It hasn't exactly been the best year for brand new IPs in the industry, though we rather suspect that the honeymoon period of next-gen will make for a host of new properties in the New Year. However, a paucity of fresh material doesn't mean that there was none to speak of. We'd take quality over quantity any day of the week, and in that sense, 2013 delivered rather nicely.
"One of the best JRPGs of the last decade, Ni No Kuni is in many ways a love letter to a genre slowly fading away into obscurity. Brimming with imaginative aesthetics, and packing a hefty emotional punch or two in spite of its rather clichéd story, Level-5 and Studio Ghibli have worked wonders to whisk us away to another world. An utter triumph in roleplaying escapism in a game that manages to stand on the shoulders of the genre's best to deliver a modern classic." - 9/10
Puppeteer is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, particularly when it comes to the striking visual design. The script could perhaps have done with a little more editing, and there are a few little pacing issues along the way, but Kutaro's journey is an utterly charming and gloriously imaginative affair, framed in superlative fashion. - 8/10
"I've over-used the phrase "rough diamond" in years past, but now we have a new definition of the term. State Of Decay delivers one of the most authentic, compelling and enjoyable zombie experiences of recent years, and all for an eminently affordable budget price. Indeed, you'll completely forget that we're all supposed to be bored of zombies by now. Outstanding." - 8/10
"Tearaway presents a charming and sumptuously beautiful adventure that begs to be played with, prodded, poked and tilted. Though there's scope for future games to make more of Tearaway's clever ideas, an irrepressible sense of fun and budget price point seal the deal. It's a Christmas cracker for the Vita that shows off both the system's power and potential for its lesser-used input methods." - 8/10
"The Last of Us tells a cracking story, but it does so in such a heavy-handed way that it's difficult to feel totally engaged come the conclusion. Well paced, superbly written, and boasting some of the best visual and audio work of this generation, Naughty Dog have once again produced a fine game. This is linear blockbuster gaming at its best, and it dazzles the senses, even if the form disappoints the mind a little given the genre." - 8/10
"The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 grabs us by the throat, shakes us out and leaves us begging for more. A superb detective story with shocking twists, complex characters and meaningful choices galore, brought to life in Willingham's daring and imaginative Fables setting. Though we can't get the full measure of the series until we can experience it in its entirety, we suspect that this could be the start of something truly magnificent." - 9/10
"Platinum unleashed their full creative force on The Wonderful 101, holding nothing back, and the lunatic density of its layered gameplay systems sometimes threatens to overwhelm. Thankfully raucous fun factor and Kamiya's trademark tight design conspire to create a modern classic on Wii U, so long as you're willing to master it." - 8/10
Best New IP 2013 | The Last of Us
Whether or not you consider The Last of Us to be a genre-defining pillar of last-gen or not, one fact is unassailable: Naughty Dog's world-building -- the story, the characters, the vision, the execution -- is phenomenal. Not only is The Last of Us a technical masterpiece, allowing us to fully appreciate the moments of beauty in amongst the ugly morality and mortality of Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic world, but in Ellie we are given one of the most memorable and genuine characters in recent memory.
Naughty Dog frequently shocked and provoked, the Clickers proved terrifying, the action constantly tense. The Last of Us was rarely anything less than utterly, grimly compelling -- an engrossing swansong for the PS3 that scoffed in the face of those who said new IPs couldn't work at the tail end of a console generation.
But what about you, dear reader? What's your shout for Best New IP of 2013? Cast your votes below and let us know you thoughts in the comments box at the end.