The end of 2013 has arrived, and video game critics, websites, and players everywhere are choosing their picks for Game of the Year.
I’ve not been able to play all of the great games that were released this year (there were quite a few), sadly, so I can’t fairly declare one the best of them all. I can, however, share my personal favorites, and wanted to open up a good ol’ geek discussion so you too can share your favorites!
For me, it came down to three clear favorites: Irrational Games’ BioShock Infinite, Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V, and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us.
Bioshock Infinite is one of the most deep and complex games you’ll play, a wonderfully fitting prequel to 2007’s BioShock. It’s one that’s hard to fully grasp at first because there’s so much going on, both on the surface and below. But once you dig and dig some more and learn more about what means what, the amount of work that went into crafting the game becomes obvious. Listening to the various voxophones scattered around the game is completely optional, and yet many of them hold crucial information that help to add layers to the story. I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about the game’s ending, but the experience as a whole was one to remember.
GTA V is quite simply another level of video games. What Rockstar pulled off to end the last generation of consoles is remarkable, easily one of the greatest technical achievements in gamemaking. The sheer size and beauty of the game’s unbelievable world is noteworthy in its own right, but the solid three-character storyline, excellent writing, and endless amount of things to do puts it in a category of its own.
The Last of Us. Naughty Dog’s devastating tale of a man escorting a girl across the country after an apocalyptic viral outbreak turned most of humanity into dangerous and deadly beings. The game offers an incredible story and haunting post-apocalyptic settings that are both terrifying and beautiful at the same time, as nature reclaims the world. Never has a game quite affected me like this one has. Within the first moments of the game, I was already an emotional wreck, tears in my eyes. The beginning of something hasn’t hit me that hard since Pixar’s Up. Months after playing the game, I still think about it often. I still listen to Gustavo Santaolalla’s brilliant and gut-wrenching musical score at least once or twice a week. Its one that may stay with me forever.
Most other years any of these three games would easily take the Game of the Year crown for many, but here they are all in the same year.
For me personally, it’s GTA V and The Last of Us neck and neck, but for very different reasons: the former because of the size, technical achievement, and pure fun level; the latter because of the story, ultra intense combat situations, music, and performance-capture/voice acting. If forced to make a single choice, it’d be The Last of Us.
I also have to give a special shout out to one game not getting a whole lot of attention due to the trio above, Beyond: Two Souls. The Quantic Dream title Is about as close to playing a movie as you can get, complete with excellent performances by stars Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe.
So that’s where I stand. Now I want to hear from you! What were your favorite games of the year, and what would be your 2013 Game of the Year pick?