Vidjagame Apocalypse 45 – Our Top 10 Games of 2013

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This year isn’t quite finished, but Vidjagame Apocalypse is until January 7, so here’s an extra-long, extra-late countdown of the VGA regulars’ 10 favorite games of 2013! After that, we touch on the meager crop of year-end new releases and discuss your picks for the worst game of the year (oh, and apologies in advance for the ear-splitting raccoon chorus. No, we’ve never heard of Auto-Tune).

Question of the Week

What’s your favorite game of 2013?

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Theme song by Matthew Joseph Payne. Break songs are Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto V: The Mighty American Dollar by Dan Bull. Instrumental version of Christmas Don’t Be Late by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., and performed by I Tre Scoiattoli Canterini. Haunting and beautiful New Releases Theme by David B. Cooper.

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39 thoughts on “Vidjagame Apocalypse 45 – Our Top 10 Games of 2013

  1. I’ve talked about how much I loved GTA 5 on the RadioRadar Podcast, so my second favourite game of 2013 was Lego Marvel Superheroes. I loved how dedicated Travelers Tales were with a brand that wasn’t a Warner Brothers Property. The amount of characters in the game would make a regular Henry Gilbert and Brett Elston cream their pants. Though the level design needs a make-over I still thought that this was the best Lego and Marvel Game of all time.

  2. The obvious answer for me is LoZ: A Link Between Worlds, and The Last of Us.
    But to be unconventional (read: obnoxiously douchey) I shall choose the Titanfall Demo at Gamescom. It rejuvenated my interest in the FPS genre after playing way too many stale games one after another (MW3, Syndicate), it has what other FPSs chose to ignore in the beautiful masterpiece Mirror’s Edge: MOTHERFUKING PARKOUR! Oh and personalized Robots.

    PS: for the love of everything that is holy please release the Raccon Song on iTunes!

  3. if you’re like me and are waiting till the Xmas break to play Gone Home, skip ahead to about 30 min when they start talking it up. it goes on for a while, and spoilers abound.

    and WHO are these people calling Brett a shill? Brett, we trust your word, this is a safe place, no need to defend yourself.

  4. I know it’s a cop out but MGS: Legacy collection. Never before has over-sized Raiden ass looked so good but in HD and Flaccid Snakes wrinkly old ass never disappoints.

  5. I know I should say something like bio shock infinite or last of us, but I still haven’t had a chance to play those yet. So discounting gta 5 (which everyone is going to answer with) my most addicting game of this year would be state of decay (basically dead rising, but if the main focus was actually on survival)

  6. Obvious answer: The Last of Us, for obvious reasons.

    But otherwise, for the dark horse answer, I think I’ll say Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. I bought my Wii U for this game back in March, put 250 hours into that game in a matter of weeks, and my life just revolved around it for that time. I haven’t played it in a while now, mostly because I burnt myself out and none of my friends play it (sad face 🙁 ) and I’m eagerly awaiting Capcom to announce Monster Hunter 4 for America. Get on it, Chris and Brett!

  7. My game of the year will go towards Tomb Raider. I have been a big fan of all of Crystal Dynamic’s Tomb Raider games and the new one they brought this year was an excellent re-interpretation of Lara Croft’s character. I choose this game over Bioshock Infinite which I have also played because I feel that this game will not be getting enough awards this year despite seeing it having nominations at this year’s VGX. It’s the first game that I have ever one hundred percented in terms of finding all collectibles and completing all of the hidden challenges. It was also a very beautiful looking game this late in the generation, especially when it came to some of those hidden tombs. I love this game enough that I will gladly buy it again for next-gen consoles in the recently announced enhanced edition coming to Xbox One and PS4 since it really struck that well.

  8. Fantastic episode, really like all of the Dan Bull love. As for QOTW, it’s a really close call between Bioshock Infinite and GTA V but I have to say GTA V because GTA Online hooked me for weeks.

  9. Best game of 2013? I can’t decide between Last of Us or Dota 2

    If we’re going by playtime logged? Then Dota 2.
    If we’re going by quality time spent with spouse? Then Last of Us.

    Sigh… Last of Us it is. #happywifehappylife

  10. Mine would be Metal Gear Rising. Platinum’s brand of insane, heart-pumping action and Metal Gear’s awesome cyborg ninja was a perfect combination of awesomeness. Not to mention the how satisfying it is to cut your foes to a hundred pieces. And seeing cutscenes and exposition take less than an hour and make sense, it also makes a good case that Kojima should’ve made good on his frequent promises and left the series a long time ago.

    I say it was more fit for the #9 spot in your list because in my opinion it was a better Devil May Cry than Devil May Cry. Its gameplay was much more fun and (I know I’m talking about Metal Gear) it had less cringeworthy dialogue. And its protagonist wasn’t a pathetic attempt by Japanese devs to make a character look Western and edgy

    1. To be fair to DmC, I’d consider them too different in how they work to really compare, even though I also prefer Rising. Also, I thought it’s more of a Ninja Gaiden mixed with Godhand than Devil May Cry.

  11. It’s a no contest for me, The Last of Us is easily the best game I’ve played this year, and possibly the best game of the entire generation for me. Top notch graphics, presentation, world building, seamless and effective mix of combat and stealth with interesting mechanics as the listen mode, the fact that it ditches modern hand-holding crutches like regenerating health and 2 weapon slots only.

    But most importantly, the characters are all fantastic, even the minor, secondary ones, and the story does beyond what appears to be something you’ve seen before in post-apocaliptic movies, into something much more dark and profound, daring to put players in a place they seldom find themselves into, and NOT giving them a choice to opt out of it actually works and makes it all the more meaningful.

    And thus, kinda sad this was on the 3rd place of the top 10 list you guys made… but than again, in a podcast hosted by rabid sandbox lover Mikel Reparaz, I can’t really be that surprised that the upper spots were taken by open world games, specially when both are from franchises he’s unapologetically a fan of 😛

  12. My game of the year would be Grand Theft Auto V. I almost hate to say it because it is such a cliche, and to have gamer cred I want to say some obscure game. But GTA was just amazing. Even the multiplayer is kind of awesome.

    A close second would be Bioshock Infinite, I loved the ending.

    I also enjoyed Last of Us, Ni No Kuni, Saints Row IV, Gears of War Judgement, Blood Dragon, Tomb Raider, Pokemon Y and A Link Between Worlds.

  13. Fire Emblem: Awakening for me! Its my first Fire Emblem game, and I became endlessly addicted (during exam time no less!). 3 playthroughs with different avatars (2 female and 1 male), trying to make equal use of all the characters, making sure I obtained all the characters, playing the DLC maps and of course, playing matchmaker and experimenting with lots of different husband/wife combinations (good lord, that last one was addictive!). I was also pretty happy with the new Casual setting, as I’m a casual n00b baby gamer.

  14. Excellent episode guys, one thing before my answer: It really baffles me to think that people actually harp on Brett, Chris, and Ann about their affiliation with their respective companies. Even when I don’t agree with you guys, I always assume you’re being completely honest.

    QOTW: My game of the year is undoubtedly, The Wonderful 101. It’s not only the best action game released this year, but the best Platinum game they’ve made so far. Once you get past the Pikmin like surface you’ll see the mechanics are just as challenging, fast paced, and rewarding as Bayonetta or Metal Gear Rising. The game is also longer than any other platinum game, it constantly flips genres and introduces new enemies. The story and cutscenes are just full of a saturday-morning-cartoon vibe that actually got me to care about the characters. I still get a little teary eyed every time I hear the main theme.

    1. I’d like to hear less of Brett saying that he can’t talk about Capcom things, or play Capcom music, because he works there. It’s one of the very few companies from our childhoods who are still around, and, while none of the Japanese companies are the forces they were back then, they still put out stuff worth noticing.

      Also, this is the second show I’ve heard Brett use “high-concept” wrong. It actually means the opposite of how he’s using it, something you can sum up in a pitch as “what if?” Lots of blockbuster type movies and games are high-concept, contrary to what you’d think high-concept would mean.

  15. I’m cheating a little bit because it was released in December of 2012 on PSN, but because I didn’t download it until 2013 and it led into me replaying the whole series, my favorite game of 2013 is Mass Effect. When I played Mass Effect 2 the first time around, that whole interactive comic didn’t really carry that much weight in the decisions you took. I ended up killing Wrex because in the way the comic presented you with that decision it seemed like the right thing to do, but after playing Mass Effect I realized how awesome of a character he is, and no way in hell was I going to let him die again. Finally getting to really play the whole series with a character I created from start to finish was the best experience I had in 2013.

  16. The obvious pick for “best” game of the year for me is The Last of Us because loved it from start to finish and that ending was just brilliant. Although I will say the game that I had the most fun with was Tomb Raider. The structure of the game was very metriodvania and every tool you had in the game felt great to use. Also the controls in general just felt spot on with every input I made feeling like it linked into the right animation. Can’t wait to see what they do with the next game

  17. If you guys were curious
    People picked the “worst” of notable games, theres no point in discussing actually bad games, its self evident why they suck.

  18. Pokemon X/Y. The 3DS kicked my ass this year, forcing Mario Kart 7, Luigi’s Mansion and Push/Crashmo upon me, but as a life long Pokemon fan, I can easily say I have no regrets having dropped 80 bucks for both versions of it at launch. After being disappointed by Black and White and their sequels, in my opinion, Pokemon X/Y are the best Pokemon games since HeartGold/Soulsilver and possibly ever, with the strongest, most timeless Pokemon designs since the second generation.

    PS I didn’t play a lot this year but I enjoyed Bioshock Infinite and Injustice: Gods Among Us, and I wasn’t a fan of either Tomb Raider, DmC or The Last of Us. Very excited to play Gone Home and Metal Gear Rising.

  19. the reason most people named arguably good to great games as their worst of the year is because 2013 was an exceptional year for games, and unless you have money to burn or are morbidly curious there was no excuse to play truly bad games this year.

    1. Agreed. Too many great games came out to really shell out money for something that didn’t look top-tier. So a lot of games that’d otherwise be a top release feels like a lesser title in comparison.

  20. The Last of Us, the way that I have described it to friends is that before The Last of Us there were only two things that made be choke up in the first 10 minutes. Finding Nemo and Up, now The Last of Us joins them with the right out of the gate gut punch in the feels but where the two Pixar films had happy endings, The Last of Us took the realistic end of surviving in a world that has been destroyed and left in ruin.

  21. As a serious history buff, Europa Universalis IV has been my most played game of the year and for good reason. Starting in the mid 15th-century you have the option of leading one of around a hundred different nations of varying sizes. Some might choose a familiar name like France, Portugal, or England… others might go for the wacky lone island nation of Ryukyu or the sub-saharan hell of the Kongo, further still the option to jump forward in time and play actual budding nations like the Netherlands or the United States increases the variety.

    From there you can pursue any variety of goals like standard warmongering, exploration or attempting to unite the Holy Roman Empire as Austria or create the UK as England or Spain as Castile, among other things.

    As the game spans over 350 years of the calendar there is a very grand strategy feeling about it. You can build the mightiest trade nation on the high seas, as I’ve done with Portugal, or simply try to survive as a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, awaiting the oncoming European explorers with their advanced technology and mighty weapons.

    In terms of the strategy genre, EUIV does everything you could ask for with the smallest micro management options and the grandest of scale for conquering, exploring, and colonizing. In terms of a historical game, you have the chance to recreate the true history of a nation, which some of the achievements want you to do (Discover America as Spain) or you can completely swerve off the rails and write history that would make even the strangest fiction writers to a double take (Conquer Europe as the Aztecs).

    The greatest thing about Paradox games is the open ended nature of the game, there really is no true goal other than improving your overall score. And EUIV has helped to introduce me to Crusader Kings II, which is a whole different level of absurdity and intrigue (have you ever plotted to have you child assassinated to keep them from ascending to your throne?).

  22. QOTW: My GOTY was Tomb Raider. Nothing else this year, even Bioshock Infinite, surprised me and kept me so glued to my controller until it was over. I had an absolute blast with it and so many of it’s awesome set-pieces linger with me to this day.

  23. Does Spelunky count? I know it originally came out on the Xbox 360 and all, but I don’t own one. The original freeware title is easily one of my most-played games of this generation, and I’ve been playing through the newly updated version at least twice a week for the past few months.

    If it doesn’t count, then I’ll go with DotA 2. After the horrible, horrible experience of League of Lesbians, I told myself to never play a game of this type again. Then all my friends got into DotA 2 and pressured me into playing it too. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had with an online multiplayer game outside of Garry’s Mod and TTT.

  24. this was a nice long episode and i appreciate the “chipmunk song/christmas don’t be late” parody. well done.
    the whole episode in fact,what a way to end the year.

  25. I have two games that hooked me this year, one was a mobile game called pocket mine that my four year old and I played for hours. It is sorta like dig dug crossed with super mother load and very addicting. For grown up time Diablo 3 is one of the greastest games ever made for ps3. As soon as I started playing I remembered why the 2nd one owned my home computer. I cant wait for the ps4 version to come out. I hope you all had a great holiday and just a suggestion, but on the episodes where Anne cant make it you should have Mikes wife on. A female perspective seems to keep you guys on track.

  26. Favorite game: “Last of Us”. Excellent in all regards, and I can’t remember the last time a game (or other mediums) shook myself that much emotionally. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a tech powerhouse as well.

  27. Going by the game I played the most this year, I’d go with Injustice: Gods Among Us that ever since 2011’s Mortal Kombat cleaned the slate following Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, the latter half deserved a second shot to and it delivered offering a fun fighting game with great spectacle but also solid mechanics, one of the few fighting games I can claim to actually be good at for once. While the reason behind all characters having super-super powered abilities is dumb and brushed off quickly, I’ll take any excuse just to have the Joker fight Superman…

    …also we finally got Martian Manhunter.

  28. AC 4 and GTA 5 were technical marvels and I really liked each one, but the game I came back to again and again throughout the year was Fire Emblem: Awakening. I have 120 hours into the game and still have yet to finish everything. I have never had a game make me want to grind missions for hours just so I could unlock more character dialogue and figure out who to pair up with who. People love Mario and Zelda, but Fire Emblem will always be my favorite Nintendo series.

  29. Great list, and probably the single most varied year for top 10 games, but I have to with the Stanley Parable, which to me is a perfect gem of a game that poses great questions about narrative and gaming tropes, all wrapped up in delicious, hilarious laugh every second writing that continually adapts each time the game starts again, much like wrapping a delicious hors d’oeuvre in bacon. Alongside games like Gone Home and Dear Esther, it shows that the first-person medium can have a staggeringly fantastic impact on gamers through its immersive abilities, and does not need to be used solely to shotgun zombies Nazis in the face (though that’s always good too). Now just looking forward to the next big creative first-person indie game, That Dragon, Cancer, which I will most likely use to cry myself to sleep.

  30. I’ll just list them:

    1. The Last of Us
    2. Hearthstone (technically not out, but I got the beta and the game rules)
    3. Killer Instinct
    4. Assassin’s Creed IV
    5. Tomb Raider
    6. Injustice: God’s Among Us
    7. DMC
    8. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm
    9. Rogue Legacy
    10. Metal Gear Rising: Revengence

    7.

  31. Metro: Last Light.

    I choose this partially to congratulate a small developer for making a game with more polish than most manage. It was refreshing to dive into a compelling experience without a bug or crash in sight. I appreciate it even more since immersion is one of the things I enjoy most about the Metro franchise.

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