From The Last of Us to A Link Between Worlds, Geek looks back at the games that kept us up past our bedtimes in 2013 in our roundup of the ten best video games of the year.
Tomb Raider (360, PS3, PC)
This cinema-rivaling series’ reboot trades Lara Croft’s happy-go-lucky treasure-hunting exploits for a gritty, often gruesome tale of survival set on an island defined by harsh elements, hungry animals, and unfriendly inhabitants. A riveting origin story, Tomb Raider also follows Lara’s path from scared shipwreck survivor to strong-willed kicker of asses.
BioShock: Infinite (360, PS3, PC)
On top of starring the most breathtaking city we’ve seen since visiting Rapture’s soggy depths, Infinite unravels a twisty, twisted tale that pairs players with Elizabeth, a not-so-distressed damsel possessing supernatural powers. Coupled with solid first-person shooting, its absorbing storytelling makes it a must-play for fans looking to have their minds as engaged as their trigger fingers.
The Last of Us (PS3)
Favoring emotional character interactions and compelling storytelling over gratuitous gunplay and gore, The Last of Us is more cinematic interactive survival tale than thumb-numbing zombie shooter. Of course, while its moving performances and rich narrative take center stage, it has little problem blowing the heads off infected freaks when its gripping yarn calls for it.
Disney Infinity (360, PS3, Wii U, Wii)
A clever collision of collectible action figures and interactive adventures, Disney Infinity’s as magical as a fistful of pixie dust. Whether diving into standalone, universe-expanding adventures starring fan-favorite Disney-Pixar characters or creating whole new worlds in its DIY digital Toy Box, this one packs, well, infinite possibilities for gamers, Disney geeks, and toy collectors alike.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
Carefully treading the line between a violent and silent path, Sam Fisher’s latest terrorist-thwarting mission incorporates both neck-snapping stealth and ammo clip-emptying action. On top of its varied, free-form gameplay, Blacklist features a globe-trotting tale, gadgets that’d make Bond jealous, and the ability to unleash your secret agent skills alongside a buddy in best-in-class co-op play.
Grand Theft Auto V (360, PS3)
Set in a sprawling Los Angeles-mocking metropolis, Rockstar’s latest open-world romp is as big as it is ambitious. As a trio of swappable criminal ladder-climbers, players can explore the stretching world via land, sky, or sea, engage in endless side missions and mini-games, and plan and execute bank heists that make Heat’s epic capers look like liquor store hold-ups.
Metro: Last Light (360, PS3, PC)
Sequel to sleeper hit Metro: 2033, Last Light returns players to post-apocalyptic Moscow’s monster-infested underground. Forgoing flashy effects for atmospheric environments, tense pacing, and spine-tingling storytelling, Last Light favors effective frights over mindless firefights. While it taxes nerves as much as reflexes, it still packs enough action to keep the Call of Duty crowd engaged.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
Building on the awesome, but underused naval combat introduced in Assassin’s Creed III, Black Flag heads back to the high seas for the throat-slitting series’ latest entry. Complementing the gorgeous water-based battles, a refreshingly mature take on the popular pirate genre trades Jack Sparrow-inspired silliness for the sort of scallywag-gutting, rum-swilling encounters armchair adventurers have been craving.
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
The Wii U’s first must-play is—surprise!—a Super Mario title. More than another lap around the Mushroom Kingdom, though, 3D World is the most imaginative chapter the series has seen since Super Mario Galaxy. Featuring vibrant visuals, variety-packed levels, and 4-player co-op, this clever platformer proves the portly plumber’s still got plenty of tricks tucked into his tool belt.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
Sequel to Super NES fan-favorite The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, this franchise-evolving follow-up retains all the charm and appeal of its predecessor while tweaking the series’ tried-and-true template in a number of welcome ways. Offering more freedom and player-choice than previous entries, A Link Between Worlds is the most fun we’ve had saving the princess in years.
2013 was a great year for gamers! Any games you feel need to be on this list? Let us know in the comments section below!