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GOTY 2013

Here we have it, my top ten games of 2013. This year was really huge for gaming in so many ways. Not only did we enter the next generation of consoles, but it also marked a tent-pole year for high-quality, well polished, excellently written console games to close out the "current" generation. Even mobile games, something that I've seen as a black spot in the industry since the iPhone released, grew up in ways I never expected, even resulting in 2 mobile-only games making this list, which came as a very exciting surprise.

Before we get to the top ten, here are some runners up:

-The Wolf Among Us


-Tomb Raider

Now without further ado, the list...

List items

  • Being my first time making a game of the year list, deciding what game made number 1 was extremely difficult. There are so many things that can factor into what makes a game "The Best" and thanks to this year being pretty stellar in my opinion as far as quality games go, parsing those amazing experiences and coming out with a winner was really tough. At the end of the day however I felt I really just needed to go with my gut. Of all these games, I feel that this one was hands down the best video game experience, taking the good with the bad, I have had all year if not up there in the running for best experience altogether in my 30 years of playing video games.

    I am by no means a completionist, and I judge a game generally by the experience I got out it, weather I choose to play it to completion or not (I just don't have the time I used to to beat all of them) but with Bioshock Infinite I had to get everything. From the moment the sky elevator dropped me off at the Church of Columbia, to the mind boggling final conclusion I was hooked on this world, the story, the characters, and yes even the combat through and through. Not only did I beat BI, but I marathoned it in my first weekend of playing, and when I was done, I turned right back around to go through on hard, then 1999, then I played through all of the DLC (yes I did everything in Clash in the Clouds, it sucked) and still impatiently await even more with the next DLC. I truly loved this game not just for being a "Great Game" but for taking me on a journey unlike any other. Bioshock Infinite is a perfect example of a fantastic, quality story being conveyed in a way that could only possibly exist in the Video Game medium, and that's quite something.

  • When I say it was difficult to choose my number one, it's completely because of The Last of Us. Much like Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us is a masterpiece of storytelling in a way that only our beloved medium can portray, and just like Bioshock you are moved between beautiful set pieces as you traverse the incredibly well written and biting story via combat sequences that were understandably polarizing, but incredibly fun and tense in my opinion (as long as you play on hard or higher, anything lower is kind of a joke).

    All issues aside however (and there are some legitimate ones), The Last of Us is in my opinion a museum-quality piece of art of which there are too few examples of in this medium. The Last of Us proves if nothing else, that games have grown up and are ready to play with the big boys of film and literature. The Last of Us isn't a "Toy" as many people will synonymize video games with, but a masterful work that tells a hard, biting, difficult story of a man who has become the very definition of broken, and the one little girl that helps him rediscover his humanity even if in a very twisted, amoral way. If the Criterion Collection were to start adding video games, this would surely be among the first.

  • What is there to say about GTA V that isn't explained right in the title. It's the fifth GTA game, enough said.

    Okay that's not exactly fair to the rest of the list, just being part of a franchise that is universally adored does not mean it can't be a total crock of s**t (here's looking at you Call of Duty: Ghosts) but luckily, GTA V stands on it's own as one of the best examples of open world action I have experienced to date. I know I know, a lot of your are reading this and screaming "Saints Row" at you monitors, but I just can't really get into that series. There's something about Rockstar's way to mix the real with the surreal to create an environment that is both hyper realistic by modern game standards and off the wall insanity all while conveying a main story, developing three (yes THREE) main protagonists, and a huge pile of side quest st story lines without ever losing that well-produced, tight knit Rockstar feel.

    I would also like to point out that this is solely based on GTA V proper, which in my opinion is a separate product from GTA Online. I get it, GTA Online sucked and a lot of people felt let down by the marketing and felt that it was advertised as a complete package, I just did not. To me, it was marketed right out the gate as a Single Player GTA game, with this highly ambitious online thing coming later that you get for free when you buy the main game. I get why people may not like that, but I don't care, the single player experience was worth my $60 and then some.

  • If someone told me that a mobile game would be on my top 10 list this year, I would have laughed in your face. I'm happy to say now that 2013 was the year of mobile games for me, as they have finally grown up and found their identity in this increasingly complex ecosystem. And a perfect example of that is Device 6 by Simogo.

    Device 6 is a game experience like no other, a reading experience like no other, hell its just and overall unique and wonderful experience that belongs in every iPhone's game folder. Mind boggling, frustrating, and rewarding as hell. I can't really describe this game without spoiling its excellence so I will just say do yourself a favor, open up the app store, and buy this game (bring headphones).

  • I know, I know, Diablo III came out in 2012. It was, in my opinion, broken, disappointing,, and devoid of a lot of the lan-party friendly fun that I had back in my Diablo II days. I just assumed I would write Diablo III, it's silly auction house, and terrible loot off as a loss and move on.

    Then came the 2013 PAX east and the first time I got my hands on Diablo III for the PS3. The auction house was gone, loot was relevant to my build, and direct control of the character was an excellent new way to play a Diablo game that transformed it from a *click*click*click* loot hunt to, in some cases based on class, a full on character action-RPG hybrid that was a fun to play. When I got home from PAX that weekend I pre-ordered it for PS3 and a few months of waiting later, I was sitting on my couch with three friends having a blast. I was hearkened back to the days of giant computer towers stacked up on my parents kitchen as me and my friends pulled all nighters hunting down the great Lord of Terror. Diablo III is a completely different game on console, and a fantastic one at that.

  • DiveKick is pretty self explanatory. It made fighting games fun and tense again without the burnout factor so many of us experience when trying to get into a new fighting game. And it's cheap as hell so just buy it.

  • Bring back the fun and whimsy of Ezio Auditore, pretend Conner never happened, tone down the seriousness of the real world sequences, and add in Pirates and you've got yourself the recipe for a fantastic and exciting Assassin's Creed game. I haven't finished it yet but I am far enough in to know that I will, and will enjoy the hell out of my time doing it. I played a bit of it on PS3 but have since switched to the Xbox One version and must say, it is a stunningly beautiful game at points, especially when you're out at sea, fighting a massive war ship in the middle of a major storm. While the next gen consoles clearly have the leg up here, the PS3 version was still very impressive and well worth a look. It still has a lot of the annoying AC tropes (less than perfect free-running, sneaking missions that hard-fail, eavesdropping) but at the very least you can now rate those horrible experiences poorly with the new mission rating system, and tell Ubisoft to cut it out with that crap. But despite all that, Edward Kenway is a fun character with and exciting story to tell.

  • DMC was easier and far more acceptable than the originals it attempted to reboot. I get why some of the more "hardcore" fans take issue with that, but in my opinion this was one of the most fun, exciting, and trippy character-action games I've played since the first Devil May Cry and I loved every second of it. The controls are tight and fun, the weapons are cool, and the action is intense. Also, that news reporter boss battle, daaaaamn.

  • Fun, intense space-action in your pocket. I loved this game despite its flaws and continue to come back from more as the developers keep adding new features, missions, characters, ships, etc. A really great mobile game that's worth every penny.

  • I'm a sucker for dragons, steampunk, and turn based strategy. So needless to say I was very excited for Shadowrun Returns and am happy to say the game fully met my expectations. While not as in deep as it could have been with RPG elements, it was a really fun TBS-RPG with a lot of room for expansion via player-generated content (it's more a full on RPG maker than a simple level editor) and future story expansions promised by the developer. The game was recently ported to iOS and Android as well but, like the similar XCOM:Enemy Unkown, it's suggested that you only go that route on an iPad or tablet device, as there's a bit too much going on with the UI for a small screen device. But regardless of how play Shadowrun Returns is a fun, if a little short and light, gameplay experience.