1. The Last of Us: There isn’t much more I could say about this game that I didn’t cover in the review. I recently replayed the beginning of this game to show someone the intro and I had forgotten how amazingly affecting the prologue is. It’s one of the saddest and most moving pieces of storytelling that I have ever experienced. If we are to move forward within the industry to be capable of producing titles that could be pointed to as art, well this is as close as we have gotten and it feels damn good to be alive for it.
2. DOTA 2: Where do I begin? DOTA 2 has been the most surprisingly satisfying experiences of my life. I found it difficult all year long to make time for any other video games when I knew that DOTA was just a click away. The game is incredibly complex and constructed in such a way that delving into it’s ridiculous complexity is consistently a joy. Even frustratingly awful matches left me yearning to play more. Possibly the most important thing about DOTA, however, is the example it sets for free to play games. There is quite possibly no other game that gives it’s users greater rewards than DOTA 2 does. At elite levels of play there are millions of dollars up for grabs, but even for those who play casually, the game is constantly being updated and made richer by changes in matchmaking and hero tweaking. Users can also create cosmetic items within the Steam workshop which can potentially be sold for real money. Probably the most intriguing part of DOTA’s free to play model is the wonderful fact that everything that you need to play the game is immediately available to you and the only things which you CAN spend money on in the game are cosmetic in nature.
3. Papers, Please: What a year it was for indie developers. A perfect storm came together to allow developers to move in directions that could have only been those specific people. Papers, Please does an amazing job of creating a world within the smallest of confines and giving it an insane amount of depth without utilizing many of the common tools used by developers to tell stories in this day and age such as excellent voice acting, beautiful graphics etc… Papers, Please also comes in with a long line of games that have come out recently that play with ideas of winning games and the consequences that “winning” might have on tertiary characters within the games world.
4. Bioshock Infinite: Bioshock Infinite played to almost every aspect of my interests. I love blowing stuff up, quantum physics, video game theory, and awesome cerebral twists. If not for some other insanely satisfying gaming experiences this year Infinite would be my number one pick and stood as such for quite some time. Coming at the beginning of the year, Infinite really showed us some great things that games would be able to do and the comments about games themselves within it were absolutely amazing along with the way Ken Levine was able to tell a story that strictly could not exist anywhere except within the sphere of video games, because as you learn at the games end, the entirety of the timeline would not be able to exist without you to observe it, a play on the Schrodinger’s cat theory.
5. Antichamber: A short yet incredibly enthralling piece of puzzle solving artistry, Antichamber cannot be explained appropriately to those that have not played it and it will absolutely boggle your mind. Just in terms of design and creativity Antichamber is nearly perfect and will serve as strange reminder to developers that there is always an envelope to push. Antichamber is a bit like taking a philosophy class, in that you must train your mind to think in different ways and yet it is still rooted in gaming familiarity.
6. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds:
7. GTA V
8. Fire Emblem:Awakening
9. Rogue Legacy
10. The Yawhg
Game of the Year: The Last of Us
Best RPG: Fire Emblem: Awakening
Best Story: The Last of Us
Best Online Multiplayer: Dota 2
Best Party Game: Monaco/ The Yawhg
Best Handheld: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Best Indie Game: Papers, Please
Best Soundtrack: Bioshock Infinite
Best Fighting Game: Divekick
Best Mobile Game: Year Walk