USA TODAY’s Top 10 Video Games Of 2013
With Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 now available, 2013 was about giving their predecessors the proper sendoff.The PS3 and Xbox 360 finished strong in 2013, playing host to several of the year’s best video games. But they weren’t the only destinations for the top interactive entertainment of the year.
USA TODAY’s Brett Molina and Mike Snider, assisted by columnist Marc Saltzman, present their top 10 video games of 2013.
10. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ($34.99; Nintendo 3DS; all ages). Nintendo’s resilient fantasy hero Link returns in a new quest to thwart the evil Ganon, freed after a mysterious sorcerer captures the Seven Sages. Players have the freedom to explore the world of Hyrule however they choose, while Link’s new ability to merge with walls in two-dimensional form paves the way for more interesting dungeons and puzzles.
9. Saints Row IV ($59.99; PC, PS3, Xbox 360; ages 17 and up). A great example of video game parody, the insane open-world action game stars a superpowered President of the United States fending off an alien invasion. Why bother with conventional weapons when you can use powers like Telekinesis, or a gun that fires damaging dubstep music tracks?
8. Forza Motorsport 5 ($59.99; Xbox One; all ages). The perfect game to test-drive on your new Xbox One console, Forza 5 gives you the virtual keys to hundreds of untouchable (for most of us) cars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis, along with Fords and Lexuses. An international lineup of tracks amid varied environments is reproduced so artfully you may find it hard to keep your eyes on the road. Another cutting-edge feature: your Drivatar will race and earn experience for you even when you are not online playing.
7. Super Mario 3D World ($59.99; Nintendo Wii U; all ages). Owners of Nintendo’s Wii U have new reason to boast following the launch of another entertaining chapter in the Mario franchise. Borrowing from the classic Super Mario Bros. 2, players choose between Mario, Luigi, Princess and Toad, working together to collect mushrooms and stomp Goombas.
6. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag ($59.99; PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360; ages 17 and up). The latest installment in the popular series from publisher Ubisoft takes players to the high seas as Edward Kenway, an 18th century pirate caught up in the eons-old conflict between the Assassins and Templars. Aye, Black Flag delivers a visual bounty with gorgeous oceanscapes and Caribbean settings.
5. Tomb Raider ($59.99; PC, PS3, Xbox 360; ages 17 and up). If a “Comeback of the Year” category existed, Lara Croft wins easily. The franchise’s return is dark and gritty, as players follow an inexperienced treasure hunter trying to escape a mysterious island after a boat crash. Exploring the island feels dangerous, while combat matches the most intense action titles available.
4. BioShock Infinite ($59.99; PC, PS3, Xbox 360; ages 17 and up). Set in 1912 within the floating city of Columbia, this first-person shooter is a feast for the eyes and the intellect. As ex-Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, you meet and help the enigmatic heroine Elizabeth, a Rapunzel-like character tended to by the threatening Songbird. Among the dizzying effects is Booker’s use of the Skyhook aerial transportation system to traverse the city — and to avoid and attack enemies.
3. Gone Home ($19.99; PC, Mac, Linux). A simple tale featuring a woman in search of her family served as an incredible, immersive adventure about discovery. The short story from The Fullbright Company is also a rebuttal to any one suggesting video games are only about violence.
2. Grand Theft Auto V ($59.99; PS3, Xbox 360; ages 17 and up). The top-selling video game of the year is also one of the best. Developer Rockstar Games has created a massive fictional Los Angeles (here it’s called Los Santos) for three main characters — Michael, Franklin and Trevor — to set up and execute ever-more complicated heists. And when you’ve accomplished that you can explore Grand Theft Auto Online, the developer’s first GTA open-world game.
1. The Last of Us ($59.99; PS3; ages 17 and up). Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic journey stars Joel and younger companion Ellie as they survive a fungal outbreak plaguing the U.S. It is 2013’s most complete interactive package, blending cutting-edge visuals, methodical action and one of this year’s most captivating stories.
Brett’s Honorable Mentions
Papers, Please ($19.99; PC, Mac, Linux). The idea of managing paperwork as an immigration officer in the fictional nation Arstotzka doesn’t sound appealing. Fortunately, this bleak indie tale grows more fascinating as players carefully scan passports and IDs to allow people through and earn money for your struggling family.
Injustice: Gods Among Us ($59.99; PS4, PS3, Xbox 360; free for iOS, Android; ages 15 and up). As a console and mobile package, this brawler from the makers of Mortal Kombat was among the best. Players fought as Superman, Batman, The Joker and a host of other DC Comics heroes and villains in a traditional fighting game for console, or a mobile-friendly, card-based game with 3-on-3 duels, with rewards earned and redeemed on both platforms.
Mike’s Honorable Mentions
The Walking Dead: Season 2 — A Telltale Games Series: All That Remains ($24.99 for five episodes, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC, Mac, Apple iOS; ages 17-up). While only one new episode landed in 2013 from last year’s Game of the Year winner, that episode was a doozy. We catch up with Clementine, who finds herself on her own in zombie-land. Already gutwrenching with more to come in 2014.
Call of Duty: Ghosts ($59.99, PlayStation 4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and Windows PCs, ages 17-up). Not a pinnacle for the immensely popular first-person combat game, but Ghosts proved satisfying with extended action underwater and in space. And the new cooperative Extinction mode can be frenzied.