Game of the Year 2013: Special awards, part two

December 26, 2013


This year, we decided to do something special: allow staff to choose award categories of their own to join our end-of-year festivities. Today, we crown the year’s best add-on, best licensed title and best fighting game.


Downloadable content really came into its own this console generation, and the industry has gotten better at it recently. There are still costume packs and map packs available for purchase, but on the same storefronts are packs that lengthen campaigns, drastically change the experience by adding new characters, and feature separate side stories all their own. You may not have loved BioShock 2, but Minerva’s Den was amazing, and this is where we recognize that. – Justin Last

As an add-on, XCOM: Enemy Within does what few games attempt these days. Instead of simply acting as another storyline following the end of the game, the new content is woven directly into the existing content. This adds a new wrinkle to the existing task of combating the alien threat, and in turn the new missions provide bonuses and advantages in original missions. While XCOM has already had a few small DLC items, it’s clear that Firaxis favors a large expansion pack when adding major content to its games. – Jeff deSolla

Runner-up: Mass Effect 3: Citadel

Mass Effect 3 had its ups and downs through the course of its life, both DLC and main story alike. The great part about the Citadel add-on? It reminded us of why we love this series. The content itself brought back characters old and new to reminise with Shepard on the adventures, bringing back old inside jokes and giving us a chance to say goodbye to our favorite characters before we partake in our final mission. For fans, it was a much-needed piece of content to help wrap up the series. For BioWare, it was its last chance to tell the fans that it still cared. It was a win for both. – Eric Albuen


One persevering idea in gaming mythology is that all games based on licenses from other media or outside properties are bad. You can’t really blame folks; for a while, that was more or less true. However, for the past few years a few developers have stepped up and challenged that thought, resulting in some very cool projects based on comics, cartoons, movies and more. This year had plenty of quality options to choose from, making things surprisingly difficult for us. – Lucas White

I could go on about how WayForward nailed the original game’s mechanics and level design, but that’s not the only reason why DuckTales Remastered is an excellent remake. It brings back the majority of the original series’ voice cast and crafts a story around the game that seems like it’s ripped straight from some lost episodes of the series. Even if don’t consider yourself a fan of the cartoon, it’s hard not to appreciate how the team managed to bring back its legacy in a remarkably cool way. – Andrew Passafiume

Runner-up: Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Lego Marvel Super Heroes is full of things to do. There are over 100 characters to unlock, races to run, residents to help, newspaper photos to take for J. Jonah Jameson and Sentinels to take down. On top of that are the 15 levels you expect from a Lego game, bonus levels from Deadpool to unlock red bricks to unlock cheats and a bonus level to unlock at the end of the campaign. Gameplay is what you’d expect from a Lego game, but things like watching Bruce Banner transform into a giant minifigure of The Hulk and Mr. Fantastic turn into a teapot put a smile on my face and make the title feel unique. – Justin Last


While it’s been a relatively quiet year in fighting games, there was still a nice handful of releases that made a large splash on the scene. Whether it’s looking at a darker side of our favorite super heroes, discovering a new group of fighters from a relatively obscure source or even finding the tropes within our own community, these are the fighters that made our year. But like any tournament, someone always has to win. Which game came out on top and left the others in the dust? – Eric Albuen

A delightfully tongue-in-cheek parody of the entire fighting game genre, Divekick sought to upend genre conventions and give us a good laugh when it was released earlier this year. However, it ended up being Divekick that got the last laugh; players willing to spend some time with it found a surprising level of strategy involved in this two-button fighter. Moreover, the game’s charmingly cornball veneer, coupled with its eclectic character roster, won its way into our hearts. – Chris Dominowski

Runner-up: Injustice: Gods Among Us

It has its fair share of problems, but what’s great about Injustice is how many changes NetherRealm made to its usual formula. Rather than sticking to the same archaic mechanics of the Mortal Kombat games, adjustments were made for the sake of accessibility and the game benefited greatly as a result. The robust single-player content also went a long way to extending the shelf life long after friends went home. – Lucas White