Carl Daniel’s Top 5 Games of 2013

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With so many great consoles launching this year such as the Gamestick and Ouya, it’s easy to forget about all of the great software that has been keeping our last-gen machines alive for the past 12 months. This year we’ve had it all. Blockbuster new IP’s (The Last Of Us), the triumphant return of much-loved franchises (Killer Instinct, Tomb Raider), new Indie darlings (Gone Home, Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons) and Nintendo games that were good enough to make you swallow your tongue!

2013 has been so good to us that it would be difficult for me to compose a top 10 list of my favourite games, but as per Koalition rules, I’ve been given the impossible task of narrowing that list down to just 5. Naturally there were dozens of fantastic games that didn’t quite make the cut. I’d like to give special shoutouts to Thomas Was Alone, Tomb Raider, Beyond: Two Souls, Wolf Among Us and the first half of the first season of Killer Instinct, I’m pretty sure you’ll see the latter two games on my list next year!

But without further ado, here are my top 5 games of 2013…

Hotline Miami
5) Hotline Miami (Vita)

Yes I know, Hotline Miami was first released on the PC in 2012 but for me the PC version was virtually unplayable. With a Mouse in-hand, my character controlled like a giraffe on ice and my Keyboard skills range somewhere between this and this. Needless to say I’m a controller guy, so when Hotline Miami was ported to the PS3 and Vita earlier this year it instantly went from a game I can’t play to a game I can’t stop playing! This brutiful, top-down, action-puzzler is a must-buy for everyone who likes things that are good, and did I mention it features one of the greatest soundtracks ever composed in a videogame ever? Take a listen for yourself and read my full review here.

4) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies
4) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

Despite being nonchalantly released on the eShop with little more than a press release, Dual Destinies is still one of the best 3DS games released in the past 12 months. On the surface that may not seem like such an impressive feat but when you consider that games such as Luigi’s Mansion 2, Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pokemon X/Y were all were all released this year such an accolade begins to really hold weight. Series staples such as excellent writing, interesting characters and fantastic music have all returned in Duel Destinies but the overhauled visuals and new gameplay mechanics helps differentiate it from its predecessors. Many hardcore gamers probably won’t see the appeal of this anime, Judge Judy sim for me there’s nothing better than coming home from a hard day’s work and unwinding with Ace Attorney.

3) The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
3) The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

I have a confession to make; I’ve been out of love with Zelda for many years now. Skyward Sword and Spirit Tracks both failed keep me engaged for very long and while Ocarina of Time 3D and Wind Waker HD were both fantastic, they were merely remakes of games that I already completed many years ago. Thankfully A Link Between Worlds bucks the trend of disappointing Zelda releases and is a true return to form for the series. It takes a lot of balls to make a sequel to what many people believe is the greatest videogame ever made but Nintendo has ceremoniously married “new” with “nostalgia” and the result is a handheld masterpiece. If you grew up playing A Link To The Past, this 2D adventure is sure to rekindle a flame or two inside your heart but if not, you’ll simply appreciate A Link Between Worlds for being phenomenally great game.

2) Super Mario 3D World
2) Super Mario 3D World

They say make your words sweet because one day you may have to eat them, I guess I should have listened: http://thekoalition.com/2013/09/super-mario-3d-world-hands-impressions-marios-magic-missing/

I’ve learnt my lesson to never doubt Nintendo. They’re no longer the industry leaders who sets examples for all others to follow but dammit they sure know how to make fantastic games! At their essence videogames are supposed to be fun and Nintendo are rising above the slew of military first-person shooters to make sure we don’t forget it. As a single-player game, 3D World provides the tight platforming action that the series is famous for. The unique, expertly crafted levels are surprisingly varied and will eloquently push you to the limit without pushing you over the edge. The hop-in/hop-out multiplayer mode amplifies the fun by replacing ‘precision’ with ‘pandemonium’ but whether you choose to play alone or with others, it’s impossible to play without smiling.

1) The Last Of Us
1) The Last Of Us

I’ll keep this one short as I’m sure you’ll be reading a lot about The Last Of Us on The Koalition this week. Just when you thought Naughty Dog reached their peak with the Uncharted series, they somehow blew all expectations out of the water with this almost flawless, heart-wrenching, meticulously paced work of art. Several months after completing the games’ vigorous campaign, the experience still lingers with me as if I did it all yesterday. This is Playstation 3’s Ocarina Of Time. This is Godfather II of videogames. This is the best game of the game of 2013 and possibly the best game of this decade.

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