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Gamers' Choice Awards 2013: The best video games of the year

9:49 PM, Dec 27, 2013   |    comments
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The Gamers' Choice Awards is presented by KXTV News10, a Gannett Company.

As the 2013 comes to a close, it's time to look back and highlight what video games were the best of the best for the year.

2013 proved to be a strong year for gaming with titles like 2K's BioShock Infinite and Square-Enix's Tomb Raider titles leading the way early on.  As the calendar progressed, however, more and more great titles continued to emerge.  For as good as those aforementioned video games are, there are a handful that proved better.

2K Sports' NBA 2K14, for example, takes home the hardware as the best sports/racing game of 2013 thanks to its continually improving gameplay and great graphics, beating out Codemasters' GRID 2 for the award.

The Level 5 developed Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch gets best RPG honors after heavy consideration over Namco Bandai/SEGA/Capcom's Project X Zone.  A great storyline and art style by Studio Ghibli (My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle) was enough to give the game the edge.

2013 was an excellent year for action/adventure games and while BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider may be excellent games, there was none better than The Last of Us, a PlayStation 3 exclusive from developer Naughty Dog.  The game's post-apocalyptic zombie-type title boasts a moving story, characters with whom players can find a connection, and top-notch gameplay sends it to the top.

The decades-old platformer style of video game made a strong comeback thanks to everybody's favorite plumber duo, the Mario Brothers.  Super Mario 3D World is a must-have title thanks to its charm, flawless gameplay, and local four-player co-op.  The Wii U exclusive beats out the re-made multiplat DuckTales Remastered from Capcom.

In a category often dominated by developer/publisher Paradox Interactive, the company never saw a game worth mentioning this year for best puzzle/strategy title.  An unexpectedly great game, the Xbox One exclusive Peggle 2 gets the honor as the best of 2013 in this category thanks to its charm and simply addictive gameplay.  The SEGA-published Total War: Rome II finished as the runner-up.

The shooter category is typically dominated by the annual installments of EA's Battlefield and Activision's Call of Duty franchises.  Thanks to one being good (but not great) and the other being just short of terrible, Deep Silver's Metro: Last Light arrives as the dark horse victor.  Ubisoft's Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was a very close second.

Perhaps enforcing the fact that super heroes are indeed "super", the Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment published Injustice: Gods Among Us is 2013's best fighting game thanks to tight controls, great visuals, and a respectable lineup of DC Comics heroes and villains.  The anime-inspired Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 was also heavily considered for this honor.

Open-world video games are becoming more and more commonplace as the gameplay model gets more and more the preferred type by players and developers alike.  Perhaps due to its pure absurdness and fun, Deep Silver's Saints Row IV is the recipient of News10's inagural Best Open-World Title award.  Rockstar Games' much-lauded Grand Theft Auto V finished a close second.

In terms of licensed video games, a game type most players tried to avoid up until only a few years ago thanks to its typically poor quality of titles, a handful of notable titles came out in 2013.  The best of the bunch was developer TT Games' LEGO Marvel Super Heroes thanks to its immense cast of Marvel super heroes and villains, a large open world in which to play, and tons and tons of content.  Capcom's DuckTales Remastered finished a nostalgic second.

Sony had a big year thanks to the release of its PlayStation 4 console in mid-November.  For as powerful as the system is, it's a PlayStation 3 title that wound up being the best of the PlayStation exclusives.  Naughty Dog's The Last of Us is simply that good and beat out the PS4 launch title Resogun for the honor.

Full of surprises, Peggle 2 earns the title as best new Xbox exclusive video game.  The puzzler beat out the brilliant Forza Motorsport 5 racing game thanks to its addictive gameplay and simple charm.

Nintendo platforms saw a number of exclusives and nearly all of them were very good or great.  The cream of that crop is the first-party Super Mario 3D World game, which also won for best platformer.  Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies came in just behind.

Up until late 2013, there wasn't too much new on the PC that was exclusive to the platform and noteworthy.  As the sun began setting on the year, however, a number of small titles began to emerge as the PC gaming machine began chugging yet again.  It wasn't one of those indie titles that won the year, however, as Wargaming's World of Warplanes flies high as the best computer-only game of the year.  SEGA's Total War: Rome II gets an honorable mention (once all its bugs were finally worked out, that is).

While those individual categories all featured top-tier video game titles, the only thing that matters in the eyes of many is what game is considered to be 2013's game of the year.  Almost as if it were named for the award in specific, the PlayStation 3 exclusive The Last of Us is simply too good an overall game to not name it the best of the best for the year.  As good as runner-up Super Mario 3D World is, The Last of Us is that much better.  Don't be surprised of the Naughty Dog developed game isn't compared to iconic films like Citizen Cane and Lawrence of Arabia in terms of importance and quality years down the line.


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