Let’s face it; whenever December rolls around, the most common phrase on the tip of any video game fanatic’s tongue is ‘game of the year’. As passionate fans of the industry, the gaming public takes great stock in what is regarded as the best title of the year – often debating the topic with a fervor normally reserved for Presidential elections.
2013 has been an interesting year for video game fanatics. The past twelve months have brought us new consoles, a number of unforgettable games that will become gaming’s golden standard and some great gaming headlines. Now that December is upon us however, all that matters in the mind of most games is the Game of the Year candidates.
Talking about 2013’s GOTY is impossible without mentioning two games – Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us. Both games are already considered among the greatest video games of all time, have shattered sales records and changed the way the public looks at video games as a medium. Most of the gaming world is dead set that either GTAV or TLOU will be surefire candidates for Game of the Year.
While there is no denying that both Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us are absolutely tremendous video games, it feels that many are too quick to raise these two titles up as the be all end all of the year’s best games.
2013 has brought with it a handful of other amazing video games that deserve to have their names thrown into this year’s GOTY ring. Below are five games that everyone else seems to be ignoring in Game of the Year Discussions.
Papers, Please is the indie game darling that swept the PC world in August when it was released to the masses. Simple in premise, but unbelievably tense and immersive while playing, Papers, Please, puts players in the roll of an immigration inspector for the Communist state of Arstotzka.
In Papers, Please, the player is tasked with investigating the documentation and passports of those who wish to enter Arstotzka. Using their investigative skills, players decide who can and cannot enter the country. Tension runs high as the player attempts to deduce the authenticity of each person’s paperwork – lest they lose their job or life over a mistake.
Papers, Please seems an unlikely candidate for 2013’s GOTY, but examining various critical reviews of the game shows that it was almost unanimously loved by the critics and public alike. Simple in its presentation, yet thoroughly addicting and engaging, Papers, Please is a GOTY underdog that needs to be played to fully appreciate.
Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut:
Yes, you read that right, Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut should be considered for Game of the Year. The clunky, crazy and campy horror/mystery/slice-of-life title from Swery 65 saw a re-release on the PC and PS3 and is seen as either one of the greatest or worst games ever, depending on who you ask.
Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut, despite being undeniably rough around the edges, offers an utterly unforgettable video game experience to those who are willing to delve into its strange, Twin Peak-ian world. The game’s harrowing plot, unforgettable characters, and witty writing are unlike anything else found in the video game world.
Deadly Premonition might be one of the most polarizing video games ever made, but those who have spent time with the game will be quick to tell you just why it should be considered for GOTY.
Shin Megami Tensei: IV:
The Shin Megami Tensei franchise is one of gaming’s best examples of a cult phenomenon. The series has blended traditional JRPG elements with mature themes and writing, epic stories and unforgettable monster design to create games that sometimes defy definition.
2013’s Shin Megami Tensei: IV is the first mainline SMT title since the PlayStation 2’s hit Nocturne and managed to bring the series’ formula to new heights upon its July release.
Featuring a number of innovations to the tried and true SMT formula, a time-spanning plot, and gorgeous visuals, Shin Megami Tensei: IV is not only one of the best handheld titles of the year, but also one of 2013’s sleeper hits.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch:
The tag-team efforts of Level-5 and Studio Ghibli brought Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch to the gaming public this January, and was praised for its traditional elements, meaningful story and unique battle system.
Perhaps the best aspect of Ni No Kuni is the game’s unbelievable visuals. The vibrant color pallet and masterful animations brought the game’s world and narrative to life in a way that only Studio Ghibli can, making Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch feel almost as if it could jump off the screen at any time.
The game’s battle system earned praise from genre enthusiasts for its blend of both real time and traditional combat, wrapped neatly around a monster-raising system a la Pokémon. Ni No Kuni may at first look like it is geared towards children, but within the game’s opening minutes, it sweeps players of all ages into an unforgettable and moving story completely worthy of a few GOTY nods.
Fire Emblem: Awakening:
The Fire Emblem series has long been a staple of the SRPG world, and this year’s release of Fire Emblem: Awakening brought the franchise to gamers in a way that no other title had before.
Fire Emblem: Awakening’s deep gameplay and addicting elements hooked players in as they were quickly swept up by the game’s engaging storyline. Filled with great characters and more dramatic moments than a Shakespeare play, FE:A has the unique ability to truly make players care about the troops they fought along with.
Thanks to the game’s lengthy campaign and numerous side-missions, FE:A can take up a huge chunk of time for completionists. Luckily, those in for the long haul are treated to Awakening’s gorgeous visuals.
Fire Emblem: Awakening’s various features provided for one of the deepest – and entertaining – entries the Nintendo 3DS currently has to offer and is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable games of the year.[#ff entbuddha] “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”