The best games of 2013 (so far)
2012 was a fairly good year for games, but there’s no denying that something was missing. Many of the biggest AAA titles simply vanished, and though we were happy with what we got, we were still wanting for what we didn’t. But those games didn’t disappear altogether–they were whisked away to a magical land of rainbows and unicorns. AKA, 2013. As such, this year has been crazy so far, and it’s only going to get better.
Want to know what the best games of the year were so far? Look no further! We’ll keep this article updated so you can know what the best two games were every month, giving you all the knowledge you need to get your hands on the best of the best.
Updated with the best games of April 2013
April: Injustice: Gods Among Us (Runner-up)
Superheroes are sweet. Superheroes (and supervillains) punching each other in the face with earth-cracking force is even sweeter. Injustice is one of the most accessible fighting games of recent years, finely tuned to appeal to hardcore fighter fans, diehard comic readers, and the average gamer alike. Watching someone pull a crazy grappling hook combo with Batman, or calling down the thunder as Black Adam, or pummeling someone through the entire planet twice as Doomsday is utterly thrilling, every time.
Injustice also furthers the concept put forth by the most recent Mortal Kombat: fighting games can have a great single-player story–one that doesn’t rely on text-heavy exchanges between still images of your character. The plot of Superman losing his cool and going full dictator is gripping, and every hero and villain gets a chance to shine during the campaign. As we mentioned in our review, with such a strong presentation for solo players and great netcode for the online warriors, Injustice is the fighting game that DC fans deserve.
April: Guacamelee (Winner)
Just when we thought to ourselves, “Hmm, there sure is a lack of Mexican themed Metroidvania games out there,” Guacamelee came along from the heavens. As described in our review, we experienced the riveting tale of Juan Aguacate, who happens upon a magical luchador mask that imbues him with the power to swap between the World of the Living and the World of the Dead. Only by doing so can he save El Presidente’s daughter from the evil Carlos Calaca.
Guacamelee’s extremely smart in its presentation, as all of its special combat abilities are just as integral to the platforming as they are to battling sombrero-wearing skeletons. Best of all, the intelligent combat and platforming are wrapped in a deliciously alluring art style based on Mexican folklore.
March: Tomb Raider (Runner-up)
Lara Croft was big in the 32-bit days, but it seemed like she’d been left in the past up until this year’s Tomb Raider reboot. By stripping down the character to her essentials, developer Crystal Dynamics made the character more human and relatable, which you can read more about in our review. Lara was now cast as a hardscrabble survivor, pushed to brutally take out her attackers before they could get her. Fortunately the visceral combat gameplay was easily good enough to meet the new characterization, which also went well with the cleverly implemented leveling system. Plus, the lush but treacherous island is the perfect place for some of the best platforming of the generation. Lookout Nathan Drake, Lara is ready to take back her crown.
March: BioShock: Infinite (Winner)
We’ve been waiting for what feels like forever to explore BioShock Infinite’s Columbia, hoping it would live up to the absurdly high bar set by Irrational’s original BioShock. And, believe it or not, it actually reaches those heights, with stellar gameplay, a wonderful setting, and a story we’ll be talking about for years. Columbia is a remarkable location, but it’s really Elizabeth that stole our hearts, proving to be a better companion than any game character we’ve ever interacted with. We’re not sure Infinite trumps the original BioShock–only time will be able to tell if the complex, brilliant story has the lasting power of Rapture’s tale of a crumbling dystopia–but, for now, we’re confident that the game will go down as one of the best of the generation.
February: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Runner-up)
Though Raiden’s initial introduction in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was off-putting for many MGS loyalists, his recreation as a cyborg ninja had us all thinking the same thing: “Man, wouldn’t it be cool to play an action game where Raiden’s just as badass as he is during that cinematic fight with Vamp in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots?” Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is that game. It’s flashy, fun, and challenging (and admittedly a tad broken at times)–and we’d expect nothing less from an action game designed by Platinum Games. The fact that that development team collaborated with Kojima Productions to create Revengeance is surprising. But we’re sure glad it happened.
February: Fire Emblem: Awakening (Winner)
The Fire Emblem series is one of the granddaddies of the strategy genre, but it’s just as famous for its old school difficulty as it is for its enthralling turn-based gameplay. Fire Emblem: Awakening was the first game in the series that was truly approachable without compromising the what’s most important to the franchise. It told an impressively involved story that took players into theoretical futures while also exploring Fire Emblem’s deep past. And even if the core of the game was the continuous battles, the clever writing and characterization off the frontlines made us invested in every member of our party, especially when it was time to marry them off. Awakening proved ably that an old Nintendo franchise can still learn new tricks.
January: DmC: Devil May Cry (Runner-up)
Dante in Ninja Theory’s DmC reboot might not look like the hero of old, but he has it where it counts: Action. The new DmC is as strong as ever when it comes to juggling enemies in the air and slashing them apart, with fantastic combo-based gameplay and an incredible world. Though the controversial redesign of the protagonist is jarring at first, it makes for a fresh, original DmC that will grow on you–even if you didn’t expect it to.
January: Ni no Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch (Winner)
Thanks in no small part to the beautiful animation of Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni forced its way into our hearts (and our PlayStation 3s) in January. Level-5 did an amazing job at wrapping a surprisingly touching story around fun, imaginative gameplay that taps into our love of action RPGs and Pokemon-style games alike. The magical world is stunning and we couldn’t get enough of it, making Ni No Kuni one of the best JRPGs on the PlayStation 3–and likely of the year.
Let's see what the rest of the year has to offer
There’s still plenty of year left, and we’re hoping that E3 gives us a glimpse into what the first wave of next-generation games has to offer. So, what do you think? What games were the best of the year so far, and what do you expect will be the best for the rest of 2013?
And if you’re looking for more information on the biggest games coming out in 2013, check out the 100 most anticipated games of the year anda list of every PS4 game announced so far.
By GamesRadar Staff
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