2013 was a huge year for gaming, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One officially ushering in the next console generation. Along with the two new consoles, there were plenty of great games spread out over consoles, handhelds, and PC, and Crunchyroll News' contributors are looking back on their favorites in part two of a three-part feature!
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance- There were still a few months left in 2013 when I declared Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance the best action game I played all year. That hasn't changed, and I look back on Platinum Games' short-but-sweet experience with nothing but fondness. The tag-team review Nate and I wrote around the time of its North American release pretty much says it all, and despite the fact that it's not a long game, it's the one I replayed most. More Raiden insanity sooner than later, please.
DmC: Devil May Cry- Screw what most people said about this game, especially those who judged it and hated it before it even hit stores. Dante's rebooted adventure was a blast, with white-hot action and an imaginatively-skewed take on our world. Come for the familiar Devil May Cry combo-stacking, stay for all the birds flipped in the general direction of pus-oozing demons.
Super Hexagon- Just thinking about this game gets my blood pumping, and that's something I both love and hate it for. There was a brief period in which I found myself in a serious scoring rivalry with Super Hexagon, with every extra second I strived for seeming like another insurmountable hurdle; until it wasn't, of course. That's the beauty of Terry Cavanagh's design. Super Hexagon has plenty of towering walls within, but perserverance eventually leaves them in the dust until that next section of dot-dashing frustration. I still pop it in from time to time, but it's going to take a while to properly shake the rust off these fingers.
Tomb Raider- Going back to the beginning of Lara Croft's development as a heroine was a smart movie. Tomb Raider ended up being one of the most polished and satisfying adventures of 2013, with every colossal setpiece seeming once again like it all has to be coming to an end. Flash forward a few fiery moments, however, and you realize your journey is far from over, and this game is positively stacked with content. The inclusion of throwaway multiplayer was another in a long line of cases arguing against the archaic "please don't trade in our game" strategy, but everything else was golden.
DuckTales Remastered- I love DuckTales on NES, but I really love DuckTales Remastered. WayForward may have tossed in tons of superfluous cutscenes, but they did add to the flavor that made each stage seem more like an episode of the TV series. What's truly important is they nailed the tight controls, and Jake "virt" Kaufman absolutely slayed it on the music, as usual. Now, please hear me loud and clear: Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers Remastered. Do it.
Fire Emblem: Awakening- The 3DS really came into its own in 2013 with hit after hit after hit, with Fire Emblem: Awakening leading the charge. It's great fun to find a super-hardcore SRPG that is just lenient enough to let everybody have fun, but gives absolutely no quarter to experienced players.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance- It was a strange and welcome surprise when Platinum Games brought back Metal Gear's most hated second-string super spy, Raiden, for another round of cyborg ninja craziness. This time, though, the focus was on precise, lightning-fast action that forced you to play differently from everything else in the hack-and-slash market. Not being able to block, but needing to parry and counter gave the combat an urgency that was sorely missing from every other action game where you use a sword.
The Last of Us- I had kind of a weird relationship with this, probably the most emotionally-affecting game of the year. The gameplay is familiar and serviceable--a third-person stealth actioner with basic shooter controls--but it's the atmosphere, the style, the heart that really makes it worth playing, and makes it stay with you long after you finish.
Grand Theft Auto V- The flagship sandbox game returned, letting gamers run wild in a scarily-faithful recreation of Los Angeles (and Compton... and Big Sur... and the Salton City area). It's always fun blasting around town, but my favorite part of the game has to be the white-knuckle heists. The characters also really stood out, especially Trevor--one of the most complex, interesting characters I've had the chance to play as.
Shin Megami Tensei IV- Many video games these days--especially RPGs--are about the cinematic experience, the storytelling, the world-building. While Shin Megami Tensei IV is no slouch in terms of making you a part of its world, it's easily more GAME than STORY, and it has a very satisfying difficulty to boot.
Injustice: Gods Among Us- Fighters took kind of a back seat in 2013, with only a select few new titles. While I loved Divekick, I got much more out of the surprisingly great Injustice: Gods Among Us, making "DC fighting game" something to look forward to instead of a foul insult. It may not be at the technical and competitive level of other fighters out there, but it hits that sweet spot between hardcore and welcoming-to-newcomers.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD- It's rare that we get two great Zelda games in one year, but I think an HD-upgraded redo of a ten-year-old classic counts. The Wind Waker is one of those games that never, ever gets old to me, joining Resident Evil 4, Super Metroid, Metal Gear Solid 3, and StarCraft on the sorta-annual replay list. Now its timeless visuals somehow look even better!
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds- Joseph and I have talked before about how much it sucks to have games that tell you where to go, what to do, what buttons to press, and how to win--A Link Between Worlds is the exact opposite of that. Fresh and inventive action and puzzles bring back the Legend of Zelda style that I grew up with, deviating (some might say regressing) from Ocarina of Time's now-standard pattern, yet giving a real sense of flexibility and freedom to the adventure.
Pokémon Y- I have a bad habit of constantly dropping Pokémon games, and talking about how I should finish them for years after the fact (and never doing it). I know it's taken a while, but I finally have a Pokémon game I'm regularly checking back on, even when I'm obsessing over something else (like oh, I dunno, A Link Between Worlds).
The Wonderful 101- The long-overdue bona fide reason to own a Wii U finally came around, and it was a ruthless, escalating series of epic battles featuring you and a crowd of a hundred superpowered heroes. Platinum gets action games like few other developers do: you don't need open worlds, collectibles, or even much of a story. What you need is action. Brilliantly-choreographed, non-stop action that requires precision, skill, and a willingness to pick your busted ass up off the floor and try again. In short, it's everything that got me into video games in the first place.
2013 titles I'll be checking out in 2014: Payday 2, XCOM: Enemy Within, Papers Please, and Super Mario 3D World.
The Last of Us- If I were in charge of picking Game of the Year, this is the one I'd pick. Of everything I played this year, The Last of Us took great care to not only entertain with zombie killing, but affect the player emotionally. From the very beginning, we knew this game was going to play dirty with our emotions, and it just never let up.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch- As a fan of the late-'90s JRPG, this game hit about as close to what Final Fantasy (and Kingdom Hearts) used to be better than anything that came out in the last gen. Add in all the Studio Ghibli elements and you get one of the best, most delightful RPGs ever. How can you not love a game that calls to mind Porco Rosso while giving you the opportunity to beat up on Mutta from The Cat Returns? It's impossible.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes- The LEGO franchise is one of my current favorites right now; it celebrates some of the more obsessable elements of pop culture with humor and goofiness. The puzzles aren't terribly difficult, but you can spend ages unlocking characters and goofing around. Any game that lets me play as Rocket Raccoon, Squirrel Girl, and Howard the Duck is aces.
Still in the mood for lists of gaming favorites? Check our three-part Farewell to Generation Seven feature, and be sure to come by tomorrow for the final part of CRN's 2013 Favorites, focusing on movies, TV, toys, and everything else that was great in 2013 entertainment!
What were your favorite games of 2013? Sound off in the comments!