Well, here we are, the last part of our 2013 top 20! Some of the final choices for our list may be a bit predictable if you read our recent best of the generation list, but there’s a couple surprises mixed in there as well. You know, just to keep you on your toes.
So, without further ado, the final few best games of 2013…
First, let’s recap our list so far.
19) The Stanley Parable HD
18) Shin Megami Tensei IV
17) DmC: Devil May Cry
16) The Wonderful 101
15) The Wolf Among Us
14) Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
13) Batman: Arkham Origins
12) Papers Pease
11) DuckTales Remastered
10) Super Mario 3D World
9) Gone Home
8) Fire Emblem: Awakening
7) Assassin’s Creed IV
6) Tomb Raider
5) Saints Row IV (tie)
Okay, so we have two number fives. I’d like to pretend we had a super complex scoring system and these two just happened to end up with the same number of points, but uh, basically we just forgot about Saints Row IV until the last minute, but we both really enjoyed The Cave and didn’t want to bump it from the list, so our top 20 is now a top 21!
So anyways, Saints Row IV — it’s a game devoted to freedom and f–king around, but it doesn’t feel slipshod or lazy. It’s also the rare game that actually manages to be funny while doing the intentionally tasteless humor thing. In other words, it’s a game that looks like a mess, but is surprisingly well engineered below the surface.
5) The Cave (tie)
Ron Gilbert’s return to the adventure game genre got some flak for being too old-school, but that’s exactly why we loved it. The Cave was basically Maniac Mansion with modern controls, graphics and co-op multiplayer. The game was also dark-as-hell — one minute you’re chuckling away at the classic LucasArts-style humor, the next you’re being forced to do something unspeakable. The Cave is a complex game, but it isn’t in your face and screaming “AREN’T I ARTY?!” constantly. Make more adventure games Ron.
4) BioShock Infinite
Yeah, BioShock Infinite may have felt a bit like a FPS from the mid-90s, but hey, what the hell’s wrong with shooters from the mid-90s? Especially when you’re shooting through a world as gorgeous and imaginatively realized as the cloud city of Columbia? BioShock Infinite was basically like getting to shoot your way through an R-rated Pixar movie — how can you not love that?
3) Grand Theft Auto V
What more is there to say really? Rockstar ended the Xbox 360/PS3 era with a big, ambitious capper. Less self-serious and more mechanically sound than GTAIV, Grand Theft Auto V was a confident move in the right direction for Rockstar. Oh, and Grand Theft Auto Online just makes the whole package all the sweeter.
2) Pikmin 3
Pikmin 3 may not be the loudest or flashiest title, but no other game this year presented a world so totally endearing. Once you start exploring the lush alien gardens of Pikmin 3 you never want to stop. It helps that Nintendo finally ironed out all the Pikmin design kinks — Pikmin 3 isn’t as unforgiving as the first game, or as directionless as the second. It just feels right. Pikmin 3 deserves to sit alongside Nintendo masterpieces like Ocarina of Time, Mario Galaxy or Super Metroid. It’s that good.
1) The Last of Us
Bet you saw this one coming, didn’t you? The Last of Us is cinematic, scary and soul-crushing, while still being mechanically sound and fun to play — the game is an incredibly challenging balancing act pulled off with aplomb. It’s so many things developers were striving for this last generation all pulled off in a single game.
So there you have it. Now again, we haven’t played everything, so by all means, let us know what we missed! Oh, and hopefully most of your Christmas gifts come from this list, and not this one.