GOTY

As our veteran readers already know, you probably shouldn’t be expecting the likes of GTA V or Assassin’s Creed IV on this list since they’re just not my thing. If you’re looking for writers with those inclinations, we have them, too (add links once posts go live here), but even outside of AAA titles, there were plenty of great games to enjoy in 2013, more than could fit in a list. Nonetheless, like my colleagues here at the site (can put more links here) I’ve done my best to whittle it down to my top five of the year.

Before I get to my five, I’d like to give Honorable Mentions to a few games that provided great moments, but weren’t perhaps well-rounded enough to make the list: Surgeon Simulator 2013 for showing the world that horrible surgical disasters can be hilarious, Ducktales: Remastered for showing a new generation of gamers a great old game and Papers, Please for demonstrating that the long-standing definition of games may have been too narrow. Now, on to the list!

#5 Antichamber – PC

Antichamber is an interesting and enjoyable first-person puzzle platformer, which makes it similar to the Portal games, but it’s far from a clone since it lacks the character interactions and humor of those games. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it is an immensely fun puzzle game (if you like puzzle games, of course). Antichamber thrives on getting you to learn from your mistakes, slowly teaching you to think about things in different ways through a combination of trial-and-error and signs on the wall that either give you hints about how to approach the next obstacle or a platitude about life in general intended to keep you from getting too frustrated. You’ll also get new ways to interact with things, meaning that backtracking will lead to new areas eventually, adding a little more depth to the gameplay.
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#4 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies – 3DS 

Finally, the long-awaited return of Phoenix to the courtroom arrived this year, and it did not disappoint. While it didn’t knock Trials and Tribulations from its perch as the best of the Ace Attorney titles, it more than satisfied the itch for a new set of cases. The changes to the investigation system and new characters kept this game from feeling like a stale one-off for the series, and the DLC case offers some of the most ridiculous cross-examination yet.
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#3 Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – PS3 

The truth is, I’m about as surprised as you are to see this on the list, readers. After the train wreck that was version 1.0, I had pretty much written off Final Fantasy XIV, but Jennifer (and a sale) convinced me to give it one more try. And I’m really glad I did; A Realm Reborn is actually a well-done MMORPG. It certainly still has its flaws here and there as any MMO will, but overall, the quest progression and the crafting systems are really enjoyable, and the world is both fun to explore and lovely to look at. While I’ve not gotten to the endgame content, yet, I don’t see getting bored being a problem anytime soon. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get this article done so I can go back to my weaving and carpentry.
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#2 Fire Emblem: Awakening – 3DS 

It was a tough call for me between this and my number one, but by virtue of the fact that I put this down for four months before beating it (while I couldn’t put the other one down if I tried), Fire Emblem: Awakening comes in at number two. A well-constructed tactical game featuring virtually all of the elements of its predecessors that people enjoy plus a more casual setting for those who don’t like save-scumming; what’s not to love? The campaign, characters and the ability to StreetPass and face-off against other people’s armies make this one of the best 3DS games released thus far.
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#1 Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness – PS3 

Disgaea D2 marked Nippon Ichi’s return to the original Disgaea trio, paired with some streamlining of the gameplay elements added in Disgaea 2, 3 and 4. It has all of the level-grinding goodness and over-the-top attacks of the previous games without quite as much of the well…grindy-ness. With a story as fun and ridiculous as any in the series, overall this is the easily the best Disgaea since the original, and with all of the additional gameplay elements, it could be argued that it is the best. Bringing the story back around to Laharl, Etna, and Flonne was just what this series needed to recapture some of that lost magic, too. In all of its tower-attacking, pirate-raiding, item-world-exploring, trillion-damage-combo glory, Disgaea D2 is my personal game of the year.
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