The 20 best PlayStation games of 2013 – the top reader voted PS4, PS4 & Vita titles of the year
1. The Last Of Us
When Game Of The Year voting opened last month, every OPM man and his COD dog fully expected a grudge match for the top spot – with the chart position between Naughty Dog’s gritty survival epic and Rockstar’s anarchic open-world masterpiece being decided by just a handful of votes. We were prepared to recount and then re-recount the votes to make sure we crowned the rightful champion. But you had other ideas, promptly burying us in a landslide of votes for The Last Of Us. It wasn’t even close. In this fight, Naughty Dog sent Franklin’s lovable hound Chop whimpering home with his tail between his legs.
If you stop to think about it, maybe the result shouldn’t be that surprising. Naughty Dog has proven itself more skilled than any other developer at harnessing the incredible horsepower of PlayStation 3, and using it to fill our virtual passport with stamps from one globe-trotting adventure after another. This time, instead of a jaunt around the world in search of ancient treasures like the Uncharted games, The Last Of Us had a much different sort of journey in mind – a road trip across a scarred and ravaged American landscape that managed to be as beautiful as it was emotionally devastating.
You have to marvel at the level of confidence it takes for a developer to wade into the shambling mob of zombie games crowding the market and succeed in making the experience feel fresh again. The Last Of Us accomplished this feat by giving us characters like Joel and Ellie, who felt so real that it didn’t even matter what form of opposition they encountered. You simply wanted to help them survive to their journey’s end, simply because you genuinely cared about them. If that threat happened to be a deluge of grotesque fungal monstrosities, then okay, bring them on – we’d gladly scrounge for the bricks, bottles and bullets it took to bring them all down.
You have to marvel at the level of confidence it takes for a developer to wade into a shambling mob of zombie games crowding the market and succeed in making it feel fresh again
Much like Celine Dion’s robot heart, PS3 will go on – but this nonetheless feels like a perfectly climactic way for the hardcore to bow out and move on to PS4. With games having matured technically and artistically over the past decade, The Last Of Us bravely sets aside the light-hearted romp of the Uncharted games to deliver an experience with sufficient thematic weight to be mentioned in the same breath as revered literary figures like Cormac McCarthy without anyone rolling their eyes. And Naughty Dog’s crowning achievement does this without sacrificing fun. If for some reason the world ended in 2013 and there were no more games to look forward to, The Last Of Us would’ve been a damn fine send-off.