impartialgecko's Super-rad Games of 2013!

Here is a list of games that I thought were super good this year. 2013 has been a weird and wonderful year for videogames and I don't think I've made a Top 10 list that I've been more pleased with in all the years I've been collating great games into arbitrary lists. Every game on this list and many more that didn't quite make the cut this year surprised and excited me in ways that I didn't think possible in a new hardware year. Keep in mind this is all subjective, but I think we can all agree this year was a dope one for videogames.

List items

  • Starbreeze done did it didn't they? Who would have thought the team that made last year's competent but disappointing Syndicate would pull out something like this? Of all the dark, story-driven indie darlings of that past few years; the Journey's and the Limbo's of this world, Brothers for me is the real deal. It's such a perfect marriage of mechanics and narrative and the grisly, unforgiving world it paints in its scant few hours is more memorable than anything I've experienced this year. I felt drained after playing Brothers. That left trigger really got to me. Game of the Year.

  • Man, Naughty Dog really are on "a whole other." The Last of Us did everything I want from a triple-A game. It was over-saturated in bespoke, custom content. It blended stealth and action in a way that allowed you to mess up and start shooting without punishing you or making you feel stupid, and though it didn't gel with some people I fucking ADORED it. For a 14 hour linear experience, it was all killer. Everything in The Last of Us felt like it was meant to be there. It's not without fault, that sniping sequence was pretty stupid and it was painful reminder that the PS3 isn't quite up to the task of showing off games this pretty, but I don't think I've cared more about a game's characters than I cared about Joel and Ellie.

  • Gunpoint is really really good. It's so consistently fun and inventive with its simple gameplay conceit and never outstays its welcome. I don't think I've enjoyed a single gameplay mechanic more this year than the ability to knock guys out with doors. Gunpoint makes you feel smart while coming up with the dumbest, most elaborate solutions to problems. Few games treat spies right. Gunpoint nails how to make the player feel like a 60's spook. And for the record, I think it has the best ending of any game this year.

  • Full disclosure: This was my first Fire Emblem experience. For all I know, the ridiculous time-bending narrative and the superb RPG elements may be par for the series' course. Fire Emblem just got to me, drew me in and sucked nigh-on 100 hours out of my life this year. It's the game I spent the most time with and the game I've gone back to again and again. XCOM was my favourite game of last year and Fire Emblem rode in on its coat-tails to remind me that these kinds of turn-based strategy games are my jam. I'm a series' convert and cannot wait to see what Intelligence Systems (Nintendo's best hope for the future) does next with the series now they've made it accessible enough for neophytes like me.

  • Again, Nintendo has been killing it in 2013. Unlike a lot of people, it took me a while for me to warm up to A Link between Worlds but once I realised how much the ability to rent every single item you'd normally acquire over the course of a typical Zelda game profoundly changed the formula for the better, I was in for the long haul. It's the first Zelda game I've ever played that didn't treat me like an child for the first hour. It respects you and treats you like you've played videogames before, and then punishes you in kind when you screw up. It's the most inventive form of compromise, tickling that nostalgia muscle while rewriting the rules. It's brilliant.

  • I'm a self-confessed fan of these visual-narrative games. I know why people dislike them, but I can't identify with the sentiment when games like Gone Home are released. I played through Gone Home with a friend of mine who dismisses games completely as a creative medium and halfway through she was telling me where to look and where I should go next. She was as gripped as I was by this fantastic little mystery. Thoroughly recommended.

  • What a stupid game. What a raucous, dumb, flashy middle-finger to everything I loved about DMC. I was a huge fan of DMC 1 and 3 and I even found things to like about DMC 4, but DmC cemented my opinion that the ol'DMC well full of silver hair and awful one-liners was tapped. DmC Devil May Cry isn't the spiritual successor to DMC3 that I wanted, but it's the audacious reboot that we deserved. Kudos to Ninja Theory for having the brass balls to throw off the shackles of the series and craft something wholly new and interesting. I mean, that nightclub level, that Fox-News parody, that Succubus. So many memorable moments in a game that I was dubious about since it was announced. If Capcom manage to stick their guns and let Ninja Theory make a sequel, then I'll be ecstatic.

  • Bioshock Infinite feels like it was made, somewhat hap-haphazardly, for me. I LOVE its dimension-hopping, sci-fi conceit. I loved its nihilistic, confusing ending. It's a shame that Irrational thought I came to its game to shoot things. The gameplay was fine, there was just too much of it. Too much murder that watered-down the shocking impact of the first scenes of violence in that game, turning the final fights into a dull, meaningless slog only worth trudging through because of the promise of an end to the intrigue. What a shame, but also what a game you guys. If nothing else, I enjoyed the hell out of the ride.

  • I do this under duress, but The Stanley Parable is incredible. Maybe I'm biased as a huge fan of Hitchhiker's, but Stanley tickled my funny bone in a way that it hasn't been stimulated since Portal 2. It's a game for people who love videogames and also understand their flaws and shortcomings. It's not malicious or facetious. The Stanley Parable points out all the dumb things about videogames today and laughs with you rather than at you.

  • Bloody gorgeous. If nothing else, The Swapper is the game on this list that I most want to sit and look at. Comparisons have been drawn with Braid, and though The Swapper does leave a bunch of concepts up to you to figure out, variety isn't its strongest suit. If it was, The Swapper would be much higher on this list. As it stands, The Swapper has the sights and the sounds that speak to me and my thing for space. The Swapper gave me all the space I wanted so it gets on this list.