Joel's Top 5 Games of 2013

2013 is such a weird year to write about my favorite games. For all but one of my Top 5 games, the console in which I played these games is no longer hooked up. That just goes to show that developers have learned to develop for these older consoles and put out some truly remarkable and memorable experiences.  We can only hope it doesn’t take developers another seven years to put out the high quality of games that we got this year for the new consoles.

Favorite Game Released Before 2013, Played in 2013: Far Cry 3

I first played Far Cry 3 in late 2012 but didn’t care for it and quickly moved on. In the first few months of 2013 there weren’t a lot of games coming out so I went back and gave Far Cry 3 another shot. Wouldn’t you know it, I was hooked. Story wise Far Cry 3 is a mixed bag, but as a video game it is one of the best I’ve played in years. I was addicted to climbing radio towers, capturing enemy camps, and hunting. If they made a couple of expansion packs with just that I would hand over my credit card right now.

5. Tomb Raider

I would have to go back to the original Playstation days to talk about a Tomb Raider game I’ve enjoyed. Everything since hasn’t been my cup of tea until the latest reboot. Moving away from what was an action adventure game to a pure action game felt like the right move. I thoroughly enjoyed Tomb Raider from start to finish. Sure the story made little to no sense but it didn’t need to. The core mechanics were great and the set pieces even better. Tomb Raider was a fun easy action ride that remains one of the most memorable games I played in 2013.

4. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

I was among the minority last year who enjoyed Assassin’s Creed III. The highlight of course was the naval combat, but the rest of the game to me was still pretty great. Even for as much as I enjoyed AC3, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a return to greatness for the series. In a lot of ways ACIV learns from both past Assassin’s Creed games as well as its fellow Ubi developed game Far Cry 3. The core game is fun but the side stuff is addicting and hard to put down. I hope the teams working on Assassin’s Creed can learn from this entry and continue to innovate in the space because Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is an incredible game.

3. Super Mario 3D World

If you asked me in 2012 if I thought a Wii U game would be on my GOTY list in 2013 I would have laughed and said no. But, Super Mario 3D World is the first Wii U game for owners to rejoice over. It is so good. Mechanically it’s a Mario game and we all know that’s a formula that works. But the good news is the developers change the formula on you so often that you never know what else is going to come from it. If this list was which game I had the most fun with in 2013, the award would have gone to Super Mario 3D World.

2. Grand Theft Auto V

The anticipation leading into the release of Grand Theft Auto V was incredible. It had been five years since GTAIV, and many including myself weren’t sure on the reception a Grand Theft Auto game would have in 2013. Why did I ever doubt? Grand Theft Auto V was bigger and better in every way over its predecessor. The new heist mechanics were some of the most memorable video game moments of the year. Los Santos has never been my favorite GTA locale, but it proved to be the perfect space for this game. Grand Theft Auto V was a great game, oh and it’s the first game that was good enough for me to actually complete. That’s saying something right there.

1. The Last of Us

When I wrote about The Walking Dead last year as my game of the year, I never expected to once again be writing about a zombie game as my game of the year. The Last of Us was far and away the best game of 2013. Narratively it connected with me more than almost any game I’ve ever played. The complexity of not only the games main characters of Joel and Ellie but the world in which they lived is unparalleled. The Last of Us is a game that I still think about to this day. It is an incredible mix of deep storytelling and compelling gameplay that make it my easy pick for game of the year. The Last of Us is a game that I believe will help define Sony and Naughty Dog as they move forward into the new consoles.

Honorable Mention: NBA 2K14, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, The Walking Dead: 400 Days

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.