Game of the Year 2013: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

December 23, 2013

This year was full of some truly great games, but there were just some gems worthy of a little extra recognition. Today, we’re naming 2013’s best games on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.


Alive. That’s the word I most associate with Grand Theft Auto V. It encompasses a breathing, living city. I can just stand here and watch the people and cars go by, I can drive peacefully through Los Santos, I can listen to the hundreds of hours of radio chatter and music, I can go hiking in the mountains and I can fly a helicopter over everything in real time. The seamless exploration, character switching and improved gameplay meant GTA V gained its rightful praise. – Henry Skey

GTA V is something else. With the amount of content Rockstar placed within this game, it could’ve formed three normal-sized adventures, but instead, we end up with the amazing entry that stands before us now. As vulgar and as raunchy as this game is, Rockstar knows how to play to its strengths and fill a game to the brim with content, while giving us characters with which we can sympathize, laugh and relate. – Eric Albuen

Runner-up: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Fairy tales are something special. Video games are something special, too. Successfully combining the two makes for a result greater than the sum of its parts. There’s a lesson to be learned, but leading the main characters through their adventure makes it hit home that much harder. It helps that the aesthetic really drives home the fairy tale feel while the control scheme completely cements that you’re controlling two completely separate characters. Starbreeze managed to make unique controls that make puzzles more satisfying to pull off and the plot hit harder. – Justin Last

Runner-up: Skulls of the Shogun

Acting as the flagship title for Microsoft’s new cross-platform strategy, Skulls of the Shogun offered a deep turn-based strategy experience to tablet, desktop, console and mobile users alike. The game touted cross-device syncing and multiplayer as one of its biggest features, and the inherently slower pace of the game helped to level playing field across platforms, ensuring that nothing was lost in the switch between them. It doesn’t hurt that the strategy mechanics themselves are novel, as well. – Chris Dominowski


Namco Tales Studio has been delivering a consistent product with its Tales franchise for a long time, but never did it really make a case for wider acclaim. Until now, that is. Xillia kicks everything up a notch or two, from the narrative and visuals to the combat and strategy. It does it without the series’ trademark tedium, but somehow manages to retain its signature charm. Be thankful: the direct sequel’s on the way West in 2014, and you’ll probably want that one too. – Graham Russell

Sure, Tales of Xillia isn’t a crazy reinvention of the franchise, but it’s enough of a positive step forward that it’s hard not to remain optimistic about the series’ future. Even if the story and characters, both of which are big improvements over recent titles, do nothing for you, the game’s fast-paced battle system is sure to excite. Grab a few friends and bring them along for the ride, and you’re sure to have a good time. – Andrew Passafiume

Runner-up: The Last of Us

Naughty Dog has always presented us with fantastic, story-driven action games. The Last of Us is no different. However, what sets this game apart from Uncharted are the characters and how relationships are important to a story. The game takes two characters from two very different generations and tells us a story of how they perceive the world and how their experiences can help them survive. You can have a well-written story, but if we can’t connect with the characters, then you have nothing. – Eric Albuen

Runner-up: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

If you ever needed proof that the JRPG is still alive and well, look no further than Level-5’s recent opus, Ni no Kuni. After a long and complicated development cycle which ended up creating two versions of the game for the PS3 and DS, the latter version was able to start this year off with a bang. Featuring a spectacular art style thanks to the legendary Studio Ghibli, along with some of the best elements of classic RPGs updated with a more kinetic pace, Ni no Kuni gave JRPG fans exactly what they craved. – Chris Dominowski


BioShock Infinite has great level design and fun combat. For most FPS titles, that’s all you need. Infinite, though, also has a mind-bending story, complex characters and a wonderfully-anachronistic soundtrack. Elizabeth is the best NPC in an FPS since enemies ignore her, and she’s a great in-universe explanation for regenerating health, ammo and mana. She also makes the combat more interesting with her ability to pull in resources and allies from alternate dimensions. Skyhook traversal is fun, and when the skylines are featured in combat arenas, they’re even better. BioShock Infinite really has a little bit of everything for everybody. It even manages to make you feel bad for the hardest enemies in the game, just like the original BioShock did. – Justin Last

I feel like competing developers play the BioShock games and get envious from the first minute onward. It plays beautifully, and it’s painfully obvious how much effort and creative thought when into creating the city in the sky, Columbia. Full of harrowing moments, and a brilliant ending to boot, BioShock Infinite should be played by anybody remotely interested in the unique storytelling that only games can provide. – Henry Skey

Runner-up: Gone Home

This surprise indie hit does a lot of things well: It is largely narrative focused, but uses the first-person perspective and simple investigation as ways to draw the player in on an interactive level without leaning on a bunch on hamfisted gimmickry to justify its presence as a video game. It tells an engaging, personal story through both words and visuals, and engages subject matter that is rare at this point in the medium. As is common with games of this type, saying too much would spoil it, but we can assure you: don’t miss out. – Lucas White

Runner-up: The Stanley Parable

Every now and then, a game comes along that defies all sense of categorization and tradition. A game that gives us an experience completely novel and fresh, while expanding interactive entertainment in bold new ways. The Stanley Parable was just such a game. The game explores the practicality of choice in a digital world, questioning its limits as well as its potential. Bucking design trends by making choice more analog than binary, The Stanley Parable beckons the player to discover all its secrets, and make them wonder why. – Chris Dominowski