eGamer Awards 2013: Game Of The Year
We’re not going to sugarcoat anything. This was not exactly the ideal year for gaming, and neither was it a particularly good one, especially in comparison to the last three years. However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t get a fair few incredible gaming experiences, and this is the award where we recognise the absolute best the year had to offer us. Are you ready for it? We sure are! Let’s begin.
We’re here at last. In order for a game to be qualified as a nominee for Game of the Year in our books, it has to exceed all expectations, and it has to go above and beyond them and all other games. The minimum requirement to be nominated would be for the game to be immensely polished in all areas and outstanding overall. The one thing that needs to be made clear is that Game of the Year isn’t targeted at a game that has everything, but rather at a game that excels at everything it does or overall provides a gaming experience that’s worth remembering in the next year and beyond. In the end, we’re looking for a memorable gaming experience that will stay with us for years to come, and can ultimately be seen as the representative of an entire year of gaming. This is it, the final award for the year.
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V, while not the perfect game itself, was certainly the perfect GTA title. It was such a massive game that at times we could hardly believe it was still on current generation consoles. GTA V was a return to true form for the series, bringing back the wit, humour and colourful world that we love our GTA titles for, but factoring out a great deal of the fat and boring parts. It was also exceptionally bold, whether with its open world, online component or its approach to gameplay. We were massively impressed with the game’s innovative triple protagonist system in particular which allowed players to swap between three characters in real-time, giving the world a fresh perspective with each of them. There was just so much to love and indulge in with this game that we honestly felt that Rockstar simply outdid themselves with it, which given their pedigree is saying a hell of a lot.
Dota 2 is the best multiplayer experience we’ve had this year and easily one of the best games. Valve not only recreated the mod as a perfectly-realised full game, maintaining every aspect that was good about it down to the smallest detail, but also went many steps further, improving on the original in every way players could want. They made the game entirely free-to-play firstly, and then designed an economy system that encompasses microtransactions which is actually the best use of them we’ve seen, as they benefit both players and Valve. Its community-centered approach allowed players to craft their own items, which are purely cosmetic and have no effect on gameplay, and sell them on the market place. The great news was that there were and still are no barriers to entry for Dota 2, and no player has to ever spend a cent to enjoy everything the game has to offer. Aside from those incredibly impressive feats, it can be simply said that Dota 2 is as close to flawless as you could hope for in a remake, and the better news is that it will only keep getting better as updates roll out.
BioShock: Infinite was an achievement. In every respect, it was a remarkable game and an ode to what can be done with gaming as a medium for art and entertainment. What we found particularly impressive about it was its fantastic presentation of its world and setting as well as its clever writing and huge sense of ambition. It was a powerful and thought-provoking gaming experience, and it was absolutely a beautiful game. While its gameplay occasionally left something to be desired and it made a few missteps, it will absolutely go down as one of the best and most memorable games of the year.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch was a classic JRPG which came at an unexpected time, but hit all the right notes and engaged us on so many levels. It was undoubtedly a triumph for JRPGs, and the amount of hours we unavoidably lost to it was impressive. We wouldn’t think it far-fetched to say that Ni No Kuni is one of the best JRPGs to have come out in the last five years or so, and it showed how moving away from the roots of JRPGs does not have to be done drastically in order to develop an amazing game in the genre. Ni No Kuni was charming, old school and endearing with great art direction, fantastic characters and amazing gameplay. Ultimately, Ni No Kuni was a masterpiece.
The Last Of Us
The Last Of Us was a brilliant title in which Naughty Dog arguably delivered their finest overall work. And that’s truly saying something, given their astounding pedigree. There was nothing the game particularly lacked, and not a whole lot of ways it could have been better. Sure, it had its flaws like all other games, but in the end it was easily one of the best games you can find on the PlayStation 3, which is impressive given that it had years and years of competition, and one of the best games this year. What was really impressive about the game was how it took a cliche zombie apocalypse set up, one we’re all sick of by now, and did something fresh and outstanding with it. The story was compelling with excellent writing, wonderful pacing and a memorable and dramatic finish, the characters were fantastic and the gameplay was awesome. Even the multiplayer mode offered something intriguing and intense when it got going, and served to complete what was already a stellar package.
Starcraft: Heart of The Swarm
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm took everything that was good about Wings of Liberty and did it that much better, whether it was with regards to its predecessors’ industry-leading multiplayer, cinematic and engaging single player experience or top quality overall polish. This was most definitely one of those games that could easily consume your life if you weren’t careful. There wasn’t a whole lot we could fault the game for, and it truly was one of the best offerings we’ve seen from Blizzard, and one which absolutely managed to do justice to its prequel and the original StarCraft itself.
It may not have been the best year for gaming, but we certainly had our work cut out for us with regards to choosing the best game. The contenders here were strong in relation to one another, and it took quite some time and debate to decide on a winner, of which there can only be one. Collectively, we decided on that one game. Without delaying further, head on down below to see our Game of the Year.
The Last Of Us, in the end, lacked in nothing and delivered on all fronts. It was firstly the complete package, offering a very lengthy single player campaign that could very easily entice a second playthrough on its more taxing and ruthless difficulties, as well as a multiplayer mode that offered its own brand of entertainment. More than that, The Last Of Us was a game we played all the way back in June of this year, but it never left our memories or ceased to be incredible, even once the initial “honeymoon” phase wore off. It is arguably Naughty Dog’s finest overall work, proving once again that they are one of the greatest talents of our era right now. Its brutal, challenging and downright awesome gameplay resulted in it winning our award for the Best Action Adventure game of this year, while its brilliantly-written characters and amazing narrative, that was excellently-paced and had a fantastic conclusion, earned it our Best Story award. The Last Of Us was complete. There were very few ways it could have been improved, and it gave us everything we wanted, excelling in all areas and making it extremely difficult to fault it for much at all. There are few praises stronger than that.
The competition was tough and hotly contested among us, but after all is said and done, The Last Of Us walks away with our Game of the Year Award for 2013. Congratulations Naughty Dog.