Man was 2013 a great year for gaming. Esports has reached levels where a game like League of Legends will sell out the Staple Centers in just hours, release of two new consoles both selling over 3 million units by years end, release of ton of great games to close out the old generation, and the continue success of mobile games. I just want to talk about my personal five favorite games I got to play this year.
This year was my personal return to gaming as I found just a little more time to actually play games. College cut my free time and my first year working wasn't any easier. Even now I still don't find much free time to play all I games I would like to which is why you will see a good amount of my favorite games this year were short but amazing indie games.
This list is just my personal list of favorite games that I got to play this year in no particular order.
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V was an amazing game and definitely my favorite GTA game this console generation. GTA IV was good but just a little too serious even in its gameplay. While GTA V still had it’s moment where it tried to be more serious than I felt it should it still at least had really fun gameplay.
Switching between characters I thought was a great addition to the game since it made getting around the world so much easier. Plus the world felt just right for the city of Los Santos and Blaine County. Though I wish there was San Fierro and Las Venturas since I live in the Bay Area now and finally got experience Las Vegas as a 21 year old. Small gripes for still an amazing world.
I have always loved GTA games because of their style and attention to detail. It is really unique and creative experience even their marketing is something special. They reveal less content than other game companies during production than will start exploding with unique ads on buildings and subways. Perfect for their city style game and it is no surprise they became one of the best selling entertainment products across all mediums.
Proteus was a really unique game because personally I haven't ever played something like this before. The closest thing I would say is Journey which is probably my favorite game ever but Journey still felt had the goal of reaching the mountain top. Proteus feels like just a pure experience more than game.
The game focuses on very little but what it does focus on it does really well. The sense of mystery and discovery is portrayed very well. It felt like I woke up in a video game dream with all the sounds and pixels that reminds me of one. Being limited to just moving and looking it took those two senses and gave you something magical.
The one scene that sold me was when I saw my first shooting star. That moment of beauty in a world so simple truly was breath taking. There were plenty of other scenes that captured my amazement but I honestly can't talk about it since if you love simple beautiful experiences of discovery check it out for yourself. This game if you can even call it it that is definitely not for most people but those that love games like Journey should check this game out.
The Novelist was a game that when it was released perfectly captured a feeling that I going through myself. You are a spirit that is living inside a house that a family has decided to live in for the summer. As an outsider of their lives you try to discover more about them and try to influence their lives for the better.
The Novelist himself is struggling between finding time for his passion as career writer, the women he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, and son he helped bring into this world. Not easy choices by any measure since all are important to maintain a family. One needs to provide for a family but also needs to be their for them.
Ever since I decided to write content for websites I have had a lot less time to spend with the people I care about most in life. My friends were supportive and understanding but I could tell it changed some friendships. I understand how hard it is to find time for all the things that you love especially when what you love are all important to your life.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us is tied for my personal game of year. This game melded action and story telling so well. All the other games on this list either had an amazing story in a casual setting or an action packed game with an average story. The Last of Us managed to do both and do both so seamlessly.
The relationship between Ellie and Joel made for a great gameplay and storytelling experience. The relationship of relying on each other to survive was action packed, intense, and emotional. They use this connection even during action sequences in a way where I was worried about Ellie when something went wrong.
The Last of Us was the first game I got to review professionally and I am glad that is what I got to enter this amazing industry with. As this console generation ended I thought this game was the perfect game to end this amazing generation that melded technology and gaming to create experiences that could have only been done this generation.
So Gone Home was my other favorite game of the year. Gone Home was such a shock in terms of emotional experiences. This game has you actually feel like the character since the home you have gone to is one that you have never been. Your family has just moved into it too and nobody is home.
The game understands human nature by understanding how to use the setting to great effect. Going to a new home for the first time during a thunderstorm is down right creepy. They also use the setting of the being set during the 90s so well since you will see things like VHS tapes, cassettes, and of course Super Nintendo.
If there was one game I had to recommend to anyone it would be Gone Home. It is short and simple enough for anyone to play. Gone Home reminds me something only games can accomplish since this is a medium that you can not only interact with but one that will also react back.
Other Notable Mentions
The Stanley Parable - Man did this game mess with my mind and in a great way just a little too much though for my simple mind.
Battlefield 4 - I had a blast online once I got the hang of things and I was lucky enough not to have too much online troubles.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - I love Studio Ghibli so of course I loved the art and refreshing story of such an innocent little boy.