TOP 10 VIDEO GAMES of 2013 [Face-Off]: World War G.
Oh boy. Here comes our most anticipated “best of” list: the Top 10 Video Games of 2013. In a year that saw three of the highest rated games ever and the most explosive gaming event in recent memory (with thanks to “South Park”) — the Console Wars(!!) — this past year was an unquestionably awful-busy one for our thumbs.
So, whether you took the seemingly #winning side of Sony, remained true to constant back-peddler Microsoft, felt proud of your Wii-U (finally!) delivering superior games, or steered clear of such “next-gen” systems.. that didn’t always work on “Day One”, 2013 was a hell of a lot of fun. So, put the controller down, put the headset away, kick back, and feel free to “agree to disagree” with our resident gaming “Reverend” Joe Rivera, and yours truly, the “Monsignor” Travis Moody, as we explore one of the nuttiest years in video game history.
You can hate us now.
“Monsignor” Travis Moody: 10. Metro: Last Light (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3) – With the arrival of Next-Gen, sometimes we forget just how beautiful many of the games the previous generation systems had. Deep Silver’s Metro: Last Light, was no exception. This “European Sci-Fi Battlefield” was a terrific challenge, looked stunning, was often flat-out scary. Even all of the game’s many glitches and freezing — in the freezing temperatures, nonetheless — couldn’t keep this game off my list. What did halt this post-apocalyptic triumph from reaching a higher point, however, was the lack of a solid story DLC. In fact, the DLC was a complete disappointment. Ah, well; time for 4A to start working on the next-gen./(See more)
“Reverend” Joe Rivera: 10. Deadpool (360/PS3) – Ok, as much as I wanted this game to be great……it wasn’t. But, that didn’t mean that Wade Wilson’s long-awaited solo gaming debut was all that bad. The Merc with a Mouth was always one of my favorite Marvel anti-heroes. And just like what most reviews have said, unless you’re a die-hard Deadpool fan, you’re going to loathe this game. I mean, yes, the hack ‘n slash/shoot ‘em up gameplay is overall repetitive, and it is fucking short as hell. After vanquishing Sinister, then performing a Conan the Barbarianesque pose, I was like.. “THAT’S IT?!?!” So, the question is, why does Deadpool make it on my Top 10 list? I guess, even if the gameplay is repetitious, it still packs plenty of the over-the-top hilarity of the great Joe Kelly comic (although the game was written by Daniel Way, whose own run on ‘Pool was arguably just decent). And let’s not forget the humor. The jokes are hysterical. I mean, I nearly pissed my pants from all of Wade’s quips after slaughtering enemies. The game stays true to the comedic mercenary; and who better than voice him than the great Nolan North (don’t worry; there is more for Troy, coming up). It’s like that awesomely bad cult B-movie that you check out at midnight, where you shout random phrases, and throw stuff (hopefully not grenades and knives). So, if you expected an Arkham game with Deadpool……go eff yourself!/3.5 (out of 5) Bibles
Moody: 9. Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One) – If not exactly graphically (720 fps, bleh), Dead Rising 3 was indeed, otherwise, the game to show the true power of the Xbox One. I can bet you’ve never witnessed so many things on a video game screen before with, by hell, this much personality. Yes, the hundreds and thousands of zombies stalking the near empty streets of “Los Perdidos” are simply a thrill to kill. No worries, man; DR3‘s version of the undead don’t run, as they aren’t even aware they have a fire-blazing hatchet or police-issued gat in hand. Sorta. Kinda. Yup, scary. Good news is, you’ll have a bigger field day than Daryl Dixon chopping, sniping and steam-rolling over these things to size (over 300 weapons and combinations!). If going the serious “Walking Dead” route doesn’t sound like fun, Rising packs all the tongue-in-cheek zaniness of previous games (Afros, knight helmets, disturbed samurai elders). I even kissed a zombie to death with a fire-scorching Dragonhead…and I liked it! Had this Xbox One exclusive allowed me to play “jump in/jump out” local co-op (a.k.a. a real friend..), such as, say, Marvel Ultimate Alliance (or any of the LEGO games), DR3 could have dropped in the Top 5. Yes, not giving my roommate the option to play alongside the Monsignor in my story royally pissed me off. That, and some terrible speech animations aside, the extensive upgrade system, pulse-stopping battles, and quirky story make this zombie-slayer one of the most impressive next-gen titles at launch./4 Bibles
Joe: 9. Batman: Arkham Origins (360/PS3) – Though not exactly the strongest of the series (how’s about going back to Rocksteady, guys?), Origins‘ did feel like Arkham City all over again. Not entirely a bad thing! Hell, you know you play Arkham for the story (can’t go wrong with Christmas in Gotham), the bosses (to which many had the martial arts skills of Bruce, or higher), and of course, the voice acting (see this!). Origin stories are not easy to pull off either, but this prequel gets right to the point with a much darker tone, a taste of the more realistic Nolan-verse. The boss battles are an even greater challenge this time around, with each assassin offering their own unique fighting style. And as difficult as Deathstroke was to beat, the Rev never got frustrated; the challenge just motivated me to pwn that son-of-a-bitch! Finally, there’s the vocals. Roger Craig Smith steps in for Kevin Conroy, as the younger Batman. Though not nearly as memorable, you have to give Smith props for trying — even if you do hear a little bit of Christian Bale. Yet, despite some hefty big shoes to fill, (all right, here we go!) Troy Baker’s Joker is just phenomenal. I didn’t doubt him once, not even when fans were like “We want Mark Hamill!” Mr. Hamill will always be the Joker, but Troy nails it. Even if Baker’s Joker pays a lot of homage Hamill’s, he still puts his own little spin on the voice. Gave me chills. If he were brought back, I’m all for it./(See more)
Moody: 8. *TIE* FIFA ’14 (X1/PlayStation 4) / NBA 2K14 (X1/PS4) – These are two of the most impressive sports games ever. But, before I continue, there’s a reason why such wonderful games are lower than they could be: missing options. There’s no question the majority of third-party games that ported over to next-gen were rushed, and, the consequence was several missing options. FIFA ’14, easily the most remarkable — and ultimately addictive — of the franchise, is missing a tournament option. Well, duh! That’s because EA is bringing back FIFA World Cup, just in time for the global event which takes place this summer in Rio. That means fans will have to shell out $100-120 for 2 games. Haven’t you guys heard of DLC, EA? Still, the new FIFA‘s player and crowd animations, game physics, stadium selection, and array of league play options (such as this year’s excellent Ultimate Team) is superb. 2K Sports’ new NBA game, on the other hand, is the best-looking game on next-gen. Period. Almost as impressive as the frightening facial recognition is the gameplay itself: it’s awesome. Of course, like FIFA, it’s also missing quite a few things: custom arena music, the option to control multiple teams in MyGM (which erases the previous Association mode), etc. But, you know I love this game — despite some horrendous server problems — so read more on my raves in the following link, if you insist. (4.25 Bibles/See more)
Joe: 8. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – As a fan of the LEGO games I found this one to be the best. Playing this was like going back to my childhood and playing with my old action figures all over again, especially with the huge variety of heroes and villains to choose from — all with very different and useful abilities. What was hilarious about LEGO Marvel more than anything, perhaps, is that the open world gameplay made this feel more like Grand Theft LEGO. This is also the best Marvel co-op gamer since Ultimate Alliance. Oh, and we have North back as Deadpool and, of course, Bake as Hawkeye./(See More)
Moody: 7. INJUSTICE: Gods Among Us (360/PS3) – Let’s make this easy: if you love Mortal Kombat and you love DC Comics’ Superheroes (and you don’t exactly want to see them immersed, uh, other than the lone Scorpion DLC character, of course), then this fighter is a must buy. Injustice also contains the most captivating story mode for a fighter…ever. Fighting games aren’t supposed to have good story modes. Gee.. thanks, Injustice. Now fighting games aren’t even going to bother having a story mode, seeing how *cough* Killer Instinct *cough* they couldn’t possibly keep up… /See more)
Joe: 7. INJUSTICE: Gods Among Us (360/PS3) – No doubt, Monsignor, this was THE fighting game that we both had been waiting for (especially after the atrocity known as Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe). Each DC character has a bigger-than-life fighting style of well.. a god, whether it’s Harley Quinn’s Mallet Bomb or Batman back-flipping over the Batmobile as it smoothly runs you over. And I have to agree, this fighting game has, by far, the best story mode. I loved how this game had similarities to Superman: Red Son, where the Dark Knight leads an insurgency against the Man of Steel’s regime. Oh yeah, Baker just so happens to voice my favorite DC hero, Nightwing. Shocking!/4.25 Bibles
Moody: 6. Forza Motorsport 5 (X1) – It’s been one hell of a controversial year for video games. And has there been a more controversial game lately than Forza 5? First, the Xbox One exclusive lit up the Metacritic ratings with 9’s galore, as Turn 10 Studio’s beloved sim-racer was an instant showcase of what being next-gen was all about. Paint reflections left racers in awe, courses (albeit limited in comparison to past installments) appeared no less than magnificent, and the new X1 controller’s thumb triggers felt as real as it gets. The game zooms like the land’s finest Monte Carlo. The A.I. also builds off Forza 4‘s Drivatar system with sharper improvements in adapting your own racing personality; there’s no way onlookers could ever possibly know whether you were grinding gears against online competition or the computer. To top it all off, the “Top Gear” presentation is.. well.. top-notch. Then, what’s the issue?
Microtransactions. I’ve found that, with Forza 5, the less finicky/more patient players will be rewarded in the long-run. Actually, it’s not too long of a run that all. Complete a few sections of the lengthy career mode, and that Lambo, classic Mustang, or F1 Mclaren will be yours in no time. And having the option to design or select from a great number of car designs (i.e. Boba Fett, Miami Vice, Batmobiles) certainly adds to the game’s overall replayability. While, I do agree with regards to online racers that going against souped-up vehicles is a chore, and that the selections (especially the tracks) are bare-bones in comparison to its predecessor, Forza Motorsport 5 is still the technically most impressive game on the new consoles. Just breath./4.25 Bibles
Joe: 6. Rayman Legends (360/PS3/Wii U) – As someone who enjoyed the Rayman: Rabbids games, I knew what I was getting myself into: zany, ultimately bizarre, cartoon fun! With its entertaining co-op gameplay, it’s as if Ubisoft took the game Gauntlet and gave it an early ‘90s Nicktoons twist (“Ren & Stimpy”, “Rocko’s Modern Life”, you know, the good Nickelodeon years). The beautifully colorful graphics are mesmerizing (so far as making the current-gen version look “next”), and the game’s renditions of classic rock songs will make milk shoot out of your nose. Yes, that actually happened!/(See more)
Moody: 5. *TIE* Rayman Legends (360/PS3/Wii U) / Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (Xbox Live/PSN) – Rayman Legends is the first time I ever played a Rayman game, and I’ll probably hate myself forever for that. Or, maybe not, since it appears I began the franchise with the most beautiful platformer to date (and one of the best-looking current-gen games period). In addition to an outstanding soundtrack, you can bet there was no better way to spend time with a local “co-op” pal this year, either. Speaking of firsts, I’ve never had an Xbox Live game on my “best lists” before (okay, this side of an honorable mention for last year’s “Walking Dead” from Telltales), but Blood Dragon is the game Snake Plissken diehards have been waiting for their entire life. This neon pink “future prequel” to last year’s #3 GOTY, Far Cry 3, is a blast. And much like Reverend favorite SR4, Blood Dragon takes you back to ironic John Carpenter sci-fi/horror, in addition to being the most industry-conscious (revel in the Nintendo “cheese” of it all!) and funniest game of the year, too. (See link above/4.25 Bibles)
Joe: 5. The Last of Us (PS3) – What’s this? We actually have a PlayStation exclusive title on this list? Yes, believe it or not. Not only did your favorite Reverend play through the critically acclaimed survival horror game known as The Last of Us, I also got to playtest the game at Naughty Dog Studios months before its launch. This is absolutely the best storyline I’ve experienced from the survival horror genre. You play as Joel (voiced, obviously, by Troy Baker), a survivor in the worldwide infectious outbreak, as you team up with a young girl named Ellie, who is believed to have the immune system that may be the cure. For a shooter, there is a ton of strategy required in Last of Us too, as you must go stealth to take down the Infected (or hostile survivors), not to mention that any new situation you approach, your enemies will react differently. I also spent a great deal of time on the multiplayer portion, as well, where my teammates and I would work together on raiding supplies from the other team while trying to survive. No respawns here./4.5 Bibles
Moody: 4. Tomb Raider (360/PS3) – Here’s one game Troy wasn’t in! And that’s because our newest Lara, Camilla Luddington, added precious levity as the female answer to Mr. Baker. Had the finale boss battle been a tad longer — and required more than the click of a joystick — the new TR could have easily jumped another spot on my list. Still, Lara Craft Redux is easily the franchise’s most exciting iteration yet, with open world possibilities, tricky but never frustrating puzzles, and more intensity than an internship with Michael Bay. Though not everything about this new TR was perfect (i.e. it was fairly easy to take down the countless number of enemies, too many QTE moments, etc.), it’s still belongs in the must play category. And if you haven’t, no worries: the “Definitive Edition” is coming soon to next-gen./See more)
Joe: 4. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (360/Ps3) – I, for sure, thought that AC3 was going to be it for the series. Desmond dies (spoilers, fuck it), which was a nice little ending. Oh wait….there’s another one?!? And its taking us into the Golden Age of Piracy? Pirates are rogues themselves, so who better to become the assassins, anyway? By Hook or crook, the latest AC worked in spades. It was nice to see an assassin who didn’t have a specific allegiance, but more of the good/neutral, and side missions that were just as superior to the actual campaign. The story was also thankfully light-hearted this time around, with supporting characters like Blackbeard and Bartholomew Roberts who had much greater — and super fun — developed personalities. Just about everything in Black Flag was more likeable than previous installments, actually./4.6 Bibles
Moody: 3. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (X1/PS4) – You harpoon-scarred the shit out of that choice, Rev. Do you think this “surprise” hit of the year was to blame for Ubisoft’s postponing of Watch_Dogs? I’d like to think so. Black Flag simply went from “yet another Assassin’s Creed game” to open world discovery of the high seas — full of satisfying naval battles, improved combat, whale hunting, and deep-sea treasure hunting. This gem, my friends, had it all, including a kick-ass companion app for your tablet/smartphones. And, look, I’m not going to lie: AC4 does get bogged down within its own non-Animus ambition (exploring as Edward Kenway was far more exciting than lurking around and hacking into corporate office computers), but the high-water/island scenery was tremendous, especially for a port! If you didn’t care too much for last year’s game, don’t sleep on the beach with this one. (See more).
Joe: 3. Bioshock Infinite (360/PS3) – I was skeptical, at first, when I found out that Bioshock Infinite was not going to be a survival horror like its predecessors. Hell, it’s even questioned if Infinite even takes place in the same universe as Bioshock 1 and 2. The game sets in a utopia in the sky called, Columbia, and touches on many controversial issues such as American exceptionalism, the Boxer Rebellion, and racial segregation; certain stuff you don’t find in many games. And, with its new direction of steampunk elements and new-found Vigor powers, B.I. blew me away with the most mind-fucking story this gaming Rev have ever experienced. “So, Booker kills Comstock…..Oh wait, Booker IS Comstock?!……I’m so confused!” Another one for Troy — ping!/4.75 Bibles
Moody: 2. Bioshock Infinite (360/PS3) – Oh, yes, Joe. Bioshock Three indeed took “my breath awayyy…” Although Irrational Games made the more rational decision to go FPS on that ass (as opposed to the more survival/thriller-tinged vibes of the original class like you mentioned), that move made B.I. a shooting experience like none other. It certainly helped to have those insanely addictive Vigors, more outstanding voice work (ha — it’s Baker DeWitt!), and that damn astonishing ‘floating world’ to explore. Infinite also felt both old and new at the same time, never giving us more than a minute or two to breath in the clouds. Oh, Elizabeth.. isn’t she lovely? (And she helps, too!)/4.75 Bibles
Joe: 2. Saints Row IV (360/PS3) – Many people would call me crazy for putting this one at #2, but, screw those people; they clearly don’t know about the Rev’s passion for Saints Row. Go read my full review, too, if you haven’t. What more can be said, though, about an urban warfare-turned-alien invasion, where your protagonist goes from low-level street punk to the Motherfucking President of the United States? Murder, mayhem, superpowers, dubstep guns, Roddy Piper, and sing-a-longs to Paula Abdul and Biz Markie…that’s what. Oh yeah, and just added recently to SR4 was a DLC where Christmas required saving from an evil Santa Claus, all the while trying to get on the “Nice” list. This is how you make a Baker’s (Half) Dozen, bitches./4.8 Bibles
Moody: 1. Grand Theft Auto V (360/PS3) – With apologies — maybe severe apologies — to The Last of Us (I don’t own a PS3, sorry folks), this was the best video game of 2013. In fact, it might just be the best video game I’ve ever played. After all, I did honor GTA V a holier than hell 10 Bibles. Why? Oh, you weren’t one of the countless number of people responsible for making this game the fastest-selling of all time? A billion-plus later, the open world of Los Santos (yet another Southern Cal sandbox title) offered almost too much to do. You don’t need to follow the narrative — which is one of the most entertaining and cinematic ever, by the way — to enjoy this game. With Grand Theft Auto 5, you can do anything. Even with a few online issues and all (questionable servers, abundant assholes), awesome side missions, far more improved and even nastier shoot-outs, and glorious vehicle selection and customizations (GTA V could also be considered one of the best racing games of the year, too), this is absolutely the game dreams are made of./10 Bibles
–DmC: Devil May Cry (360/PS3) – I’m willing to bet a lot of gaming “experts” forgot this early year gem, but I didn’t. The reimagined DmC offered some of the finest, most fluid combat, blue-electric level environments, and some of the toughest boss battles ever. In any other year, DmC slides high up the Top 10. (See more)
–WWE 2K14 (360/PS4) – It sort of pains me to include this on the list because of 2K’s bullshit programming that allowed the corruption of my entire game save (all of my creations, Universe progression, DLC, etc. was lost with the click of a button). But, there’s no doubt 2K’s publishing also boosted the franchise in glorious ways. This wrassler also had the deepest roster of all time (including 100 Create-A-Wrestlers), had an amazing story mode (“30 Years of Wrestlemania”), and was no doubt an addictive royal rumble with your pals. WWE on next-gen can’t come soon enough (See more)
–Batman: Arkham Origins (360/PS3) – While the game didn’t quite live up to its lofty expectations, it was still visually impressive and packed tougher battles than any Arkham game previous. Even in the absence of legendary Bat-voice-actors Conroy & Hamill, I’ve got to agree with Joe: the younger voice team gets the job done. (See more)
–Splinter Cell: Blacklist (360/PS3) – Missed this one? Then click the link, kids. (See more)
–Call of Duty: Ghosts (X1/PS4) – You know what you’re getting with any COD, and this game was an obvious port. Still, if you’re in the minority of players like me who are in it for the campaign, then you’re going to have a hell of a lot of fun: choppers, tanks, deep-sea diving, snow wars, and even playing as a dog! In addition to the “greatest hits” story, the new Extinction mode is the franchise’s first foray into sci-fi — and it’s an exciting challenge all the way./3.5 Bibles
Joe: 1. Grand Theft Auto V (360/PS3) – No surprise here, Moody. If our gaming church gatherers haven’t already, our GTA V podcast — live from the rooftop of Los Santos, btw — is damn-near required. GTA V was yet another game where I feel, “What more can be said?” Hell, this is the Pulp Fiction of video games. It’s also a social satire of how superficial our society has become. The plot has intertwining stories, with characters (including supporting) that are arguably the most well-developed of any game in recent memory; so much so, that even if you found these fuckers to be crazy, pretentious, or even seriously dead wrong, you’d still find something to like about ’em. What separates GTA V from other sandbox games is that it also plays like a heist film where you are the director taking the story into, often several, different directions. The game does a bang-up job at capturing every known scenic spot of Los Angeles this side of Saddle Ranch, and turns them into its own world to create Los Santos. Although I mentioned this in the podcast, that if you live or have lived in LA, you’re definitely going to look at this game a lot differently than those who never experienced this grand city./5 Bibles
–Killer Instinct (X1) – The reason that Killer Instinct didn’t make it on the list was for two reasons: 1. I felt cheated when they offered only ONE character, and you had to purchase the rest. 2. The game seemed incomplete and rushed, with only six characters and waiting two months for a story mode, and pretty much making us pay for a demo, without calling it a demo. The gameplay was pretty damn good, but I felt that I didn’t get the entire game, above all./(See more)
–Nothing else. While 2013 was perfectly strong at the top (primarily with thanks to TB), I honestly didn’t care for too much else out there… Uh, time for a new system? You’re not kidding!
From GodHatesGeeks, we’d like to thank you for checking our Top 10 lists and wishing you all a very Happy and great New Year of (hopefully next-gen) gaming, friends!