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Earth’s 2013th trip around the sun during the Common Era was notable for worlds that were digitally given life within the box-like realms of gaming consoles and PCs. Whether they be recreations of everybody’s favorite nostalgic characters or newly treaded ground in he realm of gaming lore, several video games released in 2013 will certainly be remembered in the future—when the years of their respective release is brushed off as technological antiquity.

In another installment of Yearbook13, RSVLTS has gathered the best, brightest, and most jaw dropping from the various pixelated universes emanating from your living room-located video game console.

10. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Initially hated for stealing the spotlight from Solid Snake in 2001’s Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Raiden underwent a yet-to-be-chronicled transformation into a cyborg between the events of the aforementioned game and 2008’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of The Patriots.

Hence, the biggest gaffe of the Metal Gear series turned into the character that many fans demanded to see again. Well, in 2013, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was released. And, while it didn’t light up the review columns like its Metal Gear Solid predecessors, it set a precedent for exceptionally stylish cyborg ninja action. And, while it was short and had an underwhelming story arc; the gameplay was sheer frenzied dismemberment-laden entertainment.

9. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

After 2012’s disappointing—but not horrid—Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft hoped to bring the series back to the acclaim that it received in the wake of Assassin’s Creed II. Hence,  Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was the series’ first expedition onto the newly released Generation Eight consoles.

Featuring a massive open-world, nautical violence, and a new protagonist—the Pirate Assassin Edward Kenway—the series regained its renown with its best installment since Ezio Auditore’s first appearance.

8. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

For gamers—and especially those fond of Japanese Role Playing Games (RPG)—the truth that recent years have been far from the previously stated genres heyday is apparent. With titles like Final Fantasy VII, Legend of Dragoon, and Chrono Trigger in erstwhile times, the Japanese RPG genre has declined.

However, recently winning a VGX award for best Role Playing game of 2013 was Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch—an RPG that had cartoonish graphics, making for a breath of fresh air in the midst of the dark realism that pervades the contemporary industry.

7. Gone Home

The advent of the Internet and social media has allowed for a mass uprising of independent artists. Such has passed along to the gaming industry, where Indie games have been establishing a strong presence. In 2013’s Gone Home, the player is tasked with exploring an abandoned house in an attempt to figure out what happened to the occupying family.

6. Saints Row IV

Initially an attempt to compete with the popular Grand Theft Auto series, Saints Row has since taken a turn for the absolute absurd. And, for the most part, it has found a distinct identity that has become altogether ridiculous.

5. Bioshock Infinite

Enter the Top 5—the truest sense of gaming excellence to come to pass during 2013. Beginning this list is Bioshock Infinite, the third installment of the now-famed first person shooter franchise.

In a steampunkish world based off of times past, the game of subject incorporates use of powers to create a story packed with the first person shooter action that made the franchise famous.

4. Tomb Raider

Regardless of the medium—cinema, video games, or the like—reboots seem to be the widespread fad in the entertainment industry. And, while some beloved franchises underwent dreadfully morbid craptastic reboots; others managed to experience reinvention with heightened levels of success.

Enter Tomb Raider, the visually stunning 2013 remake that features the ever likeable Lara Croft. A constant stimulant on the senses with its rapid cut scenes and frenetic action, Tomb Raider will most likely kickstart an entire new incarnation for the franchise.

3. Grand Theft Auto V

Recently crowned with VGX’s “Game of the Year” Award, the fifth numbered installment of Rockstar’s famed free-roaming social satire only reaches the third spot on this RSVLTS list. Why? Well, because—while Grand Theft Auto V—did have an unprecedented world coupled with epic sky dive-allowing seamlessness, it also felt largely spread out at certain points.

However, this is not to discredit the accomplishment that was Los Santos—the fictionalized recreation of Los Angeles. With three different protagonists that boast the signature crookedness for which the series is known, Grand Theft Auto V stands as one of the prime gaming accomplishments of 2013.

2.  Super Mario 3D World

Mario remains the best selling gaming franchise in the industry’s history for a reason—its constant faith to the acrobatic plumber’s origins while simultaneously treading into new territory.

Featuring quirky new transformations, a world that modernizes the widely successful formula that made Super Mario games addictive, Super Mario 3D World should be the quintessential game for the Wii U.

1. The Last Of Us

Zombies more or less pervade contemporary popular culture. Correspondingly, the lines between video games and film are constantly becoming blurred. Enter 2013’s crowning video game achievement: The Last of Us.

A visceral achievement in the sense of story and the portrayal of human emotion, The Last of Us takes a more realistic cue from Telltale’s The Walking Dead—incorporating sweeping destroyed landscapes and a political subplot rarely seen in stories of the zombified persuasion. Hence, it gave a largely needed fresh perspective on an otherwise overdone genre.

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