Written by Logan J. Fowler, Luke Kalamar and Eric Gallegos
The year 2013 was more than a solid year for gaming. However, the biggest standouts of the year were franchise updates that surprised us with new content that had never been seen before. In addition the next generation of gaming arrived, with Xbox One and Playstation 4 hitting the market right before Christmas. A lot happened in 2013, but many memorable moments were created when we had a controller in our hands. Here to highlight some of our favorite games from the year is pop-break’s core video game crew.
Luke Loved: The Last of Us — PlayStation 3
Few companies have benefitted as much from the seventh generation of consoles as Naughty Dog. Before the PlayStation 3 dropped in 2006, Naughty Dog was best known for their Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter games. Both series’ were incredibly fun and entertaining, but not necessarily top shelf games on their respective consoles. It wasn’t until Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune came out in 2007 that people began to see the type of quality Naughty Dog could deliver. The two sequels Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception were smash hits that catapulted this Sony owned company into the upper stratosphere of premier video game developers.
Yet despite the incredible library backing it, it’s the 2013 release of The Last of Us that is Naughty Dog’s true masterpiece. The story is gripping, the graphics are beautiful, the gameplay is fluid, and the AI is highly intuitive. It’s also one of the scariest games currently on the market. There’s even a highly immersive multiplayer feature. The Last of Us pushed the PS3 to its absolute limits and it struck gold. While I would love to embark on another journey with the grizzled Joel and curious Ellie, I’m perfectly content if this remains a single, glorious title.
Grand Theft Auto V — PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Rockstar Games and their dominant Grand Theft Auto series has reigned supreme in the gaming industry for over a decade. Ever since Grand Theft Auto III came out in 2001, people have looked to this New York based company to deliver the next great open-world action adventure game. This is a promise they deliver on every single time. Every new GTA is an upgrade on its predecessor in terms of graphics, content, and realism. 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV received many Game of the Year awards and set the new standard for what an open-world game can and should be.
True to its reputation, Rockstar raised the bar again with Grand Theft Auto V, and in a big way. So big that GTA IV looked like child’s play by comparison. The amount of detail that went into the creation of GTA V is ABSURD and the game’s ability to juggle three main protagonists is glorious. It’s undeniable that Rockstar went above and beyond the call of duty when they made this title. Then they went even further and threw in a chaotically beautiful online feature in the form of Grand Theft Auto Online. Think The Sims but with the ability to do anything anywhere. Everything works about GTA V and it is easily one of the best, if not THE best, game on any seventh generation console. Talk about a swan song.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds — Nintendo 3DS
Truly one of the best games I have ever played. If you have a 3DS, be sure to pick this masterpiece up. A Link Between Worlds manages to be better than the original in every way. The dungeons found in this game are every puzzle lover’s dream and there is plenty of content to keep you occupied once the main story line is completed.
Pokemon X and Y — Nintendo 3DS
It was a welcoming experience to enter the world of Pokemon once again. After missing the last several entries in the Pokemon series, I was worried it would be hard to pick up the game, but I was completely wrong. Pokemon X and Y introduces the first 3D world experience and it is astonishing to see how far Pokemon has come since Red and Blue were introduced. It is also a plus that many of the original roster returns as well as some new ones that are awesomely designed.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes — Playstation 3, XBOX 360, and Wii U
Take the majority of the Marvel comic book character roster, turn them into Lego form, and just go nuts. Simple in thought process, but so delicious in execution. Lego Marvel Super Heroes used the familiar Lego formula for a successful gain, as it allows players to control mostly every Marvel hero and pit them against mostly every Marvel bad guy. You’ll see the Daily Bugle, the Baxter Building (home of the Fantastic Four), Stark Tower, and many other environments that just will make every geek squeal with joy. I know I did; this game basically uses the Lego video game in its best possible way, as the combination of characters and things to do are seemingly endless. This is the first game in a long time that has a ton of Marvel characters that interact so well together. It’s just a blast, so much fun, definitely a highlight from the year.
Super Mario 3D World — Wii U
This game might actually be my favorite Mario title since Super Mario World on the SNES, and that’s saying A LOT. It really opened up my sense of discovery, which Nintendo games are all about. The game looks amazing and kept me smiling all the way through, and it saddens me to say that I haven’t even finished the game yet. But there are two sides to that. Number-1, I don’t want it to end. Number 2-This has been a gaming project that I started playing with my girlfriend, and therefore I respectfully end the game with her as well. Isn’t that romantic? Seriously though, Super Mario 3D World is Super Mario Bros 2, 3, Super Mario World, and 3D Land all rolled into one glorious game. That right there sends it skyrocketing into my top favorite Mario outings ever. All in all, it is really just something special.