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EGM’s Best of 2013: Part Five: #05 ~ #01

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Posted on December 29, 2013 AT 12:00pm

Introduction

It’s day five of EGM’s top 25 games of 2013, and this is it: our choices for the five best games of the year. These weren’t just videogames—they were engrossing experiences that gripped us in ways beyond what other releases this year were able to accomplish. The games on this are all shining examples of what developers can bring us when passion meets polish, when creativity meet conviction. These are EGM’s picks for the five best games of 2013—and the five games this year, above all others, that you absolutely need to play.

EGM’s Top Five Games for 2013: Part Five

#05: Gone Home

Publisher: The Fullbright Company
Developer: The Fullbright Company
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

EGM’s Take

Gone Home is a testament to the importance of interactivity in storytelling, and how interactivity—the thing that sets videogames apart from every other medium—can elicit unprecedented levels of emotional response. Welcomingly free of almost every standard gaming trope, Gone Home is entirely a vehicle for exploration and, for many adult-aged players, a sentimental return trip to adolescence. Ultimately, what sets Gone Home apart is its nostalgia-laced narrative that tugs at the heartstrings in a profoundly intimate, personal, and familiar way.

#04: The Last of Us

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Platforms: PS3

EGM’s Take

When whispers first started going around that Sony’s development darlings at Naughty Dog were working on a new project that would center around some sort of infectious outbreak, many were instantly curious. When we finally got our hands on the finished game—The Last of Us—we were enthralled. While the adventures of Joel and Ellie obviously took gameplay and technology cues from what the folks at Naughty Dog had learned from their years of working on the Uncharted series, The Last of Us was darker, grittier, and much more serious in tone—while also connecting with players on a mental and emotional level few games have been capable of before.

#03: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: 3DS

EGM’s Take

Games have changed a lot since The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past released on the Super NES some 21 years ago. Some might scoff at the idea of revisiting its world—complete with the same look and playstyle—all these years later, but somehow, it worked. Nintendo took a distinct step back, simplified the game, and returned to the roots of what make Zelda games so much fun. Gone are most of the annoying fetch quests and random item gathering, replaced by a steady stream of compelling dungeons filled with puzzles that make you think in whole new ways. This is augmented by Link’s new ability to turn himself into a painting and creep along walls, a welcome twist that forces players to rethink the way they explore dungeons and the overworld. The end result was one of the best Zelda games, period.

#02: Grand Theft Auto V

Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar North
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3

EGM’s Take

Even before it banked a billion dollars in three days, it would’ve been safe to call Grand Theft Auto V the biggest game of all time. Expectations for Rockstar projects invariably chart just above astronomical, but their rebuilt San Andreas was both a staggering technical achievement and a remarkably beautiful locale, and triple protagonists Trevor, Michael, and Franklin were the perfect lunatics to explore it with. While GTAV unfortunately still bears much of the representational baggage of its adolescent origins, the storytelling and core gameplay have made such dramatic strides that it’s hard not to applaud this monumental step forward for the franchise.

#01: Bioshock Infinite

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Irrational Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

EGM’s Take

Rare are the games that leave such a lasting impression on the EGM Crew that, days after completion, we’re still excitedly swapping theories and interpretations about What It All Means. BioShock Infinite is one of those gems. It is, in a word, a total mindfuck. Ken Levine and his team at Irrational Games have not only delivered one of the finest narrative videogame experiences to date, but also a helluva shooter. It is the complete package—no one aspect of BioShock Infinite takes a backseat to the other. And while we recognize there are some legitimate issues to parts of BioShock Infinite that are certainly open to criticism, it remains nothing short of fantastic.


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