Game of the Year 2013

Peter Brown's Top 10 Games For 2013

Revisiting the past with one eye on the horizon.

by

There was an abundance of great games released in 2013, and nearly every platform was host to at least one of my personal favorites. From another angle, my top 10 is actually split down the middle; half of the games belong to an established series, while the rest are brand-new properties from distant corners of the industry.

Creativity and innovation are at the core of what keeps gaming interesting and exciting year after year, and yet popular franchises still carry the most sway. We know what we like, and often want more of it. I am definitely guilty of this mindset from time to time. Thankfully, there were a few shining examples in 2013 that proved tradition and innovation don't have to be mutually exclusive.

I've criticized Nintendo in the past for playing it safe, for leaning on past successes rather than making a strong investment in new franchises. In the case of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, I did so publicly shortly after it was announced. I didn't want to see a cherished series potentially devalued. I also feared that Nintendo's ink well was running dry. In the end, my concerns were dashed. It's not that I was wrong about Nintendo creating a "safe" game saddled in familiar territory; that's exactly what it did. Rather, I forgot that's OK.

Nintendo is best at innovating within familiar series, after all. With a new exploration and puzzle-solving mechanic and the ability to rent game-changing items as you please, The Legend of Zelda felt new and exciting again, despite being steeped in tradition. Similarly, Super Mario 3D World's reintroduction of Princess Peach as a playable character was a nostalgic play, but one that worked really well in the end given her unique physics and the game's new take on cooperatively competitive multiplayer.

It's great to watch old series evolve and remain exciting after so many years, but there were a lot of fresh properties in 2013 that also caught my attention. Guacamelee was an especially notable newcomer, whose bright palette and expressive animations, along with a great Metroidvania-like design, left a lasting impression. It doesn't reinvent the formula of item-driven exploration, but everything around it is so charming and thoughtfully crafted that it didn't matter--not to me, at least. On any platform, Guacamelee is fantastic, but the Vita version won me over due to the Vita's vibrant OLED display, which plays particularly nicely with the game's palette.

I also have a soft spot for space-combat games, so it should come as no surprise to see Strike Suit Infinity on my list. The pair of Strike Suit games (including the earlier release, Strike Suit Zero) impressed me with their fantastic flight controls and an empowering transformation mechanic. In an instant, you can go from soaring through enemy ranks as a jet, to pummeling freighters and fighters with missiles as a stationary yet powerful mech suit, before reverting back and jetting back to safety. In other words, it's the best (unofficial) Macross game in existence.

Of course, the end of the year saw the release of two new consoles, and a new generation of games, but only one game was able to crack my list of favorites: Resogun. The challenging and flashy arcade shooter is a new take on the classic game Defender, and I was immediately taken in by its unorthodox use of voxels, which allow everything onscreen to crumble into bits and pieces before your eyes. That alone is an impressive trick, but it's the controls and gameplay that make Resogun truly great. It's an easy game to play, though difficult to master, and it's great to see how the stages are designed to push your command of the limited but deep toolset. Some will be content with simply beating the game, but with a highly competitive leaderboard, Resogun has a long tail, and I can't see myself walking away from it anytime soon.

Peter Brown's Top 10

Discussion

61 comments
Daisy IntheMix
Daisy IntheMix

Titan Quest is still better, even TorchLight 2 is still better. However, Diablo 3 was 'nice' :P

Vikram Singh
Vikram Singh

Diablo 3 and legend of zelda...if gta was on pc then it would be my choice BTW crappy list could be lot of better options you neglected

Daniel Gagné
Daniel Gagné

Good Top 10. I would personally switch GTA with AC4 Black Flag... And Strike Suit with FC3 Blood Dragon.

J Cruz Murillo
J Cruz Murillo

oh and about diablo 3 i never played the pc one but i agree with him if is the console one it was really fun to play

J Cruz Murillo
J Cruz Murillo

to all people that are saying why wasnt this game included ? well on top in the title it says peter brown top 10 , is not my top 10 or yours , is his , imagine how boring the world would be if everyone liked the same things ,

Jamal Grifen Callens
Jamal Grifen Callens

Well your editor needs to play more games because this list is garbage, how the hell is Diablo gonna make the list but The last of us and bioshock not make it.

David Chang
David Chang

The console version is pretty good, the pc version is decent, but 'decent' doesn't measure up to Diablo standards...

Leonid Steiner
Leonid Steiner

Whiny little gamerbrats who cant deal with someone having a different opinion is a joke. This is not Gamespots list, but Peter Brown's list. Please learn how to read. If Gamespot is a joke then why do you follow their page ?

Anthony Zombo
Anthony Zombo

must be console users. Hell, I play all consoles and PC. I know for a fact Diablo 3 is garbage unless the console version fixed all the issues, then I can understand why it's top 10.

Danny Cho
Danny Cho

i tripled my money soo i was fine with it lol. but to be honest D3's story wasn't great. first time playing it in normal was like wow this is pretty cool. after nightmare, it was like grind and grind to see that it had nothing left in inferno

Dennis Abell
Dennis Abell

So I've heard of 9 of these. Was Resogun that under the radar?

Dennis Abell
Dennis Abell

It's called one person's opinion. Deal with it.

Joel Conroy
Joel Conroy

were u a fan of the diablo franchise before hand?

Joel Conroy
Joel Conroy

diablo 3? someone has actually happy with that game?

Jeremy Steele
Jeremy Steele

only 2 of which i've ever played.. though Diablo 3 i played on PC only..

rhinemaiden
rhinemaiden

why'd he even give d3 a 8?  gave knack a 4? : /

thorn3000
thorn3000

D3? oh right you mean the console release...either way, Guacamelee rules...

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

Diablo III ?   No, Sorry.  Thats bull S&$.  The worst game Blizzard ever made with the biggest hype.  As I'm typing this as quickly as I can, I see the person directly below is saying the same thing.  The only way I could change my mind is if Blizzard made an Expansion for the fans & turned it into a good game.  The rest of your article is fine.  Thanks for a year of good reviews GameSpot. (genuine)

Gopstop2222
Gopstop2222

diablo 3? i mean realy diablo 3..? if you put diablo in top 10 or even top 100 you are idiot diablo 3 right now is still mega pure pile of biggest crap ever blizzard have made its still beta theres not even 50% features in they showed before release what they did show ros dont fix anything in diablo 3 either..u gonna play 1-2 weeks..get best items and farm faster for more items

Marz10
Marz10

Grrr I want Link between Worlds.  It looks super impressive.

Sushiglutton
Sushiglutton

Switch Diablo with TLOU and I'm aboard :)!

chocolate1325
chocolate1325

2 lists and no Last of Us. What is going on.

silversix_
silversix_

Poor list. Also my dad is more powerful than his.

Arcturuss
Arcturuss

diablo 3 on a top games list

0/10

djimenez0628
djimenez0628

Glad Fire Emblem got the respect it deserved

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

I agree with most of this list.   


My top 10 games of this year are:

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between World

Super Mario 3D World

Ni No Kuni

Fire Emblem: Awakening 

Grand Theft Auto 5

Path of Exile

The Last of Us

Tomb Raider

StarCraf 2: Heart of the Swarm

Pokemon X & Y

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@fredyellowone@shreddyz@skrypa  

Dude's referring to the console version of Diablo 3, which is quite different from its computer version. :/

Really, even if you hate some game so much, you ought to keep up with news concerning its IP anyway. Otherwise, you give the impression that you let your despise make you an ignorant person.

fredyellowone
fredyellowone

Diablo 3 is epic crap.  And it's also 2012.

Zero-regret
Zero-regret

Have you even the games that you are dissing if not go out and try them before you say that.

luky7dayz
luky7dayz

No sir it is still garbage. That and Resogun isn't too great either. I like most of these choices though

weakan
weakan

@drwhoiscool i know right, one of the most dissapointing games maybe not only this year><.

Zero-regret
Zero-regret

@Marz10 It is a great game a little on the short side but its worth it.

IncisionX
IncisionX

@Arcturuss Why so? It was a great game it just received bad press due to launch issues and from die hard Diablo fans, still a great game : )

The lack of TloU hurts though ^^

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

@Gelugon_baat@fredyellowone@shreddyz@skrypa I already got suckered into wasting £35 on Diablo 3 on the PC. Can't resell it or anything like that. There is no way in hell I'm going to pay for it again on the consoles. Even if it is apparently a better experience. 

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

@IncisionX@Arcturuss If you played Diablo 1 & 2 you would understand.  Part 3 was below par. Graphics should only play a factor in rating a game.