Matt's Best of 2013

List items

  • Gone Home is a gem. I wept like a baby during this game. This is the game that I spent the least time with on my list (the game wraps up in around three hours) but that says nothing about the quality of it. I savoured every second that I spent in the game and, although I'll likely never play through it again (it certainly wouldn't have the same impact a second time), I feel like it'll stay with me forever. Also, Heavens to Betsy and Bratmobile. Yup. Play this. In one sitting, if possible.

  • I went back and forth for months on whether Bioshock Infinite or Gone Home would take my number one for the year. Hopefully that speaks highly of how much I enjoyed this adventure. The world that Levine created is unlike anything I've ever experienced in a video game and the story weaves its way through some amazing places. The game looks and sounds amazing (God Only Knows... enough said) and, once I'd finished the game, I spent a good few weeks searching for and devouring explanations and theories about the ending on Internet message boards. Some dodgy combat set pieces aside, Bioshock Infinite was near perfect for me.

  • The Last of Us grabbed me and demanded my sole attention throughout the whole play through. Everything about the design of this game is wonderful. The characters show a huge amount of emotion (to be expected from Naughty Dog, to be fair) and the visuals are arguably better than anything on either next gen console. The world design is rich and full of detail and the story is a rollercoaster ride through every emotion. Seriously, some parts of the story absolutely floored me. Notably, The Last of Us features one of the strongest, most well realised LGBT character of any game I've ever played. Didn't expect that from a zombie survival game.

  • If, like me, you found GTA IV's bleak story and brown/grey world to be lacking the fun that you had come to expect from GTA games, then GTA V is your antidote. Rockstar masterfully reclaim the throne of open world game design that made me laugh harder than Saints Row, while keeping the edge-of-your-seat story and character development intact. A triumph.

  • Playing A Link Between Worlds is an absolute joy for me. It feels like busting out the Super Nintendo again (to be fair, the world map is identical to A Link To The Past, so there's that...). The game is full of charm, interesting characters, clever dungeon design and the most wonderful music I've heard in a Zelda game to date. It also features the best use of the 3D effect for a long time (Nintendo have become so good at this) and the 60fps frame rate goes a long way towards making every action feel fast, buttery smooth and satisfying.

  • Technically a re-release of a 2010 Wii game, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the first MH game to actually get my attention and hold it for longer than a few hours. I've tried putting the time into previous games (including the original Wii version of Tri!) but never got past that 10 hour or so point. For some reason, MH3U did it. And I'm loving it. I've got about 50 hours logged in the game and, honestly, I feel like I'm only getting started. Every quest is a lesson learnt, every monster I fight is a tooth and nail battle to the death. Love this game. I'm playing on the 3DS and I *so* wish that version featured the online play of the Wii U version!

  • If you played XCOM in 2012 and fell in love with how the game played, how every member of your team mattered - you need to play Awakening. It's 2012 XCOM times a hundred. The story is excellent (a rare thing for a strategy game - if Fire Emblem can really be called strategy?) and you mourn the loss of every character (assuming you have perma-death turned on. If you don't, you're a monster). I love this series and Awakening is maybe the strongest entry of the series.

  • Brothers surprised me. Well, to be clear, I saw the ridiculous praise from the media and the 9's and 10's on the review scores. But, honestly, that surprised me. A Summer of Arcade game that had had little room in the games media before release, this game is an absolute winner. Without wanting to say too much about the 5ish hour quest, the way the gameplay translates to the story is absolute genius. A must play. I played on Xbox 360 but that game has since been released on Steam and PS3, too. Play it on anything but, please, play it.

  • Another unexpected hit for me. I had a very poor demo of this game at 2012's Eurogamer Expo. A perfect storm of a QTE filled boring section of the game, the title's dodgy marketing up to that point and a disgusting rep showing me to my seat ("be gentle with her" he said. Urgh). But I took a chance on the game and I'm glad I did. After the initial disappointing 30 mins, the game opens up to be more than an Uncharted clone. The exploration is wonderful (the island is full of fun and secrets) and the shooting mechanics and satisfying and fun (especially the bow!). Lara finally became an interesting protagonist and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride through action story craziness. I'll probably double dip when the next gen rerelease comes out this month.

  • I haven't spent enough time with Tearaway yet. I got it for Christmas and, first world problem, my time has mostly been taken up with A Link Between Worlds. But I'll hate myself forever if I don't sneak this game onto the list. The few hours that I've played have been an absolute joy. It feels like a classic N64 game in the best way possible. Awesome, cute and inventive papercraft visuals, fun platforming and intriguing uses of the Vita's unique features (touch, back touch and cameras). Can't wait to play more of Tearaway.