From a year that gave us some of the biggest game launches of all time, it is hard to narrow all of them down to the top five. That said, you may not see some of these huge games on my list because I won’t list a game just because it is popular or made the most sales. But without further ado, here are my top five video games of 2013.

#5 Tales of Xillia – PS3 

The latest installment of the long running Tales series promised us the classic play style we’ve come to expect plus a few added perks that would give Tales of Xillia a boost, and for the most part, it delivered. It started off by letting you choose to play as one of the two main protagonists, Jude Mathis or Milla Maxwell. Without spoiling the story too much for those who haven’t played it, it is everything you expected in a Tales game. There is a large cast of characters with a wide array of effective fighting styles (you won’t be blowing bubbles at monsters like Norma Beatty in Tales of Legendia) that you can experiment with and combine to perform some dangerous and visually stunning attacks. Overall, the story is well written, and you get an equally good cast of antagonists. I can’t wait for the sequel to be localized here in the U.S. so we can see how the Tales series will improve on its already amazing series.
#4 DiveKick – PSN 

A simplistic two-button fighting game, DiveKick is a PlayStation Network title that is in itself a parody of other fighting games. The term “Divekick” comes from the fighting move in which a character jumps up and dives at the opponent while kicking. The developers took that mechanic and created a different but entertaining game. As I said, the games only uses two buttons: The Dive button and the Kick button.  There are plenty of characters which pay homage to not only many famous fighting game characters but pop culture icons as well. Two great examples are the characters Kung Pao, who is a parody of Kung Lao from Mortal Kombat, and Dr. Shoals, whose likeness matches Doctor Doom. Her name is also a play on words for Dr. Scholls, the foot insoles. It might not be the best fighting game out there, but it does have a novelty that makes it a fun game to play.
#3 The Last of Us – PS3 

Every year, the gaming universe is populated by a handful of zombie games that try to give us something new, but they usually fall into the river of mediocrity along with all the other zombie games that exist. This year, however, we were given a rare gem that provided us with a zombie game that separated itself from the other zombie games out there. The easiest way to describe The Last of Us, I think, is to say it’s like Splinter Cell with zombies. In most games, you are mowing down waves of zombies using guns or melee weapons. The Last of Us did away with all that and created a game where you have to be extremely careful about what you do and how you survive. If you use your bullets to take down a couple of zombies and you run out, then you’re going to have to improvise and try to find another way to escape. To add to the game, you don’t just run into zombies; you have to escape other humans and creatures that are out there to hunt you down and rip out your brains. I’m not exaggerating when I say that on the release day of this game, a lot of people were walking like zombies to get themselves a copy.
#2 WWE 2K14 – PS3 

When THQ went bankrupt and the WWE video game license was given to Take Two, I thought that the WWE franchise was done for. I’ve never been a fan of sports games except for the WWE games, and surprisingly, 2K14 is one of the best wrestling games I’ve played in years. It took what was best about the series and highly improved upon that. Wrestling matches are more fluid than ever, there aren’t as many glitches and bugs as used to plague the THQ versions of the game, and Take Two was already established as one of the bigger sports game companies, so WWE fit right into the mold. Besides the character customization and improved mechanics, 2K14 brought back some of wrestling’s best by including what is called the 30 Years of Wrestlemania Mode. In this mode, you play through some of Wrestlemania’s greatest matches, from all the way back to the famous bout between Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan to more current Wrestlemanias, such as matches with Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. The only problem I saw with this game was the online mode, which doesn’t seem to have improved at all.  It was lagging too much and half the time, the game kicked me from the middle of a match, which resulted in a loss. Overall, though, it’s one of my favorite games this year, If You Smell What I’m Cooking.
#1 Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn – PS3 

A Realm Reborn is my number one because it gave me a renewed faith in MMO games. I pretty much despise MMOs with a passion, especially those Free to Play ones that have nothing fun going for them even after you pay to access the allegedly awesome features they have. Over the course of my MMO journey, there have been a couple that caught my attention for a little while, but in the end, I got bored with them fairly quickly. Final Fantasy XIV: ARR provided me with a fun experience that just made me want to continue playing and murder anyone who tried to take the TV away from me to watch their meaningless shows. The interface was surprisingly easy and made it easier to immerse myself in the game. Most MMOs I’ve played made using your special abilities and items a hassle, but not this one. The character class system didn’t limit you to just one class, and it allowed you to switch to other classes fairly easy. Monsters were fun to fight, bosses were challenging and made you choose your party carefully so you had the best chances to win, and the overall story was just as convoluted as every other Final Fantasy game. You also get all your series staples and cameos, including riding Chocobos, meeting Biggs and Wedge, and finding which character claims the name of Cid. The great thing about this game is that it’s not limited to one console. It is cross-platform compatible with both PCs and PlayStation consoles, allowing you to play with even more people than before. This is what makes Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, my number one game for 2013.

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