2013 saw two next-gen console releases, a Cowadooty sequel no one saw on the horizon and wack sh*t like that new NBA Live. Some great games got nestled between all the madness and took hundreds of hours of our youth…which should’ve been spent going out, being social and all that jazz. However, we’re here to make sure all that time spent didn’t go in vain.
Our 15 picks span multiple genres like bass fishing, train simulators and board games you can play with a controller. We also care not for spoiler alerts so games like GTA V and Bioshock Infinite have no place in this years list. Get your pitchforks out, neckbeards. TSS’s geeks stand firm to argue about video games over the internet like it’s 2002.
Bioshock Infinite (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
2K’s golden child just continues to amaze. To the point where somebody can absolutely argue the prequel’s superiority over the original Bioshock, Infinite has something for anybody who fancies themselves a gamer. The story is as intricate and thrilling as one would expect from the warped series, but the gameplay — oh, the gameplay. If holding up a magnetic, bullet-eating forcefield while you blast ruggish anarchists with a shotgun – only to spit the bullets right back at an enemy’s face – doesn’t sound like a good time, you can kindly get off my lawn, stranger. *Pumps shotgun* — AJ
Tomb Raider (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
If someone ever wants to do a study on how to re-launch a classic for the current generation, all eyes need to look toward this year’s Tomb Raider. Between the story, gameplay, stealth/survival mechanics, or how everything just seemed to mesh together so perfectly, Lara Croft latest journey stands as a successful makeover for Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix.
I had Tomb Raider as my sleeper pick for game of the year right up until The Last of Us released. It’s that good. — RealGoesRight
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ensures adventure games have a place in today’s industry. The game tells a gripping story of siblings risking their lives to save their ill father. You can complete it on a long Saturday afternoon. It nevertheless succeeds at presenting an emotional, memorable tale rather than remind you how much you suck at video games.
Its unorthodox control scheme sets each brother to respective joysticks and triggers leaves a lasting impression. Years of traditional gaming make playing Brothers kind of awkward at first but moving around quickly becomes second nature.
Word should definitely play Brothers too since it brings back her childhood memories of playing Turtles in Time forever-alone: Leo on the left, Raph on the right, fighting crime for that PIZZA-TIME. — S.Cadet
Rayman Legends (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One)
Mario and Sonic both have legitimate claims to the GOAT platforming title, but Rayman definitely deserves some shine. Good on Ubisoft for dusting off their limbless, sh*t-grinning hero: Rayman Legends is every bit the proper update that the series deserves. Beautifully animated and an absolute blast to pick up and play (either by yourself or with some friends), you can say Legends is the best of the genre to drop in 2013, and you’d probably be right. — AJ
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
A Zelda title made our list last year because it was great.
And guess what? A Zelda title made our list this year because it was great.
A Link Between Worlds revamped the epic SNES game A Link To The Past. But this time around, you get it in 3D and with a bunch of new mechanics utilizing the touch screen and 3D. — Darius Sinclair™
NCAA Football 2014 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Let’s pay our respects to the best football game on the market. EA Sports’ latest foray into Saturday afternoon madness offers the best franchise mode that the series has ever seen. And for those who like to venture online, the ever-addictive EA Ultimate Team mode, chalk full of playable college gridiron legends, from Bo Jackson to Barry Sanders. Let’s hope that, with no ’15 on the horizon, the incredible game’s legacy lives on in the interwebs. — AJ
Battlefield 4 (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
The Battlefield series never saw a launch it couldn’t screw up land and BF4 maintained the tired trend. The game’s prodigious, online multiplayer offerings yield enough content to deal with the headaches. Engaging in massive gunfights remains a trillion times more entertaining than the campaign and performs best on next-gen consoles or a high-end PC. Anything less would be uncivilized. — S.Cadet
Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)
Awakening brought a refreshing approach to turn-based gameplay we haven’t seen in a long while. As the 13th installment in this series, this pleasantly long game blended the strategy-RPG with a great, comedic storyline. The designers spent time and with that came a beautiful score, detailed characters, and deep mechanics that keep you engaged.
Awakening follows the popular trend with a zombie-themed game as you battle your way through several chapters against the undead army known as Risen. You control your troops in various skirmishes, which really pops with the 3D slider all the way up. This game is pretty difficult in Classic mode but very rewarding as your evolve with various characters to enhance your infantry. If you picked up a 3DS or 2DS, this game is must own as it’s probably the best game to grace each platform. — Darius Sinclair™
The Last of Us (PS3)
Oh great, here’s another post-apocalyptic survival action game. Wait, what’s going on here? This game touts a compelling story, well written script, great acting and relationships you actually care about? Are you sure we’re talking about a video game here?
Naughty Dog put out their best product yet with The Last of Us and it’s exciting to posit where the eventual franchise can go. Let’s try to repress nightmares of clickers eating our faces off in the meantime, though. — S.Cadet
Dragon’s Crown – (PS3, PS Vita)
Whether it’s the fluid combat mechanics, hundreds of loot pieces, or smooth co-op combat, Vanillaware crafted a fine and well-balanced game in its own right. It’s the closest thing to a side-scrolling version of Diablo one can find on the console/handheld systems with almost 20 hours of content. Then you can either take two more trips through with your character, or pick any one of the six characters you haven’t already used. Local and online co-op options sweeten an already good deal here as well. — RealGoesRight
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
Ubi Soft sort of got hamstrung between Splinter Cell’s roots and modern gaming’s love for flair and BS. Yet they found a happy marriage between the extremes in Sam Fisher’s newest adventure. Stealth-based games worth playing are rarer than Lil B’s best songs. Blacklist definitely fits the bill as one of the genre’s best outings to date. Plus flexible difficulty settings and great multiplayer options make sure there’s enough appeal for newcomers and hardcore fans alike. — S.Cadet
Gran Turismo 6 (PS3)
Car enthusiasts want their car games to be just as real as their passion. With the recent Gran Turismo title launched in early December, Polyphony Digital went all out with the last big title for PlayStation 3. There’s a nice balance of rally, F1, NASCAR, classic, super, sport, and just every day driving cars. Tons of updates address the complaints we had with GT5, making GT6 much better.
There are also some welcome, new features in GT6 which xtends its replayability. Minigames, Red Bull challenges, time trail invitations, and even the mystical “Vision Gran Turismo” which, over time, will feature concepts from all your favorite automakers and sports designers. — Darius Sinclair™
Guacamelee (PC, PS3, PS Vita)
Like Metroid? Mega Man? Old-school Castlevania games? This game is for you. This one of the finest platformers available. Created by Drinkbox Studios (the same folks behind the excellent Tales From Space: About A Mutant Blob) Guacamelee is an expertly crafted game in the “metroidvania” subgenre of action/adventure titles. The luchadore-styled game play, colorful background music and awesome move-set will keep anyone engaged from the moment they pick it up until they fight to give it a rest. — RealGoesRight
Papers, Please! (PC)
Blockheads may take one look at Papers, Please and say “where da graphicz at?” Then again dismissing this game based on its 8-bit visuals would be a grave mistake. Papers, Please! calls players to work as an immigration officer manning the border of Artotzska: a fictional communist state. Players scan long lines of immigrants daily which sounds basic enough. Then the game quickly delves into heavy topics such as, but not limited to, nationalism, institutionalized discrimination and abiding the law VS. trusting your moral compass.
Your measly wage set to support your family necessitates you to correctly process as many folks as possible against the clock. This element of urgency hearkens back to the days of Oregon Trail yet it’s far more mature and value-laden. Anyone can play Papers, Please! but, really, everyone should play it instead. — S.Cadet
MLB 13: The Show (PS3, PS Vita)
From a random beach ball getting volleyed around the outfield stands, to the way that infielders instinctively crouch into a defensive position, to the amount that the computer makes you work to pull off a digital trade, The Show continues to lead Sports Simulations 101. And 103. And some 400-level, grad school classes. It isn’t perfect – base running can be an absolute joke at times – but if a baseball game is good enough to inspire spins in the middle of December, it needs some sort of recognition. — AJ
Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, Xbox 360)
Rockstar should be proud of themselves. Normally when a product is delayed and too many people have had their hands on it, the final product is pretty crappy (see http://healthcare.gov). But luckily, the perfectionists in Scotland gave us possibly the best video game to release in 7th generation of gaming. With its extensive campaign and larger than life online mode, GTA V will on our minds for a long time. — Darius Sinclair™