2013 Game of the Year Awards

2013 Game of the Year Awards

3GEM's 1st Annual Game of the Year Awards.

2013 was an absolutely incredible year for gaming. For 12 months we were treated to amazing game after amazing game, which made choosing the best all the more difficult. In the end, however, we were left with a chosen few that we believe represent the very best and brightest of 2013, and the ones that would be remembered long after. So, without further ado, I present 3GEM’s 1st Annual Game of the Year Awards.

- Genre Awards -

Best Puzzle Game

Winner: Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure

Runner Up: Angry Birds: Star Wars II

Oh, the endless possibilities.

Developer 5th Cell hit an absolute gold mine of creativity in 2009 with the original Scribblenauts  for the Nintendo DS. Since then, the series has proven that it can evolve and stay fresh with each installment. The latest entry, Scribblenauts Unmasked,  lets players create their own adventures within the wide open world of DC comics with very little restraint, and offers up the best puzzle-based gameplay to be found anywhere in 2013.

Best Music / Rhythm Game

Winner: Just Dance 2014

Runner Up: Rocksmith 2014 (Review)

Just dance the night away.

The long running dance franchise is still going strong in 2013. Just Dance 2014 continued the series’ tradition of bringing people together, both young and old, gamer and non-gamer, with its workout-worthy gameplay and laugh-inducing hilarity. Ubisoft has kept the franchise going strong with its simple and intuitive gameplay that everyone can enjoy.

Best Party Game

Winner: Wii Party U (Review)

Runner Up: Wii Sports Club (Review)

Grab some Wii Remotes and have fun!

Nintendo knows how to have a good time. Case in point, Wii Party U, the Wii U’s premiere party game. Featuring over 80 mini-games that can either be enjoyed solo, with a friend, or in a group, Wii Party U helped show off more unique features of the Wii U Gamepad, as well as new ways to use the classic Wii Remote. If you’re a party animal, this is the game for U.

Best Sports Game

Winner: FIFA 14 (Review)

Runner Up: NHL 14 (Review)

Virtual soccer has never been so good.

The long standing FIFA franchise has a reputation of always delivering the best rendition of the beautiful game possible, and FIFA 14  is definitely no exception. With fast, fluid gameplay, deep gameplay modes, and enough content to keep you occupied well into the new year, you would be hard pressed to find a better sports sim on the market right now.

Best Racing Game

Winner: Forza Motorsport 5 (Review)

Runner Up: Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Next-Gen speed at its finest.

One of the best racing franchises out there helped launch Microsoft’s newest console in a big way. Forza Motorsport 5  was not only a visual darling, but the gameplay and options it gave you were nothing short of incredible. Factor in that this is a launch title for brand new hardware, and the amount of content and polish that developer Turn 10 was able to put into this game is even more amazing.

Best Fighting Game

Winner: Injustice: Gods Among Us

Runner Up: Killer Instinct (2013)

Bif! Zonk! Boink!

Lots of love for the DC Universe so far in our awards. Injustice: Gods Among Us  took a bunch of DC heroes (and villains) and threw them together in a Mortal Kombat style arena. The already addictive gameplay was only further enhanced by a deep story and online modes that kept players connected and constantly coming back for more.

Best Simulation Game

Winner: Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Review)

Runner Up: Sim City (2013)

Live the laidback life.

A difficult category to describe, a simulation game is any that lets us simulate an aspect of real life. Nowhere is this truer than in Animal Crossing: New Leaf  for the Nintendo 3DS. Not only has the series’ tried, tested, and true gameplay found its way to the 3DS, but they added so much content to the game that it’s conceivable to find yourself playing this game for literally years to come without ever restarting your file.

Best Expansion

Winner: Starcraft II: Heart Of The Swarm

Runner Up: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Zerg rush!

Ah the noble expansion. Once a staple of PC gaming, it has since become common for games to feature them either as DLC or on soon-to-be retro disks. Starcraft II: Heart Of The Swarm  could almost be qualified as a full-fledged game in its own right. Featuring dozens of levels and a whole new story that follows Kerrigan and the Zerg broods, this expansion pack just goes to show that maybe not all DLC is a bad thing.

Best Online-Only Game

Winner: Grand Theft Auto: Online (Review)

Runner Up: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Review)

The most fun you can have with your virtual friends.

We can forgive its day-one issues because, once it finally started rolling, Grand Theft Auto: Online  hasn’t stopped. Allowing you to take the crime spree into the web world and join up with friends to commit a whole slew of felonies, Grand Theft Auto: Online  proves that even the most stubbornly single-player franchise can exist and thrive in an online world.

Best Remake / Collection

Winner: Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection (Review)

Runner Up: The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (Review)

Still great today.

2013 could have been called the year of the remake. With so many great titles getting a new life this year, picking our favorite was no easy task. In the end we chose Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection as our winner since at the end of the day you simply could not find a better deal anywhere. $49.99 for eight of the best games ever? Sign me up!

Best Action Game

Winner: Grand Theft Auto V (Review)

Runner Up: Saints Row IV (Review)

Nonstop action from start to finish.

It’s hard to remember a more anticipated launch than the one that accompanied Grand Theft Auto V.  Millions upon millions of gamers lined up all across the world to get their hands on Rockstar’s latest, and with good cause. Grand Theft Auto V is an absolutely stunning game that literally lets you set your own course and direct the flow of the game. If you’re an action junkie, look no further.

Best Adventure Game

Winner: Beyond: Two Souls

Runner Up: Tearaway

A touching adventure.

Not only did it look and sound incredible, but Beyond: Two Souls also took us on a whirlwind adventure that dealt with topics like the supernatural, the industrial-military complex, and social issues like homelessness. David Cage has proven in the past that he can tell a good story, and Beyond: Two Souls might just be his best work yet.

Best Platformer

Winner: Super Mario 3D World (Review)

Runner Up: Rayman Legends (Review)

Jumping on things has never felt so good.

There’s nothing like a great Mario platformer to remind everyone why gaming is just so darn fun. At first glance, Super Mario 3D World  may look like a rehash of it’s 3DS predecessor, but from the very first minute it’s clear that you are playing a brand new adventure. With stellar level design that complements the four-player simultaneous multiplayer (a first for a 3D Mario game) Super Mario 3D World  proves that Mario’s still got what it takes to reach the top of the flagpole.

Best Strategy Game

Winner: Fire Emblem: Awakening

Runner Up: Company Of Heroes 2  (Review)

Put your thinking caps on for this one.

Nintendo’s long-running strategy/RPG mash-up may have finally found a market in North America. And it’s easy to see why, as Fire Emblem: Awakening  may just be the best game the franchise has ever produced. Featuring a 60-hour story, tons of unlockables, a rewarding difficulty, and enough bonus content and DLC to make a whole new game, you simply could not find a better way to satisfy your strategy itch in 2013.

Best RPG

Winner: Pokémon (X/Y Version)  (Review)

Runner Up: Dragon’s Crown  (Review)

Gotta catch ‘em all.

The Pokémon  franchise finally evolved with the release of Pokémon (X/Y)  earlier this year. Not only did the series finally get a long-overdue visual overhaul, but it also fully embraced the online community and built a game where trading, battling, and sharing with friends and strangers is as easy as getting a Caterpie to evolve. Pokémon (X/Y)  is the best reason in years to go out and catch them all.

Best First-Person Shooter

Winner: Bioshock Infinite

Runner Up: Battlefield 4 (Review)

Who said shooters can’t have heart?

First-Person Shooters have been getting a lot of criticism lately for lacking innovation. Well not Bioshock Infinite, a game that proves that First-Person Shooters can still provide a deep, thoughtful story and high octane combat. Take note, generic shooters: this is how you do a great First-Person Shooter.

Best Third-Person Shooter

Winner: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist  (Review)

Runner Up: The Bureau: XCOM Declassified  (Review)

Stealth is back.

A return home for the franchise, Splinter Cell: Blacklist  brought back the concept of stealth to a franchise that had nearly become a pure action series. But what if you don’t like being stealthy? Well, Blacklist  has something for you too, as you can now choose exactly how you play the game. Add to that the return of Spies VS. Mercs, and you can see why we chose Splinter Cell: Blacklist  as our Third-Person Shooter of the year.

Best Action-Adventure Game

Winner: The Last Of Us  (Review)

Runner Up: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag  (Review)

The Last Of Us is a haunting journey.

An absolutely jam-packed category, it was clear from the start that whatever game won our best Action-Adventure category would have to be an incredible title. The Last Of Us  is just that. With rewarding gameplay, a deep story, and arguably the best gaming tag-team since Mario and Luigi, The Last Of Us raised the bar for cinematic storytelling in gaming and proves that games can be considered art right beside film and television.

- Technical Awards -

Best Graphics

Winner: Beyond: Two Souls

Runner Up: The Last Of Us (Review)

Realistic facial animations helped Beyond: Two Souls stand out.

Want to know the reason why we chose Beyond: Two Souls  as our pick for best graphics of 2013? Simple. While playing the game, someone walked in, took a look at the TV, and asked “what movie is this?” Yeah, it’s that good. So while everyone else is clamoring on about how great their games look on fancy next-gen hardware, maybe stop and show them just what is still possible on a seven-year-old console.

Best Art Style

Winner: Dragon’s Crown  (Review)

Runner Up: Bioshock Infinite

Looking good.

No, we didn’t pick this one just for the curvaceous ladies. The entirely hand-drawn visuals of Dragon’s Crown  pulled us into a world where fantasy became reality and the possibilities were as endless as they were beautiful. Vanillaware has made their reputation thanks to their gorgeous visuals, and Dragon’s Crown  is by far their best work yet.

Best Soundtrack

Winner: Grand Theft Auto V  (Review)

Runner Up: The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Review)

The sounds of GTA V are both sinful and heavenly.

While the music of Grand Theft Auto games has always been among the highlights, 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V took the series to a whole new level. Featuring world famous musicians and composers, GTA V‘s soundtrack was even good enough to be performed live. So next time you’re cruising down the streets of Los Santos, make sure you crank your stolen ride’s stereo all the way up.

Best Value

Winner: Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection  (Review)

Runner Up: The Elder Scrolls Anthology

You won’t find a better way to spend your cash in 2013.

I know we’ve said it before, but it needs to be made clear that picking up Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection is probably one of the smartest moves you could make as a consumer. For the price of a discount game anywhere else, you get eight games, two digital comic books, and an art book. That level of value-for-dollar is rare in this day and age, and if you’ve yet to pick up this collection, I strongly suggest you go as soon as you’re done reading this article.

- Platform Awards -

Best Nintendo 3DS Game

Winner: Pokémon (X/Y Version)  (Review)

Runner Up: Fire Emblem: Awakening

The best game on the dual-screen system.

2013 was an absolute monster year for Nintendo’s portable system, and the best game of them all was Pokémon (X/Y Version). Simply put, this latest entry in the Pocket Monsters franchise brought back so much of what people liked from the early games and added in modern gaming tropes like customisable characters and deep online integration, while also taking advantage of nearly all of the 3DS’ unique features.

Best Wii U Game

Winner: Super Mario 3D World  (Review)

Runner Up: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag  (Review)

The Wii U’s best and brightest.

It seems like Nintendo saved it’s best for last, as Super Mario 3D World  may finally be the title that convinces people to purchase Nintendo’s next-gen system. With flawless gamplay, incredible level design, and sharp visuals and sound, Super Mario 3D World  is without a doubt the best 3D Mario game that doesn’t have the word ‘Galaxy’ in it’s title, and is our pick for Wii U game of the year.

Best PlayStation Vita Game

Winner: MLB 13: The Show

Runner Up: Rayman Legends  (Review)

Vita’s brightest star.

We here at 3GEM like sports, and we don’t care who knows. MLB 13: The Show takes Sony’s take on America’s pastime and makes it portable, complete with HD visuals, online gameplay, and the near-flawless representation of baseball that we’ve come to love and expect from the series.

Best PlayStation 3 Game

Winner: The Last Of Us  (Review)

Runner Up: Gran Turismo 6

A great year for the PS3 was topped off with The Last Of Us

The PlayStation 3 had a banner year in 2013, supported by an incredible library of games, but at the end of the day there could only be one. With its deep and engrossing narrative and spellbinding gameplay, The Last Of Us  is, simply put, the best game available to play on your PS3 today.

Best PlayStation 4 Game

Winner: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Review)

Runner Up: Doki-Doki Universe (Review)

A pirate’s life for me.

The PlayStation 4 may have only been out for a few weeks, but from day one it was clear that the best experience you could have with your shiny new system was Ubisoft’s pirate-themed joyride. Assassin’s Creed IV delivered in almost every way possible, and brought with it all the gameplay we loved from last generation’s Assassin’s Creed games while making them shine in the new generation. A true masterpiece.

Best Xbox 360 Game

Winner: Grand Theft Auto V  (Review)

Runner Up: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag  (Review)

GTA V pushed the Xbox 360 further than ever before.

The Xbox 360 may be pushing eight years now, but 2013 showed that there was still plenty of life left in the old girl. Grand Theft Auto V pushed the system further than it’s ever been and finally gave players the option to choose from multiple, branching stories and weave their own path through Grand Theft Auto’s narrative.

Best Xbox One Game

Winner: Forza Motorsport 5  (Review)

Runner Up: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag  (Review)

Make that next-gen engine purr.

Launch titles are rarely an indication of a console’s true potential, but if any game bucked that trend this year it was Forza Motorsport 5.  With its gorgeous vehicle models, tight gameplay, and smart use of the Xbox One’s unique features, this game ensured that racing fans were very happy on November 22nd.

Best Mobile Game

Winner: Plants VS. Zombies 2: It’s About Time

Runner Up: Deus-Ex: The Fall

Free fun.

It’s about time is right. Plants VS. Zombies 2  only improved on the already stellar and addicting gameplay of its predecessor by adding new challenges, new plants, and of course new zombies. But the best part about it? It’s absolutely free, so get downloading!

Best PC Game

Winner: Company Of Heroes 2  (Review)

Runner Up: Papers, Please

Nothing like a good, ol’ fashioned RTS.

Company Of Heroes 2 took everything that we loved from the original game and made it about 10 times better. Featuring all new weather effects which seriously impacted the scope of the battle, Company Of Heroes 2 is a love letter to one of the PC’s most venerable franchises, the real-time strategy game.

- Game of the Year -

Winner: Grand Theft Auto V  (Review)

Runner Up: The Last Of Us  (Review)

The best of the best.

It’s not often that a game tries to do many things and succeeds at all of them. While we here consider Grand Theft Auto V  an action game, it’s also an adventure, an RPG, a shooter, a sports game, a simulation, a strategy game, a racing game, a puzzle game, and a variety of other things too. And it actually succeeds at being all of these and making it all feel like part of a cohesive experience. GTA V  is not only technically amazing, but also embodies gaming as a whole, which is why Grand Theft Auto V  is our choice for Game of the Year.

You’ve heard ours, now we want to know what your picks are for the best games of 2013. Let us know in the comments below!