1. Gone Home ; Much has been said about how much Gone Home constitutes being a game, but I feel it's lack of gameplay mechanics and systems is exactly what makes it so special. At every turn is an opportunity to shoehorn in generic game aspects for the sake of being a video game ass video game and it just never devolves into what you expect. It touches on a universal feeling of returning to a place you think you remember and haphazardly expecting things to just remain the same despite your absence and own individual changes. Reducing the plot to just a "lesbian love story" is completely missing the slow build of the friendship into the feeling of overwhelmingly obsessive emotions, something most people have experienced, and the bias of parental expectations we hold and expect to never change. It's genuinely an interesting game and, if you've returned home at some point later in your life after being gone awhile, it's incredibly relatable.
2. Guacamelee! ;
3. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ;
4. Papers, Please ;
5. Rogue Legacy ;
6. The Stanley Parable ;
7. Risk of Rain ;
8. FIFA 14 ;
1. The Last of Us ; TLOU is one of those few games in a generation (or maybe in a lifetime) where one can say "damn, the conditions were perfect so that they could do a near-perfect game (obviously it has its problems)". Lets be honest the game is not revolutionary in gameplay aspects, it might not have anything special, aside from not being a disconnection between the story and gameplay (Joel not being a military guy and his aim constantly moving, for example), but the story and specially its delivery, it really impressed me how developers have grown up with time. It showed us that developers can do so much more with what they have. Obviously, indies will do fresh new things, but it's very nice to see a developer do something that might be risky. It's not everyday when you see someone calling a DLC featuring two atypical characters (2 teenage girls) the most important event in human history. There must be something that is being done right, you know. Congrats, Naughty Dog, you deserve the #1 spot.
2. Bioshock: Infinite ; BS:I seems to have become a game that's hated while time advances. I can see why people say that. The gameplay really did not live to its full potential, which was shown in one 9-minute gameplay trailer, but it was serviceable and if you knew what you were doing, quite fun. The story took the award for me in this one, Ken and co. really knew what they were doing with the story in certain points. The only real negative is the huge information dump they did in the last 15 minutes, and actually I only got to catch some important details when I watched it a second time. Nonetheless it's one of my favorite stories and ways of making characters interact lately.
3. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ; Let me tell you right now: I hated AC3. And I still hate some aspects of it (fucking shanties, man), but the fact that they got so well some aspects was wonderful. It might be that the game got this spot because of the novelty of being a pirate, but in its story, there was some great charisma. You might not be able to find memorable quotes for Edward, but he was definitely a step up from Connor, he might just be as good as Ezio (although the latter does have the advantage that we saw him live through his whole life). The AC story itself was great, we saw Edward's "neutral" perspective on the Templars, and was able to see beyond that. The modern story was a step up: more mystery and more info to find. And left a new question open when you find all 20 post-its. The ending was bloody melancholic, one might say that Edward had a harder life than Ezio.
4. rain ; I gotta say, Sony's Japan Studio had a good year (unfortunately I wasn't able to finish Puppeteer in time). rain is one of those few games that gets it right. The story is quite simple: A boy follows a girl to help her. However the game game itself is an allegory of death and love. The ending left me kinda wanting to cry. That or I'm a sucker for Clair De Lune. This game immediately reminded me of Ico. Masteful.
Whew, that was close. Thanks to Dragonbane who reminded me to write this! If I played Beyond, it would have probably ended up here too. And Puppeteer too. EDIT: And probably Gone Home, The Stanley Parable and Papers Please. Damn, I missed too many games.
I delayed the making of this list way too long and now I haven't much time to make it. Next year I swear I'll compete with Dark Schala and Riposte for the TLDR title (I read everything). And I'll make fancy images like last year. OK let's go or my vote won't be counted.
1. The Stanley Parable ; All videogames must face the terrible problem that is players agency. All games must choose where to stand : freedom or control ? Open world or corridor ? Thats a major conundrum, unique to our medium. A conundrum which will probably never be resolved. An eternal struggle, which I find fascinating in itself. Some of my favourite games explore this concept : the Valkyr induced dream in Max Payne. The penultimate level of Braid. The famous twist in Bioshock. I love when these games manage to go beyond the screen and touch you on a whole different level. Now, imagine a game, well made, well voice-acted, clever, funny, self-aware (of course) and built, from beginning to end, around this concept. It would be an important game. Itd probably even be my GOTY.
2. Brothers : a Tale of two Sons ; Pushing a button in Brothers can make you cry. If it isnt a way of cracking interactive storytelling, I dont know what skeptics need.
3. Gone Home ; Its a game about exploring a house. Its one of the best games this year. Thats it.
4. Bioshock Infinite ; There may be some hiccups on the way, but Bioshock Infinites beginning and ending are two of the best moments Ive ever exprienced in a videogame. May the circle be unbroken.
5. The Last of Us ; One of the (maybe THE) best examples of the (tired ?) classical action/adventure game with cutscenes formula. For me, who isnt a complete fan of the Uncharted series, Naughty Dog really stepped up their game with this one, and proved the zombie genre, even overused, is still something that brings out the best of a lot of talented developers. What I also like is the confidence and craftsmanship of the project as a whole. It should be a reference to all who want to make an artistic, emotionally charged big budget title.
6. Papers Please ; A simple, so simple concept, but with great underlying meaning and wonderful execution. Shows plenty of interesting things about human nature. And stamps.
7. Antichamber ; A game where you have to rely on your perception first and foremost. Its difficult to describe (thats why you have to try it) but its approach to the very concept of the puzzle is so clever it should not only be praised this year, but used in design classes. Every game should have at least a little bit of Antichamber.
8. Mass Effect 3 : Citadel ; - Weve had a good ride. - The best
9. GTA V ; Incredible world, better missions, Trevor I even had many good times online (people trying to seduce my sexy female character with free cars was an interesting social experiment). I dont know if the GTA formula will work again for me after this one without important changes, but thats by far the most time I spent on a single game this year, so its telling, I guess.
10. Proteus ; There are not enough pure exploration games. Proteus isnt afraid to go all the way, with the risk of being called a non-game. Well if you read my list you can guess I like non-games. And this is a wonderful non-game.
2012. FTL ; Didn't forget to catch up with GAF and played this little fellow last year. As advertised, I had a great time. A sign of things to come too, as I'm sure crowd funded games will have a big place in my (and others) list(s) next year (playing Broken Age and Banner Saga right now).
I hope these count I'm just trying to beat the countdown, I will edit in my thoughts shortly.
1. The Last of Us;
2. Gone Home
3. Bioshock Infinite
4. Metal Gear Rising: Revengence
5. Batman Arkham Origins;
6. GTA V
7. Fire Emblem
8. The Stanley Parable
9. Papers Please
10. Shin Megami Tensei IV
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; I was a little iffy on it when it was first announced, but Nintendo somehow struck the perfect balance between old and new. The best Zelda game in at least thirteen years.
2. The Last of Us ; Great atmosphere, great story, great characters, and stealth gameplay that I actually enjoyed. A fantastic package that stuck with me after I was done.
3. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; I'm admittedly not very far into this one, but it's probably the first turn-based strategy RPG that has ever hooked me, so I feel it deserves a spot high on the list. The fact that I don't mind resetting a battle when a character dies says a lot as well.
4. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; It's no Bayonetta, but that doesn't really matter. Platinum continues to deliver with its frenetic character action game things. The awful soundtrack can't even hurt this game.
5. Grand Theft Auto V ; Whether by plane, car, or boat, I had a great time exploring the world of GTA V.
6. Bioshock Infinite ; The world of Columbia is the best part of this business. There were some great moments towards the end as well.
7. Resogun ; Shooting things and explosions everywhere! My first platinum trophy. It's no Geometry Wars, but then, what is?
8. Tomb Raider ; Nothing too special, but I had a good enough time with it.
9. Dead Rising 3 ; So I just picked up an Xbone tonight and have only put about an hour into the game, wanna fight about it?
10. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; Can't be hanging out in the animal town fishing.
1. BioShock Infinite ; This game made my jaw drop, literally. The combat was solid and engaging, though a bit repetitive at times. A few sequences felt 'cheap', and more enemy variety would have been appreciated. But, wow, the story and the atmosphere they built was the most enjoyable thing last year for me.
2. Tomb Raider ; I always liked the Tomb Raider series and the title character, but I couldn't get through them. This felt like the Tomb Raider I always wanted it to be, an adventure that was a great thrill ride and entertaining through the end. The only game this year that, as soon as the credits rolled, I re-entered the world just to enjoy a bit more gameplay. A great bow, but...
3. The Last Of Us ; The Tale of The Epic Bow! A fantastic game, and hard to beleive I'm ranking it third instead of first or second. The fact that hiding and running away were valid, useful tactics helped me enjoy the gameplay even more. I did not like the way it ended, and kind of grimaced as the credits rolled... but from there, the ending really started to sink in and resonate with me, and the more I thought and read on it, the more I enjoyed the entire story arc. I want a sequal that does not include these characters, but set in the same world.
4. Rogue Legacy ; I'm nowhere near finishing this, but man, have I logged some gameplay. I didn't have this on my top ten list at first, but the more I thought about how much I enjoy the gameplay and how many times I've done 'just one more run', the more it belonged here. (not completed in 2013)
5. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; A great fantasy tale. Short, and yet just the right length for me. An ending that, for me, came out of nowhere and was really impactful and really, superbly done.
6. Super Mario 3D World ; Meow! I can't decide if I have more fun playing this solo or playing it with my 2yr and 7yr old kids. Like 3D land on 3DS, just plain fantastic gameplay and level design. (not completed in 2013)
7. Grand Theft Auto V ; I haven't played more than a few hours of a GTA game since Vice City - played each release a bit and never stuck with them. This one hit all the buttons for me though - great driving, story beats that keep me entertained and wanted to keep moving forward (not completed in 2013)
8. Fire Emblem Awakening ; I credit (or blame) XCOM and Patrick Kelpek's comments on Giant Bomb for turning me on to this one, which I otherwise surely would have missed. Turn-based strategy is not something I would have normally picked up, and even if so, wouldn't have played with permadeath - and choosing to do so made this really engaging and agonizing. (not completed in 2013)
9. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger ; Great storytelling and gunplay. (not completed in 2013)
10. Divekick ; I wouldn't have thought a game that seemed like a joke and poking fun at the fighting game genre could be SO great. Perfect Vita game.
I'm genuinely bad at ranking and scoring things, and haven't taken a pass at my own real top 10 list before. I had such a hard time ranking these beyond 'this has to be on the list', that I think any amount of arguing or discussion could really jumble my own ranking. All-in-all, though, some really great games in 2013 - I can only hope 2014 is as great for my own gaming.
I also think, had I played a few others (Zelda, Beyond, many others), they might have made my ranking - I think a played a least some of quite a few titles, though, and feel pretty good about this list.
1. Dota 2 ; 10 years later and I still can't get enough of this game. I took a brief sabbatical from Dota to play League of Legends, but as soon as I got into the Dota 2 beta my addiction picked up exactly where it had left off.
2. Risk of Rain ; Extremely well-designed combat which holds up in both single player and co-op. The class variety here gives the game immense replayability.
3. Payday 2
4. Volgarr the Viking ; Finally! A game inspired by the 16-bit era that captures how those games actually played.
5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
6. Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate
8. Spelunky ; Played the hell out of the freeware original and voted for that one back when it was eligible. I haven't put nearly as much time into the new version, but that's mainly because I am waiting for the right co-op opportunity.
1. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; I thought I'd played a game in the series before but apparently I had not. I was hooked from the start.
2. The Last of Us ; By far the best game Naughty Dog has ever released
3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; The wall merge mechanics were handled far better than I could have expected.
4. Tomb Raider ; This game was far better than I thought it would be. It "out Uncharted" Uncharted -- the set pieces were fantastic.
5. Pokemon Y ; As great as always. The switch to a 3D overworld was fantastic and the battle animations flawless.
6. Grand Theft Auto V ; Great single player game with a flawed online mode that left me wanting.
7. Super Mario 3D World ; I still need to put more time into this, but I was incredibly impressed by what I played. The Gamepad integration is fantastic.
8. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; It's honestly impossible to believe there were so many great 3DS games this year. I think this would be a GOTY some years. It will certainly offer more longevity than most every other game on the list.
9. Pikmin 3 ; This would probably be ranked higher if I'd played more (about halfway through). It's exactly what I had hoped for when waiting for so many years for another.
10. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD ; This would be in 1st if it were a new release. It's my favorite Zelda title of all time and one of my favorite games ever.
1. Spelunky; it's been said this is probably your favorite game designer's favorite game. A gamer's game and a beautiful piece of elegant design. Just like arcade classics, it's easy to lean but hard to master. Very hard. And very rewarding. The randomization, daily challenges and streaming fun are some of the things about this game that will influence many others for a while to come. One of the best games of the gen.
2. The Last of Us: I am really down on zombies and post apocalypse games. But this game is really about a relationship and what people will do for those they care about - and themselves. Oh, and the gameplay is great on harder difficulties. Survival horror is back.
3. Brothers; Iove minimalistic storytelling and stories that are told THROUGH mechanics. Gave me a SotC/Ico vibe. Didn't overstay it's welcome.
4. Bioshock Infinite; Games build worlds for us to explore and Columbia is one of the most memorable. The ties to Bioshock 1 were great.
5. Tearaway; Another wonderful world to explore. Light on some deeper gameplay but long on charm. Also, makes me truly love my PS Veetah.
1. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Not since the original Devil May Cry series have I played a character action game that clicked with me as much as this one has. Incredible soundtrack, with excellent development for Raiden as a character. Pretty much my favorite Metal Gear game at this point.
2. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; After Apollo Justice, I admit to being more than a little apprehensive regarding the future of the franchise. This game, however, proved that said future is a bright one, and is easily the best in the series since AA1 and AA3.
3. Tales of Xillia ; This was only the second Tales title I've played since the original Tales of the Abyss back on the PS2. Great cast and art direction, and a very fun battle system. A bit too much reuse of certain environmental and enemy fodder assets, though.
4. Shin Megami Tensei IV ; Initially, I questioned picking this up, having never played a mainline SMT title before it. After playing it for myself, however, I can only wonder why I ever had any doubts. SMT IV easily has the best presentation of any traditional SMT title to date, from the slick interface, to the amazing soundtrack. Easily one of the most atmospheric RPGs I've played. If I were to cite one issue as my greatest complaint, it would be how certain battles (bosses and quests, namely) can lead to being pre-empted regardless of either stats or hitting the enemy first, a major problem given the merciless nature of the game's battle system.
5. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ; Would've considered ranking this higher if I hadn't already put more than 100 hours into the original Tri back on the Wii. Great game all the same, and certainly can't complain about having more MH3.
6. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers ; This was a game I had been wanting to play for myself for years prior to finally getting ported to 3DS. I admit that I've been more than a bit spoiled by more recent SMT games, personally not caring much for many of the more old school gameplay conventions found in it. However, I did indeed enjoy this game, and am already planning for New Game+.
7. Pandora's Tower ; Haven't gotten around to playing as much of this one as I would've liked, but the unconventional premise and intuitive IR controls have made this action RPG well worth completing the Operation Rainfall trilogy in my collection.
1. Super Mario 3D World ; I don't even know where to begin here. This game has it all. I haven't played a platformer this amazing since EAD Tokyo's last console game, Super Mario Galaxy 2. It's pure platforming bliss. Every freaking level offers something new, crazy, or outrageous. oftentimes all three! Then there's the ridiculous amount of content. There's twelve different worlds, with 3 green stars in every level, Captain Toad levels, Mystery Houses, etc. Then there's multiple ways to play through each level with five completely different characters. It truly feels like a different game thanks to each character having their own unique attributes. The multiplayer is fantastic too. That damned crown has ruined many friendships. The power ups are the best I've ever seen in a Mario game, too. The cat suit is a joy to play as. It adds new ways to explore each level. Oh, and the double cherry is so great too. Seriously, as if the Galaxy games weren't enough, this game has solidified EAD Tokyo as the best developer around. It is an absolute joy to play this game.
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ; Sequel to the best Zelda ever? I was skeptic at first, but Aonuma has proven me wrong. This game has lived up to its predecessor. This is the best Zelda I've played since A Link to the Past. They nailed everything about it. No handholding, tons of exploration, amazing music. Oh, and no Zelda should ever be under 60fps again. This game has me seriously excited for Zelda U!
3. The Wonderful 101 ; Hideki Kamiya has done it again. I loved everything about the game: the ridiculous ass story, lovable characters, and fantastic gameplay. And the boss battles are insane. I haven't played a game this over-the-top since Kid Icarus: Uprising, my previous GOTY. Had this game come out almost any other year, it would have been my GOTY. It's so wonderful.
4. Tearaway ; This game alone justifies my Vita purchase. It uses all of the Vita "gimmicks" in such a great way that I never feel like its forced. And its oozing with charm. Seeing my face as the sun, or drawing a squirrel a new crown, this game just makes me so... happy. Such a fun little adventure, I even got a little emotional when it all ended. If you own a Vita, you need this game.
5. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ; I absolutely adore this franchise, and Dual Destinies has become my 2nd favorite game in the franchise. I loved each and every case, the characters are a delight as usual, the music was fantastic, and the game was gorgeous. I'm not gonna give away any spoilers, but that final case was the craziest case in a Phoenix Wright game yet. And the presentation, Jesus Christ, they nailed it. This game feels so alive thanks to the amazing animations. I was a bit hesitant about the jump to 3D, but Capcom delivered so so much. I don't think I could ever play a sprite based Ace Attorney again. Oh, and Capcom made the best decision by bringing Phoenix back. I really enjoyed the fact that I played as the entire Wright Agency instead of just once character. The trio really felt like a team to me. This game sits just below Trials and Tribulations as the best game in the series.
6. Fire Emblem Awakening ; I never thought an SRPG could pull me in so much. I was initially a bit scared to try out the Fire Emblem series, as the permadeath aspect kind of scared me. Plus, RPGs always seem so complicated and obtuse to me. When they announced "casual mode." I felt like it was finally time to give this series a try. And wow, I've missed out on a lot. The strategic elements were really satisfying, and I eventually decided to restart with permadeath on to make it even better. The characters were great and the writing was really top notch. 8-4 did a fantastic job on the localization.
7. Rayman Legends ; This game puts the NSMB games to shame. Wonderfully designed levels that are absolutely gorgeous to look at. Easily one of the most beautiful game to come out this year.
8. Pikmin 3 ; It's been over a decade since the last Pikmin, but the wait was very well worth it. The game is so well designed. Every level makes me feel so tense, trying to get as much done as possible in the most efficient way. And I wanna cry every time one of my wonderful Pikmin dies. Poor Pikmin died trying to please its master! Also, Miyamoto's still got it!
9. Pokémon X/Y ; This game alone revitalized my love for the Pokémon franchise. I started to tire of it in Gen 5, but the jump to 3D models alone made me want to come back that tried-and-true formula once again. I love all the little additions that have been a long time coming like full 3D movement and player customization. Making competitive play easier than ever is also a huge plus. The online features are so great and easy to use, it truly felt like the first "connected" Pokémon game. While the main game wasn't the greatest, the new features easily make it one of my favorite games to come out this year.
10. Resogun ; This game is super addicting. I'm running out of time to post this so this is all I got!
2012. Hotline Miami ; I can't believe I missed this game last year. It's a quirky game with fantastic controls, a cool narrative, and amazing music. The gameplay is so much fun, and murdering my opponents in the most brutal way possible is so freaking satisfying. I think this game certifies me as a psycho.
2. Papers, Please ; An interesting concept. Drop someone into the life of a dystopian Cold War-era Communist country. Watch them struggle to feed their family as they are pulled in different directions by powerful groups. Though it may look monotonous, the gameplay is very fun from day to day. And the writing is superb.
3. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ; I think of the game as analogous to Heart of Darkness, where you are on this journey, that thematically, continues to get worse and worse. You are in a desperate situation from the beginning, sure, but you go from a happy village to reunite a troll family, to hangings, suicides, war torn landscape, a lifeless town, and eventually to death. The mechanics were simple yet varied enough to keep them interesting and ended without getting tired of them. Great work all around, superb game from Starbreeze.
4. DOTA 2 ; One of the most tightly balanced multiplayer experiences I have ever seen. Unique play every game with a near infinite skill ceiling.
5. Last of Us ;
6. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Just picked up this game for the PC release in early January. Once the game clicked, I was infatuated until the end. The game has some shortcommings, but the combat system is interesting and has depth, and the boss fights are some of the best I have ever seen. I am hungry for more Platinum games and looking forward to MGR2.
7. SteamWorld Dig ;
8. Gone Home ;
9. Metro: Last Light ;
x. Dust: An Elysian Tail ;
2012. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ;
1. Fire Emblem: Awakening ; Great combat, engaging characters, cool cutscenes/story. It was my second FE game but it made such an impression on me.
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds; My favorite Zelda game since LTTP. Everything I wanted from a Zelda game with more exploration and great pacing.
3. Super Mario 3D World ; many fun hours playing with my family and friends as well as hours of excitement from me once again for a Mario game. Felt good.
4. Wonderful 101 ; Platinum Games striking the right chords to my heart. Gameplay is as good as I'd expect from a Kamiya helmed game .
5. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ; Best Animal Crossing game I've played since the Gamecube and the social aspect of it was a wonderful surprise that added much more enjoyment I never though I'd get, on top of all the great mayoral additions
6. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ; the depth of the game and gameplay is something that had to grow on me but once it sung it's teeth in, it wouldn't let go.
7. The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD; beautiful remake with all the right improvements. such a great game to revisit
2012. Nintendoland ; Played many many hours with family and firiends this year so it had to get a mention.
Now that the voting is over, and having read most of the thread, it looks pretty obvious that TLOU will take the prize, but I'm really hopeful that Fire Emblem will come out with the bronze or silver. Probably way off, but I saw it getting a ton of #1 votes.
1. The Last of Us
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
3. Super Mario 3D World
4. Bioshock: Infinite
5. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
6. Tomb Raider
7. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
8. Papers, Please
10. MechWarrior: Online
Seriously, we need to sticky the next one for the last week or something. Or make several PSAs about it somewhere. I reminded a couple of gaffers over PM and they all replied with that they either forgot it or didn't even knew that this was a thing, but really wanted to vote. Fortunately some of them managed to get in just in time, but still...
Now that the voting is over, and having read most of the thread, it looks pretty obvious that TLOU will take the prize, but I'm really hopeful that Fire Emblem will come out with the bronze or silver. Probably way off, but I saw it getting a ton of #1 votes.
1. Monster Hunter 3U : I bought both versions and couldn't be happier. Got so addicted that I gained 5kilos. Had to force myself to quit.
2. Animal Crossing New Leaf : still playing, although I'm about to quit.
Oh man, missed the deadline. Oh well, there's always next year