Every year there are a lot of great games released on all platforms. But every year only one game can be chosen as the absolute best. This is the game that will be remembered for years beyond its original release, and one that flew above all others this year. Here is our choice for the 2013 Game of the Year…
The Last of Us (PS3)
Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic take on the zombie survival genre is a game that will stay with you forever. Even ignoring the solid stealth gameplay, excellent pacing, and graphics that could almost pass for next-generation; it’s the story that you’ll remember.
The game opens with one of the most gut-wrenching moments in the history of gaming, but that scene is important to begin Joel’s journey with Ellie. At the end of their cross-country expedition, you’ll care about both of them and want to see a sequel to see where their relationship goes from here.
With The Last of Us, Naughty Dog created their best game yet and raised the bar for storytelling in gaming to a level that few developers will be able to match. Many will try, but it’s hard to see anyone being able to achieve the depths that Naughty Dog did with Joel and Ellie’s story.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Win, PS4, XB1)
Assassin’s Creed IV came very, very, close to taking Game of the Year away from Last of Us, but Naughty Dog’s storytelling won in the end.
The reason why Grand Theft Auto V isn’t anywhere on this list is due to ACIV. UbiSoft listened to the complaints people had with ACIII, and built on it to deliver the ultimate open-world pirate adventure. The ability to own your own pirate ship and sail the caribbean sacking forts, sinking or capturing other ships, and living the pirate life in the 18th century is why this is the best open world game of 2013.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
In 1991 Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the SNES. 22 years later, we finally received a true sequel to that game and it’s everything you’d expect. From a blast of nostalgia such as the world map being about the same and the music being beautifully redone, to absolutely brilliant dungeons, this is the handheld Zelda game we’ve been waiting for when traditionally handheld Zelda’s don’t tend to be quite as memorable as the console versions. Nintendo would do itself well by doing a HD port of this to the Wii U. It’s that good.
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Normally Nintendo fans would receive either a new Zelda or a new Mario game to play around Thanksgiving. This year we got both, and each were excellent. 3D World builds on what Nintendo did on the 3DS with Super Mario 3D Land, and improves it by adding four-player simultaneous competitive co-op. If you haven’t played the 3D Land/World games, you’ll find some of the best 3D Mario in years. Just moving back to the classic 2D damage model (no more life bars here) is a huge improvement.
Tomb Raider (Win, PS3, X360)
Reboots are the hot thing these days in both movies and games, but it’s very rare when a reboot actually succeeds and revitalizes the franchise. Crystal Dynamics’ previous Tomb Raider games were good, but they were basically just prettied up versions of the same core gameplay we’ve been experiencing for fifteen years. This year’s reboot reinvented the franchise, and although it was out in the early part of the year, it remains one of the best games of 2013.