Among the sequels, reboots, and remakes that the games industry tends to churn out year on year, it’s in new IPs that we’re more likely to find what the medium claims to thrive on – innovation. Here’s our top 5 list of the best games of 2013 that dared to be new.
5. The Wonderful 101 – Platinum Games, Wii U
Hideki Kamiya’s Power Rangers-esque action game burst onto the scene in the summer and delivered a crazy experience only Platinum Games could achieve. The quirky combos and unique set of heroes and villains, coupled with the use of the Wii U’s gamepad made for a title that everyone who’s played it will wish that everyone of their friends did too. The adventures of the Wonder Heroes and their Unite powers provided a strong entry into the Wii U library, and hopefully we’ll see that multiplatform sequel.
4. Gone Home – The Fullbright Company, PC
A house. A family. A story. Without anything so much as a bang, Gone Home delivers its intrigues with a whimper, but it will leave you hooked on finding out the fate of the Greenbrair family. Gone Home invites you to immerse yourself in its world, drawing you in because of its relative lack of taxing gameplay, not in spite of it. Simply looking around and working your way through the story without holding your hand or pandering to conventions provides a narrative experience akin to Dear Esther – like reading a book, you explore at your own pace, imagining what stories these backdrops provide.
3.Prison Architect – Introversion Software, PC
Prison Architect does exactly what it says on the tin. In control of a maximum security facility, you’ll manage and construct the ideal centre for rehabilitation. The classic tycoon games such as Theme Hospital or Theme Park World are embodied in Introversion Software’s game, returning a genre we haven’t really seen in a while to our screens. The simple graphics do little to take away from the depth of the gameplay, which can leave you as the manager of a model correctional facility or as a rough house with rioting brawlers.
2. The Last of Us – Naughty Dog, Playstation 3
Joel and Ellie’s journey through the Cordyceps-controlled future still resonates with gamers even now after its release in the summer. Naughty Dog’s more subdued and less Spielbergian follow-up to its Uncharted series delivered stunning gameplay, impossible graphics for the hardware, and an emotional gut-punch all at once. Troy Baker’s performance as Joel is a towering example of what video game characters can be, and the talented team at Naughty Dog proved that once again, they are one of gamers’ favourite developers.
1. State of Decay – Undead Labs, Xbox Live Arcade
Undead Labs called it “the embodiment of the “What If” zombie apocalypse scenario”, and after exploring its dynamic world, it lives up to that moniker. In the same way that Minecraft imposes a sense of panic and fear of the unknown using procedural generation, State of Decay’s world and sense of randomness brings about the full horror and isolation of a hopeless zombie dystopia. You really do have to think on your feet and adapt to survive, and since there’s no scripted sequences, the tension is real.
Even though it came close, it was the dynamic world aspect that put it above its peers in the zombie-game space. Undead Labs delivered a great game, realising that classic “what if” question beautifully, making State of Decay the VGU Award-winner of Best New IP in 2013.
Remember, you can vote for your favourite new IPs in the poll below. Don’t agree with us? Let your voice be heard, and don’t forget to comment.