The end of a console generation is always the most exciting time for gamers. The advent of new hardware leads to exciting new possibilities, while developers are realizing their full potential on the current generation. Such was the case for 2013. These five games exemplified the best of the best in console gaming for 2013, at least in this case. This isn't a comprehensive list; there were certainly more than five great games this year, nor is this meant to be definitive. As with everything in this industry, Game of the Year nominations and awards are opinions, and should be taken as such. Without further ado, here are the Springfield Console Games 2013 Game of the Year nominees:
DmC: Devil May Cry
The Devil May Cry franchise has long been considered one of the best of the action genre, despite only have two truly great games out of four. Fans of the series looked towards DmC with mild enthusiasm, unsure about the new character design, and new developer Ninja Theory. Amazingly, DmC was an outstanding game, and a worthy addition to the franchise. Dante may have touted a new look, but he was snarky as ever. Most importantly, though, the combat was as outstanding as ever, and arguably the best of the series with the number of variations players could initiate in every combo. The story had it's cool moments, but was ultimately lacking. In the end, though, DmC makes the list for being undeniably cool, and outlandishly fun to play.
What can possibly be said about the Tomb Raider reboot that isn't positive? Square Enix brought us back to Lara Croft's origins, giving us a game that was unfortunately less about tomb raiding, but fortunately more about character development. The game featured a compelling if not entirely believable story that tied together Lara's exploration of a massive island full of mythical beings and brutal locals. Ultimately, it was the platforming and gameplay that truly sold the game, as it reminding us all of what it was like to play a Tomb Raider game, while feeling completely new. For these reasons, Tomb Raider is one of the best games of 2013, and perhaps the most pleasant surprise.
Naughty Dog showed us that there was another level they could work at with The Last of Us. Exceeding all expectations and proving they could produce an emotionally engaging and meaningful story as well as something that was just darn entertaining, TLOU quickly became the game to own in 2013. The draining, dark, and satisfying story of Joel and Ellie's post apocalyptic adventures gave gamers everything they could want from a video game. The combat system was an innovative twist on some pre-existing tropes, and it was all tied together with some of the finest production values in the industry, making The Last of Us a shoe in for a Game of the Year nomination.
Grand Theft Auto V
Any time Rockstar releases a game, players flock to gobble up as much of it as possible. Grand Theft Auto V was no different. When players booted it up, they were almost immediately greeting by the massive San Andreas, which is one of the biggest maps ever seen on a console. For the first time in series history, players were given the ability to control three main characters at almost any time in the game. Planes made their triumphant return to the series, as well. All in all, the game was beautiful, the heists were outstanding, and the scope was unprecedented, which earns GTAV a spot on this list.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
It's no secret that the Assassin's Creed series has wallowed in mediocrity since its outstanding second iteration. The games haven't been bad, necessarily, but they haven't been good enough to make a Game of the Year list, either. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag changes all of that. Taking the best part of the third game, ship combat, and crafting a whole game around it is the best idea Ubisoft has had in a long time for the franchise. The world is massive and beautiful, it never gets old piloting your ship, and the characters are interesting, even if the story isn't all that compelling. This is arguably the best game in a franchise, and it certainly inspires hope for the future of the series, earning it a spot on the list.
And now, the Game of the Year is...
The Last of Us
This really was a no-brainer. The Last of Us is the reason why many people play games: the story possibilities of the medium. While much of what was accomplished by The Last of Us could have easily been in film form, it was the ability to experience this touching tale that elevated the game beyond everything else released this year. The writing was fantastic, the graphics top notch, and the gameplay almost perfect. The Last of Us was the ultimate gaming experience of 2013 on the consoles, and there's no doubt that the entire industry will be watching Naughty Dog's next move very carefully.
Congratulations to Naughty Dog and everyone that worked on The Last of Us!