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Greg Miller's Top 10 Games of 2013

The internet's own Greg Miller puts down the Oreos and dispenses wisdom about his 10 best games of 2013.

Greg Miller is best known for being a loudmouth and a chicken wing lover. You probably know him from his nearly seven years at IGN--where he hosts Up at Noon every Monday--but he also has a personal YouTube channel packed with shows and podcasts he’ll beg you to subscribe to if you give him the time of day. After you read his list, tell him your Top 10 on Twitter.

10. Batman: Arkham Origins

I know we’re supposed to hate this installment. It’s missing Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, it crashes for a lot of people, and original Arkham developer Rocksteady didn't make it. All that might be true -- I only fell through the world once -- but it’s also true that this game is fun. The combat’s engaging, the game is beautiful, and the acting is top notch. I mean, the story is one of the best the Dark Knight/Joker tales I've seen though my TV. Basically, it’s more Batman, and I’m always going to take a day off for that.

9. Super Mario 3D World

Yeah, yeah--Wii U, lol--but Super Mario 3D World is a joy to play. I breathe, so I love Mario like the rest of you, but Super Mario 3D World really addressed some of the problems I had with multiplayer Mario. Back in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, I’d play with my family and get frustrated. They were getting in the way of my jumps, they were eating up my extra lives, and they were basically screwing up my game. With the large 3D World environments, you’re able to get away from each other when you want and then come at each other to scrap for the crown. The levels are ingenious, the visuals are cute, and it’s still an intense single-player experience when you dump your noob friends. Also, there’s a cat suit.

8. Peggle 2

You don’t like Peggle? Go fuck yourself.

7. DC Universe Online

IT CAME OUT ON PS4 THIS YEAR, SO IT COUNTS! DC Universe Online is my most played game… ever. Back in January, the devs came on Up at Noon and clocked my total play time at more than 300 hours, so I’m well over 400 at this point. (Before you raise your pitchforks and torches, please remember that my job means I have to jump from game to game. I realize 400 hours is nothing to you. You are a Gaming God. I am a peasant.) When I was a kid, I told a friend that I thought heaven would be different for every soul -- that you’d die and get rewarded with your own world. When asked what my heaven would be, I said living in Metropolis with superpowers. So, DCUO is literally heaven to me. As my main (shout out to “Taylor Swift”), I run around fighting the villains I grew up loving. Sure, the graphics aren't amazing and there are plenty of glitches, but there’s a community that I love and source material that can’t be beat.

6. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

I don’t think I made it more than three hours into Assassin's Creed III, and I don’t like pirate movies. So when Ubisoft announced Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, I rolled my eyes and went back to dreaming about DCUO Armor. But then, I played it at PAX. That 15-minute demo was all I needed. I was hooked. Black Flag is the best parts of Assassin’s Creed mixed with the best parts of Far Cry 3. I get to roam the ocean obsessively collecting random crap, taking over islands, and murdering bad guys. Hell, I was “meh” on ship combat, but then I upgraded the Jackdaw, and now, I’m hooked on that, too. Black Flag is fun; it’s a great video game.

5. The Walking Dead

I don’t know how you want me to spin this to make it fit for 2013. This year, I reviewed 400 Days, I played all of Season 1 and the DLC on Vita, and I started Season 2 by polishing off Episode 1. Plain and simple, I love this franchise. When a new installment comes around, my world revolves around it. I plow through it for myself, then I do it again, and then I spend the next few days talking to friends about it. Telltale’s just so good at creating characters I care about; I have to see what happens next. I’m a guy who hates replaying games, but I replay every episode of The Walking Dead to see how different choices affect the relationships. I know the game catches hell for not running well and for choices not being as significant as some would like (both being justified complaints), but for me, The Walking Dead is about more than performance. I love these people and want to see what happens next.

4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is still my favorite Zelda, but A Link Between Worlds gave it a run for its money. ALBW is great at cutting through Nintendo’s crap and giving you a Zelda game that’s all about doing. There’s no lengthy intro where you lament not having a fairy and have to work your way up to having a wood sword. You start it, and you’re on an epic adventure taking you from interesting dungeon to interesting dungeon. All the weapons are there for the taking, it’s easy to get lost finding Maiamai babies, and fighting StreetPass Shadow Links is enough to keep me booting the game up long after I've beaten it.

3. Guacamelee

A Metroidvania-style platformer/fighter that packs PS3/Vita cross-save, is funny, and challenges my skills? Shut the front door; I’m sold. Developer Drinkbox Studios made one of the best Vita games in Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, and the developers followed it up with one of the best games of 2013 in Guacamelee. Yes, a few of the later bosses had me screaming obscenities and threatening to punt this motherbeyonding handheld out the window, but I always came back for more. Guacamelee walks that fine line of feeling familiar and brand new at the same time. It’s a throwback feeling that’s packing brand new ideas. It’s a must play.

2. The Last of Us

The Last of Us is 2013’s best example of gameplay and story coming together to make a complete package. Whether it’s the stunning performances from Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, the amazing visuals, or the intense gameplay that had me dreading what was around the corner, The Last of Us is a masterpiece. It creates a world we don’t want to live in and tells a story we might not want to hear. In the end, it finishes its own way -- no A or B choice for the gamer--and while I didn't agree with the final decisions, that’s one of the reasons I love it. It's unflinchingly Naughty Dog’s story. This is what the developers wanted to say.

1. Gone Home

Let’s be clear. Over on IGN, I’m voting for The Last of Us as IGN Game of the Year. I think that game is the total package and one I’d point to and say “This is as good as gaming was in 2013.” However, this is a list of my favorite games--and to me, there’s a big difference between being a critic and being a gamer. Here I don’t need to worry about the balance between gameplay and story; I can just tell you what moved me. The game that left an indelible mark on my heart in 2013 was Gone Home. It scared me, it surprised me, and it made me go hug my girlfriend as soon as the credits rolled. This is an experience I’m going to talk about for years to come when the subject of storytelling comes up--it made me feel things no other game has. I went into it like I hope you have (and if you haven’t, go): I knew nothing other than I needed to play it without reading a review. Once it started, the next two hours were a sea of emotions as the game I thought I was playing turned into something else entirely and something that was far more interesting than any spirit roaming the halls of the Greenbriar household. When I think about Gone Home, I feel the rain, hear the soundtrack, and get that bittersweet feeling I just can’t shake. Gone Home might not be the "best" game of the year, but for me, it’s the most beautiful game I've ever played.

109 Comments
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Posted by SomberOwl

BEYOND!

Edited by Sergotron

This list is BEYOND above average. Still the golden birthday cake Oreo should be game of the year.

Edited by Hoboassassin54

Beyond

Edited by jpmcosta

Greg Miller, thank you for this: "there’s a big difference between being a critic and being a gamer."

Great list.

Edited by Humanity

Time to go on Twitter and tell Greg what I REALLY think of his list!

Posted by RonGalaxy

I have not listened to beyond in a super long time. Mostly because I sold my iphone and bought a nexus 7 and android doesnt really have a good podcast app, AND ign doesnt aggregate their podcasts on the site very well. Also, nice to see guacamelee get its due SOMEWHERE. That was such an amazing experience on the vita.

Posted by BenRoyTurner

It's a legitimate strategy... BEYOND!

Posted by Mister_V

Enough with the word play guys. It's getting BEYOND a joke.

Edited by csl316

I watched Greg watch a Victoria's Secret fashion show.

Online
Posted by countrybogart

I'm actually really surprised it wasn't The Last of Us(not that it should be) but before clicking on this to see his list I thought Oh typical Greggy I already know his number 1 game would be the Last of Us since he keeps obsessing over it and has a constant hard on for Naughty Dog, but kudos to him for throwing a curve ball. Don't get me wrong Last of us is a good game but its probably the most overrated over-hyped game this year and that's saying alot since this was the year of GTA 5.

Edited by GaspoweR

It's weird that Beyond isn't on this list...you know just for the heck of it for pbvious reasons. (E.g. PS3 exclusive since Greg likes Sony stuff :P, Willem Dafoe, it's name is fucking BEYOND, etc.)

Posted by Scotto

I didn't like the new Batman voice actor (Conroy is timeless as Batman), but I actually thought Troy Baker did a pretty good Joker. And at least in that case, Hamill had already decided to hang up his boots on the character. He gets the laugh right, which is most important. The game was fun enough, though, as you say.

Every time the GB guys talk about their issues with that game, it only ever seems to come down to the narrative dissonance of him having all of the gadgets (which is true, but is it THAT big of a deal?), and the lack of evolution in the fundamental mechanics (fair point, but those mechanics were still pretty fun for me).

I think the story is actually better than the previous two games, though, which makes up for it. The entire sequence after Batman saves the Joker's life, is a really cool look into their relationship, and the Joker's fascination with Batman as a reflection of himself. And seeing b-list villains like Firefly and Copperhead, was cool.

I think the next game needs to be a genuine evolution of the series, but I also think they could get away with a game like this. Christ, games like Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty have done it enough.

Edited by Video_Game_King

@jpmcosta said:

Greg Miller, thank you for this: "there’s a big difference between being a critic and being a gamer."

Great list.

Why does there need to be a split? Can't one be a gamer and a critic simultaneously?

Posted by KingdanglerBK

Beyond

Posted by Ohvee

@jpmcosta said:

Greg Miller, thank you for this: "there’s a big difference between being a critic and being a gamer."

Great list.

Why does there need to be a split? Can't one be a gamer and a critic simultaneously?

That sounds exhausting.

Edited by Bulby33

This is a surprising list, to be completely honest. I was expecting it to be Sony-heavy.

Posted by InspectorFowler

@jpmcosta said:

Greg Miller, thank you for this: "there’s a big difference between being a critic and being a gamer."

Great list.

Why does there need to be a split? Can't one be a gamer and a critic simultaneously?

I think that because to deconstruct something so thoroughly definitely removes some of the fun of it.

I have a friend who paid to autocross a Lambo at some special event. It was like, one of the top five days of his life. Then on the other side, I listen to auto journalist podcasts, and since they are paid to be critical, they have to drive stuff like that and worry about the noise/vibration/harshness levels, the miles per gallon, etc. They can't just have fun, because they can't turn in a review that says, "Pretty fun."

There are gamers who are just critical people, and all they do is get on the net and complain about "games these days". That's not the same, though - somebody who is expected to critically dissect something and report back to their readers can't just play the game. They've got to worry about how many hours it was, what their PC hardware is like, etc.

I can play, for example, Arkham Origins, and think, "This is a dumb story and I hate the way Gotham is laid out. But there are like, 4,038 thugs wandering around for me to beat the hell out of, so here we go." A game critic can't gloss over that stuff, and I would imagine it makes them feel less like a gamer.

Edited by Video_Game_King

There are gamers who are just critical people, and all they do is get on the net and complain about "games these days".

That's not critical; that's cynical. And you can still have fun in the act of playing, writing, and thinking about games. Fun doesn't have to be corrosive to critical thinking.

Posted by illegalnull

BEYOND!

Posted by NTM

Hm, yeah. Regardless, I was expecting The Last of Us to be his number one. He should fight for the game he feels, critically or not, is his favorite game, not what's 'best' merely because it's a full package.

Posted by Falconer

Finally! Someone giving Batman props. Agreed that the voice acting in it is really great. Troy Baker is FANTASTIC as taking over for the Joker.

Posted by clumsyninja1

I like Greg Miller, the guy beat cancer, went to Mizzou, started his job for the bottom, funny guy and now he's an internet sensation. Also, BEYOND!!!!!!

Edited by hanner74

BEYOND!

Posted by dr_mantas

Wat. Sure...

Online
Edited by Jaymii

@ntm: Hmm. You haven't been listening to the GOTY deliberations here, have you? It's all about tactics!

Posted by NTM

@jaymii said:

@ntm: Hmm. You haven't been listening to the GOTY deliberations here, have you? It's all about tactics!

No, I haven't, but then again, this isn't IGN.

Edited by Time_Lord

I should give DCU online another try I enjoyed it at launch but there was not enough content to keep me interested. And I need a reason to fire up my PS4, Is that Supergirl or a created character?

Posted by thebunnyhunter

I dont believe for a second he put down any Oreos..BEYOND!

Posted by WitnessToChange

I quite surprised, he's even stated 'The Last of Us' is a better game and one that he's been going on about for most of the year. Yet went with 'Gone Home' instead, seems a bit pretentious.

Posted by paulunga

I think it's funny he mentions "all of Nintendo's crap" considering it all started with Ocarina of Time.

Posted by bigJaffa

This needed to happen. Great stuff!

Posted by TheVGamer

@witnesstochange: Seems more than a little pandery for the IGN side of business. I can only imagine the outrage Gone Home as GOTY would cause on a site as big as IGN itself.

Edited by IshimuraD

Huge respect for putting Guacamelee on the list. That game is amazing.

Posted by Turambar

I quite surprised, he's even stated 'The Last of Us' is a better game and one that he's been going on about for most of the year. Yet went with 'Gone Home' instead, seems a bit pretentious.

"Best" and "Favorite" are two distinctly different things.

Posted by rmanthorp

Great list Greg! I need to play more DCUO.

Moderator
Posted by ptys

Oh great, Greg bought his podcast minions to spam the site. Don't you guys have a next gen. hardware rumour to bitch about or something?

Posted by Video_Game_King

@turambar said:

"Best" and "Favorite" are two distinctly different things.

Exactly. "Best" means that I picked it.

Edited by Matoyak
@ntm said:

@jaymii said:

@ntm: Hmm. You haven't been listening to the GOTY deliberations here, have you? It's all about tactics!

No, I haven't, but then again, this isn't IGN.

Yeah, but I think the point @jaymii is making is that GotY (or any awards thing or any list of any kind) has some kind of politicking, bickering, bartering, trading, and discussing behind it - it's simply that Giant Bomb is basically the only group to show us how the sausage is made (via the GotY podcasts they do, in which you hear every word and every bit of discussion as they determine the lists. You hear the arguments and bartering and the debates. More places should follow suit, IMO, as it really is a very smart thing). Greg is likely backing tLoU over at IGN because he feels Gone Home likely wouldn't have a chance at winning, and he knows that the other folks at IGN prefer "whole package games". (He'd know better than us on that point).

Posted by BD_Mr_Bubbles

@bigjaffa said:

This needed to happen. Great stuff!

Posted by Atwa

For some reason that is beyond me DC Universe Online isn't even available for download off Steam here in Sweden. So I guess I won't try get to try it out.

Edited by reelife

@atwa said:

For some reason that is beyond me DC Universe Online isn't even available for download off Steam here in Sweden. So I guess I won't try get to try it out.

Detta kanske inte ens någon sorts tröst angående DCUO i sverige men det går att ladda ner via ps4 ;p Jag gjorde det... tyckte fortfarande inte om det.

Posted by Brackynews

I give this list:

Posted by marbleCmoney

Love me some Greg Miller.

Posted by Ithmoliar

BEYOND!

Edited by 2HeadedNinja

Good to see someone giving some props to Batman ... I had a lot of fun with the game and at some point I though I might have been the only one.

Posted by Little_Socrates

Greg Miller, listen.

Listen.

Really listen.

Gone Home is totes better than The Last Of Us and you have nothing to be ashamed about in that regard.

Posted by Andorski

This is a good list. I guarantee it.

Posted by Trilogy

That's right, Miller....I don't like Peggle. But You can go fuck YOURSELF with a sleeve of double stuff oreos, you filthy dirt bag!

(cool list, dude)

Edited by arc_0

Beyond! Great list Greg and I mourn the loss of Mike's table tonight.

Posted by ch3burashka

Goddamn Greg and his Goddamn DCUO addiction. It was dumb at launch, it's still dumb.

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