The Winners of The Escapist Awards and Game of the Year Nominees

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The Winners of The Escapist Awards and Game of the Year Nominees

Find out what the editors choices were for the best games of 2013.

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Hmm, looking over it.
The nominees for your Game of the Year are not that bad.

Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag seems to be a step up from the last one, how much of a step ... not more then Assassins Creed 2. Personally I'm loving it with the open-world, I'm just hoping that in the next game that there will be more of a focus on the Assassins of Assassins Creed rather then pirates or whatever. Still hoping for Ninjas in the next addition and a better focus on the modern day time.

Pokemon X & Y. Don't get me wrong, brought it, loved it for a short while, but I haven't completed it or picked it up in a while. It does look damn good, it is simply the same thing we know and love, nothing bad, but nothing good. My pick for this section would be Fire Emblem: Awakening, of course this is due to my own opinion. This game embraced my love of the strategy genre once more and it made me a instant fan of the Fire Emblem series.

XCOM: Enemy Within. Even though I have not played it due to my crappy PC and lack of funds, I could tell that this game was good from the footage I have seen, but since I haven't played it myself, I can't really say anything about it. The original looks great, a bit buggy and this new expansion looked great as a addition. I makes me realize that we should have more expansions and less DLC.

Now ... Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us.
These are the ones I think are the biggest overrated games of the year. Don't get me wrong, they mostly looked good, but the gameplay looked bland and boring. Bioshock: Infinite, it manages to take away the "shock" out of "Bioshock", it was removed from the horror genre and place it in the FPS genre. Played it, completed it in a day, got bored of it and gave it back in. The game was a "better then okay" to me, but I wished that the series was a bit better ... but I think Bioshock 2 had something to do with that.

The Last of Us ... *sigh*
A game that is loved by most people, yet I believe it is the most overrated game this year.
I will admit, it looks wonderful, even better then uncharted, but the setting seemed a bit boring for the most of it. The gameplay to me was a bit bland and boring. Characters, uninteresting, story was good I have to admit.
Still, I would still just call it "good", and that still means it is good in my books, it just isn't masterpiece or GotY rating.

I wish that Naughty Dog didn't change from Jak & Daxter, but that is just my past talking.

This year huh, I do have to admit. It was a tad disappointing. The new consoles worry me, the games worry me, I feel like it will go downhill from here as shit will get worse. That is why I am glad that people like Jim Sterling and Angry Joe and TotalBiscuit are around, still, there are not many of them. I wish to become someone who can voice himself in this industry, to call out the bullshit and make everything for the future of the industry we all have fun in.

But other then that, it was a worse then average year for us and I only wish for a better one tomorrow.

Well, this looks like a pretty good list. I mean I don't agree with some of it but for the most part it still looks pretty good and...you said that Gone Home was better than Papers Please...RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES EVERYONE! This thread will be consumed with fire and brimstone! You can't just...have a different opinion from the general consensus!

I actually find it really interesting that Gone Home was chosen over Paper's Please by the Escapist. I agree with the choice, since I really enjoyed the unique experience that was Gone Home and I was bored to tears by the paperwork simulator that was Papers Please. However it does kind of give a slap in the face to the legitimacy of a little vote being held as I type this. Oh wait, we all knew that already.

You know it's been a miserable year for RPG's if effing Pokemon win, and a hack and slash gets a second place.

What so good happened in the new Pokemon game anyway? I have fond childhood memories of Red/Blue and Gold/Silver, but after they kept releasing another after another batch of sillier and sillier looking... things, and slim to none changes in the gameplay, I left the series in a bin, and never got back, to the point, where I purposefully ignored any preview or review of it. And now, everyone is salivating over it once again, so... What's so good about it (honest question, no hate)?

Huh well it seems exactly how I expected the results to b-

The Escapist Staff:
Gone Home beats Papers, Please, The Stanley Parable and The Wolf Among Us

I cannot express my undying rage into words.

Wot no Best Racing game category? For shame...

(Although looking through metacritic's top games, there don't actually have seemed to have been many racing games released this year, especially if you don't own a next-gen console).

bioshock got best shooter? Best story or best world-building I could see, but bioshock infinite is a piss poor first person shooter, enemies are bullet sponges, weapon selection is gimped to a choice of two at any given time so you'd better find your favorite and stick with it, vigors were a mixed bag, and they were too spread out, so by the time you got a new one you've already invested in the ones you have so there isn't much need or want to switch to the new ones. To top it all off, the game makes you repeat the same infuriating boss fight 3 times in a row, with the same tactic of floating around resurrecting fallen enemies.

*Sigh* Fire Emblem: Awakening is such an under appreciated game. Despite it being near flawless, offering the most replay value of the year, those quirky characters you grow to love, and it can be extremely accessible or excruciatingly hard depending on how you want to play. Yet in every single award ceremony all the critics hand out the medal to something else, much to the chagrin of anyone who's played Awakening

Gone Home NOT up for GOTY?! Hope for this website yet.

Overall, I'm not finding too much to disagree with here, except I find it odd that Gone Home is not up for GOTY after winning it's category. Would it win? I don't know. It's probably my personal GOTY, but a decision at a site like this is likely made by committee so I doubt it would necessarily matter what one individual would feel. It should certainly have been nominated though.

I also find Janelle's commentary on Bioshock Infinite to be, quite frankly, wrong. I can see praising the game and even holding it up as a personal favourite.. but when you start saying something does everything right, that it sets a bar that all other games should aspire to and that it's pretty much perfect, you're treading into dangerous territory. Just as reviewers have to distinguish between "it's bad" and "I didn't like it," they should also be careful to distinguish between "I loved it" and "it's pretty much perfect."

Heh, direct reverse for me! I found myself disagreeing with almost every pick. Bioshock Infinite's actual shooting was awful, but I concede little else this year showed much verve. Still, I'd have picked Metro ahead of it. A similar situation with strategy, where I felt EU4 deserved the nod for its scope if nothing else. I'd have chosen Saints Row 4 over TLoU simply because it nailed its gameplay mechanics at every turn (and because, admission of bias, I've never liked the Assassin's Creed series, so maybe it should be AC4 as the winner but I'd never know,) while TLoU's mechanics are kinda frustrating and shallow.

And finally, Papers, Please is my game of the year. No question. No other game blended story with mechanics so perfectly, creating its oppressive world with nothing but stamps and pleading. Brilliant design at almost every level.

Yet even despite this, I'm BAFFLED that Gone Home wasn't nominated for GOTY. Look, I didn't like the damn thing. The story is too fractured and none of the branches feel reflexive of the others; and overall felt shallow and trite. The actual placement of items is gamey and artificial, with few diary entries in logical places. The nineties aesthetic is nice if very narrow. But how the hell does it not earn a GOTY nom after winning its category? It's easily the most ambitious title of any of the ones you've listed, and that alone means it merits consideration.

The FPS winner being one that threw away its horror roots... the platformer winner being something that's not really a platformer, in the same year as 3D World... and the adventure runner-up being not an adventure game but a puzzle game...

Hooo wee, this is a bad list! And we all know the overrated TLoU will win GOTY here. Ah well, maybe next year will have a better selection.

Pokemon X and Y beat out both Fire Emblem and A Link Between Worlds for a spot? Huh... I'm surprised by that one considering that ALBW took the game of the year award over at Gamespot (Followed by serious Nintendo hate in the comments) But hey, your guys' list :) I can't complain, especially considering that I like really liked X.
The rest I completely, 99.999999999999999999999% agree with though.

I think the rule of thumb should be "The winners of each category are automatically nominated to be Game of the Year."

If they are the best in their genre, they should be the ones to compete to be the best of the year. I can see one or two being left out because they may be not in the same ballpark (Triple-A) as the others. Outlast being left out felt like a real slap in the face. I have heard so much about how truly scary it is (not a fan of the genre myself). Leaving it out is part of why that genre struggles to survive and developers make RE6 or DS3 to get the big attention and the accolades.

But why is AC4 in for GotY if Last of Us already beat it once. If AC4 does win, it pretty much invalidates everything. If it's not the best in its genre, how then can it be the best game this year. And that's not taking away from the game; its really really good. But if you determine Last of Us is better already, you've either wasted a final spot or completely invalidated your entire process.

Now that I addressed that pet peeve...I can't say anything really upset me in the selections. Most went as I thought but Gone Home beating Papers, Please just stunned me (but I've heard a lot of good about GH so I'm ok with it).

Also considering I have never heard of The Bridge, it beating Mario was a stunner to me.

Interesting picks, I have yet to play Bioshock Infinite, but once my gaming rig comes, that will change. Haven't got X-Com though, don't plan to get it until a big sale. Once I get a PS3, I might grab TLoU, I also haven't played Papers Please, but I should at one point.

Loved Pokemon X&Y, currently just faffing about in it now, I felt something was missing in it, but it was also a fantastic leap to the 3DS.

Just gonna leave my opinion here, if you don't mind.

-Escapist Categories-
Best Shooter: Metro Last Light
Best Platformer: Super Mario 3D World
Best RPG: A Link Between Worlds
Best Strategy: I want to give this to XCOM, but I didn't play any games in this genre this year, so...
Best Action-Adventure: A tie between Tomb Raider and Saints Row IV
Best Adventure: Splinter Cell Blacklist (You travel to several places around the globe and do stuff. Sounds like an adventure to me)
Best Horror: Hide-and-Seek in a big house with the lights off, because this was not a great year for horror fans.

-Other Categories-
Best Fighting: Tie between Injustice and KI
Best New Console: The new Zelda 3DSXL
Best Port: Diablo 3

And the super-mega-ultra-greatest-bestest-Game-of-the-Year: Saints Row IV, for remembering what "fun" really is.

So, what makes The Last of Us an "Action Adventure" game, but Bioshock Infinite a "shooter"?

Both games involve plenty of shooting, and both involve story and adventure. I'm intrigued as to why these were put in separate categories, as the overall gameplay and feel of the games is quite similar.

I liked both, playing them both on launch, but The Last of Us was a more satisfying experience, and the multiplayer was even pretty good. Come to think of it, doesn't The Last of Us multiplayer make it more of a shooter than Bioshock Inifinite?

It almost seems as if these game categories are arbitrary and hastily arrived at.

SirBryghtside:
As silly as it is to define genres on the camera angle, shooter seems to refer to FPSes, while Action-Adventure refers to third-person games.

That is really silly.

But can't you change the camera-angle in The Last of Us to first-person? In any case, it doesn't say "first-person shooter" in the article, it just says "shooter."

I'm still not getting the praise that Gone Home seems to be getting all around the place. Papers, Please did some very exciting things and featured really innovative ideas. Gone Home, as far as I could see, was pretty much nothing more than a series of story elements the player was guided through with a minimum of interaction. It didn't have the clever narrative twists and themes of the Stanley Parable either

What was so clever or special about Gone Home that makes journalists all around prefer it above (to me) obviously superior games?

Yossarian1507:
You know it's been a miserable year for RPG's if effing Pokemon win, and a hack and slash gets a second place.

What so good happened in the new Pokemon game anyway? I have fond childhood memories of Red/Blue and Gold/Silver, but after they kept releasing another after another batch of sillier and sillier looking... things, and slim to none changes in the gameplay, I left the series in a bin, and never got back, to the point, where I purposefully ignored any preview or review of it. And now, everyone is salivating over it once again, so... What's so good about it (honest question, no hate)?

I honestly just bought a 3DS last week and got Pokemon X while I was at it. I don't see the salivating hype is true, that's most likely just some fans of the series. But here's what I like about it. With the main gameplay (As in Pokemon battles) you will find not much is new besides the new type, Fairy, being added into the mix. However, this is the first portable title with 3D animations, and I admit they look clean and really really good too. The added Mega Evolution mechanic also spurs things up; a select amount of Pokemon are able to "Mega" evolve into a new form (a form that changes their looks and makes them extremely powerful), but only lasts until the end of the battle. EV Training has been simplified with Minigames added to make EV training faster and much easier, and you are able to now see EV points on a bar instead of it being a mystery too, and then there's Pokemon Amie. Pokemon Amie is a little mechanic added on the side that lets you pick a Pokemon in your party and play with them, sort of like Nintendogs but with Pokemon. You can pet them (In certain places, you can't touch a Pichu's cheeks or you get shocked, and Absol doesn't take being touched on its scythe-like horn too kindly), feed them little desserts, and play one of three mini games with them too. Doing this increases one of three new stats on the Pokemon, though these don't effect in-game battles, except for Eevee's new evolution, Sylveon.

Why the blue hell wasn't The Last Of Us in the horror section? It out horror'd every single one of them.

Civilization 5: Brave New World lost to X-Com? AW HELL NAW!
Also, Bioshock: Infinite is a shooter? Really? If anything it should be placed in the action-adventure category. If it is a shooter, then it really shouldn't be winning any awards for it.

"Stupid frat boys are ruining games by just spawning an endless series of sequels for machoism shit like Madden and Call of Duty that are really just the same game over and over again, but with a different roster or new maps. Publishers are just taking people for their money. Not me though, OH MY GOD, A NEW POKEMON GAME! IT HAS NEW POKEMON!"

Thank god Papers Please isn't on this list! I mean between it on the user choice bracket and Yatzhee's list and just about every single other list, I was getting pretty worried I was the only sane gamer left. But this is refreshing, because at least some people are sane enough to realize a poorly optimized/written/executed game like that doesn't belong on a top anything list.

Personally, I'd go with Bioshock, although Pokemon is a contender simply because it saved the franchise.

Pokemon as best RPG? that's like saying Ride to Hell: Retribution was game of the year.. which if you haven't been paying attention.. both of those are wrong.. the real best RPG of 2013? Tales of Xillia. Meanwhile, Tomb Raider and Saints Row 4 were the best action adventure games this year...though Last of Us wasn't bad.

TizzytheTormentor:

Loved Pokemon X&Y, currently just faffing about in it now, I felt something was missing in it, but it was also a fantastic leap to the 3DS.

Agreed, it's my second favorite game of the year, and I've put a huge amount of time into it. Yet, there isn't really much to do in the game once you beat it compared to past games. That's what I feel was missing from X and Y personally.

OT: I hate to sound like the "I like it so it deserves recognition" guy, but having two adventure related categories and no Link Between Worlds...a bit of a shame really. :/

Of course this isn't my list so I shouldn't fuss over it too much.

Hero of Lime:

TizzytheTormentor:

Loved Pokemon X&Y, currently just faffing about in it now, I felt something was missing in it, but it was also a fantastic leap to the 3DS.

Agreed, it's my second favorite game of the year, and I've put a huge amount of time into it. Yet, there isn't really much to do in the game once you beat it compared to past games. That's what I feel was missing from X and Y personally.

I'm still waiting for another Gem like how Gen 2 did it, you can go to another region and then battle all those Gyms leaders as well. Made for some fun end game content for sure. Then Emerald's end game content with the Battle Frontier was absolutely great. But with Gen VI I'm not feeling it as much, although I will give it credit that I enjoy the end game content from Gen VI way more then Gen IV. Then again I'd enjoy many things over Gen IV. XD

Neronium:

I'm still waiting for another Gem like how Gen 2 did it, you can go to another region and then battle all those Gyms leaders as well. Made for some fun end game content for sure. Then Emerald's end game content with the Battle Frontier was absolutely great. But with Gen VI I'm not feeling it as much, although I will give it credit that I enjoy the end game content from Gen VI way more then Gen IV. Then again I'd enjoy many things over Gen IV. XD

For me, the Gen V games had the best post game content. Having a new, mysterious part of the region open up to explore was great for me. I remember running into Kyurem in its area for the the first time and feeling all fuzzy inside. XD

Exploring all of Kanto in the Gold and Silver games didn't really appeal to me for some reason. I guess I like the idea, but I prefer to keep games in just one region. That is just me, I know most fans would disagree since everyone else would like to have the two region mechanic come back.

Aardvaarkman:
So, what makes The Last of Us an "Action Adventure" game, but Bioshock Infinite a "shooter"?

Both games involve plenty of shooting, and both involve story and adventure. I'm intrigued as to why these were put in separate categories, as the overall gameplay and feel of the games is quite similar.

I liked both, playing them both on launch, but The Last of Us was a more satisfying experience, and the multiplayer was even pretty good. Come to think of it, doesn't The Last of Us multiplayer make it more of a shooter than Bioshock Inifinite?

It almost seems as if these game categories are arbitrary and hastily arrived at.

We had to make a few concessions for genre categorizations. It's always hard to put games into compartments, but that's our job and I think we did a pretty good job overall. For the specific case you mentioned, BioShock Infinite's gameplay was solely about shooting and killing dudes, while The Last of Us had a lot more platforming, stealth and other elements in the mechanics to justify the "action-adventure" moniker.

Again, game genres aren't a perfect thing. The Escapist made an attempt at figuring all this stuff out with Russ Pitts' genre wheel (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_283/8400-Introducing-The-Escapists-Genre-Wheel) but it still ain't that simple.

Greg

I was surprised to not see Ni No Kuni at least nominated for best RPG. It was released outside of Japan in 2013.

To me this year has been a particularly good year for games. Some of my favorite games have come out this year and it is extremely difficult to choose between any of them. That being said, I am extremely disappointed that the Stanley Parable did not make it, I simply loved the game from start till end, in every direction. It made a statement about games that truly made me believe that games are an art, beyond a doubt.

Clovus:
I was surprised to not see Ni No Kuni at least nominated for best RPG. It was released outside of Japan in 2013.

That was a tough one to leave out, but Ni No Kuni had the unfortunate circumstance of coming out at the very start of 2013 while being hyped mostly in 2012. Also, we didn't really think it was that fun compared to our nominees, even though it was probably the best game to come out on the Wii this year.

Greg

Greg Tito:

Clovus:
I was surprised to not see Ni No Kuni at least nominated for best RPG. It was released outside of Japan in 2013.

That was a tough one to leave out, but Ni No Kuni had the unfortunate circumstance of coming out at the very start of 2013 while being hyped mostly in 2012. Also, we didn't really think it was that fun compared to our nominees, even though it was probably the best game to come out on the Wii this year.

Greg

That's cool. I think time has made the game worse in your mind though - that beautiful cartoon style would look pretty awful on a 480p Wii. It's a PS3 exclusive ;-)

But, yeah, its super-old-school JRPG mechanics could easily detract from the interesting (though kid friendly) world design. I wasn't able to handle the grind of the last Pokemon, but, for some reason, I keep chugging along in Ni No Kuni, even if that means trapsing back across the world slowly on foot to complete some side mission. Or fighting the same type of mob to finally collect the three someone needed.

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