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PixlBit's 2013 Games of the Year

Our staff's best games of 2013!

Number 2

The Last of Us

by Jon Lewis

The Last of Us is regarded as one of this year’s top tier experiences for a reason. From the moment that Sony and Naughty Dog unveiled this new IP, gamers – myself included – knew that they were in for a treat. What we got was just that, as many gamers got wrapped up in the gripping story and tense gameplay that combine to create some of the best moments gaming has to offer.

The narrative and character building were the stars of the experience. While the zombie apocalypse angle has been overdone lately, The Last of Us puts a much more realistic and explainable twist on the concept. The idea that a parasite like the Cordyceps really exists haunted me throughout the game as I explored areas and encountered enemies.

The main characters, Joel and Ellie were crafted with utmost mastery, playing off of each other in some pretty incredible ways. It’s great to see the characters evolve and it’s even better to see how the roles reverse by the end of the game. Naughty Dog’s skill at building a fantastic supporting cast also shines with characters like Bill whose tragic love story caught me off guard and Tess who set a great example for a strong and dominating female character.

These memorable characters help create a journey that leads up to one unforgettable climax. It’s simple, yet extremely powerful and effective. It was the launch pad for many discussions and much analysis among gamers. To this day, people still question the motives of certain characters and discuss the impact of the final, chilling lines.

The gameplay shines because of how well it ties into the dire situations it places the player in. Scarce ammo and resources call for carefully plotted attacks and stealthy tactics, especially on harder difficulties. Questions like, “Is it worth wasting this bullet to take this guy down?” or, “Could I possibly sneak by these enemies and save my ammo?” were common, but if all went sour, there was always a way out of a bad situation. These situations called for readjustment on the fly and making proper use of one’s surroundings.

The great gameplay, amazing narrative, breathtaking graphics, and a great, yet minimalist soundtrack kept The Last of Us in constant consideration for game of the year. The Last of Us is a great example of what a studio can do with a system like the PlayStation 3 at the end of its life cycle.

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Comments

TheMart22

01/15/2014 at 02:37 PM

It's interesting to see two Wii U exclusives on your list given the year the console has had overall. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come for the system as a whole. I'm not sure if i'll ever purchase a Wii U but i'm sure we'll see better sales this year. More competition is only ever a good thing for consumers.

Anyway, funnily enough and beside the point, I have played zero of your top 5 and I still thought it was a great year for new games.

transmet2033

01/15/2014 at 02:56 PM

Well, A Link Between Worlds was one of the best games that I played this year.  I devoured it over the course of a week.  I probably could have done it in a day but whenever I set my 3DS down for a minute my brother snatched it up.

The one other game that totally surprised me this year was Tearaway.  It was the best 3D platforming experience I have had since Super Mario Galaxy 2.(I haven't gotten around to playing 3D Land or World yet.) 

mothman

01/15/2014 at 03:02 PM

I like that 3 of the games on the list are Nintendo games.

It's interesting but not surprising. This community has a lot of gamers with no brand loyalty. We play games, not favourites.

As I've already said out of the new or newish consoles out there the Wii U is the only one that has any games I give a rat's rectum about.

Maybe if I ever have some spare cash again I'll get one.

Michael117

01/15/2014 at 03:14 PM

Pretty spicy list, I like it.

C.S.3590SquadLeader

01/15/2014 at 04:00 PM

Pretty cool list. I haven't played any of them yet, but I've already read a lot of good things. At the very least I'll snag a copy of A Link Between Worlds when I have the opportunity.

KnightDriver

01/15/2014 at 04:18 PM

So can't wait to play Pikmin 3.

daftman

01/15/2014 at 05:13 PM

Nice list! BioShock Infinite was my Game of the Year but I haven't played any of those others yet. Hoping to get all of them though. A Link Between Worlds sounds like a great choice. My 3DS was used almost constantly all year long and that will probably be a similar story this year.

The Last Ninja

01/15/2014 at 06:29 PM

It's great to see Zelda get some love after so many games in the series have been pushed aside due to "been there done that" syndrome. ALBW is the only game on your list that I've played, and it's incredible! The hype is true, people, so please get this game because Zelda needs more love!

Super Step Contributing Writer

01/15/2014 at 07:15 PM

Last of Us has been on almost every favorites list I've seen, but none of them actually taught me something by prompting a Wikipedia search for "cordyceps."

According to their "in popular culture" section of that article, those Pokemon crabs, Paras and Parasect, had a form of cordyceps on their backs. The source they used is bulbapedia.

And Nick's appraisal of Link Between Worlds and complaints against most modern 3D Zeldas read very similar to EgoRaptor (Aaron Hanson, Game Grump)'s appraisal of Link to the Past and complaints against most modern 3D Zeldas.

I guess I just got used to the 3D Zeldas, growing up with them, and don't mind them as much. 

jgusw

01/15/2014 at 07:54 PM

Nice.  I played A Link Between Worlds and Bioshock Infinite.  They are great games.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

01/15/2014 at 08:27 PM

dammit I haven't played any of these.  But I will soon, I promise. 

Justin Matkowski Staff Alumnus

01/15/2014 at 09:47 PM

This is a damn fine list! 2013 has been a great year all around, and I love that the awesome Nintendo titles of this year are getting some love! You can't get more disparate gaming experiences in terms of tone than The Last of Us and A Link Between Worlds, but they both sure as hell deserve their spots on this list.

asrealasitgets

01/15/2014 at 11:43 PM

Now this is a real award show! F U Polygon and giving Gone Home GOY? Cool

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