Last year around Game of the Year time I had a clear cut set of games that I knew would be in my top five. This year it wasn't the same case. It took a lot of thought to really narrow down my favorite games I played this year and I think this year more than most I missed some of the bigger games. It's a bummer but it is what it is. No one can play everything. It's hard to deny that 2013 has been an exciting year, with new console launches and big changes in major franchises but what was more exciting to me is how much developers were able to squeeze out of their probable last attempts with the current generation. Something I think is well reflected in my list. So without further ado, my favorite games of 2013 follow! Favorite Game Released Before 2013, Played in 2013: WWE 13
Every single day, and I mean every single day, when I would get home from work or wake up in the morning, or even if I just had some time to kill I was playing at least a little bit of WWE 13'. Usually it was actually a lot rather than a little but it was my perfect time killer. I spend a lot of my life on the phone for different circumstances so it was a game I could easily play that wouldn't distract me but really it's just an amazing wrestling game. I've been a huge fan of wrestling and always been strongly against annualized games but with the WWE games it's the one franchise where I fall into the trap every year. Even now that WWE2K 14 is out I still jump back into 13 to continue where I left off there. It was the pinnacle of wrestling games at the time and while 14 defenitely made some improvements, it's hard to recapture that fire. I think WWE 13' will be my favorite wrestling game until their next generation attempt and even then I might still come back to 13 just for thrills.
5. Pokemon Y
Now I'm specifically saying Y because I never played X but I really hadn't played a Pokemon game seriously since the original Gold and Silver on Gameboy Color. I fell out for a long time, kind of feeling that the games were just getting a little out of control with how many Pokemon they had added but I really felt like the first 3DS game was a good place to jump back in. While the repetitive formula has never really bothered me I thought they did a great job of speeding up and streamlining the early hours of the game and made everything fairly easy to follow. I played so many hours of this game, and still continue to, that there was no way I could leave it off this list. Pokemon Y actually has a pretty dark story that was kind of crazy to me and really made this series feel different to me again. For that it completely deserves a spot on my list.
4. Lego Marvel Super Heroes
This game is just flat out, pure entertainment. The Marvel references are so deep and the gameplay is simple and fun. This game just came to me at the right moment because I had played a string of pretty dark and violent games that Lego Marvel was able to overcome with great comedy and just a bright and colorful palette that I really needed. This is the first Lego game that I plan to revisit and complete everything in since Lego Star Wars 3. While these games are aimed towards kids I feel like Lego Marvel is just aimed at anyone who loves the Marvel universe. With improved graphics and level design than previous Lego games, Playing this game felt less tedious and more fun than the last few Lego games to come out. I laughed harder than I have at a game in a long time and it was just so much fun to unlock the obscene amount of characters and try out all of their powers. While Lego Marvel Super Heroes is definitely the best Lego game, it may actually be the best super hero game. I still can't believe I gave a Lego game a perfect review!
3. Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider was a fantastic game of exploration and desperation that was unfortunately preceded by a whole lot of bad publicity before hand. With all of the ridiculous talk about this game due to some poor comments from the publicity team, Tomb Raider is actually a stand out game from early this year and easily one of my favorites. The story is entertaining ,though slightly fantastical at times, and the gameplay is solid. This was easily some of my favorite gun play in a third person shooter since the first two Max Payne games. Even though I really enjoyed playing through the story, Tomb Raider is a game I would play over and over just for the gameplay alone. If you skipped on this game for any reason I have to urge you to go back and give it a shot. Don't let some misplaced comments color your interpretation of a game as great as this one. I look forward to see what Tomb Raider 2 will bring us and hope it's just as exciting as this one.
2. The Last of Us
Some of the best voice acting of the year, one of the most powerful stories, and just some tense and deep emotions are running wild all over The Last of Us. This game honestly broke me after I finished. I wouldn't say it left me sad like The Walking Dead did, but I was in no hurry to revisit this game as much as I want to just based on the tension alone. Every encounter felt different and my play style was constantly evolving. This was the first game where I struggled for a while until I eventually just "got it" like I cracked a code. The Last of Us has some amazing potential as a franchise, though I wouldn't be disappointed if this was the beginning and end of it. The gameplay didn't feel perfect to me and there was a moment where I felt like I was stumbling through the game but eventually you pick up how the systems work and it becomes a whole other game. I really felt like Naughty Dog was pushing the limits of the PlayStation 3 with their last current generation game and they sure got a lot out of it. This felt like a true send off for the PlayStation 3 and it performed wonderfully.
1. Grand Theft Auto V
If at the beginning of the year you asked me what was the game I was the least interested in, next to Bioshock Infinite, it would have been Grand Theft Auto V. I HATED Grand Theft Auto IV and at this point I was a Saints Row guy all the way. While I still love the Saints Row games, Grand Theft Auto V quickly turned me around in just the first hour of the game. These were some of my favorite characters of the year, maybe the generation but that's jumping the gun. It was hilarious, it was dark, it was fun, the world of Grand Theft Auto V is humongous with a lot to explore, there is just so much crammed into this package. The multiplayer isn't much to brag about but the single player content is so extensive and impressive that I didn't even care about the multiplayer issues, though it's running fine now. Grand Theft Auto V proved to me that I can still enjoy a GTA game after all these years and one bad experience in their last attempt. They are always up with their pop culture references and it is always fun to dig into the secrets hidden in their worlds and I think GTA V is really the epitome of their work so far.
Honorable Mention: WWE 2K14, Splinter Cell Blacklist, Assassin's Creed 4, Star Command, Saints Row 4