THE LAST OF US
If I had to rank these games, The Last of Us would be number one. The wizards at Naughty Dog prove once again why they are one of the gaming elite. The game is brutal and dark while delivering on a story that has real emotional weight. Joel, Ellie, and the rest of the cast has a believably that feels real and you can grow attach to them. It is not often that a game comes along that changes what is to be expected and The Last of Us is unlike anything you will ever play this year.
GRAND THEFT AUTO V
How do you top Grand Theft Auto IV? By making it better, longer, and bigger. Rockstar has made their biggest games to date and the care they have for their big franchise shows it. Having three main protagonists that you can switch between them at almost any time is a stroke of genius at Rockstar’s part. This may seem like a Greatest Hits of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but that would lessen the work Rockstar did to Grand Theft Auto V. Fun, unapologetic, and full of verity, Grand Theft Auto has actually surpass San Andreas as my favorite of the series.
It was a bit of a risk to reboot Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider is one of those games that everyone one knows whether they play games or not. Now in 2013 Crystal Dynamics has taken the series to a bright, bold future. Unlike the past games where you play as Lara Croft archaeologist extraordinaire, you play her in the most brutal and rough games she has ever been to. Unlike the past Tomb Raider games and the Uncharted series, you see ever bruise, cut, and pain as she tries to survive in an undiscovered island. The game play is strong and you actually feel the power of the weapons at hand. It does not have the best story, but making a more human Lara Croft makes up for it. With any luck, a great new version of an existing franchise is born.
SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST
While some games claim they have freedom of choice, Splinter Cell: Blacklist is one of the few that truly has it. You can play the same mission repeatedly and still have new ways to complete objectives. You can shoot everything in sight, or you can sneak past everyone with them none the wiser. Upgrades carry over and you can expand on your tactics. The original Splinter Cell wanted you to sneak past everyone with a little freedom of what you can do. Conviction wanted you to kill everyone with little freedom you can do. Blacklist is the first true Splinter Cell where they found the perfect balance between the two.
SAINTS ROW IV
Not a lot of games can do over the top right. Sometimes it does not feel like they are truly pushing it, or they feel forced. Saints Row IV is over the top done right. While most games tries to be serious all the time and fails doing so, Saints Row IV is smart enough to know what it is. It knows it is stupid and is not afraid to make fun of that fact. The fact that Saints Row has reached this level of absurdity is impressive. Great, fun characters, an outstanding main villain, and a story that is actually good. The promises Saints Row the Third had is finally realized here. I do not want to miss a thing indeed.