When I first sat down to write my top ten game of 2013 I thought it was going to be quite easy. But when I finished writing down every game I wanted to put on my list it was well over ten games. After I finally finished picking out every game that I wanted on my list I had to order them. Guess what? That took even longer. What makes game number 8 better than game number 9? Not a ton as it turns out. But every one of these games are awesome, and you should absolutely play every single one of them. I hope every year's top ten games list is this difficult to create.
January 17, 2014
10: Tomb Raider (Xbox 360)
The new Tomb Raider did what I didn't think was possible: It made me like Lara Croft as a character. Tomb Raider gave Lara Croft a fantastic and believable back story. Lara's transformation from a student into the adventurer was better than I could have imagined it. Tomb Raider's rich, and gorgeous setting made me never want to stop playing. Oh, and it's a lot of fun. I never really cared about the Tomb Raider before, and now I'm aching for the next one.
9: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
It's been far too long since I fell in love with a Zelda game, but it's hard not too with how fantastic A Link Between Worlds is. Being able to go to any dungeon at any point, and having every item from almost the very beginning changes everything. Having every item so early makes you actually have to think way more to solve puzzles instead of just using the item you just got. A Link Between Worlds is better paced, more challenging, and just more fun than any other Zelda game has been in a very long time.
8: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (PS3)
I've always wanted a good pirate game, and with Black Flag, we got that plus the best Assassin's Creed game since Assassin's Creed II. Exploring the world of Assassin's Creed has never been so satisfying not only because the parkour mechanics are extremely fun, but sailing a ship feels as good as you would hope it would be. If the Assassin's Creed series has to continue after Desmond's story, let's hope they continue to be as strong as Black Flag.
7: Saints Row IV (Xbox 360)
Saints Row IV is just ridiculous, in the best way possible. Saints Row 4 is probably just the most plain fun I had playing a video game in 2013, same as with Saints Row The Third in 2011. Saints Row 4 is also easily the funniest game I played in 2013. It's rare when a game can make me laugh just once, and it''s even more rare when a game just makes me laugh consistently throughout the entire game. Saint's Row 4 is simply a joy.
6: Rayman Legends (PS3)
Rayman Legends is a challenging, charming and delightful platformer. The platforming is tight, the levels are difficult, and it's beautiful to look at. I don't really have a ton to say here other than Rayman Legends is one of the best platformers of the 2013, and you should absolutely play this game if you haven't already.
5: Year Walk (iOS)
Year Walk was the scariest horror game I played in 2013, and I played it on my iPod Touch. Year Walk is rich in atmosphere, and is filled with some of the creepiest imagery I've ever seen in a game. Year Walk isn't filled with jump scares, but when it happens it's absolutely earned. Year Walk get's under your skin, and stays with you long after you finish. It's one of the best horror games in years.
4: Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
If you don't own a Wii U yet, Super Mario 3D World is the absolute best reason to own that console. Super Mario 3D World has the best level design since Mario Galaxy. The challenge slowly ramps up throughout the game, and the most challenging levels are extremely satisfying to complete. It's extremely fun, and absolutely delightful to play, which makes it the best platformer of 2013.
3: Bioshock: Infinite (Xbox 360)
It's hard to point out just one thing that stands out about Bioshock: Infinite, because there's not really anything else like it. Bioshock: Infinite tackles some unique themes, and does it in great and uncomfortable ways. It's probably the most fun I had playing a first person shooter in 2013, which is not what I expected a game with the name Bioshock in it. It has one of the most shocking endings I've ever seen in a game, that stayed with me long after I finished it. But what stands out most about Bioshock: Infinite is it's world. It's a beautiful and fantastical looking world that's just as amazing to look at as it is to explore. It's world weaves the game's story and themes together perfectly, and makes Bioshock: Infinite an amazing game to experience.
2: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Xbox Live Arcade)
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a game you can point to as a great example of a way only a video game can tell a story. Using two joysticks to control two characters may seem off at first, but it works perfectly. There isn't a word of actual dialog spoken throughout the game, but the way the game plays tells the story better than any spoken word ever could. It all comes together in one of the most powerful and emotional endings that, when it hits, it hits you hard. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is absolutely wonderful.
1: The Last of Us (PS3)
The Last of Us is a prime example of what games should try to be. Everything about The Last of Us is masterful. It's combat, it's story, it's characters all tied up in the perfect ending. The combat is challenging, and rewarding. Fighting the infected in The Last of Us is terrifying. No other game has ever made zombies so horrifying. You actually have to use stealth to fight them, because early on you learn if you try to tackle them straight on, you will die. Joel and Ellie are some of the most believable characters I've ever seen in a game. Their journey is one of most incredible, and emotional experiences I've ever had playing a game.
The ending, without giving anything away, is unlike anything I've ever experienced in a video game, or really any other media. I was with the motivations of the main character in the climax of the game, and when it was all set and done, I felt what the main character was feeling: guilt. Something that really stood out about this game is I went through the exact emotional journey as the main characters did, which rarely ever happens in any media. The Last of Us is not only the best game of 2013, it's one of the best games of the generation. It's my favorite game of 2013.