[System of the Year 2013]
2013 saw the release of two brand-new home consoles for the eighth generation of gaming systems. However, let's not forget the platforms that were already out beforehand! With this category, we honor the best systems in regard to software.
Out of the two major consoles released this year, the Xbox One deserves praise for its launch lineup. The system might not be selling as well as the PlayStation 4, but at least Xbox One owners have a greater offering of games to enjoy-- at least in our opinion. Exploring a hellish open world setting in Dead Rising 3, racing through ultra-realistic environments in Forza Motorsport 5, kicking ass online and off in Killer Instinct, and even missteps like Ryse: Son of Rome offer a little bit of entertainment. These titles made it clear to us that out of the PS4 and Xbox One, the latter had the games this holiday season to put it slightly ahead of the system's closest competition.
Nintendo's Wii U had a rough go of it this year. We need not talk about sales, as that story has been posted here more times than the word "the", it seems. Regardless, March was a great month for the platform, offering three excellent games in the span of a handful of days-- LEGO City Undercover, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted U. A lull happened in releases over the summer, but soon New Super Luigi U and Pikmin 3 released. Then came September, giving Wii U owners a new IP in the form of The Wonderful 101, followed by the release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Wii Party U in October. Finally in November, Wii U saw the Game of the Year contender Super Mario 3D World available on store shelves. It was an overall great first-year quality-wise for the Wii U. It's just a shame that quality doesn't equal sales.
Runner-Up: PlayStation 3
Sony's PlayStation 4 was being released, and soon gamers across a good portion of the world would soon jump ship from the PlayStation 3 to Sony's new hardware. However, Sony still supported the PS3 wonderfully this past year, giving gamers plenty to play and plenty to enjoy. From God of War: Ascension to the criminally underrated Puppeteer, the PlayStation 3 offered gamers titles for every age and interest. Naughty Dog released one of their most impressive games ever with The Last of Us, a game that couldn't have been a better swan song for the system. However, Sony still had Gran Turismo 6 and Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus to release. Throw in third-party titles like Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, BioShock Infinite, Grand Theft Auto V and Tomb Raider, and you have our runner-up for System of the Year 2013.
Winner: Nintendo 3DS
Support for the Nintendo 3DS, the little handheld that could, increased dramatically this past year. Nintendo themselves released a number of hit titles that oozed a copious amount of quality. There was Fire Emblem: Awakening, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Pokemon X and Y, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Then there's the quality content from third-parties like Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate, Etrian Odyssey: The Millennium Girl, Rune Factory 4, Shin Megami Tensei 4, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies, among many others. It seemed like every month there was something worthwhile to purchase whether through retail or digitally, making the Nintendo 3DS our pick for System of the Year 2013.
[Game of the Year 2013]
The moment that we've been waited for has arrived. It's now time to reveal our pick for Game of the Year 2013. If you recall how this works, every game that won its respective system category will be on the list of nominees for this prestigious category. Which title will take the crown? Let's find out!
Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, 360)
Ambition. That's a term (or variety of it) that we can't help but say every time we bring up Grand Theft Auto V. Sporting the most impressive open world setting in a video game on a home consoles, GTAV also brought players tweaks to the gameplay to make it a wildly improved game compared to its predecessors. The game had a story that focused on three main characters, an original idea for the series. The aforementioned open world setting of Los Santos and Blaine County to the city's north was incredibly immense and had little Easter eggs and secrets sprinkled all over. It will probably take years for the average gamer to explore every square inch of GTAV's world. We voted Grand Theft Auto V our Multiplatform Game of the Year for good reason, and it more than enough fits the bill as a nominee for Game of the Year 2013.
The Last of Us (PS3)
A lot of media outlets are awarding Naughty Dog's latest with Game of the Year wins, and deservedly so. The Last of Us was the pinnacle of storytelling in our industry this year, with a tale that made you very much care about the protagonist team of Joel and Ellie. The nightmarish world of The Last of Us always kept us on edge-- sometimes having our hearts race uncontrollably as we slipped by Clickers, breaths held. These stealth elements were executed perfectly throughout the game, as were the confrontations with enemies. Seldom does a game make the player go through an abundance and whirlwind of emotions, but The Last of Us was exactly that type of game.
Media Molecule is best known for their work on the LittleBigPlanet series, which continues to get updates and DLC to this day. When the developer announced they were working on a new IP for Sony's relatively new portable, the gaming world was put into a miniature frenzy. The end product was Tearaway, a sophisticated game overflowing with Media Molecule's vintage creativity. Tearaway not only surprised gamers with its entertaining premise and platforming fun, but also critics. The game used every major function of the PlayStation Vita hardware, and seldom did it seem gimmicky. Unfortunately, like with the Wii U and the Vita itself, quality did not ensure sales.
Runner-Up: Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Nintendo has a gameplay-first focus in its titles. Everything else comes later. This was readily apparent in the design of Super Mario 3D World, our runner-up for Game of the Year for 2013. While the initial unveiling at E3 this past June underwhelmed many, it was only until subsequent trailers that the true creativity of the game's level design, enemy encounters, and power-ups were prevalent to the eye. Super Mario 3D World is one of those games that at first glance does not offer much that is new to the series, but never judge a book by its cover. Actual players of the game will tell you of its tight controls, endlessly creative levels that constantly throw new mechanics and challenges into the mix, and a presentation that proves that Nintendo knows how to work its special blend of magic on its own hardware.
And our Game of the Year for 2013 is...
Game of the Year 2013: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
For the first time in SuperPhillip Central history our Game of the Year comes from a handheld device. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was a welcome change to the typical formula of the Zelda series. It offered an amount of freedom that made modern Zelda games before it look like they had the amount of freedom of wearing a straitjacket. Being able to rent and then buy items for Link's arsenal meant the world was open for Link to explore, and in Lorule the order of dungeons could be determined by the player. The excessive hand-holding of past games was gone, as was the severe linearity so many Zelda games prior had suffered from. The incredibly quick pacing also was like a breath of fresh Hyrulean air. Combine this with some brilliant dungeon design, familiar locales, an awesome new wall merge gameplay mechanic, and creative boss battles, and you have what we considered to be a genuinely easy choice for our Game of the Year for this sixth annual awards ceremony.
And that wraps things up rather nicely. Another year is over, another awards ceremony (our sixth) is over. SuperPhillip Central's staff would like to thank everyone for their support this past year and for reading all of our ramblings-- whether they be reviews, editorials, top ten lists, etc. We wouldn't be doing a site without your views. We deeply appreciate everyone who comes here to read our works, even if you disagree with what we have to say. From all of us at SuperPhillip Central, thank you and have a happy and prosperous 2014.