Top 18 Favorite games of 2013

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So, the year 2014 is here, and every website must do at least one list counting down the best games of 2013. We’re no different. Personally, I thought this was a good year for games. Sure, we still had a lot of bad games, but I feel like we had more games that were hits than misses, unlike 2012. First off, a few disclaimers: I know a lot of people know what my favorite game was of this year, so I’ll make sure to put that one down first before I start with the rest of the list. It’s like seeing a ‘top 10 worst video games of all-time’ list, and already knowing what number one will be. Since I am just one person, I didn’t have time to play Pikmin 3, Disney Infinity, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Batman: Arkham Origins, Pokémon X and Y, or Animal Crossing: New Leaf, so they won’t be on the list. Likewise, I won’t put down The Wolf Among Us, or The Walking Dead Season Two, because they are not technically finished games. I also won’t list remakes or HD updates, because if I added those to the list, they would be utter cop-outs, and I wouldn’t like that. I just find it lazy for anyone that puts an HD remake of a game that was already released on a ‘best of’ list. So, let us get the honorable mentions out of the way first: BioShock Infinite: I did enjoy the world and characters of BioShock Infinite, but you get the feeling they put most of the budget into the world and characters rather than the actual gameplay. Maybe in the future, I will make a list of what didn’t work for me about this game. Guacamelee!: This is hands down one of the best downloadable indie games you can find for your collection. It has satisfying combat, great level design, fun boss battles, a great sense of humor, and it looks beautiful. My only real complaint is that sometimes the level design is a bit tedious and the two-player mode was added in there with no reason other than to have a two-player mode. If you haven’t picked this game up yet, I would highly recommend you get it for either your PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita. Heck, you can even buy one and get the other for free, thanks to cross platform purchases. Project X-Zone: I still think this is one of the more fun games on the Nintendo 3DS and I will recommend it left and right to anyone who asks what kind of games they should own. I know the story is really non-existent and a lot of people will look at this as just a game made with fan service only in mind, but I still like the combat and the characters interacting with each other. I would say pick this game up if you see it, before it becomes one of those rare and overpriced games because no one bought it. Killer is Dead: We have yet another deep, out-of-control, and gory action game from the minds of Suda 51 and his company, Grasshopper Manufacture. On one hand, you have one of the more memorable looking games of 2013, with a unique-looking graphical presentation, a fun combat system, and unforgettable bosses. On the other hand, you have clunky controls, difficult side missions, and a story that might not be that coherent. I really enjoyed it, but I can easily understand why some people won’t be able to get into the game. Now that we have those games out of the way, let us get started with the actual list. I will be putting a score down for the games I played, but couldn’t find time to review. This little rule will also affect games that I have reviewed, since opinions change over time and I might not like a game as much as I did back when it was released. Consider this a list and a mini-series of reviews. Once again, this list is just my opinion, but I would love to hear back from you about your favorite games of 2013. 1. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Like I said, I am putting this game down first because this is still my favorite game of 2013. I know there have been a lot of amazing games that will be on this list, but no other game grabbed me like Ni No Kuni. Maybe it was the story that was actually pretty good, with some mature themes. Maybe it was the Studio Ghibli animation and art style that gave the game a very unique identity. Maybe it was the combat system that used little monsters with real-time action during battles. Maybe it was the music that was composed by the great Joe Hisaishi. Or maybe, it was all of the above. I still love the game to this day and I will be playing it again in the future. The score I gave it: 10/10. 18. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

I think any Sly Cooper fan was excited, but at the same time worried about this new entry into the franchise. A new developer was behind this new entry, and even though they worked on the HD collection of the first three games, so could they make their own game? Luckily, the developer, Sanzaru Games showed they could pull it off with almost no flaws. The story was better, the villains were memorable, and character development was fantastic. The levels were fun to play through, and for once, did not overstay their welcome. Unfortunately, the six-axis motion controls were bothersome when they showed up, the character plot for Bentley’s now ex-girlfriend was not needed, and the ending was anti-climactic. Outside of those issues though, this is my favorite game out of the franchise, I would highly recommend you get this game for your PlayStation 3 or your PlayStation Vita.

The score I gave it: 8/10. 17. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

This is one of the best turn-based RPGs on the Nintendo 3DS. It has beautiful hand-drawn graphics, quirky music, creative platforming, and incredibly fun combat. I love the dream sequences where you are in Luigi’s mind and have to use a bunch of “dream Luigis” to help you platform and fight enemies. I also loved the side characters and the humor. I will say though, that the game is a bit too text heavy and there is some slight hand holding. Other than that, I personally think this is the best game out of the Mario & Luigi RPG series. If you have a 3DS and are looking for another RPG to play since you basically played Fire Emblem: Awakening to death, I would highly recommend you pick up the dream team of Mario and Luigi.

The score I gave this game: 8/10.

16. The Last of Us

I honestly do like this game, but I honestly couldn’t put it higher than this. I really liked the characters, the setting, the atmosphere, and the amazing music. I loved the crafting system that made you choose to make one thing over the other with materials and what you needed to upgrade. It had a lot of great elements, but it still had its faults. It had a few too many areas where you had to fend off hordes of enemies, the AI could be stupid from time to time, and while the multiplayer was entertaining, I think they could have used those resources to make the story less predictable. I kind of saw what story elements were going to happen in certain areas, but even then, I was sucked into the game’s story and the interaction between characters. I really loved the ending, and I am glad they went with the ending they made, instead of something predictable, like killing off Joel or Ellie. Troy Baker is now one of my new favorite voice actors, as he does one heck of a job bringing Joel to life. If you haven’t played this game, I still think you should, and see what conclusion you come up with. Oh, and the DLC should be good also.

The score I gave this game: 8/10

15. Tales of Xillia

Talk about a complete turnaround. When Tales of Graces F came out in 2012, it was a huge disappointment to fans of the franchise. When this game came out, it just made everything better. The characters were likable, the story was more emotionally investing, the combat was more complex, and it was just a lot more fun to go through. While it had some minor glitches and the whole “play two different storylines” gimmick really didn’t matter in the long run, it was just a better RPG overall. While Tales of Vesperia is still my favorite game out of the franchise, Xillia is right up there with one of my favorites.

The Score I gave this game: 8/10.

14. LEGO City: Undercover

This game was just pure fun. It might have been simple, the unlockables not really worthwhile, the driving challenges ranged from okay to tedious, and the city could have been livelier with random crimes happening all throughout the city, but I had an enjoyable experience with this game. I liked the story, the corny jokes, the fun characters, and the combat system. This is one of those games that you can easily pick up and play without having to worry about steep difficulty curves or complex mechanics. This game does better without having online multiplayer. We do not need that in every game, people!

The score I gave this game: 8/10.

13. Anarchy Reigns

This is just another game that is fun to play, with nothing super deep or emotional holding you back. Sure, the story might not matter in the long run and it can be repetitive, but that doesn’t fully detract from how much fun I had with this game. The characters all had personalities, different move sets, and surprisingly, the multiplayer was super fun. You don’t see a lot of games that have a brawler-like multiplayer mode, since it seems like only shooters and fighters can have it. However, this game, along with another game that will be on this list, show that you can make a successful multiplayer experience out of any genre. It might look like a budget title, but since you can get it for cheap, I would highly recommend you pick up one of 2013’s underrated gems.

The score I gave this game: 7/10.

12. Grand Theft Auto V

I wasn’t originally going to add this game originally, but I then finished the game and had to put it on my list of favorite games from 2013. I am not normally a fan of the series, but this game surprised me. I liked the writing, the three main characters, the massive map of Los Santos, and the number of things to do. No surprise, Trevor Phillips is my favorite character. His performance by Steven Ogg really gave the game its identity. The two other playable characters are also good, but Trevor is the best out of the three. Pulling off heists is highly entertaining, and they are easily the best sequences in the entire game. I do have a handful of problems though. Piloting helicopters sucked, there were not enough heists, secondary characters are too mean-spirited for a majority of the game, and yes, the female characters are weak in this game. This is weird since the female characters were so much better written in Red Dead Redemption, which was a game also done by Rockstar. I also think the online mode of the game, while being more fixed than it was on release, shouldn’t have been released in such a state. It might be more improved, but Rockstar shouldn’t have released it until it was fully ready. Outside of that, I really do love the game. I will be waiting for the price to drop and picking up my own copy. Rockstar definitely has yet another hit on their hands.

The score I gave this game: 8/10.

11. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

This game went through such a development hell that I was a little worried that this game was never going to be finished. In the end though, it was a very adrenaline-filled action game. I remember when the official trailer of the game was shown, and everybody got so upset. I never understood it. I mean, how can you be upset when you have to fight a giant robot in the first five minutes of the game? The slicing-and-dicing mechanic is extremely fun to use. I know the story may be a bit contrived, but I think the developers knew that, and just went all out with it. The boss fights, while not as epic all the way throughout the game, were still a lot of fun to go through. My only real complaints were that the camera was annoying, and the DLC, while fun in certain areas, was really a waste of money. I originally gave this game a higher score, but after the DLC, I have to honestly lower it a point because of how underwhelming the DLC was. I still loved this game, but one other PlatinumGames game that came out this year topped this one in sheer fun. If you haven’t played this game yet because it isn’t a traditional Metal Gear Solid game, just stop thinking like that and enjoy this fun fast pace game.

The original score I gave the game: 9/10. The score I would give this game now: 8/10.

10. Puppeteer

This is one of the most charming games for the PlayStation 3. It has a unique look with wood-crafted puppets, a story with charming characters, solid platforming, fantastic voice acting and music, and was for me, fun to play. It does have a few faults. The platforming can be clunky from time to time, and the 3D was really hit-or-miss. Being the first game directed by Gavin Moore, I hope to see what he can come up with when he makes his next game.

The score I gave this game: 8/10.

9. Beyond: Two Souls

2013 was the year to show off the exclusive variety that Sony has been able to offer for the PlayStation 3. You have an action game, a horror/survival third-person shooter, a platformer, and with Beyond: Two Souls, a cinematic adventure game. I really loved the acting from Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, but everyone else also did a great job with their characters. The story is actually rather deep, with a lot of great moments in the game. It also has a lot of atmosphere that really gave me the chills in certain moments. If the story was told in a more linear fashion, I think the game would be better off. I don’t mind having a story told out of order, but when the impacts and rewards of the game vary from what piece of the story the game wants to tell you next differs, it can leave you with a lop-sided experience. I still think people should support the developer and check out the game for themselves. Maybe you will like it or maybe you will hate it. You won’t know unless you take that first step and play the game.

The score I gave this game: 8/10.

8. Tomb Raider

As far as reboots go, I think this one did a fantastic job giving the, to be honest, stale franchise a new lease on life. I loved how Lara was portrayed, and her actress, Camilla Ane Luddington, did a fantastic job giving Lara an actual personality. Sure, in the original Tomb Raider games, she might have basically been a female Duke Nukem, but she really had no personality outside of being hot and holding two guns. While people criticize the gameplay for being too much like Uncharted, would you honestly would have been happier if they stayed with the stale, poorly aged, and downright clunky controls? At least with the Uncharted style design and controls, you had more control over Lara, and attacking enemies with guns blazing or not was satisfying. The only real issues the game had were that some of the secondary characters were kind of bland, and the multiplayer was a waste of space. This game shows that not every single game needs a multiplayer mode. Don’t just add it because every game is doing it now. I hope the sequel fixes these issues, and I honestly can’t wait to see what the next game will be like.

The score I gave this game: 9/10.

7. Dragon’s Crown

Man, did this game get a lot of pointless controversy. Like I said in my original review of the game, I can understand why people would get upset about it, but it seems like overall, no one cared because the game is fun! This game has satisfying combat, beautiful graphics and music, a solid script, interesting lore, and probably one of the best multiplayer experiences on the PlayStation 3! I played so many hours with random adventurers beating down monsters and epic boss fights. There is so much this game offers and it’s all on a million dollar budget. Kind of shows that you don’t need to have a multi-million dollar budget to make a satisfying game. The score I gave this game: 9/10.

6. God of War: Ascension

As yet another prequel game for the mighty action franchise, I really liked this one. I will say that this is the best prequel game in the series. I think the story was actually pretty good. Not as good as God of War III’s story, but I think it’s the second best story out of the franchise. Even though Kratos is still very angsty, he is more human in this game than games that came out before God of War 3. I liked the revamped combat system and the temporary weapons you can obtain from enemies or from the environment. I also found the multiplayer to be super fun, if a big buggy at first. I prefer the giant hammer if you are curious. My only complaint comes from the fun, but not as epic, boss fights. They do not match up to the boss fights from the third game, and there are not a whole lot of them. You fight the same mini-boss twice, which sucks. I also found that the multiplayer can leave some teams unbalanced, with one team having more members than the other. Other than that, I anxiously wait for the next entry in the franchise. They will need to really do something amazing with the next game.

The score I gave this game: 9/10.

5. Rayman Legends

Rayman Legends is almost the perfect platformer from Ubisoft. It has amazing level design, perfect controls, the Wii U GamePad integration is subtle and works well with the gameplay, and it has awesome music. What is not so perfect about it is that Ubisoft made it multiplatform for consoles that didn’t have touch-screens, which meant the Murphy mechanics were a little clunky, and it ruined what was going to be a unique system seller for the Wii U. Maybe it was fan backlash that resulted in the game’s low sales, but maybe it was other things, too. Outside of the small issues the game has, and Ubisoft’s rather questionable business decisions for this game, this is one heck of a game that is just a blast to play. Get it for a system with a touch-pad or touch-pad like controller like the upcoming PlayStation 4 version, the Wii U version, or the PlayStation Vita.

The score I gave this game: 9/10.

4. The Wonderful 101.

Besides Bayonetta, The Wonderful 101 is my favorite game from PlatinumGames. I love the story, the innovative combat system, the quirky characters, the Power Rangers-like vibe, and the incredible boss battles. I know some people have complained about the controls, but in my experience, I never found them to be broken. You can even go through challenges with friends in multiplayer. My only real complaint is that the fixed camera is a little annoying, and some of the characters you meet later on could have used a tiny bit more development. However, I would highly recommend you pick this game up and get it for your collection, so it doesn’t become a rare game that becomes $200 in the future or something.

The score I gave this game: 9/10.

3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

What else could I say about this game that everyone hasn’t already said? This is one of the best games in the franchise. I still prefer Skyward Sword, but this is easily my second favorite Zelda game out of the franchise. I love the combat, the rental system, the bosses, and the new mechanic where you can turn into a painting and scroll across the walls. A lot of great and much needed improvements went into this game, and I hope they take this style of thinking and use it for Zelda U. If you haven’t picked this game up, then I don’t know what your deal is. Unless you don’t care for the franchise, I would highly recommend picking up one of the best Zelda games in the franchise.

The score I gave this game: 9/10.

2. Super Mario 3D World

This is, as everyone else has said, the best 3D Mario game that we have gotten in years. While I don’t hate the games from the New Super Mario Bros. franchise as much as everyone else has, I am glad they made a fantastic 3D game for the Wii U instead of another game in that franchise. I love the level design, the varied boss fights, the four player co-op, and the catchy music. My only real complaints are that while there are more bosses, they tend to repeat, and that is a bummer. I also wish there was more to do with the overworld. The fixed camera is also a little annoying, but for the most part, it is placed perfectly. This is easily my second favorite Super Mario game, since it’s going to take something super amazing to beat Super Mario Galaxy 2. If you need a reason to pick up a Wii U besides The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3, Game and Wario, and The Wonderful 101, then pick it up for Super Mario 3D World.

The score I gave this game: 9/10.