Last year was a great year for video games. 2013 saw the launch of two new consoles, the announcement of another and the release of many critically acclaimed games. Five of these games, however, stood out above the rest and they deserve to be recognized.
At number five on this list is a reboot of a video game franchise that needed some new life after many sequels and even two movies. “Tomb Raider” was released early in 2013 and received great praise for the emergence of a young Lara Croft shipwrecked on a Japanese island with dangerous enemies, wild creatures and treasure while trying to get back to civilization.
It tells a great tale of how a naïve college student turns into the pistol-carrying tomb raider she is now famous for, and does so with great graphics, “Uncharted”-style gameplay and interesting characters. However, the multiplayer aspect of the game is lackluster and the experience may be heavy on quick time events, but these negatives were not enough to exclude it from this list.
Next up is the only handheld game on the list, but it deserves this spot fully. “Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” builds off of its ancestor “A Link to the Past,” and takes much of the same world and same story from its predecessor, but adds many new elements to the game.
These new additions include item rentals from the shop and the ability to turn into a painting on the wall to get past enemies and go into another dimension called Lorule through crevices in walls.
Overall, Nintendo did a great job mixing the nostalgia of the “A Link to the Past” with the new gameplay elements, better graphics and utilization of the 3DS’s features with “A Link Between Worlds.”
In third place is “Bioshock Infinite”. A spiritual sequel to the amazing “Bioshock,” this game not only has great gameplay but also a deep story and an amazing world that connects to the original in an interesting way. The characters of Booker DeWitt, the protagonist, Elizabeth, and Comstock, as well as others, combine to play out a great story in the visually striking setting of Columbia.
These features make this game great on their own, but the skyhook that allows for hanging from fixtures or gliding along rails, along with Elizabeth, who opens tears in reality to give DeWitt ammo, guns, money, and other items, make this game one of the best in 2013.
The runner up of 2013, a post-apocalyptic game where a real-life infection in the animal kingdom comes to humans, is considered the perfect game of the year by many people. “The Last of Us,” which comes from Sony’s Naughty Dog studio, tells a story of two people, Joel and Ellie, travelling across a United States that has been affected by a plague of Cordyceps, a fungus that turns people into zombies.
The reason this game is on this list is not because of its great survival gameplay and multiplayer mode, but for the story and storytelling in the game. The emotion between Joel and the people he kills is heavy, and the bond between Joel and Ellie grows as the story progresses. This game is more than just another zombie game and is especially worthy of being labeled as one of the best games of the seventh generation of consoles.
The best game of 2013, however, is a sequel to a franchise that somehow manages to surpass the reputation of its predecessors. “Grand Theft Auto V” gave three different characters, each with their own traits, a good story and an online mode that, although somewhat lackluster, is fun to play. It also provided gamers with a large open sandbox with a plethora of challenges and mini-games to play as well as the chaotic gameplay people expect out of the series.
Whether it is pulling together a heist with friends in “GTA Online” or being chased by cops in the single player sandbox, this game pushes the genre to the limits and deserves to be named 2013’s game of the year.
There were several games, however, that deserve to be mentioned on this list, such as the experimental but funny “The Stanley Parable,” the emotionally heavy “Gone Home,” the cute and charming “Tearaway” and the RPG antics of “Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” or “Fire Emblem: Awakening.”
All these game were great in their own right, and with upcoming games like “Watch_Dogs,” “Titanfall” and “Destiny,” it seems that 2014 will be another great year for video games.