My Top Ten Games of 2013

New consoles! Finally, the age of the 360 and PS3 came to an end in 2013 with the release of the PS4 and Xbox One. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a whimper in terms of the launch lineup, with the exclusive titles from both platforms proving very disappointing. Even so it was still great to get new hardware. Nintendo had a surprisingly good year with the Wii U finally began to build up a few decent games and the 3DS having a fantastic few releases. The PC really shone in 2013, which was unfortunate because my PC broke this year and I didn't get to play many of them. 2013 was also the year I left college and entered fulltime employment, greatly diminishing my free time and ability to play games. In this packed year with the final hurrah for the old platforms and the terse releases on the new ones, here are my personal favourite games.

List items

  • It had been a while since I had played a game as perfect as The Last of Us, but that is exactly what it is, as close to perfect as a game can get. Telling a simple but heartfelt story set in a post-fungal apocalypse world, you get the usual trappings of zombies, infection, survivors doing what is necessary to stay alive etc. However, what differentiates The Last of Us is the attention to detail and mechanics. Naughty Dog created refined gameplay in the vein of Uncharted, but every encounter has consequences. The combat is savage, the world bleak, and the characters are superbly written. The soundtrack is also gorgeous and the ending is one of the finest in the medium, serving as an example of how it is done. This was my final big game on the PS3 and what a way to send that console off.

  • Pokemon is back and it consumed scores of hours from me on the 3DS. Not since the original Red and Blue had I felt the same sense of newness and scale as when starting Pokemon Y. The new types of creatures, the beautiful new visuals, the ease of online matchmaking/trade and the surprising depth of tactics made Pokemon an outstanding RPG to sink my teeth into and an easy one to play while commuting. It remains my favourite 3DS game and one of the best releases of 2013.

  • I have never been a big fan of the GTA series, but V changed that with the most comprehensive, whole and fun installment that I had ever played. Taking lessons from Red Dead Redemption was essential, and Rockstar did that by actually including decent shooting, retained the more serious tone of GTA IV but tool the setting back to the West Coast, and managed to maintain the game as a social commentary in a natural and entertaining way. It also included Trevor, who is singlehandedly my favourite GTA character ever and could carry the game on his own. The heists are also excellent and really are the standout moments of the game.

  • Outlast is essentially a ghost train, but what a well crafted and produced ghost train it is. Putting players into a bad situation from the start, Outlast doesn't pull any punches in its depiction of what is happening in its asylum and it has a pace and momentum that carries the whole thing. I was disappointed with the conclusion of the story and its big reveals, but overall I cannot deny that Outlast was one of the games that pushed me the most in 2013 and grabbed my attention from beginning to end. It is also gorgeous looking despite not having a vast budget.

  • The original Bioshock is one of my all time favourites, and I was more excitied for Infinite than any other game prior to release this year. Overall, I found Bioshock Infinite to be a little too linear and lacking in the sense of like that made Bioshock the gem it was. Having said that, Infinite presented a world filled with light and colour but with deep and politicised themes as well as some lavish steampunk elements and design. It also presents a fantastic lead character in Elizabeth, and the story turns and twists are well earned.

  • To hell with the haters, DMC is the best time I ever had with a Devil May Cry game. The combat is challenging without being punishing, at least on the normal difficulty, while the story reboots the series in a sustainable and faithful way. The new Dante is not as bad as some say, and the music and art style combine to create a very distinctive game. It's up there with Bayonetta as a gold standard for an action combat game.

  • A simple and short game about 2 brothers on a quest to get medicine that will heal their sick father is something that I would bever have expected to have the emotional impact or mechanical depth to grab me, but that is exactly what A Tale of Two Sons does. Despite lacking in script or full explanations for its events, it has a feel very like Ico or Shadow of the Collossus, and a certain nordic charm that captured my attention. The music is beautiful and I admit that the ending got me.

  • Dead Space is a fantastic horror series, and it deserved a better finale than this. It is a testament to how good the core of Dead Space is that it was still able to entertain me despite the tasteless inclusion of microtransactions, the forced multiplayer and the botched story. Dead Space 3 is gorgeous, atmospheric and at times thrilling. If only EA had laid off the interference.

  • I had loved the AC series once, but after playing AC3 I was about ready to give up, having hated pretty much all the major elements of that game. Black Flag was improved by leaps and bounds thanks to a refocus towards gameplay and away from the layered core story. It was a new Caribbean setting with some beautiful locations, and the ship combat and free roaming made it feel like an AC game in name only and something very fresh.

  • Rayman Origins showed that a characterful and colourful 2D platformer with tight controls could still be done in a masterful way, and Legends builds beautifully on that. Improved bosses and greater scale alongside the same tight and satisfying controls and level design made this one immensely fun to play and a joy to watch in motion.