Login | Signup

Game of the Year 2013

2013: The Year In Review | Stuffed With Drama

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013, Year In Review

2013: The Year In Review | Stuffed With Drama

Farewell 2013! You've given us a right rollercoaster time of it over the last twelve months. This year of transition, in which we've seen one console generation give way to another, has certainly been an odd one. It's telling that the year kicked off with a tiny three-person outfit dropping one of 2013's most-played games in Temple Run 2 even as the staffers at one of the industry's biggest publishers locked up an abandoned building as THQ finally kicked the bucket.

It had been predicted that one of the industry's biggest companies wouldn't make the jump to next-gen.

Indie Uprising

2013: The Year In Review | Stuffed With Drama

2013 has been a year that's seen the storm of change break after rumblings over the past eighteen months or so. On the positive end, that means there's arguably never been a better time to be an independent game maker, with the means and avenues towards realising one's interactive vision more plentiful and accessible than ever before. Sony might have niftily transformed their freshly-found indie spirit into a nice marketing message for the PS4, but they spoke for the whole industry.

Once again, the PC has paved the way. It could be argued that it was only a matter of time before the console manufacturers woke up and realised that offering self-publishing opportunities to the wealth of independent creatives out there, but now we have actions rather than mere words. The exciting advent of open publishing on next-gen platforms is very much a work in progress and there's much to be done, but the wheels are turning at least. Even so, the PC still put consoles to shame with unique gems such as Papers, Please and The Stanley Parable, and where else might you have found a game like Gone Home? The Fullbright Company gave us one of the most important games of the year with their experiential marvel, once again underlining the undeniable fact that the term "game" is about as obsolete and archaic as can be.

Click here to read more...

The Underdogs of 2013 | Top Ten Games No-One Bought

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

The Underdogs of 2013 | Top Ten Games No-One Bought

2013 has been a cracking year with some big-name franchises firing on all cylinders, well-regarded studios at their very best, indie visionaries again making huge waves, and no shortage of quality gaming nourishment for our hungry souls.

But, as always, there have been many games -- large and small -- that have slipped under the radar. There are one or two characters in this list we would never have expected to find adorning a rundown of underdogs, but times are changing.

There are dozens that we could have included on this list (pretty much any Wii U or Vita game that released his year, to be honest), but here are ten of the best that we've plucked out of sales obscurity to champion as the year draws to a close.

Antichamber

The Underdogs of 2013 | Top Ten Games No-One Bought

Antichamber is amazing. And it was made by one person. One! If you liked Portal, if you're a fan of mind-bending games and enjoy a challenging experience, sort your life out and get on it.

Bravely Default

The Underdogs of 2013 | Top Ten Games No-One Bought

Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, and Pokemon took the popular plaudits for the 3DS this year, with good reason. But then, just before the end of 2013, Square quietly dropped the best RPG they've make in years onto the system.

Click here to read more...

Readers' Choice: Vote For Your Best Game Of 2013

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
community, Game of the Year 2013, Readers' Choice

Readers' Choice: Vote For Your Best Game Of 2013

That's us done for the year (almost), so now it's your turn. You can catch up on our shout for Game of the Year 2013 here, and be sure to cast your eyes over the rest of the awards and our personal Staff Picks if you haven't already, but now we want to hear from you.

As per usual, we've compiled an extensive list of the games that have featured thus far (not to mention one or two glaring omissions that failed to feature in our staff shortlists) and we'd love to see what our community thought was the best game to come along in 2013.

We'll keep the poll running for a week or so and announce the winner, along with a roundup of all of our other awards in the New Year.

Cast your votes ladies and gentlemen, for this year's Readers' Choice: Game of the Year Award 2013:


Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

And so it comes to this. After two weeks of Staff Picks and genre awards, we come to the ultimate showdown. When we look back, what will we say was the best game of 2013? What game best represents the quality we've seen over the past twelve months? The nominees below are all worthy, and all should be somewhere in your collection.

We've had stronger years, to be sure, but coming up with a shortlist and an eventual winner in 2013 for Game of the Year has still been tough. Not because of games lacking quality, but once again because there've been so many cracking games from which to choose.

The Nominees

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

"Animal Crossing: New Leaf is an utter delight, but then you knew that already. For all of the little tweaks and new treats, the core experience remains the same. But stepping into the role of mayor connects you better than ever before to this joyous world of camaraderie and generous spirit. New Leaf is a game that lets you fashion an identity in whatever manner you choose, and then share it with the world. It's the best game in the series so far."

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

"Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a wonderfully harmonious game. It's enormous, packed with more things to see and do than ever before, but Ubisoft have managed to make every little thing mean something in tangible, impactful terms. Black Flag is a wonderful piratical romp that manages to revive the stealthy focus of earlier series instalments, whilst delivering an outstanding naval sandbox, an excellent setting and story, and lashings of swashbuckling action. Unmissable."

Bioshock Infinite

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

"Bioshock Infinite's final moment is one that will leave the player anywhere between gobsmacked and muted, but regardless of how the game ends, its journey is a thoroughly engrossing rollercoaster ride in a crumbling, thought-provoking paradise with one of the finest AI companions ever created. Irrational strike gold yet again."

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Action / Adventure Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Action / Adventure Game

There were some seriously big hitters in the action-adventure genre this year, with long-running series like GTA and Assassin's Creed returning to searing form, a resurgent Lara Croft and Raiden staking claims for Game of the Year in their respective titles let alone Games of the Genre, and the likes of Capcom and Nintendo and Naughty Dog getting in on the act too. The swansong year for last-gen has yielded some cracking entries in this genre. Run your eyes down the shortlist below, and if you're missing some in your collection, rectify that as soon as possible.

The Nominees

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Action / Adventure Game

"Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a wonderfully harmonious game. It's enormous, packed with more things to see and do than ever before, but Ubisoft have managed to make every little thing mean something in tangible, impactful terms. Black Flag is a wonderful piratical romp that manages to revive the stealthy focus of earlier series instalments, whilst delivering an outstanding naval sandbox, an excellent setting and story, and lashings of swashbuckling action. Unmissable."

Dead Rising 3

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Action / Adventure Game

"Dead Rising 3 is the essential Xbox One launch title: a rampant, ridiculous and riotous sandbox that delivers countless hours of unapologetic unrestrained fun. Rather than a pristine graphical showcase, it's a bountiful content-rich slaughter smorgasbord that encourages us to get our hands dirty in obscenely silly ways."

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Shooter

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Shooter

When all the rest of the games are long gone, shooters will remain. The most enduring genre, and the most lucrative, there's nothing we like more apparently than shooting virtual things in the face, and there were plenty of games that gave us the opportunity in 2013.

The Nominees

Battlefield 4

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Shooter

"It hasn’t been a smooth launch for its multiplayer component, and the single player campaign still won’t win any awards, but the latest effort from DICE is certainly the best Battlefield experience we’ve seen for a quite a while. Thanks to a rather shiny Frostbite 3 engine, and an array of social features with Battlelog, Battlefield 4 on PC might well be one of the best multiplayer titles of the year."

Bioshock Infinite

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Shooter

"Bioshock Infinite's final moment is one that will leave the player anywhere between gobsmacked and muted, but regardless of how the game ends, its journey is a thoroughly engrossing rollercoaster ride in a crumbling, thought-provoking paradise with one of the finest AI companions ever created. Irrational strike gold yet again."

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best RPG

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best RPG

The Western RPG was pretty much absent this year, allowing a host of excellent titles out of Japan to really make their mark. The death of the JRPG has been rather over-exaggerated it seems. Even Final Fantasy managed too have a good year, eventually, though not good enough to make our list.

The Nominees

Bravely Default

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best RPG

"Bravely Default dares to refresh the classic Final Fantasy formula with quiet yet confident innovations across the board, resulting in one of the best JRPGs of 2013 and a fitting end to a barnstorming year for Nintendo's handheld."

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best RPG

A superb dungeon crawler that expertly blends the ancient and cutting-edge.Etrian Odyssey IV demands a great deal from its players, both in terms of retro-tough difficulty and fleshing out its menu-heavy world. However, for students of the old-school, a little effort will pay off in spectacular style.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Portable Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Portable Game

We came to the conclusion on the final Game Buzz of the year that this really has been the 3DS' year. Nintendo have just been pumping out the quality releases on their handheld, putting the claims of doomsday soothsayers for portable consoles to shame with some of the best games we've seen in the last decade across all platforms, let alone portable ones. Sony's Vita continues to quietly impress too, even if Sony themselves often appear to forget about their own machine. Though it's still waiting to really take off, we're yet to find anyone who's bought a Vita who regrets the decision.

The Nominees

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Portable Game

"Animal Crossing: New Leaf is an utter delight, but then you knew that already. For all of the little tweaks and new treats, the core experience remains the same. But stepping into the role of mayor connects you better than ever before to this joyous world of camaraderie and generous spirit. New Leaf is a game that lets you fashion an identity in whatever manner you choose, and then share it with the world. It's the best game in the series so far."

Bravely Default

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Portable Game

"Bravely Default dares to refresh the classic Final Fantasy formula with quiet yet confident innovations across the board, resulting in one of the best JRPGs of 2013 and a fitting end to a barnstorming year for Nintendo's handheld."

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Strategy Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Strategy Game

Oh it was a damn fine year for strategy. Relic returned with a long-awaited sequel to one of the best RTS titles of all time, Firaxis unleashed MechsCOM, Nintendo finally released one of their astounding first-party "launch" titles, and the 3DS got its best game yet.

The Nominees

Company of Heroes 2

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Strategy Game

"Company of Heroes 2 is a big, sprawling beast of a game, but it doesn't really evolve significantly from its predecessor until you take the game online. As such, it's not a game that will redefine the RTS genre, but rather one that'll keep the COH community happy for another half-decade with its impressive depth and robust challenges. Make no mistake though, it's very, very good."

Desktop Dungeons

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Strategy Game

"Desktop Dungeons is magnificent and terrifying; expertly mixing the most compelling parts of RPGs, roguelikes, puzzlers and browser games into a monstrously moreish and ferociously challenging package. I can't help but recommend this satisfying thief of time, but I'm so very sorry, dear reader. I may have just ruined your life, and chances are I won't be able to sleep tonight knowing that. Then again, I'll just be playing Desktop Dungeons anyway."

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

This generation has been good to us when it comes to the platform/puzzle genre, and this year has seen more invention, more innovation, and more entertainment than ever before. Rayman and Mario have returned firing on all cylinders, mind-bending indie darlings have taken the critical world by storm, and people are excited about the Vita again thanks to Media Molecule.

Antichamber

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Antichamber is amazing. It throws players into a world of Euclidean, mind-bending puzzles, delighting and purposefully frustrating, challenging players to think in weird and wonderful ways. It's enormously rewarding, hair-tearingly obscure in places, but there are some absolutely fantastic eureka moments to be had here.

Papers, Please

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

"It shouldn’t work, it shouldn’t be fun, but what Lucas Pope has crafted with Papers, Please is a pixelated triumph that blends point-and-click mechanics and a charming artstyle with increasingly fiendish observation puzzles. This is one indie game you should not miss. Glory to Arkstozka!"

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best PC Indie Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best PC Indie Game

Once again, the PC has been the place to be for indie games. Where else could you have stepped into the shoes of an Eastern-bloc border official or enjoyed a family story that, god forbid, was about everyday people and made a mockery of violence ad action and choice and consequence, or found a game like The Stanley Parable, which still somehow defies explanation. Just play it already.

So, yeah, 2013 was just like every other year, really -- a damn fine one for PC fans.

The Nominees

Antichamber

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best PC Indie Game

Antichamber is amazing. It throws players into a world of Euclidean, mind-bending puzzles, delighting and purposefully frustrating, challenging players to think in weird and wonderful ways. It's enormously rewarding, hair-tearingly obscure in places, but there are some absolutely fantastic eureka moments to be had here.

Desktop Dungeons

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best PC Indie Game

"Desktop Dungeons is magnificent and terrifying; expertly mixing the most compelling parts of RPGs, roguelikes, puzzlers and browser games into a monstrously moreish and ferociously challenging package. I can't help but recommend this satisfying thief of time, but I'm so very sorry, dear reader. I may have just ruined your life, and chances are I won't be able to sleep tonight knowing that. Then again, I'll just be playing Desktop Dungeons anyway."

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Console Marketplace Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Console Marketplace Game

It's been a good year for digital console downloads, with more and more publishers taking cues from the indie scene and gradually seeing the benefit in exploring mid-range titles that can still provide triple-A experiences at a significantly lower risk and cost. Hats of to Ubisoft, then, for having two games on this list, but so to will you find indie darlings, quirky niche titles, Defender's futuristic offspring, and loads and loads of zombies.

The Nominees

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Console Marketplace Game

"Another gaming experience that demands to be played all in one sitting,Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ends up being a triumph in storytelling through unconventional means. Conveying characters without words, co-operation without multiplayer, and daring to construct mechanically polarising game in the name of an emotional climax, Brothers shouldn't really work. But its final act stuns and satisfies and proves something to savour."

Call of Juarez: Guslinger

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Console Marketplace Game

"Here’s a game that refuses to be tied down by a digital-only release. The Western setting is a breath of fresh air to the usual Generistan sandy hellholes or grey corridors. Sometimes the aiming feels a little untrue, but the story entertains over at least five hours and the score-chasing combo fun of the arcade mode was a much better idea than tacked on multiplayer."

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Sports Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Sports Game

Hold on to your hats everybody, it's Best Yearly Sequel Award  2013 Edition! Yes, the sports category is filled with incremental sequels and evolution rather than revolution when it comes to innovation, but that doesn't mean it isn't stuffed with quality and value.

Especially, as it turns out, on next-gen systems.

The Nominees

FIFA 14

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Sports Game

EA Canada have pulled out all the stops once again to present a FIFA game that feels meaningfully different when compared to previous iterations, braving new ground with improved controls, expanded game modes (Career has never been better), and an emphasis on realism that has not been reached before. The impressive, addictive multiplayer offerings remain enticing, and on next-gen tech the game oozes aesthetic class.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Fighting Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Fighting Game

It's time for the award for the game that best allowed for a spot of face-smacking this year. Anarchy Reigns would have been in this list had we not been all over the import version last year and declared it the best fighting game of 2012. But it does at least give a few others a fighting chance (hurr!), and we finally got around to playing Persona 4 Arena -- don't worry wquach, it made the grade this year.

The Nominees

Divekick

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Fighting Game

It's easy to write Divekick off as a parody of fighting games, too simple in form to be taken seriously. But, on the contrary, if you subscribe to the notion that the genre has become bloated by overly complex combo systems, and needlessly stacked, overwrought special bars and abilities (and there are plenty who would), Divekick presents itself as a perfectly balanced fighter that forces players to think strategically and make the most of their limited movesets in order to achieve victory. It might not seem to take itself too seriously on the surface, but underneath the humorous veneer lies a beating heart of fighting purity.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Driving/Racing Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Driving/Racing Game

The racing games this year weren't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but quite frankly the line up below shows one thing very clearly indeed: Criterion, we love you, and we need you to be making Burnout games again. The industry needs you!

Also that Polyphony really ought to make the next-gen jump, and we need Mario Kart 8 like fish need water.

But as stated above, that doesn't mean this year's offerings were bad at all. In fact there was a decent variety of racing titles out there, especially if you owned more than one platform.

The Nominees

F1 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Driving/Racing Game

F1 2013 provides a very good formula one driving experience both to veterans and newcomers alike. Its gentle introduction, tweakable driving aids and different single and multiplayer modes mean there is something for everybody. However the similarity to its predecessor may mean that those having experience of F1 2012 won’t find enough here – despite the allure of classic cars and tracks – to tempt them away from what they know, and more importantly to part with their hard-earned cash.

Forza Motorsport V

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Driving/Racing Game

This graphically exquisite and mechanically impeccable racer shows off the Xbox One to advantage, but ends up slightly hamstrung by a lack of tracks and inconsiderate progression system. The all-important cars are more beautiful than ever, handle better than ever, yet some of the series' magic and generosity of spirit is gone. Quality is a kind of value, though, and Forza 5 oozes it from every hyper-detailed, lustrously reflective, painstakingly-simulated pore. A brilliant launch title, then, but needs work to become a true successor to Forza 4.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Multiplayer Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Multiplayer Game

Chucking a friend into proceedings can help any game, but we were hardly bereft of choice when it came to some quality multiplayer offerings this year as the list below demonstrates.

Battlefield 4

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Multiplayer Game

"It hasn’t been a smooth launch for its multiplayer component, and the single player campaign still won’t win any awards, but the latest effort from DICE is certainly the best Battlefield experience we’ve seen for a quite a while. Thanks to a rather shiny Frostbite 3 engine, and an array of social features with Battlelog, Battlefield 4 on PC might well be one of the best multiplayer titles of the year." - 8/10

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Multiplayer Game

Though something of a hot mess on last-gen console, Ghosts found its own on PS4 and Xbox One, delivering an impressively stacked content package, a ludicrously overblown singleplayer campaign (COD in spaaaace!), and a multiplayer component that fixed a number of prevailing issues, proved immediately accessible, and delivered more meaningful customisation options in terms of progression than ever before.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best New IP

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best New IP

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.

The Nominees

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best New IP

"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

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best New IP

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

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Plan

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Plan

What a year it's been! It's seems that every single day has brought with it a new surprising headline. But in amongst all of the PR gaffes, next-gen smack talk, overblown events, and the usual slew of industry gossip and controversy, some cracking games actually got released! Not only that, two new consoles also hit the shelves towards the year's end and blew us all away.

Ish.

Anyway, as the release river turns into a dirt valley and we prepare for the festive season, it's time to dish out some awards. We've already published our Staff Picks and held court in our final podcast of the season to hand out some less mainstream awards (Beard of the Year, anyone?) and you can find those links below. But you'll also find the timetable for the next few days. The listings will all become linkified (yep, we're inventing new words) as the articles go live, and they'll all have category votes so you can get involved, culminating in the big community vote for the Readers' Choice Game of the Year 2013 as December shuts up shop.

LET'S DO THIS!

Staff Picks

The Super Awesome Totally Official Unofficial Games Awards Podcast

Awards

So there it is, ladies and gents. Time to dust off that soapbox, fill up on some double-barrelled rhetoric, prepare your throwing knives of razor sharp wit and cogent argument. The 2013 Thunderdome is open and it's time for an opinionated free for all. It's looking like a chilly winter, so let's warm ourselves up with some fiery debates and work ourselves up into a hot mess.

Game Buzz Extra | Game of the Year Alternative Awards - 2013 Edition

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Game Buzz, Game of the Year 2013, Podcast

Game Buzz Extra | Game of the Year Alternative Awards - 2013 Edition

What were the Worst Games of 2013? Which games served up the finest beards? Who earned the biggest boos and the Probst-Kotick Award for Being Evil? What was the Most Embarrassing Moment of 2013? Who took home the Daikatana Award for Most Overhyped Bullsh*t AAA Game?

Find out all of the answers to all of these questions and more in our last podcast of the year. Thanks so much for listening in and supporting Game Buzz, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and we'll be back to beaming some sweary, opinionated, informative gaming chat in 2014.

Game Buzz Extra | The Awards - 2013 Edition. Recorded 20th December, 2013.

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be some instances of strong language.

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

Game Buzz Extra | Game of the Year Alternative Awards - 2013 Edition Game Buzz Extra | Game of the Year Alternative Awards - 2013 EditionGame Buzz Extra | Game of the Year Alternative Awards - 2013 EditionGame Buzz Extra | Game of the Year Alternative Awards - 2013 EditionGame Buzz Extra | Game of the Year Alternative Awards - 2013 Edition

Game of the Year 2013 | Staff Highlights – Chris Hyde

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year 2013 | Staff Highlights – Chris Hyde

It’s been a great year for videogames – one that has given us a lot of surprises. We’ve seen great new IPs launch, some fantastic indie newcomers, some great sequels, HD remakes and reimagining of old favourites. We’ve also had the joy and excitement of a brand new console generation, as well as being treated to stellar title on current gen systems, giving us plenty of choice. There are lots I could talk about, but below are my own personal high (and low) points of the year that was 2013.

Game of the Year | Wind Waker HD

Game of the Year 2013 | Staff Highlights – Chris Hyde

In a year full of new material, IPs, and even consoles, I may get scoffed at for recommending a decade old game, as my GOTY. But the fact of the matter is, Wind Waker HD is a lesson to the entire industry. In fact behind that cel-shaded exterior lies an entire lecture on how to do many things - note your strengths, accept your weakness, improve on greatness, and more importantly start to change people's perspectives on a company that's had a pretty shaky year in the console market (more later).

Wind Waker was fortunate in that it was a solid game to begin with - with a devout following of gamers back in the GameCube era. Back then it was a good game, but by no means the best game available on the system (I'll argue Metroid Prime with anyone). Not only did Nintendo do some careful analysis on the first installment, but, more importantly, they did something that is quite rare in this industry, and that was listening to feedback from it's fans. The shortcomings of the original were clear - too much sailing, too much faffing around at the end, and boy was it a simple game compared to others in the series.

So rather than just tarting the game up - a nice job of that they did too - Nintendo addressed each criticism in turn, giving us a quicker sail to be found, a more streamlined end game, and the deal-breaker that is Hero Mode. It sounds too simple, and almost a bit of a con, but what this ramp up in difficulty achieved was nothing short of a miracle. It didn't just succeed in making a 10 year old game relevant again, but it managed to make me feel 20 years younger. All of a sudden it was like playing my first Zelda game again, with all the challenge, minor tactics and side missions in full swing. Rather than the game simply being a checklist of the usual suspects from the Zelda universe - princess, tick, boomerang, tick, boss of dungeon with convenient yet over-elaborate weakness to dungeon item, tick - it made the journey mean something again. A Zelda game with real significant, something to be tackled, endured, challenged, and overall enjoyed.

As such the book on "How to do a HD remake" simply has a picture of Wind Waker HD on all it's pages, because not only did it put the game in HD - but it wasn't afraid of the "remake" part either. And it's a game that has started to get people's heads turning towards the Wii U - about a year later than would have been nice. It stands as a hopeful sign of things to come, serving as a long shot that one of gaming's most important developers are not quite out of this generation just yet.

Click here to read more...