A big year yields a bevy of great games.
While friendly and unfriendly debates over games will continue unabated, it's pretty clear that 2013 has been a big year for gaming. As such, singling out a Game of the Year has been messy. On the one hand, the consensus pick has nearly been set in stone for some time. On the other hand, the latter part of the year has been so busy and so ripe with gems that a shake-up was inevitable.
High-Def Digest Gaming's Game of the Year 2013
The Last of Us
My personal pick goes to FTL (PC), as no other game was as surprisingly engaging. Nevertheless, there was only one game to write its own yearlong hype check, and then proceed to cash it for near everyone who played it. The opening alone for 'The Last of Us' is enough to dwarf the best of its contemporaries. The game's art design and execution are so impressive that many seemed to double take at the PS3's latent output. And the game still has some to show us with continued multiplayer support and upcoming DLC, not to mention a possible PS4 port. The anticipation of seeing what that talent can do on the PS4 with a new 'Uncharted' is tough to bridle.
High-Def Digest Gaming's Downloadable Game of the Year 2013
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Again, 'FTL (PC)' is my personal choice with 'Guacamelee! (PS3/PS Vita/ PC)' not far off, but 'Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons' has won the hearts of our staff here and is more than worthy of being the Downloadable Game of the Year with its own familial journey to rival touching games of the recently blooming avant-garde variety.
High-Def Digest Gaming's Next-Generation System Game of the Year
There are some good games at the launch of the new systems, but none that absolutely need to be declared GOTY... at least not until next year. ('Assassin's Creed IV' is the likely go-to for now.)
High-Def Digest Gaming's PS3 Game of the Year
Naturally as overall GOTY, 'The Last of Us' is the PS3 GOTY as well.
High-Def Digest Gaming's 360 Game of the Year
'Grand Theft Auto V' would be the clear winner here, but its poor online experience and design (someday there will be more heists) means 'BioShock Infinite' can stand proud as the 360 Game of the Year. While not a perfect game, the alternate history made for some ground-breaking settings, and Elizabeth has to be one of the best escort style AI of any game.
High-Def Digest Gaming's PC Game of the Year
Metro: Last Light
Since multiple Game of the Year candidates are featured on the PC in their highest resolution iterations, picking a PC GOTY was cause for division. Even so, one game that our staff loved that kept resurfacing in discussion was, 'Metro: Last Light. The game just embraces its dour setting in a way that other big FPS titles didn't this year. The PC version is currently a go-to demo title for new PCs.
High-Def Digest Gaming's PS Vita Game of the Year
Ah the Vita. Here is one category that seemed completely locked down by the pretty and surprisingly fun 'Killzone Mercenary.' But then came Media Molecule's 'Tearaway,' a game that has enough heart and enough unique uses of the features found in the Vita to almost be a must-play title. Just try to play the game (with your face as the sun in sky) and not smile, I dare you.
High-Def Digest Gaming's Wii U Game of the Year
Super Mario 3D World
Another seemingly locked down category with 'Pikmin 3' out in front reviving a cult franchise. Of couse, 'Super Mario 3D World' was waiting in the wings, but how could yet another Mario game really be exciting? 1080p visuals don't hurt, but frankly where 'Super Mario Galaxy' and 'New Super Mario Bros.' both quickly wore out their welcome with cheap deaths, 'Super Mario 3D World' nearly took game of the year honors.
High-Def Digest Gaming's 3DS Game of the Year
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Wolrds
Once more Nintendo strikes for our nostalgia infected hearts. Where we were perfectly willing to go with 'Shin Megami Tensei: Soul Hackers' as cultish 3DS Game of the Year, Nintendo reaches back to the past to get hold of the 16-bit 'Legend of Zelda' secret sauce for 'The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.' Oh, and that 3DS design. That could be collectible system/collectible gaming item of the year even with meager 3DS tech residing within it.
High-Def Digest Gaming's Best Sports\Racing Game of the Year
Both 'NBA 2K14' and 'Forza 5' have everything necessary to be 5/5 games and GOTY genre titles, but both are living lessons in the pollution of the F2P model in $60 games. Let's hope the sequels right the ship and let the substantive aspects be front and center.
High-Def Digest Gaming's Multiplatform Game of the Year
There was one game that was so fun and so visually stellar, and even just recently reminded us how tough it is to find good co-op games for both gamers and non-gamers alike, that it can't be left out of GOTY consideration. Ironically, this game was once controversially a platform exclusive (even if only for a limited launch time). I'll be honest, I made up a category just for this game which will even be coming to the Xbox One and PS4 next year. Ubisoft just hit it out of the park with 'Rayman Legends' and the game will still be a blast to play in ten years, even if they do put out a new version every year. Here's to a future 'Super Turbo Rayman Legends New Teensies 10th Anniversary Edition Ultra Style'
High-Def Digest Gaming's Most Anticipated Game of 2014
(Personally this pick is too easy. 'Dark Souls II' in a landslide.) One game seems to have the whole staff determined to play it at one point (beta, release, post-release) or another and that is Bungie's cross generational 'Destiny.' Check back and see if makes its own Game of the Year rounds as there is no escaping 'Destiny.' A Happy New Year to all, the best games of 2014 are likely still under wraps.
Author: Brian Hoss