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This week, Zero Punctuation takes a look at the top 5 best and worst games of 2013.

TranscriptEdit

Life is an exercise in duality; one can only appreciate the pleasure if there has been pain to put it into context. The delightful taste of a knickerbocker glory is nothing if you've never stapled your bollocks over a worktop and set about them with a toffee hammer. Anyway, that's why I'm not allowed in the ice cream parlour anymore, but my point is that it's time for my top five and bottom five games of 2013, restricted as always to games I did reviews for, and not discounting the possibilty that one of the PS4 launch titles belongs in the top five... Oh sorry, I read that wrong; I am totally discounting the possibility that one of the PS4 launch titles belongs in the top five.

Well then, let's get it on!

[Harp strum]

Fifth Best: Earning the respect of a competent middle manager

My top five was difficult this year. 4 through 1 were fairly straight forward, but I just couldn't think of a fifth game that really stood out. In the end, I gathered before me three games that were basically good but I was kind of "meh" about at the time, namely Last of Us, Tomb Raider and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Then I asked myself, "if I was Scott of the Antarctic waiting for Oates to come back and had one of these to pass the time with, which one would I play first as I digested another plate of curried husky?"

No contest! Cyborg ninja flipouts beat dirty, depressing people getting their shit ruined.

[Sound of flames burning]

Fifth worst: Earning the respect of a large horny dog

On the other hand, populating my bottom five was piss-easy. I barely have room for everything I have to slag off, but let's keep things uncontroversial for my number five: Star Trek. A truly miserable experience, both it and the film it was intended to market represent everything that's wrong with the entertainment industry. There is no beloved franchise it won't stab with forks and then force to dance on the forks like they're little Charlie Chaplin legs. A just plain badly-designed mess worthy only of the title "Least Bad Science Fiction Movie Tie-in On This List."

Fourth Best: Shaking hands with Kofi Annan

You know me, I hate a series that meanders infinitely on like a hamster in a Möbius strip so I was running out of patience for Assassin's Creed.

"What the hell are you doing putting another fucking one out? I'd have thought after 3 was like watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special intercut with scenes from a very boring documentary about knives, you'd have the sense to consider winding this shit up!"

"Sorry," replied Assassin's Creed. "Would an exciting pirate adventure on the high seas help you stomach our distasteful attitude?"

"Yes... You fucking pricks."

Fourth worst: Realising your flies were unzipped the whole time you were shaking hands with Kofi Annan

Sometimes a game belongs in the top five less for its inherent dribbling awfulness and more for what it represents, and after all the unnecessary anti-consumer bullshit lately, the SimCity debacle almost seemed like the least of it. Nevertheless, behold my excellent impression of EA:

"Duh, let's take a game that's traditionally unavoidably a single-player only, crowbar in useless multiplayer elements and force players to play online on servers with the reliability of a gingerbread space station. Duh, we have all the self-awareness of a sackful of frog spawn."

Third Best: It wasn't Kofi Annan at all, it was Nelson Mandela

In an entertainment medium where the default state of existence is being really angry and murderous while talking like you were grooming your dog and accidentally inhaled the brush, what a rare treat it is for a game to remember that we're supposed to be having fun. Saints Row 4 is how all video games should conclude: a big, bouncy, anarchic, irreverent roast of itself and of video games in general. Salute it with the biggest and floppiest knob you have to hand.

Third Worst: Hang on, Nelson Mandela's dead, and you've just committed a faux pas at an open casket funeral

Well, let's get the really obvious one out of the way before we go any further: Aliens: Colonial Marines. What more need be said about this trough of walrus cankers. One couldn't find a more fitting use for the word "Alien". It alienated players by being drab and awful; it alienated fans of the franchise by fucking up the canon; it alienated its own Aliens, ironically, by buggering up their own AI; and, for an encore, it alienated whoever was left over by lying in its gameplay trailers. Should have just saved time and alienated all their money into a big fire.

Second Best: Drifting away to sleep while surrounded by kittens and money

Hype-mongers will tell you that if you can't release a game trailer in which something explodes every 0.3 seconds, then you might as well throw yourself under a bus now. But how pointless their little lives must seem when a game is as simultaneously engaging and unmarketable as Papers, Please by Lucas Pope. It's a real lesson in what a bit of context can add; it's amazing how nail-biting paperwork sorting in a shed can be when you're not sure if you'll be able to buy imaginary turnips to feed your imaginary wife.

Second Worst: Rolling onto a kitten while you sleep and getting the money all dirty

Getting back to the subject of dirty depressing people getting their shit ruined, Beyond: Two Souls. David Cage somehow does it every time; smashes his own previous record of storytelling that's both laughably bad and a little bit creepy. Who wants to see Ellen Page alternate between crying, beating up sneering toughs, and being awkward around hunky boys while schizophrenically dawdling between multiple unconnected themes in turns of interactive story, except one of which isn't understood on what the word "interactive" means!

Best of 2013: Finding a winning lottery ticket stuck on the sole of a shoe being worn by your long lost father

I agonized a bit on whether to give Game of the Year to this game or Papers, Please. I asked myself which of the two would make me seem less pretentious, but that debate went fucking nowhere. So fuck it! For all its occasional flabbiness, there's a depth and a complexity to the world of characters that makes the colourful swashbuckling excitement of Bioshock Infinite a clear standout in all the year's flappery. It still occupies my thoughts after most of the year, putting it in a distinct category alongside my quarterly tax returns and the feasability of suicide.

Worst of 2013: Finding an eviction notice stuck on the sole of a shoe being worn by an axe murderer

I thought modern military shooters were bad a year ago but it turns out we were still merely poising on the diving board above the frozen shit. Even Black Ops 2 now seems comparatively self-aware alongside something like Call of Duty: Ghosts, an experience coldly designed to appeal to the worst instincts of a sad majority of unpleasant fucks. I'm not sure the genre could get any lower, but I've been wrong before. Maybe next year we can look forward to a game in which we stop all terrorism in the world by releasing a deadly virus that targets people that aren't 3/4 white and 1/4 bald eagle.

Special Mention

Now I know what you're thinking: "What about that game, Yahtzee? You know, that one." Well, I was hesitant to place it even on a worst games list, 'cos it's not a game, it's congealed failure. I speak no hyperbole when I say that releasing every box with no disc inside would have been less of a mistake. So for one time only, I grant the Zero Punctuation Lifetime Achievement Award for Total Abhorrence to Ride to Hell: Retribution which it will hold indefinitely until a worse game comes along. That should roughly be around the time apes have retaken the Earth!

Addenda Edit

Can't wait til the new millenium is of legal age: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

Still I'll say one thing for Ride to Hell: At least it takes a modern view on gender relations

I suspect next year will just be a bottom 10 followed by a gunshot

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells

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