Garnet Lantern

A unique video game experience

My Favorite Games of 2013


Sure it’s almost a month since the end of 2013 and sure all the awards have already been handed out, but I wanted to chime in with my two cents on the best games of 2013. I went through all the games I played this year and picked out my five favorites of the year. These are the five games that made me excited to be a gamer in 2013.

State of Decay Xbox 360

State of Decay started to peak my interest about a week prior to its release. I had fallen in love with the DayZ mod the year prior, but was looking for something I could play sitting on my couch with a controller. Along with that I was also looking for a zombie game, like DayZ, that was all about survival. State of Decay met both of these criteria and I loved it for that.

Instead of forcing you through a story and battling mutated zombies that spit acid, your entire purpose in the game is to survive by scrounging through the city and avoiding zombies. The game did have some “special” zombie types but they never felt unreal or unnecessarily cheap.

After the initial introduction to the game you are free to do whatever you please and there was a lot to do. From having to maintain a food supply, keep morale high at your home base, randomly generated events, and the threat of losing a character permanently to death. State of Decay never had a shortage of things to do.

Sure the game wasn’t the most technically sound, with zombies glitching through walls and both driving and shooting controls being less than ideal, but the pure fun of clearing out a house and finding a huge supply of ammo or food was more than enough to mask the technical glitches.

Battlefield 4 PS4

Unfortunately when anyone says Battlefield 4 the first thing that pops into most people’s minds is the completely botched release. With players constantly erroring out of matches, a one shot kill glitch and having the flagship game mode “Conquest” unplayable for weeks, BF4’s launch across all systems was nothing short of a disaster.

If you took the time to be patient, I don’t blame you if you didn’t, and finally got to play the game online for a long period of time you would see there really is a beautiful game underneath all that crap. With hundreds of unlocks, some of the most enjoyable maps in any shooter and the ability to play how you want, Battlefield 4 was a great addition to the series.

If you want to lay high up on a mountain and snipe the entire match, you can. If you want to run around Rambo style with a giant machine gun, you can. And of course if you want to hop in a tank with your buddy and patrol base to base, you can. Throw in some of the best gunplay in recent memory and Battlefield 4 can be a game you will lose yourself in for hours on end… as long as you don’t error out.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Xbox 360, PS3 & Wii U

Injustice: Gods Among Us is one of the most enjoyable fighting games in recent memory. With a plethora of DC Comic book heroes and villains to fight as and against its no wonder this game was a hit.

Injustice does a great job of making each character feel unique and powerful but at the same time no one character feels overpowered. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses, but can easily beat any character on the game’s roster. Batman can walk right through Superman one match and turn around and lose to Catwoman in the next. In order to win and be successful the game forces you to learn combos and techniques.

Button mashing won’t get you very far against other players or even the computer on any difficulty higher than normal. Mastering a character’s moves is required to get into the real meat of the game, but Injustice does a great job of making this task easy.

Players can easily jump into a training match, and have access to a list of all the combos for any given character; it’s still a little bit of a chore but mastering a specific character’s combos is one of the more rewarding experiences in gaming. When you can finally jump into a match and string together combo after combo against another player you can’t help but smile.

Along with great fighting mechanics Injustice brought a very enjoyable story mode. The writers did a great job of involving all the playable characters into the story in a believable and interesting way. You will find yourself actually wanting to progress the story in order to see how the things play out and to see which DC character pops up next.

The Last of Us PS3

There really isn’t much more that can be said about The Last of Us that hasn’t already been said. The game nails almost every aspect of a game that you want. The story is outstanding and grabs you from the first moment, the graphics are gorgeous, the world begs to be explored, the characters are some of the deepest and most developed characters in gaming history, and to top it all off the gameplay is fun and rewarding. Naughty Dog killed it with The Last of Us!

We already knew Naughty Dog could tell us a great story and visually wow us, but the Uncharted series always lacked a little in the gaming department. With bland gun fights and good but not great platform gameplay the reason you kept coming back to the Uncharted series was for the characters and the story. This is where Naughty Dog took the biggest leap forward with The Last of Us.

No longer did the gameplay parts feel boring and forced like they did at times in the Uncharted  series, instead they felt enjoyable and fit perfectly. It was a lot of fun to progress your abilities and to find ways to preserve your ammo or to sneak around clickers instead of wasting a shiv.

The Last of Us felt less like a “playable movie” and more like an amazing game. By implementing more game mechanics and a pseudo leveling system the game felt more involved and gave more of a feeling of control than Naughty Dog’s prior games.

The Last of Us isn’t just one of the greatest games of 2013 its one of the greatest games ever.

Grand Theft Auto V Xbox 360 & PS3

2013 was a great year! Not only did we have one of the greatest games ever released, we had two of the greatest games ever released.

Grand Theft Auto V is a masterpiece right along with The Last of Us, but for a lot of different reasons. Where The Last of Us took you on an emotional journey and amazed you with its story and gameplay, GTA V just blew you away with the sheer amount of detail.

GTA V is how gamers wish developers would make games on a consistent basis. Rockstar nailed everything big: story, character development and gameplay, but took it to the next level. Instead of just making sure the big picture was perfect they made sure every square inch of their game was perfect and beautiful.

With flip flops actually flopping, cars running out of stalling out when their gas tanks were shot and hundreds of other minor details, Rockstar created the most living and breathing open world that has ever been created in games. Instead of feeling like the center of the universe the game made you feel like you were one of many in a big city. With constantly something new to be seen around every corner and random events occurring all around you, Los Santos was never boring.

Just like Naughty Dog we knew Rockstar could give us an amazing open world to explore and a story that was both entertaining and intriguing, but we wondered if GTA games would be constantly marred by subpar shooting and driving mechanics.

Almost as though Rockstar took this as a challenge they improved the mechanics in all areas. Making shooting fun and easy and driving smooth and responsive GTA V wasn’t just a big gorgeous sandbox to look at and play in, it was a lesson in how to make a great game.

So what do you think? What were your favorite games of 2013? Did you actually not enjoy any of these games? Are there games I should try from 2013? Let me know in the comments below.

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