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

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SpideySenses

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1. The Last of Us ; A phenomenal achievement, even if it doesn't garner the acolade of being one of the best games of all time in the future, it should still be considered the pinacle of what video games could be for this generation.
2. Grand Theft Auto V ; Any other year, this would storm into the top spot, as this is the best entry so far in my favourite game franchise. Even with it's three great protagonists, the real star of GTA V is Los Santos, a gaming world that feels alive like no other.
3. Gran Turismo 6 ; Whilst Forza 5 cut back on content, GT6 is for all intents and purposes a best of for the series so far, it doesn't break new ground but it's still the most comprehensive racing game of all time.
4. Saints Row IV ; So God damn much fun. I thought The Third was by far the best Saints Row game and the merging of that world alongside Crackdown style powers makes for an unbelievable, if at times glitchy experience.
5. Beyond: Two Souls ; A love it or hate it game, I loved with with slight reservations. I don't feel like I can talk about it without mentioning the at times muddled plot or lack of consequences from choices and yet as a whole it's still a game I'm enamored with. I blame Ellen Page.
6. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ;
7. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ;
8. Tomb Raider ;
9. DmC: Devil May Cry ;
10. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ;
x. Guacamelee! ;
x. Injustice: Gods Among Us ;
2012. Forza Horizon ;
 

maxcriden

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Sep 15, 2013
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1. Donkey Kong Returns 3D ; My GOTY. I definitely would not have expected this to even crack the top 5 when I picked it up. I played most of the Wii game not too long after it came out, and I really was not wowed by it. I really didn't care for the shake-to-roll control mechanic and as a result I found the game more frustrating than fun. I guess looking back I wasn't able to appreciate its creativity and depth of level design at the time. Anyway, it's well worth the dip in framerate (which didn't really bother me at all) to be able to play the game with classic controls. I loved every minute of it and am currently trying to complete every remaining nook and cranny. It's a brilliant platformer and one of the best I have ever had the pleasure to play.

2. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ; Ah man, such an amazing experience. I was concerned pre-release that it wouldn't even be as good as the original just decent Luigi's Mansion. The original was a good game, but pretty darn short, and lacking terribly varied environs or gameplay. Dark Moon corrects all of that, and offers essentially a playable Pixar movie. I loved every minute of it. The boss fights were unquestionably the best of the year for me.

3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I wasn't too hyped for this game, and my wife played much of it before I got very far in to it. I still have to finish it up, but it's been one of my biggest gaming surprises of the year. I liked LTTP well enough, but the Capcom Zeldas have always been my favorite 2D iterations in the series. LBW shakes up the formula and it works surprisingly well. I like that it offers choice not in how the story plays out, but rather in how, and in what order, you tackle the actual gameplay. Also, the Treacherous Tower is awesome.

4. Super Mario 3D World ; Honestly, 2-4 are practically interchangeable here for me. The margin between each of their quality is extremely slim. 3DW is the most fun I've had on Wii U this year. It's one of the best 3D Marios ever. It took me a bit of time to really get into it, I'd say around World 4 or so it started to grow on me a lot more, and the post-game is unparalleled. I'm still not quite done with it, but it plays perfectly, looks great, and offers an unreal amount of fun. Console GOTY for me.

5. New Super Luigi U ; I didn't find this quite as compelling of a package as NSMBU given the lack of Challenge Mode, but considering it's more DLC or expansion pack than full-on game, I really can't complain. NSLU is essentially a full game in its own right, with just as many levels as NSMBU. The levels are shorter, but unquestionably more difficult. This was a fitting release for the Year of Luigi. It didn't reach the Luigi-centric heights of Dark Moon, but it was excellent regardless.

6. Pikmin 3 ; In some years, I think this would have made number one for me. I could never get into the previous Pikmin games (I only tried the original and the NPC version) but I do plan to check those out again because I absolutely loved Pikmin 3. Granted, I haven't beaten the final boss yet, or played much of Mission Mode, but the main story is excellent. Like Dark Moon above, it's like a Pixar movie turned video game. The characters are compelling, the fruit looks good enough to eat and then some, and the gameplay with the Wiimote+/Nunchuk/Gamepad combo works terrifically well.

7. Mario and Luigi: Dream Team ; I haven't beaten the game yet, but I'm at least 30 hours in so I feel qualified to review it solidly enough. Put simply, it's an extraordinarily underrated game. The first time I picked it up I only played it for an hour and really could not get into it much at all. I tried it again after a few months and could not stop playing it for weeks. It's clever, cute, and just amazingly charming. The gameplay is the same M&L gameplay as ever. I don't feel like the handholding is anywhere near as bad as people made it out to be. I'd really like to finish this up soon so I can see whatever greatness is surely left in the game for me to discover. Oh, and the sidequests and minigames are fully realized and excellent.

8. The Cave ; This is the only game my wife and I play in co-op (we switch off levels on all other console games) and I have to give it major props for being so eminently playable as a co-op game. In fact, I really don't know how fun it would be as a single player experience. Controlling two characters by yourself in this game can be a bit trying at times, controlling three seems like madness. But, the game has a great, sardonic sensibility, the puzzles are clever and complex, and the gameplay is smooth enough for the purposes of the game. It's one of the few recent story-driven games where I've come back for the story more than the actual gameplay. There are hilarious touches throughout the game and it's just a unique product. It seems to be on the short side, but for the price point, it's totally reasonable.

9. Kung Fu Rabbit ; I'm addicted to this game right now. I can't believe how underrated it is. It's undoubtedly the best $2 I've ever spent on a game. It's packed with content, controls very smoothly, and no stage overstays its welcome. It's tough, but reasonable. And jumping up the wall feels extremely satisfying. (Plus, it's gorgeous.)

10. NES Remix ; This one was a year-end surprise, and deserves a spot on the list. It's addictive and just a very unusual, different spin on the classic NES library. I was most interested in the remixes of the games I have spent a lot of time on. I don't think it would have been the worst thing in the world if the controls were updated for a couple of these games, but overall the game looks good, works well, and is packed with content for the price. Getting rainbow stars will be a terrifying challenge, but one I'm eager to tackle.

2012. New Super Mario Bros. U ; to me this game is the purest, fullest expression of a modern 2D Mario platformer yet. As good and compelling as the main game is, the big surprise for me was Challenge Mode. I'd love to see this mode implented in future Mario and other games. In fact, part of the reason I dug NES Remix as much as I did was because the whole game is like an expanded Challenge Mode. Anyway, there's not much of note to say about this game: it controls perfectly, it looks great, and it's a lot of fun. It's right in my Mario fandom wheelhouse. The main game doesn't break a ton of new ground or anything, but it doesn't have to. It's plenty fun as it is.
 

MormaPope

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Mar 31, 2012
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1. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Platinum Games have made a Metal Gear of great worth, mainly due to gameplay mechanics and overall design. Not many games have nailed the feeling of empowerment or awe, Rising does that in spades.

2. Grand Theft Auto V

3. Bioshock Infinite

4. Experiment 12

5. Anarchy Reigns

6. Splinter Cell: Blacklist

7. Papers Please

8. Rayman Legends

9. Stanley Parable

10. Tomb Raider
 

demidar

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Feb 21, 2012
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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.
DmC is by no means a bad game. It's debatably the best character action game made in the west (though they had heavy supervision) with competition from Darksiders 2.

That said, it definitely does not measure up to its predecessors in combat, and arguably everything else barring environmental art. And I don't know about anyone else, but DMC3's story was actually pretty good, light-hearted but serious at the right times without vulgarity.
 

Cheesemeister

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1. Super Mario 3D World ; Like Super Mario 3D Land before it, World successfully meshes the strengths of both 2D and 3D Mario games into one action-heavy, feature-packed game. The cat suit and the 5 playable characters make the game.
2. Pikmin 3 ; After 5 years of waiting since the initial word was given at an E3 roundtable to the post-launch window release in August, this title had me worried as to whether or not it could live up to the extended development cycle. Fortunately, Pikmin 3 delivers a deeper and more interesting take on the Pikmin formula than any of its previous entries. And, it looks great in HD.
3. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ; Once brushed off as merely a shallow launch game, Luigi's Mansion is finally back after a 12-year absence to vindicate its predecessor. Missions are deep and varied, and each mansion is brimming with nooks and crannies to explore.
4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I had my doubts about merging into walls, but thankfully they were unfounded. The game's main feature adds a much-needed extra dimension to puzzle solving in the new Zelda, avoiding what might otherwise be just an enjoyable romp on old stomping grounds.
5. Beyond: Two Souls ; This beautiful game sports some of the best eye candy I've seen on the PS3. Only the non-linear storytelling style mars an otherwise outstanding cinematic experience.
6. Tomb Raider ; Gritty and tense, the new Tomb Raider deftly transitions between hang-onto-your-pants carnival rides and wide-open exploration. There's always plenty to go see and do as you grow Lara's skills and equipment.
7. Dragon's Crown ; This game was unnecessarily slandered for taking up the mantle of fantasy artwork. If you can't look at games objectively without PC-tinted glasses, you'd miss one of the best arcade-style multiplayer adventure games since the early 90's.
8. Resogun ; Save the last humans. Keepers detected. Human lost. While Resogun's game screen is initially hard to read, once it's understood, an intense and engaging bullet-hell shooter reveals itself.
9. DuckTales: Remastered ; Nostalgia done right. Give me classic controls and HD artwork, please.
10. New Super Luigi U ; This is a pretty challenging little level pack that unfortunately doesn't last very long.
x. Killer Instinct ; C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!!! The tutorial mode really helps to break down what exactly we were doing when button-mashing in the 90's. Some of the art direction seems a bit odd and I miss the finishing moves. A dearth of game modes, characters, and stages keeps this from being a worthy fighter.
x. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD ; It's fun to go back and play this on master difficulty if only to prove that even the "easy" Zelda can be hard under certain conditions. The HD upgrade looks nice, if simple.
x. Papers, Please ; I played this game on the recommendation of the gaming community at large, and was pleasantly surprised. Varying rules over the course of the game keep this from getting too monotonous, and the splash of a story could use some expanding in the future.
x. StreetPass: Monster Manor ; I probably spent more time on this game than any other this year, logging about 20 minutes a day since June. The nearly endless puzzles and combination of gameplay styles make this $5 download the absolute best gaming value for the money in 2013.
x. StreetPass: Mii Force ; What's a space shooter doing in a little downloadable StreetPass game? Not that I'm complaining.
x. StreetPass: Warrior's Way ; Once you figure out the math and strategy behind this simple RPS-based game, clearing it becomes a simple task.
 

YomommaZ

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Dec 3, 2012
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1. The Last of Us ; Despite the fact that i hate zombie and horror style games i can safely say that this was one of the best gaming experiences that i ever had the pleasure of experiencing. And the more i think about the whole journey and how it ended the better it gets. It had the characters that i actually cared about because i never got the filling they were immortals put in the game just to drive the story forward but the actual human beings with emotions, strugling to survive. I really liked more serious and depressing tone the game is soaked in which makes you realize that not everything is always going to turn out ok and everybody will live happily ever after. Everything from the story, atmosphere, graphic design, animation, voice acting and gameplay is top notch. Oh and the soundtrack! The song when the credits started rolling was exceptional and i immediately pictured
Joel playing to Ellie on his guitar like he promised
. Up there with the Ico's You Were There for me. Of course there are some issues with AI if you're trying to stealth through the game that may break the immersion for some but it didn't really bother me because i don't see any other way to do it that wouldn't break the immersion even more... I always want sequels for the games i really like but for this one i actually hope we won't get one because the story of Joel and Ellie ends perfectly. If we really have to get TLoU sequel i hope it tells some other story. I will however throw my money at the possible PS4 Ultimate version. This game and its various messages will stick with me for the long, long time. Endure and Survive!

2. Grand Theft Auto 5 ; GTA 3 was the game that really got me hooked and the reason why i started playing games more often and now for quite some time i consider playing games to be my favourite hobby, so this series will always have the special place in my heart. They finally got rid of the biggest problem that plagued the previous titles: lack of mission checkpoints. The setting is wonderful, characters are interesting and fun, story is engaging, voice acting and soundtrack are awsome and gameplay is as fun as always. I had fun playing it and that's the most important.

3. Tearaway ; A game full of imagination and interesting ideas. Nice use of Vita features and crisp graphics. It always put a smile on my face when i started it up, especially when i saw the idiot smilling at me from the sun :) It has a nice lighthearted soundtrack which goes well with the tone of the game and all that successfully took me back to my younger carefree days.

4. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of The White Witch

5. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

6. Beyond: Two Souls

7. Tomb Raider

8. Bioshock Infinite

9. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

10. Dragon's Crown

Although I'm sure that if i had Nintendo consoles, some of their games would find their way on the list. All in all i think 2013 was one of the best years in gaming in quite a while and happy to be a part of it :)
 

hypostatic

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1. Assassin's Creed 4 ; One of the prettiest, funnest games I've ever played - and I've been gaming for over 20 years. I just want to walk and stare and jump around all day.
2. The Last of Us ; Dat experience.
3. Super Mario 3D World ; Mario perfected.
4. Tomb Raider ; Such a blast. Loved the tight gameplay. Storyline was OK, but it was an awesome experience all around.
5. Ni No Kuni ; JRPG bliss, even if repetitive.
6. Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD ; So, so good. Happy I missed it the first time around.
7. Hotline Miami ; Pure, old-school gaming fun. Not sure how else to describe the experience.
8. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; Those environs.
9. Pikmin 3 ; Nintendo doing its thing.
10. Call of Duty: Ghosts ; Best CoD since 4.
2012. Borderlands 2 ; Hated the first one, got this on PS+ and can't stop playing it.
 

Kinosen

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Feb 11, 2008
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1. The Wonderful 101 ; When this game was announced in a very backstage sort of way at Nintendo's E3 2012, it was basically "love at first sight" to me. A collaboration between Nintendo and Platinum (with Hideki Kamiya directing) on a superhero action game? I couldn't resist. It instantly became my most anticipated title and also the reason I bought a Wii U when I did. After playing the game, while it does have a steep difficulty curve, I feel it delivers fantastically as a game that not only makes great use of the Wii U gamepad, but also as a stylistic action experience you can hardly get anywhere else.

2. Dota 2 ; The hundreds of hours I've (shamefully) spent playing this game speak for themselves. This is simply one of the greatest multiplayer experiences out there, especially for the fact that it's free-to-play.

3. Spelunky PC ; An amazing fusion of roguelike design with really tight and demanding platforming make Spelunky HD on PC easily one of the most satisfying games this past year, made even better with the brilliant "Daily Challenge".

4. The Stanley Parable ; Going beyond the well-done HL2 mod, TSP is a narrative exploration game just begging to you poke and peek around the seams of its story to see what might happen, to sometimes humorous or harrowing results.

5. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; A really well-paced game where its unique control scheme is so fundamental to the way the story plays out.

2012. Rhythm Heaven Fever ; The basic, distilled essence of Nintendo fun.
 

Hixx

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Jul 5, 2007
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1. The Last of Us ; Naughty Dog back to form with a survival game that stands out among the throng of them at the moment. A game that really should be played on the higher difficulties (not often I will say that), where the survival aspects shine. Of course the Naughty Dog trademark AAA presentation hits new highs as well, the combination of which makes it my favourite game this year.
2. Grand Theft Auto 5 ; Took me a while to get into but it was the GTA game I expected this gen. I do wish GTA Online had a smoother launch, however.
3. Papers Please ; Probably looks out of place on my list but it's a lovely little game that is surprisingly addictive. Some people resonate with the themes of the game more than others but even if you don't care much for them, the game itself is still worth a try.
4. Tomb Raider ;
5. Bioshock Infinite ; There's a very specific moment where this game goes to shit for me, but I will leave that out of here. The preceding hours are fantastic though. So close to being a genuinely great game but the drop off after that certain point... agh!
6. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn ;
7. DmC ; I suppose I should get this out of the way first: I am not a huge fan of the series at all. DMC3 is a top game but the rest, despite playing them through, I did not think much of. Also I am a big fan of Ninja Theory - their games are light on mechanics but heavy on presentation which sometimes appeals to me. Of course, DmC doesn't have the depth of its predecessors but it's much more accessible to people like me. I played it on PC so I had it running at 60fps and I thought it played brilliantly.
8. Resogun ;
9. Batman: Arkham Origins ;
10. Saints Row 4 ;

x. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Love the combat and the goofy characters, there are a few sections in the game that are just either too frustrating, boring or out of place that really put me off a replay of it whereas I'd quite happily replay the above 10 with fewer qualms.
 

vanty

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Dec 6, 2008
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1. The Wonderful 101 ; While SMG2 would just edge out Bayonetta for 2010, looking back I had more fun with W101 than anything else this past year. Just amazing fun, lots of depth and replayability.
2. Super Mario 3D World
3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
4. Guacamelee! ; I bought this on Steam sales knowing it's well regarded but within days I had finished it 100% and it's hands down my favourite indie game ever.
5. Pikmin 3
6. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
7. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
8. Pokemon X
9. Fire Emblem: Awakening
10. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (PC)
x. NES Remix

I didn't play MGR Rising since I was waiting for the PC release which I have only half downloaded so far, I would assume that'd make it on my list pretty high if I'd bought it on 360 last year.
 

benny_a

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Apr 25, 2009
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1. The Last of Us ; I'm very impressed with how close Naughty Dog came to the E3 gameplay presentation in this game. I played the game like in that presentation, where I tried to stealth but if I screwed up I blasted my way out of it. The situations that arose and the consequences in terms of lost supplies were fun. That Naughty Dog is one of the best when it comes to animation which I value very highly is important to the physicality of the game.

2. Grand Theft Auto V ; Rockstar have my made favorites games for years and I appreciate the amount of stuff you get out of a Rockstar title compared to their competitors.

3. Guacamelee! ; This was my Game of the first half of 2013. Excellent title at an excellent price point. I hope Drinkbox can expand a little bit in scope, as I'm a pretty big fan.

4. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; I bought this without really knowing anything about it except that it has perma-death and is a tactical turn-based strategy game. I was very hooked on this title. I'm glad it was so successful. I hope the follow-up gets rid of the sprites though. (And adds feet.)

5. DOTA 2 ; It's the very best competitive multiplayer title available. Fantastic implementation of free-to-play and I wish Valve all the success by having their business-model not affect gameplay.

6.. Tearaway ; This game has excellent visuals and audio. If you want to smile, then play this game.

7. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen ; If I put it here, Capcom will have to make a sequel. Right?

8. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ; Charming game. They have a very good relationship with Nintendo as their games are usually excellent. If it's because Nintendo gives them time or direction, I don't know. I also wish they expanded in scope, too.

9.. FIFA 14 ; It's my go-to multiplayer game, so it gets a spot. Like almost every year.

I can't decide on the last one, so they only get a nod and a little thing I like about the game.

x. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Enemies can hit enemies.

x. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; Transitioning from land to boat to sea in many locations.
 

robotrock

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Feb 28, 2010
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1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Have not enjoyed a Zelda game in quite sometime but ABLW is just such a wonderfully paced and tight package. Loved it.
2. Pokemon X/Y ; Didn't like the last couple Pokemon generations, but this one is definitely awesome. It's great seeing stuff like mega evolution, making the game feel just a little bit fresher. Also that Kanto region starter is awesome, Charmander and Froakie team unstoppable.
3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Metal Gear is my favorite franchise and Platinum is a great developer. Super fast and fun gameplay that did not outstay its welcome. Recent PC version has made me remember how much I loved it. Perfect parrying and Zandatsu are awesome mechanics.
4. Gone Home ; Incredible atmosphere. I also really enjoyed just seeing how they decided to tell the story. Neat game.
5. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; It's still the same game, and it's still pretty awesome. I can play this at anytime for a few hours.
6. Super Mario 3D World ; 3D platforming goodness. Awesome level design and variation. Cat suit is the best thing ever.
7. Rayman Legends ; 2D platforming goodness. Art is incredible and the music levels are a fantastic addition.
8. Tearaway ; Unique game with a wonderful message. It also looks incredible, graphically.
9. The Last of Us ; Another great thing from Naughty Dog. Fantastic characters.
10. Bioshock: Infinite ; Really enjoyed this too. Enjoyed the gunplay a fair bit, despite not doing much new. The atmosphere was my favorite part though. The first 30 minutes of the game before you shoot anything is incredible. Ending is pretty cool too.
x. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; I managed to find 10 games I enjoyed more than Brothers this year, but that's not to say it wasn't an incredible game. The mechanics being tied to the story was really interesting and well done.
x. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; I grabbed this game at launch but I haven't played enough of it yet. Really enjoying it so far though. Difficult and great atmosphere.
x. Killer Instinct ; This game made me happy about purchasing a console at launch. Fun as hell.
x. The Wonderful 101 ; The demo for this game is AWESOME and just so much fun. I purchased the game at launch and I haven't really been able to get into it yet but I seriously sunk a ton of hours into the demo.
2012. Persona 4 Golden ; This game is so good. I feel like a fool for not playing it earlier. The social links, jobs, school, and dungeon time limits all seemed overwhelming at first and almost unnecessary, but it's totally rad. I didn't think I had time for a long ass JRPG in 2013, but I managed. I almost just want to say "GAME OF THE FOREVER" and walk out. Currently playing through Persona 3 now.
 

Acquiescence

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Mar 5, 2011
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1. The Last of Us ; A pitch-perfect marriage of narrative and gameplay. Naughty Dog's storytelling ability is immaculate, from the animation to the script to the acting performances, and when paired with the extremely tense and dynamic combat encounters, it's not surprising to see how The Last of Us has struck a chord with people more than any other title this year.



2. Grand Theft Auto V ; The best GTA yet, and when I consider how many years I’ve been playing this franchise, and how much nostalgia is involved when looking back on it, that’s a bold proclamation. Vice City was the last installment I held in high regard, and IV proved to be such a dour, overly-earnest smear on the series that my hype for a sequel was non-existent. But V corrects many of IV's wrongs, and brings back the fun back in a big way, from the outlandish missions that constantly switch things up, to the huge playground that is Los Santos and the vast assortment of activities available to indulge in, to the generally hilarious writing and characters. A rip-roaring comeback that has completely restored my faith in the series.



3. Persona 4 Golden ; I don’t think I’ve ever done a complete 180 turnaround on a franchise before, but after years of hating Persona solely based around my miserable time with 3, I decided to give this supposed system-seller a chance with a recent sale. I'm glad I did. Unlike its predecessor, 4 Golden hooked me in immediately with its murder mystery plot and a cast who are relatively grounded and relatable, as opposed to being beleaguered by anime tropes. They're an endearing bunch, which is fortunate because you have to spend upwards of 80 hours with them if you plan on completing the game (which I uhhhh haven't done yet). Dungeon crawling isn't as monotonous and mind-numbingly repetitive as it was when scaling the giant tower of Tartarus, as 4 divides the dungeons up into separate smaller portions, giving a greater sense of progress in the process. So yeah, only halfway through, but I've been glued to my Vita ever since I first started this up.



4. Bravely Default ; The game that sold me on the 3DS (XL). Having been a Vita owner for nigh-on two years, I was taken aback by the graphical prowess this game exerts, despite the considerably weaker hardware it runs on. Bravely Default looks divine, particularly in its painterly environments and how the camera zooms out to reveal your surroundings when your character stands idly by. The level of customization provided, from the ability to fast-forward through battles to allowing the player to adjust the enemy encounter rate on the fly, makes grinding relatively painless and offers the kind of user-friendliness you don't often see in a JRPG. Combat is fast-paced, the Brave/Default system keeps things exciting with its risk/reward management, the script translation is of excellent quality and the four leads are an immensely likeable band of eccentric personalities who exchange funny dialogue on a surprisingly regular basis. Bravely Default really does recall to me the golden age, PS1-era of Final Fantasy, and it's a game so good that it almost makes me forgive Square Enix for their treatment of that franchise this past gen. Almost.



5. Tearaway ; A pint-sized platformer that still manages to cram more adventure, charm and invention into one of its seven hours than most games do in their entirety. It's papercraft aesthetic has a timeless quality that amounts to the most visually impressive handheld game I've ever laid eyes on, while MediaMolecule have integrated all the Vita's unique gimmicks features in a way that never feels intrusive, but totally organic. A grin-inducing romp from start to finish.



6. DmC: Devil May Cry ; I'm usually quite averse to the hack 'n' slash genre, but DmC is an immensely fun and involving action game that eased me in with its gentle learning curve and had me committed to stringing together all manner of stylish combos and improving my performance in a way that no other game has done before. Ninja Theory's art design expertise abounds in the surreal level design and eye-popping palette of colours, but unlike their previous games, gameplay is mercifully unhindered by technical issues. New Dante turned out alright too!



7. Puppeteer ; Puppeteer flew too under the radar to be afforded the reverence it deserves, which is a crying shame as it's a true labour of love, featuring levels jam-packed with detail and variety, some of the most beguiling presentation and art direction ever seen in a game of its ilk, and an endlessly satisfying mechanic in the form of the magic scissors Calibrus. It's rare that you get to play something so unrestrained, so bonkers, so bursting with endless creativity.



8. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; Proof that a JRPG with a sizeable budget can make the transition to high-definition without being stripped of the known hallmarks that make it what it is. Towns! An overworld! Non-linearity! Ni no Kuni plays in a dependable, familiar fashion, but comes equipped with dazzling cel-shaded graphics, Joe Hisaishi's quintessential orchestration and the novelty of playing an interactive Studio Ghibli film, all of which rises it above the competition in its respective genre. Magical, heart-warming stuff.



9. Bioshock Infinite ; Whereas I couldn’t help but feel that the first Bioshock was undeserving of the adoration heaped onto it – chalk that up to brainless combat, an alarmingly slim variation of enemy types and a narrative that drags as soon as the twist is revealed - Bioshock Infinite is a successor worthy of the critical acclaim bestowed upon it. Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth are a far more engaging pair of leads than the disembodied arms you played as before, exploring the floating city of Columbia is more wondrous and awe-inspiring than the decrepit remains of Rapture, and the combat is enhanced substantially, with juggling between stock gun-play and the supernatural vigor powers allowing for a more flexible and strategic approach than before. A brave and ambitious direction for a series that could have easily phoned it in with more of the same.



10. Rain ; I haven't played a game this year that has conjured up a sense of place quite as tangible as Rain. It's a dark fairy-tale awash with strong visual and audio design, as the eye-pleasing lighting, cinematic fixed-camera angles and Yugo Kanno's hugely evocative score all coalesce to form a melancholic and highly-immersive atmosphere that feels practically lived in. The story is a bit too ambiguous for its own good, and the ending loses some potential emotional resonance as a result, but regardless, Rain still manages to be a deeply absorbing and oddly moving experience.

x. Guacamelee! ;
x. Soul Sacrifice ;
x. Dokuro ;
x. Resogun ;
x. Attack of the Friday Monsters! ;
x. Stick It to the Man ;
 

Gurish

Member
Aug 4, 2013
5,834
0
380
1.The Last of Us ; What more could be said? it's the total package, great narrative and writing, really awesome survival gameplay, one of the best experiences of this generation, a masterpiece by Naughty dog.

2.Grand theft Auto 5 ; Best GTA game ever, the best open world crime game ever, full of varied fun missions, story is lacking but there are so many great moments it doesn't hurt it so much.

3.Tomb Raider ; I don't care about the haters, yes the game used some checklist AAA unnecessary bulshit, yes it was too violent without any substance, yes story is bad and lara becomes a crazy psychopath in 2 minutes, all true.
But it's really fricking fun! the combat is fun, the metroidvania style traversal is fun, collecting stuff and solving tombs are fun, one of the most enjoyable campaigns i had in a while.

4.DmC ; I'm gonna get crucify for this, but honestly I'm not some hardcore DMC fan or a really big fan of this genre but i was surprised by this one. very good and varied combat, amazing art and level design, i don't get the hate but maybe it's because I'm not a huge fan as i said.

5.Batman:Arkham Origins ; Have to admit that i was slightly disappointment by this one, the new Batman series are among my most beloved games of this generation and this latest prequel is not on par of the series standard.
Still, the campaign was good and the story was well, yes it was very uninspired and the side content wasn't as good as CITY, but still it's the same solid gameplay i loved before, it's just could have been better.

2012. Sleeping Dogs ; Played through Plus only this year, what a great game! was really surprised by this one, no doubt that it's sequel i won't play only after a year.
 
1. The Wonderful 101 ; I could sit here for twenty minutes typing out all my issues with this game, but despite all its flaws, The Wonderful 101 is ultimately a damn fun game that oozed with charm and passion. Somebody promote Hideki Kamiya.
2. Saints Row IV ; You can play as a toilet that shoots black holes at people while the finale from Swan Lake plays. I can't even begin to understand how anyone could prefer GTAV over SRIV.
3. Toki Tori 2 ; It's amazing what they managed to do with the puzzle design in a game where you only have the same two abilities from beginning to end. Those damn birds, though. Those damn birds...
4. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; I could sit here for twenty minutes typing out all my issues with this game, so I will!

The time travel stuff was neat, but the rest of the story was every Fire Emblem cliché poorly mashed together. Why did they get rid of competitive multiplayer? Every other handheld FE game (at least of the ones released in the US) has it. Way too many maps are just big, empty squares. The dumbing down, oh lord the dumbing down. Remember how you could rescue units and suffered a stat and movement penalty as a result? Now it's been replaced with pairing up, which gives you stat boosts and extra attacks! And it feels like Awakening relies on waves of reinforcements in greater numbers and on more maps than previous FEs, probably to balance the pairing up mechanic. I also preferred having to mete out limited EXP, as well as that feeling of accomplishment when my dudes hit level 20. Now everybody feels incomplete because hey, I can always level them up some more and max every one of their stats and reclass them and give them new abilities and and and. I miss the magic triangle. And my biggest gripe of all: enemies being able to attack on the same turn in which they appear. This leads to deaths that the player has no way to prepare for or avoid short of being able to peer into the future. This is utter bullshit and incredibly poor design, especially when paired up with the constant waves of reinforcements. I never thought I'd hate something more than Fog of War, but here we are.

Yet, despite all that, it's still a good game! Just nowhere near the best Fire Emblem.
5. Killer is Dead ; Crazy awesome art style and the best combat yet in a Grasshopper game. But can we please fire Yamaoka into the sun and get Takada composing for Grasshopper again?

"A completely optional sidequest that offends your sensibilities approaches! What do you do?"

A: Ignore it. Why not? It's optional.
B: Play it and then bitch and moan endlessly about sexism.
C: Watch someone else play it for a couple of minutes and then bitch and moan endlessly about sexism.
6. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon ; Good music, very silly. I was hoping for more missions, though. It felt like the bulk of the game was just liberating garrisons and collecting crap.
7. Pandora's Tower ; It's like a whole game that's nothing but Zelda dungeons. The complexity of the towers never reached the highs of the best Zelda dungeons, sadly.
8. Pikmin 3 ; Shorter, easier, and worse level design than Pikmin 2. Hey, you know what I hate in games? Wild goose chase, pull-the-football-away-at-the-last-second storytelling. "Oh no, you got separated from your squad. Better find them!" Then when you find Brittany and go to the next area the game is all "You got separated again LOL." And then you're constantly chasing down signals that heeeyyy MAYBE it's Olimar THIS TIME!!! But it isn't. And then Louie steals all your fruit and it's "Go chase him!" Also, the final area being an escort mission made me want to punch things. And the game never really let go of your hand. Its presence was always there. There was never a point where you had all your pikmin types and got to go to a new area, free to explore as you pleased. In addition, having three captains was a pain. There was only one puzzle in the game that made good use of all of them; the rest of the time I kinda wished I only had two to manage. Oh, oh, and why aren't the controls the same as the Gamecube games? I'd take being able to swarm or maneuver my pikmin over camera controls.
9. Project X Zone ; The breasts in this game are outstanding.
10. Premium Play Darkness ; This probably won't count due to dumb arbitrary reasons, but screw it. I had a lot of fun playing this, if you know what I mean. And I guess I'm supposed to note that I live in the US.

x. Surgeon Simulator 2013 ; Had lots of laughs playing this at a friend's house. Best soundtrack of 2013!

2012. Dust: An Elysian Tail ; I spent all last weekend 100%ing Dust. Pretty damn impressive for a game largely created by a single dude.

And now, some awards I'd like to hand out:
Game I Wanted to Play But Didn't Because of Stupid Bullshit
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies - Release a retail version, you incompetent clowns.
Most Head-Scratchingly Needless Delay
Earth Defense Force 2025 - You know what would've been the perfect date to release EDF2025? July 4th. That's when it came out in Japan. When does it come out in the US? ...sometime in February, 2014. They better have a damn good reason for delaying it 7-8 months.
 

ZettaiSeigi

Member
Dec 12, 2013
546
0
0
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.
Try changing your dashes with semicolons. You risk your votes not being counted with the way you separated the titles from your opinion pieces.
 

100MS

Neo Member
Aug 9, 2011
100
0
0
1. The Last of Us ; Everything in this masterpiece is amazing. Best entertainment product I've ever experienced.
2. Grand Theft Auto V
3. Tomb Raider ; A reboot done right.
4. Bioshock Infinite
5. Gran Turismo 6
6. Beyond: Two Souls
7. Dead Space 3
8. Thomas Was Alone ; A puzzle game with clever writing.
9. Spelunky
10. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
 

SxP

Member
Jul 17, 2011
1,485
0
0
1. The Last of Us ; Really the perfect blend of gameplay, characters and overall theme(s) this year and maybe even this generation. Every encounter felt so tense, with zombies and with humans. The game perfectly manages to make you always feel threatened, which really help the overall feeling of survival. Joel and Ellie are fantastic and I really felt for both of them, but also for Sam and Henry and most of the other characters. I can’t wait for the Left Behind DLC to hopefully experience something this great again.
2. Tearaway ; Never failed to bring a smile to my face. It’s wonderfully inventive and really manages to find unique and fun ways to interact with all the features of the Vita. It’s 100% fun and happiness from start to finish.
3. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen ; Fantastically built world and interesting, varied combat. Especially at night the world felt so intimidating, which was great. On one hand it made me question my decision to not play the vanilla version, but on the other hand I know that the reworking of the fast travel system made me stick with the game.
4. Persona 4 Golden ; Still amazing. In terms of gameplay I really liked all the changes. In terms of story, not so much. Too much of the added stuff was just anime tropes, to say nothing of Valentine’s Day (Atlus should be ashamed of themselves for that sequence).
5. Hotline Miami ; The music, the art style, the combat, everything just all works so perfectly together.
6. Bioshock Infinite ; Columbia is fantastic and the opening hours of the game blew my socks off. It’s a shame that the latter portions of the game end up a little combat heavy. I’m also not a fan of multiverse stuff, so I really disliked the ending.
7. Puppeteer ; Really nails the stage show theme that they were going for. It has a fantastic variety in settings that continued to amaze me throughout every act and every curtain. Voice acting is top notch as well, really making Pikarina, the Moon Witch, the Moon Bear King and Captain Gaff come alive. Platforming stays nice and varied throughout. Not really challenging, but really fun.
8. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; The world of Ni No Kuni is really magical, every city and every place feels so special. It really is a grand adventure through a wonderful world. It’s a shame the voice acting stops after 10 hours or so because that was what really immersed me in the world. Without the voice acting, it felt a little less magical.
9. Killzone Mercenary ; The most fun I ever had with Killzone. It looks amazing and the gunplay feels nice as well. The small scale MP mode is right up my alley + it will only get better in 2014 with Botzone.
10. Splinter Cell: Blacklist ; First Splinter Cell I’ve ever played and it really does a fantastic job at giving you a ton of fun options to engage a group of enemies, whether that is by being unseen or killing every enemy quietly or just full out assault. So many games make claims about giving the player such options, but this game really executes it perfectly.

x. Remember Me ; A really close contender for number 10. I really liked the set up for the story, Nilin, the memory remixes and the variety in the combat and enemies. It could have been higher on the list if the combat was just that little bit tighter and some of the needless platforming was cut.
x. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger ; Another close contender for number 10. The narrative is excellent and the gunplay is fun throughout.
x. Guacamelee ; Combat is really fun with the variety of moves at your disposal.
x. Stealth Inc.: A Clone in the Dark ; Really fun little stealth puzzle platformer.

2012. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; Saving a character which you’ve spent a lot of effort developing from permadeath by the skin of your teeth feels so satisfying.

Overall, 2013 was a fantastic year. I really struggled to make a full top 10 list last year and kept it at 8 entries, but this year I really struggled to cut it down to 10.
 

kharma45

Member
Aug 22, 2009
32,573
0
0
1. Football Manager 2014 ; Hundreds of hours later it's still the best football game out there
2. Super Mario 3D World
3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut ;
4. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; fiddly controls aside it was pretty good
5. Crysis 3 ;
6. BioShock Infinite ;
7. Papers, Please ;
8. Tomb Raider ;
9. Metro: Last Light ;
10. Battlefield 4 ;
 

aly

Member
Jun 7, 2013
4,942
0
0
California & Arkansas
1. The Last of Us; I don’t know what else could be said that hasn’t already. The presentation is top notch, the story is touching, and the characters are worth remembering. I felt that Naughty Dog did all of this without sacrificing interesting game play. Gathering supplies, sneaking behind enemies, and sometimes just blasting my way out of situations were all equally fun. The tense atmosphere and a fun MP make this my GOTY.

2. Tearaway ; This is a game that is brimming with charm. Every time I played this, I was able to have a smile on my face. Tearaway isn’t hard or challenging, but it is one of the most fun and touching games I’ve played all year.

3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Easily the best action game of the year. The story is complete nonsense, but the combat is so excellent and satisfying, that you won’t even care.

4. Super Mario 3D World ; The game has wonderful level design and the cat suits are a surprise and welcome addition. Playing this with my sister was a big highlight of some of my weekends.

5. Grand Theft Auto 5 ; Such an improvement over IV with fun driving, a better city, and much better game play. That said GTAO was super boring, and the missions got repetitive with an awful story.

6. Guacamelee!; This was a big surprise on how fun it turned out to be. Platforming and combat felt satisfying, and I thought the memes were really funny in a cheesy way.

7. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; Loved having to figure out strategies to the point that I took forever on some things in an attempt to be as perfect as possible. It was just straight up addicting.

8. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds; The dungeons were fun and the game as a whole was very easy to get into. I’m still iffy on the art style and overall difficulty level. I’m just happy to have a top down Zelda game.

9. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX; Kingdom Hearts is one of my most favorite series. I love the characters, the goofy story, and the fun combat. The HD collection just reaffirmed that. If I hadn’t played this already, then it might have even been number one on my list.

10. Puppeteer; This was a charming and fun game. Not difficult at all, but managed to keep me interested and smiling the entire time.

Honorable Mentions

x. Tomb Raider ; There is nothing terribly wrong mechanically with the rebooted Tomb Raider, other than maybe too much combat. However, it was not what I wanted out of Tomb Raider. I didn’t want another Uncharted, so while it is an ok game, it was still a really big disappointment.

x. Beyond: Two Souls ; I know people aren’t a big fan of David Cage, but I had a lot of fun with Beyond: Two Souls. A lot of it may have been unintentional fun, but meh whatever.

x. Bioshock Infinite ; I thought for sure that this would end up on my GOTY list, but BI was nowhere as good as I wished it was and The Last of Us may have stolen it’s thunder a bit. Still, the setting is fantastic and the ending was interesting with some good game play still intact.

x. DmC ; Like Tom Raider, there is very few things wrong with the game play or presentation. However, I feel that it was still a large step back from previous games.
 
Apr 18, 2010
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1. Super Mario 3D World ; A game so impeccably designed that it feels so effortless. Mario’s largest selection of power-ups and playable characters keep the game fresh the whole way through as you will never see the same idea used in the same world, let alone level-to-level. Soundtrack of the year. Mario games, for me, have always been an absurd collection of obstacle courses and 3D World is the perfect expression of that. Pure joy.

2. LEGO City Undercover ; An absolutely hilarious romp through an amazingly designed city with each district being distinct and full of things to do and collect. So many funny costumes and great cars to unlock. I got every Gold Brick and want to do it all over again. Chase McCain and Frank Honey are the characters of the year. The most epic final mission of the year.

3. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD ; Once again takes the throne as the most beautiful game of all-time as the new HD visuals bring a whole new life to a game already dripping with character. All the tweaks (swift sail, shortened animations, gyro aiming) improved the game significantly. The swift sail alone makes this game flow so well that it is hard to stop sailing the ocean.

4. Pikmin 3 ; Simultaneously is able to capture both the beauty and serenity of nature as well as the brutal savagery required to survive. Pikmin 3 finds the perfect sweet spot between the previous two games to not feel overbearing with it’s time limits and also not dragging on and on. All of the fruit looks delectable, the creatures full of character, the Pikmin (including the new types) are just as charming as ever, the environments beyond lush, and the new captains full of personality. This series has no other like it and it is why this game stands out even more.

5. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag ; The pirate game I have always wanted. I still have not soured on this franchise as many others have and have spent dozens and dozens of hours sailing the ocean. Edward is a great character and there is just so much to do and collect. The story is a bit scattershot but the ocean and islands are so beautiful.

6. The Last of Us ; Tremendous voice performances and visuals. The story isn’t really anything new and hits all the tropes you would expect but it was gripping in parts. The gameplay is good but I wish Naughty Dog would have cut back on the enemy encounters by at least 50% or given the human enemies more of a face. There were a few Uncharted-esque (games I really don’t like) setpieces that felt out of place. The game shone in the negative space and Naughty Dog has the ability to have that negative space be broken up by more than just waves of enemies.

7. The Wonderful 101 ; An exhausting game that never lets up. Bosses become mini-bosses become regular enemies while the game continues to throw epic encounter after epic encounter at you. A serious amount of depth to the combat that takes awhile to get into but once you get past the obtuseness you can really start to tear enemies apart. Really enjoyed all the characters and the cartoon vibe to the story. Certainly the most unique game I played all year.

8. Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut ; A very compelling narrative/premise mixed with a myriad of devices/weapons/tactics to approach any given situation make for a game that is a blast to play through. Have yet to finish the game (nearing the end, might have placed higher had I finished in time) but have enjoyed sneaking around a lot. The game really shines with the Gamepad as your Neural Hub. I love gold!

9. Rayman Legends ; An absolute stunner of a game to look at with the characters, enemies, and environments all being humorous and full of life. The levels seem to be built more on speed than in Origins, creating a very fluid experience. The music levels are a ton of fun and the Murfy levels were a nice change of pace (despite some AI issues). Not really pushing much beyond Origins but if it ain’t broke… (Still really don’t like the bosses in this series, though)

10. New Super Luigi U ; DLC done right. A full expansion filled with very tricky, and well-designed, levels that, when put together with New Super Mario Bros. U, create the best 2D Mario package ever.

x. Resident Evil: Revelations HD ; A great marriage of the older, more confined RE games and the new action-heavy titles.
x. Bioshock Infinite ; Columbia is a breathtakingly beautiful city. A shame it doesn’t get put to good use.
x. Wii Fit U ; My first foray into Wii Fit. I carry my Fit Meter with me every day and the new games that use the Balance Board and Gamepad together are really fun. Luge is a core-killer.

2012: Dishonored ; Really dig the art style and the powers you get. Would have gone for no-kill until I saw how cool it was to summon rats from the ground.

The Wii U dominates my list with 9 of the top 10 and 11 of my top 13. I really enjoyed the games on that platform this year (well, it was mostly the second half of the year). I didn’t get to Metal Gear Rising, Puppeteer, or Remember Me so those will be vying for my 2013 spot next year.
 

Necrovex

Member
Jun 7, 2010
9,356
0
0
1) Super Mario 3D World ; Fantastic gameplay, a jazztastic OST, a super fun multiplayer, and a super charming game. What more could I want from a Mario game?

2) Gone Home ; I seldom sit down and complete a game in one sitting. Even if a game is only three hours long, it usually takes me a few sittings. However I destroyed Gone Home, and I refused to leave my seat until I completed it. The story was heartfelt, and I was quite into the drama for each character.

3) Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Platinum's finest game, and it sits next to Mario 3D World in terms of enjoyable gameplay.

4) Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies ; A much better entry than Apollo Justice. AA is back and it feels so wonderful!

5) Bioshock Infinite ; Lukewarm towards the gunplay but I loved everything else about the game.

6) Beyond: Two Souls ; Another game I devoured in a very quick amount of time. It's a flawed experience, but I adored the sum of its parts all so much.

7) The Last of Us ; Decent gameplay and a rough beginning. Everything else is top-notch!

8) Fire Emblem: Awakening ; The most disappointing FE game I have played, but even a disappointed FE is still better than the vast majority of games.

9) Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ; All of these fond memories coming back to me! And they are in HD!

10) Tales of Xillia ; Tales is back in its proper form. Slow beginning but it really picks up as the game progresses.

Honorable mentions:

Pikmin 3 ; I only started playing it yesterday, but I am head over heels with the game. If I had more time with it, I am certain it would be in my top three list.

Devil May Cry ; Best reboot of the year.

2012 LTTP GOTY: Dishonored ; Made me love the stealth genre all over again.
 

tryagainlater

Member
Jan 23, 2013
3,155
0
0
1. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; I did not think I would like this game so much going into 2013. I thought the heavy hitters in #3 and #4 on my list would be the obvious winners. I've never been a big character action fan and a spinoff to MGS did not sound appealing especially with a somewhat less favoured character of the franchise (although I never hated him). Sure Platinum were working on the game and they're great but they were rushed after this game had been in development hell for years with only some watermelon cutting to show for it. So what could Platinum really deliver? The best game of the year and one of the best of the gen. It was a bit short but I've replayed it so many times. The boss characters haven't been this good since MGS1 and those fights are something else. I've never been more hyped than when I'm beating down on those bosses and the soundtrack fits perfectly. Some people say they enjoy the soundtrack ironically but I love it; I listen to it daily. Whatever that says about my taste in music, it fits the game and the lyrics coming in at climatic parts of the battles was a genius idea.

Cutting and zandatsus were endlessly fun. Once you've parried back and forth with a heavy, you've throughly experienced the combat's greatnesst. Whenever I start a new game, I often have trouble getting into it no matter how good I usually find it later. I always persevere through the first hour until I start enjoying it. That did not happen with Revengeance. Once you throw that Ray while you have the Rules of Nature vocals being screamed at you, it's impossible not to be having fun. The final boss fight and particularly its set up is one of my favourite moments in all of gaming. MGS has a lot of my favourite gaming moments and I'm happy to add this to the list. I may be a little obsessed with this game and I'm gushing like crazy but it's just so enjoyable. I should replay this again.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I didn't hate A Link to the Past but I've never appreciated it as much as the rest of the Zelda fanbase and any sense of nostalgia that this game was supposed to conjure had no effect on me. This game is just pure fun; I really did not want it to end. Whether you were hunting collectibles, running through dungeons or just messing around in the world, it was a joy to play and I never got tired of that Lorule theme. I've never really thought any handheld Zelda was better than any console Zelda but this one has managed to shoot up my favourite Zelda list. I do wish the bosses were a little better but I do not have much of a problem with the game beyond that.

3. The Last of Us ; I think Neogaf has this one covered. You know it's great. I cared about the characters and thought the story was genuinely fantastic. I really don't feel like it starts till after Bill's Town but man, everything after that is amazing. Winter...

4. Grand Theft Auto 5 ; I am one of those not so rare people who thinks GTAIV was crap. This new one is not crap; it's great. Sure, it's a little outdated in parts and they could speed up the gameplay a little bit but it gave me pretty much everything a GTA game should give me except for it's lackluster ending. It gave me a lot of hours of fun causing carnage with Trevor and a bunch a great missions. I had no interest trying the multiplayer so it's poor performance there does not drag it down for me.

5. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; Capcom took their sweet time finally releasing another Phoenix Wright game and even then, we can't get a physical copy. But hey, at least they gave it to us cheap. Digital only regardless, this is another great entry into the Ace Attorney series and is right up there with the series best. Case 2 might not be great but all the others kept me constantly entertained. The new characters are fantastic, especially Blackquill. I've still got to try that DLC case.

6. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist ; It seems Ubisoft has been trying to merge action and stealth in this series for a while now and they finally pulled it off by just giving us the options to tackle a mission any way you want. Even when you increase the difficulty, you don't feel you are forced into one style of play. The stealthy approach (which I prefer anyway) is rewarded more but you still won't be penalised for more brutal playstyles. I didn't care much about the story but I liked chatting with the crew on the ship even if it isn't exactly Mass Effect.

7. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D ; A great 2D platformer in 3D which is exactly what I wanted. Hard as hell but incredibly satisfying once you finally nail a level. Those rocket sections though, god damn. Tons of content which was all new to me since I never played the Wii version.

8. Saint Row IV ; Saints Row is some dumb shit and I love dumb shit. I probably would have put this higher on my list but I am not a PC gamer so I had to wade through some terrible performance issues on the console version. I usually have low standards for frame rate and the like but this was quite noticeable. That said, it has a great cast, sprinting and jumping around the world never got old, awesome weapons (that dubstep gun) and superpowers and a lot of genuine laughs. It being an expanded upon DLC episode can be quite noticeable though.

9. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen ; This game captures the spirit of adventure so perfectly. Traveling may get a bit tiring after a while but you always know you're in for some trek when you set out on your path. And that's just during the day. I didn't get to see a whole lot of the games content but this game will hopefully spawn a series.

10. Guacamelee ; I did not expect to like this much and I didn't wholly enjoy the combat but the platforming was a lot of fun once you started getting more moves. The bosses were pretty well designed and pretty intense forcing you to learn their attack pattern which I appreciated. Nice artstyle too. It also wins the award for best name.

2012. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; Bought this on a whim without knowing much about it and was blissfully surprised. The flying segments are amazing and it looks gorgeous with the 3D. The difficulty meter works great and there's tons to unlock. The controls are a bit dodgy but I've gotten used to them by now. I've even given the online a try and it's decent for a bit of fun. Great game all round.
 

UnObtainium17

Member
Jan 4, 2012
4,900
0
0
1. The Last of Us ; best TPS gameplay this gen, combined with one of the most amazing story and narrative I have experienced. It really blew my mind how ND made their entire journey and end it with THAT. Wow it's one of the best twist in any kind of story ever. Twist was so subtle, yet so powerful.

2. Bioshock Infinite ; great story, I love the revelation at the end. But it's gameplay leaves something to be desired.

3. GTA V ; playing as 3 characters when you want it to was so refreshing. Great gameplay, probably the best modern set open world game this gen. A huge step above IV by not better than SA.
 

Neon_Icarus

Member
Jan 10, 2010
1,300
0
0
Finland
1. The Wonderful 101 ; A brilliantly original gem. Such a shame it bombed so hard.

2. Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon ; Never expected to like this, since I didn't care for the original LM too much. The haunted houses are beautifully realised, living environments.

3. Pikmin 3 ; A devilishly charming game. Made me want a CGI Pikmin cartoon. Should have had one more area in the story mode.

4. Bravely Default ; Feel a bit guilty putting it so high, because I haven't finished it yet. Still, even if the end game is as bad as some people say, it's worth playing for the beautiful first half.

5. Super Mario 3D World ; Very well done all around, as expected.

6. The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds ; The core gameplay has been polished to perfection. Would have been higher if it had a new overworld. Plus, I prefer 3D Zelda.

7. Deadly Premonition: Director's Cut ; Loved the "Twin Peakiness."

8. Fire Emblem Awakening ; As a long time fan of the series, I'm very happy that Nintendo finally gave FE a decent budget. Not so happy with some of the "new direction for the series" though. Still a good game.

9. Soul Sacrifice ; I enjoyed the dark fantasy atmosphere and the baroque soundtrack (even though I may never actually finish it. Seems pretty grindy).

10. Tomb Raider ; An enjoyable Western AAA game.
 

Weng

Member
Oct 16, 2012
1,033
0
0
Germany
1. Super Mario 3D World ; Multiplayer in a 3D Mario? A 3D Mario with more focus on platforming? 5 different characters with their own abilities? Playable Peach
and Rosalina
? Ideas for 10+ "regular" games? Incredible OST (esp. Hisstocrat and Ghost House themes)? GOTY.

2. Pikmin 3 ; My first Pikmin game and it was incredible. And I haven't even started Mission Mode.

3. Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien ; Great infinite runner with the perfect difficulty, imaginative levels, great soundtrack and the ability to dance^^. Bonus points for art style, humor and Charles Martinet.

4. Toki Tori 2 ; No hand-holding, limited abilities with a wide array of uses, tough puzzles. A game many people beg to play but sadly tend to ignore. Would probably be higher on the list if I had already finished it.

5. New Super Luigi U ; Not as good as NSMBU and a little bit too short but still a very good 2D platformer that makes you forget it's "just" DLC.

2012. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed ; If it weren't for the low number of tracks and some annoying glitches this game could have been the best kart racing game to date.


Games that probably would have made the list if I had found the time to play them:
Rayman Legends
The Wonderful 101
Lego City Undercover
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
 

BlackJace

Member
Dec 24, 2011
16,524
0
0
Mobius


1. Shin Megami Tensei IV; This is my game of the year. Shin Megami Tensei IV was an absolute blast to play through. Out of all the games I played in 2013, hell, out of all of them in the past few years, Shin Megami Tensei IV comes out on top. The Shin Megami Tensei franchise has always provided me with sublime JRPGs in the past, but I honestly was not ready for the world I was about to be thrown into.

I think one of the things that was so enthralling about it is the world-building, and atmosphere it possessed. Once I stepped foot into Tokyo, I was immediately hit with the realization that I was in for a treat. Traversing the ruined Tokyo's world map might have been an arduous task due to its confusing layout, but the sheer dread and depressing attitude I felt was unlike any other world maps I've trekked through before. Dilapidated buildings, smoke and ash drifting overhead, the embers of the gigantic fires breaking out; all of this was hitting me at once, to the tone of the amazing map theme. The residents of Tokyo are properly screwed, and one romp through the map will make this clear.

The atmosphere doesn't end once you enter a field from the map, either. The dungeons and fields you go through are down-right terrifying as well. Overturned cars, rumble, corpses litter the streets of the once great city. I made it a mission of mine to explore every nook and cranny of Toyko, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The Press Turn system makes its glorious return. Battles are fast paced (though not as fast as Soul Hackers, per se), and don't focus on any extraneous details that bog down the overall experience. Exploit weaknesses, strike first, keep up your healing, and rack up those extra turns! After a few hours or so, I felt as though the system was running as smooth as butter. Demon encounters were becoming more an exercise of efficiency rather than “HOLY SHIT HOW DO I KILL THIS THING”; every challenge presented was surmountable, all it took were some clever strategies beforehand. Grinding was absolutely unnecessary.

The learning curve is really interesting though. For newcomers, the game does indeed start off challenging; the Naraku dungeon will show no mercy. Naturally, you'll become used to things and start to feel less threatened when you're in battle. Now, the middle of the game becomes super easy. You're well-adjusted to the battle system, and you have access to high-level demons. By the halfway point of the game, I was ripping through everything. Some may see this a bad thing, and I'd absolutely understand that. The endgame picks back up in difficulty, pitting you against some real motherfuckers.

Shin Megami Tensei IV's story didn't grab me as much as the atmosphere of its world did, but I still found it enjoyable nonetheless. I found the endings to be a bit weak, but, again, one might have a different opinion on this. Character-wise, there's not much to say. They pale in comparison to characters from Persona, of course, but I didn't come across anyone that I outright disliked. But hey, characters weren't really that big of a deal when my crew of demons had so much personality. Demon conversations are a bit tricky this time, but nothing too irritating. Sidequests are abundant as well, very few felt truly annoying or out boring. The game gives satisfying incentives for doing them to, other than just racking up extra Macca or EXP.

The music is this game is goddamn incredible. As of this post, I've found out that the full 112 track OST will be available. It's no question that I'm copping it. It's really great, diverse too. A lot of the tracks have and 80s/90s vibe to it, very reminiscent of older titles. Nothing really feels out of place, and I rarely heard tracks too close to each other so that it became tiring to hear.

Overall, Shin Megami Tensei IV is most impressive when one takes into account the scope and ambition of such a title on a handheld device. This is the most recent entry in the mainline series, so it obviously bared some responsibility on its shoulders, and it absolutely succeeded. If this is what they are able to get out of a handheld outing, I have no worries that I will be getting something bigger and better if the mainline series finds it way back onto consoles. I'm ready for anything, Atlus; handheld or console. Shin Megami Tensei IV has strengthened my opinion of JRPGs in general, and has solidified my position as a huge fan of the franchise.

Did you get all that?



2. Fire Emblem: Awakening; I'm a long time Fire Emblem fan, and Awakening hit right at home. Intelligent Systems once again created an excellent SRPG that offers long time fans exactly what they want out of the experience. Awakening also extends a hand out to those who have been on the sidelines for awhile, but just haven't taken the leap into it. On the surface level, Awakening is gorgeous. It's one of the only 3DS games where I leave the 3D cranked, shit looks stunning actually, coming from the 3DS's sub-par hardware. The character models themselves are a bit spotty during the battle animations, but everything else, from map sprites, to maps, to UI, it's brimming with quality.
I've played the shit out this game (hundreds of hours), not only because of my sheer enjoyment out of it, but because of the dizzying amount of content that's available. It's almost staggering. The overworld map is ever-lively, and soon becomes a chronicle of just how much stuff you've done across the campaign. And that's not even taking into account the DLC, as well. This is a game that will keep on giving.

Story has always been at the core of a lot of Fire Emblem titles, and Awakening doesn't slack on it. Awakening's story was really well done in my opinion, the use of your Avatar was a nice touch (although I've heard this has been done in an unlocalized entry before). By the end of it, I felt pretty attached to the crew, namely my Avatar and his family (I can't believe it either). These are pixels on my screen, yet seeing them fight together, barely escaping death, and then engaging in fun banter in the Barracks was quite touching. They really did feel like my own crew.

The game's not perfect in any sense, nor is it the best in the franchise. There are some issues with level design, the magic triangle was scrapped, and it's rather easy to “break” the game and become damn near godlike, but Awakening shines through that as one of the best games on the 3DS. Must play for sure.



3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; Metal Gear Rising was not a game I was very enthusiastic about when it was announced. It seemed like a clunky, awkward spin-off of a somewhat loved franchise of mine. I actually don't know when it came to be that I was anticipating its release. Anyways, after a few more trailer outings, it was looking more and more like it had evolved into another masterpiece that only Platinum Games was capable of. Its moniker, "Cut what you will", is very indicative of the experience you get with the game; it's in no way misleading. Metal Gear Rising boasts high-speed swordplay in a constantly engaging environment.

What struck me first when I got behind the wheel of MGR was the responsive, fluid movement of Raiden's actions. Many samurai movies often have a cliche in which the master tells his disciple that a sword is an extension of the wielder's arm. Raiden's movements truly feel like it adheres to that. Many combos feature his nanosuit's heels (yeah they look like high heels) attaching to Raiden's sword, allowing him to have ridiculous reach and range with every deadly spin or slash. Many combos easily chain into each other, and I found myself developing my own "go-to" combos that weren't really displayed in the game's help menu. Lots of neat stuff you can do.
The game has three other primary weapons that you get for defeating major bosses. I didn't use any of them for my first two playthroughs, as Raiden's default blade is so satisfying and effective to use on its own. It was only in my third, fourth and fifth playthrough that I got around to messing around with the others. Speaking of multiple playthroughs, MGR is perfect for speedruns, and absolutely encourages replayability. By the time of later playthroughs, I had already memorized every nook and cranny of each level, yet I was motivated to continue playing due the game constantly challenging me to do better, via the often brutal ranking system. Standard DMC fare; S, A, B, C, D, E. Sometimes I felt like the criteria for S and A were a bit much, especially for the Chapter totals.

MGR is not without problems. There were some minor gripes I had about the parry system and enemy abilities, such as gunfire. Also, there are some slow parts of the game that kind of break up the flow a bit too much. Overall, it was a great rollercoaster ride that I didn't want to end. Highly recommended.



4. Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign; Mobile game alert! I swear to god, I don't know how I came across this game. I think I first saw it mentioned in an IGN review, in which it received a 9/10. Shrugged it off and thought “eh, mobile”. Through a series of events I don't remember, I downloaded it on my iPad. It was yet another free-to-play title that offered rather shady in-app purchases, but I still found myself coming back to it. My initial disgust at the scheme was soon quelled once I fully immersed myself in the game.
It's standard “match this, match that” affair, with a Marvel overlay. But this is just on a shallow level, deeper analysis reveals a competitive puzzle game with comprehensive team-building. I respect what this F2P does more than others simply because you really are rewarded for choosing to abstain from the IAPs. A few hours of work per week will land you right up with the big boys. The production values are pretty good, character portraits look nice and detailed, the UI decent (its undergone several updates).

The game is constantly updated, and the devs aren't shy about getting in-touch with the players. I really hope this service-like experience continues to bolster for the foreseeable future.

Seriously, check the game out, it's a real treat to collect and build your own team of tile-crushing superheroes and villains.

Also, RIP Ragnarok. We hardly knew you.



5. Ace Attorney 5: Dual Destinies; Ace Attorney does it again. As a long running fan of the series, I rarely have to worry about a new entry disappointing me. Capcom absolutely NAILED the art's transition to 3D. One hundred percent accuracy, really. After my 35-odd hours with it, the models would sometimes make me subconsciously believe I was playing with the original 2D sprites, even with the 3D slider maxed out. It's that accurate.

A point of contention among some fans was the very obvious streamlining of the investigation phases. It's all very automated now, feeling like the whole process was just told “okay okay, yeah we get it, IS IT COURT DAY YET?”. Ultimately, I feel like this was a good move. I didn't enjoy some of the phases of the older games, which sometimes fell into pixel-hunting exercises in concentration.
Court phases haven't changed much, and that's fine: if it ain't broken, don't fix it. Although now there's a new, badass intro sequence that plays when entering the court. Speaking of presentations, AA5 makes the proceedings feel even more dynamic. The distance of the gallery versus the floor has shortened, making the pressure of watching eyes all the more apparent. The camera is also not very shy about zooming around in and out of the courtroom when crazy shit goes down, a very genuine, courtroom-drama TV show feeling.

The characters don't disappoint as well, faces new and old stay in tandem with what we've come to expect from the series. Athena Cykes in particular is one of the most well-written, active female characters around. Her character was damn impressive. Not quite as annoying as Maya (I still love her though), and not afraid to get into the situation. This also brings me to appreciate the obvious (successful) attempt at character development here. I won't go into specifics, but some of the characters whom I felt had a lot to be left desired in past time get theirs in this time around. Good stuff.

Yeah it's on the eShop exclusively, and I bought it. Call the cops, I don't give a fuck.



6. Papers, Please; I picked up Papers, Please on a whim during the Autumn Steam sales, and I'm glad that I did. It's a strange game that would turn almost anyone off after describing it to them. Yes, the objective of the game is to govern an immigration checkpoint. It sounds like a real chore, but that in essence is what makes Papers, Please so interesting. It provides a genuine look into the world of bureaucracy, with all of the paperwork and technicalities that come with it.
The game doesn't tell you how many things work either, they give a rulebook, and they fully expect you study it. The game forces you to come up with your own strategy for maximizing the efficiency of your workspace. “Passports go here, fingerprint results here, rulebook in the top right corner, etc.” At first I was juggling between the credentials, but soon I got used to it, and worked out a system for myself.

Lastly, the way Papers, Please told its story was wholly unique. I couldn't wait to make it to the next day and find out what I was going to get myself into. It told a wonderfully dark, dystopian tale that I don't think I'll forget for a while. All from the perspective of a freaking immigration officer.



7. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing: Transformed; Mario Kart does have competition, I admit. Granted, these two aren't directly competing in my opinion, but All-Stars Racing: Transformed manages to simultaneously take design cues from Mario Kart and introduce new, innovative ones. The sense of speed is just right, offering enough control to stay on top, while making me feel like I'm not going 10 miles per hour.
Best campaign/career in a Kart racer yet? I think so. Seriously, the Career mode lasted a lot longer than I thought it would, offering up more than just “collect these things in one minute”-type challenges in between standard races.
Visually, the game looks fantastic. Vibrant, and in possession of a cohesive art-style. On PC, it looks pretty damn impressive (and no frame-rate drops!).

I'm a little LTTP on the game, but I can't remember the last time a Kart racer enthralled me like this. While I'm already liking what I've seen from Mario Kart 8, I'm not exactly chomping at the bit for a new Kart racer; All-Stars Racing: Transformed has me covered.
 

thehypocrite

Member
Mar 28, 2010
6,252
0
0
Dominican Republic
1. The Last of Us; Felt that I was playing a blockbuster done right. Superb game.
2. Hotline Miami; Fun and thoughtful at the same time
3. Machinarium; Interesting game.
4. Soul Sacrifice; Very good game with lots of content and unscripted progression, I like it a lot.
5. Dokuro; awesome game with a surprisingly awesome story.
6. Sound Shapes; Great platformer.
7. Rayman Origins; Great platformer.
 

LiveFromKyoto

Member
Jul 19, 2006
25,252
0
0
Kyoto, Japan
1. The Last of Us ; Almost a perfect game, I thought about the implications of its ending for weeks. Up there with Valkyria Chroniclles for my game of the generation.
2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut ; I really tried to like the original on my computer but couldn't get into it. But the Wii U version of this did everything right, and got me deep into its world.
3. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD ; I never finished the original, the sailing got me bored pretty quick. But the gorgeous remake charmed me, sucked me in and didn't let me go until I was finished. Possibly my favourite game in the series now.
4. Super Mario 3D World ; Genius from start to finish
5. The Wonderful 101 ; A labour of love that gamers will be talking about for years.
6. Bioshock Infinite ; a very well written shooter.
7. Pikmin 3 ; Another Miyamoto masterpiece.
8. Wii Fit U ; I would have played a lot more of it if my downstairs neighbours didn't complain every time I went for a run.
9. Resident Evil Revelations HD ; A return to form for the series, the best Resident Evil game since 4. The Wii U version was quite enjoyable with the Miiverse additions.
10. Ys Memories of Celceta ; A Japanese action rpg with fantastic gameplay
x. New Super Luigi U ; was fun and super hard.
x. Soul Sacrifice ; A game really well thought out for the Vita platform.
2012. Persona 4 Golden ; Holy crap this lives up to the hype and then some. Just edged out ZombiU for this nod for me.
 
Dec 1, 2004
26,792
1
0
South Carolina
www.neogaf.com
Most of this list was done over a week ago, but further play in VOLGARRRRRRR and DC was needed to see where exactly they shook out. Been an odd year, but the spread of games is similar to the last two: 2-3 Japanese games to each indie, few on console. I missed a ton of stuff like FE, Ys Celceta, and SM3D Land would probably bump 8, 9, and 10 off the list, but what can you do?

1. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers ; The title foreign Megaten fans and knowers of JRPG lore had longed after for 17 years, strangely found itself in crowded fields of both a resurgence of cyberpunk design and a relative cornucopia of 1st Person Dungeon Crawlers out of Atlus. What a welcome! SH did however, present perhaps the greatest look at just how strong Megaten was, is, and will be, earning it my top spot.

SH does this by having lightning-fast combat, a resoundingly clever localization, a wonderful and immense OST, and being chock full of those brilliant quirks both little and large that makes Megaten a premier franchise it is. Best demon conversations in the series. Odd, moody battle graphics. Crazy retro 90s VR vision of the future internet nostalgia Gone Home couldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. Intriguing character design. I could go on and on.


2. Etrian Odyssey IV ; This entry is by and large a much more robust game than its predecessor. The tuning is tighter, the character building more nuanced, and the ship portions FAR more inticing by far. Remarkable considering the two big red alert changes that worried us faithful: 3D enemies and non-synth OST, both of which turned out wonderfully.

There are a few problems, though, some aesthetic, some unarguable respectively: The lack of a linear Labyrinth nixxed alot of the reward from killing a stratum boss, and the visibility of FOEs ebbs some of their ominous mystery. On the unarguable front, giving players a 6th for the boss is meaningless in a series proud of its indifference, a lack of stratum levels (we're missing out on 5 levels of dungeon crawling from this) and a near-lack of OH SHIT outside of FOES (squirrels, pits in front of chests, ambushes with chests and gather spots). These last three things especially are mistakes to be fixed.

Thankfully, those are just about the only real negatives, and EO IV remains the second best EO and a great start-off for those looking to upgrade their RPG-Fu.


3. Pokemon X/Y ; This was another of the many 3DS games that made major jumps in presentation this year. Glorious 3D? Sometimes, yes.



But that wasn't what I truly liked about this one. The smartly-done breeding system (smartly-done, not gamer bribery) making something that made much more sense for what it was. The vastly improved on-line functionality putting trades and battles there instead of standing in the Pokemart. Fairy type taking some steps to balancing types (until it becomes broke as fuck later :p). Most of the new Pokes are great, too and there's very little filler. It's either wierd new typing (Fire/Normal, Poison/Dragon, Ghost/Grass), great clever design (Gogoat, Greninja, Pangoro, Hawlucha), potent battle ideas (Carbink, Aromatisse, Aegislash), or nice quicks (evolves when 3DS is upsidedown, evolves when a Dark pokemon is also in the party, or different regions of the world have different wing patterns). Excellent, excellent stuff.

There's been a few problems, and rather big ones. Framerate eats it when too much showy stuff happens or you run into hordes, and the game is now even easier. Instead of rubberband RNG punishing you for using higher strategies like buffing, sweeping, and walling, X/Y fails to prepare the player as you run into such small parties from enemy trainers and their tactics and stats so weak, there's little reason to bother to try, then you hit online, and online hits back hard. Not exactly the right way to train people who've never done Pokemon PvP to prepare them for veteran's teams and strats.


4. Shin Megami Tensei 4 ; So much was riding on this game. Atlus' future was in flux. The development team alluded to this being an example of the kind of dark, deep, and difficult JRPG that was in danger of disappearing. Kaneko, Hashino, and Meguro were largely absent from its development. Some said they could never match the magnum opus SMT3.

I knew going in they would probably not match SMT3. They didn't. But you know what? They passed every other test with flying colors. It was financially successful. It was dark, deep, and difficult. It was in good hands with those on the team. It was great.

The greatly expanding scope and focused wildness of the plot is some of the best in the business, with that "reality itself is slipping away" that the series is not famous enough for. Dialogue is snappy and proper for the characters, with station and location the characters are from reflecting in their words properly.

It is not without problems. Smirk is barely contained as a mechanic, and I truly feel it was thrown on top YHWH's Own Turn-Based Battle System to counteract the copious ease and comfort mechanics that were present here so the game's difficulty would not be a joke. Some of the new demons from other artists were some serious WOOF WOOF. The clumsy "removal" of ranbats resulted in ambushes, cramped hallways without evasion room, and enemies that can go thru walls plus move faster than you can on the overworld. But they're visible, so they're not frustrating ranbats...or something. And SHUT THE FUCK UP BURROUGHS.


5. Volgarr The Viking ; This game is kicking my ASS. Pixel-perfect controls, constantly clever level design, and excellent audiovisual design keep me coming back for more. Speaking of which, I got some time this weekend...


6. Anti-chamber ; I both truly enjoyed the childlike wonder the thru-the-looking-glass design of the game brought out in me and the mild flippancy of the little notes on the bare, garish matte color of the game giving a little insight into the playful mindset of the developers. The puzzles blending with the quiet journey thru the game world was well-paced, and the "learn by doing" nature of the early stretch a breath of fresh air in a smog-filled telltorial world.


7. Papers, Please ; I often have games that don't fit snugly under the aegis of "games are designed to be fun" mantra (a red herring of a mentality if there ever was one, anyways), but PP is especially far from that designation. And yet, it was inviting. There was no hope of victory, perhaps a chance at more enduring? It's odd, I can't really say emotionally why it entertained me so well. Its design certainly fit the gameplan perfectly, so on a technical level it was excellent.


8. Rogue Legacy ; RL didn't stick well enough with me as other Roguelike hybrids have, I think it was the merely servicable music and the loooooooooooong slog in the middle where you hunted after the bosses and farmed runes/patterns/gold for upgrades. It was a price to pay for having a Roguelike/Metroidvania hybrid (there are people who are twitching right now from that name), but it definately had a dull mid-late game.



Clean and creative otherwise, especially with the lineage design, and i definately loved my time a ton when it wasn't bogged down.


9. Dragon's Crown ; I originally bought this as an act of faith that the combination of Vanillaware's game design would finally pay off for me, Atlus' backing of the game, and Basiscape goodness. The early hours were...not good. Too much telltorials (FIE to you VW!), and the lack of character skills heavily restricted combat options leading to very similar encounters, dungeon after dungeon.

But after the A/B paths opened up, the game had gotten very very good. More skills lead to variable strategies, and taking it online worked very well. The Loot-Driven/Beat 'Em Up combination works surprisingly well, and the gear customization is very well though out from what I've seen. Exemplary post-launch support too, and free! VW earned that 1m sales.


10. Tales of Xillia 1 ; Last year's Tales of Graces f was famously bipolar, and the word was Xillia was a return to a more balanced experience. However, I found reason to beg to differ.

Xillia's narrative and characters are much stronger, but the plot puts too much stress on the characters, with Alvin's strong nuanced development especially cracking under the strain. The pairing system nukes mulitplayer (a series staple), and also invites AI brainfarts. The bosses breaking out of combos makes a mockery of the battle system and is a needless, joyless frustration even when you win. The fields are ugly, barren expanses lifted from a PS2 game. Gaius and Musee being trainwrecks of personality, especialy Mr. Gary Stu himself. A sickening lack of costumes and other doodads, shoved off to the side to prey upon the financially inept. And that framerate when the shit hits the fan in-battle; wretched.

But the music, the dialogue, the rest of combat, the city design, and especially the plot when it doesn't punch above its weight shine so well. It wasn't the even quality game it's been painted as, but it definately is worth the money same as Graces was.


2012. Spelunky ; Oh I wish I hadn't mothballed my 360 a few years ago, I coulda been playing this all-time classic! Outstanding music. Outstanding depth. Outstanding little touches. Outstanding controls. Outstanding secrets. Outstanding reward. The inclusion of Daily Challenge only adds to the fun.
 

ULTROS!

Member
Aug 17, 2009
24,607
120
895
Philippines
psnprofiles.com
1. Hotline Miami ; This game is absolutely great. The gameplay is really good and has high replay value. Another great thing about this game is the OST. The OST is amazing.
2. Deadly Premonition: Director's Cut ;
3. Tales of Xillia ;
4. Rayman Legends ;
5. Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies ;
6. Muramasa Rebirth ;
7. Ys: Memories of Celceta ;
8. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX ;
2012. Persona 4 Golden ; One of the best Japanese RPGs ever due to to its engrossing characters, stories, and slick gameplay. This is probably the only recent game that's near perfect in terms of Japanese RPG standards.
 

ranmafan

Member
Jun 7, 2004
1,894
0
0
Waited till the last minute but here is my list.

1. Shin Megami Tensei IV; it was my most anticipated game of the year and it delivered in all areas. I loved everything about the game. Especially the gameplay. I couldn't stop playing it for months. It was the game I needed at the time, a great challenging and fun Jrpg.
2. Grand Theft Auto V; this game was just pure fun. Brought back the feeling I had playing San Andreas on the ps2 oh so long ago.
3. Bioshock Infinite; the world and the characters really stood out on this one for me. The gameplay was fine and good, but really everything about he world of bioshock infinite took ahold of me and amazed me completely.
4. Tomb Raider; always interested in the series but I never really cared for or liked the Lara character in the previous games. This game finally brought me a Lara character I could like, and exploring the island was great fun. My biggest surprise this year,
5. Bravely Default For the Sequel; considering it had quite a number of changes from the original I think it counts for a consideration. Just love this throwback to old style ff games. Wonderful game in every aspect. Gameplay is solid and it has great use of 3d too.
6. Dragons Crown; I love a good action beat em up game, and this one was a lot of fun. Still playing it a lot these days. Great art and design, and just fun gameplay.
7. The last of us; first twenty minutes of the game were some of the most heart wrenching I've see in a game. And the stealth in this game was the best I've experienced in a game. I always felt I was in danger and must choose my way through the game carefully. Great experience,
8. Monster hunter iv; should be mush higher but I've not played it as much as I wanted sadly due to being distracted by other things. But it's as great as the other monster hunter games I've played, and I look forward to playing more of this soon finally.
9. Dragon quest VII 3ds; a remake done right. I love dragon quest VII and the additions and upgrades to this game were remarkable. While I wish they could've kept the original beginning dungeon in the game, I don't mind the change that much since everything else is like it was, only much better. I hope gamers in the west get to experience it soon.
10. Shadowrun returns; the snes game was one of my all time favorite RPGs. Getting a game that returns to that universe has been a dream of mine for a while. Simply returning to the world of shadowrun has been a pleasure.
X. Pokemon X; great game just haven't played it enough to be in the top.
X. DMC Devil may cry; really wanted this in my list, should be a number 11. Far better game than I ever expected it to be.
X. Disgaea d2; loved returning to the disgaea of old.
X. Luigi's mansion 2; fun game, loved exploring every nook and crany in it

And that's it. Wish I could've added sen no Kiseki but I haven't payed it yet. Perhaps that will make it next year. Also I doubt it counts with the rules in place but if I could final fantasy x hd would've made it on the list. But that's ok, I got ten great games in there now as it is,
 

Kjellson

Member
Apr 1, 2007
4,829
0
0
Sweden
Oh shit! Almost forgot about this!

1. The Wonderful 101 ; The Wonderful 101 is one of those games you have to be patient with. I think pretty much everyone who played this game or its demo didn't know what they're were doing for the first 30 minutes or so, but when you're finally start to get a hang of the controls and the combos it just gets amazing. Fighting giant robots with a whip, slamming turtles with shells made of steel with the hammer and half hour boss fights is just pure fun. Never a dull moment. I have rarely had so much fun in a video game as Sequence 8 in this game. Great humour too.
2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD ; The Zelda series is easily my favorite franchise, and The Wind Waker's art style really nails it when the series debuts in HD. Fantastic graphics, fantastic music and fantastic changes. Just the Swift Sail and the improved Nintendo Gallery quest makes this game much, much better than the original.
3. Grand Theft Auto V ; The GTA series never fails. While many thought GTA IV was disappointing, it's in no way a bad game. However, GTA V is better in any way. The missions are fantastic, such as the one where you chase a crashing plane on a motorcycle, or when you steal weapons from a military plane. I absolutely loved flying as high as you could and just jump out and land wherever you did. I was a bit frustrated with this game at first, but it really opens up when Trevor got introduced. The three characters system was interesting too.
4. Pikmin 3 ; I played the original Pikmin when it came out, but I quickly gave up because the time limit stressed me and I didn't like losing Pikmin. I did give Pikmin 3 a chance however, and I absurdly loved it. Awesome world, great characters and just fun. It's not at all stressful when you got the hang of it.
5. Super Mario 3D World ; While I liked the Galaxy games more, a 3D Mario game is always great fun. Great level design, great music, and a great variety of characters. I loved the new power ups and I loved the Plessie levels too. And I also think people are understating its difficulty. The latter levels are a lot harder than any of the 64 or Galaxy levels.
6. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; As I said before, the Zelda series is one of my favorite franchises. I do however prefer the 3D ones, but the 2D ones are fantastic too. ALBW is a really addictive game, where you get access to the whole world almost instantly, which is a welcome addition, and the thing with the dungeons in any order is really cool. But the absolute best part is the fantastic soundtrack. Tons of good songs all over the place, the Dark Palace theme is one of the best dungeon themes in the series. I still listen to Lorule Castle almost daily.
7. Pokémon X/Y ; I'm not so sure I should count X and Y as one game or just Y, but I'll go with both. Pokémon is a game franchise I really like, but not as much as a lot of other people. I don't know everything about natures, EV's, IV's and all that mumbo jumbo, but going out on an adventure to catch, train and build a team cool Pokémon is really fun. The only problem with these games is that I always wish I lived in a Pokémon wod when they get released.
8. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the Witch ; There a few things I love as much as a good ol' JRPG like Ni no Kuni. Going on an adventure to fight monsters and save the world is one of my favorite things, it's just a shame that the amount these types of games have shortened quite a bit during the last generation. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is similar to Pokémon, you catch (or befriend in this case) monsters that fights for you, the evolving is a bit more annoying in this game however. You have to look for a stone, which can take forever, and your monsters resets to level one afterwards. I loved the world of Ni no Kuni though, really colorful and imaginative.
2012. Dragon's Dogma ; I'm actually still playing Dragon's Dogma as I type this, but I have to mention it. This game really reminds me of Skyrim, but what makes it better is the vastly superior combat system. I love beating up enemies with my Burst Strike and Antler Toss, the main problem however is the lack of quick travel like Skyrim does. Thank the lords for Dark Arisen though.

I wish I got the chance to buy some more games this year, I still have a lot of titles on my list to get like a Rayman and DuckTales.
 

GillianSeed79

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Jan 8, 2009
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Phew. Finally updated my list. I got nervous there for a minute. Gone Home and Brothers, which I finished over my holiday break, pulled a complete dark horse and took my third and fourth spots. Eagerly awaiting the results when this is over.
 

AniHawk

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Jun 7, 2004
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Phew. Finally updated my list. I got nervous there for a minute. Gone Home and Brothers, which I finished over my holiday break, pulled a complete dark horse and took my third and fourth spots. Eagerly awaiting the results when this is over.
they were two games that popped up on my top ten last minute too (at #1 and #10 respectively)
 

stupei

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Dec 6, 2008
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1. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; I played this game a lot when it came out. I mean, a lot. And yet months later I still find myself loading it up sometimes to replay scenarios, try out DLC maps, and take on other players I encounter through street pass. While it's not quite the same standard as some of the past entries in the series, having a digital version of the classic super tight gameplay always with me on the go carved out an immediate spot in the top ten.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I've always enjoyed Zelda games, but never been totally obsessed like some people I know. This one is different. I want to find everything -- every single secret and hidden heart piece -- and while I'm a busy person who usually doesn't shy away from looking up hints when I find myself frustrated during the limited time I have to play games, something about this experience has left me wanting to keep it "pure" as much as possible. That might mean that I'm taking a longer time to get through the game, but I really don't mind. It's been worth it.

3. Papers, Please ; I recommended this game to friends. I recommended this game to friends several times, and yet few ever took me up on my suggestion because it's almost impossible to express how and why this game is so phenomenal. The banality of your actions and how that juxtaposes with their essentially sinister undertone might sound simple or boring, but it is anything but. This game impacted me in ways few ever have.

4. The Last of Us ; There are a few clunky and uneven parts in the gameplay -- particularly the ramp up introducing new mechanics at the beginning -- which can lead to moments of frustration, but the game always won me back over. The storytelling is phenomenal, as everyone knows, but what really stood out to me was the way the world felt so alive, despite the apocalyptic setting. There have been a lot of cliche sentiments expressed about The Last of Us -- like how the gameplay and storytelling combine to make an experience that's both engaging as a player but genuinely moving -- and yet as trite as it might seem to offer up such platitudes, I found them all to be essentially true. Naughty Dog really did do it again.

5. Gone Home ;

6. The Stanley Parable ; I wrestled with this game's position on my list a lot and in many ways it's really just a two way split for fifth place between two games that approach a somewhat similar style of storytelling in two extremely different ways. While Gone Home feels new in almost startling ways, The Stanley Parable reveals so many of the things we all already knew about games but articulates it with a dry and witty sense of humor that makes every moment a delight. I've loved every second I've played of this game, even (and maybe especially) when it's frustrated me.

7. Pikmin 3 ; I had never played a full Pikmin game before, and maybe that is part of why I was so thoroughly charmed by the experience. I wish the Wii U gamepad inclusion felt a little more fluid, but that's really only because it's the only obvious flaw in an otherwise amazing game.

8. Grand Theft Auto V ; The first GTA game in a long time that makes me want to dive back into its world over and over. The heists are especially fun, but I also just love the distinctive personalities of the three main protagonists. The only major downside -- apart from the disastrous online that I was never especially interested in anyway -- is that the unique and fun personalities of the three only remind me yet again that I would have loved to see Rockstar's take on at least one female lead character.

9. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; While it wasn't exactly everything I hoped it would be -- perhaps because I really had a lot of hopes -- I enjoyed my time playing this on my 3DS immensely.

10. Don't Starve ; I'll never be sure if I regret watching the Quick Look for this game before I played it. When I started watching I had literally no idea what to expect and in some ways I still felt vaguely confused and overwhelmed when I began playing, but that's a large part of the charm and challenge. I can't wait until I get home from my vacation and can finally play some more of the console version on my PS4.

x Animal Crossing ; I feel kind of odd not putting this on my proper list, because it's definitely one of the games that I sunk the most hours into this year. While the Animal Crossing bug never quite bit me to the extent that it did some of my friends, it's still one of the games I devoted the most time and attention to in 2013 and is therefor worthy of mention.

x Tearaway ; So charming, and so much fun. But in a year with amazing platformers that still didn't make my list, I just couldn't fit it in there.

x Super Mario 3D World ; The only downside to this game really is that it's yet another perfect Mario game from the same team. At this point, it can't help but feel unremarkable that they did it once again.

x Rayman Legends ; This game feels so deep and so dense, it's like I barely scratched the surface. Without making enough progress, it's impossible to know where it might have fallen on my list if I'd had a little more time.

x Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; After the disaster that was Assassin's Creed III, I was close to giving up on this series entirely, but I'm really, really glad I gave this game a chance. While it hasn't exactly blown me away with anything new, it reminds me of what I used to love about this series and has kept me thoroughly entertained. The multiplayer is kind of fun too.
 

djplaeskool

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May 5, 2011
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1. The Last of Us ; It's been a long time since a game has had an uncontested grip on me while playing. The way it started, the way it built up, the way it ended, the characters, the pacing, the atmosphere, the mix of gameplay, all pitch perfect.

2. Demon Gaze ; Absolutely rekindled my thirst for dungeon crawlers. Every aspect of this game was well done, from the Demon-based combat systems to the raft of character types and nuances. I ended up pouring over 80 hours into this one, and I will not hesitate to double-dip when it's localized.

3. Dragon’s Crown ; A long time coming and a fantastic result from Vanillaware. This game has it all for Beat em up fans. The length, diversity of characters, the music, the bosses, and unparalleled attention to detail. I was very glad to see something with so many earmarks of being an intensive labor of love, especially one that went through as many trials as this title did, and succeed so thoroughly.

4. God Eater 2 ; As far as hunting action goes, GE2 is a gold standard. Fast paced, highly customizable, tons of content. Any shortcomings in story and dialog are immediately made up in how well the game plays and how much fun it is to go out and hunt the crap out of the Aragami. Looks fantastic on Vita.

5. Resogun ; Unbelievable little score attack shmup. The visuals are astounding, the music is great, the gameplay is tight and fluid. Easy to grasp, but takes a ton of practice to even get close to mastering. Hands down the game of the PS4 launch.

6. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn ; Many doubted SE could do what had previously never been done, and completely resurrect an online game with a bad launch and a bad name, but ARR bucked that trend with force. The environments and atmosphere, the story, and dialog, the mechanics, all improved massively over 1.x. Yoshi-P is my homeboy.

7. Soul Sacrifice ; Another dynamite hunting action entry from last year. Unorthodox in its ways, means, and presentation, it delivers a wholly unique take on the genre. The gameplay, much like GE2, is highly customizable, the online play is solid, the soundtrack is sensational, and the writing is unbelievably good.

8. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; It's nice to have my SRPG itch scratched so thoroughly. FE:A definitely delivered with a stronger focus on characters and interaction from past entries, to create a very personal experience. Fun game through and through.

9. Bioshock Infinite ; Leave it to Ken Levine to successfully create a White Christian dystopia in the sky. Despite some misgivings with the amount of shootbangin' necessary to get through Bioshock Infinite, the game creates a one of the most breath-taking environments and worlds in a game.

10. Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus ; Fun fun fun life fun fun hometown fun fun. Did I mention hometown? Oh yes, this is easily the best Dynasty Warriors game. The mechanics are far and away better in SV, and even the online multiplayer matches were extremely fun (and balanced thanks to patching from MAQL)

X. Phantasy Star Online 2 ; Winner of my GOTY 2012, SEGA has gone out and nearly doubled the amount of content through some amazing patches and updates over the past year. The game keeps getting better and it's my honest wish they follow through on localization. More people deserve to play it.

X. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; This game was an absolute blast. Despite lack of depth for a Platinum game, the streamlining of the combat actually makes for a very cathartic experience. Finally getting every gameplay aspect (movement, combos, zandatsu) firing on all cylinders is way fun.

X. Genkai Totsuki Monster Monpiece ; I was initially cool on this title, but as the game opened up, and i started to actually concentrate on gameplay strategy, it became something of an obsession. The card battles are solid and the variance available makes for a lot of interesting matches. Also, EXTREME RUBBING.

X. Super Hexagon ; I was late to the Super Hexagon party due to having to wait for the Steam and Android releases. This game is wonderfully addictive. You don't mind dying due to the ease of getting back into the fray. One of the most convincing examples of video game purity out there.

2012. Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 ; A massive improvement over the original Neptunia game, mk2 really hit all the right notes with me. The combat is enjoyable to min/max, the dialog is surprisingly tight, and if you're in the ultra-niche group of people with maybe too much exposure to Japanese games and gaming history, then you're absolutely inundated with pretty clever gags and inside jokes. Enjoyed this one from start to finish. Gust was MVP.
 

jyoung188

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Mar 29, 2011
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1. The Last of Us ; Simply the best game I've played all year, nothing else even comes close. It was one of the most emotional and satisfying gaming experiences I've had in years. My wife isn't really into gaming and she watched me play all the way through it twice. The gameplay and the story complement each other masterfully. This is not only my favorite game of the year, it's my favorite game of the generation.
2. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; A perfect blend of Metal Gear wackyness and Platinum combat. It could've been a little deeper but the boss battles where all amazing, especially the finial boss.
3. Tearaway ; So much more than just a Vita tech demo. Media Molecule created an incredibly adorable and well made handheld gaming experince with a heartwarming story. Also it was also my first Platinum Trophy.
4. Grand Theft Auto 5
5. Bioshock Infinite
6. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
7. Super Mario 3D World
8. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag
9. Gran Turismo 6
10. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

x. DmC: Devil May Cry
x. Guacamelee
x. Rayman Legends
x. Saints Row 4
x. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
x. Steamworld Dig
x. The Stanley Parable

2012. Dark Souls PC

2013 was such an increadible year for gaming. I didn't even post a top ten for 2012, but this year I had a hard time narrowing it down to ten. There were so many honorable mentionst that could've easily ended up in my top ten. With that being said The Last of Us stands head and shoulders above the rest of the list, nothing else even came close.
 

Sober

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Feb 8, 2008
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1. Gone Home ; This is one of the games of 2013 that rocked the boat on GAF and in the gaming community at large. Although that is what seems to be the reputation that it leaves in its wake, Gone Home is much more than that. The team at Fullbright put their expertise to use for everyone to see: the environmental storytelling and use of audio diaries and documents scattered throughout, as well as relatable characters, situations and themes; these are the reasons the writer, Steve Gaynor, has received much praise for this and his other work which includes Minerva's Den (Bioshock 2 DLC). There has been plenty written about the game both on GAF and elsewhere that articulates why it is such a strong game or why it acts as such as watershed moment for gaming and I urge people to do so after they have played Gone Home, to gain further perspective.

Gone Home has caused quite a stir in the gaming community and challenged many assumptions about video games: is it art? is it a a game? why is the game so short? what about combat? are many of the questions that typically follow. I'd like to say Gone Home falls right into definition of video game, as is any other interactive novel that has preceded it. For me it exists in the same dimension as something as mechanically deep as any RTS, RPG, MOBA or combo/style-driven character action game. The spectrum is large and though Gone Home doesn't lie anywhere near those points, it is still very much a video game as an XCOM or StarCraft or Dota2. It is hardly a pioneer at what it does; there have been plenty of games that were "light on gameplay" as some might say (such as interactive novels) or favoured an emphasis on storytelling, but of the few I played, Gone Home is one of the strongest titles to date. Some might argue that since it has no mechanical depth, it should not be considered a game. Some want to label its plot as "boring, nothing happened" when in fact that it has made me think harder about the characters and related more to them more than any other game has. Gone Home, though not the first of its kind, has brought out discussions of what games can actually achieve, sadly even to the chagrin of others who have a somewhat myopic definition of what video games and gaming is. But being able to cause a brouhaha is not why I personally chose it as my Game of the Year, although that it could do that speaks volumes of the industry at large and makes me hopeful at what direction game makes can head in. What ultimately captured me about Gone Home was that it took advantage of what the medium can do and crafted an emotionally moving experience; it was one of the few games that either made me feel something significant by the end and made me think much harder about life and people because of the themes the game decided to touch on. If a game can do that, it is definitely worth being called art, if not at the very least, my game of the year.


2. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist ; Having followed this game early in production and even a few times calling for it's head, it has come out as one of the stronger titles in 2013. Whereas I found Gone Home was a much more of an experience that moved me, Splinter Cell: Blacklist was a game that was just so mechanically and systemically sound, it feels hard to not make this my runner up for Game of the Year.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist also ignited the ire of gamers everywhere starting in E3 of 2012 with it's Michael-Bay, explosive-laden airstrike of a reveal. It was not the Splinter Cell we were expecting, and then the next gut punch was that Michael Ironside would no longer be voicing the very icon of the series, Sam Fisher. In the months that followed starting in 2013 up until its release, I went to the habit of poring over any and every detail that was revealed; my post history during those months are proof enough. What came out after a delay and amid much fear was probably the strongest stealth title of this generation. It was a game that emphasized player choice at its very heart; stealth was an option - the primary option, but one of others nonetheless. If someone wanted to pick up the game and play it like a third-person shooter, the game and player could adapt to that. Don't mistake that for giving up on stealth; stealth was still the cornerstone of the series and was given tons of focus in production and it shows. Although one might argue it is a far cry from the pinnacle of Chaos Theory, I would argue differently and say Blacklist comes close, if not rivals what most considered to be both the cream of the crop of the series and one of the big three in the pantheon of the stealth genre. If you want specifics: AI that never lets up when you are detected, sight lines that are both intuitive (they take longer to see you in the dark from afar; they can still see you in the dark if you are a foot or two in front of them), and other features and systems that take advantage of hardware that previous entries could not to create a more enriching stealth experience. The level design is impeccable minus a few minor spots, which says a lot about Blacklist as that is usually the crux of why stealth games are cast aside or are considered strong.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is without a doubt, the strongest stealth game of the generation, possibly creeping up on best to date. It even comes with more content that most might expect in the form of a fairly long (10-12 hour) story campaign, side missions and co-operative mode as well as the asymmetrical multiplayer mode, Spies vs. Mercs. It provides a level of stealth gameplay that has been mostly untouched in recent times, and then decides to heap more on top of it to make it more complex and interesting. The stealth genre has always rewarded players for taking their time, planning, and executing their plan. Blacklist provides both a large breadth of tools (gadgets, abilities) and provides properly crafted courses for the player to traverse and master (both the AI and the level design is able to fit any and all playstyles without feeling shoehorned in) that, for me, completely overshadows any other game that someone might consider mechanically and/or systemically deep. Anyone who says they want to be able to poke a prod a game and have it react to them unexpectedly and isn't a fan of stealth games needs to look at Splinter Cell: Blacklist as soon as they can. This is practically player choice and consequence mixed into moment-to-moment gameplay at its finest.


3. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; I picked up a 3DS in September, and in mid-November, I had bought New Leaf on a whim. I had no idea what the series had in store for me. It was something akin to a Facebook game (before those existed), and it took ahold of my addictive personality immediately. I have maybe missed a few days but nearly everyday, I have run around my town, doing what amounts to chores, talking to my neighbours (and none of them moved, I just already love the initial random ones that the game started me off with and refuse to let them leave) or becoming indebted to a raccoon because I want a bigger house to put more things in. Within those few short months, New Leaf has taken up a good portion of my day, and a good portion of my time as I continue to uncover more that is hidden underneath it. Without fail there is always another surprise or event that I cannot imagine they thought of, and I am happy to continue to opening up my 3DS to put more time into New Leaf going into 2014.

4. Saints Row IV ; This game is straight-up fun and has the humour to back it up. The humour might not be for everyone, but it consistently hits. It goes to all weird places (even before you include the two story DLCs) but manages to keep it grounded at times with the characters. SR4 manages to make open-world games fun and ruin the others at the same time by letting you traverse it with ease and in style and reckless abandon.

5. The Stanley Parable ; A game about games would be the best way to describe The Stanley Parable. It challenges the player to challenge assumptions of how game are played. Hell, the demo challenges assumptions of how game demos are demoed. It features a narrator that makes the experience - however seemingly melancholy or outright depressing at times - light hearted while still speaking volumes about the current state of gaming.

6. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I thoroughly enjoyed ALBW, although I have spoken on the subject of not growing up alongside with Nintendo in the 90s to develop the proper amount of nostalgia or appreciation. ALBW though somehow manages to work on its own (despite being a ALTTP homage/"remake") while at the same time providing a fresh take on the decades-old Zelda/Metroid-vania formula as well as crafting a game that plays smoothly (60 fps) on the 3DS.

7.Papers, Please ; This is a game about the monotony of bureaucratic work and dares the player to challenge it. Do you listen to what might just be a sob story for someone trying to cross the border without the proper credentials? Or should you stick with the rules and depersonalize everyone else so you can get paid to care for your family (who also feels depersonalized at times). It feels like work at times, forcing you to be on your toes to catch discrepancies in documents and making you try to memorize imaginary facts about imaginary places so you can provide for a family you barely see and only try to keep warm or fed for the next day.

8. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; Another game focused on storytelling, it also takes advantage of the medium to do what other media cannot, and that is with interactivity. Controlling two brothers with the analog sticks feels awkward at first but eventually (or hopefully) becomes more like second nature. It speaks about family and sacrifice and overcoming fears. The strongest part in the game where storytelling and gameplay mechanics both intersect prove that video games don't always have to be about 'play' or 'game' (i.e. involving distinct fail states or competition) but don't have to shy away from using mechanics to enhance and complement storytelling. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons continues to remind me that storytelling in video games can take advantage of the medium in its own way.

9. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; As much as I like to join in some good old fashioned ribbing on a series that occasionally (or always) deserves it, there has never been a case where an Assassin's Creed game won't have its claws into me and I will refuse to come up for air until at least putting 40 hours into it. AC4: Black Flag takes one of the two parts I enjoyed in AC3 (the Homestead missions and naval combat) and expands on the ship combat and places it in a time in history where pirates are famed for. As someone interested with all periods of history and missing a gap as to who/what/when/where/why of pirates, AC4 also helped ignite and inform my interest for the time period and the geographical area in which they operated in. All the while, I'm hooked into playing another Assassin's Creed title.

10. Batman: Arkham Origins ; Although more of the same is something that can describe nearly any sequel/prequel/interquel of any game series, there is something in Arkham Origins that feels wholly unique - the 'origin' story of Batman, or rather how his presence a year or two into his career begins to invite supercriminals into his rogues' gallery. The game touches on the origins of Batman and *gasp*The Joker*gasp* but here, Batman feels less inscrutable and completely self-confident compared to his Kevin Conroy-/later-career Batman, which is a nice breath of fresh air for a story for a Batman title. The underpinnings of the game systems in both combat and predator encounters carries over and are still enjoyable to me even after being relatively unchanged after all this time.

x. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon ; Goofy 80's action/sci-fi movie homage in an open world shooter. Has the prescience to make sure it is also fun to navigate unlike most open-world games. Though I did not live through the 80s for the nostalgia factor, they played it off very well and got enough laughs out of me regardless.

x. Guacamelee ; This is a strong metroidvania game that has a unique setting/theme that is rarely explored. I wish there was more done with the living/dead worlds, but that likely would've unintentionally caused more of the game to become filler. This is the perfect length for a metroidvania style game and carried just the right amount of challenge.

x. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; This is a game I wish I put more hours into this year, but coming late into the 3DS in the year, I did not have much time to put in, but even surface observations after five or so hours of play and other people's impressions tell me there is much more left unexplored for me to uncover and see. My only gripe is (even though it is a staple of the series) permadeath in a game with wholly unique and crafted characters, which never meshes well with how I like to experience content (whereas on the other hand I am perfectly fine with permadeath in a game like XCOM).

x. Bioshock: Infinite ; Absolutely beautiful, great production values, a plot that just seems to invite plenty of discussion and theorizing. My only issue is the wishy-washy attempts to discuss more historical themes (especially racism) as well as what I thought was fairly weak moment-to-moment gameplay loop.

x. The Swapper ; I am usually one to drop a puzzle game if I get stuck on a tough one but there is something about The Swapper that urges me to continue. I wish, like some other games, that I put more time into it this year, but it continues to beckon me to finish it. Beautiful handcrafted details and a spooky ambiance as well as the puzzles are keeping me going.

x. The Novelist ; Another small indie game that makes the player contemplate what to do when managing family, life and work. In the confines of a summer home, you discover what makes each of the three characters tick - what their hopes, dreams, insecurities and priorities lie - and then try to find a balance, or maybe you don't, but either way you see the consequences. It takes advantage of the medium to tell a story well, but my only issue was that the gameplay loop was fairly limited and not particularly engaging enough.

2012. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition ; There is nothing else in the vein of Dark Souls these days, except for Demon's Souls and Dark Souls 2. I spent a good part of 2013 in Dark Souls, stopping and somehow dropping it halfway though the year. But now I am picking it back up, first by deleting my previous character and going in (mostly) blind with a new character.
 

bonesquad

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Jun 10, 2004
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1. The Last of Us ; Duh. The game has giraffes so it wins by default. :)
2. Gunpoint ; I had more fun rewiring these levels than with any other game in 2013. Plus I enjoyed the lighthearted spy story on top of it all.
3. Papers, Please ; After personal issues with customs this past year it was therapeutic to sit on the other side of the glass... Awe, you haven't seen your son in years? But your passport expired. Denied!
4. The Swapper ; Amazing atmosphere with a really cool puzzle mechanic. Contains the best "a-ha!" moment of the year.
5. Bioshock Infinite ; The world of Columbia is amazing, and the story was quite interesting. It's a shame the guns felt so flat, but otherwise I immensely enjoyed my time with this game.
6. Device 6 ; People poo-poo mobile games. I say they play the wrong ones. Despite what IGN says, Infinity Blade is NOT the best iOS has to offer. Unique narrative puzzles like Device 6 are. Simogo rules.
7. Dead Rising 3 ; Far from perfect, but I like shooting zombies. And this game has them in spades.
8. Antichamber ; I made a complete 180 on this game. After hating my initial play session after it gave me a headache, I gave the game another shot. Damn cool game.
9. Rogue Legacy ; I'm not a fan of roguelikes or permadeath, but the upgrade cycle kept me hooked. And then an odd thing happened, I started to like the actual gameplay too.
10. Battlefield 4 ; I know. But this is my favorite multiplayer game of the year, and it looks amazing on PS4. If it wasn't for the, ahem, multiple issues this would be higher on my list.

x. Guacamelee ; Really cool 2D adventure game with a neat setting. But suffers from Borderlands 2-itis (great asthetic, fun characters, terrible writing...)
x. Retro/Grade ; A pretty neat rhythm game, but when you dust off an old Wii Rock Band guitar, hook it up to your PC, then the game really shines.
x. Gone Home ; Worth playing, and worth talking about. I can appreciate what this tried to do, and I loved the 90s nostalgia and music. However, the rest fell flat.

2012. Cook, Serve, Delicious! ; Buy it. I'm suddenly hungry for a Ryan Davis Burger...
 

Herla

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Jan 13, 2011
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1. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen ; More than 100 hours. I played this game for more than 100 hours, and that was because I had to forcibly stop myself from running this expansion's dungeon over and over again.
And to think that when it was announced I thought to myself "it's Capcom, it's never going to be any good". And now here it stands, my favourite game of 2013 and possibly one of my favourite games of this generation.
I could spend way too much time describing what makes it so good, but I'll just say what made it special for me: it's probably the only game I've played that perfectly recreated the feeling of going on an adventure.
Too many games try to do replicate that, and fail in one way or another. Sometimes you're restricted by the plot, other times the mechanics are so poorly implemented that nothing you do is actually impressive and so on. Dragon's Dogma knows how you have to fight a mighty beast, and gives you the tools to do exactly that. It knows what's exciting about exploring, and gives you incentives to do so. It knows that a subtle story is more effective than hours of exposition, and blows your mind with its ending.
Sure, it's not devoid of problems...but when this game does something right, it does so spectacularly.
Good job Capcom, you managed to make an exceptionally good game. Now give Itsuno a load of cash and make a goddamn sequel.

2. Gunpoint ; The last 2013 game that I played, and it jumped right into the second place. Not that it took long to beat, but it was completely worth it. From this game I expected a neat puzzle/stealth, but it's much more than what I anticipated.
The writing is witty and excellent and there are actual branches in the story not only through dialogue, but in the way you play the game. Sometimes I didn't even remember how I approached a situation, but my playstyle was reflected in how the story played out and I was rewarded for it. In a way, the reduced lenght only encourages replayability.
A gem, through and through.

3. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; A lot of people seem disappointed with this game, and maybe I can understand why. But at the same time I can't help but think that they might just be broken hearted.
This game rekindled my love for classic JRPGs, not because of complex mechanics or a plot full of twists and turns, but for the exact opposite: because of how simple it was. It seems like JRPGs of today are on a race where the more bizarre and overcomplicated you get the more appeal you have to your fans.
I'm sorry, but sometimes I just want to be a child who saves the world. And Ni No Kuni is magical in that, with its cast of charming characters and colourful world. When most games today want to create a feeling of "epicness", Ni No Kuni stands out for being a simple fairy tale with a heart. And I haven't even mentioned the glorious art direction and incredible soundtrack...but that's probably the first thing everyone notices.
Yes the combat system is not great and a bit grindy, yes the story is predictable and cliche and yes, the crafting while interesting is not exactly useful...but I enjoyed everything a whole lot and the fact that I'm now back into a genre that I largely ignored in the past years is all gravy.
Proper tidy.

4. Shadowrun Returns ; I was really disappointed with how the funds for this game were managed, but the end product managed to surprise me.
Sure, it's incredibly linear, simple and kind of short...but I'm a sucker for Cyberpunk, and the writing was excellent. While my choices didn't necessarily impact how the game progressed, I felt like I could play the character I wanted solely based on the way the dialogues play out and that's something I rarely find in RPGs these days.
Plus the art was great, the soundtrack really well done (if a bit repetitive during fights) and the editor surprisingly simple to use.
Can't wait for the next part and the fixes it's supposed to have, especially regarding how saving is handled.

5. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; This game could be summarized with "fuck yeah". From the very beginning it makes you feel like a complete badass and never lets go. It's a crescendo of action, sillyness and complete lack of "fucks" to give about anything ever. And that damn soundtrack...so stupid, by why do I love it so much?
The only bad things I can think of are the lack of a boss rush mode in the console version (seriously, that makes no sense. They are the best part of the game, but I don't want to go through an entire level of scrubs again just to replay it.), some camera issues and the somewhat mashy combat. I didn't even care about the lenght. The "Jack" stuff was cringeworthy, but it's not like the game cares about its story that much so I can just shake my head at it and go back to the "cutting shit" part.
Seriously though, that soundtrack needs to get out of my head.

6. Saints Row IV ; I'm one of those people who managed to appreciate both Saints Row 2 and Saints Row The Third, and IV is no exception. Just stop thinking about it as a gangster simulator and put it closer to games like Crackdown and you'll be fine. Kind of.
As usual, Saints Row delivers on being extremely fun to play, with some funny writing and surprising scenarios and it never stops from making me smile ear to ear while playing it.
Sadly, like Saints Row The Third, it has its share of shortcomings. The open world might as well not exist (though it's nice to fly around the city), cars and weapons are rendered useless and the superpowers make the game's difficulty trivial even at the highest difficulty setting. And while all the cameos and references to past games were really nice, I expected Volition addressing more than just Shaundi's personality.
"Two steps forward, two steps back" indeed.

7. Guacamelee ; I like Metroidvanias, but the unique artstyle, music and surprisingly complex and satisfying combat system made Guacamelee stand out to me. I'm also not a fan of platformers and, sadly, that's why this game is not higher on my list.
I expected more from the "switch worlds" mechanic and, sadly, was only rewarded in frustration. But bosses like Jaguar Javier make it all worthwhile.
Oh, and please stop with the internet "humor", it only distracts people from the actually funny original writing.

8. Civilization V: Brave New World ; Civ V was a disappointing game, and while the first expansion improved some things it still couldn't reach the majesty of Civ IV. Brave New World finally introduces some elements that incourage more peaceful ways of playing, improving both Diplomacy and Trading, making it a more complete experience. Sadly it also makes some Civs kind of overpowered, and that's why it's not higher on my list.
Civ IV is still the better game, but at least now I can appreciate the core Civ V improvements with no hindrances to my play style.

9. Expeditions: Conquistador ; I haven't played much of it, I'll admit, but what I played of it really surprised me. It's a simple turn based wrpg with some survival elements, but what makes it stand out from the others is the setting.
While I'm not a fan of it, this historical period is the perfect place for some real grey morality and difficult choices that so many games seem to get wrong. It's simple to think "oh Conquistadores were terrible people and racism is bad so I'll actually try to be a good guy", but that's not how it worked at the time.
Sometimes you need to do some horrible things, sometimes you need to piss of some people, sometimes you need to feel like a bad person. And I love it.

10. Resogun ; I'm not the kind of guy that really appreciates these kinds of arcade games, but Resogun really surprised me. The game is approachable but still difficult, and makes for a perfect "i've got a few minutes to burn" game.
I'm not exactly great at it, but I keep finding myself wanting to get just one more trophy...

x. DmC: Devil May Cry ; I thought about putting this in my TOP 10 for a long time, but decided that it did not deserve that.
I tried to play it with an open mind, but as much as I tried to appreciate the visually creative level design, surprisingly solid voice acting and actually fun combat, I was constantly disappointed (and, at times, somewhat disgusted) by the lack of difficulty, terrible "edgy" writing and art direction. And coming out the same year as MGR did not help at all.
I had fun, but I've also shunned better games for similar reasons. If a sequel ever happens, I really hope they'll try to take themselves less seriously.

2012. Crusader Kings II ; I've been a fan of Civilization since Civ II, but I can't say I've ever played a proper Grand Strategy Game. Thanks to the humble bundle I finally found the opportunity to approach such a daunting genre with Crusader Kings II and...I loved it.
I don't know why though: I'm terrible at it, I have NO idea about what am I supposed to do and every time I look at the map I get confused.
But arranging marriages, completing random events and having my grandson and future heir to the throne actually being my son, born of an affair with my daughter-in-law, is surprisingly addictive. I'm doing it wrong, and I'm having fun.
 
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