essentials and avoided overstaying it's welcome.
8. Typing of the Dead: Overkill ; I like typing and I like shooting zombies, so it's kind of logical that I would enjoy this. It helps that I was already a fan of the original Typing of the Dead.
9. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed ; This game is the new reference for kart games for me. The only thing I could imagine would be workshop support for user created tracks.
10. BioShock Infinite ; One of the few stories in gaming that I actually managed to enjoy. Amazing atmosphere and great characters.
 
Sep 13, 2013
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1. Bioshock Infinite ; A fun, varied shooter (if you want it to be) that tackles ideas and themes most other games would never touch
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Pays tribute to the series's excellent past, while showing how it can improve in the future
3. The Last of Us ; Some of my favorite drama from any game, and it didn't play half bad
4. DmC: Devil May Cry ; Super fun combat with crazy creative level designs and art style.
5. Guacamelee ; One of the best recent Metroidvania games, with luchadors, chickens and internet meme jokes to boot!
6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; It made me an emotional wreck without uttering a single line of dialogue, and controlling both bros with one controller was pretty interesting as well
7. Saints Row IV ; Most insane and delightful superhero game I've ever played. Plus, dubstep gun!
8. Super Mario 3D World ; A nice surprise, improved upon the Mario 3D Land formula, but still couldn't reach Galaxy heights
9. The Puppeteer ; Biggest surprise this year, oozing with charm, great style and sound and fun gameplay
10. Hearthstone ; I know it's just a beta, but the hours I've spent addicted to it makes it a full game to me, dammit!
 
Aug 12, 2007
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1. Spelunky ; I don't know what I could say about this game that hasn't been said hundreds of times elsewhere (and hundreds of times better). Smart, simple, fresh, fun, compelling, and the addition of daily challenges could be revolutionary for singleplayer game design going forward.

2. Papers, Please ; The game version of The Milgram Experiment. Far better and smarter than Bioshock's treatment of player choice, Papers, Please has real "teeth" in a way that Bioshock doesn't (or most other games, for that matter). Drowning in bureaucratic labor has never felt so fun and so twisted!

3. Antichamber ; Unlike others, I felt like this game was brilliant from beginning to end. The way puzzles blended together in a single (warped) environment is nothing short of astonishing. This deserves to be among the great indie puzzle games of the past five years (alongside Braid and Fez).

4. The Last of Us ; For every one thing that this game gets wrong (AI pathfinding, input lag and framerate issues, gunplay, etc), it gets ten more right in terms of world design and character. It's far from perfect, but it is a stunner in its ability to blend storytelling and play. Not since Half Life 2 have I felt so transported and transfixed by a game world and its narrative.

5. Rayman Legends ; A refinement of Rayman Origins, making a brilliant game brillianter.

6. Volgarr the Viking ; A throwback and a throw-forward, like the best 2D retro-indie games. This is no cheap appeal to nostalgia, but a lesson in tight design. As demanding, stylish, and mechanically sharp as Ikaruga.

7. The Stanley Parable ; A postmodern parable of game design and play. Unique and emblematic at the same time.

8. Gunpoint ; Core gameplay loops that are just as convoluted as its film noir plot-line. While the game itself is in fact quite easy, it feels like you're performing complex tasks--much like noir plots themselves.

9. LEGO The Lord of the Rings ; A true surprise. The Lego games have always been mindless fun. And formulaic. Needless to say, an open-world, Zelda-style Lego game set in Peter Jackson's version of Tolkien's epic was not what I expected. Worlds better than it should have been, and criminally underappreciated by gamers and the press.

10. Gran Turismo 6 ; Yes, this is an unfinished game. Yes, it may as well be a "beta." But what's here is already a much firmer (and funner) base game than GT5 was at launch, and that game went on to become the best in the series IMO. GT6 is just finding its footing and this is a vote of confidence based on where it will go as much as where it is currently.

x. Gone Home ; Loved the experience. A bit empty and lean, but strongly suggestive of where gaming can (and should) go.

x. Starseed Pilgrim ; Wacky game that makes total sense. It's like logic abstracted. Or game systems turned into color coded blocks. This is game design 101, remade for the new indie era.

x. Dust: An Elysian Tail ; Missed this on 360. Picked it up this past year on PC. Excellent and surprising, especially considering how few hands actually worked on it.

2012. Dishonored ; While the story leaves something to be desired, the design and mechanics were a direct evolution of the old Thief games (among my favorites of all time). Falls just short of being a great game, but certainly a very, very good one.
 
May 1, 2010
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1. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX ; Kingdom Hearts 1 is one of my favourite games ever so it's no wonder that I love the HD remix. The game is still just as amazing as it was back in the early 2000s. The only game I bought for PS3 in 2013.
2. The Last of Us ; Brutal looking and feeling combat, well written characters and a story that makes you just want to finish the game in one sitting. One of the best games on PS3.
3. DmC: Devil May Cry ; Good looking combat, nicely done combat and movie like cinematics. Liked the game a lot more than I thought I would. A really good experience.
4. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance ; I like Metal Gear Games, and this is no exceptions. Has nice combat but a bad camera. Has one of the best soundtracks of this year. Raiden is awesome.
5. Bioshock Infinite ; The game has a really nice art style, I like Booker and Elizabeth. Perhaps a tad too many enemy encounters but the shooting feels good enough. Liked the ending twist and went immediately read the spoiler topic after I finished the game.
6. Saints Row IV ; Haven't finished the game yet but after playing GTA 5 it feels so nice to not have to drive in a open-world game, just fly across the whole city jumping from roof to roof. The game is also really funny.
7. The Swapper ; Pretty nice puzzle game, puzzles were just the right kind of difficult where you stop playing after getting frustrated and when you return to it you complete the puzzle in one try. Has a unique art style which kind of reminds me of Little Big Planet.
8. Shadow Warrior ; Really fun first-person shooter with sword combat.
9. Gone Home ; It's an experience game, and I don't mind those kinds of games. Has a really nice atmosphere, and non-bombastic personal story that is a nice change to all these modern games dealing with saving the world.
10. FTL: Faster Than Light ; Haven't played too much of this game but time really flies when I do. Though rogue-likes aren't really my cup of tea.
2012. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed ; I don't know which ones a better kart racer: this or Crash Team Racing. Everyone should own this game, the PC version is fantastic. If this game had come out this year then it would be in the top 3.
 

Jb

Member
Oct 2, 2009
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1. Grand Theft Auto V ; The GTA of my dreams. Maybe the best driving mechanics of any open world game I've played, really satisfying gunplay and range of different activities. The map is a joy to wander around, the game looks genuinely gorgeous more often than not and the writing and voice acting is the funniest it's been in the series. This game was everything I wanted it to be and then some.
2. The Last of Us ; The most interesting and polished mix of stealth and action I've seen in a game, with encounters that seamlessly transition between one and the other. A narrative that refreshingly for a zombie story doesn't rely on shock value or tear jerking situations. And a surprisingly engaging MP that marries a clever metagame with a slower paced, more tactical gameplay.
3. Bioshock Infinite ; A constant source of wonder, from the strunning art direction to the genuinely intriguing (and satisfying!) story that manages to be both original, thematically rich and emotionally resonant. The gunplay is also more dynamic than the original, and remained for me fun throughout the whole game.
4. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; Very deep and well-crafted TRPG that actually allows to plan encounters entirely from the start like a chess game, while still being easy enough to approach for a newcomer like me. Some original mechanics like the affinities and the legacy system, as well as some gorgeous 2D art and mostly likeable characters give it a real personality too.
5. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Amazing job by Platinum of salvaging KP's original vision while still managing to create a combat system that both makes sense for the character and feels very different from other brawlers like Bayonetta or DMC. It's also the first story from a Platinum game I was able to enjoy, despite some annoyingly bland secondary characters. Probably the best boss fights of the year too.
6. Bravely Default ; Extremely elegant and welcoming JRPG throwback that somehow was able to create a combat system that takes its cues from the best of the genre while implementing the awesome brave/default concept. Fantastic presentation too, both visually and from a music standpoint, and maybe my favourite use of the online and streetpass functionalities of the 3DS so far.
7. Monaco ; My favorite indie game of the year, with a really novel and in-depth take on 2D stealth that makes MP games a blast regardless of whether the people you're playing with are very good or not. Really good replay value too and maybe the most arresting visual and audio combination of any game this year.
8. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; As someone who vastly prefers 3D to 2D Zelda games this was an incredibly easy game to get into, with razor sharp controls and flow of the adventure mixed with some creative dungeon design. Too bad the whole thing was way to easy from start to finish, which made completing the game a little unsatisfying, and the art style is still the ugliest the series has ever seen.
9. Tearaway ; The most positive and joy-filled game of the year, with an impressive commitment to the papercraft motif both from a gameplay and a visual standpoint. The overall message of communication and creativity was also very well seeded within the mechanics. All it missed was some core platforming and combat that were as inventive as the rest of the game.
10. Rayman Legends ; Maybe not quite constantly original as Origins, but still the best platformer I've played all year, with some really cool worlds and a neat implementation of the daily challenge idea. A visual marvel on the Vita screen too.

x. Tomb Raider ; Very competent and mechanically sound reboot that doesn't quite manage to carve its own path between the TR heritage and Uncharted, but has such good controls and core shooting that it's hard to put down. A shame the writting (especially the characters) was so mediocre and uninteresting.
x. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; A very well executed simple concept that manages to recreate most beats from a traditional fable and moves at a fast pace through some gorgeous environments. The puzzles never quite manage to live up to the dual joystick concept, and the ending is a little too cliché for my taste.
x. Shin Megami Tensei ; Soul Hackers; Since NoE didn't deem us worthy of SMT4 I had to quench my thirst with a Saturn port that is surprisingly engaging from a narrative standpoint, and manages to uphold pretty well the franchises' core pillars.
x. Gunpoint ; A very interesting mix of puzzle/platforming/stealth that makes good use of its hacking concept. I don't think the visual style does its gameplay justice but at least some of the writting does.
 
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