The Digital Drifter’s Top Games of 2013
It is officially that time of year! Everyone is releasing their top games of 2013 and with such a memorable year in gaming, I wanted to throw in my two cents. Below I will examine my top 5 games of 2013 in no particular order, except for my game of the year.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
While I have fond memories of many different game series throughout my life, it seems like Zelda has been there pretty much since the start. My first Zelda game was Link’s Awakening on the GameBoy, and I have played nearly every iteration since. A Link Between Worlds is the direct sequel to the Super Nintendo classic, A Link to the Past. This version of Zelda does things a bit differently than those in past games, which I was a bit weary about going in. The changes however feel like a natural progression of the series, and instead of diluting the title I feel that they make it a much stronger game.
This handheld gem brings back the feeling of many of the older Zelda games with very little handholding throughout the title. With tons of puzzles and many new twists on the Zelda formula, A Link Between Worlds is a must own title for all 3DS (and 2DS) owners.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us is truly a masterpiece, and by far my favorite Playstation 3 exclusive of the year. Over the past few years, Naughty Dog has become one of my favorite publishers, and while the Last of Us would have easily taken top honors had it been any other year, there were just too many AAA title’s this year. The Last of Us takes you on a post apocalyptic adventure following Joel (voiced by Troy Baker) and Ellie as they adventure for a cure against the infection that has turned the country from what we know today into a wasteland that has fallen into complete disrepair.
The Last of Us is an extremely emotional experience that many video games can’t quite capture. You truly feel for not only the main characters, but for the world itself as it has fallen into ruin. The Last of Us shows both the best and the worst of what people can become when everything has been taken from them.
Papers, Please is a bit of a surprise entry on this list, as I did not think a game that revolved around checking passports could make me feel anything, let alone keep drawing me back in months after originally playing it. However, this game offers a wide array of choices that directly play into human emotion. Will you let a couple through the border trying to escape the terrors of their own country, or work with a group of terrorists trying to bring down your country’s government? Papers, Please is not only a challenging game, but one that forces you to make decisions you wouldn’t otherwise make to ensure the safety of your family.
With a number of different endings and unique gameplay mechanics, Papers, Please not only tops my list of favorite indie games of this year, but easily sits in my top 5 games of 2013. Glory to Arstrozka.
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V is my favorite installment in the Grand Theft Auto franchise since Vice City, mixing the best elements of sandbox games with a very fun story, a ton of off color humor and some of the most memorable characters the franchise has ever seen. Instead of the single protagonist formula that we have grown accustomed to in the franchise, Grand Theft Auto V features three main characters with three intertwining story arcs. Grand Theft Auto V will be a game that I continue to play for some time to come, as there is always something new to explore. I continually find myself just driving around taking in the city of Los Santos, listening to the in game radio stations without any clear objective, and having a blast doing it.
With the addition of an online element, GTA V takes replayability to a new level for the franchise and will keep players interested until Grand Theft Auto VI hits shelves years down the road.
Game of the Year: Bioshock Infinite
No game has had an impact on me like Bioshock Infinite did. I played through the main campaign in just a few days, and couldn’t wait to see what the city of Columbia had in store for me next. Playing as Booker DeWitt, you must explore the city of Columbia searching for Elizabeth, a girl you have been tasked to retrieve. Aside from breathtaking scenery and a compelling story, Bioshock Infinite had a personality of its own that hasn’t been matched by any game this year, or for the last few years for that matter. From the unique covers of more modern songs to the interactions between characters as you explore Columbia, Bioshock Infinite fully immerses you into its unique world.
In addition to the main story, I was very impressed with the DLC thus far, featuring a very fun mode called Clash in the Clouds, and a new adventure featuring Booker and Elizabeth, Burial at Sea. The second part of Burial at Sea is scheduled for release in the near future as well, which centers around Elizabeth. This additional content took an already breathtaking game and gave it a new twist aimed at those who played earlier installments in the Bioshock franchise. It is for all of these reasons and many more that Bioshock Infinite tops my list as the best game of 2013.
2013 was one of the best years for games in recent memory. As the lifespan of one console closes and another begins, we were able to see the full potential of the last generation’s hardware. I cannot wait to see what 2014 has in store, with games like Titanfall, a new Super Smash Brothers game and many more on the horizon. What was your favorite game of this year? What games are you most excited for in the coming year? Let me know in the comments down below!