Almost every year I ask myself, can I keep running this website on a hobby and part time basis? When 2013 came around it wasn’t any different. I thought, man – this thing is a lot of work and takes up a lot of time in my life that could be used differently and maybe even with a better purpose in the grand scheme of things.
But then we get all of these great games almost every month and on every platform that ignite a passion in me, which drives me forward and keeps me interested in this great industry. 2013 was one hell of a year and doing a Top 10 list may not even be enough to capture all of the games I loved playing this year. Here is my best shot at it!
#10 – Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PS3, 360, PC) – Boy did I love playing the original Far Cry 3 from Ubisoft that launched in December of 2012 but I did not see Blood Dragon coming! When Ubi dropped this stand-alone chunk of 1980s action movie homage on us, I was floored – they even brought back Michael Biehn as Sergeant Rex Power Colt. From the tutorial to the giant T-Rex’s neon colors, Blood Dragon was an amazing experience that can be had for $15 as a downloadable chunk of epicness that has to be experienced by shooter fans.
#9 – FIFA 14 (PS3, 360, PC, Xbox One, PS4) – One may say, FIFA comes out every year and every year its just an iteration of the previous game. Typically I may agree with this cynicism but when FIFA 14 hit on Next-Gen consoles, it was more than just an iteration. The amount of detail EA Sports put in this game is astonishing to us Football fanatics. The game added full sideline activities like players warming up or sitting on the bench as well as more authentic animations than we have ever seen. FIFA 14 is something I will play well into the next year.
#8 – GRID 2 (PS3, 360, PC) – When GRID released back in 2008 it was quite the game. I remember playing it for hours and days on end. I loved the career progression and teammate concept it introduced. GRID 2 was Codemasters’ attempt of making the next entry into the series an equally well designed and memorable experience. I loved progressing through the game and the online multiplayer challenges that will have you competing against other players every week.
#7 – Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (PS3, 360, PC, Xbox One, PS4) – A lot can be said about Assassin’s Creed III and its negative aspects (trust me there are MANY critics) but with Black Flag Ubisoft combined the best things from Far Cry 3 with the best parts of Assassin’s Creed III and made a truly fun, lasting and breathtaking game. Exploring the many cities and islands can easily take 60 hours away from your life and you will love it. Also, can you say Sea Shanties?
#6 – Metro: Last Light (PS3, 360, PC) – Metro 2033 was one of those games I will never forget. 4A Games set out to make the sequel, Metro: Last Light, another equally lasting memory. They succeeded. Last Light picks up right where 2033 left off and continues the post-apocalyptic tale of the Metro series. The game is beautiful and filled with character, it also features some streamlining and improved gunplay to make it more accessible to players.
#5 – Saints Row IV (PS3, 360, PC) – Another Deep Silver published game saved from the THQ implosion was Saints Row IV from developer Volition. Saints Row 3 was a series best that could only be eclipsed by the fourth entry into the series. The formula of taking the world of Saints Row 3 and have it invaded by an alien race who throw you into a simulation of this world paid off tenfold. Saints Row IV became an instant hit and having super powers like mega jumps, punches and gliding had me just messing around for hours before completing another one of the great loyalty missions.
#4 – Brothers A Tale of Two Sons (PS3, 360, PC) – What can I say about Brothers, this small downloadable game really managed to pull on my heart strings. A Tale of Two Sons is the journey of two brothers who seek a remedy to their fathers illness. On their way to find the potion to save their dad, the two come across various characters and locations that will forever be memorable. The game is set in a fantasy world and was unique in the way of how it is controlled which heavily plays into the ending of the game.
#3 – Gone Home (PC) – The Fullbright Company is comprised of a small group of people who worked on the BioShock 2 DLC Minerva’s Den which became very popular and maybe more popular than the game itself. With Gone Home this team created a story that has no shooting, no achievement hunting or collectibles. In Gone Home you play the eldest daughter who came home from a trip through Europe which had her return to an empty house filled with clues about her family. The game managed to keep me on my toes with subtleties alone. There was no on the nose clues but limited story beats that kept me going forward to find out just why my new house was empty with no one home.
#2 – BioShock Infinite (PS3, 360, PC) – Irrational Games had released the original BioShock in 2007 and it was almost 6 years after the release of that game, that the developer released their next game. Rumors of where the new title would take place ran rampant for years until the game was revealed in New York. It still took over a year before the game was actually released but it was worth the wait. BioShock Infinite not only delivered on its promise but also survived years of build up expectations and an ending I still think about today.
#1 – Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, 360) – Was it the obvious choice? Maybe, maybe not – but Rockstar Games has done it again and build an incredible world that is so authentic feeling that I want to return to it time and time again. GTA V did not only improve its story telling and gameplay but also introduced 3 playable characters for the first time in the series history. GTA V had me hooked and wanting to finish it but at the same time, holding out on it because I did not want it to end. Sure, there were typical GTA-like sequences like drive here, do this, etc but when you get such a rich and open world, it will come with some downsides. In the end, GTA V was the game I enjoyed most this year still talk about with friends at the water cooler.
I should mention that I have not yet managed to finish Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, and some of the other big games of the year and didn’t want to put them on this list. Also, the excellent first episodes of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead Season 2 is just not enough to make it on my list but from the looks of it will have a great shot to be on the 2014 Top 10!
Lastly, I would like to note my honorable mentions of 2014 which are F1 2013, Call of Juarez Gunslinger, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Need for Speed Rivals.