Well the year’s been over for quite a few days but I wanted to wait on writing my list of favorite games I played this year until after I got done playing a few more 2013 games that I had missed. That and procrastination, lots of procrastination. Now this list isn’t in any particular order of which I consider the best since I loved all the games here for different reasons, but I suppose you could consider the list in order of which I had the most fun playing this year. Fun Fact: I didn’t even realize this list was going to have ten games on it until I finished writing it and counted.

I’d like to quickly give some props to Monaco and Papers, Please for adding to the incredible amount of variety I got to experience this year. From Monaco’s unique style of co-op paired with that catchy music to Papers, Please turning what should be the most boring game idea ever into something genius; 2013 definitely had a lot of pleasant surprises.

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The Wolf Among Us

Despite my list not being in any sort of significant order I felt like putting this one at the top due to the fact that it technically isn’t finished yet. We only have the first episode to judge the game on but I loved every bit of it and can’t wait for the rest.

Favorite Moment: Giving Grendel the secret Beowulf handshake

Just Cause 2 Multiplayer

I know this isn’t technically a game but it came out in 2013 and has its own Steam page so that’s good enough for me. Don’t like it? Go make your own goddamn list then. I still can’t figure out whether the creators of this mod are wizards or made some unholy pact with Satan because being able to dogfight around Panau with hundreds of players without any sort of major lag is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. This team took the sheer insanity that was Just Cause 2, threw in a few game modes, added hundreds of players to it and when it was done cooking they pulled out the craziest multiplayer experience you’ll have all year. There’s absolutely NOTHING that compares to it right now and I can only hope that Just Cause 3 takes some cues from this.

Favorite Moment: Participating in a destruction derby event in a dome with 100+ players

Gunpoint

There’s something super satisfying about jumping really high in games; it’s just something I really enjoy in a game. Gunpoint not only gives me that but also throws in some funny dialogue choices, a neat story, shoes that can kick doors into enemies, being able to rewire a guard’s gun so it fires when I flick a light switch, and some super satisfying punching.

Favorite Moment: Kicking a door into a guard so it sends him flying out the window and jumping out of said window into another guard to punch him to death

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Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy has got to be the biggest surprise of the year for me. I was super iffy on whether or not I’d like it after seeing bullet hell inspired enemies in a video since I’m not the biggest fan of bullet hell games. I also wasn’t very sure how many of the mechanics were going to work and was super worried about the controls being super floaty in what looked like a game that required precision. After making a gut purchase I regretted waiting so long to play it because I just can’t stop reentering that damned castle.

Favorite Moment: Picking a class with dyslexia

Guacamelee!

Have you ever looked at just an image of a game and thought “Yea, I’m going to dig the hell out of this”, because that’s the reaction I had when I first saw Guacamelee. What surprised me with this game was how much I was going to love playing through it, how much depth the combo system actually had, and how fantastic the soundtrack would be. The only downsides I can think of with this game is that it could have used an extra world or two and its use of memes in the hub town was a bit lazy when they could’ve done something more tasteful. Despite those two minor issues I had this was still a phenomenal game.

Favorite Moment: Giving the game the finger after getting the orbs in the Tule Tree and Sierra Morena

The Last of Us

This might not be at the top of my list but that doesn’t mean I don’t think this isn’t the most well made game of the year. Everything about it is executed perfectly and if it wasn’t for the AI getting a bit wonky at times (for example, anytime Ellie got in view of an enemy while sneaking) I’d be hard pressed to find something wrong with the game. Despite not having the most original story around it balanced this with a phenomenal cast of characters voiced and acted by a very talented group of people. Did I mention how terrifying the clickers were? Their design and the sounds they made were horrifying, and not to mention the fact that their infection is an actual real thing. And how about that multiplayer huh? Everyone was expecting it to be tacked on and super half assed but it ended up being quite fun.

Favorite Moment: Leaving the sewers

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Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really expecting much from this game; less so since it took Ubisoft three years to give us AC3 and we’re getting the fourth game barely a year later. After the mediocre Revelations and the atrocious AC3 I was pretty much ready to drop the series and was ignoring anything Black Flag related all year. After hearing a surprising amount of positive talk for the game from people I know who don’t care much for the series I decided to pick the game up and 15 hours later I realized I hadn’t even touched the main story missions yet. Anything on land is the usual AC fluff, albeit better than it’s been in a while, but the naval battles have got me hooked. Sailing around the ocean in that gorgeous water with the shanties playing is the most fun I’ve had with this series since AC2. Everything about it from scoping out which ships in the distance you want to plunder first, to the customization is fantastic and I only hope Ubisoft gets their shit together to deliver us an actual proper pirate game.

Favorite Moment: Fighting off various enemy ships while shouting Master & Commander quotes at my TV

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

As someone who grew up watching westerns because the only thing cooler than a pirate is a cowboy I’m obviously going to pay attention when a western game comes out. It’s a real shame that there aren’t very many cowboy games or movies so when I can get my fix I pray it’s a good one which Gunslinger thankfully was. The controls were tight as hell, the story surprisingly engaging, the voice acting fantastic, the music perfect, and I loved the arcadey feel of the combat. The only issue I had with it was that it could have used a few more unreliable narrator moments and some more that happened in real time instead of going into a brief cutscene.

Favorite Moment: The O, Death sequence

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Anyone who knows me knows I have a weird obsession with the 80’s despite never being born in it. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I watched an unhealthy amount of 80’s movies/cartoons and listened to way too much music from the era while growing up, or maybe it’s because I absolutely love the insane vision of the future the 80’s had. No matter what it was, Blood Dragon reached me in a way no other shooter, let alone game, has done in a while by exploiting my love of amazing dumb 80’s action films. I was laughing my ass off at all the dumb references and had a big dumb grin on my face from start to finish.

There are very few games that I can say were a thrill to play; Blood Dragon had me pumped. I was finishing up the game with a friend over and when I got to that part of the final mission (you know the one) we both lost it hard at how ludicrous that segment was and we cheered even louder when the credits came. No other game besides the next one has given me an experience like that all year.

Favorite Moment: THAT FUCKING ENDING MAN!

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

The fact that this game got completed, let alone ended up being as good as it is despite its many complications during development is a miracle and further testament to Platinum’s skills. If they managed to put out a game this good in a rush I can’t even imagine what they could have done with more time. Rising combined my love of the series with Platinum’s skills in creating top-notch action games and while this might not be their deepest action title it’s still one of the best in the genre in a long time. Man, I don’t even know where to start with the stuff I loved about this game when everything about it is just so goddamn good from the insane boss fights to the cutting mechanic. The game is just straight up nuts. I just realized I don’t use the word ludicrous as much as I probably should since it’s a fantastic word to say so I’m going to use it again: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is the most ludicrous experience you’ll have with a game all year.

Favorite Moment: That hella rad fight against Senator Armstrong