Game of the Year Time!

This topic is locked from further discussion.

Posted by Setho10 (3175 posts) -

Hello to anyone who still takes the time to read my very occasional blog. I am still alive and kicking and I do still visit the site regularly, but my blogging days seem to sadly be mostly over. I have 12 more blogs to go to hit my 700th blog and about 8 months to go before I hit my 10th anniversary on the site. I have done some sort of Game of the Year blog every year for the past, I dunno, at least 5 years if not more. So I wanted to at least do something quickly this year.

I sadly didn't get a chance to play nearly as many games as usual this year. I ended up playing a lot of very lengthy games which limited the total number of games I could play. I spent well over 100 hours playing through most of both Dragon Age games. I spent an additional 30 hours playing most of Risen. I also spent a ton of time playing some turn based strategy games like Shogun 2, EU3, Warlock Master of the Arcane, X-Com, Settlers and a bunch of other games with no real end game. I did, though, manage to get through about a dozen games this year although only half actually came out this year. There are still a huge number of worthy games I haven't played, but with no next-gen console and a lengthy PC backlog I don't imagine I'll be getting to most of those games any time soon. So basically my list will be culled from PC, 360, and PS3 games.

I've thought a lot about format and such and basically I've decided a Top 4 list is in order. Why only 4? Because I only played 4 worthwhile games this year. Like I said, I didn't get through all that much. With each entry I'll also note any sort of superlative element, such as best graphics or best story and so on and so forth. Okay so here be the list.

4. DMC

BEST: Action Game, PC Performance

THOUGHTS: When it was announced, DMC earned the ire of fans for changing Dante's haircut and being made by British people. Luckily the British people did a good job and included an unlockable skin that let you make Dante look like the old, ugly, version if you wished. The secret, though, is that the new Dante was better written and better drawn than the old one. His story was more relatable, his world more original. On consoles the slow framerate caused some fans to lament the loss of the super smooth controls of the previous games, but the incredible PC port ran at a constant 60 fps at max settings in 1080p without fail. The platforming aspect of the game was vastly improved with the addition of chains that pulled Dante towards objects, or them towards him. A controllable and reliable camera helped with this. The combat may not have been as deep or as technical as DMC3 or DMC4 but it was far better than anything Ninja Theory had done before, and was at the very least comparable to the God of War series. I really don't have any flaws to mention. One might say that technically it is not as impressive as the best looking Unreal Engine 3 titles, but framerate is important here. You could also argue that the facial animation here maybe isn't as good as previous Ninja Theory games, and the same might be said about the story. Overall, though, DMC easily takes my prize as the best action game of the year, beating out Metal Gear Rising, Remember Me, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge and God of War Ascension.

3. Tomb Raider

BEST: Hair Physics

THOUGHTS: Tomb Raider was the other reboot released this year that had people worried. Like DMC, though, the worry was mostly for naught. Tomb Raider is a solid action adventure game. It combines Uncharted style set pieces with side missions, open areas, and RPG style upgrades. The story could use a bit of work but it isn't the misogynist mess people would have had you believe before its release. Unlike Uncharted's Nathan Drake, Laura reacts remorsefully when she has to butcher largely innocent people and animals. She feels pain and lets you know it. But Laura is far from weak. In fact she overcomes her initial insecurity and ends up rescuing all the big burly men who wanted to protect her. And she does all this while keeping her hair perfectly flowing, a physics defying feat that proves that she won't let little things like the laws of nature hold her down. While performance on consoles was a bit iffy, on PC Tomb Raider was a lovely looking game all around with solid if not spectacular performance and great art direction.

2. Bioshock Infinite

BEST: Graphics/Art, First Person Shooter, Use of a Song, Most Thought Provoking, Sequel

THOUGHTS: Bioshock Infinite was announced over three years before its eventual release. In those three years the hype for the game grew almost immeasurable. The end product was one of the best games released since the original, although it didn't quite live up to the quality of its predecessor. The greatest success of Infinite was its stunningly realized world. Rapture is one of the most iconic settings in a game, and Columbia managed to be every ounce its equal. The world was truly a thing of beauty, with a deep and layered backstory that had more social commentary than the rest of this year's AAA games combined. The solid Bioshock combat returned from the first game with the addition of the skyhook and Elizabeth. Ah yes, the classic damsel in distress. Elizabeth is quite literally a princess locked in a tower who the player is sent to rescue. But as it turns out, Elizabeth is far more powerful than either her captors or savior. Director/Writer Ken Levine takes Elizabeth and Booker's journey in an entirely unexpected direction and the conclusion has lead to some of the most fascinating discussions amongst gamers I have ever seen. With an incredible story and characters, a beautiful and awe inspiring setting, and solid gameplay vastly improved over the original, Bioshock Infinite is about as close as one can get to a perfect game without being there, and the heart warming scene which sees Booker and Elizabeth singing Will The Circle Be Unbroken proves to be one of the best scenes in gaming for quite a number of reasons.

1. The Last of Us

BEST: Game, Music/Score, Actor, Actress, Character, Story, Third Person Shooter, Original IP

THOUGHTS: It seems that the key to making a great game this year involves having Troy Baker play a middle aged man redeeming himself by rescuing a teen girl who ends up becoming something of a daughter figure to him. While Bioshock takes this premise in a more detached, thoughtful direction, Naughty Dog's The Last of Us goes straight for the emotional jugular. From the heartbreaking opening scene which may be the most powerful scene I have ever played in a game, to the pitch perfect conclusion, The Last of Us is a perfectly paced story filled with relatable, believable characters, written well and acted better. The outstanding motion capture technology allows the actors' smallest facial movement to be translated into the game. The result is maybe the best story a game has yet seen, or at least the best told. It isn't just the story that impresses, though. The Last Of Us is a masterful survival horror game that actually focuses on survival. Combat is brutal and death can come swiftly. The AI is some of the best in the business, flanking, making good use of cover, and generally behaving exactly how you would expect an actual person to behave in the situation. Meanwhile, the zombie portions are tense moments where even a small mistake can lead to a near instant death. All of these situations are set in levels that both look and feel believable. What's more, these levels allow you to experiment with multiple paths to the same objective. This is no Call of Duty. The Last of Us let's you choose how to get through each level.

I think in the end what really puts The Last of Us over the edge as not only the best game of the year, but one of the best games of all time is the attention to detail. It's very rare for a game to catch me by surprise these days but one moment in The Last of Us really stood out. In the scene Joel and Ellie are riding a horse onto an abandoned university campus. This isn't an on-rails situation mind you. You have free movement and multiple paths to your objective as usual. At one point I walked into a hallway with Ellie following on horse. I realized that I had made a wrong turn so I jumped up onto the horse to ride out. As I came to the doorway I realized that Joel was going to be too tall to make it through. I didn't have time to stop so I just kept riding, expecting the game to either stop me or for Joel to clip through the wall. What happened instead, though, blew my mind. Joel ducked. It doesn't sound like much, but this was the only time in the entire game where you road a horse, and the only hallway you could enter too short for Joel to get through. Not only that, there were some broken points in the wall that would have likely let me through if I had more carefully threaded my way through. No one would have taken Naughty Dog to task for not accounting for this one situation. But they did. And Joel ducked. It's the type of tiny, minor detail that raises The Last of Us from an excellent game to a classic one. If I have any critique of the game it would be the poor framerate. But considering how far The Last of Us is pushing the ancient PS3 hardware it's a tradeoff I can accept.

#1 Posted by c_rakestraw (14787 posts) -

Great list. Still need to get to work on my own. Got a few games I want to play first, which I really need to hurry up and get started on.

Devil May Cry was a big surprise for me. Everything leading up to its release did little to sell me on it (well, apart from the visuals; lot of cool looking levels in that game), not to mention I didn't enjoy my time with the first game on the PS2. Then I played the new one and, lo and behold, it's a fantastic game. Could have cut back on some of the swearing (bit too gratuitous for me), but with how much fun that combat was, it didn't matter if the game had any small blemishes. The nailed the most important part: making it fun. Still hoping they'll be able to make a sequel. Would love to see where they take the series from here.

#2 Posted by blamix99 (2575 posts) -

is there even a people's choice this year?

#3 Posted by sukraj (23975 posts) -

My game of the year is GTA V, then it's Tomb Raider, Dead Rising 3 and Metro Last Light.

#4 Posted by The_Last_Ride (74404 posts) -

@blamix99 said:

is there even a people's choice this year?

Nope, which is so stupid. They have had it all the years i have been here for the last 9 years

#5 Posted by moix123 (71 posts) -

@sukraj said:

My game of the year is GTA V, then it's Tomb Raider, Dead Rising 3 and Metro Last Light.

#6 Posted by Setho10 (3175 posts) -

@c_rakestraw: I think maybe the worst choice that game made from a marketing standpoint was to include the boss in the demo. Especially without context those were up there with some of the worst lines Dante has spoken. And yet the rest of the game doesn't have anywhere near the same level of foul mouthed attempts at humor. I honestly didn't even notice it outside of that one conversation. I have no idea why they decided to include that in the demo but I'm sure it did a great job of convincing a ton of people that they were justified in saying this new Dante was going to be poorly written.

@blamix99 said:

is there even a people's choice this year?

Sadly no. First year in quite a long time they haven't had one. At least a decade. I also kind of felt like their awards this year sacrificed depth for fancy web design. Their page looked like something from Polygon. They didn't have their worst of awards, nor awards for categories like story or music and so forth. This is honestly the most bare bones awards they have done on this site from an amount of content standpoint. I don't even think they wrote up reasons why they nominated each of their nominees. It's a shame. I hope next year they focus on the awards and not the page layout.

#7 Edited by c_rakestraw (14787 posts) -
@Setho10 said:

@c_rakestraw: I think maybe the worst choice that game made from a marketing standpoint was to include the boss in the demo. Especially without context those were up there with some of the worst lines Dante has spoken. And yet the rest of the game doesn't have anywhere near the same level of foul mouthed attempts at humor. I honestly didn't even notice it outside of that one conversation. I have no idea why they decided to include that in the demo but I'm sure it did a great job of convincing a ton of people that they were justified in saying this new Dante was going to be poorly written.

They were a lot heavier with the swearing in the first half than the second (seemed to mellow out as the game progressed), but yeah -- definitely a misguided move on their part. Of all the ways to introduce the character, that was by far the worst way of doing so.

#8 Posted by Setho10 (3175 posts) -

@c_rakestraw: I think they were trying to show character growth. Dante started out as a callous brat who swore because why not and by the second half of the game had matured into a much more relatable character. They definitely overdid it in some cases, but I think that was what they were going for.

#9 Posted by IndianaPwns39 (5037 posts) -

I'm happy to see DMC getting some love. It was released so early in the year I had assumed people would forget about it come GOTY time. I've seen it on several amateur and professional lists, which is great news. Hopefully we'll see a sequel.

#10 Posted by wizdom (10105 posts) -

I am still working on my game of the year list. I was very busy with school this year so I haven't played or watched as many games as i would have love to this year, but it is okay though.

#11 Posted by __Kaine__ (1305 posts) -

@The_Last_Ride said:

@blamix99 said:

is there even a people's choice this year?

Nope, which is so stupid. They have had it all the years i have been here for the last 9 years

Agreed.. I don't know.. it just doesn't seem complete without people's choice..

#12 Posted by azshorty2003 (4648 posts) -

@Setho10 said:
@blamix99 said:

is there even a people's choice this year?

Sadly no. First year in quite a long time they haven't had one. At least a decade. I also kind of felt like their awards this year sacrificed depth for fancy web design. Their page looked like something from Polygon. They didn't have their worst of awards, nor awards for categories like story or music and so forth. This is honestly the most bare bones awards they have done on this site from an amount of content standpoint. I don't even think they wrote up reasons why they nominated each of their nominees. It's a shame. I hope next year they focus on the awards and not the page layout.

Well that sucks. I kind of stopped coming to this site in the past few years. But I do make sure to come 2 times a year, for E3 to watch Everything, and to vote in the People's Choice awards. I've done it since '05 or '06.

And I absolutely HATE the new web design. Everything is gigantic, and the site is so resource heavy now, I can't even view it from my laptop, which is a few years and not powerful, or my slow work computer. I can't wait to see how it all chugs during E3.

#13 Posted by Setho10 (3175 posts) -

@azshorty2003: I don't mind the new design. It's clean and easy to navigate. And considering the back end of the site has been based on code written over 15 years ago until now, I have to imagine there are vast improvements under the hood. That said, I hope they remember that the quality of the site hangs just as much if not more on the quality of the content than its presentation. One thing people don't realize is that no one who initially built Gamespot still works on the site. A lot of the problems with site functionality up until now came from the fact that the engineers asked to fix things didn't build those things in the first place and had to go through tens of thousands of lines of code just to figure out how something was done. And over the years new features were just bolted onto the original site, meaning many core functionality problems simply couldn't be fixed without starting over from scratch. So that is why to redesign was done. It was just as much a back end rebuild as it was a front end rebuild. But I like the new front end.

#14 Posted by benleslie5 (7988 posts) -

Good luck on reaching towards your 700th blog, posted my 700th blog a long time ago and of course I need to do my blog on my favourite games for 2013 at one point by this month

#15 Edited by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

@Setho10 said:

@blamix99 said:

is there even a people's choice this year?

Sadly no. First year in quite a long time they haven't had one. At least a decade. I also kind of felt like their awards this year sacrificed depth for fancy web design. Their page looked like something from Polygon. They didn't have their worst of awards, nor awards for categories like story or music and so forth. This is honestly the most bare bones awards they have done on this site from an amount of content standpoint. I don't even think they wrote up reasons why they nominated each of their nominees. It's a shame. I hope next year they focus on the awards and not the page layout.

there is actually a "nominations special" video that's over an hour long where a few of the editors talk about every game they nominated. they focus more on the big budget games, but it is more discussion than what they've published in recent GotY hubs. the site is just getting more and more focused on video content. it reminds me of zelda's 25th anniversary when a bunch of GS editors wrote an article on one of their favorite games in the series and all the comments were people saying that gamespot was insulting zelda by not putting together a video instead. i'm guessing that that sort of reaction, video hits, and twitter integration are why more content is getting published in video form now.

#16 Posted by __Kaine__ (1305 posts) -

So um.. people's choice appeared out of thin air after editor's choice was completed.. but what about categories..? it's pretty lackluster without them..

#17 Edited by kingcrimson24 (493 posts) -

Switch Last of us and Bioshock infinite and that would be my list :D

#18 Posted by sepatunike (17 posts) -

The last of us.. awesome Its unrivaled presentation in particular sets the bar even higher than the Uncharted trilogy already did, and its writing, voice acting and layered gameplay combine to create what is very easily the game to beat for Game of the Year 2013.

#19 Posted by The_Last_Ride (74404 posts) -

Why the hell didn't gamespot have a people choice awards?

#20 Posted by 187umKILLAH (1414 posts) -

@The_Last_Ride said:

Why the hell didn't gamespot have a people choice awards?

They did, http://www.gamespot.com/articles/people-s-choice-for-game-of-the-year-2013/1100-6416813/

All be it a limited version with no Dragon's Crown, MGS: Revengance, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen and a few others, it would have been nice to be able to show some love to some of the less appreciated titles but it's less of a people's choice and more what Gamespot allow us to vote for... hence why I didn't vote. Also not sure why they didn't put a link on the main page for this.

#21 Posted by hrt_rulz01 (7128 posts) -

Bioshock Infinite wins GOTY for me, followed closely by Last of Us.

#22 Posted by nicecall (528 posts) -

for me i'd pick either Civ 5 Brave new world, or Tomb Raider, both games i played a lot and really liked. its funny people say Bioshock, i had the opposite feeling, it maybe the worst game i played all year.

#23 Posted by perason101 (7 posts) -

Great game. very exacting. I love this game.

#24 Edited by Planeforger (16295 posts) -

I played many of the big console titles this year, but strangely enough, my top ten for the year would mainly be full of indie and handheld titles.

I don't think Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, GTA V, etc etc entertained me anywhere near as much as Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, The Stanley Parable, Antichamber, and so on.

All up, it was a fantastic year for the underdogs.

#25 Posted by sukraj (23975 posts) -

@Planeforger said:

I played many of the big console titles this year, but strangely enough, my top ten for the year would mainly be full of indie and handheld titles.

I don't think Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, GTA V, etc etc entertained me anywhere near as much as Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, The Stanley Parable, Antichamber, and so on.

All up, it was a fantastic year for the underdogs.

meh chana gta v and tomb raider vely entertain yar got get good to yeah.

#26 Edited by ismart22 (16 posts) -

the best game of the year for me is far cry 3 and the worst is tomb raider, this game has lost its soul

__________________________________________________________________________________

acheter galaxy s5 nouveau ipad air

#27 Edited by Minishdriveby (10445 posts) -

I'm making a top 10 list for my wordpress. I'm still in deliberation about it and finishing some games last minute, but here are a couple of titles I'm considering for the list:

Killer is Dead
Rouge Legacy
Fire Emblem
The Swapper
Animal Crossing
AntiChamber
The Last of Us

I'm in the process of:

Legend of Zelda: ALBW
Papers Please
Brothers

I'm uncertain of whether or not to include GTAV and BioShock infinite. My love for them started falling apart as the games progressed. I