Welcome to 2014. It's a new year, and it's full of exciting new gaming possibilities. At this time it's also important to reflect back on the top gaming moments of 2013. The titles that represent the very best effort made by legions of talented individuals, solely designed to provide players with the maximum amount of entertainment.
The Gameplanet Players’ Choice Awards are the largest videogame awards in New Zealand, determined by the votes of thousands of dedicated Kiwi gamers.
This year, we conducted an extensive preliminary round in which you shared with us your favourite games of 2013. The top five nominees for 2013, as selected by New Zealand's gaming community and listed here in alphabetical order, were: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, BioShock Infinite, Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us, and Tomb Raider. Next, we invited you to vote for these games to determine an overall Game of the Year. To sweeten the deal, we offered you the chance to win an Xbox One.
Today, we reveal both the winner of the Xbox One, and the Gameplanet community's Game of the Year.
As voted by you, the Gameplanet Players’ Choice Awards:
5: Tomb Raider
We said: 8.5/10 "Lara’s origin story is an exhilarating ride full of great animations, amazing sound design, thrilling set pieces, and big action moments. There is enough variety and spectacle within to not only hook players but entrance onlookers as well. Lara’s growth into an apex predator is sudden, but it does precede a game full of 'Hell yeah' moments and enjoyably empowering game design.
"Tomb Raider provides a rollicking tale whose glossy production values and narrative propulsion overshadow its faults, and as such, it comes highly recommended." (Read More)
You said: 8.3 percent of the final votes
4: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
We said: 9/10 "Ubisoft has expertly distilled and fulfilled in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag a swashbuckling open-world adventure set in the sun drenched Caribbean at the apex of piracy’s golden age.
"Assassin’s Creed IV isn’t a stealth game as much as it is a grand adventure title with some stealth elements. Much as Red Dead Redemption encapsulated the spaghetti Western and brought it to consoles, Black Flag delivers to us the swaggering pirate fantasy on a scope and scale never before attempted. It’s a game that atones for the last two flatter entries in the Assassin’s Creed series and outlays an exciting new template for the future of the franchise." (Read More)
You said: 10.5 percent of the final votes
3: BioShock Infinite
We said: 10/10 "Infinite puts it beyond a shadow of doubt: BioShock is the most important new intellectual property of this hardware generation. Like its predecessor, it is an experience that could only ever be achieved in a videogame, one that demonstrates the true power of this medium to engage and inspire us, and in doing so it soars far above so many other games, clipped and blinkered as they are by their lowly, merely filmic aspirations." (Read More)
You said: 15.5 percent of the final votes
2: The Last of Us
We said: 9.5/10 "Almost all characters have hints of depth and believable development arcs, the voice-acting is world class, and the cutscenes are fantastically directed and animated. The combat systems provide great possibilities for emergent gameplay, and it’s not often any particular action is forced upon the player. Everything just slots together seamlessly.
"Most significantly, The Last of Us is a game that successfully tackles themes of trust, morality, grief, and mortality while also providing a thrilling and at times almost unbearably tense gameplay experience that will have some in tears before the game itself has even properly begun. Naughty Dog has outdone itself, and most of the industry in the process." (Read More)
You said: 23.8 percent of the final votes
Gameplanet Players' Choice Game of the Year
Grand Theft Auto V
We said: 10/10 "Rockstar’s marquee franchise built its reputation on holding up a coke-dusted, blood-caked mirror to American culture, and American culture has never been so hysterical, so vain and insipid, so schizophrenic, and so indentured."
"That’s a boon to Grand Theft Auto, a comedy noir series that indulgently peddles a fantasy as old as America itself. From Bonnie and Clyde to Bodhi and the ex-Presidents, the outlaw has near-mythical status in the Western psyche as the ultimate expression of personal freedom and self determinism. Today we add Trevor, Franklin, and Michael to our rogues gallery of antiheroes and sympathetic sociopaths."
"Grand Theft Auto V is the last word on this generation of gaming. It is a triumph, one that demonstrates years of learning finally coming together in this single, near-perfect gaming experience." (Read More)
You said: 41.9 percent of the final votes
Our very warmest congratulations to everyone at Rockstar Games from the team at Gameplanet.
Congratulations also to Oliver Grainger who is the winner of our Players' Choice voting competition and has scored himself a brand new Xbox One!