Kotaku Awards 2013: Nominate Your Surprise Of The Year

Kotaku Awards 2013: Nominate Your Surprise Of The Year

The Kotaku Awards have begun! This week is nomination week, then the week after we take the vote. On the third week we announce this winners. Today? We’re looking for nominations for the biggest surprise of the year…

Just to be specific — this is about video game nominations. We’re looking for the games you expected little from, that then blew you away. The games you bought on a whim that ended up being some of your favourites of the year.

Here are some of my own nominations…

Luigi’s Mansion 2
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Those are the games I either hadn’t really heard of, or expected relatively poor things from, until I totally played and fell in love with them!

Now you go! Drop your nominations in the comments below.


  • Papers Please. If you told me a game about stamping immigration forms would have me enthralled, I’d have laughed. Instead, I found myself wrapped up in this oddly compelling game, and thinking about the choices I was having to make. I was absolutely blown away.

    • I think I’ve had to vote Papers, Please as well. I think most games I played this year I pretty much got what I expected, but Papers, Please was something else entirely. Not the best game I played this year, but something quite special.

    • Yeah, I liked Remember Me. I started it in English, then by the time I switched to French my mind had already latched onto the English VA and the French didn’t seem right. Next time I play it I’ll go full French.

  • Pikmin 3. I figured it’d be great, but I had no idea at all that challenge mode would be almost as good as if not better than the campaign. Thought it’d just be a nice little distraction afterwards, but nope.

    Wonderful 101. I thought it’d be good, but had no idea it’d oust the newly-crowned Pikmin 3 for best thing I’d played all year.

  • Tomb Raider – I’ve never been a fan of the series, and the game didn’t look particularly appealing from the previews. Nonetheless, it was a blast.

  • Remember Me (I never understood the hate for that game. i thought it was almost perfect)
    Pokemon X/Y
    Zelda: A Link between Worlds, after Spirit Tracks I was dreading another touch screen top down Zelda game.

    • I think the case of remember me, it demo’d some really innovative ideas, and then it turned out it was really just a brawler. It was arguably my surprise of the year, but in the worst way possible.

  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons gets my vote for being surprisingly moving and a pretty decent and innovative 3D platformer. I won’t lie, I shed a manly tear or two towards the end.

    • + 1. It was bought for me as a gift and it didn’t really sound all that appealing but I figured I’d give it a go anyway. So, so, so glad I did. It was beautiful and charming and surprisingly well crafted. Really enjoyed it.

  • Call of Juarez: Gunslinger.

    Given the track record of the people behind it, I was going to just ignore it. But some good word of mouth and a free demo were enough to get me to try it, and I absolutely loved it. Nothing particularly fancy about it, but the basic shooting mechanics are damn near perfect.

    • Before playing my hopes for gunslinger were so low that even after I bought it I was unsure if I wanted to spend the time downloading it. Ubisoft was only charging like $15 or sometihng for it so even they must have thought it sucked, right?? Yet the game is one of my best games of the year, right up there with GTAV, the last of us and assassin’s creed 4.

      Though I will admit…..maybe the game is only that great because I thought it was going to suck so much??

  • I’m not really sure. I think A Link Between Worlds surprised me in that my expectations were so ludicrously high that there was no way it could ever deliver what I wanted from it…

    …but it did. O.o

    • Yes. The last of us was definitely the most mindblowing game and highlight of the PS3 era. Tomb raider is a close second- I felt the reason was because Lara was new. To this but I had her shooting headshots with a bow and arrow mercilessly as soon as I got the opportunity to.

    • While I agree that tlou is one of the best games I’ve ever played, I wouldn’t say it was a surprise.

  • Remember Me. It looked interesting, but I was genuinely wowed by the beautiful world that DONTNOD created. I want to see more of it. Plus a different combat system (no guns here) and decent story.
    Also Dynasty Warriors 8. After the last few interations, I wasn’t expecting much, but damn if it isn’t one of the best in the series.

  • I was surprised at the level of malignancy and vitriol that the console wars brought out this time around. I guess the internet wasn’t as big a thing last time…

  • Alot of responses for Remember Me, guess I will download it via PS+ and up the backlog list.

    Guacamelee! – Look past the memes that alot of sites posted stories about, whilst they are amusing in the game, there is far more to this game and felt the fighting and combo system in this game is sublime. An arcade fighting game in this engine would be pretty godly.

  • Dead Island: Riptide.

    I expected this to be terrible but with better focused gameplay and a new cool character like John, I was more than surprised with what I got.

    Looking forward to go at it again at some point.

  • The Stanley Parable. I didn’t know anything about it before I played, all I knew about it was you were playing as guy called Stanley and that the game was getting pretty rave reviews. That’s all. I didn’t watch any trailers, didn’t know anything much about the gameplay, I just bought it and jumped straight into it. And it was brilliant! Easily one of my most favourite games from the last few years. Wasn’t really expecting it to be so good!

  • Not many games have surprised me this year. I didnt expect Ryse to be as good as it is so I’ll probably go with that. Fantastic game.

  • Batman Arkham Origins – After all the nay-say about a new developer taking over development, even with the same system involved, we got a very faithful game that you would have thought Rocksteady made.

  • The new Tomb Raider was a pleasant surprise for me. The DMC: Devil May Cry was also less bad than I thought it would be.

  • I’d say the triumphant return of adventure games with The Night of the Rabbit and Goodbye Deponia, every bit as good as LucasArts’ golden age.

  • Assassin’s Creed IV. I hate annual franchises, and even though I enjoyed III, i was losing hope in the series. However once it came out (last week, PC) I was amazed!!! It’s brilliant!!

    Fire Emblem was a nice surprise to 🙂

  • Tomb Raider for me… for many, many years the franchise has been stale and just couldnt get its groove back. Finally it all happened. Very pleased 🙂

  • Tales of Xillia- I thought that it was going to just be a lame JRPG without any character, but wow, those characters were amazing and some of the cut scenes were top notch! Tales of XIllia > FFXIII

  • DmC: Devil May Cry.

    I couldn’t get into the older games for various reasons such as the dated gameplay in the first game and some of the annoying puzzles as well as Dante’s annoying attitude.

    The new one strips all of that BS for something fun and exciting.

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