Eric Sandroni’s Top 10 Games of 2013

Fez Hexahedron

Compiling a list with some of the best games I’ve played during the year has become a sort of tradition. And boy have I played some video games this year. As usual, take into account that this isn’t your traditional Game of the Year list, since not only have I played games that came out this year, but also games that came out in previous years. I certainly caught up with some old games that I’ve been meaning to play for quite sometime and working on those reviews is always interesting because a lot of people are interested in finding out if those games holds up or not. Later this week, I’ll be posting a list with all the games I played in 2013 and surprisingly, there are over 50 titles on that list. In the meantime, these are the best games in played in 2013.

10. Mario Kart DS

As far as kart racing games go, it doesn’t get better than Mario Kart DS. After all, this game has it all: dozens of karts and characters to choose from, online multiplayer, unlockable modes and so on. Additionally, it’s also good to know that this is a portable experience that you can take with you wherever you go.

“Mario Kart DS’ solid gameplay, engaging single-player and strong multiplayer features result in an engrossing title that no DS owner should miss.”

Mario Kart DS (Rainbow Road)

9. Metal Gear Solid

Metal Gear Solid represents the complete package. The game has a convoluted plot, memorable characters, solid gameplay and a true cinematic flair. I don’t have a lot of affection for stealth games (actually, I don’t like the genre,) but I still think that Metal Gear Solid is a game that anyone can enjoy.

“Memorable characters, an intricate story and engrossing boss fights make Metal Gear Solid an indelible experience that you won’t soon forget.”

Metal Gear Solid Cutscene (Meryl-Snake)

8. Kentucky Route Zero

Unlike most of the titles on this list, Kentucky Route Zero hasn’t reached its full potential. As of this writing, only two acts of this episodic adventure are available. But those episodes are more than enough to fall in love with this unique adventure. The game eschews some of the most traditional aspects of the point-and-click genre (such as inventory, voice acting and complex puzzles) and puts a lot of emphasis on characters, story and atmosphere instead. The result is one of the most memorable experiences I had in 2013.

“For the most part, Kentucky Route Zero makes absolutely no sense, but that shouldn’t prevent you from experiencing this poetic adventure.”

Kentucky Route Zero (PC)

7. Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers

I’ve always been a fan of trading card games and naturally, Magic: The Gathering is one of my favorites. The level of strategic depth that the game offers is simply staggering, but not many video games based on Magic: The Gathering have been able to capture that particular element. Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers is the exception to that rule. On top of that, the visual aspect is appealing, the gameplay is intrusive, the number of cards included is impressive, the number of modes is surprising and the multiplayer mode is always fun.

“Magic 2014 does a great job of faithfully duplicating the experience of playing the real-life card game and in that regard, Duels of the Planeswalkers never fails to deliver.”

Magic 2014 Expansion (PC)

6. Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami is a surreal adventure set in the late 1980s. At its core, this is a top-down action game where you kill everything that moves. Killing enemies gives you points and stringing kills give you new weapons. But without a doubt, one of Hotline Miami’s best parts is the contrast between reality and fiction.

“Hotline Miami features an ultraviolent combat system, a surreal story and a colorful presentation and the result of such a unique concoction is nothing short of memorable.”

Hotline Miami 03

5. Bully

Bully is one of the best open-world games ever made, so it isn’t a surprise that Rockstar was involved in its development. Bully successfully captures the atmosphere of high school and shares those qualities through clever writing, novel mission design and entertaining minigames. The result is a unique and special open-world game that you won’t be able to put down.

“Bully is one of the most engrossing open-world games ever made and one that’s hard to put down even after dozens of hours of playtime.”

Bully 03

4. Metro 2033

There may be guns involved, but Metro 2033 is all about atmosphere and immersion. I’m one those people that doesn’t enjoy military shooters that much, but fortunately, Metro 2033 isn’t one of those. In the world of Metro, everyone wants to survive and to do so, people are willing to do anything in their power to get shelter and food. Suddenly, the monsters outside aren’t that scary.

“Despite making use of a run-of-the-mill setting, Metro 2033 is one of the best first-person shooters to come along in years.”

Metro 2033 Screenshot 1

3. Bastion

Bastion is a fantastic title. The gameplay is a blast, the combat system is engrossing, the story is gripping, the pace is just right, the visual style is remarkably unique, the dynamic voice acting never fails to impress and the soundtrack is breathtaking. Bastion is creative, entertaining, immersive and memorable. And those qualities are more than enough reason to play this fantastic title.

“Bastion is a feast for the senses, an absorbing adventure and one of the best titles to come along in years.”

Bastion Screenshot 3

2. Fez

When it comes to video games, I don’t tend to complete every single side endeavor available. There are exceptions though, so when I complete every single thing there’s to do in a video game that’s when I realize that I’m completely engrossed. Fez is one of those titles. This puzzle platformer is unlike anything you’ve ever played and despite what some screenshots and videos might lead you to believe, there’s more to Fez than rotating the world. Fez is a brilliant indie game.

“Maybe it’s fitting that a platformer where you constantly rotate the world leaves you dizzy. But even if its riddles are extremely challenging, Fez is a game worth playing and an experience worth having.”

Fez Owl

1. The Walking Dead

Telltale’s The Walking Dead tells a harrowing and provocative story. The characters are deep and human and most of the choices you have to make are distressing. Despite the simplistic gameplay and technical issues, one thing’s for sure: you won’t forget this game.

“Telltale’s The Walking Dead is a heartfelt story that will linger in your memory long after you’ve finished its final episode.”

Telltale The Walking Dead