Though there were a ton of great games this year, I wasn't especially blown away by many. True, there were games I enjoyed, and ones I came back to time and time again, but even despite jumping into the next generation of consoles, I wasn't impressed by much.
For that reason, I chose five games I enjoyed more than anything else this year. And thinking back, wow -- I can't believe these released in 2013. It all seems like such a long time ago. But enough reminiscing and onward to the games!
I remember the first time I laid eyes on Papers, Please during a random streamer's cast on Twitch. It looked absolutely bonkers. She put on some sort of pseudo-Russian accent while allowing people into the bizarre country known as Arstotzka. It was free, she said. I wanted in. Soon, I was embarking on this Carmen Sandiego-like journey as often as I could, though I found myself starting over more often than not because I couldn't keep my family from going hungry or dying from some illness that's miraculously treated with warmth and food. Or medicine. It made my day when the game transitioned to Steam for some tasty Achievements, and awareness spread to the masses who previously hadn't tried it. I still like to visit Arstotzka often, and I surmise things will stay that way.
I failed, and I picked myself right back up and went at it again. I can't think of many other games that made me feel that way this year (or ever), especially considering its difficulty and how hard it was for me to get used to simple platforming again. Rogue Legacy is genius for changing my mind about starting over and getting me to be serious about bettering myself. And for that it definitely deserves praise.
DmC: Devil May Cry
Even as a die-hard Devil May Cry fan, I was receptive to all the changes Ninja Theory threw out at us. Dante's design never really grew on me, but awesome boss battles, fluid combat, and an amazingly dapper version of Vergil made me a believer. It may be reviled in many circles, but it was an excellent game, and I'll defend it at every turn.
Shin Megami Tensei IV
What kind of MegaTen fan would I be if I didn't include the fourth iteration on my best-of 2013 list? I waited for this game for so long, and after it thoroughly trounced me at every turn, I came back again and again with a vengeance, ready to tackle it. Even though it keeps beating me away with a stick. Seriously. I'm extremely awful at this game. I'm pretty sure I'm playing it wrong, too. But I sure do love it. Especially the fact that it was a handheld release. Good on you, Atlus.
Survival horror hasn't been an extremely strong genre for quite some time, but it re-emerged with a vengeance with Outlast, and I was there at every turn to savor it. It wasn't the terrifying game I've dreamt of for so long, but for a game that relies on a camera and recording the events in front of you, it tells a hell of a lot better story than Slender, and brings a lot more chills than those games ever could.