2013 Postmortem: Why These Ten Games are (Subjectively) Better Than "Brothers"

It's that time again: the time of the year when I break down (for precisely nobody) what my ten favorite games of the year are, and why.

This will be a little different than last year; I'm just going to run down the list and explain why I believe each game deserves to be here.

LET'S DO IT.

10. Papers, Please

I wouldn't really say Papers, Please was a "fun" experience, and yet it's compelling enough as a video game that I think I'll remember it forever.

In Papers, Please, the player is put into the shoes of a government worker at an immigration control office somewhere on the border of a fictional eastern European country.

Nearly every activity that the player performs in Papers, Please is mundane and is the very definition of "work." The fact that the game expects you to feel some sense of personal agency for this person working one of the most boring jobs on the planet, and then YOU DO, is a testament to just how brilliantly it is designed.

9. Assassin's Creed IV

After playing most of Assassin's Creed III and being very verbal about how disappointed I was, it was with no small measure of reluctance that I picked up Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

The amount of content in ACIV is absolutely staggering. Even setting the main story aside, there is easily 30 hours of gameplay here. From assassination missions to capturing nations' forts with your ship, I never wanted for things to do.

8. Rogue Legacy

I don't normally go for games which punish you for incredibly small mistakes. When I do manage to play a good chunk of them like I did with Rogue Legacy and Dark Souls, they are some of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences I have all year.

7. The Wolf Among Us (Episode 1 - Faith)

Even though it's just Episode 1, and despite the fact that it's only about an hour and a half, I still really enjoyed what there currently is of The Wolf Among Us.

I enjoyed it so much that I reviewed it and gave it 4/5 stars.

6. Antichamber

When I first heard of Antichamber, it was alongside the mention of "non-euclidean geometry." I was immediately intrigued; how can a game built on Unreal Engine 3 defy every law of physical space?

Antichamber did exactly that, and the satisfaction from solving each puzzle is something that I rarely feel (and haven't since 2012's Fez!)

5. DMC Devil May Cry

I was never a huge fan of Devil May Cry. I enjoyed 3 and 4, but never really got very far in either. I suppose that's why I was able to enjoy DMC Devil May Cry so much: I wasn't super invested in the series already.

With combat that manages to be deep yet accessible, and a story that is simultaneously hilarious and engrossing, DMC definitely deserves a spot on this list.

4. Payday 2

There are usually only one or two games a year that I come back to on a consistent basis and play with friends for dozens of hours. Payday 2 is one of those games this year; I played it almost constantly for the better part of a month, and I still go back to it every few weeks.

"Now crack open that safe, it's probably be full of cash!"

Comedy gold.

3. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

It may be that I just never gave Dragon's Dogma a chance, because I remember playing it in 2012 and thinking "Alright, this is just O.K."

After playing Dark Arisen for the better part of 35 hours though, I have to say that it's easily one of the best RPGs I've played this year. The depth and breadth of gameplay is massive; the main quest alone will run you 20 hours easily, and even after that there's likely dozens more hours worth of content.

2. Saints Row IV

I enjoyed Saints Row IV for many of the same reasons I enjoyed SR The Third: it's consistently hysterical, it's completely insane, and it never compromises on what exactly it wants to do.

The addition of superpowers to the already solid gameplay make a great formula even better. The only real gripe is that there's never a reason to drive cars unless a mission or side activity forces you to.

1. Gone Home

Games that invoke a physical emotional response like tears are an extreme rarity for me; by the "end" of Gone Home, I was crying like a hungry infant.

It's hard to put into words what I loved so much about it, but I was able to relate to it on a very personal level. Video games almost never do that to me, and Gone Home is one of maybe a half dozen that I've played in 20 years that has.

Well, there you have it. VIDEO GAMES ARE GREAT

17 Comments
17 Comments
Edited by GooieGreen

I only played Saints Row 4, but I agree that it is pretty great. The powers somehow kill a lot of the fun that I had in "The Third" however. Seems like a solid list!

EDIT: Oh, wait I played Payday 2... yeah, screw it, your opinion is INVALID.

Edited by chilibean_3

Well I can't disagree with you. Those games are better than Brothers.

Posted by Drakoji

I thought that Gone Home was an interactive indie movie?

Edited by TheHumanDove

But Gone Home was terrible

Posted by mbr2

BUT MUH GONE HOMEZ IS NOT GAEM DED GAEM MOVIES DAVID CAGE HOMOSEX BAD TIFA BODYPILLOW JSOFAHJFDYUAFSHFABIKFBASMJGIHOGD

Edited by tamriilin

@thehumandove: Nobody's forcing you to like Gone Home. It's MY favorite game of the year, not yours. You're free to like whatever you want.

Posted by TheHumanDove

@mbr2 said:

BUT MUH GONE HOMEZ IS NOT GAEM DED GAEM MOVIES DAVID CAGE HOMOSEX BAD TIFA BODYPILLOW JSOFAHJFDYUAFSHFABIKFBASMJGIHOGD

I withdraw my previous post and replace it with this.

Edited by Little_Socrates

Every one of these that I played was better than Brothers, definitely. And that order roughly reflects the order I'm likely to put them in? Ah, I probably like Rogue Legacy more than DMC or Antichamber.

Posted by Reisz

I'm so glad to see AC IV being talked about so positively lately. I can't believe how much I'm enjoying it.

Edited by jakob187

Damn. I'm usually the first to post a Top 10 list for the year. Then again, I don't even think I've played 10 new games this year! lol

Guess I should get to crackin' on that.

Posted by mbr2

@mbr2 said:

BUT MUH GONE HOMEZ IS NOT GAEM DED GAEM MOVIES DAVID CAGE HOMOSEX BAD TIFA BODYPILLOW JSOFAHJFDYUAFSHFABIKFBASMJGIHOGD

I withdraw my previous post and replace it with this.

I'm glad that you were able to sympathize with it. It sort of spoke to you didn't it?

Posted by TheHumanDove

@mbr2 said:
@thehumandove said:

@mbr2 said:

BUT MUH GONE HOMEZ IS NOT GAEM DED GAEM MOVIES DAVID CAGE HOMOSEX BAD TIFA BODYPILLOW JSOFAHJFDYUAFSHFABIKFBASMJGIHOGD

I withdraw my previous post and replace it with this.

I'm glad that you were able to sympathize with it. It sort of spoke to you didn't it?

It was a perfect representation of my inner monologue

Posted by shinjin977

Outside of the fact that I think DMC is complete trash(and I loved enslave). I agree with everything here except maybe move DD and SR4 up.

Posted by sdharrison

Interesting perspectives. I genuinely felt ripped off and irritated with Gone Home, and can't believe the level of love it has gotten. It would have been a borderline purchase at $5, but I bought the hype and paid full release day money. The story wasn't even interesting. It felt like an after school special for the charter school crowd. Fool me once, Fullbright. Still better than Dear Esther by miles though. To put that at the top of the heap seems to follow in line with this new vogue thing in gaming: "I felt a feeling through a game as opposed to a movie, book or song thus this game is amazing"

I personally think that is undervaluing what it takes to develop an actual videogame with systems and hours of fun gameplay. Somebody should make the intro to UP have quicktime events and then take GOTY across the board.

Posted by Coafi

Nice list. Gone Home was indeed a good game.

Posted by tamriilin

@sdharrison: Like I said, -I- was able to relate to it on a very personal level. It's my GOTY not because of any mechanical choices they made, or any specific narrative device they used, but because the source material hit me so close to where I've lived for so long that it would have surprised me had it NOT resonated with me.

Posted by Fattony12000

I only heed objective lists, thank you.

The only game on this list that I've played for more than a couple of minutes is Rogue Legacy. It was nice.