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GOTY 2013

I love video games. And yes, this is appropriately ordered, with the best being at 1.

Special shoutouts to A Link Between Worlds and Pokemon Y, who were 11 and 12 respectively.

Also a shoutout to Sorcery Saga and Tearaway, I didn't have enough time to play these but they make me proud to be a Vita owner, both fantastic games.

Edit: One last shoutout to Gone Home. I forgot about you completely, too late now to see if you would've bumped Infinite off, but I still liked it a lot.

Too many games, not enough time.

List items

  • Shocker. When I first played the imported version back in March, I knew this was something special, and called this as my game of the year back in the spring. A few games came close, but nothing topped it. I’m not going to say that all Dynasty Warriors games are great. They are definitely an acquired taste. The last one, Dynasty Warriors 7, made some huge improvements to the series, but was missing some things that kept it from being great. Dynasty Warriors 8 added those things. Co-op story, more freedom in selecting characters, giving each character their own weapon (with unique moveset), and so much more. The soundtrack is the best one since Dynasty Warriors 6 and almost one of the best in the series, and even though it is telling the same story, the storytelling has improved and the alternate scenarios were brilliant. This is the quintessential Dynasty Warriors game.

  • After the just alright Apollo Justice and Ace Attorney Investigations, I was somewhat wary of the latest game in the Ace Attorney series. After playing the demo, I was hooked. The new 3D graphics and character models were gorgeous, yet still managed to keep the over the top animation style the series was best for. It had a brilliant story with none of the cases dragging it down like every other game in the series, some of the B-E-S-T side characters in the entire series, and a very strong soundtrack. This was a complete joy to play through.

  • The followup to Analogue: A Hate Story did not disappoint. It managed to pick up where the last game ended, and somehow told a brilliant story that kept me hooked even though you think you know the ending. A lot of subtle gameplay tweaks made the experience smoother than before, like being able to click a name to see a brief description of a character, which helped keep all of the names straight. In addition to the neat file system that allowed you to experience the story in the order you wanted it to. It also has the greatest achievement in a game ever, and it wasn’t even the one related to a cake. Did I mention I bought a real cake because of this game? The game wanted me to bake one, but I’m not crazy...

  • Speaking of crazy, this game has it. This is probably the best Metal Gear game since Metal Gear Solid 3. It has the best boss lineup since that game. The gameplay was hard to pick up for me, but once you learn it it’s amazing to see how easily you can decimate the opposition. The soundtrack is the best of the year with amazing boss battle themes that change according to the gameplay in the best way possible. Credit should be given to the crazy story that manages to respect and totally disrespect Metal Gear at the same time. Metal Gear Rising is lovingly in on the joke, and it’s a fun ride. Nanomachines son.

  • Let’s ignore the brilliant story and the breathtaking scenery for now. The gameplay is tense and is frustrating at first, but if you can figure it out, it is a fantastic stealth game. I went from dying to a couple of Clickers to getting through large combat areas without being touched. Such a rewarding feeling. This also translates well to the surprisingly solid multiplayer. I hate one-life modes, but it manages to work out great in this game, also the idea of keeping survivors alive to make it to the “end” of multiplayer managed to make every game matter. Okay, now back to the story. It’s amazing, with scene changes that manage to leave you stunned, and that ending. The biggest reason that stuff works is Joel and Ellie’s interactions, from telling jokes to high-fiving each other, all of it was great.

  • After everyone at PAX talked about how great Divekick was, I started watching the weekly show and was immediately drawn into this. Gameplay deceptively simple, yet it managed to require the basics required in most fighting games, a fantastic roster of characters, and the funniest game that came out this year. Granted, most of that will be lost on people not that deep into fighting games, but somehow this managed to catch the attention of non-fighting game players enough to intrigue them, which was another great thing. This is the game that dragged me back into being obsessed with fighting games, and I even bought my first arcade stick because of this game. Naturally I created an S-Kill design to put on it. I wish I played this more, but the influence it had on me was massive.

  • I never really got into Tekken. I didn’t like the B!OUND system, and even though the characters and story was interesting, I never wanted to learn enough to try and be good at it. Tekken Revolution scaled back on bound and made it accessible for new players, and I took the bait. Soon I was learning these crazy looking juggle combos and baiting attacks to launch folks. The free-to-play system let me play a bit every day, but cut me off before I could get to into it. Leaving me wanting more. The neat thing about this game is that it seems to be a testing ground for ideas to put into Tekken X Street Fighter, which may explain why I enjoyed this more than other Tekken games. However, that didn’t stop me from picking up Tekken Tag 2. So yeah, I’m down with Tekken now.

  • I had no idea what to expect out of this game. So when I left the town after some jerk kept blocking the way for some reason, I was almost tempted to put it down. Then I came across a crying troll, and him helping you cross the cliffs ahead was something magical. It’s kind of hard to explain why, it was just really cool. The game shifts locales frequently, and most of them are beautiful. It’s a short experience, but that short time is packed with a ton of cool events, and some really neat things you can miss out on. These range from finding a music box to give closure to someone who just lost their family to basically the little brother’s reaction with most of the NPCs. The ending manages to put a bow on this fantastic package, and is equal parts moving and clever.

  • Even though the combat fails to live up to the expectations of someone who plays quite a bit of Monster Hunter, it was functional enough to proceed through the fantastic story. As a prisoner, you get to relive the events that led to the ruin the world is in right now, and the way that story is told is brilliant. Even outside of the main storyline, the lore provided comes with enough stories about each character and boss that challenges Mass Effect as far as sheer information is concerned. The world Soul Sacrifice takes place in is deep, and there is a tale for everything.

  • Another deep world is the city of Columbia, the setting for Infinite. While I never grew to like the gameplay enough to ignore it, I couldn’t help but gaze in wonder at the various locales your journey with Elizabeth took you. Every audiolog, Kinetoscope, and encounter with those Luteces just keep adding on to the world of Infinite. Last but not least, what a great ending. Even though the lighthouse part has been done, everything leading up to it was jaw-dropping, and it’s a game that will leave you in a state of turmoil afterwards. I mean that in the best way possible.