I make my selection for Game of the Year.

For the first time ever, I’ve decided to name an official RoyKClaflin.WordPress.com Game of the Year.

I should really get my own domain name. It’d look better on the game box. Oh well.

This year was a big one for games. New consoles for the gamers, new owners for a few old studios, new (and old) controversies for the games press.

And what did I do? I purchased and played a bunch of games. Granted, I didn’t play all of 2013’s releases, and I haven’t gotten around to purchasing any of the new consoles. So my selection for Game of the Year may not be quite as informed as one might hope. Still, I’ve played a lot of games, and I’m confident in my choice.

First, here are a few honorable mentions, and the platform I played them on, in no particular order:

  • Grand Theft Auto 5 (PS3):  Hotly anticipated with record-breaking sales numbers, GTA 5 was a huge accomplishment in open-world environments. The three-player (or four, if you count the dog) switching was also interesting, and I’d love to see more of that in these big, open-world games. And that’s about it. The rest of GTAV was nothing to write home about.
  • Saints Row IV (PC): Quite possibly the only game ever to put a smile on my face from start to finish (besides, maybe, Saints Row the Third). The only place SRIV falls short is in the repetitive nature of the missions.
  • The Last of Us (PS3): Almost every aspect of The Last of Us feels polished and refined, except for one: the difficulty. For me, there was far too much die-and-try again. I refuse to believe this was due to my skills. Maybe I’m just stubborn. In any case, for every hour I played the game, I probably spent a full fifteen minutes replaying zombie battles over and over. And for the record: Ellie looks NOTHING like Ellen Page. She looks about as much like Ellen Page as I look like Helen Mirren.

And now, for fun, a few less-than-honorable mentions:

  • Far Cry 3 (PC): Big, violent, and kinda dumb. HUGE mistake in giving us a wiener of a protagonist like Jason Brody and a bad-ass villain like Vaas.
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist (PC): I thought it was pretty solid, but without Michael Ironside, this one just never felt right.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins (PC): Feels like a step backward from Arkham City. Still mostly fun, but also disappointing.
  • Battlefield 4 (PC): Multiplayer is a hoot. The single player campaign is shit. Remember when the single player experience of a game was the selling point, and the multiplayer component was added value?

Yes, like any year, we got a few gems, a bunch of average-ness, and lots of duds. There are also a few games I’m still playing and haven’t finished (The Cave, Bioshock: Infinite) that couldn’t be considered, although I am enjoying them. And others, like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, will probably have to wait until the new year.

So now, the 2013 RoyKClaflin.WordPress.com Game of the Year:

tr_post2.jpgTomb Raider (PC). Yes, the rebooted Tomb Raider was my hands-down favorite game of 2013. Gorgeous graphics, excellent writing and voice-acting, and top-notch level design made the whole thing just feel right. Sure, it’s violent. Maybe Lara takes to the killing a little too easily. But I loved every minute of it. And God, it was stressful. All the hiding and sneaking around probably took years off my life. Really a tremendous piece of work.

There you have it. Check back about this time next year for 2014’s RoyKClaflin.WordPress.com Game of the Year. Or sooner, for more of the regular stuff.

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