Kotaku Awards 2013: Console Game Of The Year

Time to announce what you (and I) thought was the best console game of the year. Hold on to your hats my brethren!

Reader's Choice

The Last Of Us A clear winner. Definitely up there for me. I still maintain this game could have done with a little less shooting and a little more stealth and exploration, but still one of the best written video games ever. Actually, scratch that. I think it's the best written video game ever made.

2nd Place: Grand Theft Auto V 3rd Place: BioShock Infinite


Editor's Choice

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag The Assassin’s Creed series has a rare gift. When we expect it to be good, it’s bad. When we think it’s going to be terrible, it somehow manages to be sublime.

Assassin’s Creed — thought it was going to great. Slightly bad.

Assassin’s Creed II — Oh this series sucks, wait oh-dear-god-it’s-glorious!

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood — Urgh, spin offs. NO THANKS. What? It’s the best game in the series? How the hell did that happen…

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations — Ubisoft have got this annual Assassin’s Creed release thing down, this’ll be great. Oh dear god no…

Assassin’s Creed III — It’s the next numbered update guys — they can’t screw this one up. Oh wait. They screwed it up.

And then we have Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Urgh. Pirates? That’s a bit desperate. Are they trying to capitalise on the whole Pirates of the Caribbean thing? That’s a bit cynical and shit.

I don’t remember pirates looking like a goddamn Welsh David Beckham with eyeliner. DOUBLE URGH. That’s two urghs. A new numbered instalment a year after Assassin’s Creed III? This series has jumped the shark. Why Ubisoft, why? Why would you do this.

Urgh.

In a way we should have expected it. We should have expected Assassin’s Creed IV to be amazing precisely because we expected it to be terrible. So the next time you think Assassin’s Creed is going to suck — reverse that opinion. There is clearly a pattern here. Clearly.

Black Flag is good. It is very good. It’s easily the best game on next-gen consoles at this precise moment and I’m really, really glad I waited for the release of the PlayStation 4 to play what is, in my opinion, the definitive version of this game. Essentially the greatest pirate simulator ever conceived, Black Flag is simply dripping in glorious detail, expansive in scope, and peppered with some decent writing (amongst some clangers, admittedly, but it is a video game). Best of all, it’s sewn together by one of the most convincing, daring open worlds I’ve ever immersed myself in.

Speaking to friends, we all have the same story. We went in with zero expectations and simply could not stop playing. That’s the mark of a special video game right there. I want to be playing Assassin’s Creed IV right now.

Runners Up: The Last of Us, Super Mario 3D World


Comments

    Really? I liked AC4 a lot and the entire series, but come on Last of Us was something special

      Thank you Serrels for picking something that is not the same as every other gaming site is going to name GOTY.

      Edit: Removed "sheep" statement about the game. I was a bit too heavy handed and mean in my comments about The Last of Us. (Find more detailed reason in a post below) I apologize to the Kotaku and The Last of Us fanbases who found my comments in bad taste.

      Last edited 13/12/13 11:24 am

        Everyone's wrong but you, eh?

        People are entitled to like whatever the hell they want. There's no need to dismiss people's opinions just because it happens to be the popular one.

          I really like seeing the general consensus and then Mark's personal favourites of the year. It's nice to see the view of one person contrasting with the view of many.

            Yeah, I agree...

            Every person on this site has a slightly different perspective and Mark is no different. His opinions are also no better or worse than any one elses, they're just his own. Mase's post just rubbed me the wrong way implying that people only liked The Last of Us because it was the cool thing to do and cause the media told them to. There's many reasons beyond the story why I loved that game as well.

            The beauty of this year of games is I can think of about five games that could all be my personal game of the year and I'm sure that's true for most people here. They just had to whittle it down to one. :D

            Last edited 13/12/13 10:57 am

        Sounds like the issue here is you dislike The Last of Us, or it's success - not the fact another game might be more or less deserving.

        EDIT: To clarify, Mase's original comment was quite strong in tone regarding TLoU's inclusion as GOTY. I've never played the game myself.

        Last edited 13/12/13 12:38 pm

          I do dislike The Last of Us and I do think there are games out there that are more deserving of the GOTY title. AC4 and Bioshock Infinite being prime examples.

          To me, GOTY should stand for something more than just one great aspect. I played The Last of Us and had the same gripes that Serrels did, I also agree that the story is one of the best in modern day video games. I just don't think that because the one aspect that is great is enough to carry such a title.

        The story was great. The art direction and world design was great. The engine and graphics was great, technically getting more out of the PS3 than I would have thought possible.

        And most importantly, the gameplay was wonderful. The shooting and sneaking all felt brilliantly executed. The scavenging and crafting worked well. The pacing of the game as a whole felt perfect. And it's a decent sized game as well for a linear narrative, coming in at around 15 hours for most people.

        It's also got a genuinely enjoyable multiplayer component.

        It's the best game I've played in recent memory, and it left a lasting impact on me that few games have managed. Easily my GOTY.

          Don't forget the score. One of the best OSTs I've ever heard in a game!

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duwlqZWJEcM

            I've got the soundtrack on my rotation. Absolutely chilling!

            Also, watch the Documentary that came with the Season Pass. Pretty sure it's on youtube now, it's called "Grounded". It's an hour and a half long, and goes through every aspect of making the game. The section about the music and the game's composer was simply fantastic!

              Watched the mocap sessions with the actors too and it's mind blowing. How they get those performances in a make believe room wearing weird suits. So hypnotic to watch. Haha! Beyond: Two Souls mocap sessions blew me away too.

        Agreed. Borrowed a ps3 and Last of Us, didn't see anything remarkable. Ditto Bioshock Infinite.

          its not what u see man, it what u feel... feel it.... ahh..

    Hooray for The Last of US! And Beyond: Two Souls! And Pikmin 3! And The Night of the Rabbit! And Rayman Legends! And Gone Home!

    Good year for games!

    I feel like everyone else saw something in The last of us that I didn't get. I played through the entire thing but it didn't really stick with me after I finished it.

    Also saying it was the best written video game ever is a bit rich.

      I'm beginning to feel that way about AC:IV... It must get more interesting when you start taking on man'o'wars...

        I felt the same way — if it's any consolation, I found the controls to (still) be terrible, the story non-existent and the game just very tedious and not-fun. Then at some stage... I realised it was just a tragically poor opening to a very fun (but flawed) game.

          I've got no problems with the controls, but the story is... a little contrived, to say the least. Or, it is until the diving locations unlock (haven't really felt the inclination to keep playing past that point yet). The resource collection is feeling very grindy at the moment - pick a ship you want to take, take it, rinse & repeat... ad nauseum. The assassin missions were interesting, though. Maybe I should just get back to the main missions, and advance the world a bit...

      Psht! Of course the pirate would say that after AC4 comes out!

      I actually agree wholeheartedly. There's a disconnect between all the hype and my actual experiences with The Last Of Us. And the story... eh... the overall premise of sending (arguably) the most important girl in the world cross-country with two smugglers; the university; the ending... for a game that tried so hard to be logical and consistent and believable (for a game) I found those to be weak and nonsensical moments.

      Yea i agree, wasn't impressed at all. It felt boring, slow, repetitive, predictable, derivative (of the movies and tv shows it aped, badly) and kind of like a step in the wrong direction for Naughty Dog, whose previous stuff felt so interesting and alive.

    No Wonderful 101?

      Let it go Shiggy. Just, let it go.

        I think I made the mistake of playing it after Pikmin 3. Loved that game so damn much.

          Playing it the other way around would have been the real mistake. It'd just seem disappointing in comparison :P

    No "insert game here"? What about "insert game here"? Surely it should have been "insert game here"!

    Last edited 13/12/13 10:51 am

      Your opinion differs from mine. You are therefore inherently wrong and should probably self-terminate.

    You've sold me, I need to pick up AC IV at some point. Also The Last Of Us. Still not played that or any of the Uncharteds at that point

      Thank Christ I'm not alone. I own all the Uncharteds but haven't played them. The Last of Us is in the post though. I really didn't need to buy a PS4 when I have so many great games to finish off on the PS3. Oh well, my Pile of Shame continues to grow.....

    Whilst I enjoyed the last of us, I don't really get the hype. Pretty much just a standard 3rd person shooter with a semi decent story. Didn't really think it was any more special than tomb raider, or a better comparable being enslaved.

    I my mind the best video game writing belongs to planescape torment or baldurs gates.

    Bioshock should have won. The last of us was great but i felt like ive played it before and tired of zombies. Bioshock felt surreal, like i generally felt the need to explore.

    The best thing about assassin's creed black flag other then pirating is the sea shanties so good need more
    An as Mark did I waited till ps4 for play this great game

    Gameplay wise i have to agree. ACIV:BF was absolutely amazing! i couldnt really get into the last of us. i even bought a PS3 just to play it.

    Never really got into The Last Of Us. About 4 hours in the campaign haven't touched it for a month or so

    We'll it's a about time someone chose TLOU for goty! Sick of hearing about gta5, most disappointing game of the year for me, can't believe I pre ordered it...

    I actually have no idea what I'd choose. I seem to play less games than ever, yet buy more than ever. I usually end up getting on my staples and not moving a lot. Battlefield, MMO's, etc. Still have yet to play The Last of Us, and probably never will. Although I have AC4 on PS4, and will definitely get to that. Been too busy with Killzone, Ghosts and BF4.

    Actually, if anything, I'd be tempted to mention BF4 (PC) or P4G. BF4, yes, yes, I know, more FPS, annual releases, rabble rabble, crap crap - the fact of the matter is, it still does multiplayer better than any other FPS I know. And P4G is just the most glorious remake I've ever seen of a game, and the Vita is the perfect place to put it. The game itself is a joy to play - the music, characters, gameplay - it's all so great. There's also a shit ton of content there too.

    i liked it.
    i also got frustrated with it. there were many bits i didnt like. it was a chore in sections and i very much didnt like the ending (but i appreciate that it ended in the way it wanted to)
    it tried to suck me into its world but i kept hitting up against things i disagree with or didnt like.

    havent played AC4 yet. its on my chrisy list along with my PS4, im looking forward to it.

    im also glad GTA5 didnt get it i tended to not like it for very similar reasons to last of us.
    sometimes i just want to have fun in my games and sailing around being a pirate sounds like my version of it

    Well deserved! The Last Of Us gets not just game of the year but game of the generation for me.

    I am surprised it won, though, given that it was a PS3 exclusive. I would have thought a multiplatform game (most likely GTAV) would have won just by the weight of the number of people who would have played it compared to TLOU.

      I thought so too....... when I was playing GTA-V, I was thinking "oh man, this is going to give TLOU a real run for it's money". I thouroghly loved every minute of GTA.

      But... you know..... a few months later, and all I have in my mind still is TLOU..... It's just implanted itself there so much deeper. Much like RDR.

    The Last of Us is definitely my GOTY, no question. Such a unique and breathtaking experience... AC4 was a great game, but it was more or less the same as all the others but with a new story. Not GOTY material IMO.

    I did like that run down of AC though; basically my thoughts on the series. Except I didnt mind Revelations too much. I despised ACIII though and never understood the attention it got. Black Flag though is a fine return to form. I think they need to start innovating in the series though. If I have one major complaint its that since AC2 the games have just been too similar and if not for the change in settings things would have gotten stale a long time ago.

    I played the first 30 mins or so of TLOU and was very impressed, but haven't gone back for various reasons, none of which are to do with the game itself (other than I needed to be in a happier place than it was taking me). I'll take another crack at it this summer. I'm really looking forward to starting AC4 over the holidays! GTAV has eaten all my gaming time the last few weeks... all of it.

    To echo others' comments above, opinions are just that. Some games just don't work for some people. The converse is true - I loved AC2 but thought Brotherhood and Revelations were so-so, but I seem to be one of the few people who really liked AC3. It's the only AC game I've 100% completed the single player... And I just could get into Bioshock at all, any of them. Each to their own...

    I honestly don't know what my top pick would be. TLOU was a big disappointment, Bioshock was ok, haven't played AC4 but it looks good (a bit soured on the franchise after 3), GTA5 single player was just ok, but the multiplayer is pretty fun. Hmmmm.

    AC4 is the only AC game I bothered to complete 100%. If there were more to the single-player I would devour it immediately and without decorum or dignity.

      I've played them all up to AC3. Not sure if its worth finishing the trilogy or leaping straight to AC4?

    I feel like people who didn't think TLOU's story was that great, think so because they didn't really appreciate the character work that's gone into that game. Character progression is the fundamental strength of a story no matter how cliché you think it is. A great plot is great, but without great characters, they become forgettable. Such is the case with both GTAV and Bioshock Infinite. Those games squandered the potential of the characters they had (GTA), or placed a higher priority on the plot to be shocking, surprising (BI).

    Last edited 13/12/13 7:25 pm

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