"8-Bit Hobbit" by Dehtyar
More than anything else, though, the reigning theme of the year seems to have been that of disappointment. LucasArts was shuttered by Disney, with over a hundred employees being laid off and games in development like Star Wars 1313 being cancelled. The Android-based Ouya console, after raising millions on Kickstarter, was released and then… failed to make much of an impression. SimCity - which looked incredible in screenshots and trailers - suffered from such a troubled launch and unprepared servers that even multiple patches have failed to make it playable. GTA Online fared no better. There was the whole Aliens: Colonial Marines debacle. The Wii U and the Vita have failed to find their footing. I still don’t know what to make of the 2DS.
And there were some huge, huge games released: Assassin’s Creed IV, Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4. I don’t play these games (I lack both the time and the interest), so I have little to no opinion on them. Same with games like Animal Crossing and Pokemon X\Y: major sellers on the 3DS that I am just not in the demographic for. Nevertheless, even I can’t deny the fact that the 3DS took the lead with releases like these, not to mention a solid showing of other supporting titles from Nintendo. The Wii U may be floundering, but Nintendo has made something of the 3DS as of 2013, and I commend them for it.
Below are the thirteen games that didn’t disappoint me, but may or may not have been big sellers. These are the games that I invested hours in, that I enjoyed the most, that did something new and interesting and did it well, or that just appealed to me more than the typical fare this year.
(Please bear in mind that I do not currently own a PS3, which skews this list slightly. I have briefly played The Last of Us and Ni No Kuni, both games that have ended up on other critics’ best of 2013 lists, but I haven’t played either of them enough to justify their inclusion here. Since I play mostly on either a PC or a 3DS, only games released for those platforms will be represented below).
Hit the jump to see the full list.