You may have read our Rocket Recap articles, which covered off our picks of the best and most disappointing games for the first and second half of 2013, but this is it. Here are our picks for Rocket Chainsaw’s Game of the Year 2013.
While not as elaborate as our 2012 format (which you can read here for nostalgia and giggles), where we pooled our forum members’ picks and opinions, we’d like to think that we’re not all just mindless sheep and that we have a varied choice of games that are worthy of the prestigious title.
We’d also love to hear from you! What’s your game of the year for 2013?
Jarrod Mawson: The Wonderful 101
The Wonderful 101, for reasons seen in our Rocket Recap of the second half of 2013.
Adam Ghiggino: The Last of Us
There are a lot of reasons to love The Last of Us, which I’m sure my fellow writers will articulate in their own award-givings, so I’ll just talk about the most incredible part of this game for me – the tone. Naughty Dog’s bleak look at a future post massive population-cull is part Life After People and part Walking Dead, as plant life and animals reclaim our cities, while our dead stalk their streets as some of the scariest monsters I’ve seen in a game for a long time. Yet, the real threats come from the other remaining humans, fighting to suvive over the last shreds of the world. There is a lot of standard covershootbang as well as a fair few scripted Uncharted-style sequences, but as an experience taken overall, The Last of Us is hard to forget.
Anthony Capone: The Last of Us
Naughty Dog gave us more than 2013’s Game of the Year – The Last of Us arguably possess the most engaging story and characters seen in video games, period. Joel and Ellie’s adventure grips the player from start to finish, as they traverse a world gone mad, showing both the best and worst of humanity. The gameplay compliments the tale of survival extremely well, where every resource is scant and each step delivers another breathtaking scenario. The performances of the two lead actors should also be celebrated, as we forget that we are taking part in a work of fiction. The Last of Us is more than my favourite game of 2013, but one of the best interactive experiences of all time.
Tim Norman: Bioshock Infinite
So after saying what I said about The Last of Us in our Rocket Recap, I pick a linear first-person shooter as my game of the year. But whereas TLoU is rigid and robotic, Bioshock Infinite is expansive and thrilling. Something amazing happens around every corner, and the game is solid first-person shooting throughout.
But that’s not what lifts Bioshock Infinite above the crowd. 2013 saw a clutch of games that offered new approaches to storytelling in the medium, and it was at the forefront of this. The final hour is one of the most exhilarating rides of the year, throwing amazing twists and turns and bringing a well-crafted story together in an incredibly satisfying way.
For me, a game of the year should be one that can be looked back on in several years as something that changed video games, and Bioshock Infinite is going to be exactly that.
Matthew Dawe: The Last of Us
It’s odd to elect a title that didn’t feature in either of my Best of the Half-Year Awards (the other title being Tomb Raider), but The Last of Us inches out top spot thanks to the sheer number of hours I’ve dedicated to its Factions mode. I won’t harp on about The Last of Us’s campaign (I suspect by now most have formed their opinions on it), but for a gamer that never really delves into online competitive multiplayer, I’m delighted to say that Factions has held my attention since May this year.
The slow and methodical approach to each match is a welcome one which serves to encourage a level of teamwork and strategy not typically found in other online modes. Whether it’s crafting items, scrounging for supplies, or simply revealing your position by not crouching, Factions often leaves the player exposed; thus emphasising the need to stick together and exercise caution at every turn. Likewise, you’ll recoil and stumble upon taking damage, so reckless antics are quickly deterred in favour of getting the jump on your opponent wherever possible.
Moreover, each map is expertly designed to compliment Factions’ stealthy approach to combat, while subtle hints – the glint of a rifle scope, the light of a molotov, etc. – also help keep things balanced and prevents frustration from creeping in. If you’re looking for an online mode that offers a change of pace from the traditional CoD/Battlefield experience, Factions is definitely worth your time – and, again, that’s coming from one that plays games almost exclusively for single player.
Yes, really, nothing. Although I played a lot of great games this year, I feel like saying any of them were truly exceptional and stood out in my mind would be lying and the fact that I’ve struggled for days to think of a worthy candidate. It seems like a cop-out, but them’s the facts. However, special mentions go to Guacamelee, Anodyne, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. So perhaps in a sense, we can say that the 3DS was the console of the year.
Alex Mann: The Last of Us
This game was like a love letter to the (now) previous generation of gaming, perfecting all the techniques that had slowly been refined through the previous gens liftime. It mastered the cover system (gotta love them chest high walls), it perfectly combined cinematic sequences with action third person gaming, it showed off the power consoles have to create characters that are as realistic in their look and expressions as they are in their depth, and it proved to the masses that blockbuster games have the balls to go against the grain, not playing to traditional story arcs. The fact that the multiplayer was also so damn enjoyable is really just a bonus… a very welcome, albeit surprising bonus to say the least.