This was the first year in the past few that I feel there were no clear standout games. 2012 had Fez and The Walking Dead, 2011 had Portal 2 and Saints Row: The Third, and 2010 had Mass Effect 2 and Super Meat Boy. Everything that came out this year seemed to have at least one significant flaw, something that dragged down the experience, yet could have easily been avoided. It was super hard to to order these games, and to a point, a bit random. I would say my top 5 games are all really damn close in terms of enjoyment, and an argument could honestly be made for any of them to take the top spot. With that said, here are my top games from this weird ass year.
Some honorable mentions that didn't quite make the cut:
Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Played this games every day for a good three months or so and then I just stopped and never returned. I burned out on this one quicker than Animal Crossing, the last game in the series I played. I would love to see Nintendo really flesh the game out, make the world bigger, add more depth and activities, etc. for a Wii U version. Some kind of crazy Animal Crossing themed overworld that acts as the home screen for the system would be super rad as well.
State of Decay - This game has some really cool ideas for the zombie survival genre. The whole system of scavenging to find different types of materials to store at controlled outposts and using said materials to add to or upgrade your outposts is unique and matches what you would kinda expect to do in a zombie apocalypse. There's a lot of other cool stuff going on, but that's also part of the problem. There's a lot of unfinished or non-functional ideas floating around that make the game cluttered and confusing to get a grasp on until you sink a few hours into it. Unfortunately, the game is a little buggy and has major frame rate issues, so getting to the point where you have a feel for the mechanics and systems can be a real slog.
BIT.TRIP Presents: Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien - Bit Trip games pretty much always rock, and Runner2 is no exception. The game looks pretty cool, the varying aesthetics between worlds is great, and the combination of on rails platforming an rhythm is totally endearing.
The Wolf Among Us - I didn't include this in my list because only the first episode came out this year, otherwise it would absolutely be on it. The Walking Dead was one of my favorite games from last year, and if the first episode, 'Faith', of The Wolf Among Us is any indication, Telltale has one-upped themselves. The visuals in this game are vibrant and striking, and really nail the comic book feel. The writing so far has been top notch, the world intriguing, and the characters interesting and deep. Even though it was the first episode and I have no familiarity with the source material I feel like I've known these characters forever. The banter between Bigby Wolf and Mr. Toad is especially great.
Games I didn't get around to playing that possibly could have made the list:
And lastly let's all pour one out for the big guy. RIP Ryan Davis, the industry lost one of the good guys, but you'll never be forgotten, and your legacy forever ingrained in the spirit of Giant Bomb.