As the year winds to a close, we’ll start the tradition of naming a handful of our favorite entertainment mediums. Since the video game release season is basically over, we are going to begin there with our Commander Keen named trophy, the “Invasion of the Vorticons Award”. It has been an interesting year, highlighted by the newest generation of console launches, the best-selling video game (and entertainment launch) of all-time, and the annual releases of new Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, and sports franchise games. But which one is the best one to come out this year? Below I will highlight a handful of the runner-ups and then conclude with what I believe is the best title.
The Last of Us – Naughty Dog Studios
From the studio that brought you the hit franchise in Uncharted, Naughty Dog strikes gold again with this fantastic tale that is one of the most visually stunning (if not the most visually stunning) games to be released on the PS3. Capitalizing on the zombie craze that is currently the fad of the land, the story comes to you in a post apocalyptic setting that crosses the United States as you play as a duo that is in search of a cure for the zombie plague.
To be honest, I haven’t played more than an hour of this game (what I did play was awesome though). Since I don’t own a PS3 I can’t give it a 100% accurate review, which is one of the reasons why I can’t name this title as game of the year. If it truly is going to be the very best game of the year, it has to be available to a wider audience. I also feel like the post apocalyptic theme (especially that involving zombies) is getting a tad overused nowadays. It was cool and unique four or five years ago, but it’s a little bit well-worn now. Still, an amazing game.
Grand Theft Auto V – Rockstar Games
This is the best-selling entertainment launch in history. Let that sink in. With a budget upwards of $200 million, and profits in the billions, this game redefines the open world genre of gaming. It included a massive playable space, one of the most varied online experiences in gaming, and one of the most fun campaigns in a GTA game to date, it is very very hard to not name GTA V as the best game of the year. I have invested the most time into this game’s online as I have any game’s multiplayer this year, even beating out my favorite Halo titles. Not to mention the fact that the character system is flawless as well as the single player “campaign” being a blast to play, fixing most of the faults from GTA IV and creating some hilarious scenes.
The only drawbacks to this game are the spatial anti-aliasing that occurs on some of the campaign and online, as well as the glitches that GTA Online launched with. Most are fixed now, and they’re constantly tweaking and adding content that should extend the life of the game. Grand Theft Auto V falls just short of the best game award which goes to…..
2013 “Invasion of the Vorticons Award” Game of the Year – Bioshock Infinite – Irrational Games/2K Australia
Although it has been losing to the previous two titles in most awards this year, Bioshock Infinite is definitely #1, as both I and the Associated Press critics agree. This game is mind-blowingly and mind-bendingly good. Set in a dystopian universe of 1912, it centers around a floating city in the clouds named “Columbia” and the exploits of a man who is supposed to pay a debt by rescuing a girl being held captive there. The game is filled with political, religious, racial, and social tones that compliment every aspect of the game and storyline. As you delve deeper into the game, you find just how complicated the game truly gets as it presents a complex concept in a way that is easily understood through the gameplay and character interactions. As a first person shooter, the controls and gameplay mechanics are fluid and innovative, borrowing in parts from the older Bioshock games all the while reinventing itself. The story is just so amazingly well done, with characters beautifully developed that you will feel completely attached to. The plot has unexpected twists and turns, and I can say beyond a doubt that I have never been more emotionally invested in a game before in my life. Everything is done right in this game, from the thankful exclusion of multiplayer and most micro transactions, to the hardcore addition of 1999 mode. The best part is, no matter what gaming system you own you can play Bioshock Infinite as it is available on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and Mac OS X. The only people who are critical of this game are those that haven’t played or haven’t finished it yet. Bioshock Infinite is truly the masterpiece of the year, and will go down as one of my favorite games of all-time.