Time to start announcing the winners of the Kotaku Awards 2013. First up -- handheld game of the year!
Voting on all other categories is still open for voting so if you haven't already, head here and cast your votes!
Pokemon X and Pokemon Y It was almost inevitable. As nominations for this award began, I slowly began to realise it would be a race for second place. This latest version of Pokemon really struck some sort of chord in the Zeitgeist. Almost if we were ready for this game to exist, in this form, at this specific time. Pokemon has always been popular but this time -- as a combination of the game itself, the burgeoning install base of the 3DS, and a whole hostof other intangibles -- it was unstoppable.
2nd Place: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 3rd Place: Persona 4: Golden
Luigi's Mansion 2 One award in and I'm already conflicted. Luigi's Mansion 2 has, until recently, easily been my favourite handheld game of 2013 but then along came A Link Between Worlds to make this category an impossibly difficult choice.
In the end, I had to go with my gut. I had to go with the game that I, personally, enjoyed the most. That game was Luigi's Mansion 2.
I've already written an entire article detailing precisely why I loved Luigi's Mansion 2 so much, so I'll just give you the cliff notes here.
An astonishing attention to detail -- every cupboard rattles, every curtain flutters. Luigi's Mansion 2 had relatively small environments but crammed so much into each digital inch that exploration felt endlessly rewarding.
And at the centre of it all was the Poltergust: a mechanic that worked brilliant across combat, exploration and never -- not even for a second -- stopped being gleefully fun to use. The combat especially, skidding across the floor like an elephant on ice skates, desperately trying to centre your sense of gravity, as the ghosts tried in vain to escape your grasp -- it was perfect. The swirling music, the numbers rattling down as you struggled, the sense of struggle, weight and eventual accomplishment. It was as perfect a central mechanic as I've seen in years.
As good as A Link Between Worlds is, and as important a release it is in terms of Zelda as a series, I don't know if I can honestly say I'm enjoying it in the same way, at that same level.
Luigi's Mansion 2 is just a special video game. It felt fresh, it felt unique, it was perfectly designed for handhelds, it had an exquisite level of detail and polish. It was almost, almost flawless.
Honorable mentions: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Hotline Miami