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

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Oct 19, 2005
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Alright, let's do this.

1. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; There were a lot of games I enjoyed quite a bit this year, but when it came down to which one would take the top spot there was really only one choice. I know a lot of us thought we might never see another entry in this series at all, much less one that lived up to the standards of its predecessors. With this game, Atlus didn't just recapture what was great about Megaten in the first place; they did it with a new team and a surprisingly progressive design. In a year where there seemed to be near-universal agreement about the downfall of Japanese development, SMT4 points to what was so great about it in the first place: excellent combat, beautiful design, an expansive world, and a philosophical story to tie it all together. Of all the games on this list, this is the one I know I'll be going back to over and over again.

2. The Stanley Parable ; Videogames, at a certain level, are built on a paradox; a medium whose fundamental strength is interaction, but its bounds are constrained by what the creators choose to put into the game. The best games find a way to carefully balance this problem; the Stanley Parable smashes through it with a sledgehammer. For anyone who's ever been annoyed at a shoehorned set of "moral" "choices," or swore about the half-assed "story" in a AAA game, Stanley has your back. The cleverness of this game is almost impossible to describe; the best thing to do is simply dive in and experience it yourself. (P.S.: EIGHT.)

3. Gone Home ; A lot of what's been said about this game doesn't quite fit for me. It's not revolutionary; it's not a clever satire of game storytelling (look above for that.) What Gone Home is, though, is shockingly well-realized, naturalistic storytelling of a type that's quite rare in gaming. Gone Home is short, but perfectly paced and expertly designed; it provides a window into the lives of its characters in a way that's only possible in an interactive format. For anyone who wants to pore over the artifacts of an unknown setting, to extract meaning from subtle details, this is pretty much a perfect game.

4. The Swapper ; The first thing that strikes you about this game is the carefully-cultivated resemblance to Metroid. But instead of an action yarn about monsters and pirates, this game delivers a moody, cerebral meditation on the nature of thought -- wrapped around the set of clever, brain-twisting spatial puzzles that the swapping mechanic makes possible. The puzzles will make you think through pretzels, but every one has an elegant soluton that'll make you slap your forehead once you figure it out, and the game blazes through the possibilities and finishes up before it gets old.

5. Rogue Legacy ; I actually agree with many of the criticisms of the game: it's kind of shallow, it's a little unbalanced, it's overly long, and it gets grindy. But despite all that, I just kept finding myself drawn back to this game, thinking about it when I wasn't playing, spending time beating my head against bosses, staying up too late doing just one more run. This game is a perfect, accessible introduction to rogue-lite mechanics and a great way to get a Castlevania fix.

6. Pikmin 3 ; I've been a fan of Pikmin since the beginning, but each of the previous games had issues: Pikmin's aggressive time limit made playing it stressful, while Pikmin 2's dungeons made it drag on and left the game with too many tedious segments. Pikmin 3 is a perfect midpoint between the two: a more forgiving time limit and a better-designed set of objectives, combined with new mechanical improvements, make it the best-playing and most enjoyable game in the franchise.

7. Etrian Odyssey IV ; At this point Atlus has gotten the EO franchise down to a science: manually mapped dungeons, F.O.E. encounters, a minimalist story with a twist.... The fourth entry doesn't bring much new stuff to the table, but instead just focuses on streamlining and polishing what's already there. What that gets us is the entry I'd feel comfortable recommending to anyone who wanted to get into these games, and one that chewed up about 100 hours of my time.

8. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; In a year with so many art games, what actually surprised me the most about this one was how solid the game mechanics were. "Each half of your controller controls a different person" is a simple idea, but the game makes excellent use of it, carefully exploring the puzzle potential in a way that feels natural and elegant. Plus, this game is absolutely gorgeous, with a fairy-tale presentation that is simply stunning.

9. Papers, Please ; More than any other game I played in 2013, Papers, Please is the one to really challenge my preconceptions of what gameplay could actually be. The challenge of sorting through paperwork starts easy, but as the game expands the challenge of juggling every rule and restriction starts to get really stressful as you fight against the clock to clear immigrants an earn money for your family. The story is minimalist, but that's exactly what makes it so easy to insert yourself into the scenario.

10. Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies ; After a disappointing entry and the specter of the 3DS transition, I was approaching this game with a sense of trepidation, but I was quite happy with what we got. Dual Destinies preserved the charm of the older games, and the story even rehabilitates Apollo Justice with its new ensemble cast approach. Beyond that it's the same legal goodness that the franchise is known for -- but more Ace Attorney is plenty good to squeeze into the last spot on my list.

x. Super Mario 3D World ; It's no Super Mario Galaxy, but it's still quite good.

x. Guacamelee ; This was actually a surprise. The "jokes" in this game hit with a big clang, but the visual design is stunning and the gameplay is rock-solid, with platforming and combat that flow perfectly and great level design that doesn't wear out its welcome.

2012. Hotline Miami ; At this point I don't think there's much more to say about this game that hasn't already been said: the psychedelic visuals, the precision ultraviolence, the incredible soundtrack. Everyone should play this.
 
May 4, 2005
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1. Super Mario 3D World ; Creative, fun and varied level design, tight mechanics and some nice challenge near the end. Super Mario 3D World may not beat Super Mario Galaxy, but it comes incredibly close to the two best 3D games I know.
2. Pikmin 3 ; Pikmin could as well be number one. I absolutely love the combination of uncomplicated, yet challenging, strategy gameplay and almost Action-Adventure-like exploration. When I had finished Pikmin 3, the first thing I wanted to do was: Start Pikmin 3 anew. Besides the incredible main game, there als is an intriguing challenge mode that has an incredible amount of thought put into it. Everyone who has a Wii U should have Pikmin 3 and from my point of view, this gem alone makes the purchase of Wii U worth it.
3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Re-entering one of my favourite worlds in the series, with a fresh new makeover. Wall-merging really makes all the difference, the overworld might seem familiar, but it also plays like a new one. Moreover, dungeon design and especially the small secret rooms were incredible. From my point of view, this is close to being the best handheld game in the series - only Link's Awakening maybe beats it, but I'm still not sure about that - and even edges out its great SNES-predecessor
4. Rayman Legends ; Nintendo hasn't really been able to show, why the GamePad is really essential to Wii U. Ubisoft however, has done exactly this. Michel Ancel's team at Montpellier has produced one of the, if not the most fresh gameplay experience I've had all year. Playing this in multiplayer with my fiancée was the best multiplayer time I've ever had!
5. Luigi's Mansion 2 ; With Luigi's Mansion 2, Next Level Games really has made a tremendous jump in my book. Never would I have thought that they'd be able to not only change the Luigi's Mansion formula so nicely that the game fits on the 3DS, but NLG not only did that, but totally eclipsed the first game in charme, level design and concept. Everyone who loves classic Adventures should give this gem a go!
6. Sonic Lost World (Wii U) ; It may not be what I want from a Sonic game - uncomplicated yet challenging super-highspeed platforming ala Sonic Unleashed - but still it's a great 3D platformer with a lot of challenge and nice level designs. I especially dig the demanding S-Ranks.
7. Fire Emblem Awakening ; From my point of view, this is the best mobile Fire Emblem. Great battle design, nice small new ideas and the familiar well-balanced gameplay mechanics make for one hell of a game.
8. Mario & Luigi: Dream team Bros. ; Many people where unhappy with the pacing and indeed, it is not up-to-par with my favourite RPG ever made, Bowser's Inside Story. But playing this game on the go, this flaw didn't get in my way all too much. I was left with really nice level designs (with the exception of these one-room Pi'illo "challenges", but they took about 5 minutes in total?), an outstanding fighting mechanic, great enemy design (definite favourite: Viruses) and a lot of humour. I still love the brothers who help you get up the mountain (Judging by their German names, they are probably called something like "Muscul Brothers" in English?)
9. Virtue's Last Reward ; While the gameplay in VLR is nice and fun, the real star is the well-told story which is among the best and most interesting I've yet seen in a videogame. Also, this game kept my Vita busy, before Rayman and tearaway lead to a satisfactory end of the year for this platform.
10. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; After AC3 and especially ACR I was very skeptical that Ubisoft would be able to get the series back on track. AC4 now is much better in its design, puts you right into the game and fixes many the big flaws AC3 had.
x. Sega 3D Classics ; incredibly well-made 3D-ports, I had a lot of fun with Sonic and the arcade games!
x. Pokémon X / Y ; More of the same, but therefore also more of the good things Pokémon has to offer. I was let down by the non-existant use of 3D but still had a lot of fun.
x. tearaway ; Nice and fun game. I think it's too easy and comfort isn't the focus when using new control options
x. Batman Arkham Origins ; not as good as Arkham City but still one of the best lincensed games

2012. Darksiders 2 ; Some really nice puzzles, but also very tiresome combat.
 
Sep 15, 2005
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Whew, just in time!

1. The Last of Us ; It was by far my most enjoyed title, even though I didn't play the multiplayer at all. The graphics were stunning, the story was great and the gameplay was fun and engaging. It shows again how great ND are at making this kind of adventure titles.


2. Grand Theft Auto V ; If TLoU was the best adventure title, GTA5 is by far the best open world title this year (and imo this gen). The playable area was huge and the amount of detail everywhere was nothing short of amazing. However the multiplayer was quite lackluster and nowhere as fun as I once hoped.


3. Hotline Miami ; Loved the game because of how well it represented the 80s. The music is great, the designs are so whacky and the gameplay is a lot of fun and reminds me of the old GTA games in a good way. Definitely a must play for everyone!


4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; At first the whole going into walls felt a bit gimmicky, but overall it's a very nice gameplay feature, and an amazing throw back to the old A Link to the Past. I haven't finished it yet though, so I can't wait to get through the whole thing.


5. Tearaway ; Sadly one of the very few reasons to get a Vita, but one that makes the console pretty much worth it just for it. Amazing visuals, lovely story and characters, and all the customization is great (common for MediaMolecule though!).


6. Super Mario 3D World ; Stunning visuals and really good gameplay. It might not have crazy cutscenes or deep story, and that's good because they would probably just get in the way. The best example of pure gameplay this year!


7. Killzone: Mercenary ; The most stunning game on Vita (above Tearaway technically), and tight gameplay. Not a fan of some of the level designs but still great game.
 
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The Stanley Parable Videogames, at a certain level, are built on a paradox; a medium whose fundamental strength is interaction, but its bounds are constrained by what the creators choose to put into the game. The best games find a way to carefully balance this problem; the Stanley Parable smashes through it with a sledgehammer. For anyone who's ever been annoyed at a shoehorned set of "moral" "choices," or swore about the half-assed "story" in a AAA game, Stanley has your back. The cleverness of this game is almost impossible to describe; the best thing to do is simply dive in and experience it yourself. (P.S.: EIGHT.)
did you get the broom closet ending? the broom closet ending was my favorite.
 
Jun 27, 2011
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There are ton of games that I'd like to have more time with from this year so I could make a proper list. Games that I own but don't feel I have put enough time in or even started like GTAV, Bravely Default, Muramasa, Tearaway... and games that I don't own but might have a solid chance to enter my list like Mario 3D World (and other Wii U games), Tales of Xillia, Ratchet Nexus... Too many great games in 2013 but anyway, heres my list of the games I did get to put proper time in:


1. Persona 4 Golden ; One of the biggest things I can appreciate about 2013 is that it rekindled my love and hope for the ''traditional'' JRPG genre after being crushed by FFXII that I felt was a little too much of a change from the older ones and FFXIII that I actually liked a little bit better than XII but it certainly wasn't a great game. While Ni No Kuni was the game that pulled me back to the genre P4G was the one that cemented it. I never played the original despite all the praises, I do own P3FES but I couldn't get into it and never got far. With Vita however I really felt I could stick with this game in short bursts before going to bed and whatnot and it really felt natural on a handheld device due to the nature of daily routines you do in the game. The thing I probably most like about the game is how upbeat it is most of the time. Soundtrack is really fun to listen to, characters are fun, battle system is quite basic but it just works. I never really thought that I would also like the social link and such elements but they actually were my favourite part! Really gave you some hard time thinking how to spend your days and that just made it feel that your choices had some impact (tho I know now that there is a guide for maxing everything ect. but that would be such a bore!). Really the only ''bad'' things about the game I can think of are quite boring enemy designs and one of the trophies being stupid :(. I actually never really was bothered by the basic dungeon designs that many seem to dislike. Great game that might be the most ''fun'' JRPG I have played.
2. DmC:Devil May Cry ; Another game that was just pure fun. I'm one of the seemingly few that like the narrative direction this game took after DMC4 and whatnot. I liked the story and characters but the part that really shines is the gameplay. Combat is super fun and gives you quite a few tools to have fun with and chain together seamlessly. If this is the first ''casual'' DMC then they sure nailed it cause I never felt as much in control in a traditional action game without it being just a button masher. Level design is impressive and has really good use of colours, the game just looks great. There really is only one thing I really dislike about it and it's some of the cutscenes you cannot skip when replaying the game and some of the slower ''walking sections'' that should be skippable as well.
3. Civilization V: Brave New World ; Not as huge improvement as the first expansion but after BNW I finally have completely given up on CiV4, it's time to move on. The game feels very complete now and I have probably put more hours on BNW than CIV5+G&K put together. Best Civilization game as far as I'm concerned. 220+ hours and counting and expecting many more to come.
4. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMix ; or rather Kingdom Hearts Final Mix to be exact, the rest is just a bonus. I probably could have put this one all the way to #1 spot but since this is just a rerelease of a game I have played to death I'll show some restraint. Anyway one of my all time favourites made better. The picture quality is very impressive even if not native 1080p and could use a lil more AA. Game looks very good, remastered soundtrack is mostly a welcome improvement and it was really good to finally get my hands on the Final Mix content. A damn classic made even better. The only bad things I can say about the conversion are the sound bugs (that actually I didn't experience but I know some people who did), difficulty trophies not stacking and Re:CoM conversion not being quite as high quality as KHFM.
5. The Last of Us ; Honestly the reason why this isn't ranking higher on the list is that at the time I played this I was a little burned out on ''shootbang games''. Anyway the graphics are great, characters and acting is great, and perhaps most surprisingly the gameplay is really, really great! Stealth elements were the most surprising to me how fun some encounters were. Another surprise was that the multiplayer actually is really, really fun and I really should have put more time into it than I did. Looking foreward to the DLC to be sure! Also I'm a sucker for zombie games.
6. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; The game that pulled me back to JRPGs. Some would say that it might be a little too traditional and basic for it's own good but I kinda feel like after XII and XIII that is exactly what I needed. Music is great, graphics are great, and I'll be damned if I won't defend the battle system too despite the haters! Plot is quite basic but very charming at the same time. Ghibli cutscenes were a little choppy and low budget at times and very few between the beginning and the end but just the charm is enough to redeem everything about them too. Really big surprise concidering I wasn't expecting anything out of this.
7. DotA 2 ; While I still have some complaints coming from HoN and just some of the things not feeling quite ready for final release it has the same addictive MOBA gameplay I live for and certainly top tier when it comes to F2P games in general. In just a few weeks I have put in almost 100 games. The only reason this one isn't higher on the list is that it is a little too same old same old (then again would I like any big changes? Probably not). But it is a new look and the successor to the game that introduced me to the whole thing so I salute this game.
8. Guacamelee ; Really fun little game that just shines on Vita. Fun combat and platforming and just the right lenght to keep you wanting just a little more.
9. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F ; Screw you, I'm a sucker for rythm games!
10. Puppeteer ; Really great looking and charming platformer. The kind of game that is a dying breed. Music is top tier too. However while I actually enjoyed the cutscenes I do agree with some complaints that they could have had more gameplay in between them. Also released for a budget price so bonus points for that!
x. DuckTales: Remastered ; Excellent retro remake that is crippled by control bugs.
x. Velocity Ultra ; Great lil game to have on Vita! Special shoutout for being a PS+ freebie at release no less!
x. Corpse Party: Book of Shadows ; Based XSEED keeping dat PSP alive. I liked the original a bit more but I am really glad for some publishers to keep games like this coming.
x. Rayman Legends ; I was a little dissapointed in this sequel due to most of the game being a bit too easy. However the music, graphics and some of the daily challenges kept me in to platinum the game. Screw Ubisoft tho for releasing a botched Vita version and being shady as fuck about it.
 

Mutagenic

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Aug 18, 2007
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1. Dota2 ; I never cared for the original mod. Like many others, I became enthralled during the first International and decided to put forth some legitimate effort in understanding what I was watching. Luckily, I've had someone with experience to help mentor me on the ways of this deep, challenging game. Lasting power.

2. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ; I owned Freedom and Tri in the past, but this iteration finally managed to suck me in. The ability to transfer saves between the Wii-U and 3DS versions has been a godsend. This was another game someone was kind enough to walk me through the intricacies of, lessening the barrier for entry. Its rare to find such value in a package, but Ultimate continues to deliver.

3. Bioshock Infinite ; The beautiful world of Columbia managed to draw me in not with its sights, but with the dark, eerie undertones that permeated the landscape (oh snap). Sure, the story was filled with plot holes and inconsistencies that, when studied hard enough, managed to break the illusion for some. I never cared to go down that route, instead allowing the characters to guide me through a fun, thought-provoking narrative.

4. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; The first of many 3DS games on my list. Once I stepped foot in the tutorial dungeon and heard that initial atmospheric track playing (along with Burrough's voice), I knew I'd enjoy this game. SMT games are weird and I still can't fully wrap my head around them, and I love them for it.

5. Ys: Memories of Celceta ; It was obvious from the first boot that Celceta was not built from the ground up for the Vita. I swear they did everything they could to make sure I was immediately turned off by the visuals and animation. And while the story was as exciting as most Ys games (ie: not very), I really enjoyed the combat and have always found a certain charm within this series.

6. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Memories! A Link to the Past was something to behold when it was released, and for a game to hearken back to those glory days is a special thing. 60fps, fluid movement, and a great soundtrack; everything else could have been lackluster (and it was) and it still deserves this spot on my list. Here's hoping for MM.

7. Fire Emblem Awakening ; After playing Shadow Dragon, I wasn't expecting much from Awakening. But in many ways, this is a return to form for a series that continues to stay relevant. The few new mechanics keep things fresh and the interface is fast and fluid.

8. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; A digital-only release was a tough pill to swallow, but swallow I did at the blessing of another entry in this beloved series. The Ace Attorney games do it like no other; marching to the beat of his own drum, Phoenix and his crew are like soul food: comfortable, enjoyable, welcoming.

9. Rogue Legacy ; 'Just one more life' became my mantra before finally turning off the game after each play session. RL manages to feel fresh and unique by combining a number of different systems together to form a cohesive whole that is too terribly addicting.

10. Papers, Please ; It's true, Papers does transport you into the shoes of an immigration inspector like I never would have thought a game would be capable of doing. The music, the color palette, the artwork...they all come together to form an experience as much as they do a game. The subplots and multiple endings (I've watched my girlfriend get through like 8 so far) are a nice touch.

2012. Spelunky ; Great, tightly designed controls and a rewarding progression mechanic to use them with.
 
Aug 15, 2010
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Oh god, this ends soon, doesn't it? I'd written out my top ten a week ago but left the thoughts for the very last minute. Apologies for any shitty grammar but here's my list with hurried thoughts.

1. The Last of Us ; Probably my game of the generation as well. Both the single player campaign and multiplayer were amazing. I find it difficult to break the game down into separate bits because no one thing really stood out, every element of the game contributed to an incredible overall whole that I've never experienced from another game. If the animators and/or animation system hadn't been up to scratch in hand animating every facial gesture, things would've fallen apart. If the voice acting hadn't been up to scratch in bringing out the characters, things would've fallen apart. If the story hadn't fit perfectly in line with the gameplay, things would've fallen apart. And so on. The Last of Us was a true team effort and it shows.
2. Persona 4 Golden ; Having loved Persona 3 and heard such overwhelming praise leveled at Persona 4 for years, my expectations going in were huge and I wasn't disappointed one bit. They clearly raised their game from P3 in every way possible and more, creating one of the coolest JRPGs I've ever played.
3. Gone Home ; It wasn't long or a deep game but it stayed with me for days after I finished. They do such a great job of creating that world, adding atmosphere and telling a really compelling story within it.
4. Tearaway ; The amount of creativity displayed in the way they build the world out of origami and utilise every function the Vita has in insanely impressive, but more importantly, they did it all in a way that made the game really fun to play. In fact it was by far the most fun I got out of any game last year. If the Vita had received the same level of support from Sony's other major studios, maybe it wouldn't be in the state it's in now.
5. Guacamelee! ; A really well executed Metroidvania game with an awesome lucha theme, really solid combat mechanics and some brutally hard platforming areas.
6. Hotline Miami ; An incredibly addicting game. It's pretty weird to actually think about what you're doing when you're running around murdering everyone, but when you're in the zone, it's a shitload of fun to finally pull off a level really well and get that A+.
7. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Once upon a time I might have gotten upset over the completely ridiculous story that takes place in canon but after MGS4, I don't really give a shit. What I do give a shit about is gameplay and this game was awesome on that front. My only real complaint is the camera, which often became a hindrance in the midst of fights.
8. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen ; What Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning attempted to do in 2012 by being an open world Action RPG with really great combat, Dragon's Dogma accomplished. The story is a bit wacky and a lot of the characters seem generic but there's still so much in that game that's really fun. Climbing up the back of a troll/griffin/dragon is fucking awesome. It's the kind of game that takes me back to before Capcom were Capcpom, when they had a consistent slate of great games coming out on the PS2, GC, DS and PSP.
9. Deadly Premonition: Director's Cut ; I really wasn't sure what to expect when I started this game but as I got further and further into it, it really started growing on me. The combat is terrible and I was constantly struggling with hitbox issues but the world oozes atmosphere, the real-time open world is really cool and the story is fantastic.
10. Rain ; This was obviously very influenced by ICO and while it never hit the same highs, it was still a very compelling little adventure.
x. Divinity: Dragon Commander ; This game entered my list in the top 5 but only fell the further I got into it. It's an incredibly cool concept, mixing the RTS and RPG genres like this, I just seemed that, from my experience, it lacked a lot in both areas. I never finished it so maybe it turned around at some point but from what I played, the RTS battles played out the same most of the time and the RPG parts got somewhat old fairly fast. And that's not even bringing up the annoying reduction of units after a fight or chapter (finish a fight/chapter with 50 units, suddenly you're back to the starting/default units afterwards). I really hope they continue with this concept though, as I think they could make some huge improvements in a sequel.
2012. Knytt Underground ; For the first two chapters of this game, I didn't like it at all. I was bored and confused but pushed on out of stubbornness anyway. But then I got to the third chapter and suddenly it all made sense. The first two chapters weren't chapters at all, they were tutorials. This was the real game, an open world platforming game and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
 

FinalRPG

Neo Member
Apr 6, 2009
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1. The Last of Us ; Easily the best intro to any game I've played. I haven't felt emotionally for game characters in a long long time until this game. Plus the gameplay is just fantastic. This game really just does everything right.
2. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; I thought I would never like jrpgs again till this game. I've been dissapointed in pretty much every jrpg this gen (aside from Tales of Vesperia) until this game. Hopefully ps4 will be getting more games of this caliber.
3. Grand Theft Auto V ; Some good variety in the story missions. As an LA native, I like that they captured the "feel" of LA but I wish they replicate the layout a bit more. They really only got the buildings right.
4. Puppeteer ; I'm sad this game seemed to be overlooked. It has so much charm. I genuinely laughed and smiled at the cutscenes. It's the best 2D platformer campaign of the gen in my opinion. I also enjoyed the fact that it was quite lengthy
5. Knack ; I don't know why everyone criticizes this one so much. It's a very simple game but the fun comes from the challenge. I can see how it'd be boring if you played it on easy. But that's your own mistake.
6. DmC: Devil May Cry ; I really like the new Dante design... also the gameplay was fun and story was okay
7. God of War: Ascension ; Not quite as good as GOW3 but it was a fun adventure
8. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix ; This was one of my top 3 ps2 games. It looks nice in hd and the final mix additions were welcomed, but I have already beaten it over 8 times before.
 
Aug 27, 2006
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1. Europa Universalis IV ; If it ain't broke, don't fix it. EUIV doesn't take any risks, but the improvements are enough to make this one of the best strategy games ever.
2. Grand Theft Auto V ; I'm not the biggest GTA fan (I barely touched IV) but I loved this. The world was a blast to explore, the missions were interesting, and the characters were memorable.
3. DOTA 2 ; The learning curve is pretty steep, and sometimes it's too much of a timesink, but a well played DOTA game is one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming.
4. Path of exile ; It looks like Diablo II but Path of Exile is very much its own thing. The game systems are different and work together nicely, creating something that feels both familiar and fresh.
5. Guacamelee! ; A game with heart and style that delivers exactly what it promises. An all around solid title.
6. Spelunky ; It looks like a simple platformer but under the hood you will find a brutally challenging experience full of charm.
7. Hotline Miami ; I didn't expect to like this but I was pleasantly surprised. A surreal take on ’80s Miami combined with a simple, but addictive, gameplay formula and an incredible OST.
8. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm ; I had a great time with the campaign but I found the missions less interesting than WoL and the narrative left me unsatisfied.

2012. The Walking Dead ;
 

XPE

Member
Jun 30, 2009
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1. Phoenix wright Dual Destinies, A spectacular return to form for the series, good stories and great music

2. Tomb raider, I wasn't exactly happy with the direction the series was taken and considering how little I rate the Uncharted series I didn't expect much from it but I have learn never to underestimate CD again.

3. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon , some times people need to be reminded that games are meant to be fun and this game proves that =D

4. Super Mario 3D World, An excellent game but just isn't as good as the galaxy's but those were always going to be difficult games to beat.

5. Pikmin 3, its just nice to have pikmin back

6. Hotline Miami, like ever one else has said great gameplay and music

7. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, best 2D ish Zelda in years enjoyed it a lot but it just had to much reuse to be any higher on the list.

8. Crysis 3 (I haven't played that much this year) Leaves a terrible 1st impression but when the game opens up a bit it starts to come together but they made to much changes too the game play and it didn't feel right.

9. Bioshock Infinite, I like this but unfortunately the game goes FUBAR half way through, the reason it went FUBAR was because they were trying to fix the problems that happen in the 1st game but with FAR better characters in the Bioshock Infinite that shake up was TOTALLY unnecessary and really disrupted the flow of the game.

10. Luigi's Mansion 2


Since I played RE6 in 2013 I think the over all tone of the 2013 was that games had VERY bad first impressions and I hope this doesn't continue in 2014.

2012. Planet side 2, still playing it so it must be doing something right.
 
Sep 23, 2013
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1. The Last of Us; Just an amazing game with addictive multiplayer.
2. Tearaway; Had me smilling the whole time, amazing use of all the Vita's features.
3. Hotline Miami Vita; Addictive challenging gameplay, with an amazing soundtrack.
4. Guacemelee; One of the best metroidvania games i have played, with a great sense humor.
5. Bioshock Infinite; Shooting wasnt its strongest point, but the world itself makes up for that a bit.
6. God of War Acension; Not the most enjoyable entry in the franchise but the multiplayer was pretty good and new.

x. Xcom Enemy Unknown; Got it for free with Bioshock Infinite but i enjoyed it a lot more
x. Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed; One of the best kart racers in recent years, track design in this game is amazing.
x. Hearthstone; Addictive card game thats easy to pick up hard to master.
 

Oxx

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Oct 9, 2005
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1. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; My first ever AC game, which might have something to do with how much I enjoyed it. Leisurely-paced and hugely charming, with smart Streetpass and online functions that broaden the boundaries of your town.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Who would have thought a handheld follow-up to A Link to the Past would be the most progressive and exhilarating Zelda in years?

3. Fire Emblem Awakening ; The sheer breadth of things to do hid one of the more straightforward FE campaigns, but the fan-service and relationship system gave the game an irresistible emotional depth, if not tactical depth.

4. Bravely Default ; Some pacing issues but still a streamlined, well-presented RPG with a great deal of freedom to tailor the experience to your taste.

5. Gone Home ;

6. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ; Much like with Tri on the Wii I hit a wall after about 40 hours, but they were a great 40 hours filled with fear and glory.

7. Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy ; A fine swan song for the series.

8. Pokemon Y ; The lack of Streetpass features really stung and genuinely hurt my enjoyment of the game, but the basics of a Pokemon game were executed incredibly well.

9. Proteus ;

10. Papers Please ;
 
Feb 3, 2008
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1. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance ; you dreamed of these games 20-30 years ago.

2. Ys Memories of Celceta ; not finished yet. a good game with nice boss fights.

3. Dragon's Crown ; grab a friend and enjoy like in the arcades.

4. Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch ; brootiful. needs better ai next time.

5. Final Fantasy XIV Realm Reborn ; too easy until you reach endgame. fun, but in need of more meat and challenge.

6. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; not much worse than the previous iteration. thats a plus. and i dont need to constantly buff and debuff to stay alive. another.

7. Dragons Dogma Dark Arisen ; played the first ver. to death last year. amazing game.

8. The Last of us ; solid shooting blockbuster. discard the zombie trash to make outstanding games.

9. Devil Summoner Soul Hackers ; finally.

10. Fire Emblem Awakening ; embarrassing game. shouldnt have been called FE with this kind of quality control. cheap otaku bait. youll have to look hard to find something of value. thait said, they couldnt destroy a srpg completely.
 
Aug 15, 2010
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I wonder how many people wasted their time typing up their lists because they didn't bother to put in the tiny amount of effort required to read the OP. Hell, I wonder how many people clearly read the OP and yet still got the formatting wrong.
 
Mar 8, 2012
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This has been a very disappointing year in gaming for me. That should be obvious from my top 5, which includes 2 DLC releases and one port. The indie games at the top of my list are truly standouts, but otherwise it was a year of riding last year’s coattails as none of the major AAA 2013 releases really impressed. I think that as what I find valuable in games continues to crystallize, I move further and further away from the bland, broad offerings of major publishers and towards games that provide for interesting decisions and allow for player expression. Anyway, onto the list:

1. Papers, Please ; This game almost makes the year worth it. It marries amazingly tight design with genuinely interesting, literary themes. Everything the game does is in service of making the player feel like a Soviet border agent of the 1980s, and exposing them to all the ethical implications involved. There has been debate over whether the mechanics are supposed to be inherently fun, and while I fall in the camp that does find them to be, the essential value of the game is the immersion provided by performing the same monotonous task over and over, and the agency the player is allowed in spite of it. I’ve played few games that are as thought-provoking and relevant to our modern life as Papers, Please, and applaud it for the example it’s provided.

2. Spelunky ; I criminally underrated this game on my list last year at only number 7. Granted, it had tough competition, but I only discovered the true depth of the game this year upon its PC release. While in 2012 I simply beat the game once the normal way (not even starting at the mines; I used a shortcut) and then put it down, the daily challenge introduced by the PC version (and the Explorer’s Club that it spawned) encouraged me to revisit the game, discovering the many nuances in its design and earn the true ending (several times over). The procedurally-generated levels and fundamental fairness of the game make it an experience I return to time and time again; I fully expect it to be a platformer as timeless as Mario. While the design was already all there last year, the daily challenge feature was transformational in the way players enjoy it, which is why I think it justifies an appearance on my list for a second year.

3. Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall ; I’m listing just the first half of the Daud DLC as they are treated as separate games for purposes of this thread’s point tallying, but I consider them to be a single experience and so this spot goes to Daud’s campaign as a whole. I placed the base game as #1 on my list last year for its open-ended gameplay, innovative signature movement mechanic, and immersive world, and the DLC maintains all those elements while delivering a campaign that can truly stand on its own. While the campaign isn’t quite the same length of Corvo’s, it delivers several levels with the same breadth as the biggest ones of the base game, with the same opportunity for multiple approaches and little secrets to uncover. Daud’s story is a satisfying mirror to that of Corvo, and further explores the theme of corruption from the Outsider’s power. I’m very grateful we got this second helping while Arkane works on a proper sequel.

4. XCOM: Enemy Within ; Another fantastic DLC release to a highly-rated game from my 2012 list. I had something like 350 hours in the base game since its release, and while vanilla XCOM finally began to feel a bit stale approaching November, the expansion brought more than enough new elements and options to make the game feel fresh again. New moments like the base invasion and the Newfoundland mission only add to the game’s masterful use of tension in a strategy. Overall, there’s a new and different cadence to the campaign now that will keep be coming back for a long time.

5. Monaco: What's Yours is Mine ; A surprisingly overlooked indie with a lot of charm. Pac-Man meets Thief sounds like a bizarre combination, but it works and captures the flavor of Ocean’s Eleven-style capers perfectly. Single-player and co-op playthroughs manage to be both a lot of fun while feeling very different from one another. The biggest barrier to enjoying the game is its initial readability (it’s very busy), but once you grok the visual style it not only stops interfering with the experience but enhances it as well.

6. Grand Theft Auto V ; There’s nothing substantive about GTA’s gameplay, it’s the quintessential guilty pleasure. Speeding, coldcocking strangers on the street, blowing up stuff--nothing new or compelling, but there’s something to be said for the catharsis that this sort of careless activity can provide in a virtual context with no consequences. Count me among the many who took issue with GTA IV’s self-serious narrative that interfered with the freewheeling good time one is supposed to have with the series. Thankfully Rockstar took note and introduced protagonists for the sequel who are much more aligned with what the player actually does. In fact, the biggest commentary GTA V provides is how perfect Trevor in particular (and his values) are for a player surrogate for a game like this. But whatever satire is supposed to be featured in the game, there’s no growth to be earned here--GTA is about having a good time creating mayhem and the mechanics deserve praise for keeping that from becoming stale.

7. Gone Home ; I really admire this game for its level design. It uses a lot of restraint in telling its story while subtly guiding you through its space in a very specific order. And yet, the player doesn’t feel railroaded; he still has all the agency to investigate rooms according to his own pace and curiosity. The technique of environmental storytelling is excellent--if only I hadn’t found the narrative itself so banal. Ian Bogost described it as young adult fiction, and I’m inclined to agree. But this game shows promise for another, one with a more potent story and the same design sensibility. I look forward to that game very much.

8. The Last of Us ; This is where I start adding games to my list because they’re the best of what’s left. In some ways TLoU is the inverse of Gone Home; whereas the latter has a mediocre story told with masterful storytelling mechanics, the former has an excellent story told with very humdrum mechanics. I found myself invested in the world and the characters as shown in the cutscenes of TLoU, but that investment brought into sharp relief how little I cared to clear the combat/stealth/puzzle roadblocks between them. It wasn’t painful to do so, but at the same time I was more entertained by the game’s non-interactive elements than when I was pressing buttons, and that’s an issue that needs to be recognized. Still, the game isn’t afraid to tell a serious, literary narrative in a AAA game, and that’s worth some praise.

9. BioShock Infinite ; I had such high hopes for this game. As someone who considers the original BioShock as one of their favorite games, and highly valued its resource-scarce, immersive atmosphere, I found this alternating arena-shooter and collectathon sequel deeply disappointing. Still, the art direction is wonderful, and the tranquil first hour and climactic final hour are aesthetic bliss--a game that was fully made of parts such as these could have been quite amazing indeed.

10. Shadowrun Returns ; Nothing too remarkable, but a really solid return to old-school isometric RPGs. It’s a mostly linear experience, but the tabletop-style pacing keeps you invested, while the mechanics create a few fantastic moments (especially the segment protecting the hacker). The art direction deserves kudos for the budget they were working with, and overall, in an otherwise weak year, the game belongs on this list for being the first to deliver on a Kickstarter of its size and proving the model can work.

x. Fire Emblem Awakening ; I have a complicated relationship with the Fire Emblem series. I’ve started 5 separate entries, but only managed to finish one of them (Rekka no Ken). I always get sucked in by the early battles, but having to smooth XP between characters, the temptation to grind, and sameness of tactics always wears me out before I reach the end. FE:A was no different, despite its charming visuals, characters, and some standout maps. It probably would have earned a place on my list had I finished it, but I can’t justify saying a game that wears out its welcome deserves to be on GOTY contention.
 
Apr 26, 2007
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Got my list done. It was rather difficult since there are so few games I truly enjoyed this year. Forgive me the sloppy write ups.


1. Saints Row IV; I was consumed by this game for two days straight that it took for me to finish a single play through. It is the high point of all open world games for me. A proper Crackdown 2 you might even argue. Navigating the world is fun and exciting, the mission are entertaining and sometimes extremely creative, the side activities are minimal enough to not be a burden. To top that off there is also some excellent character creation tools to mess around with.

2. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance ; Platinum continuing to show everyone how to make action games. Over the top cutscenes and fast paced intense combat with a relatively gentle difficulty curve make this game a joy to clear on your first playthrough. Consequent playthroughs of the game still remain a ton of fun thanks to great combat mechanics and design. Oh and this game has a damn good soundtrack too.

3. Muramasa Rebirth ; Did not have the chance to play the original release on the Wii but this game is incredible on the Vita. Beautiful visuals thanks to amazing color palate and incredible sprite animation. To top it off it’s a very fun and somewhat challenging 2d beat em up. It’s got a lot of usual Vanillaware touches that make their games feel like they have a ton of depth and make it seem like a real breathing world. Enjoyed every minute I played of it.

4. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; My first entry into the SMT franchise, not counting the recent Persona games. It’s hard to say why I like this game, because there are so many reason why I wouldn’t. The dungeon crawling, the party management, the simple visuals, all of these things would make any other games unappealing to me. I imagine it’s that the core gameplay is still simple and accessible enough that there isn’t a huge difficulty barrier to progression of the game. Combined with a well told story with a ton of good twists and fun characters, the whole thing kept me playing to the end and having fun. It has to be on my game of the year list simply for making me enjoy an old school dungeon crawler.

5. Splinter Cell: Blacklist ; I nearly missed this game due to the Michael Ironside not being involved with the Sam Fisher character anymore. Honestly I still think they should have rebooted the series entirely and started fresh. The strengths of this game are in game design, fluid controls, great mechanics, fun stealth gameplay. I had no expectations when going into this game and I was extremely surprised with how much fun I had playing it. Best stealth game of the year in my opinion.

6. Remember Me ; All in all this is a rather average game but it has a great sense of style. Cyberpunk dystopia aesthetic rendered with some creative and interesting imagery. While falling for a lot of video game clichés it still manages to be somewhat unique by having a leading female character and focusing on themes such as family and society. While there might not be too much substance to this game, it is all style and I love how much there is of it.

7. Gone Home ; A very simple everyday story that plays out like a soap opera cliché pushes you to explore a small yet well-crafted location.

8. Bioshock Infinite ; Nice visuals with bright colors. Lots of nice touches and little hints to find on the 2nd playthrough to add some replay value. The ending is somewhat weak and nonsensical.

9. The Last of Us ; The best game from Naughty Dog yet, far above all the Uncharted titles.

10. Anarchy Reigns ; Poor netcode and small user base pretty much killed this incredible game. In a better world I would be able to find a good online match right now.

x. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag ; Hah! Take that, an honorable mention for managing to not bungle it as badly as AssCreed 3. I am honestly conflicted about even having this game on the list because of how flawed it is. Far too many worthless collectibles to pick up, lots of tedious and pointless side activities, far too much of your time is wasted on pointless nonsense. It is a testament to the appeal of the core Assassin’s Creed design that so many people are excited about the franchise again after playing something that sucks slightly less than 3. Makes me believe 2014 will be a good year for Call of Duty with Treyarch being on point for this one.

x. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger ; Only played a couple of hours of this game so I can’t put it on the list. However from what I played this seems like a great arcade shooter that does so many things right compared to the usual AAA modern warfare gruel

x. Batman: Arkham Origins ; Arkham City has to be one of the best games I played this year, so I am very much looking to play Origins. I just didn’t have the time yet so it’s not going on the list. From a short peek I took at it, this game should be great.

2012. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition ; I didn’t get into the original console release because of the difficulty curve, even when I knew what to expect. However the PC release finally grabbed me early this year and damn if I did not have a lot of fun with this game. I can see now why everything on Kickstarter is Dark Souls.


Edit: Modified the list because honestly Black Flag does not deserve a spot on any game of the year list.
 
Dec 22, 2008
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I had to finish ACIV before posting my list. Turns out it's not going to be on it. Lots of flawed but enjoyable games this year, but ACIV was definitely a case of flaws > enjoyment. I'd say my top 4 are probably my only 10/10 games, the rest are like maybe 8's.

1. The Last of Us ; Made me cry, scared the fuck out of me, made me tense, excited, and extremely happy to be a gamer. Not much else to say that hasn't already been said, but it's one of my favourite games of all time, and would still be even if it didn't have unbelievable multiplayer that kept me and my friends coming back for six months. It actually feels like it was made specifically for me, drawing on my love of loads of other games, from Resident Evil 4, to Manhunt, to Uncharted. I love you for this, Dogs.
2. GTAV ; The attention-to-detail GTA, so much passion went into this and it shows. Difficult to talk about without raving on and on. A gold-starred follow-up to it's spiritual predecessor San Andreas.
3. Tearaway ; Joyous, charming, utterly unforgettable platformer.
4. Metal Gear Rising ; Videogames, son.
5. Bioshock Infinite ; Flaws aside, I thought it was a rollercoaster of ideas and action, bookended by an amazing opening and ending with plenty of great moments in the middle.
6. Batman Arkham Origins ; Bugs notwithstanding, I found this to be the perfect Winter blockbuster, and was happy to be back in that world. I loved the Joker parts and this is the one bit of Batman media that actually succeeded in making me a fan of Harley. Also spent way too much time on the challenge rooms. Again.
7. Puppeteer ; Gorgeous, imaginative, eccentric and incredibly presented platformer. My only gripe is that it tended to wrench the controls away from you a bit too often - it needed way more long, uninterrupted levels. Still fantastic though.
8. Resogun ; Really great launch schmup for the PS4. I feel it needs more exposure.
9. Tomb Raider ; Not for story, not for side-content, not for QTE'S or puzzle rooms. I think it boils down to player agency for me, and atmosphere, and enjoyable combat. The gameplay is light and a little cynical, but I had great fun with this harrowing journey, which made me feel every cut and scrape and brutal, mud-encrusted tumble into a ditch. More substance is needed next time, but this one has my pass. I think there's room in the industry for this 'dark Uncharted'.
10. DmC ; Screw the haters, this was a great game. Although environment art was probably its biggest plus, it's a solid, and very underrated action title as well.

2012: Journey ; Still the top dog, although WD comes close.

Honourable mentions: All the Wii U games I didn't get to play but watched Twitch streams of like Mario 3D World. All the great 3DS games I couldn't afford. ACIV for being great when you're on a ship. GoW Ascension for still being a reasonably good God of War game, despite the little things I hated about it. Plants vs Zombies 2 for still managing to hold my attention for more hours than most big games manage. Blood Dragon for making me laugh gleefully more than anything else this year. FFXIV because I enjoyed the (third, I think?) Beta but didn't get the actual game, hoping to jump on with PS4.
 
Nov 4, 2006
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1. The Last of Us ; A lot of great games came out this year, but The Last of Us stands head and shoulders (and torso?) above the rest. As I grow more mature, I question a lot of the time I spend with gaming and whether or not it adds the value I seek to gain from my free time. The Last of Us dispels those concerns by showing me that games can come along which will make me experience a range of emotions, challenge my own morality, think strategically to overcome obstacles in creative ways, and more. This game isn't going to make me a better person but I feel as though it took me out of my comfort zone and I can't say that about much any entertainment from any medium. And I should add, regardless of the personal affect this game had on me, I think it is objectively the best of the best this year. The stealth/combat systems, the audio & visual aesthetic, the characters, and dialogue are executed with precision and the vision of the creator can be seen vividly. And it's a beautiful vision. This game defines the generation.
2. Spelunky ; I'm sure everyone else has already described the greatness of this title better than I could, so I'll keep it short. Is the the archetypal "video game" that a younger me imagined when interactive experiences were all about mechanics and challenge. I love Spelunky.
3. Guacamelee ; I was sold on the title alone, but it turns out this game is spectacular anyway! I don't know if I will be able to describe any of the "Why?" but I can say that when I got this game it made me keep picking it up every chance I got until I brought it to 100% completion. Next to no games can do that to me in this stage of my life.
4. Hotline Miami ; The sum of this games parts is better than most games out there, and on the whole, it's more than the sum of it's parts. Everything fits together perfectly with this game, and that's clear from the outset. Controls, visuals, audio, atmosphere and fun intersect here in ways many games probably dream of.
5. Rocksmith 2014 ; This. Game. It means a lot more to me than most other games on this list because it's enabling me some real-life capabilities that I never had before. I am legitimately learning something I've been interested for a long time, and at the same time I'm having a blast. What a well designed experience. I feel bad for being skeptical of the original release now.
6. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; There's something to be said for tradition. The way the game plays out is not far removed from the way certain games I played 15 years ago did, but it doesn't feel hindered by that. It uses genre tropes well and puts on a show that is so lighthearted that it's hard to not be fond of it. It's been a while since I loved a Level 5 game, but clearly they haven't lost their touch.
7. Bioshock Infinite ; I played this well after the launch, but that didn't stop me from seeing why it received so many accolades. The atmosphere is what glued me to the game and everything else just added to the experience. It's a game with some real intelligence behind it's concept, but it isn't so full of itself for that fact that it comes off as pretentious.
8. The Stanley Parable ; This is the only one of the "indie darling" PC games that I got a chance to play. Subversion is the name of the game and it executes on it extremely well.
9. Tearaway ; This game is joy incarnate. There is a genuine feeling of happiness in every aspect of the game, and it's tragic that more people have not yet experienced it. The positivity is so potent that I'm sure if there's a single person at Sony with a heart, we will see more from this property.
10. God of War: Ascension ; This game may have not made the list if I got a chance to play everything I wanted this year, but I don't feel bad for including it because it definitely thrilled me while I played it. The scope of some scenes and the visual fidelity is unlike any other game I've played.
2012. Persona 4 Golden ; This would be my second favorite game of the year if it had released in the US in 2013. This is a more modernized take on JRPG systems than I have ever played before, and it's blowing me away. I love the open-ended approach you take to advancing the plot / your combat stats / your relationships / etc. Brilliant title.
 
Jan 23, 2012
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I didn't play enough games that came out this year to get a full top ten list.

1. Tomb Raider; Having never played the previous entries in the series or an Uncharted, I loved this game. The arc of Lara was interesting, the combat was fun (year of the bow) and I really enjoyed the setpieces. This was the one game I recommended to friends to play.
2. Bioshock Infinite; only liked it with the ending, but then I really liked it. Irrational did not disappoint.
3. Hotline Miami ; a perfect example of Best on Vita.
4. Gone Home ; exploration & story telling to bring just a lovely story of a teenager. Just a lovely experience.
5. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; just a magical story.
x. Guacamelee! ; As I didn't finish it, I don't count it on my list, but I did really like the gameplay and all the little details.
x. Rayman Legends ; Only finished one world, but it's more Rayman. I'm going to love it this year.
2012. Mark of the Ninja ; One of the best games of the past generation.
 
Feb 3, 2012
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1. Pikmin 3 ; I've never played the other Pikmin's before, but this game is a breath of fresh air. You can play at your own pace, the world is a lot of fun to explore, and the gamepad is used really well letting you have a map and send two of your leaders across the map.

2. Super Mario 3D World ; A smooth framerate, awesome level design, and fun times in co-op make this an amazing experience that Nintendo is seemingly almost solely still delivering.

3. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ; A very fun exploration/puzzle game. Yeah, the structure is a little too broken up for my liking and there should've been save points, but man, the boss fights especially are great fun.

4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD ; It's not as good as Ocarina of Time for me, but the story and the ending especially as well as the openness of the world more than make up for it.

5. Grand Theft Auto V ; A massive step up from GTA IV in every conceivable way. The size of the world and amount of things to do is fantastic. Let's not talk about GTA Online though.

6. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D ; It's a remake of a Wii game that I didn't play. I'll never forget going into 1-K for the first time and getting stomped on. It's challenging, but very rewarding, and I'm sure Retro will do a great job on Tropical Freeze.

7. Pokemon X and Y ; Pokemon in 3D at last! There's just so much that's been streamlined or made a whole lot easier and the Kalos region is huge and fun to explore.

2012. Xenoblade Chronicles ; To me this game is everything JRPGs should be doing right now. A huge world that you want to explore combined with great storytelling, excellent voice acting, and a combat system that gradually evolves as you keep playing. The fact that this is all pulled off of the Wii is simply astounding. Well done Monolith! I'm sure X will be even more impressive.
 
Apr 19, 2012
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English is not my native language and I'm also rusty with it, so the following read could be a pain in the ass/pretty hilarious, but let's try...

1. The Swapper ; A great pure sci-fi experience: dark, atmospheric, rarefied and touched by intriguing philosophical implications. Oh, and it's also a very enjoyable puzzle-action game, with a fresh concept, very polished mechanics, great audiovisuals and some of the creepiest ragdoll death sequences ever seen. A [relatively] short journey to the unknown, that can taste with nonchalance both exetremely physical and intensively metaphysical.
2. The Last of Us ; I was expecting more polishness, I'd prefer more survival rigorousness and I wished it really could achieve the kind of 'naturalness' of the action shown in the first videos, truly moving forward the present archetype of interaction, but what I actually got is still one of the most engaging, visceral, satisfying and touching things I've played in the last years, packed with an attention to details and a level of competence that really have a few equivalents in the industry. Also, I'm mostly a PC gamer, a 120Hz PC gamer to be precise, and I could notice every single flaw in features/IQ, but for most of the time I was absorbed by the overall picture, finding it simply astonishing, and with the expection of a very few cases the borderline frame-rate didn't poison my enjoyment.
3. Dyad ; I know, I know it originally came out on PSN in 2012, but I played the PC version, relesead in spring 2013. I've spent on it over 30 hours, damning myself to obtain every trophy, while I was going further inside the matrix, until I looked it right into its eyes. The core mechanics are simple, but moduled, enriched and twisted in alot of creative and challenging ways. The audiovisuals are one of the most hypnotic trips you can have without melt your brain or breaking the law. It's like if REZ, WipEout, Audiosurf, Frequency, Ikaruga, Space Giraffe and many others had a baby, after an orgy. Best rhythm game since Everyday Shooter.
4. The Stanley Parable ; Interaction and storytelling blended in a brilliant, extremely well written and greatly directed way. A multi-layered active/passive reflection about the very meaning of videogames, freedom, life and many other topics as rarely has been handled before that everyone should experience.
5. Shadow Warrior ; Unfortunately the collision system is not 100% neat and the techniques are not so much elaborated, so it is a missed chance to achieve a first person swordplay with the precision and complexity I wished. For the rest is a fantastic first person shooter, happy to reveal its deepness arena after arena. An escalation of intense fights that challenges your aim, your territorial awarness and your weapons/health/powers managament skills as not so many FPS these days. Forget about Serious Sam 3, Hard Reset, Painkiller: Hell and Damnation, Duke Nukem Forever and every other 'oldschool shooter' someone has tried to sell you: this is the brightest and most accomplished attempt to revive a certain kind of spirit, today. Spiced with some of the most memorable quotes ever.
6. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; The gameplay, the style and the volcanic creativity that can only come from an inspired Japanese studio and I've missed too often during the last generation. It's not brilliant and well executed as Bayonetta and Vanquish, but it is enough to confirm Platinum Games as the most valuable team of its country, a diamond head that can maintain alive and kicking a glorious tradition across international competition without betraying it.

x. Metro: Last Light ; Metro 2033 wasted most of its potential, delivering some stealth sections with a good oldschool vibe and too many regrets. Last Light is a better designed, paced and polished gaming experience and an artistically more inspired graphics showcase. It surclasses the previous one in almost all aspects, with the strong exception of stealth, dumbed like hell, and the survival/immersion elements, sold as extra for the sake of corporate greed. Considering their desperate working conditions, I can only take my hat off in front of this proof of maturity and professionality by the 4A Games guys.
x. DmC ; I had zero trust in Ninja Theory, but this team surprised me, delivering a solid, pretty competent action game, with some valid combat design ideas and a few amusing creative exploits. Due to the analitic approach that I usually have, I was sure that at a certain point I would have reinstalled DMC4 to refresh my memory and accurately check how this gajin episode compared to the tradition, but at the end of the day I didn't care: I was having too much fun playing DmC over and over, trying to be as much S-S-Sensational as I can.
x. The Wolf Among Us ; Never read "Fables" so I didn't know exactly what to expect from this brand new series. I've been sucked in a deeply fascinating universe, with a compelling lore, populated by some very interesting characters, and involved in a scratching mature story, greatly painted in its shades and lights. Now please, Telltale, hurry up with the new episodes and be so kind to implement an option to get rid of that pathetic 'hint' system, as in The Walking Dead.
x. DayZ Standalone ; To be honest I've tried it just a couple of hours and I don't even know if I will ever spend on it as much time as I've done with the mod, the year before. But it doesn't really matter: for me DayZ is a story of sufference, trust, friendship and other strong sentiments, a metaphor of life started sometimes during the summer of 2012 that never leaves me alone, even when I'm far from Chernarus, with my PC shutted off. Going back there, briefly, at the end of 2013 revamped it in all its strength.

2012. Hotline Miami ; A pure gameplay experience that brutally goes straight to the core of its essence, while the contact with reality slowly falls apart in a febrile daydream nightmare dressed with a pixel art aesthetics, a soundtrack and some narrative exploits that give authentic lessons of style.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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1. Starseed Pilgrim; This is truly a gem! I have to be careful so to not spoil the game in the description as it’s really a game of exploration and trial and error. The elevator pitch would be to describe it as a puzzler platformer game with emphasis on those eureka moments of discovery without any sort of hints. You solve it by playing it. It’s a Cosmic Digital Zen Garden sim. You tend to your garden, planting your seeds, each one with its special ability, trying to fill the space with beauty and escape decay. It was my go to game in the first half of the year and I’ll be revisiting it frequently for sure as I still am.



2. Spelunky HD; Between the PC and the Vita versions I certainly have dozens of hours played. This game grabbed me, and my son, with its hooks. The procedurally generated dungeons and the rogue-like lite features tickled my brain just the right way. The quick pick up and play and almost instantly death/replay cycle also helped. But what really makes it the one of the greatest game I played this year are the details and depth. I’m still discovering some items, secrets, and new ways of playing to this day. I don’t read wikis or watch streams/videos of other people playing it. I just want to discover the game by myself. And playing it co-op on PC with my son is a great experience that I urge everyone with children to try. On the most hard jumps you can just pick his/her character up and help him. And the hilarious deaths will make for a really fun playtime for both.



3. The Last of Us; The narrative of this game felt restrained, bleak and somber for much of its duration, without any of the bombastic and jaw dropping set pieces of Uncharted or its larger than life characters, but the glimpses of humanity on some of the companions tales and the rapport built through the story between Ellie and Joel just illuminate the game all the same. This is the first game of Naughty Dog where the designers really made an effort to marry the game systems/mechanics with the narrative and in my opinion they hit the mark perfectly for the most part. There is a notable tendency of the game systems to push the player to privilege stealth, or melee combat to save ammo and stay silent. This is not a standard third person cover shooter, for the most part. One of those exceptions works very well, while the other not so much. The Tommy’s Dam chapter it’s the one exception that works great for me. Joel is not alone fighting well-armoured and well-trained military personnel as in the finale fight. He is fighting other ragtag groups of humans with similar equipment and training (or lack of thereof) so the fight feels plausible. That final fight though felt like a cop out. It’s Rambo on my The Road game. Naughty Dog showed such restraint through the game that that portion almost felt like a betrayal of the game for me and that is ultimately why I can’t give TLOU GOTY for this year but still will be a game I’ll remember from 2013.



4. Tearaway; The Vita game that justifies all its different control schemes and features while keeping it charming and engaging. Never it felt gimmicky. It’s a feel-good game that played with children instantly turns into an interactive toy. The camera usage, the tactile nature of the mechanics and the simple jumping mechanics make this the perfect game to initiate a child on 3D navigation with a controller. It’s so great to watch my son getting better and better at spatial manoeuvring Iota through the beautiful crafted environments that Media Molecule created to this game. And I'm forever thankful to them for creating such a great experience for me and my son.



5. Brothers: A Tale of two sons; What a surprise this was! It's a simple game. The challenge of the puzzles is just enough to elicit some interactivity from the player to move forward. But those puzzles and mechanics are so intimately connected to the brotherhood/cooperation theme that result in a fantastic sense of meaning and weight. Some environments I won't forget. The Giants battlefield is hauntingly beautiful even in its desolation. I just hope this director keeps creating games as he thoroughly surprised me with this first effort.



6. Battle of the Bulge; This game had the highest praise from Three Moves Ahead so I knew going in it would be a great game. But I wasn't prepared for the polish and refined mechanics and presentation of an iOS wargame as good as BoB presents. Shenandoah Studios showed everyone how the iPad can be the de facto wargame platform of the future.



7. Desktop Dungeons; I was an Alpha buyer in 2010. I had forgotten about the game already, but when I got my email announcing the release date I immediately revisited the original Alpha version and it hooked me again instantly. That version was on my 2010 GOTY list. My praise at the time:

Never played a roguelike before this one, and I have to thank NeoGAF for bringing this to my attention. Great game with very simple mechanics but that will change so dramatically every time I start a new dungeon that gives it almost infinite replayability value. And on top of that each dungeon takes just a few minutes to finish what makes it the best game to just burn 10-15 minutes with some rogue dungeon roaming. It was my gateway to the genre... and I'm thankful for that, because otherwise I would never give my time and attention to these games.
But now on top of this simple dungeon crawler rogue lite puzzler it has an over world system where the player can build and upgrade structures to gain access to new classes and abilities and also a series of quests that the player can take to upgrade its characters. The simple, bare bones 10-15 minutes puzzler got some meat to fill those bones. And it’s delicious!



8. Company of Heroes 2; For a few weeks I was immersed in WWII Eastern Front media. I read Anthony Beevor "Stalingrad" and Vassily Grossman "Life and Fate", I watched Soviet Storm, World at War and Russia's War documentaries and relistened to Dan Carlin’s monumental series Ghosts of the Ostfront all the while I played one mission/chapter of COH2 every night. It delivered something I was starving for so long. A meaningful AAA single player campaign on a RTS. The horrors of the Eastern front were well depicted in some gameplay mechanics and features, and the ruthless snow and ice scenarios really made for an immersive experience. Suddenly I stopped playing it. Not the games fault though. I just over-saturated on the theme. I had nightmares about the horrors of the war, I day dreamed thinking of how could I overcome a difficult challenge in the game and just had to stop for a break and never came back. I will though, the game deserves that much.



9. Guacamelee; Great subversive take on the Metroidvania framework with challenging platforming (in some special hidden levels almost soul crushingly difficult), good combat with varied set moves with a simple upgrade system and a great colour-coded attack/weakness system to keep the player on his toes. The art, soundtrack is great in setting the Luchadores theme and the lightness and humor permeating the whole game were very welcomed. This team is one to keep an eye on.



10. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon; Ludonarrative Dissonance? AH! FC Blood Dragon shoots ludonarrative dissonance in the face and proceeds to crap down its neck hole. All of this while giving a wink wink nudge nudge to the player breaking the fourth wall. It overstretched it a bit though and ultimately beneath all the hilariously over-the-top 80s action hero reminiscent machismo bravado it was still Far Cry 3 with its idiosyncrasies beneath it. It was also a good experiment for Ubisoft to venture on smaller projects using assets from the gargantuan multi-continental projects giving those teams more room to be risky. Hopefully.

x. Expeditions: Conquistador
x. Device 6
x. Rymdkapsel
x. Ending
x.Year Walk
x. Fjords
x. Gone Home
x. Monaco
x. Gunpoint
x. The Swapper
x. Papers Please

2012. Botanicula

Sorry for the WIP, but I'll be adding comments and images as soon as I can. Sorry in advance for some mistake in the text. These weeks have been a bit hectic.
 
May 6, 2006
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Alright I'm out of time. I've been working off some of my 2013 backlog and recent holiday gifts before i'd do my GOTY voting. Also I didn't want to put any game on the list that i hadn't beaten. Surprisingly a number of the games jumped into my list. So here we go!


1. The Last of Us; A truly outstanding effort by ND, and one of the best games of the generation. From gameply, to graphics, music, characters and writing. Not an original world or lore but what it does with it is fantastic.

2. Zelda: A link between Worlds; A surprise #2. LTTP is one my favorite zelda games but i've been burnt out on the Zelda franchise for some time. Too many, with little variation. But this one took hold of me and wouldn't let go. I completed all side quests, item upgrades, the whole works. Great stuff

3. Tearaway; What a gem of a game. Its not the best platformer but the mix of fun variations, amazing looking game, and just unbridled joy makes it one of my favorite games of the year

4. Brothers; Taking the spirit of ICO (a personal favorite) and telling a great, fantasy tell that had a unique control scheme, effective storytelling and varied locations.

5. Super Mario 3D World; Another surprise game. I was very meh at the announcement but the game turned out to be really great platforming and i was hooked enough to get almost everything in the game (except the last 5 stamps). And with a large backlog a game needs to be special to hook me in like that. Not Galaxy level of greatness but really really good.

6. Gone Home; An adventure game that had a cool story, and a huge dose of 90s nostalgia to have me hooked from start to finish

7. Guacamelee; Finally a metroidvania game that delivers a level quality that matches the games its inspired by. Also i really enjoyed all of the game and in joke references. Yea they're not for everyone, but they worked for me

8. Papers, Please; Boring, repetitive, a "spot the differences" grind and also amazing. Over time it keeps piling more and more on you and choices that just seem to have no good outcome no matter what you do. On top of that, over time the game's grind would then erode my good nature and i'd start to take an odd joy in detaining poor soles, or rejected people after hearing their sad story

9. Bioshock Infinite; I loved SS2 and Bioshock and surprisingly this one didn't grab me as much as i would have thought. I didn't think the world building fit as well as bioshock and the gameplay of the magic/guns didn't seem as fun as the past. But when i gave it a second try it did start to hook me more, the story got a bit too wacky at the end but it was pretty good

10. Gunpoint; What a funny, clever and entertaining gaming package. It creates fun gameplay mechanics and just goes full throttle into PI tropes. Its not long but it doesn't wear out its welcome. Plus another game that gets humor in games, which is rare
 
Mar 20, 2007
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1. Super Mario 3D World; A game that truly surprised me -- A 3D Mario game that blends in all of the unique charm of the old 2D Mario games that I enjoyed. The game is a blast to play and looks fantastic. It's my favorite game of 2013 and is one of my favorite games of all time.

2. Bioshock Infinite; Fantastic dialogue, amazing interactive environments, and solid (though not great) gameplay. I was completely sucked into the game's world.

3. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag; It's almost impossible not to have fun with this game. There's simply so much stuff you can do. The environments are fantastic and the missions/tasks on water add life to the series for me. Just an all around great open world game.

4. Rayman Legends; The sequel to my GOTY of 2011. While I didn't like the Murphy levels that much, everything else about the game was a blast. I loved the music stages and the online challenges. The game felt like a more polished version of Rayman Origins which is great because Origins was a very polished game.

5. The Wonderful 101; The game takes a while to get familiar with & the game can by confusing at times. I still enjoy the game very much and feel it's fun and unique though it does remind me of Viewtiful Joe in many ways (for obvious reasons).

6. Need for Speed: Rivals; My favorite racing game of 2013. A blast to play and while combining online with single player caused some problems (e.g.: long wait times before you can get into the game), this game proves that the format can work.

7. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds; Haven't played much of the game yet but I'm loving it so far. This game is the perfect example of how a game on a portable can be just as in depth and enjoyable as a high budget game on a home console. I was honestly expecting the game to be a bit more linear due to the platform it's on.

8. Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien; Very fun/addictive game with a great art style that reminded me of cartoons from the 1950s/60s. The game has a lot of charm and polish.

9. Hundreds; I love puzzle games and Hundreds for iOS was great. Very challenging which is a bit funny since the game's overall style is modern minimalist. You would think that a game this challenging would require more items on the screen or a more in-depth interface.

10. Gears of War: Judgement; Not a very memorable game but the campaign was a blast to play. Someone else in this thread said that the game's campaign felt like a huge version of horde and I can definitely agree with that. I enjoyed the game's campaign much more than the one in Gears of War 3.
 

Dance Inferno

Unconfirmed Member
Dec 30, 2008
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This thread has taught me that I should probably pick up Metal Gear Rising at some point.

Also, some of you are really waiting to the last minute to post your list.
Yup MGR has officially been put on my list as well, in addition to Rayman Legends, Gone Home, Papers Please, Stanley Parable, Path of Exile, and Marvel Heroes. I don't know where I'm going to find the time to play all these.
 
Mar 25, 2005
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Had many games to play last year especially due to me getting two new consoles (Wii U and Xbox One).
Understandable. I'm just impatient to see the opinions of a handful of GAFers :p

Yup MGR has officially been put on my list as well, in addition to Rayman Legends, Gone Home, Papers Please, Stanley Parable, Path of Exile, and Marvel Heroes. I don't know where I'm going to find the time to play all these.
I have come very close to buying Papers Please! a couple of times now, but funds are tight with a new baby on the way, and I am almost positive it will be included in one of the next two (major) Humble Bundles. Since I buy those, I will just wait.
 
Mar 8, 2012
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This thread has taught me that I should probably pick up Metal Gear Rising at some point.

Also, some of you are really waiting to the last minute to post your list.
You do your list a disservice by not giving it all the time you have to try to find the best games. Not that my list changed since December, but in a better year, it could have!
 
Oct 15, 2013
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1. The Last of Us ; My overall most enjoyable experience of the year. Great story and good gameplay. I really connected with the characters.
2. Tearaway ; This game made me take the dive, along with P4G into the world of vita. I don't think a game has put a smile on my face like this game has in years. So charming and fun.
3. Resogun ; Addicting gameplay.
4. Puppeteer ; Charming and fun. More people need to play this game.
5. Battlefield 4 ; I never had much of a problem with it, but that aside, the multiplayer is so freaking fun...
6. Ratchet and Clank: Into the nexus ; Back to form. I really wanna see a PS4 outing.
7. Bioshock infinite ; I enjoyed the story but found the combat to be annoying at times and get in the way of the narrative.
8. Metal Gear Rising ; Love the world of Metal Gear. Fun and hard gameplay.
9. GTA 5 ; Started out really good, but it just got boring. Havent finished yet but I respect what they are doing.
x. KZ:SF ; Really pterry and a nice showcase of what we can expect from the PS4.
2012. Persona 4 Golden ; The other reason I got a Vita. so good and addicting.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
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This thread has taught me that I should probably pick up Metal Gear Rising at some point.

Also, some of you are really waiting to the last minute to post your list.
I've only finished writing two entries on my list so far because I was busy this week and had to leave everything to the last minute, anyway! I did that for SotY, too.

I'm so unhappy with my list and would rather not post anything than half ass things. What a shitty feeling.
No, don't feel afraid that you're going to half-ass anything.

A lot of people have told me that they've felt that because most people's lists have a lot of text that the whole thing feels like 'serious business' these days and that the whole affair has simply lost its fun, or that they feel incredibly intimidated and just don't want to post a list at all because they feel as though they don't measure up. I feel bad that it's gotten to this point because there are some members whose lists I'd love to read since I've liked their lists in the past and they just don't want to feel embarrassed or compared to other people.

For what it's worth, I don't really have a game of the year, and I feel like I'm going to half-ass a fraction of my list if I take too long to write it out, so I really hope people don't feel deterred from posting at least something because they don't feel like their writing skills are up to par.
 
Feb 23, 2007
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1. The Last of Us; The best story-telling to date, married with challenging and deep gameplay

2. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen; Dark Souls-esque but with stronger RPG mechanics, albeit simpler combat mechanics

3. FTL; There is a steep learning curve to this one, but its amazing how good you can get at this one after learning how everything works

4. Hotline Miami; It kind of reminds me of old school prince of persia in a strange way: Blowing through a stage with perfectly timed moves.

5. Rouge Legacy; This is my kind of Rouge-like, getting stronger and stronger runs while discovering new synergies between abilities

6. FEZ;
 

Zeona

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Jan 23, 2009
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1. BioShock Infinite ; From the opening minutes the game gripped me and it maintained this grip for quite some time after I finished it. Columbia is gorgeous, the way it is introduced in the opening stages of the game is magnificent and the way that is extended throughout the game is also great (though to a lesser degree). The gameplay highlight are the Sky-line combat arenas due to the situations that would arise in them. The game's individual parts are already fantastic, technically as well as artistically, and yet I still feel like the end result is bigger than the sum of its parts.
2. Super Mario 3D World ; This game starts out great and keeps getting better. The way this game introduces and disposes mechanics because they have such a ridiculous amount of them in this game that they do not need to cling to any one of them for long is astounding. The HD visuals are spot on and the addition of the catsuit adds a nice new layer to the game.
3. Tomb Raider ; After accepting that this will not be a classical TR I launched the game with an open mind and what I found is the best Action-Adventure of the year. The game controls great, looks great, sounds great, well, it's just great.
4. The Last of Us ; This is a great experience once again highlighting ND's strengths.
5. Saints Row IV ; The best superhero game ever made.
6. Grand Theft Auto V ; I enjoyed this game a lot more than I expected (I lost interest in GTA 4 after a few hours). Setting and characters are great, combat is decent and the sheer amount of content is superb.
7. Pikmin 3 ; Playing Pikmin in HD is just as much fun as in SD.
8. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; This is a neat little package to spent two interesting hours with.
9. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger ; This is a very "simple" game but the execution is superb. The way the narration influences the "world" is a nice touch, the duel system is fun and the weapons feel right.
10. Rogue Legacy ; The hero permutations and castle permutations make every castle entry fresh, the controls are tight and the upgrade system removes a lot of the frustration of dying.
x. Gone Home ; This game deserves a mention but is ultimately disappointing due to the total lack of finesse in how it is trying to reach its goals, which reminds me of the "talkie" era in movies. That said it is still a very interesting approach that is worthy of experiencing.
2012. Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition (PC) ; After the announcement of GFWL shutting down I finally started playing this and was blown away. With the way every single action is context-sensitive and every step you take is narrative-driven down a tight corridor in most modern games I never expected to see another system-driven game, let alone one of this grandeur.
 
Aug 24, 2007
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1. The Last of Us ; What I liked most about this game is how well it handled the dialogue. Subtle and restrained, having it kept simple and to the point makes a world of difference. The opposite of this would be Bioshock Infinite. That game's dialogue is filled with so much filler and useless rhetoric that it turned me off the game completely.

2. Dota 2 ; I don't play this game anymore, but when I did it was fun.

3. Final Fantasy 14 ; UI is a mess, Tera has a better button configuration. Still, the story out of all things stood out, along with how friendly people were in the game.

This is the first year where I don't have all ten nominations slots. I'm a little bit shocked because I expected to have this list filled out quite easily.Looking at other's lists to see if I missed anything, it started reminding me of all the games I played this year but were disappointing: Bioshock Infinite (awful dialogue), Ni no Kuni ( terrible battle system), Tomb Raider (character actions and decisions were terribly stupid, couldn't take more of it), BF4 (Alpha), Diablo 3 (felt like a cheap OS game) etc..

And then there were some good games but for some reason they didn't click and I just didn't care to finish them: Xcom, Majesty 2, Shadowrun Returns, Far Cry 3, Valdis Story AC. Apathy, I guess?
 

bak4fun

Unconfirmed Member
Jan 8, 2013
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It’s the last day to do it, so let’s make a list of my favorite games of 2013.
Even if it’s in the rules, for my list, I didn’t want rerelease of games on other platforms (so good bye hotline miami vita, you would have been on there) or expansions (so no dark arisen or Civ V).

I will put also at the end of this post the list of all the games I played this year from 2013, mostly because I find that interesting when looking at other people lists as nobody has time to play all the games and everyone is already choosing from a subset of games.

1. The Last of Us ; for me, no other game came close. I could probably try to write something to describe why I like the gameplay, the characters, the themes, the sound design, the soundtrack, the graphics so much, but I feel that you could find that in a million other posts, so just go play the game if you haven’t already, and make me feel jealous that I can’t play it for the first time again.

2. Rocksmith 2014 ; I was and still am a big music game fan, so I am not sure if it’s Rocksmith or learning to play guitar that is so fun, but I can definitely say that I will play this game regularly for the year to come.

3. Tearaway ; cynicism has no place here, this game made me feel like I was 4 and put a big smile on my face time and time again

4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; a great 2D Zelda with some really clever ideas, but mostly nostalgia

5. Papers, Please ; I didn’t enjoy checking passports, I didn’t enjoy making decisions that are terrible either way, I didn’t like feeling powerless, like a cog in the Arstotzkian wheel and yet I couldn’t stop playing this game

6. Bravely Default ; I have to put a disclaimer here : It’s the only game (with an ending) on this list that I haven’t finished yet. Do you like jrpg released during the late snes and PS1 area? I do and it feels like a squaresoft game.

7. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; I always liked studio ghibli a lot, the aesthetics but also the simple but touching stories that is often associated with them. I was able to find that in this game, also, to be able to explore a world like that was just great.

8. Dragon's Crown ; A beat’em up that looks and feels great with a good skill and loot and leveling system, and I can play that on the go?

9. Year Walk ; Short but not sweet, maybe it was playing this at night in my bed in one “sitting” with a serious lack of sleep, but I can’t not think of this game from time to time. Also a great use of the iPad and of the companion app.

10. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Platinum game means great gameplay, so yes, this game combat feels great and the things happening are just awesome and ridiculous. I can’t wait to play Bayonetta 2

x. Rogue Legacy ; I stopped playing this game rather quickly as I want to play it on my vita, but the little I played of it was so good.

2012. Hotline Miami ; I bought this game for the sound track and when I began to play it I had to finish it, great on the vita

Games released in 2013 I played : Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Antichamber, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, BioShock Infinite, Bravely Default, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Dead Rising 3, Divekick, DmC: Devil May Cry, Don't Starve, Dragon's Crown, DuckTales: Remastered, Earth Defence Force 3 Portable, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, FIFA 14, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Fire Emblem Awakening, Gone Home, Grand Theft Auto V, Guacamelee!, Infinity Blade III, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Killzone: Mercenary, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Papers, Please, Resogun, Rocksmith 2014, Rogue Legacy, Saints Row IV, Soul Sacrifice, Super Mario 3D World, Tearaway, The Last of Us, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, The Wonderful 101, Tomb Raider, Year Walk

There is also a few games I wish I had time to play like Beyond: Two Souls, Path of Exile, Puppeteer, Rain, Rayman Legends, Remember Me, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, State of Decay, Tales of Xillia, The Stanley Parable and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist but there's only so much hours in a day.
 
Apr 27, 2007
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Posting a quick and dirty list since I have a habit of postponing and then forgetting to vote. Might be back in a bit to add some of them "words".

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I've enjoyed pretty much every Zelda game I've played to some degree. At worst, they've been "pretty good." They've gotten increasingly tedious though, and have done embarrasingly little to alter the formula. So somewhat ironically, this throwback to ALTTP is the most refreshing Zelda experience in a long while. For me it's less about the idea of giving you a lot of items at once to experiment with but rather because it simply cuts out a lot of the crap and lets you get into the gameplay quickly and stay there.
2. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; Optional sub-title: A Song of L, R and START. My first Fire Emblem game and it makes me kick myself I never picked up a FE game for my older Nintendo machines. Advance Wars with waifus and RNG-determined fates when the tactical decisions turn out poorly. I know some FE veterans say this game is on the easy side and true, the game's difficulty is very much front-loaded, but, if you get lazy and don't calculate if a move is safe, the game will punish you for it.
3. Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies ; The blue badger, er, lawyer is back... unfortunately? Yes, it feels a bit like a cop-out and a step back to put Phoenix back in the starring role after passing the torch to his protége Apollo in the previous game, but the structure of the game does manage to keep the player's perspective fresh with each new case. The major flaw is a the hugely disappointing lack of challenge and the excessive handholding where they literally tell you the solutions in some cases. Even so, the game manages to offer another solid AA story.
4. XCOM: Enemy Within ; More toys and more maps made for a couple of new playthroughs of this game.
5. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (PC) ; Not just a Mario Kart clone but a competent arcade racer.
6. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros ;
7. Civilization V: Brave New World ;
8. Spelunky (PC) ;
9. La-Mulana ; Equal parts enjoyable Metroidvania gameplay and frustration. Make that two thirds frustration, actually.

2012. FTL: Faster Than Light ;
 
Oct 31, 2011
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1. Papers, Please ; Now, this is how you do a socially conscious game while also being fun. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t expecting a darkly comedic Soviet era immigration officer sim thriller to be my game of the year. It’s one of the very few games to do moral choices right, through gameplay and player-driven choice, rather than through stilted story moments with dialogue options. The brilliant thing is, because of the branching narrative and moral choices, whatever your skill level or playstyle, there’ll be an ending for it (20 in all). It’s an exercise in empathy where only through the power of videogames could you feel what it is like to be in the shoes of such a publicly hated position and understand the circumstances that lead to certain unsavoury decisions. Only here could you simulate a transformation of your political philosophy into a selfish douchebag while also having a heart of gold for trafficked hookers. Jorji was undoubtedly the best and most lovable new character of 2013.

It helps that the Cold War atmosphere is incredibly relevant in this age of post-9/11 paranoia, guerrilla terrorism, and immigration reform. Heck, the subject matter even interests a grumpy 66 year old news correspondent like Jon Snow! XD

Disclaimer: Watch out for my cameo ;) Thank you, Lucas Pope for such a wonderful game and GLORY TO ARSTOTZKA! Keep those pesky Kochelians out!


2. Zeno Clash 2 ; As the series is the undisputed king of first person melee, this sequel expands by making itself out to be the most surreal open-ish fantasy world brawler ever.

I’ve never been this endlessly fascinated with a game world. What is up with the hiding person in the town? Along with Rock of Ages, the Monty Python vibe continues in the form of absurdly gigantic human limbs holding up parts of the world. Why are there hands on the side of mountains squeezing balloons?. It’s kind of ridiculous how much variety there is in the character designs and environments (my gallery) and that it was 20 hours long for me, all made by the 15 or so people at ACE Team. When I came out at Rath Bird Fields, it gave me that same vast feeling of openness that I had with Ocarina of Time’s Hyrule plains. The story is full of as many twists as the first game, and one that totally changes the context of why this caveman world exists. There’s an otherworldly hallucination that still has my mind racing to what it all means.

It’s rare you get a mash of mindblowing art along with a deep combat system taking into account any move you’d want to do. There’s nothing quite like sprint-elbowing a dude, and then going into an ultra combo. You can now aim punches to hit more vulnerable body parts. First Person Piledriver. First Person Ken’s Rage (sadly, they don’t explode). There’s even a counter roundhouse kick to avoid getting ambushed from off-screen attackers. The new special abilities make the crowd control a lot more tolerable too, like linking one enemy to another so your punches to one can transfer to the other and there’s a cool boss battle that uses this to great effect while still being tough.


3. Antichamber ; Many years in the making, I had been waiting for this Alexander Bruce game ever since it was called Hazard: A Journey of Life but because of life, I only got around to this game exactly one year after it came out. This insane First Person Puzzler is a true marvel. Visual illusions are the meat of the level design, and you’ll employ every lateral trick in your head to figure it out. Not only that, the game has a purely non-linear world with a fantastic map system that makes it very pick-up-and-play if you get frustrated on a level and want to give another place a go. The idiom riddles as hints on the walls is a very neat touch. Deserves a heck lot more love than it’s getting in GOTY lists. Now if only Soulja Boy promoted this game...


4. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; Starbreeze delivers another emotionally potent experience except instead of a shooter it’s a Nordic fantasy adventure puzzler. One of the best examples of mechanics-based storytelling where there is no decipherable dialogue, but it’s all told with body language, animations, and in-game interactions. The dual-stick-for-duo-characters control scheme is brilliantly executed and leads to one of the most touching moments ever in a game.


5. The Novelist ; The most effective look into family matters I've seen in a videogame so far, done through the guise of a ghost adventure-stealth game. Alongside Papers Please, the best use of moral decisions and a branching narrative I have participated in. Both these games allow you to use real world logic rather than in most videogames where you're trying to game the system to get the best rewards. Even though I'm not married or have a family yet, or am an author, I could still relate to all the pull-and-push of a family life and how compromises can be made but not all parties will be satisfied. How tough it is to maintain a work/life balance. I feel this game will be even more relevant further down the line in my life.

I have to applaud how solid the gameplay loop was (clues->memories->compromise), considering it could've been a much simpler tourist-y game like Gone Home. It definitely is still in familiar territory with the notes, diary entries, light stealth, and it's nice to see established gameplay mechanics can still be used for effective storytelling rather than resorting to cutscenes or QTEs. Also, you can still tell an emotional story without a grand tragedy, which I believe is the shorter path to create drama. Or maybe I have to replay to find out!

One criticism is for the stealth stuff, it never really ramped up in challenge when earlier the game mentions that lights will start being made unavailable to possess. I didn't really use the flicker distractions that much. But that didn't take away from the game's message, just solidified that it was going for a more laidback, introspective atmosphere. Either way, don't miss out on this game.


6. Metro Last Light ; It is straight up the best FPS of 2013, except I didn’t shoot a bullet, at least into a human bean. There is a loving amount of attention to detail, down to the best ever reload and idle weapon animations. Being able to play the game completely non-lethally made for a fun challenge as you’re navigating the multiple passageways from up and down a level. There is a very detailed, nihilistic world with enough balance on human survival and complexities to not feel completely misanthropic. Each level, there’s something new to experience, like Regina where you’re on a railcar and can stop at multiple stops on either side to be smothered by spider-scorpions that will make even the hardest of arachnophile’s palms sweat in terror. While you’d think coming up to the surface would be a breath of fresh air, those big levels are even scarier because of the gas mask rationing and unworldly creatures lurking around with unpredictable behaviours. Along with Shadow Warrior mentioned below, it’s a damn long game, with tons of variety.


7. Gunpoint ; Greatly designed twist on stealth games where instead of melee attacks, you perform stealth jumps, hardwire electronics for elaborate environment traps or making a guard’s gun jam, and then punch the crap out of your enemies way past a humane level (GIF). The writing is great, with all the British humour and noir espionage tropes you could ever want. Has one of the best openings ever. It’s hard to believe this was made by a (fantastic) games journalist, Tom Francis, as his first rookie project.


8. Shadow Warrior ; Not only is this a fun as hell and incredibly beautiful first-person swordfighting shooter, but the more expansive level design makes me wish other shooters took note. You can backtrack through pretty much every level, so you never feel railroaded into what the designers want you to do. Even though there’s no real point to it, I love the destruction. It’s an incredibly long game too, took me more than 25 hours for completion. I would never have expected such a deep skills system, but it becomes worth investing into when later on the game just dumps every enemy variety, gigantic or minute, onto you. The tougher the game gets (played on Hard difficulty), the more you’ll be switching out different sword specials, guns, and even demon heart/heads like a multitasking maniac.

Beyond the gameplay and design that respects the player, it’s probably the funniest game I played in 2013. Great tongue-in-cheek references, fourth-wall breaking, hipster jokes, ironic fortune cookies, one-liners, and a well-developed love/hate relationship between Lo Wang and Hoji that becomes surprisingly emotional towards the end.


9. Rayman Legends ; I didn’t think I’d love the new rim lighting look to the art style as much as the previous Origins 2D hand-drawn look, but once the stages got more exquisite it felt like taking part in the most epic cartoon action movie up there with How To Train Your Dragon. Ancel and the Ubi Montpellier team still deliver on the most beautiful 2D games I’ve ever seen, and it’s nice to see future games will be made with that Ubi-Art engine. The Invasion Ievels are as tough a challenge as anything in Origins. Really wouldn’t mind more music levels as DLC. There’s no denying the ample amount of content, even remixing a lot of Origin levels, and then the daily challenges which make for fun friend ribbing.

Heck, they made underwater stealth levels fun and usually those are the worst offenders in action-adventure and side-scrolling games! Finally, one of the best playable closing credits ever.


10. Guacamelee ; Another year, another fun metroidvania-style action game. While the combat in Dust: An Elysian Tail got too easy, the wrestling moves, dual-world switching, and special attacks here stop me from having a rote set of button presses to dish out. The platforming challenges are much more devious like the Tule Tree or the Superman flying and running into the sky sections. The parrying and blocking is welcomed, especially because you can perform it mid-air. The angular art style, mariachi soundtrack, and luchador-as-superhero world is fantastic, with funny NPCs and character interactions. Also, who doesn’t love backwards suplex’ing a dragon mid-air?!


x. Volgarr the Viking ; This is only an honourable mention because I never got far enough to judge it properly, which just means I suck at it. That doesn’t stop me from praising its pixel accurate intensity where I’m genuinely counting the exact blocks in the background from how far I’m going to be hit by a venus flytrap. Throwing spears to make your own platforms give a strong sense of player agency. Or how empowering the system of hit points correlating to the actual pieces of armour is, when you’re running around with a flaming sword. While I feel the checkpointing is too hardcore, there’s nothing quite like playing a section continuously for the last thirty minutes with two pieces of armour and just feeling the next screen will be a save point. The art designs, animations, and soundtrack are all great.


x. The Swapper ; This is better than Moon, the likely movie influence. While it’s a great space thriller puzzler with 2001 vibes thanks to telepathic monolith stones, an air of loneliness, and the edges of human curiosity into the unknown, I wasn’t expecting deep metaphysical fiction about clones or consciousnesses. The puzzles can get nefarious later on, but it’s worth getting to one of the most interesting endings in a while.


x. State of Decay ; Now that’s how you do a zombie apocalypse simulator with actually fun combat and decent human companions!


x. MirrorMoon EP ; My god, it's full of planets! Much like Outer Wilds, here is a true space exploration game with shifting locations and mechanics and not having to be bogged down into a management sim. There's just surprise after surprise lurking around each dark side of the moon. I was sold after the KRZ cameo, there's so much visual wonder.


2012. Sleeping Dogs ; I was genuinely impressed that I finally played an open world crime action game focused majorly on melee combat (need to check out Yakuza after this), and while the shooting that is there is merely serviceable, it is bolstered by the use of bullet-time that makes this the best John Woo-like videogame.
Not only that, Hong Kong makes for a more compact, dense, and refreshing world which gives me hope that a London crime game with not much guns is possible. This is a true love letter to Hong Kong crime movies like Infernal Affairs and John Woo’s work. Genuinely likeable or engaging characters that seem to be a dying breed in modern games, perfect mix of goofy and dramatic tone, air-hijacking, unique setting, great PC port, and pretty as hell when raining at night which is very often.
Who doesn't love dragging people around and doing environmental nasty stuff to them? Or charging them into the ground and breaking their ankles to scare the shit out of everyone else?
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I wish I had more time to play Stanley Parable, Metal Gear Rising, or Volgarr :( I hope Kentucky Route Zero finishes in 2014, so it can be a GOTY contender then.
 
Apr 18, 2011
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After playing a few indie darlings and getting a late Wii U, I decided to update my list. I gimped it in the quote so it won't get counted twice.

first. Brothers: a tale of two sons -- the first game I know that successfully employs kinesthetic rhetoric in its message and pulls it off marvelously. With great pacing it may be short but is exactly the right length, managing to be a sweeping epic but remain intimate. A hero's journey that's nevertheless tragic, where it's love and loss instead of strife that creates catharsis. Interestingly it's also the only game I can think off that contains characters that are crying, not forced or for comedic effect, but heartrending wailing at genuine loss. That moment was a total shock as it uprooted what I expect games to do and had me more emotional than anything in games.

second. Papers Please -- Strangely addictive game, where the story is told through the relatively simple mechanics. The low quality aesthetics actually enhance the Soviet theme (or at least the Westerner's look at Soviet themes ;). Interestingly the fun little game provides great insight into the machinations of corruption in statist civilizations, and makes it fun in the progress.

third. Tomb Raider -- yes this game was overly, disgustingly or comically violent. The story unraveled near the end. There was way too little tomb raiding. But by golly this game was just unadulterated fun from beginning to end. Automatic cover and gunplay felt just so good. What I found really impressive though was that you played as an actual woman. Not TnA to ogle at (previous Tomb Raiders, many other games), nor a dude with breasts (Mass Effect et al). The transformation from hunted to hunter may have transpired a bit too quickly (but that nighttime woods area!), however Lara still felt well rounded and believable. Passed the Bechdel test with flying colors too. My wife really enjoyed playing the game, getting a higher completion rate than me, and that accounts for something too.

fourth. Super Mario 3D World -- Not as good as Galaxy, but that's only the best game ever. 3D World is simply charming as hell, and still has all the tactile fun of the Mario 3D playground we're accustomed to. It's also the first time multiplayer works in a Mario game. I seriously doubted this game. I was wrong. In Tokyo EAD we trust.

fifth. The Wolf Among Us -- another game that had me more intrigued, angry, desperate and mournful in two hours of running time than the forty hours bloat of AAA games trying to justify their budget. Showing that writing in games can in fact be decent.

sixth. GTA V -- Part 4 is my worst game of the generation, so I wasn't hyped for this. But this game was a massive return to form and easily my favorite GTA. The character switching and fun missions did wonders to ameliorate the tedium that always made me stop playing the games before the end. I also think the game looks better than next gen, with the lights of the city at night blinking in the distance to be especially believable yet luring. If only the Housers could actually write a compelling story and didn't confuse plot for plod, this game could've been something really special. Now it was just good.

seventh. Gone Home -- A really sweet love story. I thought the game was a bit clunky (running like a dog on my laptop even though it didn't look very special) and I guess there was too much emptiness and conveniently placed notes for me to really make it work. But then I thought hang on how many sweet love stories do we have in games?.... yeah this has to go on the list. It also helped that I was nostalgia'ing hard throughout, being an eighties/nineties kid.

eigth. Pikmin 3 -- I think the gameplay is fun and interesting, but what really sells me is the sci-fi tilt-shift atmosphere. It's Nintendo's version of Pixar at its best.


Honorary mentions: The Stanley Parable, Bioshock Infinite, Rayman Legends. They're all good, and would normally round up my top 10 (well eleven), but they're also all flawed and I would kind of regret it if they got points that elevated them above the ones that are on my list.
 
Jan 25, 2008
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1. Bioshock Infinite ; I feel with a lot of games I get bored halfway through, start playing something else, and then plan on going back and never do. That didn't happen with Infinite. It grabbed me from the beginning and it kept me all the way to the end. Any game that can hold my attention long enough for me to finish it with how weird I am deserves to be my personal GoTY.

2. Tales of Xillia ;

3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Rising is a video game ass video game. I loved every dumb slicing minute I had with this game. Nanomachines son.

4. Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag ;

5. DmC: Devil May Cry ;

6. Dragon's Crown ;

7. Wonderful 101 ;

8. Rougue Legacy ;

9. Pokemon X/Y ;

10. Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign ; I played so much puzzle quest this year. I'm probably playing it right now. I killed my phone battery so much with this game it had to be on my list somewhere.

x. Fire Emblem Awakening
x. One Piece Pirate Warriors 2
 
Feb 14, 2005
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1. The Last of Us ;
2. DmC ;
3. Dragon's Crown ;
4. Hotline Miami ;
5. Beyond: Two Souls ;
6. Guacamelee! ;
7. Tearaway ;
8. Puppeteer ;
9. Sound Shapes ;
10. Soul Sacrifice ;
Don't let your ballot go uncounted by neglecting to write comments like this. You will absolutely be disqualified.

I've sent PMs to everyone who has posted a ballot like this that is able to receive messages.
 
Mar 4, 2008
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Ha, I had three vita games in my top ten. Both Soul Sacrifice and Dragons Crown got a lot of playtime. A little surprising, handheld gaming is definitely becoming a bigger part of my life.
 

Screaming_Gremlin

My QB is a Dick and my coach is a Nutt
Jun 8, 2004
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1. Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I’m one of the weirdos out there who doesn’t really love the 3D Zelda games (Windwaker and Majora’s Mask are slight exceptions). I would much rather go back and play Link to the Past or Link’s Awakening if given a chance, which is why I was looking forward to Link Between Worlds. While I still find the art style of this game to be sort of gross at times, I can’t deny that they nailed just about everything else. The game played wonderfully, and while the dungeons weren’t always the most difficult, they never outstayed their welcome. The rental shop was a nice change of pace as well. Finally, the music was through the roof. Quite possibly my favorite of any of the games.

2. Papers, Please ; Glory to Arstotzka! I thought this was going to be a goofy little joke game when I first saw it on Giant Bomb, but it really surprised me. While it starts somewhat easy, the rules and regulations quickly build up to the point that you are struggling to remember what can and can’t be allowed on any given day. It also made me struggle to make decisions at time, trying to do what would be best for myself and my family, but balanced against knowing that it might come back to bite me in the ass later.

3. Gone Home ; I know a lot of people who probably complain that Gone Home isn’t a “game” but I actually celebrate that we have developers creating different experiences with games like this and Dear Esther. It is a different aspect of interactive media and one that I hope is explored more in the future.
What really made Gone Home for me was the attention to detail. With the small exception of how some of the letters were laid out (which I excuse since they wanted to tell a story), the house felt very believable. You feel that a family actually live there, which in turns helps you feel some emotional resonance with the family and the stories that are going on throughout the game.

4. Bioshock Infinite ; I feel like Bioshock Infinite improved on all of the issues I had with the first game (I hadn’t played 2 yet). The combat was a lot more satisfying. Chaining different vigors and weapons could lead to some very imaginative results. Combined with the sky-rails, tears, and environmental hazards, the combat ended up being a much larger sandbox than I had expected, much to the games benefit. That being said, I wish they would scale back on the combat altogether, since I don’t think that is the game’s real strength.

The art style of the game was just amazing. I felt there were times where I wasn’t making progress, since instead of moving forward I would just stop and stare at the scenery. Sad thing is I still must have missed a ton of stuff, since I was missing several voxophones at the end of the game.

5. Civilization V: Brave New World ; I didn’t have Civilization V on release like many other Civ veterans did. The game certainly deserved many of the criticisms that were laid upon it, but I thought the ground work was there for something really great. Gods and Kings then went and fixed most of those issues and got the game to where it should have been at the start. Brave New World in that case seems like the first true expansion, and what a wonderful one that it is. Archeology is fantastic way to further build out the world as the game advances, and the ideologies are a nice way to further differentiate the nations in the late game. I would finally say Civ V has reached the point where it is a true successor to Civ IV.

6. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; While I owned the first Fire Emblem on the GBA, as well as one of the DS games, they still remain in my backlog. So this was my first experience with the franchise and I thought it was great. It was actually the game that got me to finally buy a 3DS. I really like the battle system and everything that goes into the game play. In particular, I thought the leveling up by partnering with characters on the battlefield was a pretty neat mechanic. I just wish they would have found a way to do it besides some goofy dating/marriage mechanic. Especially when the game contains a character that might as well be an eight year old (saying she is a 1000 year old dragon didn’t make it better). Talk about creepyville.

7. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag ; Assassin’s Creed III was one of my most disappointing games of last year, which is what makes this game one of my surprises of the year. A lot of the annoying Assassin’s Creed mechanics are still there, usually for the worst, but the general Pirate motif and sense of adventure overcome it. I had the most fun, cruising around in the Jackdaw doing whatever I felt like. I also much preferred the non-Animus stuff in this game. Desmond was always terrible, but this game had some amusing pieces with Abstergo Entertainment. I just hope for the next game they change of the mission structure a lot, because every other mission involving tailing a guy and listening to their conversations was terrible. And the designers seemed to have a hard on for it.

8. The Stanley Parable ; I have trouble telling people about this game, because the first thing I want to do is start describing all of the scenarios I have ran across. It is funny, it is well designed, it is thought provoking, and the narrator is probably my favorite character in the game for the last several years.

9. Saints Row IV ; To me this game was both a sequel to Saints Row: The Third and the sequel to Crackdown that I always wanted. The superpowers were extremely fun to mess around with and I loved the new weapons (surprisingly, even the dubstep gun). The story was a bit interesting, since on one hand it was even more extremely out there than the third game, but at the same time they reigned in some of the craziness so it seemed a bit more grounded. Overall, it worked out fantastically and I can’t wait to see what they do with the next game.

10. The Swapper ; I first played this at PAX East earlier this year and I knew I had to have it as soon as it released. It has a wonderful atmosphere, an interesting mechanic in the swapping, and the puzzles are challenging while not seeming unfair.

X. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon ; I had a lot of fun with this game, but I felt frustrated with the controls at time. It really would have benefited from dual analog sticks, so as to give you better precision where you were pointing the vacuum while moving. That being said, the levels and characters were charming and the game play solid.

X. Guacamelee ; I almost missed Guacamelee with the hype some of the other indie games were getting. Thankfully I didn’t because the game has a stunning visual style, some intensely satisfying platforming, and some rather decent combat.

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There were a few games that I didn't play this year that I wished that I would have been able to, including: The Last of Us, Super Mario World 3D, Pikmin 3, Shin Megami Tensei IV, and Europa Universalis IV.
 
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