We’re nearly done with our Top 5 lists for 2013, and it’s game on with our favorite video games of the year!
1. Bioshock Infinite
Coming into this game I made a promise to take an extended break from first person shooters starting after I’d finished this game – and boy, what a way to go out. Set in a floating city in 1912, Bioshock Infinite deals with American History, racial and ethnic tension, multi-dimensionality, and a crazy plot twist. The developers set up a captivating world to house an enthralling story. One of the big strengths of this game is the interaction between the main character and your sidekick, Elizabeth, who you’re originally meant to rescue. She isn’t just some dumb bot that tags along with you, she adds several gameplay features and proves to be the heart and conscience of your character.
The best part of this game for me, as a music fan, was the anachronistic reimagining of classic pop and folk tunes. Songs by people from the Beach Boys, Tears For Fears, Leadbelly, and others are taken and reworked into styles of music that were prominent in the 1910’s. Almost every song used is relevant in some way to the themes and characters in the game; this is especially true with the recurring use of the Christian hymn “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” All in all, this game does pretty much everything right and I was actually a little sad when it was over.
2. Grand Theft Auto V
The open worlds of the recent GTA games have always been good for hours and hours of havoc, but this version of Los Santos is so detailed and so interesting that sometimes I’d rather see what things I can do in game that doesn’t cause any harm or damage. The story is entertaining but is over too soon, the addition of GTA Online somewhat makes up for it though, giving players countless other missions and things to do.
3. Batman Arkham Origins
It’s a game where you get to be Batman, what else do you need? Sure, I guess you can kind of tell that this was a game developed with the engine from Arkham City and they didn’t really change that much. The developers did add a fairly decent multiplayer, but I can hardly every find other people playing it. In the end the pros out weigh the cons, mostly because I get to play as the freakin’ Batman again!
4. Tomb Raider
At the time I’m writing this, I’m still just playing through the main story for the first time, but so far I’m having a blast. Even though it’s not exactly a horror game there is definitely an eerie feeling that permeates the game. Besides the standard action and platforming, there are several “gotcha” moments that keep this game very engaging.
5. Splinter Cell: Blacklist
I only bought 5 games this year so this would be on it by default. Ok, that’s not fair, this game does plenty of good things, and most of them are the multiplayer. The spies vs. mercenaries format is a refreshing and exciting change of pace from typical deathmatches,
1. DOTA 2
The stand alone sequel to the popular Warcraft III mod, DOTA 2 is probably the only competitive game that I bother playing these days. This game has made me angrier than any other game this year, yet it has brought me hundreds of hours of joy. While the sharp learning curve and less than friendly community might deter some, DOTA 2 is an incredibly rewarding multiplayer experience for those willing to put in the time to learn how to play, all wrapped up in a charming presentation that only Valve can create. The characters are memorable, the matches are fierce, and the mechanics are rock solid. So with much adoration (and scorn) I name DOTA 2 my game of the year.
2. The Last of Us
The Last of Us is a hauntingly beautiful game about loss and the horrible things that humans will do to survive the collapse of civilization. Naughty Dog delivered their Magnum Opus with this game, and perhaps the greatest story ever told in a video game. An amazing soundtrack composed by Gustavo Santaolalla and a bevy of mesmerizing performances make this a very close second for my game of the year. (Read our full review.)
3. Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar Games’ incredibly ambitious track record has once again been topped with GTA V, a game that while filled with juvenile humor still stands as a technical marvel. The world that Rockstar has built in this game is astounding and the playable characters are surprisingly deep and human for being as despicable as they are. I would also like to note that GTA V is the first game in the series that I’ve actually felt compelled to play all the way through.
4. Fire Emblem: Awakening
My dark horse game of the year, Fire Emblem: Awakening was the entire reason that I purchased a 3DS. This game is a must have for fans of turn based strategy and JRPGs. The characters are incredibly likeable and the inheritance system that allows you to nudge your soldiers into relationships with each other and pass their abilities onto their children is one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences that I’ve had this year.
5. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
As a huge fan of the hammy espionage drama of the Metal Gear Solid series and the insane (and insanely well crafted) action games of Platinum, MGR:R is a gory and hilarious romp. This game is packed with cheesy lines and wacky villains that culminate in one of the most off the wall final boss battles of all time. I laughed harder at this game (perhaps unintentionally) than I have at any other this year.
We’re running out of 2013! Stay tuned for more of our Top 5s before the year’s over!