2K Games

The 25 Best Video Games of 2013
The 25 Best Video Games of 2013

10

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

In all the fanfare over Hayao Miyazaki’s cinematic swan song, many overlooked perhaps the greatest project Studio Ghibli was involved with in the gap between their last bona-fide triumph, Spirited Away, and The Wind Rises. A majestic celebration of sweeping RPG wizardry and the magic of epic storytelling, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch gives anyone with a pulse and hand-eye coordination the chance to navigate their way through a Ghibli film. The tale of young Oliver, his pint-sized big-nosed comrade, Drippy, and the cast of colorful characters they meet along their visionary journey through an imaginative, dreamlike universe stands alongside the most notable works of both Ghibli and stalwart developer Level-5. With an immaculate battle system that melds the addictive monster training of Pokémon with the real-time intricacies of late-era Final Fantasy, protracted sessions of grinding have never been more of a guilty pleasure. LeChevallier

The 25 Best Video Games of 2013

9

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy is too big to fail, and when Final Fantasy XIV tanked, Square Enix took it offline and rebooted the entire thing. The refinished product, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, is no longer just filled with moogles, cactaurs, chocobos, and all the other mainstays; it’s bursting with love, right down to the punny titles of the various FATE events. It’s also teeming with content, and thanks to the sheer variety of landscapes, even the most menial tasks—harvesting and crafting—feel like adventures. In fact, feeling as if you’re tired of something is a sure sign that something new is just around the corner: The Lancer, for instance, gains the ability to transform into the Dragoon. Dungeons epitomize this variety: New boss mechanics are constantly being introduced, so even if you’ve learned how to play as all 11 characters, you’ll still need to do more than hack and slash your way through combat. Even the story—rarely the point of an MMORPG—feels satisfying, especially to the longtime fans it caters to. Riccio

The 25 Best Video Games of 2013

8

DmC: Devil May Cry

Of all the things that required rebooting in the Devil May Cry franchise, one could argue that its original protagonist would be relatively low on that tabulation. Yet developer Ninja Theory went ahead and did so anyway, morphing the dapper, white-haired, silver-tongued Dante into a brooding brunette slacker who simply doesn’t give a fuck unless it’s absolutely necessary. Shockingly, their plan, initially met with much face-palming when details of the game were made public, worked. The backbone of DmC: Devil May Cry’s magnificence is its amplification of the demon-hunter extraordinaire’s character flaws, and in a strange and mystifying sort of way, the game taps into what it’s like to be the black sheep in a profoundly dysfunctional family. The Dante of this game is inherently an asshole, to be sure, but his motivations are gradually made clear in a spotlight that isn’t forceful or trite. He’s haunted by his past, but instead of dwelling on his demons he ruthlessly slaughters the ones that stand in the way of personal salvation. An admirable cause, for a no-good half-hellspawn punk. LeChevallier

The 25 Best Video Games of 2013

7

Antichamber

Alexander Bruce’s superb Antichamber is a riddle wrapped up in an enigma, an elaborate first-person puzzle-platformer like Portal or QUBE that challenges the player to forget their preexisting knowledge about the world and discover entirely new rules about how the universe ticks. Little is as it seems in the game, as its deceptive, lucid cel-shaded appearance masks a series of conundrums that compound in intricacy and complexity the deeper one travels. The setting is littered with signs that give abstract philosophy as to how to traverse the non-Euclidean levels of the titular chamber, which simultaneously guide the player and complement the vibrant Zen-like atmosphere. Antichamber juggles so many interesting ideas at once and successfully marries them with its gameplay that while the finale lacks impact, the prior journey continues to resonate long after completion. Rarely is having one’s mind bent so satisfying. Aston

The 25 Best Video Games of 2013

6

Gone Home

Two thousand thirteen has seen a necessary and hasty maturing of video games as a medium, led in part by Anita Sarkeesian and her terrific web series on sexist video-game tropes, without whom we might never have seen a game like Gone Home. Set in 1995 Oregon, Kaitlin returns from a year-long pre-college trip through Europe to find her family’s house derelict and in a state of disarray, with only a foreboding message left from her little sister that she will never see her again. What appears to be the setup for a horror game is instead misdirection for a powerful coming-of-age story; Kaitlin’s house is indeed haunted, but by the sadness and longing of its inhabitants instead of the supernatural. Exploring each room reveals more about each member of her family and builds the unique narrative, ending in a wonderful inclusionary climax that speaks to the maturation of the medium as a whole. Aston

Previous

Next