Top 10 Most Good Games of 2013 (and more!)

10. Grand Theft Auto V

With five years and nearly unlimited resources, Rockstar managed to make another great GTA game. I don't think this surprised anyone.

9. The Swapper

One of many games on my list that I have Giant Bomb to thank for. A great Metroidvania style game with a beautiful look, clever puzzles and a good story.

8. The Stanley Parable

Funny and well written. I had a blast playing, trying to find every possible outcome.

7. Super Mario 3D World

As much as I liked 3D Land on the 3DS, I was disappointed to hear that the first 3D Mario game on Wii U was an extension of that game, and not something along the lines of the Galaxy games. Turns out, the game was fantastic.

6. Papers, Please

Who thought a game about checking paperwork could be so engrossing?

5. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

I, like many, didn't care much for Revelations and ACIII. I, like many, was also surprised to see that Ubisoft turned things around and made a really fun pirate game. They also did some pretty clever things with the present day sections of the game that, for the first time in years, has me really excited for the future of the franchise.

4. Rogue Legacy

I just found this to be a great game to play in small bursts, and before I knew it, I'd sunk dozens of hours into it. Really looking forward to the PS4 and Vita versions.

3. The Last of Us

At first I rolled my eyes when Naughty Dog was making "yet another zombie game", but man, it's anything but that. I'll admit, after a pretty incredible opening, the game takes a few hours to take off, but when it does, it REALLY takes off. I wasn't a huge fan of the combat, but in the end, the world, the story, and the characters kept me immersed, and holy shit, that ending...

2. BioShock Infinite

This was a tough choice to make. Both BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us were fantastic games that I loved because of the world, story, and characters, but I think I liked BioShock just a bit more. The floating city of Columbia is unlike anything I've seen in a game before and absolutely breathtaking. Like The Last of Us, I didn't particularly care for the combat, but the story and characters kept me going, even if there's the cliched "big reveal" in the game's closing moments, but man, what a reveal that was.

1. Gone Home

Man, this game was a rollercoaster of emotions that I didn't think a game was capable of bringing out in me. Having grown up in the 90's, there's a lot here that resonates with me. It's the story though that nailed it out of the park. While I can't really connect with the whole coming to term's with one's homosexuality context, I can certainly relate to being taunted in school and the longing to be accepted. All of this wouldn't had made nearly as much of an impact if it weren't for some incredible voice acting, which sounds so real and honest, and not forced or scripted in the slightest.

Then there's the attention to detail. All the handwritten notes, fake food labels, SNES carts, VHS tapes, etc. This feels like a house that is lived in, and to think it was made by four people.

I really can't sing the praises of the game enough. Immediately upon finishing it, I had to go online and start discussing the game. It haunted me for days and has stuck with me like no other game in recent memory has. No, it's not for everyone, but in terms of games I played this year, nothing comes close to the lasting impression that was left on me by Gone Home.

Major kudos to Steve Gaynor and everyone at The Fullbright Company. I can't wait to see what they do next.

And here's a few bonus awards:

Biggest Disappointment

Sim City

Horrid launch aside, Maxis and EA took everything we loved about Sim City, threw it out the window, and went on to make a game nobody wanted. Oh, and they had the audacity to actually sell a $40 expansion to this. I personally can't wait for The Sim City; the gritty reboot of the reboot of Sim City.

Biggest Surprise:

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Who saw this coming? The original version of the game was so bad, that Square apologized, assembled an entirely new team, and rebuilt the game from scratch. The relaunched FFXIV went on to be extremely successful.

I probably played it for a month, hitting the level cap and finishing the main story, but I had a great time doing so. By the time the first major expansion hits, I may be tempted to go back. At the very least, I'm interested in checking out the PS4 version when it launches.

Worst Remake of a Beloved Game From My Childhood:

DuckTales: Remastered

Summer 2013 brought a trio of bad remakes of cherished games from my childhood. While Flashback and Castle of Illusion were bad in their own right, DuckTales is the worst offender. The sprites nice and are well animated, but stand out against the low detailed environments. On the sound front, the music is remixed from the NES game, but sounds terrible, and while it's commendable that they wrangled some of the original voice actors from the cartoon, the delivery is painfully slow and made only worse when the cutscenes are unskippable. I would have been happier if Capcom just released the NES game for the Wii U Virtual Console.

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