So, next-gen has started and I think it’s time we start the Game of the Year discussion.
Note: There are no next-gen games on the list because that would defeat the purpose of the article, to look back on the last-gen games that I really enjoyed.
Bioshock Infinite (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
If there’s one game that had me on the edge of my seat the entire way through, it’s Bioshock Infinite. While it admittedly had some flaws, generic shooting and overpowered bosses, Infinite is a visual spectacle and also has one of the best stories you can find in a game. It is deep, interesting, and all the way through, you’re longing to learn more about the early 20th century sky city, Columbia.
Tomb Raider (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
I’ve never really enjoyed the Lara Croft games, but I decided to give the newest reboot a chance and, boy, was I surprised. Tomb Raider takes everything you love about previous titles and mixes it with the great action/puzzle blend from Uncharted. It shows how Lara grows from a frightened young girl to a strong woman. This game is brutal, realistic, and extremely fun.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U)
My feelings were mixed with 2010’s Splinter Cell: Conviction. Many, including me, were worried that Blacklist would lurch ever closer to the “just another shooter” realm. Well, we were wrong and I’ve never been so happy to be wrong because this might be the best entry in the series rivaled only by Chaos Theory. The stealth is back and it’s awesome. The game takes all that was good from Conviction and all that was great from Chaos Theory and blends it together for possibly the best stealth game of the generation.
Rayman Legends (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U)
Rayman Origins was one of my favorite games of the year and in my opinion, is one of the best platformers of all time. Rayman Legends continues what Origins started and is somehow even better. The gameplay, the whimsical art style, and the fun levels make Legends a blast to play for absolutely anyone.
Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Easily the most anticipated game of the year, Grand Theft Auto V somehow delivered and even topped everyone’s hype. This is arguably the best sandbox game of all time. The world is three times the size of IV’s and allows you to do more than ever before. Surprisingly, GTA V also has an incredible story reminiscent of Breaking Bad. If there’s one thing I really don’t like about GTA V, it’s the fact that there are unskippable torture scenes. They are brutal and sometimes turned me off. Other than that, GTA V may be the best game of the generation.
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U)
What is arguably the most ambitious Assassin’s Creed game yet, Black Flag aims for a those who don’t care too much about story and just want to have some fun. In that regard, it definitely succeeds. AC III was a little too focused on the story and that’s what ultimately crippled it. Not only are the amazing combat and freerunning mechanics back, but so is phenomenal naval combat from Assassin’s Creed III. It’s never been so much fun to be a pirate.
The Last of Us (PlayStation 3)
While I may not have played more than a few hours of The Last of Us, it’s easy to see it’s a nominee for Game of the Year. This game tells a movie-quality story rivaling even The Walking Dead. Almost everything about The Last of Us is amazing. The graphics, the story and characters all make The Last of Us a must buy for PS3 owners.
Skulls of the Shogun (PC, Xbox 360)
In my opinion, one of the most underrated games of the year is Skulls of the Shogun. It is a turned-based strategy game in which you play as the Shogun Akamoto. It has a cartoony art style reminiscent of Castle Crashers and mixes it with great humor and gameplay. This makes for one of the best indie games of the year.
Bit.Trip Presents The Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Platforming genius. That’s all I can say about this game. It’s a lot like the Impossible Game in that the entire form is built around memorization. While playing it, resist the urge to throw your controller at your TV. It’s colorful, fun (some of the time), and should be in the conversation for game of the year.
Guacamelee! (PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita)
Yes, another platformer, but not since the era of Mario and Megaman have platformers been so popular. Guacamelee! combines great combat mechanics with an amazing platforming engine.
Pure horror. Outlast is easily the scariest game I’ve ever played. It has an great mix of scripted jumpscares and moments where you have to avoid enemies yourself. The atmosphere is enough to creep anyone out.
State of Decay (PC, Xbox 360)
Zombies, zombies, zombies!!! Sure, The Last of Us was a great game, but in my opinion, it wasn’t that great of a zombie game. State of Decay does survival right. The AI is great, the graphics are pretty good considering this is a 20$ downloadable. If you like lots of zombies, State of Decay is where it’s at.
So, that’s my list of GOTY candidates. What’s your game of the year? What should have been on the list? Let us know in the comments!