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

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Jan 18, 2009
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1. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; This was my first foray into the Fire Emblem universe, and I was almost immediately hooked. I loved the depth of the mechanics. I understand the criticisms that the game receives (by the end you can crush anything), but no other game kept me up late at night.

2. Bioshock Infinite ; I am a sucker for atmosphere, and I loved the world of Infinite. Yeah, eating food out of the garbage is dumb, but I couldn't let that bother me. A fun rollercoaster that featured places that I had a blast exploring.

3. Grand Theft Auto V ; Going into the game, I thought that I would hate Trevor. His first scene, in which he
stomps on a former character's head
reinforced my dislike. However, he became my favourite of the three mains before long because he encapsulated what made Grand Theft games fun for me. The world built for this game was also incredible, and encouraged me to take a few long drives.

4. The Last of Us ; I didn't fall in love with this game: usually I just wanted to get through the combat scenes (except during the Winter phase - great stuff there). The final mission also put me off. But those are just reasons that I don't have this game higher up. The Last of Us is an incredible experience that really should not be missed.

5. Brothers ; Phew! This game got to me. Perhaps it is because I have two young sons, and I was forced into imagining them overcome trials together. So often the controls drove me crazy, but when it all comes together at the end, it makes every time I ran my characters against a wall while my head twirled worth it. A beautiful game.

6. A Link Between Worlds ; I have not completed this game, but what I have played has been amazing. I have not been able to put much time in a Zelda game since A Link to the Past because I always eventually tire of the formula. Here I think the Zelda world is refreshed. I also love the 3D and vertical design of the dungeons.

7. Papers, Please ; I know that some people say that the point of the game is that the task is not fun, but I disagree. I actually enjoyed scrutinizing documents in this game, trying to beat the clock.

8. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger ; The art was what made me interested in this game. The delivery of the story is refreshing. The pacing and length is just right (for me): I could have easily seen this game overstay its welcome. I hope more developers take note and offer short, interesting experiences that aren’t padded out to justify a premium price.

9. Tearaway ; When I am not playing this game, I am not thinking about it. But when I have it in my hands, there is something about it that makes me smile whenever I play it.

10. Gone Home ; I really enjoyed my experience with this game. I thought the ending was well executed, and I found myself compelled to explore the house. So many cool touches throughout the space that made it feel lived in.
 
Feb 20, 2013
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1. Antichamber ; Antichamber is one of the most varied, rewarding, mind-blowing, and well paced puzzle games I have ever had the pleasure of playing in the last few years. Every room and hallway feels interesting and intriguing, and every puzzle at most feels completely different, or at least feels like it builds off knowledge it has previously taught you. Here's what’s really fucking crazy about this game; it takes you to another planet, and teaches you its own laws of gravity. You learn the obtuse laws of Antichamber's corridors and rooms, all taught to you without hand-holding by its ever-changing visuals, clever level design, and vague posters/signs posted throughout the game. There's no cutscenes, no bullshit filler or elongated tutorials, it's straight up puzzle brilliance. Even without much of the traditional sparkling presentation, the game has an uniquely memorable art-style, and even more its atmosphere, which is toned by the incredible sound design and ambiance through out the game. Lastly, and this is what really but this above number 2 for me, it's one of the few games that's often described as having a Super Metroid-like quality, and it actually has it. What I mean is that I played this game, and then played it again, and then again, each time getting faster, and figuring out more ways to sequence break it as I went along. That kind of external satisfaction beyond the core gameplay is something rare and awesome to behold, and Antichamber has it.

2. FEZ ; I feel like this game was made for me. I should say first off that FEZ’s soundtrack is simply one of the best videogame OST’s I’ve ever listened to, no hyperbole here. I listened to Disasterpeace’s soundtrack before playing the game, and it led me to the wonderful experience of FEZ, as well as the rest of Disasterpeace’s fine chiptune discography. Contrary to popular belief, FEZ is an atmospheric, slow burn adventure game first, an ingenious puzzle game 2nd, and a simple puzzle platformer at its shallow 3rd surface. Getting all 32 Anti-cubes has led to many great “ah-ha!” moments, and really shows off the genius design that was put into this game. It’s the presentation and atmosphere that stuck to me though, as FEZ manages to personify melancholic nostalgia to a tee, and that feeling has stuck with me long after the game ended. I think that’s half because Phil Fish put his heart and soul so far down into this game that you can hear them pulsing when jumping around gleefully as Fez, and partly because of the incredible audio and soundtrack that permeates throughout the environments. I could go on, but needless to say FEZ is a very special game, and I think it’s well deserved to be 2nd or even 1st on my list, but it is a bit of an acquired taste.

3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Cuts all the bad fat of Zelda games that has generally kept the series down for me. It’s fast paced, tightly designed, has satisfying puzzles, and the best soundtrack to a game this year which includes some of the best renditions of classic Zelda tunes I have ever heard. Although it is has low difficulty, that didn’t bother me much since Zelda has rarely been difficult. That being said Hero mode available from the start would have been nice. Either way, the game is one of the best Zelda games I’ve played, which is saying a hell of a lot. It’s probably one of the only Zelda games I would actually deem open-world as well. Oh yeah, and it’s really damn fun.

4. The Last of Us ; Jaw-dropping presentation, and the one of the best stories I’ve seen told in gaming. It’s predictable, sure, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t executed flawlessly, has excellent writing and well-developed characters, and a flat-out fantastic conclusion to the game and to the character of Joel. The gameplay is great too, although a bit unsatisfying and frustrating at times. The Last of Us is a hell of a cinematic ride, and is probably the best game of that kind I’ve played. This is coming from someone who thought the Uncharted series was just alright and not ground breaking outside of its technical achievements.

5. The Swapper ; Gorgeous art and visuals, probably the best this year. A pretty haunting atmosphere and story, and a lot of it is told really subtlety which I loved. It takes one simple mechanic and runs with it across the game successfully thanks to the well designed puzzle rooms.

6. GTA V ; Fantastic soundtrack, really fucking fun missions and gameplay. This game was pretty addicting, I plowed through the story and played 80 hours of it, but I didn’t love every minute of it. Some of the things to complete 100% were just plain awful, and I should’ve never gone for them. Otherwise the game was a blast.

7. Super Mario 3D World ; Great, satisfying level design, as expected of EAD Tokyo. The last few worlds carried the 3D platforming bliss and variety this developer is known for. However, it felt painfully short and the satisfaction didn’t kick up until a few worlds into the game, as was the problem with 3D Land.

8. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon ; An incredibly charming game with surprisingly clever level design across all the Mansions. Looks gorgeous on the 3DS as well. Unfortunately the game had a couple of poorly designed bosses, and the gameplay needed just a little more umph and variety for me to put this any higher. Still a pleasant surprise, as the game feels like a point and click adventure game mixed with cool little puzzles, which created quite the unique and interesting game.

9. Battleblock Theater ; A great platformer that has some excellent challenge near the end of it’s single player campaign. The co-op is fun as well, and the multiplayer games are just hilarious. The game is pretty simple and gets repetitive, but the time I spent with it was well worth it, and I had dumb smile plastered on my face half the time I was playing it.

10. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; The best AC game I’ve played, and I put more hours into this then anything on the list. Addicting, charming, and relaxing, it pretty much had everything I was looking for. Unfortunately the game limiting the things I can do and the real time nature of it burnt me out, as have all the AC games, and ultimately the simplicity and shallowness of the gameplay makes it something I can’t put higher on the list. Still a lovely game though, and gave me exactly what I wanted and expected.

x. Pikmin 3 ; Not too much to say, a really fun and addicting game hindered by some laughably easy boss bottles and frustrations by the Pikmin A.I. and controls.

x. Rogue Legacy ; A very satisfyingly challenging rogue-like, Castlevania esque game. It got repetitive more quickly than I thought, unfortunately.

2012. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; Nintendo’s best revival of a series ever, I mean holy shit. This game has awesome gameplay, and some of the best replay value you’ll get from a game on the 3DS. Yeah the controls suck at first, but this game pretty much blew me away in terms of what I expected from portable games, and gave me a mighty fine challenge while doing it.
 
Sep 21, 2010
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Check out previous years if you like what I'm doing here:

Here we are again. If you're a first time reader, here is how this will go: I'm going post huge, lone paragraphs (therapeutically) ranting about why I liked my favorite games of the year (and some things I disliked) paired with large images. You may want to stretch your browser if they don't fit on a single line (or use the zoom out browser feature). Each individual image will link to a music sample. A countable list will be posted at the very end along with links to other lists of interest. I get the feeling this year will be particularly heavy on walls of text, but it's all in good-spirited celebration of videogames. If you are not interested, then you are going to have to hit the "Page Down" key a few times. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

Before I begin I just wanted to note that I really like that people are putting more and more people effort into their lists, even falling into the camp of those who use images. It seems like the verbose and flashy crowd are less of a rarity these days, just skimming the 2011 thread. If I had any part in that, then cool. Cheers to anyone who stole were inspired by my lists. Ultimately, I could not care less about what wins "GAF's GotY", I think voting for such is a flawed idea, but I appreciate the excuse for a thread like this.

Another thing I want to say is that I like it when people (without affiliated websites) link their top 10 list as their GAF "homepage". In a sea of thousands, I think these lists can provide the quickest way to grasp someone's overall position on game matters or find those with similar tastes. I certainly think you can get a good grasp of my gaming personality with the descriptions of 30 ranked games and 22 honorable mentions these lists provide. Now then, let's begin:



MMXIII


Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (3DS)
Chunsoft, Chunsoft/Aksys Games
This game is CRAZY! It’s one thing to have a big twist, but Virtue’s Last Reward drops bomb after bomb in its closing hours. I mean just seeing the name of the final puzzle room (or the first impression it gives inside) had me giggling madly. Then everything after that… But, let’s take a step back. Compared to the previous “Zero Escape” game, the puzzles (especially the new optional ones) are a huge step up, with some real stumpers in there. 999’s darker atmosphere and consequences are missed, but the surrealism of VLR worked better for elements that felt out of place in 999 (namely, the character designs). The amazing main twist of 999 was one of a kind and its branching storyline engaging, but the game was a real pain to get through. VLR, in addition to having better puzzle rooms (excluding music), is a whole lot more manageable thanks to its flowchart (though I simply do not understand why they would reveal the complete length of most of the paths!). The twists are still mind-blowing, if not as creatively executed, and, the absence of 999’s near-horror uneasiness aside, I couldn’t ask for a more improved sequel. DON’T PLAY THIS UNLESS YOU’VE FINISHED 999 – NOT THAT ITS PLOT IS DIRECTLY RELATED.​


X


The Last of Us (PS3)
Naughty Dog, Sony Computer Entertainment
I&#8217;ve seen many post-apocalyptic, dead worlds, but often they just offer the fantasy of playing in a trash heap with some bums. Naughty Dog has done better than most, because what they created isn&#8217;t a decaying world, but one where nature beautifully thrives in civilization&#8217;s place (trash heaps have never been prettier). How appropriate that, instead of the walking dead or mutated freaks, we face carriers of fungi. ND are the best in the business at getting talented actors (Troy Baker <3), putting ping pong balls on them, and making engaging, natural small talk. That talent has transferred well to scenes of serious drama. Thankfully, the tone isn't always bleak. The world is checkered with sites of tragedy and foreboding notes, sure, but I wouldn&#8217;t care if it wasn&#8217;t for Ellie &co. having their silly Uncharted-esque moments. The plot relies entirely on the strength of the characters, both big and small, protagonists who succeed on selfishness and antagonists foiled by their kindness, all strong performances. It is a shame then that I grew too tired of The Last of Us to fully appreciate their fates, leaving me mostly unfazed by the final act. After BioShock Infinite I said I would never be a &#8220;trash collector&#8221; again; I lied, but at least this trash is useful. The adherence to low resources does give the game its own character (even if stealth takedowns are the go-to way to play in any game). Still, that didn&#8217;t help the game&#8217;s pacing any, especially taken with the slow &#8220;ladder&#8221; moments. Scavenging in cluttered 3D spaces between obvious set pieces is tedium; making it very useful only establishes it further. The combat is simple, yet gripping, mainly if you allow it to get chaotic. The gunplay and enemy reactions are meaty and gruesome; the best ND has done. Combat areas are also better than what I&#8217;ve come to expect (I&#8217;ll still say the Shipyard from UC3 is the tops). The stealth mechanics were decent, though I felt the actual encounters ranged wildly between very tense to dull (sometimes were too &#8220;checkpointy&#8221; too). Too bad the enemies plateau early on and the best Infected rarely show up; later encounters tend to feel like more of the same. Even if I found the first act off-putting, the setting hooked me in a way the similar Metro: Last Light failed to, which is good because TLOU does deliver on its promise. The atmosphere and action are sometimes meshed to where I would catch myself thinking as Joel in threatening situations (that is, after I invested some brainpower into blocking out how enemies ignored my allies in stealth). Redbox plus online pass means no multiplayer, so skipping that.​


IX


Wargame: AirLand Battle (PC)
Eugene Systems, Focus Home Interactive
AirLand Battle is a game of layers; with every concept understood, a new set of underlying rules appears. The lengthy details found in each of the 700+ units may give you an idea what I mean, but it&#8217;s how parameters mix together that give this game its dauntingly complex beauty. I can&#8217;t even fit here why I like the fundamental fog of war/recon rules, let alone everything else, so just believe me when I say this is right up my alley. Perhaps &#8220;Wargame&#8221; is a misnomer in the most literal sense, but this very much adapts the themes associated with armchair general tabletop gaming to a fast-paced, tense real-time game (maybe still a little too fast, but not &#8220;APM wankery&#8221; fast). It never fails to surprise me just how quickly the surest strategies can suddenly turn into roasted scrap metal; no doubt because that strategy actually failed to account for an essential advantage or hard counter. The game isn&#8217;t as unapproachable as I&#8217;m likely making it sound; it just makes for some harsh lessons as you learn a more realistic approach to warfare. Thinking too highly of tanks or air support makes for good hand-on-stove moments. ALB is all about making those hard counters or exploiting the dense set of rules better than your opponent, foregoing base-building or managing every little resource gatherer. Spicing up skirmish and multiplayer, the brilliance of the deck-building aspect, where units are cards, is twofold. First, there is the obvious fun that comes with freedom in such an experimentation rich environment, whether it&#8217;s creating your perfect army or recreating historical battles between friends. Second, a layer of rules exist to encourage and balance historically limited decks. Factions and nations are highly asymmetrical, seen best in themed decks. Within the campaign, victories are not so straightforward: there&#8217;s long term dynamism (aided by R.U.S.E.-style cards) that makes it more about avoiding pyrrhic victories and sometimes even aiming for graceful defeats. The cross-battle persistence and mutable win conditions lead to interesting freeform scenarios. Perhaps due to strong post-release support, I couldn&#8217;t relate to earlier campaign complaints. I&#8217;ve only recently been digging into multiplayer, arguably the main course, meeting a very formidable, but friendly small community. Along with the bruises, I come out of every battle with a new deck idea or new approach. The 10 vs. 10 multiplayer maps are easily the most impressive (and intimidating); it&#8217;s a spectacle like I&#8217;ve never seen before in a RTS. Being a pseudo-realistic, historically-accurate Cold War RTS (or w/e), I must commend Eugene on how fun the thematically appropriate mechanics are without having to go conveniently fantasy/sci-fi or too abstract. Not in love with the look, but I do appreciate the amount of effort put into detailing so many units you can really zoom in on. The game I&#8217;m worst at, but one of the most engrossing.​


VIII


Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U)
Capcom Production Studio 1, Capcom
My policy is to place expansions lower so to cover fresh material, but Ultimate provides a double expansion jump (one of the biggest entries yet) for consoles and, really, I just want to talk about Monster Hunter. Cutting my teeth on Tri was when I started comparing it to fighters: it&#8217;s focused on positioning and space control while adapting to an opponent&#8217;s behavior. The deliberate, punishable animations put more meaning on individual actions; lenient mobility or animation canceling would lessen that. In this economy very little is given for free, not sharpening your degrading weapon or even healing with a potion and you&#8217;re always running the clock. You have two deep sets of rules and hitboxes interacting: the weapons and the monsters. The 12 weapons mostly play very differently and handle in a way that demands proficiency. You can&#8217;t take even their basic attacks or defenses for granted, so all the more satisfying mastery becomes. The series should be at the front of the discussion when you ask &#8220;What game has the best set of weapons?&#8221; This is also true when you ask &#8220;What game has the best bosses?&#8221; They are remarkably well-realized creatures, mechanically and aesthetically. You have to get a feel for the monster&#8217;s temperament and body language if you ever want to be comfortable engaging them. This includes learning to exploit the unique item weaknesses (e.g., traps, bombs). Overcoming a weapon&#8217;s limitations plays into hitting specific parts of a monster&#8217;s complex hit box (meaning more damage or unique rewards), more so if they are highly mobile and prey on impulsiveness. I remember milestones like breaking Qurupeco&#8217;s beak with a great sword (a.k.a. best sword) or flawlessly netting the fierce Barioth fondly. I even respect the zoning, as it enables a variety of areas without useless space that could dilute the experience. What&#8217;s outside the fundamentals can be rough though. The "tutorial" beginning is menial. MH is a loot game, though isn&#8217;t very &#8220;good&#8221; at it. Dozens of hours in there&#8217;s a hump where you are more or less made to grind some rare materials. In Tri this is where I stopped, in 3U I pushed through it, because the new quests felt worth it (the social element makes it better, naturally). This time there are so many monsters/sets and you progress so fast (partially thanks to the community mindset), trying to pay attention to gear until then kills momentum. Making builds is just too restrictive. Like Tri, elements are visibly unbalanced (namely, the new &#8220;slime&#8221; weapons) and &#8220;speed-running&#8221; tactics still remain viable. I&#8217;ve also noticed they nerfed village (campaign) quests (RIP Barroth), where the clock no longer feels relevant, though doing city quests solo or the new late game quests helps alleviate this.​


VII


Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
Nintendo EAD, Nintendo
The third iteration still has what made me fall in love with the original Pikmin: Gorgeous visuals and sound, a subdued depiction of nature as equal parts cute and horrifying, the mundane viewed through a humorously alien lens, and, most importantly, a unique, intuitive take on RTS. The micromanagement is fun, getting individual items can feel like puzzles, and the goals are stressful; well, perhaps not as stressful. The first Pikmin&#8217;s essential campaign-wide timer is (again) absent (and saves are much more lenient), replaced by a mitigable juice supply system and irrelevant in mission mode (the new challenge mode), which holds the best maps by far (with DLC). It&#8217;s another instance of Nintendo leaving the meatiest scenarios to a side mode and having main game remain forgiving. With that said, the day timer is still very effectual; you just may need to show some restraint, or maybe I should say exert yourself, even when there is nothing but good stats/times or a score medal waiting for you (this isn&#8217;t a big departure from how Pikmin was played anyway). More so as I skipped Pikmin 2 and the Wii rereleases, I also can&#8217;t possibly overlook the many meaningful additions. There is a wide selection of control schemes, with wiimote & nunchuck being perfect for the game (best for aiming and dodging). Having up to three characters to utilize at once goes a long way towards making planned approaches complex and maps designed around this mechanic (though few in campaign) are better for it (also a plus when one of those characters is Brittany); this is where the gamepad comes in handy. The boss battles are a big step up from the original and I think the final boss my favorite yet (though you can cheese it a bit). Doing missions in co-op was easily my favorite co-op experience of the year; I&#8217;m a big co-op guy so this is where I had the most fun. Laying out a plan and improvising in these dense maps with a timer lends itself to playing with a friend on a couch. Bingo Battle mode is also a good time if you want to hear a lot of shouting. It&#8217;s frantic, chaotic, and boundless with opportunities for dick moves or to be random&#8217;d out; for better or worse, it&#8217;s the RTS version of Smash Bros with items on (with no online instead of bad online).​


VI


Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3)
Platinum Games, Konami
The folks at Platinum Games have always possessed an effortless flair in creating shamelessly awesome scenarios, but I particularly enjoy their work towards framing the &#8220;climax&#8221; of a battle. Hype music, mind-blowing visuals, endearing archetypes, and tension built within the battle are used to train the player to appreciate these &#8220;this is it!&#8221; moments, so much that they can elevate button-mashing into some unforgettable interactivity. See: God Hand, Bayonetta, Vanquish, etc. When asked to save Metal Gear Rising, they chose to make Revengeance where this would all culminate and reach a new height. That merely evoking the title will bring a dozen boisterous lyrics into fans&#8217; minds is a testament to their success. The use of &#8220;zandatsu&#8221; in place of some button prompts also adds more cohesion. The mechanic itself is sinfully satisfying and never got old (my thirst for gatorade never quenched). There are many great moments, but it&#8217;s the unbelievable finale makes the whole game. We have a villain introduced at the last hour, seemingly inappropriately lame, but in our short time with him he becomes one of the most quotable videogame antagonists around. I can only describe what happens as YES. The game&#8217;s philosophy is that all you need is a good offense: a run blocks weak projectiles, a push-forward parry that sets up attacks being the basis of defense, invincible attacks instead of traditional dodges, and high vulnerability but high health recovery upon wearing the enemy down. It would be par excellence if it wasn&#8217;t for the game&#8217;s sloppiness. I was particularly annoyed wit the balancing of upgrades and sub-weapons. It was disappointing to see challenging enemies just fall apart to later attacks. Likewise, attempting Very Hard without these upgrades revealed just how vital character progression is. MGR has a problem where it&#8217;ll throw a something like a few mastiffs at you, making for a grueling encounter (especially with camera issues), but everything after has troubling keeping that pace. Also the issue of the level design collapsing from underneath you and you&#8217;re suddenly at the final boss rush. The story is that the production was extremely rushed; I don&#8217;t think that excuses them entirely, but at the same time don&#8217;t think they need many excuses, as they&#8217;ve still managed to make one of the best action games in years. I must also note that, as a MGS fan since puberty, I do appreciate the effort spent on codec calls, whereas recent MGS has fallen off. It pays tribute to the series well enough.​


V


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Wii U, PC)
Ubisoft Toronto/etc., Ubisoft
I hadn&#8217;t played a Splinter Cell in a while and I wasn&#8217;t drawn to the new games (same with the new Hitman), but some relatable dudes here sold me on Blacklist. Good, because the open level design, relatively capable enemies, and multiple fun approaches work together to make it the best stealth (or hybrid-stealth) games I&#8217;ve played in a long time. There are three styles of play (non-lethal stealth, assassination, and direct combat; bolstered with an ample selection of gear and gadgets) that are scored separately (turning into currency for upgrades). It&#8217;s not so much the scoring system that&#8217;s good, though it&#8217;s a smart solution to specialization problems, but how the game approaches these three styles and makes them all work (at least, most of the time). It doesn&#8217;t fully commit to non-lethal stealth being purely about avoidance, but I appreciate the strong push in that direction (untouched enemies are worth points). The much-maligned &#8220;Assault&#8221; style is actually compelling, as you use gadgets and stealthy misdirection (like The Last of Us) to spice things up. The game does feature an Assassin&#8217;s Creed-ish multi-kill special attack, but I actually find it only to be good for setting up stylish moments. The level design, and by extension, the enemies, is what I adore most though. Every major obstacle has seemingly at least a handful of routes. Maps can get huge and there&#8217;s tons of verticality. This is best seen in the side missions, which are the main reason why I rate this game so high, as the campaign cycles between intimate and open. Charlie&#8217;s and Grim&#8217;s missions make up the highlights, with the former having the most demanding encounters (&#8220;horde mode&#8221;) and the latter being the strictest. The game doesn&#8217;t mess with save-scumming or constant checkpointing nonsense (stealth game killers), but it&#8217;s only Grim&#8217;s missions that restart upon being caught (beware, those faint of heart). The AI permanently changes tactics once spooked and sometimes will even react cautiously to lazy tricks. Dogs and drones (in combination with armored soldiers) work together to provide a level of antagonism I often feel is lacking in stealth. TLOU had the better stealth boss though. I had no qualms with the new cast. My three favorite characters: Kobin (done by Elias Toufexis, a.k.a. Adam Jensen), the main antagonist (dude is too smooth), and Sam Fisher&#8217;s knife. I missed the boat on co-op (damn!) and the new Spies vs. Mercs, which I hope to fix at some point now that I have it on PC.​


To be continued, lol...
 
Jun 7, 2011
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I have to give a shout out to Link Between Worlds, as I know it's a game that I would adore, but I simply have not had the chance to play it. There are many great games that I've yet to get a chance to dive into this year, but deadlines are deadlines so here we go!

---

1. The Last of Us ; Easily one of my favourite games of this entire console generation. For me, everything about this game is near perfect, from the brilliant story/atmosphere and characters, to the intense and brutal combat. This is a game that even months after my last playthrough is still stuck deep in my mind. Naughty Dog has truly created a masterpiece.

2. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen ; I'm extremely sad that I passed up this great RPG last year. Dragon's Dogma has the best combat system in an open-world RPG that I've ever played. The quests are disappointing, feeling very MMO fetch quest in nature. It more than makes up for it though with it's epic boss battles and great class system. This is an RPG that really deserves a sequel to see it's full potential realized.

3. DmC: Devil May Cry ; This game saved early 2013 for me. The story was forgettable, but the combat felt fast, fluid and had style to it. The art was beautiful, and it managed to keep me entertained for 5 consecutive playthroughs. As my first DMC experience, I really loved it..and I hope Ninja Theory gets another chance with this franchise.

4. Total War: Rome 2 ; Shame on Creative Assembly for releasing this game in such a horrible state. I feel bad about putting this on my list, but with near 200 hours played, and my absolute love of the time period it still ended up being one of my favourite games of the year (8 patches later). DeI mod highly recommended to make this a great gaming experience.

5. Metro: Last Light ; An improvement in every way over the original, Last Light has amazing atmosphere, beautiful graphics and a great blend of stealth and traditional FPS combat. I stealthed past all of the human sections, saving my limited bullets for the much more terrifying mutants. I highly recommend this game to anyone. Congratulations to 4A games, with all the development difficulties they went through, they still managed to make one of the best games of 2013.

6. Assasin's Creed 4: Black Flag ; A great return to form for the Assassin's Creed series, even though I enjoyed AC3, this game managed to feel like a much more "complete" product. I can only hope that they continue to try different things in the future, even if it breaks some of the traditional AC formula.

7. Tomb Raider ; Great reboot, for me it managed to out-Uncharted Naughty Dog's latest attempt. I played the game almost entirely with the bow trying to remain stealthy, and I loved it. Bring on the sequel!

8. Rogue Legacy ; A great combination of 2D platforming with RPG dungeon crawling. Super tight controls and a great "one more life..." quality.

9. Gone Home ; A very interesting game which perfectly shows off the narrative strengths that our medium has. You could not tell a simple story like this in such an effective way in any other medium.

10. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Ah MGR, you had me at "RULES OF NATURE!" I honestly did not expect to enjoy this game nearly as much as I did. It's got a great sound track, immensely satisfying parry system and is just great, goofy fun.
 

Drkirby

Corporate Apologist
Jan 29, 2008
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1. Dota 2 ; I feel a bit like I'm cheating voting for this, since I have been playing it since 2011, but since it was 'officially' released this year, I guess I'll also vote for it. The game simply has a ton of replay value, it really doesn't get old. At worst I may not feel like playing it much for a few weeks, but overall I can't say I'm sick of the game like some others that I played a lot.
2. Fire Emblem Awakening ; I actually forgot this released this year, and almost forgot to include it in. Pretty good Fire Emblem game, it clearly has a lot of replayability but I haven't really felt like digging much into it, but I haven't sold the game so there is that.
3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; I also feel like I am cheating here, because the version I played came out in 2014, but it did come out on consoles in 2013, so I'm gonna vote for it anyway. I don't have much to say other then its just fun to play.
4. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; Overall, a good game, but looking back I feel it really is one of the weakest entries in the series, but its still an amazing game.
5. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed; Did you know this game came out on PC in January? Well it did so fuck yeah I'm voting on it, great kart racer. I am also really happy with all the content it is getting, and hope they can keep up the stream of new content into 2014.
6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; By far the best entry in the series to date. Sadly the game still feels a bit to much like a time sink, and I hope they make the balance between "I have to play 2 hour every day to not miss anything" and "I have nothing to do now" better for the next entry, it feels annoying when I don't want to play and a bit empty when I want to put a lot of time in a single day.
7. Rogue Legacy; Was an enjoyable, while not a huge highlight I liked it a lot.
8. The Stanley Parable; When it told me remember the plant in detail, I actually took a screen shot of it. I was tricked.


Thats about it, I didn't play many games. I bought the new Zelda, but only have put like an hour into it, so I'm just not going to vote on it. I would likely vote on Hearthstone if I could, but its in "beta". Actually came out with a decent list, was gonna just put in Dota and leave, since a lot of stuff I do play is easily a year or two old.
 
Sep 21, 2010
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Previously, on NeoGAF...


IV


Anarchy Reigns (PS3)
Platinum Games, Sega
This may sound dumb, but Anarchy Reigns evoked for me the old Xbox and the forgotten great (or weird) games on it; games that, like AR, struggle to find a place today. Maybe this is a bunch of bullshit or it could be thanks to a coincidental mix of unrelated elements (rap soundtrack, gaudy 3D aesthetic common to that era, weird green menus, forgotten multiplayer genre, *ahem* garbage online infrastructure, etc.), but I immediately dug what AR was doing, overriding any issues I could have felt with its art direction or eccentricity. I&#8217;ve seen only a few people not downplay the campaign; would you believe it&#8217;s my favorite part? On Hard (and, I concede, sticking to a one-life rule), I was very satisfied with the boss fights (some were real bastards, but I wouldn&#8217;t have it any other way) and found the lesser or gimmick missions good for variety at the least. I think the game peaks with White Side chapter 4 going into Red Side, with that probably being my favorite hours of action gaming of this year. It&#8217;s pretty refreshing to not have any sort of progression system, more so considering MGR. It could have utilized its overworld or multiplayer cast better though. Platinum had to create a universal system that was easy to pick up, but had room to differentiate characters, and I think they did a pretty job. I will give a shout-out to Durga, my kill-stealing main, for having a fun play-style based on a uniquely projectile-based &#8220;Killer Weapon&#8221; (landing it, in or out of combo, feels so good). Environmental aspects, such as weapon pick-ups, enemies, or hazards (including cutscene introduced events), are aspects that make things exciting at the expense of tight design. Multiplayer sounds like the best way to experience these mechanics on paper, but I have a love/hate relationship with it (co-op modes and bots less conflicting). The two main mood killers, working in conjunction, are the visual netcode fuck ups and the overly defensive plus high punish play (after a certain skill level, the game becomes a turtle-fest at the base level). The character balance (Rin sisters ugh) and infinites (less of a problem in team matches) made me yearn for an update. Maybe worst of all, the online interface (from lobbies to many fragmenting modes) was excruciatingly bad in every possible way. But, it was all worth for when it worked. Throw me in any of the 4-man modes (no CoD progression mechanics here) or 3-way capture the flag (though the two dozen modes all have their novelty), with good conditions, and I was having the most fun multiplayer experience of the year. I recall once when the timer ran out, having just been usurped as 1st with the rampage (i.e., God Hand) finally ready, only for the 30 second extension track to kick in; the hype was too real. The soundtrack makes the mood for this game just as much as it did in Rising. Most of the songs are egotistical, malicious, or sadistic, and I love all 32+ of them; perfect trash-talk anthems I can&#8217;t help singing along with on a good run. PG&#8217;s sound design isn&#8217;t to be underestimated. Everyone wants a sequel for their favorite &#8220;bomba&#8221;, but I&#8217;m freaking dying for a second try at Anarchy Reigns.​


III


Volgarr the Viking (PC)
Crazy Viking Studios (Kickstarter)
This, I didn&#8217;t expect. Every time I see the descriptors &#8220;retro&#8221; or &#8220;old-school&#8221; (usually followed by &#8220;indie&#8221;, &#8220;metroidvania&#8221;, &#8220;RPG&#8221;, &#8220;procedurally generated&#8221;, &#8220;rogue-like&#8221;, or all of these) on a 2D action (or belt-scroll, etc.) game my learned reflex to roll my eyes kicks in. Misremembered, sacrificed for bastardized tropes, or mockingly subverted, the strengths of 2D gaming are usually lost. Volgarr the Viking is very different though. I run through these levels over and over and I love every second of it, even as the skin of my thumbs hardens and numbs. Their designs are not replaceable or disposable nor would their designers see it that you forget them once you reach some nearby checkpoint; they want you feel the care put into each stage until you care too. In this you can get the opportunity for mastery: what was a 30 minute struggle will become graceful 5 minute dance of slaughter. In a sense, it&#8217;s a slower game (attacks and movement) with a conceptually simple move set using few buttons (or none, in the case of the shield), but moves blending into each other can make you feel quick and agile. Platforming is very deliberate and fixed, requiring creative use of your double jump, roll, and javelins that extend from walls as platforms. Its greatest asset is the strong level design (more so than the bosses who don&#8217;t hold up well against a good offense) that makes the move set feels rich right from the start. With your health (and starter shield) puny, power-ups are very desirable, but the way they stack never allows you too much of a safety net (2-3 extra hits). It takes ideas from older games, but often does them better (most visible case being Rastan&#8217;s sword combat vs. enemies). In Volgarr we have two excellent games: a (8/16-bit) console style game with infinite lives and a &#8220;hard mode&#8221; arcade style game with limited lives you are meant to &#8220;1cc&#8221; so to speak. Vikings hate videogame menus you see, so the game doesn&#8217;t even have a proper title menu and maybe two lines of optional tutorial text, so instead of selecting a hard mode you get access to harder levels with limited lives by keeping fully powered up (i.e., not getting hit) and collecting what would be more power-ups. It&#8217;s so clever I wouldn&#8217;t call it a &#8220;compromise&#8221; and the &#8220;normal&#8221; levels don&#8217;t make it look like one. On tutorials: this game is a master class on using nothing but the environment to teach players the rules of your game. Not thrilled about the art and the blur only hurts (would prefer a scanline filter, if anything), but they totally nailed having a great badass character sprite. AAUGH!​


II


Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Nintendo EAD Tokyo/1-Up Studio, Nintendo
In Super Mario 3D Land you had a game that relied on a breakneck pace of neat ideas due to trivial level design (essentially one long &#8220;World-1&#8221;) and a symmetrical &#8220;post-game&#8221; that recycled those ideas with desperately needed extra rules layered on top. It remained interesting enough for its duration, but never felt on point. By achieving and then so completely surpassing the pace and creativity of SM3DL for a longer duration and without ever thinking just a gimmick or a simple fix alone is enough for a stage, Super Mario 3D World makes its portable predecessor look like a prototype. It doesn&#8217;t help SM3DW wears an impeccably-executed beautiful, yet appropriately familiar aesthetic (in quality, more Galaxy than New, and I may actually prefer &#8220;big band&#8221; jazz flavor here) and isn&#8217;t afraid to up the sheer scale of stages; the hardware difference can&#8217;t be ignored. To illuminate what I like about the level design, consider what the powers-up mean to the level design in both games. In Land, the Tanooki power only really meant (further) trivializing the level design, whereas in World even breezing through a stage with the very capable Cat power usually means getting a thrill at seeing how far you can push its several abilities, likely stumbling on some obscured secrets or creating a new route (arguably superseding advanced gymnastics, which are extraneous here, but appreciated). The Tanooki power itself feels less OP probably because the game is much harder, having a difficulty curve that&#8217;s more expected of a Mario game and a staggering volume of decently tough stages later on (at this point the game become pretty outstanding). This game has a lot of power-ups. It has a lot of everything. Constantly throwing a variety of concepts at you, stage after stage, it just never lets up. Even when it does Land&#8217;s post-game remixes, the shakeups are more meaningful. I only have the space to talk about one feature, so let it be the Double Cherry: the best Mario power-up ever. It actually adds to platforming difficulty, stacks with itself and other powers, and the game uses it to incentivize tighter play. Co-op unsurprisingly works better in 3D space, spicing up the first few worlds for me, and the character differences are welcomed (even when solo). I can&#8217;t help but feel they still haven&#8217;t really nailed competitive element: anyone serious about being competitive can easily prevent slower players from playing, thus, for the sake of fun no one really cares much who wins. Praise aside, it still features flaws endemic to the modern Mario games (near-parody retry structure, too collectable based, comeback mechanics, etc). I will say it bothers me here less than ever before. Without having yet played Galaxy 2 (was put off by its predecessor), it&#8217;s easily my favorite 3D Mario; despite willing to settle for less, it's the 3D Mario I&#8217;ve always wanted.​


I


The Wonderful 101 (Wii U)
Platinum Games, Nintendo
This year I played three fantastic games by Platinum, but there were enough shortcomings in each that made placing them tough. In the end though, my #1 was going to be a Platinum game and The Wonderful 101 just made the most sense. TW101 is seemingly PG&#8217;s most developed title; certainly the most spectacular and loaded game. Considering the ridiculous details or the sheer length, it&#8217;s like the answer to the question &#8220;What would happen if you gave Hideki Kamiya too much money/time?&#8221; The game is indeed lengthy, but it isn&#8217;t Okami; not once did I have my fill and that happens even for great games. Not to say it didn&#8217;t have its rough spots: Kamiya has doubled down on the non-sequiturs made unpopular in Bayonetta. To his credit most are inoffensive, if not good for variety and surprise, but inevitably they often made me want to get back to basics. Well, I&#8217;m no stranger to giving #1 to games with poor misc. sections. I don&#8217;t place much importance on how &#8220;perfect&#8221; or elegant a game is (Volgarr and Mario are certainly &#8220;cleaner&#8221; games), just where it took me. I was actually frustrated and confused by the novel 3D action combat at times, but this worked in its favor: I was too busy learning to be bothered by the &#8220;Normal&#8221; difficulty. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it does stray from the expectations of Bayo with off-screen projectiles and constrained dodging. Sometimes the action looked like a real mess (it may have the least impressive &#8220;rival&#8221; battles), but, unsurprisingly, it all started to make sense with time. &#8220;Unite Morph&#8221;, with the size of your &#8220;body&#8221; as a resource, provides a solid foundation, alongside the multipurpose (e.g., lock-on, stunning) Pikmin-like swarming. They&#8217;ve really squeezed out a lot from each form considering the elemental properties (sometimes meaningfully tying into the combo meter), hard counter defenses (e.g., hammer beats overhead projectiles), cinematic attack opportunities, and expanded moveset that come from repeated use. It also serves as this game&#8217;s replacement of cutscene QTEs, with climaxes in tow. You can portion out your squad towards CPU morph attacks, making for creative combos and crowd control. In operations mode this is the basis for co-op; a casual little spin-off I&#8217;m eager to try with five (!) players. Once you get your bearings, the combat becomes quite the exciting playground, but only when you have a full team, meaning you&#8217;ll want to protect your guys even if you&#8217;re health isn&#8217;t dropping. That doesn&#8217;t stop the game from sometimes putting you in some annoying low-man (or even solo) situations. Naturally, there are going to be combinations that may be too strong, though no idea what the hell they were thinking with &#8220;Unite Big&#8221; (thankfully you get it late into the post-game). The credit-feeding-like retry structure is also something I had to forgive. I wasn't only charmed by the deep combat and varied set pieces: Kamiya-isms, cute gags, cameo moments, tokusatsu/Saturday morning tone, and balls out crazy gusto come together as a quintuple flying kick. The characters are not all great, but man do I love Wonder-Red; he makes every scene he&#8217;s in. This is the complete package; thank you videogame gods.​



Honorable Mentions (Alphabetical order, except for aesthetic reasons, each image links to a music sample this time around)



DmC: Devil May Cry (PC)
Ninja Theory, Capcom
How in the world did Ninja Theory make a decent Devil May Cry game? I&#8217;m going with the theory that Itsuno &co. guided them away from any of their usual cliffs. The weapons and moves (and accompanying controls) are good enough and the enemy fodder is at or above the series&#8217; average. It&#8217;s a shame the bosses totally stink and slow platforming can take its toll. To NT&#8217;s credit, when the game isn&#8217;t trying to be ugly, they occasionally pull off some striking visuals Capcom wouldn&#8217;t think to do (Capcom wouldn&#8217;t make cutscenes this bad though). &#8220;Donte&#8221; is even rather likeable, though no one else is. That ending lol.​


Divinity: Dragon Commander
Larian Studios, Larian Studios
An intriguing blend of genres: combat is typical base-building RTS except where you can turn into a dragon (with a jetpack) for aerial shooting and dodging with hotbar abilities which is initiated from a strategy map a la Total War (though simple) while you boost resources through political role-playing choices (a cartoony take on today&#8217;s issues, e.g., gay marriage, healthcare). It&#8217;s also a better waifu sim than Fire Emblem (but, seriously, they put the most effort into each bride&#8217;s branching storyline). May sound crazy, but it works. It&#8217;s the sum of these parts that&#8217;s interesting, as any one element isn&#8217;t too strong (including the action-RTS hybrid core, which can be an unbalanced, garish mesh at times).​


Grand Theft Auto V (360)
Rockstar North/etc., Rockstar Games
It&#8217;s the many small details of GTA and the chaos of its whole that impress me; most of the major systems that sit in between falter under scrutiny. The heists are what I always wanted, but in all missions there is a lack of tension underneath the presentation or variety (yet, I&#8217;m still most interested in going directly mission to mission). Strong, humorous character interactions left me smitten to the main cast. I enjoyed the character-switching throwing me into amusing situations and creating expectations the plot plays with. Fun as it can be, multiplayer GTA still isn't there yet and this iteration felt like quite a hassle. Picking the film Thief to base the soundtrack on was a good choice. With Sleeping Dogs still on my mind, I really wonder if I should have waited for a PC version.​


New Super Luigi U (Wii U)
Nintendo EAD, Nintendo
It turns out I do want more NSMB. The biggest difference from U is how the game hits the ground running with no slow difficulty curve. It&#8217;s not quite the hardcore SMB2 revival as initially thought (partially due to time limits being matched with shorter courses and star coins still being the main source of challenge), so the difficulty evens out at about where U landed before counting challenge mode, but it&#8217;s full of clever ideas with no filler to be found and when the two are taken together they make a strong argument for the best 2D Mario. Praise Luigi, for his year brought us much Nintendo and Platinum.​


Shadow Warrior
Flying Wild Hog, Devolver Digital
The runner-up in the &#8220;cut your enemies into pieces with a sword&#8221; category. This plays very fast and fluid with big maps and tons of secrets. While not as fun as Serious Sam 3 (particularly concerning guns) as an "old school" follow-up, its first-person melee carnage (with some crowd control options) makes the combat worth checking out. It just could have been shorter and tighter. I can&#8217;t decide if Lo Wang is funny or lame; maybe I&#8217;m lame.​


Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (PC)
Sumo Digital, Sega
It&#8217;s been a long time since I&#8217;ve been this into a racer. The easy comparison to make is to the Mario Kart series (though the driving feels more SEGA/arcade inspired, if that makes any sense), where I can appreciate the lack of broken pick-ups and challenging, varied single-player content. Learning this game from &#8220;easy&#8221; to &#8220;expert&#8221; was immensely satisfying. The &#8220;mod&#8221; system provides inoffensive character progression and the cast makes for rich crossover material on Steam (especially with my boy Ryo Hazuki finally returning). The ground-air-water racing theme is paired with a lot of good lengthy tracks that also transform between laps. Love the song selection too. This was a hair&#8217;s breadth from replacing The Last of Us; I like it more depending on my mood.​



Closing Thoughts:

Off the top my head, games I was planning the check out, but didn&#8217;t: Rise of the Triad, Street Fighter x Tekken Version 2013, Injustice, Europa Universalis IV (did Wargame instead since I was still playing Crusader Kings II earlier this year), The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Killer is Dead, Pandora&#8217;s Tower, FUSE, Skull of the Shogun, XCOM: Enemy Within, and Card Hunter. I also don&#8217;t have a PlayStation VITA, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One yet (so, namely, no Dead Rising 3). Can&#8217;t believe they never released Guilty Gear XX Accent Core+R for US PS3s.

A damn good year, but then I find it hard to say a year is bad. They're always new series or genres to discover, enthusiast gaming remains bountiful over multiple platforms (Wii U was a surprise), and everyone has a chance of putting out a good game. Don't have the time to be cynical or jaded. I actually felt like a lot of low ranking and honorable mentions could have been higher without such fierce competition, it was tough putting them next to a high or no number. I'm not too strict on ranking though, changes depending on my mood. (Almost did a "top 17", but I cut BioShock Infinite last second; took it as a sign that I couldn't capture my ambivalence in a short description.)

This year I felt like I've played fewer games than usual, being busy and all that. Which leads me to something I've been considering: I think I'll take a break from doing these; you know, skip a year. Its motivated me to delay playing appealing older games (or imports, following my own silly rules), something I've noticed when I put down Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 for Fire Emblem: Awakening. It is not that I feel I can't play what I want, it is just I can't half-ass an effort like this so it has a subtle influence on what I want to play, more so when my time is more constrained as of late (the real issue). I'm only saying this now, because if I know I didn't put it in print, there's a good choice I'll just trash the idea a month in, which is what happened this year. I do know when I make a list, whether it is this year or the next, I'm going to have to step it up. I can't have people showing me up like they have this year.


In review / for the tally:
1. The Wonderful 101 ; Delivers Nintendo polish on a game with the depth and character expected of a Kamiya title. 101 good reasons to play it without the game letting you get bored with any one of them, headlining what was secretly The Platinum Year.
2. Super Mario 3D World ;
3. Volgarr the Viking ;
4. Anarchy Reigns ;
5. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist ;
6. Metal Gear Rising: Revengance ;
7. Pikmin 3 ;
8. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ;
9. Wargame: AirLand Battle ;
10. The Last of Us ;
x. DmC: Devil May Cry ;
x. Divinity: Dragon Commander ;
x. Grand Theft Auto V ;
x. New Super Luigi U ;
x. Shadow Warrior ;
x. Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed ;
2012. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; The puzzles are vastly improved from the predecessor, but it will be the mind-blowing reveals at the end that will break your mind.

I'll reserve this space for lists I really liked or were found similar. Check back later.

Thanks for reading.

 
Sep 23, 2006
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1. Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds ; So many people have talked about this game that there isn't much for me to add to the discussion. I will say why I think it's the best game of the year, though: It's simple yet extremely deep. The 60fps only makes things even better. Also, it's actually worth using 3D in this game.

2. Bioshock Infinite ; Irrational knows how to create mesmerizing worlds.

3. Super Mario 3D World ; Not the best 3d Mario game ever, but there is definitely plenty of charm to go around.

4. Gone Home ; Set in the greatest decade in pop culture history, I can't help but adore everything about Gone Home.

5. Steamworld Dig ; Metroid meets Dig Dug. Sold.

6. Guacamelee! ;

7. Tearaway ;

8. Hotline Miami ;

9. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ;

10. The Wonderful 101 ;
 
1. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; Maybe it's because I was in a funk right before I played this game. Maybe it's because I needed a game to remind me why I play games in the first place. Maybe it's because I just really like Studio Ghibli. Despite a less-than-great cast of characters and a sometimes irritating battle system, I would be lying if I said I wasn't have a wonderful time throughout the adventure.

2. Bioshock Infinite ; The entire game was a fun roller coaster to me. I never really considered it my game of the year choice until the end, though, when everything starts connecting, making sense, and interestingly, making more questions. The world, the music, and the characters all made the mystery so much more enjoyable. The combat was rough at times, but I couldn't help but be pleased by its creativity, even if it just borrowed a lot from the original. Also, I like skylines a lot.

3. Grand Theft Auto V ; There are so many moments in this game that made me think of it as the game of the year. The action sequences have never been better, the world is the best created in the series, and the story and characters are memorable. While I did think they were a little too extreme at times, I couldn't help but be fascinated by Trevor and hopeful for Michael and Franklin.

4. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; Wow. During the three or so hours of playing, I experienced a little bit of everything: emotion, fun, sadness, shock, etc. Covered in a beautiful world with some excellent puzzles, I was engaged to discover more of the world and the excellent relationship between the brothers.

5. DmC: Devil May Cry ; I don't think I have ever had so much fun with a pure action game. The level design was excellent, the battles were fun and intense, the boss battles were clever, and the whole world was just so interesting and creative. I have no idea where the hate comes from. This is my favorite Devil May Cry game.

6. Rayman Legends ; I loved Rayman Origins with a passion. I felt like this one was worse, but it still was a great game that I enjoyed. It was just so more of the same, but when same is coming from Rayman Origins, that is not a bad thing at all.

7. Diablo III ; I never played the PC version, and I had a blast playing through the console version. The story was decent, and the characters were stale. The music was boring. The vistas were okay. What it all came down to, though, is the battle system and looting with online players. There is something about it that was addicting.

8. Tomb Raider ; I was disappointed by Tomb Raider. However, that doesn't mean I didn't have fun. Some moments are exciting, and some moments are fun. Even though I felt its title is now misleading and its in need of much more tomb exploration and puzzle-solving, I did appreciate many of their ideas. Particularly, I loved the beginning of the game.

9. Castle of Illusion HD ; The only reason why this is over my number 10 choice is based off of nostalgia. Playing this game is one of my earliest video game memories, and I loved going back through it all in the beautiful world that was remade.

10. Ducktales Remastered ; This was a fun old-school adventure over the summer that I enjoyed. I never played the original, so it was nice to see what the fuss is about.

2012. Tales of Graces f ; I couldn't believe how fantastic this game was. The battle system is the most addicting and well-done in the series, and the additional gameplay (dungeon and level design, exploration), has never been better in the series. To top it off, it has my favorite cast of characters ever in the series, and the story is a lot better than I thought it would be. I still consider playing it sometimes even after its lengthy adventure. Oh, and the moment I realized that there was additional content after the ending was incredible.
 
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1. The Last of Us ; By far and away the most memorable game I played last year. The complete package for me where writing, performance, game design, art direction all came together.

Early chapters brought to mind Half Life 2 and Children of Men, later chapters The Road and by the most brutal of endings it felt like a work that would stand on its own for years to come.

2. Grand Theft Auto V ; Turned around nearly every negative aspect GTAIV for me and did it in style. Great characters on a fun map with plenty of things to do. GTAIV felt a chore. GTAV was a pleasure to play.

3. Battlefield 4 ; Despite the bugs and godawful single player the multiplayer is providing me with much mayhem and fun.

4. Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag ; Fantastic fun but AC2 is the high point of the series for me still.

5. Bioshock Infinite ; Loved the setting and characters. The story was fun too but a couple of ill judged encounters still stick out in my mind. The dynamic between Booker and Elizabeth was comprehensively bettered in TLoU with Joel and Ellie though.

6. Spelunky ; I'm dreadful at the game but I keep coming back.

7. Resogun ; Stunning audio/visual experience. Tight gameplay and my go to palette cleanser.
 
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X


Battlefield 4 (PC)
Dice, Electronic Arts
I&#8217;ve never really gotten into this series save brief stints with BF3 and BC2, and I honestly don&#8217;t get into multiplayer first person shooters all that much, but this game has had me lately. I love the maps. Huge, sprawling outdoor areas spotted with tight and detailed interiors. When I find myself playing the odd game of Domination I can&#8217;t help but be impressed at how well these maps work despite the entire match taking place in one tiny sliver of the Conquest map. And in Conquest I still feel like I&#8217;m noticing things about these maps after over 80 hours of playing. The building and terrain destruction is more satisfying than ever, especially combined with the larger map destruction events (which can actually come in handy in changing the pace of a match). The aerial vehicles have a surprisingly fun learning curve, too. It&#8217;s very satisfying to start winning helicopter and jet duels and to start successfully taking out anti-aircraft vehicles with the Warthog. The launch was buggy as hell, unfortunately, but it works well lately and I rarely go through a match without standout shoutworthy moments.​

IX


Killer is Dead (PS3)
Grasshopper Manufacture, Xseed Games
Played on Hard using no Mika tickets. I figured I'd be getting a game that was stylish and weird-looking with Lollipop Chainsaw's lame combat, but it's a significantly better game than that. Fights are actually pretty fast, with a lot of guarding, parrying, dodging, and these super weird red dodge-attacks, and it's all pretty satisfying. The boss fights can be great and take you through all of the combat's options, with some enemies that can't be blocked, some that can't be dodged in certain directions, some you're best off guard-crushing, some you can't kill without stunning and using a meter-limited attack, and so on. If you decide to play without using Mika tickets (this game's form of Devil May Cry Yellow Orbs) you'll find that there are some pretty beefy and tense checkpoints to fight through. The cutscenes and stages are as nonsense as you'd expect, with some really out-there and awesome enemy designs. The downsides are long loading times, an inconsistent difficulty curve, a surprisingly dumb camera, a slow health-regen powerup, an inexplicable lack of vsync (engine-capped 30fps meaning you get tearing even when it's running 100%), and some general animation jank. It's not exactly a Platinum action game but it's a big step up for Grasshopper. Would really like a PC version to iron out tech issues.​

VIII


DmC: Devil May Cry (PC)
Ninja Theory, Capcom
This turned out... really well. The combat is engaging throughout thanks to the huge amount of actions available to you at once (ignoring the lock-on in favor of giving players access to a ton of weapons at once was worthwhile trade-off I think), nice animations (especially at 60fps), a large cast of enemies (some of which have a surprisingly large number of behaviors), the occasional arena that imposes a twist on the fight (uppercutting enemies into a subway train, dodging moving hazards, etc), and the sometimes great but never awful bosses. The grapple "platforming" is pretty automatic but always cool-looking and never takes long enough to be a bore. The environments are gorgeous and changing wildly all the time. The difficulty levels seem well done. The secret missions are fun to hunt down. I heard this was easy going in, so I started on Nephilim difficulty and decided to never buy any life meter extensions and never use any items (including gold orbs). Glad I did! The game&#8217;s still too easy, but it helped. When this was announced I assumed it would blow, but here we are. DmC wound up being better than Ninja Gaiden 3 (easily) and honestly, I liked it more than DMC3. I'll have to think about where it ranks when compared to DMC4.​

VII


Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U, 3DS)
Capcom
I have no idea how previous entries in this series were, but I enjoyed this enough to pour 120ish hours into it without regret. Assuming the earlier games were similar, this franchise is probably where the Souls games got their basics from, and the Souls games are probably the closest I can compare this to. Like Souls, this game does a great job of taking satisfying combat mechanics (strict controls, lots of nicely-sized movelists, stamina meter management, long missions where strict death penalties make your party give a shit) and spreading them out over tons of battles. There's also a ton of preparation (all those items and armor skills!) and a bit of aimlessness. The game has a good number of base monsters, many of which have variants that have basic but pretty clever differences (often one or two new moves to go along with changes in damage/speed/elements) to keep things interesting. And as a loot game? Man, I'm pretty sure nothing comes close. Even with all these hours in, I'm looking forward to seeing the G-rank stuff in Tanzia. The sea breeze beckons.​

VI


Volgarr the Viking (PC)
Crazy Viking Studios, Adult Swim Games
The best action-platformer since Uprising. Very, very focused levels (at its toughest this game approaches Holy Diver levels of tricky stage design), nicely spaced checkpoints (save for the final stage, weirdly, where things get a little too bite-sized), and there's some really nasty enemy behavior. The bosses are a little on the easy side, but they'll still take a little bit of learning. The real meat of this game is likely in the Path of the Valkyrie, which I have yet to finish, but considering what I&#8217;ve seen of it so far and how good Path of the Crystal was I have pretty high expectations. The only downsides are some bland backgrounds and music, but there&#8217;s nothing ugly enough to really put me off. All in all, this is probably the best Western-made platformer I've played. The density of these stages combined with this slow pace remind me of The Super Shinobi, and it&#8217;s hard to think of higher praise than that.​

V


Dead Rising 3 (One)
Capcom Vancouver, Microsoft Game Studios
This game is great and exactly what I was in the mood for. Nightmare mode is the only mode. Save points are still spaced out, making the trip back from a psychopath battle as important as the battle itself, but the city makes all the traversing even better. I really, really like the city in this. It's not as big as your typical free-roaming game, but there are tons of interiors to explore and blueprints/statues/speakers that I was actually compelled to go out of my way and find (after considering time remaining, of course). Vehicles control well and lead to some seriously awesome devastation (the game seems to focus that new gen horsepower on large piles of physics objects and seriously huge crowds, like the original), and the game does a good job of making you ditch vehicles often and walk certain stretches or find new wheels. There's now one big game timer instead of smaller individual timers for the story missions, but the side missions still have individual time limits. Survivors aren't escorted back home anymore and are instead just temporary battle partners as soon as you finish their associated mission. These things made the game a bit less tense overall, but it still kept me pressured and the city makes up for it. It took me one failed run before beating the game.​

IV


Dodonpachi Saidaioujou (360)
Cave
Cave games are always so refreshing. The genre is one of the most thrilling and dense and Cave is peerless in it. While I liked Cave&#8217;s bullet-cancelling stint, I&#8217;m glad they&#8217;ve gone away from it and back to Daioujou-style pure dodging tension. The aesthetics are fantastic; the game is visually like a more refined version of Daifukkatsu with way cooler bosses and less tacky backgrounds. Even outside Expert mode the game wastes no time: I have to pay attention to the stage 1 boss, I can barely handle the stage 2 boss, and it gets SO MUCH NASTIER from there. Real trouble before stage 3 in the game&#8217;s default mode! And stage 3 is typically the first bumpy stage in a Cave game! Unheard of, and I love it. It&#8217;s a good port, too, as I&#8217;ve come to expect.​

III


Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (360, PC)
PlatinumGames, Konami
Platinum&#8217;s so good at this. Coming to grips with the weird parry/block system and the initial lack of a dodge made for an experience that wasn&#8217;t very similar to learning any other Platinum action game, but getting that first block, playing around with the blade mode, getting the first parry, landing the first zandatsu&#8230; it&#8217;s all so awesome to take in. And then there are those initial boss fights, where the game will make sure you understand the parry/block system and get you so excited when the vocals kick in. Eventually you get adjusted to the game&#8217;s unique flow and battles become a hectic mix of parrying, dodging, doing limb damage, and aiming in blade mode in hopes of getting some health back. You&#8217;ll occasionally get the chance to do some sneaking, sometimes assisted by items, and this can be a pretty cool change of pace from time to time (and blends well with the combat when you get caught). And at the end of the game you get the privilege of playing the single best boss fight in the genre. Zero hyperbole. There hasn&#8217;t been a better one. The game is mostly a little easy on Hard but Very Hard and Revengeance will keep you paying attention.​

II


Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Nintendo
Oh my god, this game is great. It&#8217;s the ideal mix of Galaxy&#8217;s aesthetic variety and 3D Land&#8217;s denser and more focused stages, making for a way better game than either. It introduces new enemies and objects constantly without feeling like a gimmick showcase. Everything is clean without being sterile, well animated, and looks great all while performance rarely drops. Getting all the stars never feels like a chore. Things only get better after you see the credits and the game gets a bit more daring, and it all leads up to an awesome final challenge. Co-op is a let-down, though.​

I


The Wonderful 101 (Wii U)
PlatinumGames, Nintendo
Normal, no continues. What a ridiculous game. It's easy to be lost at first, but once it clicks it's so great. This is the strongest of Kamiya's DMC-style games, mechanically. It just keeps layering on shit to manage in the form of new playable characters (which pretty much serve as weapons) and enemies. The enemies have all sorts of little weaknesses to figure out, too, encouraging you to make full use of all the weapons without being overly rigid about it. Blocking and dodging are tied to a meter this time, and since it's a meter shared with a lot of offensive abilities you can find yourself really sweating when you run out. I was unsure about how I&#8217;d feel about the tone of the game at first, but the extremely likable cast of characters and the constantly-escalating stakes won me over by the end. It's a pretty massive game, too, as far as this genre goes. The difficulty curve is a little goofy (the end game stuff should have been tougher) and some of the minigame chapters were lame (like Bayonetta but not as bad), but these aren't too big of a deal. I haven&#8217;t played through the harder difficulties yet, but I have no doubt that I&#8217;ll love returning to this.​


Honorable Mentions



Carnage Heart EXA (PSP)
Artdink, Natsume
I&#8217;m planning on going back to this absolute beast of a game. There&#8217;s so much complexity here when it comes to programming robot behavior, and I&#8217;ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. The tutorial of this game will prove challenging enough for many, lol.​

The Last of Us (PS3)
Naughty Dog, SCEA
All of the production values are on the level of Uncharted, so you get engaging cutscenes and gorgeous environments and all that, but everything else is better. Instead of the pseudo-platforming you're poking around dead areas for items and doing basic traversal puzzles (these are a little overdone but mostly okay). The battlefields are often pretty open for this kind of game, with some surprisingly believable building layouts. You'll usually start encounters by sneaking around, but when they break out into a fight there are a lot of options to re-enter stealth. The combat has a lot of cool options between the melee stuff, the item management, and the more interesting guns. The enemies often keep on their feet in a fight but certain types can get a little too dumb near the end of the game. Items are scarce enough and you'll die enough times to try all sorts of things. Played on Hard with no Listen mode.​

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies (3DS)
Capcom
Yeah, this is definitely the best since the original trilogy. Great new characters, some of the best cases in the series (even Case 3 is good this time), and the game is gorgeous. The character models are animated really well and I was even fooled into thinking some of the 3D environments were hand-drawn.​

Grand Theft Auto V (360)
Rockstar North, Rockstar Games
A step up from IV. At day the city is bright and vibrant, and at night things are no longer bland and muted. You can climb just about every other building. Characters almost look decent, and animate way better (especially in fist fights). The car controls are now where they should be: more responsive than the swimmy IV controls (and drifts actually do more than 180 turns this time), but requiring more attention than those in the III series. Just about everything I missed from San Andreas (side missions, wilderness, customization, etc) is back. The on-foot firefights seem faster and you can now ditch the lock-on for free-aim, which I'd highly suggest. The cops are more aggressive than before, and the escape-the-circle stuff is gone and replaced with a more natural line-of-sight system. The missions are generally better, too. Sadly, it's also the easiest GTA yet. And that's a shame, because it'd be nice to have missions tough enough to encourage me to try all sorts of different approaches. You'll still run into some magic moments during the more free-form missions, times where the cops and your objectives and the driving and the shooting and the explosives and the character special abilities all come together, but it doesn't happen often enough and you'll go through one too many missions that are just a long stretch of danger-free driving followed by an isolated shootout. The character switching can also be a little pace-breaking during missions where you're pretty much forced to do a lot of it. I think I ultimately would have preferred playing as one character.​

Saints Row IV (PC)
Volition Inc., Deep Silver
I couldn't get into Saints Row The Third. I think it was because the vehicles felt cheap and never slid around, the combat seemed like nothing special, and in SR3's case, the story missions were hella inconsistent in quality. SR4 fixes the vehicle problems by simply making them unnecessary thanks to the ridiculous super powers. Sprinting around, running up buildings, and gliding make getting around the city pretty fun. It's somewhere below Just Cause 2, for sure, but most games in this genre are when it comes to that. The combat is still sloppy but I was occasionally impressed at how well all the enemy types and objective types could come together in some of the larger, more open fights. And almost every main mission in this game is as good as what I saw of the better SR3 missions. Pretty surprised that this game's sense of humor didn't bug me all that much given how referential it is. I even like some of these characters! Pretty good.​



Etrian Odyssey IV (3DS)
Atlus
I have yet to beat one of these, and I normally can&#8217;t get into traditional JRPGs, but I&#8217;ve always had a slight fondness for this series. The music combined with the pretty first-person forest is just so serene, the character designs are so adorable, and there are definitely some real decisions to make in these battles. I love the world map addition. Some day I&#8217;ll finish this.​

Ys I Chronicles+ (PC)
Falcom, Xseed Games
This is a really weird game. It has nice art, excellent music, some visually cool bosses, and tearing through enemies kinda has its charms. The lack of a save structure (this game has literally no options but "save anywhere but boss fights") and the ability to regenerate health in most areas make the player alternate from breezing through dungeons to sloppily retrying a boss battle until they trip over a victory. It's not a bad game, just not at all what I was hoping for after the excellent Oath in Felghana.​

Tomb Raider (PC)
Crystal Dynamics, Square Enix
It's a bit less polished than the Uncharted games (maybe the 60fps makes animation flaws clearer?), but the production values are still ridiculous and I think that the combat sequences work better in this than in Uncharted. Sure, the cover is automated, but the enemies are at least aggressive enough to keep you moving and you don't do a lot of waiting around. I didn't go too far out of my way to find extras, but the animal hunting and side tombs are a neat touch.​

Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)
Nintendo
I really don't know anything about this genre, so I'm the worst person to talk about how it stacks up to other games, mechanically. I can say that it's probably the prettiest tactics game that I've seen. The marriage thing is a cool idea, the support scenes are charming, the music is good, the fight scenes are well-done. Especially glad that the battles and UI move at a quick pace, unlike FFT. Normal mode is a complete cakewalk, even without going out of your way for sidequests or using Reeking Boxes to spawn fights with Risen. I hear that not all Fire Emblem games let you do grindy stuff like the latter... I also have no idea how good the other difficulty levels are.​

Bioshock Infinite (PC)
Irrational Games, 2K Games
The weapons are mostly solid (hand cannon is awfully fun to use), the special enemies are cooler than in the last two games, and I at least prefer the dimensional tears in combat to the original game's hacking. Skylines are a nice addition if a bit simple, same with the clothing. 1999 mode works out decently. Way more visually engaging than the prior two games. I think that I ultimately don't like the amount of useless scattered pickups, but that also goes for the first two games.​

For the tally:
1. The Wonderful 101 ; This is the strongest of Kamiya&#8217;s DMC-style games. I am very much looking forward to returning to this on harder difficulties.
2. Super Mario 3D World ;
3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ;
4. Dodonpachi Saidaioujou ;
5. Dead Rising 3 ;
6. Volgarr the Viking ;
7. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ;
8. DmC: Devil May Cry ;
9. Killer is Dead ;
10. Battlefield 4 ;
x. Carnage Heart EXA ;
x. The Last of Us ;
x. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ;
x. Grand Theft Auto V ;
x. Saints Row IV ;
x. Etrian Odyssey IV ;
x. Ys I Chronicles+ ;
x. Tomb Raider ;
x. Fire Emblem Awakening ;
x. Bioshock Infinite ;
 
Jun 29, 2008
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1. Spelunky ; Pretty much the best platformer I have played. Briliant concept, very good controls and always fun to play.
2. GTAV ; Improved on GTAIV in every possible way. The best GTA game, and the most convincing game world I've encountered so far.
3. The Swapper ; An very immersive puzzle focused Metroidvania, with a good story, great music and some of this years best graphics.

4. XCOM: Enemy Within ; More content to an already great game, can't go wrong there.
5. Zelda - A Link Between Worlds ; Haven't gotten that far yet, but it's pretty much what I wanted from a Zelda game. A really nice game.
6. Don't Starve ; Need to get back to this. Brilliant survival roguelike-inspired crafting game.
7. The Cave ; People are way to harsh on this game. A really enjoyable adventure game, despite some flaws, that shows some really interesting innovations in the adventure genre. Felt like a cross between an old Amiga game and something new.
8. Gone Home ; Yes, it is a game. A really good one.
9. The Stanley Parable ; It hasn't hooked me the way it seems it has effected others, but it's a really fun and unique gaming experience.
10. Gunpoint ; Some very great gameplay mechanics here. This years best game to create gifs from. :) Flying out a window from the fourth floor with a guard that you can keep punching when you land has never been more fun.

x. Sonic & Allstars Racing Transformed ; I really want to put this on the list, but I don't know which game I would remove for it. SEGA needs to give SUMO Digital the job to build a new Golden Axe game based on the style of The Adder's Lair level in this game.
x. Civilization V: Brave New World ; More Civ, always welcome. Haven't really played it enough to put it on the list though.
x. Monaco ; I wish I liked this game more then I do, because of how it looks and feels. It just frustrates me a bit too much to get in the top 10.
x. Sid Meier's Ace Patrol ; A really fun and innovative strategy game, that would have been on the list if it had had a bit more challenge and a more interesting campaign mode.
x. Runner 2 ; Let down by uneven graphics and a dissapointing soundtrack for a Bit Trip game.
x. Papers Please ; Didn't interest me as much as it has for other people.
x. Bioshock Infinite ; I can't really put a game on the list that frustrated me like this one.
x. Guacamelee ; A bit overrated. Really stupid and awkward writing, and a bit dissapointing level design. But the graphics, music and combat system are really great.
 
Jun 7, 2011
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I'm glad someone else really liked Blacklist, that would probably be 6-7 on my list. Shame Conviction was so ass and the early demos so lol it turned many people against it, because its definitely the best SC since Chaos Theory.
I'm with you, I really enjoyed Blacklist, and it just missed the cut for my top 10.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
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Dammit, now I'm kicking myself even harder for not getting around to The Wonderful 101 this year. My list feels so incomplete.


Good post as always, Riposte. I'm totally ripping your format off wholesale while I'm in the middle of writing mine. Always love reading Tain's list, too. Man, I never see some of you guys during the year outside of a couple of threads here and there. And then GotY happens, and I feel pretty familiar with some of you.

Riposte, if you want to take a year off, you certainly can. You probably might not stick to that, though. :p
 
Jul 29, 2007
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1. Saint's Row IV ; A fun game. I loved that the superpowers made traversing the city a lot less tedious than in previous games.
2. Fire Emblem: Awakening
3. Pokémon X
4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
5. Injustice: Gods Among Us
6. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
7. Killer Instinct
8. Tomb Raider
9. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
10. Papers, Please
x. Grand Theft Auto V
x. State of Decay
x. War Thunder
2012. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
 
Dec 7, 2012
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1. Super Mario 3D World ; The only good local co-op game to be released in a long, long time. Fun on its own merits too.
2. The Last Of Us ; Probably the most polished, most engaging game I've ever played
3. Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing Transformed ; The best kart racing game I've ever played, hands down, no contest
4. Resogun ; It's probably the funnest game to come out of the entire PS4 launch
5. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ; A revival of Luigi's Mansion, with things I liked and things I didn't compared to the original. Still a solid game though.
6. Spelunky ; Dungeon-crawling crack in a Vita
7. Battlefield 4 ; Beneath the atrocious netplay, the game is very fun and it's a pity this entry probably scared off anybody new to the franchise. Fun game in a fun franchise, shit netcode. Will rebuy once it gets fixed.
8. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; First SMT game that isn't a Persona game. I had a fun time with it, the RPG mechanics are great. Disappointed by the lack of ambition technically and it being on the 3DS.
2012. Persona 4 Golden ; The best JRPG, no, RPG, that I've ever played, and short of what Persona 5 may potentially be, probably the best one I'll ever play.
 
Jun 13, 2004
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lol, of course Riposte posts his list at about the same time and makes mine look worse. Such an excellent entry, though!

I'm bummed that I didn't get around to Pikmin 3. It sounds like an excellent game, but I've decided that I need to play the predecessors first. Divinity sounds wild. I hadn't heard of it. Definitely something I need to check out. And Blacklist is sitting here waiting for me to play it.
 
Apr 26, 2012
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1. Guacamelee ;
2. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen ;
3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; It's good, but not Bayonetta good, unfortunately.
4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ;
5. Fire Emblem Awakening ;
 
Mar 25, 2005
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So, based on the December NPD thread and this thread, about half of the people who purchased W101 worldwide voted it into their NeoGAF GOTY top 10 :p

Another title I will have to pick up at some point (after picking up a Wii U).
 
Dec 29, 2004
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1. Super Mario 3D World ; Beautiful, challenging, charming, inventive, surprising... and I haven't even set foot in the multiplayer mode yet.
2. Fire Emblem Awakening
3. Pikmin 3
4. Gunpoint
5. New Super Luigi U
6. Monaco
7. Animal Crossing New Leaf
8. Splinter Cell Blacklist
9. Divekick

2012. Journey
 
May 17, 2013
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1.Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; Its a Ghibli game, so i knew it would be great. Combined with pokemon esque features, and great characters, it comes together to form an amazing experience.


2.Metal Gear Rising:Revengeance ; Everything about this game pumps you up from the music, to the insane boss battles.


3.Fire Emblem Awakening ; One of the few tactical RPGs i actually give a damn about, this game never gets boring despite how i usually feel about these kind of RPGs.


4.Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix ; Kingdom Hearts is still a great game, even more so with the Final Mix version, also i got revenge on Sephiroth =P


5.Tales of Xillia ; It was good, and had great characters, but i eagerly await the sequel with the superior content, one other thing though is it is incredibly easy to overlevel in this game
 
Sep 2, 2006
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I'm glad someone else really liked Blacklist, that would probably be 6-7 on my list. Shame Conviction was so ass and the early demos so lol it turned many people against it, because its definitely the best SC since Chaos Theory.
I enjoyed Conviction but I passed on Blacklist because Conviction was so short. I didn't feel the need to spend $60 on a ~6 hour game, but I'll play it eventually. It's like $30 now?
 
Jun 26, 2013
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1. Super Mario 3D World ; Most, if not all, Mario platformers are a joy to play. From the moment I loaded this game I was impressed by its visuals and its level design is as inspired as ever. I find that the best commendation of this game isn't text but the smile on my face as I play.
2. Pokemon Y ; I hadn't played a Pokémon game since Heart Gold so I was excited for this to be released and it didn't disappoint as I found myself clocking about 20 hours on the weekend of release
3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; This is without a doubt the best 2D Zelda game I've played since Link's Awakening all those years ago. I was so impressed by Skyward Sword's controls that I was hesitant about playing another Zelda game without motion controls but I found that ALBW dispelled my concenrs and delivered an amazing adventure.
4. Pikmin 3 ; This game is probably the best example of a console RTS and rivals some of the RTS games I've played on PC. Using gamepad as a map to give orders while taking command of specific teams with the nunchuk and Wiimote added a great new layer to the already incredible Pikmin experience.
5. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; I've played over 90 hours of this and still haven't finished the main story because I've been taking my time to complete all the side missions and prevent anyone from dying. The set up is incredible as battles are shown in glorious 3D.
6. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; Phoenix Wright games are full of humour, sincerity and excellent music; Dual Destinies doesn't disappoint and is a great addition to the series. The new visuals are incredibly well designed and truly bring Phoenix Wright to the next generation.
7. The Wonderful 101 ; I was hooked as soon as I worked out how to play during the demo and I'm glad to say that the main game doesn't disappoint. The game does a Wonderful job of making you feel like a hero and sets out an excellent music track to accompany your Wonderful antics.
8. Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World ; I've found myself spending complete days playing the same game of Civilization and the additions of BNW add a new layer of gameplay and therefore revive the Civ bug.
9. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon ;
10. Batman: Arkham Origins ; While this didn't amaze me as much as City did, I still enjoyed myself immensely. This is a great personification of the saying 'if it isn't broken don't fix it'. Granted that means that it may feel stale at times, the addition of a rating scale to each encounter created a new, and welcome, challenge.
x. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ;
2012. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die (PC) ; This is one of the best RPGs I've ever played and it is mainly due to the fact that it isn't tied down by an overly long story or an overprotective difficulty. The complete freedom offered is rare in contemporary games and adds to the immersion of Dark Souls.
 
Dec 25, 2006
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1. Bioshock Infinite ; Loved every minute of this game. Beautiful setting, story, and voice acting. Dat Ending! Don't understand many of the complaints about the combat at all. I thought there was a ton of ways to mix it up with the weapons, vigors, the skyhook, and the different objects that Elizabeth could bring into the world. Definitely lived up to it's predecessor in my mind, which was also my GOTY.

2. GTA V ; I'm not one of those who disliked GTA IV. It was one of my favorites the year it came out. GTA V took everything to the next level. The Rockstar stock and trade of recreating real world locations, be they true to life or the 'movie' versions of those places was in full effect. The variety in game play was much improved and the heists were a great addition. The story did have some missteps, but as always the acting in the individual story cutscenes was top notch.

3. Civilization V: Brave New World ; As with Civ IV, a solid (but a bit dull) base game has been improved immensely by the subsequent expansions and turned into another great entry in the series. From a game time perspective, I definitely played this more than any other game this year.

4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; I'm generally an Assassins Creed fan, but skipped AC3 after being a bit burnt out on the series and then hearing all the negative impressions. Not having a lot to play on my PS4, I picked AC4 up. I wasn't expecting a lot, but ended up having a great time with the game. The pirate theme was the breath of fresh air the series needed. I'm a collectible whore, so all the different things to collect was right up my alley. The ship combat was a ton of fun, though it became a bit too easy in the last half of the game when you were upgraded. One thing I want to call out specifically is the voice acting on the game. I thought the entire cast really nailed it and really improved the story. Plus - Sea Shanties!! My favorite - Runnin' Down to Cuba!

5.Tomb Raider ; Not a lot to say other than I had a ton of fun with this one. It was a beautiful action game with satisfying combat and great production values. Great reboot and looking forward to the next installment with a hope for addition of more classic Tomb Raider-style puzzles

6. Dota 2 ; I haven't even played it a lot as MOBAs generally aren't in my wheelhouse, but I cannot deny the quality and polish of the game from the time I have spent with it. I don't have the time to become very good at this game, but I will be dabbling in this game for a long time.

7. Battlefield 4 ; Game was broken as fuck. If it wasn't broken, it would have been top 3 for me, cuz when it works, it is really fun.

8. The Last of Us ; As always, Naughty Dog are at the top of the game for production values. The art design, animation, and the level of detail they populate the world with are always some of the very best. The acting performances were able to lift a story filled with all the familiar zombie/post-apocalyptic tropes to a fairly interesting, if not predictable, conclusion, . The combat mechanics were very tight and satisfying and the crafting was done well. My biggest complaint is that I just didn't really enjoy the game play loop of TLOU: a. Enter the obvious combat arena (filled with chest-high objects for cover) b. Fight/stealth past the extremely limited variety of enemies. c. Scavenge the area for supplies. d. Move to the next story cutscene(with maybe a cheesy 'puzzle' on the way). Just didn't really do it for me. I never really had to change tactics in my Hard playthrough and felt it was pretty easy aside from a few spots. Despite these complaints, still a good game and a solid close to last gen for the PS3.

9. Dead Rising 3 ; Wasn't really a great fan of previous DR games, but have absolutely loved creating mayhem in DR3. Really great launch game for the XB1.

10. Ryse ; The best looking launch game. Extremely satisfying timing-based combat game. Great voice acting and production values from Crytek. Looking forward to a sequel.

2012. Sleeping Dogs ; Just picked it up as the free XBox Rewards game and have really enjoyed my first 8 hours with the game.
 
Nov 1, 2013
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Another thing I want to say is that I like it when people (without affiliated websites) link their top 10 list as their GAF "homepage". In a sea of thousands, I think these lists can provide the quickest way to grasp someone's overall position on game matters or find those with similar tastes. I certainly think you can get a good grasp of my gaming personality with the descriptions of 30 ranked games and 22 honorable mentions these lists provide. Now then, let's begin:
I love this idea. Done.
 
Jun 17, 2004
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1. The Last of Us; My GOTY and also GOTG. Most times I’m perfectly fine with the story of a game being passable as long as the gameplay is good. Here, it was the story and characters moving me forward with gameplay, as great as it was, taking a back seat.
After the end of Fall when Joel was hurt, I was genuinely anxious when Winter started and I was playing as Ellie. I was concerned for her being alone, then so relieved when she asked for medicine because I knew Joel was still alive. Great, tense moments with the clickers.
I never replay games due to my backlog, but so want another run through at this. Cannot wait for the DLC.
2. Batman: Arkham Origins ; Sure it’s a bit more of the same, but it just might be my favorite in the series. Great seeing this early tale and how the Joker became to enamored of Bats. Loved diving off a tall building into a group of thugs and beating the crap out of them because I’m the goddamed Batman. Looked great on my PC too.
3. Battlefield 4 (PS4); Ike Turner to my Tina…beats me down, but I keep coming back for more. Buggy as hell, but when it works, it’s a thing of beauty. Haven’t liked an online multiplayer game in years. Keep debating on buying the Premium pack, but the jankyness keeps holding me back.
4. Tearaway (Vita) ; So charming and beautiful. Great Vita showcase title.
5. Killzone: Mercenary; Best. Handheld. FPS. Ever.
6. Guacamelee (Vita); Beautiful art, fun gameplay and humorous writing.
7. Crysis 3; Gorgeous game, fun to play and forgettable story. Summer blockbuster movie; meaningless fun.
8. Tomb Raider; Great reboot. Loved the gameplay and the graphics, but the supporting characters were painful to watch. Next installment needs more tomb raiding and less entourage.
9. GTA V; Enamored with this the first two weeks, but haven’t touched it since. Want to get back into it, but may wait to double dip on the PC version.
10. Bioshock Infinite; Another game I enjoyed at the beginning, but didn’t hold my interest long enough to beat. Great atmosphere, but the gameplay was somewhat tedious. Need to get back into it.

x. Far Cry: Blood Dragon; Love the 80s action flick vibe.

2012. Far Cry 3; Built my first gaming PC last year and this was the first game I played on it. I was stunned. Wanted to throat punch the main characters friends, but loved the lush, tropical island open world gameplay. Vaas was one of the best villains ever, albeit underused.
 
Feb 14, 2005
10,973
1
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Kyoto, Japan
completely forgot.

hey Cheesemeister, if my post in the source has the comments on the same line as the title but with an indent tag between the semicolon and the start of my text am I good?
No, you are not good. The parser doesn't read your BB tags, only HTML source code. Please keep it to the same line.

Question: Is Persona 4 Golden eligible for Top 10 games of 2013?
Only if you are in Europe.
 

1. Dragon’s Crown ; Vanillaware’s art style is lovely. I usually enjoy games with class systems of some sort and this game was no exception. The varied amount of classes and unique skills were neat, summoning trees or zombies to help in battle, divekicking my way through the hordes, slamming enemies into other enemies, it was pretty varied in the options I could choose from. I could choose a specific class and on top of that customize it to my liking, the role playing aspect shined pretty well for me. I mainly bought the game for co-op with my boyfriend, unfortunately he didn’t like it at first. Eventually he did play it more, and enjoyed it just as much as I did; we had a blast playing through it. It was my second Platinum I achieved for a game ever, I enjoyed it a lot.

The gameplay itself is VERY repetitive, but I didn’t mind too much, I liked it. Going through nine stages with a boss at the end of each, and salvaging every piece of loot I came across. I’ve played loot games such as the borderlands series before, but that game has such terrible rates in my experience that it turned me off from that series. However I quite enjoyed the way it rewarded in Dragon’s Crown, it was the same idea for both games, increased difficulty spawned better results, I just felt Dragon’s Crown rewarded much better. In a lot of ways outside of the themes, the two games are quite a lot alike, they are both repetitive. Subsequent playthroughs do not deviate from the first very much, though Borderlands is just the same exact narrative, and journey throughout, so I suppose that explains my fatigue in playing through it, though the scope of it is much bigger than that of this game. The story is very simple and short, I didn’t care much for it. Dragon’s crown implementation of subsequent playthroughs differences are very minimalistic, sprites changes of previous enemies, slightly differing layouts of the same levels, branches for each level, the first choice being the same result as before, the second choice being a harder route with an entirely new boss. As minimalistic as these changes are aesthetically, I appreciated them for having put some effort in making the game at least look a bit different a second time through. I did not feel as though it was terribly repetitive though the reality of it was, I simply had fun doing so. Vanillaware’s support of the game post launch has been fantastic. I am very glad this game did so well commercially, it was a very fun game.

2. Puppeteer ; I haven't played a platformer in a good while, and Puppeteer was a great game. At first I thought the game was embarrassingly short, only 3 stages for each level, and 3 levels for each chapter. Math aside it just seemed at first to be really short. But to my surprise it took me much longer than I thought I would have to complete even one stage. Whether it was because I suck or the stages were moderately paced. The stages were so theatrical, I couldn't help but pause and marvel at the stages. Subsequently I died several times because of this. The chapters and stages, the levels were all so appropriately represented by specific themes, such as a Western or Halloween staged theme, there was so many themed levels. The stages were filled with items that would make the levels more coherent with the theme. Spiders and skulls scattered across webs on an eerie castle, kitchens with burgers, plates and pots to jump over, forests brimming with bamboo, greenery and pandas, desserts filled with cacti and tumbleweeds. The presentation of the stages and levels were phenomenal.

There was many cutscenes in between acts, something I should have expected, since it is a game that takes place on a theatrical stage. I enjoyed the silly dialogue and humor between most of it. The Moon Bear King ranting and raving and even regressing to tantrums coupled by the narrator and Pikarina’s arguments. Pikarina, annoying at first but combined with the narrator made for some cute humor. The many specialty heads in the game were all so adorable to me from the panda to monkey head and their cute actions that come with them.

The gameplay wasn’t AMAZING but I thought it was pretty fun. All the tools I received along the way gave the game some variety, and made me think of useful ways to actually implement them in a boss fight or playing through a stage. I nearly forgot about the shield for the longest while, but once I remembered about it I used it through a lot of the levels, minimalizing the frequency of my head loss. Puppeteer had lots of charm, a wonderful presentation and serviceable gameplay, I enjoyed it very much.
Plus there’s a giant enemy robot crab as a boss.

3. The Last Of Us ; A lot has been said about this game. In all honesty I don’t care much for story in video games, despite purchasing many video games that are typically story forward. This game was no exception, I didn’t care for much of it, although I did like Ellie as a character. The relationship between Joel and Ellie was presented very nicely as well. The voice acting was pretty good as well, especially Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson. Story aside, the atmosphere of the game was pretty engrossing for what they were aiming for, “apocalyptic”. Debris scattered across the terrain, nature ensnaring buildings with its roots, dirtied windows cracked upon emptied shelves of a sullied store, the atmosphere was quite nice for what Naughty Dog were achieving for. In contrast the nature environments were beautiful, colorful and vibrant. I greatly enjoyed playing the game on survivor difficulty, scrambling around battles as enemies come near to me, and to my surprise even flanking me at times, caught me well off guard. The crafting system was cool too, I like making stuff in game, but not in a way that makes me feel like I'm just doing it for a checklist or something. Though these are all being made for survival and combating, so I suppose that's an obvious reason why I didn't feel like that. The game was fun to mess around in as well, throwing molotovs and bricks at enemies, and people in multiplayer, searing people with flamethrowers, some pretty fun multiplayer. I can’t quite explain anymore why I thought the game was pretty good, but it was a pretty good game.

4. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ; A very charming game. The aesthetics are lovely, the world gorgeous, the music was great. The only thing I did not like about the game was the terrible A.I. and the incredibly low capture rates for familiars. I loved the familiars implemented into the game, though it was a bit disappointing finding out when they evolve/metamorphosized it wasn’t a differentiable that was necessarily significant. In a lot of ways I enjoyed the game for its charm, and appeal to a younger audience, that and it was a pseudo Pokemon console game in my opinion. Tokos are adorable, feeding familiars and watching their three corresponding animations was cute. I enjoyed Ni No Kuni quite a bit.

5. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; The majority of the my enjoyment of the game came from being a darker “Pokemon”. The negotiating of demons was an interesting mechanic to me, and then it slowly turned into tedious reused dialogue. Still I quite enjoy the mechanic. Voice acting was a surprise to me, due to the fact I have had little encounter with voice acting on a handheld game. It was a neat surprise. The atmosphere was quite dark and dreary, making the tone of the game very clear. Coupled with the choice to do as I please! To put it in very simplistic terms, to side with one side or the other, as far as I know it was not some silly easy implementation of choices. It was a very dark and serious tone of game accented by wisecracking, selfish, and various other personalities exemplified by the demons in the game. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

6. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time ; One of my favorite series on the PlayStation 2, Sanzaru did a great job in bringing Sly and the gang back. The new characters were fun to play as, though the entire game was a bit too formulaic, it was still good fun. A very acceptable entry into the Sly series, enjoyed it.

7. Beyond Two Souls ; I bought this game because it had Ellen Page. That was my initial reason months prior to the game. Aside from that the graphics and voice acting were very nice. Possessing limited people with Aiden was kind of fun. Truth is I enjoyed watching it more than I did playing it. I watched my boyfriend play an entire playthrough. I didn’t make much of the story, I thought it was okay. The supernatural element was a bit odd, but I still liked the relationship between Jodie and Aiden.
I kind of figured William DaFoe was the "villain" all along, just not with good intentions part, it’s just something about him.
Buying the game just for Ellen Page is a bit exaggerated, I just wanted to see what the game was like, given some strong opinions on David Cage’s work, and overall I enjoyed the game.

8. Injustice: Gods Among Us ; I prefer mahvel, but Injustice is pretty fun. Simple and easy battle system coupled with some adaptations of mechanics from other fighting games, such as bursting/clashing to avoid or deal damage, ex moves, all while playing as some popular DC characters. I don’t care for story or content in a fighting game, it means very little to me. However the netcode at first was serviceable so I could take my characters and goof off in a lobby or the rare butt whopping of others. Thankfully the netcode has greatly improved since launch and it is very enjoyable. The animations aren’t the best though.

9. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus ; Another series I enjoyed from the PS2 days, one of my favorites. A very nice installment from Insomniac, “classic” Ratchet & Clank gameplay, platforming, puzzles, and of course “new” weapons. In a way I’m glad Insomniac made another entry into the series, but I am also disappointed, it was far too short for my liking, and perhaps it is a case of franchising fatigue but the game felt unneeded. That being said I still enjoyed it.

10. Grand Theft Auto V ; I tend not to like open world games, whether it be because it offers too many choices to do, and that in of itself becomes overwhelming, fetch quests, going to point a to point b for numerous jobs/ missions, and collectibles just scattered across the map to collect. More often than not I just find myself screwing around the inhabitants of the game, and just plain fuck around doing stupid junk. And Chop was the perfect companion to make the game enjoyable for me. I liked running around with chop the dog. Making him attack civilians was a fun novelty. Playing online with a group was fun as well. Also you can’t use the bathroom in single player, any of the bathroom facilities, washing your hands, using the toilet, taking a shower, nope. I found this odd. Why? I don’t know I kind of expected some sort of bathroom action, the MP had some.

x. Etrian Odyssey IV ; My first entry into the EO series and it’s a pretty neat game, at first I was pretty surprised when a rats could kill my entire party at will, but I suppose that should make me more considerate of my actions in the game. Mapping, I don't like mapping, so I appreciate the pathways it generates without me having to do so. I greatly enjoy rpgs with classes in them, so the varying amount of classes was very welcomed. Unfortunately my time with the game has been limited since I bought it only about a month ago, but so far it is an enjoyable game.
x. Fire Emblem: Awakening ;
x. Pokemon X ; It is quite ironic that I enjoyed Pokemon like games and I did not nominate the actual Pokemon game. I really hated the pacing of the game, it was packed in the beginning all the way to the third gym. I liked the idea of the fairy type. I was really disappointed there was so few new pokemon, though there were many cool ones like Pancham and Litleo. I didn't care at all for Mega evos, thought there was some cool ones, such as the Alakazam one. I'm glad there was new features such as Poke Amie, and Friend Safari. And of course 3D for every pokemon and the entire overworld, cute and odd animations included, Spinda comes to mind. I liked all the features they added, but I don't know, I kind of dragged my feet playing the game. That being said, I still moderately enjoyed it.
 
Oct 16, 2012
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In review / for the tally:
1. The Wonderful 101 ; Delivers Nintendo polish on a game with the depth and character expected of a Kamiya title. 101 good reasons to play it without the game letting you get bored with any one of them, headlining what was secretly The Platinum Year.
2. Super Mario 3D World ;
3. Volgarr the Viking ;
4. Anarchy Reigns ;
5. Splinter Cell: Blacklist ;
6. Metal Gear Rising: Revengance ;
7. Pikmin 3 ;
8. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ;
9. Wargame: AirLand Battle ;
10. The Last of Us ;
x. DmC: Devil May Cry ;
x. Divinity: Dragon Commander ;
x. Grand Theft Auto V ;
x. New Super Luigi U ;
x. Shadow Warrior ;
x. Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed ;
You forgot listing Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward
 
Dec 5, 2008
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www.neogaf.com
From reading other peoples lists I really need to get Risk of Rain, Volgarr and Valdis. These seem to be right up my alley. Also Blacklist, Wargame: AirLand Battle and Shadow Warrior I need to finally get to start them as I have them on my backlog for months already. Plenty of (good) games for the following months hehehe
 
May 23, 2011
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1. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ; It's a port of a 3DS game, which in turn is an updated version of a Wii game. So, why is it so awesome? I would say it's because of the rewarding, fine-tuned gameplay, coupled with an amazing amount of content. In fact, the variety of ways to play this content exponentially improves MH3U's replay value. I've played it for about 350 hours already, and I intend to continue doing so in 2014.
2. Rogue Legacy ; This game has found the perfect balance between punishment and forgiveness for the player's mistakes with its heritage mechanic. Even more satisfying with its tight and fast paced gameplay. Everytime I died I had the urge to get right into the game again, and that could go on for hours on end. Fun times!
3. Papers, Please ; Game storytelling at its best. Papers, Please's narrative feels perfectly integrated into its mechanics and that conveys its story much more effectively than any other game I played this year.
4. Super Mario 3D World ; It could have got a little more challenging a little earlier, but rushing through it was exciting too. I like the power-up variety, and the levels all seem to have a different, interesting gimmick. A gorgeous and very fun platformer.
5. Pikmin 3 ; This is the charming and beautiful sequel one could expect from Pikmin 2. I could use the multiple captains more effectively this time around, and it's probably the game's credit for that, since the levels seem very well designed. Amazing presentation and funny characters.
6. Payday 2 ; A bit of a grindfest, and not without a few glitches, but damn me if it's not fun to play the different heists, especially with friends. I really like what Overkill is doing with this game with its ongoing support too.
7. Antichamber ; A very creative set of puzzles in which, interestingly, failure may actually lead the player to different paths, adding a much welcomed element of exploration.
8. Fez ; I like its puzzles a lot, but Fez's endgame was simply too hardcore for me! I enjoyed the trip, though. Beautiful presentation.
9. Spelunky ; Talking about hardcore! One mistake and you're done in Spelunky. But it's so hilariously fun anyway!
10. Stanley Parable ; I'm not usually into visual novel/interactive story games, but Stanley Parable has enough interaction to give me a feeling of agency, even if it makes fun of me for thinking that!

The following games should have a pretty good chance to make into the list eventually: Volgarr the Viking, Rayman Legends, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Fire Emblem Awakening, GTA5, Gone Home, Bioshock Infinite, and more.
 

Creamium

shut uuuuuuuuuuuuuuup
Mar 10, 2005
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1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; This Zelda takes place in a familiar world, but the dungeons and design is all new. The renting system allows you to use every staple item from the get-go, which allows you to explore the overworld more freely. More importantly though, it trims some of the fat in the dungeons and makes them a bit shorter... But definitely sweeter. Each dungeon is perfectly paced and ends right when it should. It amazes me that after so many games they still manage to make these dungeons feel fresh. The painting mechanic allows for some clever puzzling and the 3D adds quite a bit. I was impressed from start to finish. This may be the best Zelda since OoT for me.

2. Antichamber ; I'm amazed this game got so overlooked, even here on GAF. You liked Portal right? Well then, please play this. It's another hamster maze/experiment type game, but the puzzles and challenges are definitely more challenging than the aforementioned Portal. You don't have to think out of the box here: you have to create a whole new box, then think outside that... if that makes any sense. If you like games that subvert expectations and mess with your mind, Antichamber is a game for you. It's a game for anyone looking for a smart puzzler really.

3. Super Mario 3D World ; You have to make it past the first 3 worlds, but then SM3DW picks up, and just keeps going. The creativity and imagination in the levels is insane... There's very little recycling of ideas as well, which makes it hard to put down the game. I was amazed at how long they kept up this level of quality: this game is huge, but every new world is more impressive than the last. It's like they dropped the best ideas at the tail end (even in the post endgame content!), then worked their way back. People who want to see and beat every level are definitely rewarded here.

4. The Last of Us
; It's been a long time since I cared about characters in a videogame this much. I wasn't that impressed in the early hours, but the second half of TLOU is mighty impressive. The ending felt really sudden, but as I thought about it and the days went by, I loved it more and more. Most teams clearly don't know how to end their games properly, but ND nailed it with TLOU.
It's better to play this on a harder difficulty, because the survival aspect only comes into play then: hoarding, crafting ammo and choosing a different strategy because you lack supplies. The presentation is a big reason why TLOU ranks as high as it does, but the gameplay's pretty damn fun as well.

5. BioShock Infinite ; Infinite got its share of negative reception. A popular complaint was that the combat wasn't fun and the game was boring to play through. I don't get this. I loved experimenting with the different vigors, their upgrades and the guns. There were plenty of combo's you could try and the combat overall felt faster and more fluid than BioShock's. It's the main reason I put Infinite this high.

6. Gunpoint ; When most games promise you there's '50 ways to complete a mission!', it's mostly fluff talk, but in Gunpoint's case it's often true. The crosslink allows you to connect any two electronic devices, e.g. you can rewire a security came so that it doesn't trigger an alarm, but opens a door instead. There's a myriad of ways to finish a level, and the game makes you feel like your way was the smartest. Game also has a perfect 5ish hour length, making it perfect for a single sitting playthrough.

7. Spelunky ; Stupid deaths, the game. If there was ever a game that makes you mindful of your surroundings and teaches you to look before you jump, it's Spelunky. Danger's everywhere and the dumbest mistake can end your run. The random level generation makes the game even more addictive, as you're never playing the same game twice. I fear that I'm not hardcore enough to see the end of the game (only reached temple grounds once so far), but I played enough to know that this is one masterfully designed game.

8. Grand Theft Auto 5 ; The diversity in terrain really sells this game. Once you start Trevor's missions put in the deserts and mountains and are a great pallet cleanser from the downtown sections. The mission design is great for the most part, but the ending could've been handled better.

9. Guacamelee! ; Metroidvania-lite done right, with a striking artstyle and fantastic soundtrack.

10. Brothers ; ICO-fans can't miss this! Another great single sitting game that brings home the sens of exploration and adventure. Visually the game's a stunner as well. Brothers also has a remarkably clever and touching ending.

x. Kentucky Route Zero ; If it's not getting counted for top 10, I'm at least putting it here. Only two eps released so far, but this a fantastic adventure game

x. Remember Me ; I was going to put this in my top 10, but I forgot! Fun little game that's nothing special in the gameplay department, but has incredible art direction.

x. Volgarr The Viking ; I didn't get far enough in Volgarr for it to make it in my top 10. I love challenge in games, but Volgarr's brutal. Definitely fair, but still brutal. Someday I'll come back to finish it.

x. Lego City Undercover ; still have to finish this, but Lego City is a big surprise. There's usually nothing special about the Lego games, but this one's fun and even funny. There's some great writing here, with gta and classic movies getting spoofed.

x. GoW Ascension ; most people didn't like Ascension, but I thought it was a pretty fun GoW game. But that's definitely not enough to make it to the top 10 anymore. Reboot/overhaul of the series is in order.

2012. Hotline Miami ; now my goty 2012.

Overall 2013 was an incredible year, played a bunch of fantastic stuff. Tomb Raider was pretty much my only real disappointment. Still on the list: Pikmin 3, W101, Luigi's Mansion, Papers Please, Stanley Parable and Gone Home.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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Chile
GOTY 2013




1. Grand Theft Auto V ; My #1 choice was between GTAV and TLOU, and I choose the astonishing breathing city of Los Santos over the increible narrative of TLOU. This game and RDR are the only games that every so often make me put the disc on the console just to take a ride and enjoy the vistas and ecosystems. This is helped by the amazing graphics they juiced out of this 8-year-old consoles, the funny dialogues, I mean, few times I've laughed so much in gaming, and the really fun-and-varied missions, probably the best in the history of the saga. There's room for improvement? Sure, the story could have been more tight and the core gameplay still isn't the best (Sleeping Dogs has that title) but still, the best gaming I had in 2013.

2. The Last of Us ;
3. BioShock Infinite ;
4. Tomb Raider ;
5. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ;
6. Dead Space 3 ;
7. Metro: Last Light ;
8. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ;
9. Batman: Arkham Origins ;
10. Crysis 3 ;

2012. Diablo III ;
 
Feb 26, 2007
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1. The Last of Us; Tied as one of my favourite games of the generation. The gameplay is absolutely polished, gritty, dynamic and absorbing, with great atmosphere, an excellent combat system and a real sense of both tension, serenity and violence in the scenario's offered. The level design also really allows for some dynamic, creative and diverse approaches.

Then there's the sublime characters, narrative, voice acting, and overall pacing. This is not like most video games, the development in both character arch and narrative is mature, emotionally engaging and absolutely realistically realised. There's a sense of confidence and maturity about the whole thing that is refreshing and truly immersive. From the riveting and powerful opening act, right through to the lingering poignant end, this game is truly special.

---

2. Grand Theft Auto V; After being somewhat disappointed with the last game in the franchise, I was somewhat apprehensive about this new release. However, my scepticism was unwarranted, because what an amazing, robust, enthralling and captivating game this was.

What really makes the difference is in the quality of the characters, all unique, quirky, and relatable, coupled with the vastly improved missions and degree of diversity among them. The richness of the world, locations, mission types, landscapes, scenery and aesthetic all come together to make this one of the most entertaining GTA games yet.

My only negative is that I wish there were better side missions, and more of them, and more heist missions too, which to me were the high points in the game.

---

3. Bioshock Infinite; Another example of a bold, unique, breathtaking living and breathing world. A genuinely thought provoking narrative that intertwines in a carefully crafted way, propelled with classic Bioshock gameplay, only turned up several notches with the addition of the sky hook and outdoor, floating island settings.

---

4. Assasin's Creed 4: Black Flag; Another game I was highly skeptical about but ended up greatly enjoying. The main protagonist is a huge improvement over the one in the previous instalment of the game, and the entire word is much more appealing and gameplay rich.

The Caribbean is a beautiful setting, with lush, vibrant, rich visuals and spectacles galore. There's so much to do and see in this game, and whilst some of it is slightly monotonous, there's enough variety in side mission and main mission types to keep things engaging.

---

5. Gran Turismo 6; Whilst the franchise still has its kinks and issues, this one really is one of the most feature rich and addictive racing games I have played, with a tonne of variety and a brilliant progression system that I've found highly rewarding.

The key to the experience is using a good wheel set up, playing in manual, and playing with all UI options, aids and assists off (minus ABS). Literally nothing on the screen, no driving line, no UI displays, playing in cockpit view, set view FOV to narrow, and losing yourself in absolute racing immersion.

The beautifully realised and accurately replicated tracks, the humongous amount of them, the massive roster of vehicles, night day transitions that are dripping with atmosphere and completely change the dynamic of a race, weather, karting, Nascar, rallying, X2014, Goodwood challenges, Coffee Break challenges, license tests and mission races that genuinely help you to improve your driving or learn tracks, constant seasonal updates, hell even racing on the moon!

And then there's the additional little trinkets like the Vision GT feature. Stunning new concept cars from a massive range of manufacturers, to be released over time, with viewable concept art, videos et all. A car enthusiast and designers delight!

---

Going to add a few more later if I have time lol.
 
Apr 15, 2007
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1. The Last of Us ; the game left a profound impact on me. I didn't want to play another game for weeks
2. Batman: Arkham Origins ; I was surprised how good it was, especially the story, it got some unfair reviews
3. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag ; a clear improvement over AC3
4. Ni no kuni ; beautiful sights and sounds, revived my interest in JRPG's
5. Guacamelee ; I was totally hooked on this game. An awesome package that plays great
6. Fifa 14 ; the PS 4 version impressed me a lot
7. Grand Theft Auto V ; you have to admire the technichal achievement on the aging hardware
8. Tomb Raider ; I was sceptical, but Uncharted can actually learn a thing or two from this game
9. Puppeteer ; so imaginative and great looking
10. Ratchet & Clank Nexus ; reminded me how good this franchise is if Insomniac sticks to its roots
 
1. The Last of Us ; the game with a story and characters that gripped me the most, visually stunning, many great examples of "show, don't tell" in storytelling.

2. Resogun ; hard-to-master arcade shooter that looked good doing it; needed quick-reflexes, but also planning of your moves to not lose combos or humans. Delicate to balance, but was a hell of a lot of fun to do so.

3. The Wonderful 101 ; oozed style with a changing combat system that made you think before you fought. Rewarded replayability. The reason to own a WiiU.

4. Beyond: Two Souls ; Emotionally engaged the entire time and never felt like I was just reacting to button prompts. Was skeptical when I saw the shooting segment from E3, but once I saw how it fit in the story, it made sense to me. The two back-to-back chapters (names)
"The Condenser" and "Homeless"
were the best experience I had in a game last year.

5. rain ; beautiful story and idea, loved the (easy) puzzle aspect of the story

6. Tearaway ; beautiful to look at and the platforming aspects towards the last third of the game were really fun. Made great use of all of the Vita's functionality. Being a character in it was one of my favorite parts.

7. Guacamelee! ; enjoyed the theme and exploration, fun platformer

8. Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; The most I've been into Zelda since Ocarina of Time and felt the most like the games I grew up with. I thought the "become a painting" thing would be gimmicky, but was implemented very well and encouraged me to explore more

9. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn ; the only real MMORPG that I have played and I was glad to see how much I could do on my own; the environments were beautiful as was the soundtrack. This felt like a very accessible game to play for people new to the genre (like, me) and had an engaging main story. I liked knowing that I could master all jobs and classes with one character.

10. Killer is Dead ; loved the combat and the art in this game.

x. Papers, Please ; When I started playing this, I thought for sure this would be my favorite game of the year. I quickly realized that the moral actions or having to answer "Should I let this person go anyway..." never affected me. To me, it was either a clear "Approve" or "Reject" based on the documents. It's hard for me to put this on my list, as that aspect of design didn't reach out to me. This was the only game I wanted to give an additional nod to though because of my initial love for it and I think it's concept and layout is really fascinating.

2012. Sleeping Dogs ; I never felt like I could get into the open-world sandbox in a city games with all of the side-quests and missions. I loved the story and idea of this off the bat and the environment in the Hong Kong market was cool. When I was able to drive around and watch the skyline come into view at sunset was what hooked me on the exploration of this game. Enjoyed the melee combat. Would love a Sleepy Dogs 2.
 
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