What another memorable year in gaming we've had, with the crescendo being the launches of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, along with a slew of impressive AAA titles.
While hardware was a strong focus for the year, we still want to shine the light on two games that to us, stood out among the rest that debuted all year long. From open-world, to sports, to action-adventure, to RPG, to survival-horror, to driving games, this industry enjoyed another diverse, incredible year and to recognize that, we wanted to crown two games as Games of the Year.
As a way to toast each of these games, we asked our writers to submit a few of their thoughts on what these games meant to them and here are the results:
Rockstar once again redefines open-world gaming with their most massive installment. The beautiful scenery and fleshed out world made this a great way to end the generation."
Coming off of the far from perfect Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar Games proved they still know how to do open-world games as well as anybody. Still, the lasting thought in my mind about GTA V, is the level of detail."
GTA V's trifecta of main characters is something that no one has ever seen before and now it's feasibly possible for multiple leads to become the staple of the industry. That alone was enough to get the title onto my game of the year considerations.
The Last of Us has earned its spot in gaming history by featuring one of the singularly best narratives that can be found inside any video game to date. Combined with the top-notch voice acting and animation, Naughty Dog has expertly shown off their ability to tug at a players' emotions in this post-apocalyptic journey.
Against all odds, Naughty Dog managed to take a setting and concept that’s become incredibly overused and stale in recent years — the zombie apocalypse — and make it feel fresh, relevant, and genuinely terrifying again. The Last of Us is a beautifully crafted, superbly engrossing and emotional experience from beginning to end. Wearing a surround sound headset while sneaking through a room full of Clickers easily ranks as one of the most fearful, uncomfortably intense gaming experiences I’ve had this generation."
What makes The Last of Us such a remarkable and powerful game is its atmosphere and ability to convey emotion. Within the opening minutes of the game you feel a sensation of fear as you desperately try to escape a city with loved ones. This influential feeling is carried throughout the entirety of the game as you encounter humanity’s darkest instincts and make challenging choices that impact the people closest to you. This sense of genuine emotion is made possible due to the amazingly well-crafted story-driven nature of the title. Similarly, the acting and voice-work of Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and Troy Baker (Joel) bring the characters to life in this desolate adventure. You feel for the characters, their struggle, their hope, and their understanding of life and death. The Last of Us isn’t just one of the best games of 2013. It is one of the best made games of all-time."
The Last of Us was the game that really hit the mark for me this year. The music, graphics, voice overs, and story are phenomenal. It is difficult for a game to capture all of those aspects and The Last of Us did just that, plus established a strong bond between player and the characters in the game.