Game of the Year 2013: PS4, Xbox One, Wii U

December 27, 2013


We wrap up our system-specific awards with the latest wave of systems. What were the year’s best releases on the Wii U, and which PS4 and Xbox One launch games stood out?


On the surface, it could seem like this game is simply an expansion to the newer 3D Land formula, or even an extra dimension tacked onto what Nintendo has been doing with the New Super Mario Bros. titles. Luckily, there’s a lot more to it than that. 3D World is the result of several years of Nintendo trying to create something capable of merging the usually-opposing fanbases of 2D and 3D Mario. The high production values and scale of the 3D titles, combined with the clear direction and old-school charm of the 2D games, has been augmented with multiplayer to provide an experience that is sure to keep any gaming group happy for a while. – Lucas White

EAD Tokyo got the big things right with 3D World, but it’s the little things that make it truly a transcendent experience. The Captain Toad levels could have been a throwaway distraction, but instead are gems that leave us wanting more. Collecting green stars and stamps is a surprisingly-compelling pursuit, if only to see Miiverse reactions, and the included special stages and unlockables are implemented with a surprising amount of thought. – Graham Russell

Runner-up: Rayman Legends

When it comes to platformers, few provide the same sense of joy as Rayman Legends. It’s similar enough to the previous game, but the addition of some rocking music levels and co-op Murfy stages make it a worthy follow-up to an already amazing experience. – Andrew Passafiume

Runner-up: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

The original Wind Waker is one of the few polygonal games with an aesthetic grandeur and sense of style that keeps its visuals from ever feeling dated. It’s all the more impressive, then, that the game’s HD re-release still found ways to polish the visuals further to reach a mirror shine, all while keeping the visuals consistent. Despite adding very little in the way of new content, there were several mechanical tweaks that worked out most reasonable complaints about the original. – Chris Dominowski


Since Geometry Wars, the tech-demo-as-legitimate-release has become a successful little niche, and Resogun is the primary reason to get PS Plus right now if you’re a PS4 owner. It’s super flashy; there are enough particle effects and tiny polygons flying all over the screen to make lesser consoles cower in fear, and also a ton of interesting mechanical hullabaloo to make it both interesting and very fun to play in a genre that hasn’t really surprised anyone in a while. – Lucas White

Consider my surprise when I find myself playing Resogun the most on my brand new PlayStation 4. Its inspirations are obvious and its gameplay is nothing groundbreaking, yet it manages to provide compelling reasons to keep you coming back for more. Despite its relatively-simple aesthetics, it showcases the PS4’s power is surprising ways while keeping you hooked from beginning to end. – Andrew Passafiume

Runner-up: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

It was clear shortly after the release of Assassin’s Creed III that the naval combat was something that would return. The rest of III was a great game, but didn’t go far from the formula. With Black Flag, the focus on your ship, along with drastic changes to the modern aspect of the story, show that Ubisoft isn’t scared to change it up and keep things fresh. The hallmark of a good sequel is being able to pick out what was good in the previous games and trimming out what didn’t work. Black Flag manages to do a wonderful job delivering on this promise. – Jeff deSolla

Runner-up: NBA 2K14

Launch sports games are usually flashy disappointments. Building a new engine is tough work, and the timeline usually doesn’t let developers add  in the features and extra touches that make them special and compelling. NBA 2K14 puts all of its weight behind one compelling new mode, a decision that pays off well. Oh, and yeah: it looks super-realistic and you can show it off to friends, which is a legitimate purpose for launch software. – Graham Russell