It may be ending the year as the tired old video game veteran, but the PlayStation 3 can humbly hold its disc slot aloft, as this has been an outstanding year for the former flagship format. We know it's a countdown cliché to claim that it was a challenge to cut our list of Game of the Year candidates down to a manageable integer, but that's actually accurate in this instance. Still, three titles in particular stood out from the crowd like an atheist at midnight mass.
Bronze Trophy: Grand Theft Auto V
The title that coaxed throngs of console owners around the globe into a fresh release frenzy, it only took Grand Theft Auto V three days to extract $1 billion from gamers' gaping wallets. The open world antics of Los Santos' most mischievous mismatches Michael, Franklin, and Trevor have already been enjoyed by over 30 million wannabe gangsters, making this one of the biggest software success stories of all time. Its commercial accomplishments were well deserved too, as developer Rockstar North served up an obsessively detailed sandbox packed to the shady sides with scathing cultural satire. Clunky controls and an overemphasis on obscenities detracted from some of its wisecracking wit, but this was still one of the top picks from a stellar selection.
Silver Trophy: BioShock Infinite
God only knows what this list would look like without Irrational Games' overdue opus to put our heads among the clouds. Boasting one of the most extraordinary openings since Kratos mopped up wet blanket Poseidon at the start of God of War III, the outstanding BioShock Infinite couldn't have possibly offered a more engaging introduction. Set amid the blue skies of Columbia, Ken Levine penned a parallel universe hopping plotline so complex that polytechnics around the world will be running doctorates based on its finer details in the very near future. Granted, its final few hours traipsed down 'Predictable First-Person Shooter Valley', but even then its slick traversal and Vigor-driven abilities augmented it with the personality to push it above its peers.
Gold Trophy: The Last of Us
Naughty Dog and survival horror sounds like a combination about as ghastly as cheesecake – but just like the delicious desert, the Californian company served up a sweet and strangely sobering excursion centring on the cross-country hardships of an unlikely father and daughter alliance. Poignant from its unexpected opening right through to its maddening finale, Joel and Ellie's fraught pursuit for survival in a post-apocalyptic landscape served as a reminder of the underexplored potential of narrative-driven experiences in this maturing medium. Performers Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson poured their heart and souls into their abovementioned alter-egos, culminating in a believable bond that extended far beyond any on-screen exchanges.
An assured, touching, and engrossing adventure, The Last of Us represents a watershed moment for the medium. The unlikely bond that blossoms between the title's two lead characters is both heartrending and poignantly paced – but the release delivers much more than captivating cinematics. This is a meaty slice of survival action that masterfully depicts the horrors of life in a post-pandemic setting. The conclusion may feel a little hurried, and the multiplayer somewhat surplus to requirements, but this is still an essential tale of survival that will consume you quicker than a cloud of contaminated spores. – Push Square
Sammy Barker's Thoughts:
"I spent several hours pacing up and down the office hallway before deciding that The Last of Us deserved a 10/10. I think the thing that swayed me – without venturing into spoiler territory – is just how angry I felt at the close of the campaign. Unlike games where you're given a choice, Naughty Dog forces you to fulfil the actions of a man that you may not always agree with. Once I wrapped my head around that, I realised just how powerful the PS3 exclusive was from a narrative perspective."
However, beneath the twists and top-tier writing existed an exceptional third-person shooter. Building upon the basics of the Uncharted franchise, the exclusive adventure fused tense third-person gunplay with crunching close-quarters combat and plenty of Metal Gear Solid-inspired stealth action. Perhaps the game's greatest achievement was its open-ended combat environments, allowing you to persevere in a manner that suited your playing style, and forced you to adopt different tactics against the living and undead antagonists. Couple this with a curiously compelling multiplayer mode that revived the hardcore appeal of the old-school SOCOM games, and its unsurprising that Sony's current generation swansong swept our staff poll.
What was your favourite PS3 game of 2013? Do you agree with our winners, or would you have selected something else? Cast your vote and share your thoughts in the comments section and poll below.
What was your favourite PS3 game of 2013? (63 votes)
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Beyond: Two Souls
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
DmC: Devil May Cry
Gran Turismo 6
Grand Theft Auto V
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
The Last of Us
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