Peter Brown's Top 10 Games For 2013

Revisiting the past with one eye on the horizon.

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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.

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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.

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Zero-regret

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

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luky7dayz

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

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rhinemaiden

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

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thorn3000

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

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DrWhoIsCool

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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)

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weakan

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

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Gopstop2222

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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

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Marz10

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

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Zero-regret

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<< LINK REMOVED >> It is a great game a little on the short side but its worth it.

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Sushiglutton

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

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special-ops

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I like this list of games

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chocolate1325

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

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silversix_

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

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Arcturuss

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diablo 3 on a top games list

0/10

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IncisionX

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<< LINK REMOVED >> 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 ^^

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DrWhoIsCool

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> If you played Diablo 1 & 2 you would understand. Part 3 was below par. Graphics should only play a factor in rating a game.

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djimenez0628

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Glad Fire Emblem got the respect it deserved

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FlavethesonPE1

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Good list, thanks for sharing.

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GH05T-666

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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

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Gelugon_baat

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

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.
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Ayato_Kamina_1

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> 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.

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fredyellowone

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

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skrypa

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Brother: a tale of two sons is a really special game :)

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skrypa

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why is diablo 3 in the list?it is 2012, right?

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shreddyz

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<< LINK REMOVED >> LOL i know! I was like what the.... facepalm

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doc-brown

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doc-brown  Staff

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The console version! Sadly, there's no way to specify the platform within this list :(

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Gelugon_baat

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

You are not thorough with your trawling for low-scoring games. :P

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yeah_28

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<< LINK REMOVED >>if this is supposed to be a joke, take off Football Manager from the list, because its an excellent game, and more importantly, no other can compare itself to it.

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Ayato_Kamina_1

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Football Manager is the de facto best management game out there. However you've got to rate it in terms of improvements over the previous year. In that respect I find it difficult to put it in my top 10 as there's usually not a big enough of an improvement to warrant it.


Rating a game based on the previous years version is something that all sites should do. It would soon clear up the bogus 8-9 ratings that CoD or Madden get every year.

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yeah_28

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>that is true about rating it specifically compared to its previous entry, id like a part of the review to treat that as well, separated from the "normal" review.

I cant tell if its the best management game though, arent games like europa universalis considered management games as well? the word might not fit that much but the gameplay is very similar, you manage stuff, mostly with stats, numbers, etc.

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AndCarlsen

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<< LINK REMOVED >> You'd be surprised at how many people like Football Manager. It's a pretty decent game. I don't care about that franchise, but that game seems to do its job quite well.

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ohaifrancy

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<< LINK REMOVED >> write a blog about your top 10 and the community team might feature it!

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Gamerno66666

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<< LINK REMOVED >> yu forgot ride to hell

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