Game of the Year 2013 continues in Day 2 with a wide range of categories! From Best Combat to Best Greenlight/Kickstarter Game, we honor some of the best this year had to offer. Don’t agree with our winners? Make sure to let us know your picks in the comments below!
We will be releasing five lists over the course of this week, each covering genres or facets of gaming that we think are important to our industry, culminating with the final “Game of the Year” decision. In the interest of full disclosure, we at Press Play have made the conscious choice to abstain from any “Best of Console” awards, as we would prefer not to encourage discussions we believe to be detrimental to the gaming community. With each ultimate choice, you can also see the individual choices of our three judges: Senior Producer Nick Hawryluk, and guest judges Chris Nagy and Peter Kendall from How Do I Jump. We have tried to be as impartial as possible, and in the interest of transparency, you can listen to our entire deliberations process in the embedded podcast as wellJump to another part of our Game of the Year 2013 series: GOTY 2013 HQ • Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3 • Part 4 • Part 5
In the free to play space, DOTA 2 is about as big as it gets. A Valve-developed game based on a framework created by Blizzard, this top-down strategy title had been barreling towards the top of the eSports scene since its beta began two years back. Post-release, DOTA 2 was a marvel of video game design and community inclusion. Tutorials were added to quickly get new players up to speed, and its in-engine streaming functionality was immensely helpful to prospective all-stars and casual fans alike. This was a dangerous game; your declaration of “I’ll just play one match” could transform into “I just spent all night in front of my computer” in the blink of an eye. At the same time, Valve has employed one of our all-time favorite F2P strategies, providing the entire game for free and only charging for superficial upgrades. DOTA 2 is something we wouldn’t mind turning into a national pastime, and that’s why it’s our Best Free to Play Game of 2013!EDITORS’ PICKS: Nick: Dota 2 Chris: Neverwinter
Pete: Dota 2
There was a magic to the rhythm of combat in BATTLEFIELD 4. At any given time, there were countless discrete skirmishes happening that somehow perfectly gelled into a larger warzone without feeling aimless. This concept is nothing new for the Battlefield franchise, but this particular entry took the series to its absolute highest point. It combined the destruction of the Bad Company series with the more hardcore fundamentals of traditional Battlefield in a way that must be experienced to be truly understood. We’ve had enough crazy stories from BATTLEFIELD 4 to last a lifetime, and it’s only been out for two months! We can’t wait to jump back into the fray, and that’s why BATTLEFIELD 4 wins our award for Best Combat of 2013!EDITORS’ PICKS: Nick: Battlefield 4 Chris: Zeno Clash II
Pete: Injustice: Gods Among Us
There were plenty of fantastic soundtracks this year filled with licensed music and inspired orchestral scores, but in the end nothing beats the bellowing of drunken sailors. One of the surest ways to our hearts in ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG was the inclusion of sea shanties. Unflinchingly diegetic and only playable while on your ship, the aural treatment of each anthem went out of its way to sound as raw and unrehearsed as possible. It was both awe-inspiring and deeply haunting to be at the helm of your ship on rough waters while your pirate crew chanted the chorus of “Leave Her Johnny,” or “Randy Dandy Oh.” If you ever wanted to be a pirate growing up, ASSASSIN’S CREED IV’s sea shanties will leave you with a huge grin, and they win our award for Best Soundtrack of 2013!EDITORS’ PICKS: Nick: Saints Row IV Chris: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Pete: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Sea Shanties)
Last year’s MARK OF THE NINJA did a fine job of transforming the stealth genre with its more approachable, yet still satisfying series of 2-dimensional puzzles. With MONACO: WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE, stealth took another interesting turn by, well… not focusing on stealth. The top-down, building plan aesthetic of MONACO’s levels and ensemble cast of characters made it feel a lot like a playable Ocean’s Eleven, and in co-op that feeling was only intensified. Navigating the game’s labyrinthine stages, local players were encouraged to point directly to the screen to illustrate their schemes. But you know what they say about the best laid plans… One can imagine how quickly a 4-player sneaking session could devolve into a series of alarms, and it’s how MONACO de-emphasised the typical punishment of getting caught that made it shine. By the end, encounters became more Benny Hill than Danny Ocean, and because MONACO made it just as much fun to botch a heist as it was to sneak through one, it’s our Best Stealth Game of 2013!EDITORS’ PICKS: Nick: The Last of Us Chris: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Typically, mods for popular video games are huge undertakings helmed by relatively small teams, but the “Falskaar” mod for THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM took this to a ridiculous extreme. Created solely by 19-year-old Alexander Velicky, this mod added an entire new continent to the already massive open-world title. Not only did this new land and its quests add over 20 hours of gameplay, but the mod was fully voiced and even has its own original score. Velicky has already landed a full-time position at Bungie after spending over 2,000 hours creating this opus, and we can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. “Falskaar” inspired us, and that’s why it’s our Best Mod of 2013!EDITORS’ PICKS: Nick: A Mod of Ice and Fire (Civilization V) Chris: Falskaar (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
Say what you will about DEAD SPACE 3‘s departure from survival horror, but the co-op mode had some pretty novel concepts behind it. Unfortunately however, some of the simpler cooperative puzzle elements fell outrageously flat. There was a real inconsistency in certain sections where the difficulty skyrocketed, leaving frustrated players to restart their encounters ad nauseam. Barring the puzzle solver from leaving his post while simultaneously denying him all healing abilities was not a good mix. DEAD SPACE 3′s co-op combat puzzles were a conspicuously low point in an otherwise competent experience, and that’s why they win the award for Most Frustrating Moment of 2013.EDITORS’ PICKS: Nick: Surgeon Simulator 2013 (the whole game) Chris: Dead Space 3 (Co-op Combat Puzzles)
Pete: Dead Space 3 (Co-op Combat Puzzles)
A roguelike with elements of persistent progression might sound like an oxymoron on paper, but Cellar Door Games’ ROGUE LEGACY managed to flawlessly walk the line. Utilizing air-tight platforming controls in a cruel-but-fair environment, fans of roguelikes had everything they could want for a skill-based experience. At the same time, the game’s clever depiction of lineage through persistent trait upgrades and family heirlooms gave gameplay just enough of a through-line to tease our item lust. We were always one playthrough away from something awesome in ROGUE LEGACY, which deftly solved the demoralizing effects of the roguelike genre without softening the blow enough to trivialize death. This was a banner year for Kickstarter and Greenlight releases, but ROGUE LEGACY managed to grab us like nothing else, making it our Best Greenlight/Kickstarter Game of 2013!EDITORS’ PICKS: Nick: Rogue Legacy Chris: Rogue Legacy
Pete: Papers, Please
The Game of the Year 2013 Awards were judged by Press Play Senior Producer Nick Hawryluk and guests Peter Kendall and Chris Nagy from How Do I Jump. Don’t think we made the right choices in a category? Let us know what you think should have won in the comments below!
Trophy from The Noun Project