Top Ten Games of 2013

If my favorite games had a consistent theme among them this year it was "a fantastic game world." Game play didn't exactly take a huge step forward but that didn't keep developers from crafting some of the most memorable and satisfying settings to book end the previous generation of hardware. Here are the ten games that brought me some of the most terrific environments and experiences in the year of 2013.

List items

  • As an unabashed fan of zombie horror I went into The Last of Us not really knowing what to expect. What I got was a genuinely heartfelt and thrilling experience both in gameplay and story. Not only does this game offer some of the most believable characters to grace this genre of fiction but also makes good on being a game within this setting. Scrounging for supplies and slinking around to avoid or take out enemies makes total sense for this type of narrative. The top notch writing, performance, and gorgeous visuals aren't going to leave my mind any time soon. I can only hope more developers take lessons from what this game does right. I liked all the games on my list so much. It is with a heavy heart that I name The Last of Us as my personal game of the year.

  • Ever since the [Prototype] games came out I've had some concern that the style of character movement was going to be brushed under the rug never to be seen in an open world game ever again. Fortunately Saints Row IV took this type of locomotion and puts it in an unbelievably engaging game world while giving it an over the top story that was actually worth a damn to play through. Throw in Keith David, a dubstep gun, and one of the best licensed soundtracks this year and you have a formula for nonstop gaming bliss. If not for the fact that the entirety of Steelport's architecture is mostly unchanged this game would've have easily been number 1 on my list this year.

  • Bioshock Infinite makes good on its namesake by making Bioshock, well, infinite. Where this series of games always excels is in the mood and atmosphere of a vibrant yet haunting environment and the latest entry is no exception. The plot revelations alone while not always coherent made for some of the most mind blowing story telling this year or any year. The economy of the abilitease is not as sharp or interesting as its predecessors but the brutal and twisted combat scenarios complement this universe to the nth degree.

  • When I heard they were making an Assassin's Creed game to follow up the bore fest that was AC3 I was skeptical to say the least. To my surprise AC4 manages to make it to my top ten games of this year as well as solidify its place as my favorite pirate themed video game of all time. If cruising around the Caribbean wasn't entertaining enough I had a good laugh discovering more and more about the bizarre plot implications within the real world setting. So grab some rum and raise the mizzen mast lads as we set sail to a sea of grand adventure and stabbing dudes in the face.

  • If you want a game with the most distinct art style and direction this year look no further than the Devil May Cry reboot. I've always liked this franchise of games but I've never outright loved them until this latest entry in the series. The way I play these games always feels like being the director of a crazy action movie in which I'm trying to make the main character look as badass as possible. One of my top moments this year involves jumping into a TV. Eat your heart out Persona 4.

  • To be quite honest I was fully prepared to write this game off as another way to delay the main Metal Gear series with some fairly bland action and story. As it turns out Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a fantastic addition to the Kojima-verse as it blends the cerebral political mind fuck of his games with the crazy yet fabulous action style of Platinum games. It exemplifies the parts I love about both those creative entities to the point that I hope they never stop making these types of games. Favorite final boss this year.

  • This franchise has become synonymous with a big smile on my face. It looks great, it sounds great, it controls great. What's not to love about Rayman Legends? The music levels are what really made it stand out as one of my top feel good games this year.

  • It's strange to think that this is probably the only game on my list that doesn't have an actual gun in it. The Swapper takes the Metroid formula and pushes it in a super interesting direction not just with the swapping mechanics but with the story as well. Nailing that horror atmosphere without a weapon is tough to do as it is. Making it work in a 2D puzzle-platformer is nothing short of remarkable. I'm just trying to figure out if the one who played the game was really me or just a clone of me that I swapped places with.

  • I love a good crime story. I feel like I've been getting a least one such game every year and GTAV delivers on that front. The focus on heists fits so well with the Rockstar brand of stories and characters that I'm surprised it hasn't been done sooner. The feeling of being in such a fully fleshed out version of LA in the midst of insane criminals is undeniable. They made one hell of a great looking open world with this game so I would be hard pressed not to include it in my list.

  • This game continues the trend of NetherRealm making the most top tier of fighting game story modes while also managing to make playing as some of the most iconic heroes and villains of the DCU a lot of fun. The story isn't nearly as good as MK9 or even the tie-in comic by Tom Taylor. However it scratches that itch for more comic book themed games while offering a robust single player and multiplayer package that shouldn't be ignored by fighting game fans.