5) Shadowrun Returns (PC)
As deeply flawed as certain aspects of this game were on release, the mod community has stepped up big time on this one. Buy it on PC, not iPad.
4) Avadon 2 (PC, iOS, Android)
I will almost certainly be buying this again on iPad. Spiderweb Software predictably delivers another game that taps directly into the pleasure centers of my brain.
3) The Dark Eye: Memoria (PC)
A heartbreaking and lovely sequel to the excellent Chains of Satinav. Daedalic is just showing off here.
2) Beyond: Two Souls (PS3)
All the criticisms about David Cage are valid, but I just wish people would take a minute to recognize that the praise is equally valid. Ellen Page delivers a performance that is the best I've ever seen in this medium.
1) Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)
Beautifully drawn, beautiful storytelling, beautiful soundtrack, beautiful combat. This year picking the best was easy, especially since I'm not allowed to pick Torchlight 2 again.
Papers, Please (PC)
It's very rare that a game's mechanics feed so directly into its story while also challenging the types of choices more heralded video game titles like Mass Effect provide. These choices are not "hug a kitten" vs. "shoot a kitten." It's legitimately hard to know what the right thing to do is. Add in the fact that your "score" is actually "money" that you're using to feed your family. This makes the basest gaming motivation of all, to perform tasks in accordance with the rules, legit motivation inside the narrative itself. Tremendous, important and also legitimately addictive to play, this is easily the best game of the year for me. Even better than the fantastic Ni no Kuni.
Torchilght 2 (PC)
The mod community has made what is already an absurdly fantastic game even better over the past year. Synergies MOD in particular deserves special mention. I have sunk so many hours into this fun machine I don't even want to think about what I might have accomplished otherwise with that time.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3)
If only I hadn't been crazily addicted to World of Warcraft several years ago, I could have been crazily addicted to this instead today.
Seriously, we're going to cancel the auction house and also resell this game on the console for $60 now that we've squeezed millions out of people while at the same time saying always on was "essential" to gameplay? There are not enough expletives I can hurl in your direction. It's easy to dismiss me as a fanboy in the endlessly misguided Torchlight vs. Diablo debate, so it's probably best to do that and not consider how blatantly we were given hamburger and told it was steak before actually getting the steak we could have had in the first place a year later and wow this really got away from me fast.