The Did Not Finish – Editor’s Top Five’s of 2013’s

A major part of what makes this site work is that I am not in it alone. It requires a collective of mad genius. Since they have obviously played games this year and they love making lists of five, here are their top 5 games of 2013. As an added bonus, Matt Curione of LevelSave.com stops by to give his top 5 also! What an amazing value! All these top 5 lists are yours, FOR FREE!!

new bitterly bannerB. Indifferent: Oh, what a year it has been! Clearly, the past 12 months have really stood out as the best twelve months of 2013. I don’t think 2013 will see anything like them ever again.

If I was going to take a break from my whirlwind gaming schedule to pick just 5 nominees from this past year, they would be:

5.Red Dead Revolver: a game about rushing towards gunfire so you can shoot bad guys in the face.

4. Away: Shuffle Dungeon: a fantasy game with one of the biggest plot twists I’ve ever encountered.

3.Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny, a game like Animal Crossing where you can bash trolls in the face with a warhammer the size of a goat;

2. Spectral Force: Genesis, the paste-eating idiot cousin of the Nobunaga’s Ambition titles;

1. Fortune Street: a game like Monopoly, but you get to ensnare Luigi in a crippling web of debt and recurring fees;FortuneStreet2

Obviously, my top pick for 2013 Game of the Year would be The Last of Us, a game that I haven’t played, but everyone tells me it’s great. Whatever. I’ll find out in 2021.

TonyTony: When I’m not busy growing manly beards and drinking beer, I am playing video games and hanging out with my totally not fake fiance. Since I played every game that came out this year, picking out just was easy! Why? Because I am just that good at making lists of 5 games.

5.Resogun: Side scrolling shooters don’t get better than this. It’s silky smooth, super sexy, hard to master, and even harder to put down. The game throws tons of enemies, lasers, and particles at your face, then it gives you a couple of tools that allow you to slip out of any situation… provided you have the skill. You will die, there is no doubt, but when you do, you will not have cheap enemies or game mechanics to blame, you will have only yourself.

Resogun is amazing, and it’s amazingly free with your PlayStation Plus membership. It’s an absolute no brainer.

4.Super Mario 3D World: Mario is back in 3D and the fat little greaseball has never looked this good. I love Mario games, and as crazy as playing the side scrolling “New” Mario titles with friends can be, this game absolutely blows them out of the water by going full on gonzo.

I found the game to be quite fun solo. It’s got all of the creativity and awesome level design of Mario games past, but toss a few Wiimotes into the hands of friends, and this game truly shines.

It’s absolute unadulterated chaos at it’s crazytown best. There’s nothing better than screaming at your friends to slow down or stop throwing you off ledges while you’re trying to do the exact same thing to them… all in the name of friendly competition.

Costumes are also back in full force here, highlighted by the new Cat Suit. Watching Mario and friends prance around on all fours spouting cat noises simply has to be seen to be believed.

I think Nintendo has finally answered an age old question here at DNF: What’s a Wii U?

Answer: The thing you play Super Mario 3D World on.

3.Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon: Grab a blender, toss in the already excellent Far Cry 3, then add equal doses 80’s action schlock, neon extract, 16-bit cutscenes, Michael Beihn, and robot dinosaurs. Hit the blender’s puree button with a 15 megaton nuclear warhead, and you get something that almost approaches the awesomeness of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.

I don’t think I had a bigger smile on my face at any point this year then when I was playing Blood Dragon… just don’t tell my imaginary girlfriend that.

2.Dragon’s Crown: I got a fever, and the only prescription is more Dragon’s Crown.

There’s nothing wrong with being drawn to playing a single game over and over and over again, stomping through the same 7 levels, killing the same 15 baddies, collecting the same piles of slightly improved loot, as your character levels up ad nauseum. Totally NOT insane, right?

Okay, so it might sound a little crazy to those of you that don’t have a little something called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Even if you’re not clinically diagnosed, the game scratches an age old itch in the form of a classic side scrolling beat’em-up. It’s easy to lose yourself staring at the beautifully hand painted, silky smooth backgrounds and characters. It also doesn’t hurt that most of said characters are females with ample areas of exposed, glistening porcelain fleshparts. I just argued myself out of insanity and into pervy old man territory. Nice…

So, how does anything I just said elevate Dragon’s Crown to game of the year contender? Not entirely sure, but I played the heck out of this game and enjoyed every single minute of it.

1.Last of Us: I doubt there’s anything I could possibly say about this game that hasn’t been said. As of right now, it’s arguably my favorite gaming experience of all time. The thing I can’t wrap my brain around are the game’s detractors. Bashing Last of Us seems to be kind of vogue around certain parts of the internet, and I don’t get it. Does it have flaws? Yes, the combat can be repetitive, and I get tired of seeing the same vicious stealth take down animations time and time again (even though they were completely, gruesomely awesome). To the naysayers, I say, GET OVER IT.

There is not a video game currently released in the wild that does NOT feature redundant combat mechanics. It is the very DEFINITION of a GAME. You are given tools to beat the game, and the better you are at it, the better you are at beating the game. The combat mechanics in Last of Us were not broken, so I’m not going to fault it for being repetitive.

With that said, the story, characters and performances were mindblowing. The game reeks of a classic 70’s revenge flick, right down to the bad ass, stoic protagonist and bleak, ambiguous ending. There were plenty of twists and turns, and more gut wrenching moments than you could shake a stick at.

As good as everything was, the highlight for me was W. Earl Brown in digital form. He portrayed one of my favorite characters in television history as Deadwood’s Dan Dority, and I can’t tell you how much fun it was to see him play Head Bull Goose Loony during his screen time in Last of Us.

Unforgettable characters, thought provoking story, excellent ending.

What is left to say other than — Naughty Dog, YOU ROCK!TLOU4

glowpuff bannerGlowPuff: Thinking back on the year, I barely played 5 games to even put into a “Top 5” list. So here we go!

5.Ultima Underworld: There are a few games from my childhood that will always remain in my mind and give off a warm glow of “awesome” when they are remembered. Ultima Underworld is one of those games. I was perusing gog.com (Good Old Games) recently, and they were having a Winter sale for the holidays. Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 happened to be on sale when I visited the site. I bought the combo without hesitation.

I distinctly remember playing it for the first time way back and being absolutely FLOORED at its 3D graphics. Back then, I think maybe 3 games had 3D graphics. It was a “big deal”. I’m talking a fully textured and lit 3D world, unlike the simple flat colors of Wolfenstein at the time. You have weapons, spells, a limited inventory, and have to keep yourself fed. On a scale of 1 to 10, the adventure and survival elements are a 10. The spell system is immense fun. You have to combine runes from your bag to form spell words. Praying at an Ankh levels you up with upgraded stats. To survive the Stygian Abyss, you have to hobble together armor and weapons, trade loot, and talk to anyone with a mouth that doesn’t attack you first. A fun story drives you from level to level, pushing you to learn about the Abyss and its secrets from its many inhabitants so you can save the King’s daughter.

4.Trine 2: I got Trine 2 from Steam. I had seen the game in videos quite some time ago, and always wanted it. When it was in a Humble Bundle deal, I took the dive. Wow. Amazing, beautiful graphics and animation. There is so much detail in each scene. Physics drives most of the gameplay, with a smattering of combat against the goblins. You’re given access to three different toons to use, each with a different skill set. It’s up to you to use the characters to solve the puzzles, defeat the enemies, and advance to the next scene. All this is done in a marvelously rendered “2.5D” side scrolling world.

3.Dragon’s Crown: I read so many good things about this game, I just had to get it. I waited until it dropped in price a bit, then pulled the trigger. I miss the old days of playing Golden Axe, and this game let me relive my childhood experience of side scrolling beat ‘em up action with aplomb. Sure, the game only has so many different levels to play through, but like Golden Axe, it never gets boring. The gameplay is that good, and the graphics are beautifully painted with an over-the-top hand drawn look. To top it all off, the awesome loot system makes me imagine what Diablo 3 COULD have been like.

2.Tomb Raider: Tomb Raider is BACK! This is an excellent (and much-needed) re-imagining of the series. I can remember playing the first one a hundred years ago on my 3Dfx Voodoo graphics card with real 3D acceleration. Remember those? Probably not. The new Tomb Raider, like Last of Us, is gritty, brutal, and visually stunning. The upgrade perks are fun and really make you look forward to improving Lara’s skills. It’s great to come across an impossible situation, only to come back to it later, after unlocking the proper gear piece to overcome it. Lots of adventuring, exploration, just enough combat, and of course the tombs. An interesting story keeps the experience flowing in the right direction as you navigate the island and unlock its mysteries.

1.Last of Us: This game is so intense, so “on-the-edge-of-your-seat”, that I often had to take breaks from it. I’m talking a few days between marathon sessions. It’s gritty, it’s exciting, it’s suspenseful. The characters are memorable, as are the set pieces. Visually, the game is a 10 as well. The lighting, character animation, art design – it all adds up to the “perfect” digital presentation of a civilization on its last leg of surviving a changed world.TLOU1

BradBrad: To be perfectly honest, I didn’t play many 2013 releases. Those of you familiar with my website might think this is because I’m some kind of old-school gamer who only enjoys retro gaming. But that’s not really true – I like modern games just fine. I’m just a pathological cheapass who prefers to wait a few months until the price comes down. So, here’s my top games of 2013, most of which actually came out in 2012:

5.Tokyo Jungle: Do you know what the most famous last words in Tokyo Jungle are? “I wonder if I can kill that?” This question is almost inevitably followed by a brutal death and quick reminder that no, house cats do not typically take down zebras. A tough lesson, but one you’ll enjoy learning over and over, since the gameplay and presentation in Tokyo Jungle feel almost exactly like one of Sega’s late-90s arcade efforts, and the concept is reminiscent of of some of the original Playstation’s quirkier titles. And who doesn’t enjoy the chance to play as a sheep, or a lion, or even a dinosaur, battling for survival on the streets of a postapocalyptic Tokyo? But perhaps my favorite thing about Tokyo Jungle is that it gives me the chance to see a phrase that has so rarely applied to me in real life: “The average female is interested”.

4. The Last of Us: So let’s hear it for the only 2013 release that I actually enjoyed enough to include here that wasn’t a sports game! I’m sure Tony and Donald will heap plenty of praise on it, so I’ll just take a quick moment to tell you my favorite thing about The Last of Us – it isn’t Grand Theft Auto V. C’mon Rockstar, I don’t want to do yoga, and I don’t want to drive a bus. Just stop getting in your own way and let me pull some bank heists, already. Idiots.

…anyway, TLOU is pretty good.

3. Madden 25: On one hand, Madden 25 is a lot of fun and one of the best sports games ever made. On the other hand, it’s also a barely upgraded version of last year’s incredible Madden 13. So, I don’t know… you should definitely check out Madden 25. Unless you already have Madden 13, in which case you can probably just stick with that. Unless, like me, you already have Madden 13 AND happen to be a Seahawks fan, then you should probably snag a copy and enjoy this once-in-a-generation chance to see your favorite team actually be good in a video game. All I know is I’ve probably sunk 80 hours into this game and I’m nowhere close to being sick of it.

2. Mass Effect 3: Anyone who complains about the ending to Mass Effect 3 is looking at it wrong. The “end” of Mass Effect isn’t the unsatisfying ten minute cutscene that plays just before the credits roll, it’s the entire freaking game. We wrap up nearly every character’s story arc as a playable experience, fight the war against the Reapers, and bring the entire saga to a close. Also, I’m usually not affected emotionally by games, but my choices in ME3 eventually lead to me shooting my favorite character in the back and I have to admit to feeling pretty bad – like, “put down the controller and go for a walk to clear my head” bad – after doing so.

1. Far Cry 3: I like stealth games, and I like action games, but what I really like are games that combine the two genres; where sneaking around can make tough battles easier, but isn’t an absolute requirement. So, take that gameplay, set it in an open world on a beautiful tropical island, and I’m a happy man. Then give me the ability to fight tigers and light pirates on fire, and that’s a game I’ll play through 3 times in a row. Hell, I kinda want to play it right now, but Donald said we’re not allowed out of the writer’s room until we finish all our lists. He’s so mean!farcry3

Matt BannerMatt Curione: 2013 was absolutely cray when it came to storytelling in games and we’ve gotten some of the greatest games I’ve played in this short span. We saw the PS3 and 360 on their last legs and yet still providing excellent entertainment as they left us. After playing a butt ton of games this year it was difficult to cut it down to just five, but here goes nothing.

5. Super Mario 3D World: A 4 player masterpiece with the addition of cats, nuff said.

4. Tomb Raider: The gritty reboot this series desperately needed and deserved. Gorgeous graphics, pitch-perfect gameplay and more collectibles than you can shake a grenade arrow at, I was shocked at how damn good this one was.

3. Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds: Picking just one 3DS game for this list was a Herculean task, but I finally settled on this, the best Zelda adventure since Ocarina of Time.

2. The Last of Us: Bleak, dark, depressing and one of the best stories of the year. The greatest survival horror game of the past ten years, this was like Uncharted meets The Road with a bit of I Am Legend thrown in for good measure.

1. Bioshock Infinite: Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt, with that tag line I was hooked from the start. Ken Levine has made another masterpiece with Infinite with a great story, biting social/political commentary and a great combat system. When you finally discover the meaning of Infinite being in the title your brain will melt.Bioshock 5

Want to read more from Matt? You can find him at LevelSave.com and for even more gaming wisdom, find Matt on twitter @TheRealMattC

Thanks for making this year in not finishing games such a great one guys! Now, on to picking the 2014 game of the year!

About Donald Conrad

Donald Conrad is an avid father and a dedicated gamer -- or maybe that's the other way around. He loves his games, and he loves his family, and he's pretty sure he loves sleep, even if he doesn't remember what it was like. Follow his life confusion on Twitter @ConManEd