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Game of the Year 2013: Jordan's Picks

Jordan Haygood

This year has been pretty good to us gamers. And as 2013 lies in its deathbed while its loved ones say their goodbyes, it seems like a pretty good time to look back and think about my favorites of the year. But rather than deciding what my #1 game of the year is, what my #10 game of the year is, and what games I should randomly throw in-between, I have instead settled on a different kind of list.


So sit back, relax by the fireplace, and get drunk off some more spiked eggnog while I disappoint you with some of my favorite games of 2013.



Biggest Addiction




Animal Crossing: New Leaf


Let“s begin with the game I“ve played more consistently than others this year. And by “more consistently,†I mean that I can“t keep myself from picking this game up almost every single day. And it certainly doesn“t help that there“s so much to do throughout the year, especially when you“re the mayor. Seriously, the way Animal Crossing: New Leaf just keeps me coming back to run my town day after day after day, picking weeds and collecting furniture I“ll never actually use… I think I need help.



Most Helpful In the Real World




Rocksmith 2014


When you play a video game, it“s kind of like an escape from the real world into a fun/frustrating/dudebro virtual world. But then there are those games that are made to help you out in the real world, whether with physical fitness, artistic ability, brain power, or musical talent. And as far as games that are helpful in the real world go, Rocksmith 2014 is definitely the best one 2013 had to offer (don“t pay attention to the different years). Much like its predecessor, this game does its job really, really well. Honestly, if you“re interested in learning guitar, I“d say Rocksmith 2014 is your best option.



Tastiest Feast for the Eyes




Rayman Legends


I always love when a game tries to be artsy. That“s one reason I love Rayman Origins so much. So when Rayman Legends was first announced, I was pretty dern excited. Now that it“s out, I can safely say that the game is just as gorgeous throughout as I imagined. With so much hand-drawn artwork apparent throughout this fantastic work of art, it“s definitely the most visually pleasing to my eyes. Of course, the game itself is fantastic regardless, and no doubt would have made it on my list no matter what. But oh my god is it beautiful…



RPG to Beat Them All




Fire Emblem: Awakening


If you didn“t already know, I kinda have a thing for RPGs. Especially good ones (duh). So when I got a chance to pick up the latest entry into the Fire Emblem series, I was most certainly expecting to enjoy it. I mean, I enjoyed all the others I“ve played, so I wasn“t anticipating any kind of disappointment at all. But holy crap, I was not expecting Fire Emblem: Awakening to be so freaking good! I knew it would be good, but the way it strengthens the series“ mechanics, deepens the relationships between characters, and tells a story that is just plain fantastic makes it my favorite RPG of the entire year.



Best Game with Pokémon in It




Pokémon X/Y


Okay, so this category was just an excuse to give Pokémon X/Y a slot on my list without thinking too hard, but I feel it should be here regardless of list structure. I“ve always been a pretty big Pokémon fan, with Diamond marking my start in serious, competitive training, complete with all that IV and Eevee EV hullabaloo. And with X/Y, the series has raised the bar to new heights that I couldn“t be happier with. Aside from the obvious cosmetic changes, the 6th generation wraps the best of the entire series with wonderful new features to make a fantastic start for newcomers while also greatly satisfying us veterans.



Most Pleasant Surprise




Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn


Unlike some people, I never got a chance to try out the new version of Final Fantasy XIV before its official release. But after the original was buried 20 feet underground in a remote location for being one of the biggest disappointments in recent years, I really wasn“t sure what to expect. That uncertainty didn“t stop me from picking up Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, though, and I“m very glad I did, because I was pleasantly surprised by how much better it ended up being. I haven“t played a whole lot yet, but I“ve been greatly enjoying it so far, which is evidenced by the game making my list.



Greatest Handheld Experience




The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds


Many people consider 2013 to be the “Year of the 3DS,†among other things, due to just how many great games were released on it. The Vita had its share of great games as well, of course, but this was definitely a better year for Nintendo“s handheld. And while I did enjoy countless hours on the little 3D machine throughout the year, the game I enjoyed the most has got to be The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. It“s just so freaking good, and if you have a 3DS, and especially if you“ve played A Link to the Past, there“s really no reason not to pick it up.



Most Captivating Story




The Last of Us


I“ve come across many a good story this past year, from cities in the sky to courtrooms in ruins, and I“m happy to see developers caring so much about storytelling. But among these great stories, I have to have a favorite, right? Well yes, I do. Not only is it wonderfully, wonderfully written, but The Last of Us does a great job in mixing its story and gameplay components. It“s a nice way to tell a great story and it“s a way I“d love to see stories told in games more often.



Most Blissful Experience




Super Mario 3D World


Ever since I was a small child-bot playing Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario World on the console that caused me to develop the love for gaming that I have today, Mario games have had a knack for giving me all kinds of smiles. Super Mario 3D World is no exception. Continuing the trend of brilliant game design, the red plumber“s first 3D platforming foray on the Wii U (along with green plumber, hover princess, and mushroom man… and maybe galaxy queen too) is nothing short of pure bliss. Of course, it certainly helps that the music is amazing and the game looks gorgeous.



Game of the Year of Luigi




Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon


Earlier this year, Nintendo officially labeled 2013 the “Year of Luigi,†even though it“s apparently now going into 2014 as well (because I guess years work that way). Regardless, I wanted to pick a Luigi game from this year to throw on this list in commemoration. Keep in mind, however, that this is by no means my favorite game of the year. I still really liked it, of course.


Anyhoots, the game I“m referring to (in case you somehow missed the title above and the image didn“t load for you for some reason) is Luigi“s Mansion: Dark Moon. This sequel to a game I very much enjoyed from the early GameCube era is not only a great sequel, but a wonderful game in its own right. If you liked the original Luigi“s Mansion, Dark Moon does not disappoint.

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