Another year is in the books for the video-game industry, and it was one of massive proportions.
Sony and Microsoft released their hotly anticipated new home consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But while these new systems remain in their infancy, the PS3 and Xbox 360 had one of their strongest years ever for high-quality games. Meanwhile, Nintendo's Wii U had a strong catalog of games to close out the year.
The new hardware grabbed the headlines, but the software brought the goods. Here are the 10 best games of 2013, saving the best for last.
10. "Super Mario 3D World" (Wii U): Nintendo saved its best for November. The latest starring gaming's most famous plumber isn't only one of the best of the year, it's arguably the best available for the Wii U. "Super Mario 3D World" put an emphasis on local multiplayer, making for a great time when played with friends.
9. "Gone Home" (PC): This indie title developed by The Fullbright Company pushes the progress of narrative in video games. What starts as what seems like a horror setting turns into a heartfelt coming-of-age story. It's a must-play for those who put storytelling over graphics.
8. "BioShock Infinite" (PS3, 360, PC): Creator Ken Levine returned to the franchise for this long-awaited third installment. The result was a mystical journey through the fictional floating world of Columbia. The game's mind-bending finale became polarizing as initial praise waned.
7. "Guacamelee!" (PS3, PS Vita): "Guacamelee!" continued the strong indie presence in 2013. This action platformer from DrinkBox Studios combined gameplay reminiscent of "Super Metroid" with a creative spin on two-dimensional combat. Add a comical setting and references to gaming classics, and "Guacamelee!" became one of this year's must-play games.
6. "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance" (PS3, 360, PC): Platinum Games has a stellar track record in the action genre, so it was big news that the team was getting control of the popular "Metal Gear" series. Its final product didn't disappoint. The fast-paced game starring Raiden is the best pure action experience of the year.
5. "Rayman Legends" (Wii U, PS3, 360, PC, PS Vita, PC): "Rayman Legends" was supposed to release early in 2013 as a Wii U exclusive, then was moved to September. That delay opened the door for its release on multiple platforms, but the best experience is found on the Wii U. This throwback to 2D platforming brings fresh ideas to the genre. It was criminally overlooked and overshadowed by higher-profile releases.
4. "Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag" (PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC): The fourth time was the charm for the "Assassin's Creed" franchise. After a couple lackluster games that followed the character of Ezio and a dull experience with "Assassin's Creed 3," Ubisoft Montreal struck gold with "AC4." This installment focuses on the pirate life, which involves everything from searching for treasure to epic sea battles.
3. "Tomb Raider" (PS3, 360, PC): This year marked the triumphant return of Lara Croft. Developer Crystal Dynamics put the famed tomb raider in an exceptional adventure that shows how she evolved from inexperienced survivor to action hero. This adventure game rivals the acclaimed "Uncharted" series.
2. "The Last of Us" (PS3): Developer Naughty Dog took a break from the "Uncharted" series to release this post-apocalyptic tale. Like the best stories involving the undead, this story fixes on the surviving humans rather than the creatures that roam what's left of civilization. It explores the best and worst of humanity -- and it even takes the characters through Pittsburgh.
1. "Grand Theft Auto V" (PS3, 360): Even with all its hype, "Grand Theft Auto V" didn't disappoint. Rockstar Games created one of the most authentic metropolises ever seen in a video game and dropped three memorable main characters in this city, making for an instant classic. This crime epic feels as if it was written by Quentin Tarantino, directed by Michael Mann, and produced by Martin Scorsese. That means it's not for children, but it's a must-play for adults.
Max Parker covers video games for the Post-Gazette as The Game Guy. Follow him on Twitter at @GameGuyPGH.
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