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Best & Worst of 2013: Game of the Year

After diving into our most disappointing games and sleeper hits of this year along with our look at the worst botched launch in the past twelve months, we finally reached our choice for Game of the Year here at Entertainment Fuse. Our choices for the best games of the year are actually surprising and not what you expect, but one highly anticipated sequel rose above the rest of them. Without further or ado, here is our staff runner-ups and pick for 2013’s game of the year.

Patrick Cowles - Wargame: Airland Battle

Following the success of Wargame: European Escalation, developer Eugen Systems released a sequel to the Cold War era real-time strategy title earlier this year in May, and what a sequel Wargame: Airland Battle has been. Finally offering a full assortment of modern land battle assets through the introduction of fixed-wing aircraft, Wargame: Airland Battle has not only taken to the skies in greater fashion than its predecessor, it has completely elevated the experience of combined arms warfare for a Cold War era RTS platform. Improvements to the IRISZOOM engine, now in its third version, not only allow a greater scale of warfare on the battlefield, but also renders realistic terrain and features offering higher fidelity maps than the simple geometric plateaus in European Escalation.
Eugen Systems also redesigned the single player experience for the series with the addition of a dynamic campaign that features a strategic metagame outside of combat similar to the Total War series. Rather than playing terse four-mission miniature scripted campaigns from the previous title, Airland Battle allows players to fully influence the ebb and flow of war across the European plains on the campaign map while dictating victory or defeat on the battlefield. An one versus one multiplayer campaign is also available to players, yet another new feature to the Wargame series. Featuring twice as many units as European Escalation with four additional nations, Wargame: Airland Battle has further raised the bar for the developing series with 20-man multiplayer matches in 10 versus 10 battles, more than doubling online confrontations of the previous title which was limited to 4 versus 4.

Paul Lawford - Pokemon X & Y

This year has seen some great titles come and go. I was close to choosing Battlefield 4, but then thought back to all of the ongoing issues and glitches of the game and had to go with my head over my heart. I think the new Pokemon game completely reignited the brand and made myself who loved the original Game Boy games jump back into the Pokemon world and really enjoy my time again. The game still has the same nostalgia for me and has great longevity beyond completing the game. A great all round title and something that reminded me of my youth.

Edward Oliveira - Fire Emblem Awakening

My game of the year usually consists of a game that nails it in game design. I’m talking about those games that blow you away, leaving you shocked or extremely satisfied once the controller is put down. Games like Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Halo Reach did that during the previous generation because not only did they use their established gameplay to bring another great installment, they added even more to it. Of course, a new game can come out of nowhere and just become a staple to not just the year, but also the whole generation like what we’re seeing with Minecraft. 2013 was no different with games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds or Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but this year’s game did that and one other thing.
Some of my games of the year are lucky to launch at just the right time and are able to provide more than just entertainment for me. These select few can get me through a tough time and provide solace in life, or just release in a timeframe where I can invest a ton of time into it. My GOTY did both of these because while I don’t mind living alone, it was tough when I was trapped there due to a terrible blizzard that left me with no electricity, no heat and no way out (I live in a very rural town that rarely gets plowed). So to prevent going through cabin fever, something extremely immersive had to distract me for days until the snow stopped and thawed a bit.
That game was Fire Emblem Awakening.

Released the same day as the blizzard, the game provided enough content to be played consistently for several days (save for some breaks for charging my 3DS in my car). My save file blew through seventy hours in a mere five days, and the game still had more to offer once the blizzard was over.

Don’t let the blizzard be an excuse of why I liked Fire Emblem more, because Awakening on its own is one of the best examples of the genre and easily the best game in the series. It is classic strategy gameplay was given a much-needed bump in production and the result shows off the maturity the series always tried to exhibit. With a large, lovable cast risking their lives (literally) in a kingdom in the midst of war, the grown up-ness of Awakening makes you remember that Nintendo is more than the cartoony Marios and Animal Crossings they’re stereotypically known for, and started an incredible year for the Nintendo 3DS.

Entertainment Fuse’s 2013 Game of the Year: Grand Theft Auto V

I've wrote an obscene amount about these game over the past two years I really don't know what else needs to be said. I looked forward to this game on a daily basis from the second it was announced and my expectations were that it would be the best game ever made and more importantly my favorite game ever. It is neither of those things (San Andreas will always be that). But what we did get was probably the most impressively created world to explore in any video game.
I did have some problems with the story and characters, the online component reached nowhere near its potential yet and I have not played the game for a month. But I still put in 200 hours so far, 100% the game within a week of release and am still astounded every time I see Los Santos in its all beauty from the seat of my blimp. It is such a visually impressive open world game on old hardware with an unrivaled amount of content is a feat that 99% of developers are simply bedazzled by. If you can only play/buy one game this year, this would have to be the only choice. (by Matt Rowles)

In a year filled with blockbusters such as BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V stood for me as my pick for 2013’s game of the year. However, my pick would be an asterisk because I would only count the single player portion of this long awaited sequel. GTA Online to me felt like an afterthought to have alongside the memorable storyline starring Michael, Franklin, and Trevor. To be honest, I personally haven’t touched the online at all because of it’s launch issues and never got around to it when they were fixed. With that said, playing the single player alone will remind you why you love videogames in the first place.

The new San Andreas is quite simply breathtaking as an open world to explore filled with hidden details, throwbacks to past GTA games, and collectables to find. The first Grand Theft Auto game with multiple protagonists really paid off extraordinarily well as Rockstar pulled this off better than what I expected. Trevor might be arguably the best GTA character ever made due to his psychotic personality, which basically embodies the mentality of the franchise back in the day of causing as much chaos as possible. Sure it wasn’t perfect as people hoped it to be even though I still gave it a 10 in my review here, but Grand Theft Auto V is a fitting swan song to the current console generation as we head off to the next one with the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. (by Jeffrey Dy)


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