Five Favorite Games of 2013

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We’re already two weeks into 2014, but I wanted to talk about last year and my favorite games of 2013. First off, I’d like to stress the fact that I haven’t played every great game of 2013. Far from it actually. I skipped a lot of games and I don’t own a PS3, PS4, Vita or Xbox One. What I have here is a list of the 5 games I had the most fun with.

5. Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale (3DS)

This is a game I haven’t seen on any GOTY lists, but I loved it. It’s a short, simple game about growing up in a small Japanese village in the ’70s. You play as a young boy who spends a particular summer day exploring, solving mysteries and card battling with friends. And there are giant monsters that battle Japanese superheroes – can’t forget about them! The game does an amazing job of capturing the innocence of childhood and the magic of summer vacation. The visuals are beautiful – comparable in style to a Studio Ghibli film. It also has one of my favorite soundtracks of the year. I would love to see an extended sequel.

4. Tomb Raider (Xbox 360)

2012 – The Year of the Bow continues into 2013! I played the original Tomb Raider on the PS1 and haven’t touched the series since. I never cared enough to play the sequels, but for whatever reason, the reboot caught my eye. I beat this game during a weekend-long Redbox rental. It’s fast paced and over with quickly, but the crazy over-the-top action kept me entertained from beginning to end.

3. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

2013 – The Year of Luigi! After a strong case of New Super Mario Bros fatigue, I was happy to see them expand the 3D Land formula, which I really enjoyed. 3D World has wonderful game design, with new things thrown at you constantly. Even when you “finish” the game, it keeps on going. Meow!

2. Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360)

I’ve always enjoyed GTA games, but this one is a cut above the rest. Say what you will about GTA, but I’m a sucker for open world games. I couldn’t get enough of Los Santos – probably because I grew up in Los Angeles and loved the constant sense of deja vu. GTA V features the best characters in the series. The three character structure works really well and leads to some great interactions between everybody. Sure, GTA V isn’t without fault, but I couldn’t pull myself away from Los Santos.

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

Zelda is my all time favorite game series, but I’ve really disliked the last few games. Luckily, A Link Between Worlds brings Zelda back to its glory days. Although you revisit the same map as in A Link to the Past, this game sees the biggest shake up to the Zelda formula in years. They abandoned the recent trend of crippling hand-holding and let you get right into the action. Within minutes, I was swinging my sword and the entire world was open for exploration. And even though it’s a world I’ve explored before, the new wall-paper mechanic works so well that it breathed new life into exploring. To top things off, the soundtrack is amazing and I can’t wait to receive it as a Club Nintendo Platinum reward in 13 years (har har).

Runners Up – They didn’t make top 5, but I loved them all.

  • Fire Emblem: Awakening – Great strategy game. A must own for 3DS.
  • Gone Home – I usually don’t like video game stories, but this one was great. Short and sweet.
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – The environments were fun and varied, and the ending tied everything (including the controls) together nicely.
  • Saint’s Row IV – Saint’s Row is pure, stupid fun. The superpowers made other open world games seem slow and tame in comparison.
  • Pokemon X/Y – I’ve been playing Pokemon since Blue Version. This generation was the biggest leap forward the franchise has ever made – especially due to modern online features that make trading and battling what they should be.
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