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Our Top 5 Games of 2013 (So Far)

by Neal Ronaghan - July 2, 2013, 12:19 pm EDT
Total comments: 28

The staff mind-melded and came up with our collective five favorite games of 2013 to date.

Today is July 2, which means we are roughly halfway through the year. So far, 2013 has been a great year for 3DS owners (and, I guess, a year for Wii U owners). After sifting through many NWR staffer’s lists of their favorite games of the year so far, I’ve managed to come up with the Nintendo World Report’s Top 5 Games of 2013 (So Far).

#5 - Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Wii U)

Our Review - 10/10

Runner2 is that special kind of game that exceeded all of my expectations, and it certainly was adored by a lot of our staff. Gaijin Games’ latest game takes everything good about their 2010 release Bit.Trip Runner and turns it up to 11. As I said in my sparkling review, "Runner2 is the type of sequel you dream happens. It takes the concepts and gameplay of the original and advances them in every way."

Zach Miller sez: "Runner 2 is the most insanely addictive, zen-state-of-mind game I've played in a long time, with charming graphics and catchy beats."

#4 - LEGO City: Undercover

Our Review - 8/10

When LEGO City: Undercover came out in March, it ended a long Wii U drought for Nintendo games. Fortunately, it is a game that is absolutely packed with content. What it lacks in nostalgia-fueled Star Wars and Batman references, it makes up for with engaging gameplay and an over-the-top pop culture-laden story.

Zack Kaplan sez: "Like LEGO, the brick, LEGO City Undercover is just plain fun regardless of age."

#3 - Fire Emblem Awakening

Our Review - 9.5/10

The odds are high that, looking back, Nintendo historians will place Fire Emblem Awakening as the moment the series emerged from the shadows and became a higher tier Nintendo franchise. With record-breaking sales and worldwide acclaim, Awakening’s placement at third in our mid-year Top 5 is more because of the quality of the competition than anything else. This game is a pure joy from start to finish, with marriages, side quests, and more post-game content than you can shake a stick at.

Scott Thompson sez: "Fire Emblem Awakening isn't only the best, most refined entry in the long-running series, it's also the most accessible."

Josh Max sez: "Fire Emblem Awakening added new elements of game play that no one had even thought about before. It brought life to the series again, drawing in both fans of the franchise and new comers."

Becky Hollada sez: "Fire Emblem: Awakening took everything old fans loved about the series and made it better while adding new features and more extensive content to hook new players into a previously under appreciated franchise."

#2 - Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Our Review - 9.5/10

The long wait for Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon proved to be well worth it. March 2013 is quite a long while after its 2011 reveal and the 2001 release of the original. Nevertheless, Dark Moon is something magical; it is a portable experience that doesn’t lose the fun exploration and charm of the original. The multiplayer, played locally or online, distills what works about the single-player and translates it to multiplayer extremely well. Developer Next Level Games had the task of trying to make their online multiplayer more engaging than Mario Kart’s, and at least for me (and the NWR staff at E3 2013), it succeeded.

Neal Ronaghan sez: "Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was one of my most anticipated 3DS games, and I was downright scared it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. In the end, it outshined my highest expectations."

Tom Malina sez: "Everything the GameCube original should have been, Luigi's Mansion 2 is an incredibly entertaining romp that overflows with personality and intelligent level design."

#1 - Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Our Review - 9/10

The shrink wrap is barely off of New Leaf and already our staff is in love with it. If we had our druthers, it would have likely been our E3 2013 Game of Show. Not only is the 3DS perfect for the Animal Crossing style of play, but New Leaf is also the ultimate entry in the series. It is totally drowning in content and things to do. Personally, I’m pushing 30 hours and I feel like I could easily triple that and still have things I want to do!

Alex Culafi sez: "Not only do I love Animal Crossing, but as a 3DS game it melts the hours away like no other; it's been so long since I've played a game for 70 hours and had it feel like far fewer."

Andy Goergen sez: "Animal Crossing perfectly encapsulates what it feels like to be a Nintendo fan: charming, a little clunky, but completely engrossing and it always leaves you with a smile."

Justin Baker sez: "New Leaf is not only the best Animal Crossing game yet, it's the most engrossing 3DS game I've played to date."

Best of the Rest

We had a lot of games that people listed as one of their favorites of the year so far, so instead of just blowing through the five amazing, spectacular games we listed above, here’s a list of honorable mentions. Some of our staff thinks these games beat the pants off of the games above, so, you know, they’re pretty great, too.

  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U/3DS)
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)
  • Mighty Switch Force 2 (3DS)
  • Rayman Legends Challenges App (Wii U)
  • Etrian Odyssey IV (3DS)
  • Mutant Mudds Deluxe (Wii U)


azekeJuly 02, 2013

Of games actually released in 2013, i think i only played Toki Tori 2 D:

But it was amazing!

Pixelated PixiesJuly 02, 2013

You guys are high if you think Animal Crossing is a better game than Fire Emblem.

For anyone who is interested, it was a LANDSLIDE in favor of Animal Crossing as number 1. Fire Emblem and Luigi's were extremely close. Lego City was by itself for 4th, and Runner2 narrowly beat out MH3U and DKCR3D. Basically, MH3U was #6.

nickmitchJuly 02, 2013

He did not deny being high. Everyone, take note.

jarodeaJuly 02, 2013

So my top 5 is pretty easy, it would be:
LM2 is the only 2013 game I've bought so it doesn't require much thought for me.  Otherwise, from demoes, impressions, and my own gut feeling the list looks pretty reasonable.

Quote from: Pixelated

You guys are high if you think Animal Crossing is a better game than Fire Emblem.

It wouldn't surprise me if I agreed with the rankings, but I need to find out what NWR smokes first apparently (well after playing both games of course).

List is lacking HarmoKnight and Gunman Clive. I expect these injustices to be rectified posthaste, gentlemen (and ladies).

Evan_BJuly 02, 2013

Fire Emblem was certainly accessible, but at the cost of what most fans of the series actually love about the games- the difficulty level, strategy, and solid story.

With elements like grinding put into the series and a class system that nearly strips away all unique aspects of each character, you lose the difficulty and strategy. While the characters were certainly unique, the story was bland and a bit underwhelming in comparison to the stronger entries.

ShyGuyJuly 03, 2013

Was Need for Speed: Most Wanted disqualified because it was a late release of a 2012 game?

paleselanJuly 03, 2013

Etrian Odyssey?!

Quote from: Shaymin

List is lacking HarmoKnight and Gunman Clive. I expect these injustices to be rectified posthaste, gentlemen (and ladies).

More than one staffer listed Gunman Clive, myself included. Can't say I played more than the demo of HarmoKnight, though, which felt too similar to another game (on this list) that I'm not enjoying very much to be honest....

ONLY 30 hours in Animal Crossing Neal? I am disappoint.

I only fall asleep at night when I can no longer muster the energy to lift my 3DS stylus in order to write letters to my fellow villagers.

Pixelated PixiesJuly 03, 2013

Quote from: Kairon

ONLY 30 hours in Animal Crossing Neal? I am disappoint.

I only fall asleep at night when I can no longer muster the energy to lift my 3DS stylus in order to write letters to my fellow villagers.

I fall asleep when I can no longer muster the energy to play more than 2 mins of Animal Crossing before I'm bored.


I'm (partly) joking, don't kill me AC fans. I'm actually enjoying New Leaf more than any other AC game that I've played. I've been trying to give myself goals to make it more fun, and I have enjoyed building public projects. The problem for me has been that the act of actually earning Bells is so damn monotonous. Sometimes it really does feel like I'm doing the same thing over and over again, and while most games by design are repetitious, Animal Crossing really makes you feel the grind, you know? It's just really not my type of game.

I give New Leaf another week or so before I'm well and truely bored with it. Is it the best AC game ever made? Probably, but for those who like more game in their game though, that's not going to count for a lot.

ashlyquin123July 03, 2013

Luigi's Mansion all the way!!!!

I think HarmoKnight appeared on one or two lists (it was on mine, I know).
Gunman Clive was oddly absent from everyone's list except TYP. I played too many damn games I dug so far so GC was on the outside of my 10.
No one listed NFS Wii U.
And Animal Crossing wasn't my personal #1 (FE, LM, Runner2 all surpassed it for me), so you'll have to ask the chunk of the staff that placed New Leaf at #1 what leaf they rolled up.
Though, since I wrote the text in this feature (Monday), I believe I'm up to 40-45 hours in Animal Crossing. It's a sickness.

Really? The first half of 2013 has been one of my favorite half years of gaming ever. And that's entirely because of the 3DS. I haven't played many disappointing games on that system this year. Between FE, Brain Age, LM, EOIV, AC, DKCR3D...I've been in gaming heaven.

azekeJuly 03, 2013

I really wanted to play Luigi's Mansion 2 D:

I bought it from amazon but my post lost the game D: D: At least i got my money back.

And while Gunman Clive is really good i wouldn't place it in any Top lists, even if it is just one of the two 2013 games i played this year.

I had both HarmoKnight and Gunman Clive on my list.

Pixelated PixiesJuly 03, 2013

As good a year as the 3DS has had, excluding Virtual Console, I can only come up with 4 games released in 2013 that I'd be happy including on a 'Top' list. Those would be

1 - Fire Emblem: Awakening
2 - Luigi's Mansion 2
3 - Harmoknight
4 - Animal Crossing: New Leaf

if you really pushed me to add a 5th, I guess I would put Nano Assault EX on there...but to be honest I didn't think it was a great game.

Quote from: MegaByte

I had both HarmoKnight and Gunman Clive on my list.

I stand corrected on Gunman Clive! I think it was just you and TYP, though.

I keep putting Fire Emblem on my lists, but I feel like that's going to stop by the end of the year. The more I sit on how I feel about FE, I realize that I think I like the game more than I love it. For all of the things that make this FE greater than the others, some stuff does really turn me off of it -- and this is my kind of game.

Pixelated PixiesJuly 03, 2013

Quote from: Webmalfunction

For all of the things that make this FE greater than the others, some stuff does really turn me off of it

What exactly about Awakening turned you off? As someone who is relatively new to the series (before Awakening I had only completed Sacred Stones and Radiant Dawn) I thought Awakening made improvements on pretty much every front.

I should say that I played Awakening in Classic mode.

Awakening was my favorite Fire Emblem ever by a large margin, but I guess folks who loved the franchise might have been turned off by Normal being tuned a little easier. To me, it's just a celebration of the franchise throughout the story, DLC and side content.

I never got around to playing Fire Emblem, or Luigi's Mansion, despite buying them day one. Some people have mentioned Etrian Odyssey, which would have been on my list if I'd remembered it.

Etrian Odyssey IV is a representation of how much I love the direction Atlus is going. They're keeping the style of their old games and making it just a bit more accessible.

From what I've played of Shin Megami Tensei IV so far, it'd be hopping up threatening to cut down Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing on my personal list. Go Atlus. Please don't die...

ShyGuyJuly 03, 2013

Quote from: NWR_Neal

No one listed NFS Wii U.

NWR's lack of taste CONFIRMED

That game's on the increasingly long list of things I have bought and then never played. I'm like Jon Lindemann, except 30 years younger and with hair.

azekeJuly 04, 2013

Quote from: ShyGuy

Quote from: NWR_Neal

No one listed NFS Wii U.

NWR's lack of taste CONFIRMED

From what i read and seen, the game is considered a lesser version of Burnout Paradise. I own it on Steam and see no reason to buy console version of more or less the same.

I would have been more interested if they implemented some kind of interesting local co-op mechanic. I realize it clashes with open-world design of the game, but they could have done something, anything. Something that is not "touch the screen to change day to night" i mean. Because that's were their exclusive Wii U gamepad features.

BrandonCHFGJuly 07, 2013

I'd vote for Fire Emblem as my favorite of the year so far.  Lego City Undercover was great as well, and I think I spent as much time on it as my son.  Haven't played Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but planning to purchase next week.

Mop it upJuly 07, 2013

Of these, I've played only Luigi's Mansion 2, though I have a few of the others. I think Luigi's Mansion 2 will still be a contender even after I've played some more games.

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