4) Dragon's Crown (PS3)
Dragon's Crown took me back to all of those years in front of my Sega Genesis playing Golden Axe II. With fantastic characters and a beautiful, if somewhat controversial, art style, this game reignited a fire I haven't felt in a very long time. Really hoping we get a sequel or spiritual successor to this at some point.
3) Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
I played some Nocturne a few years ago, but it never really grabbed me the way IV did this past summer. The revised demon fusion mechanic went a long way towards cutting down on the tedium and randomness that plagued earlier games, and the brutal difficulty kept me on my toes at all times. Atlus went the extra mile and made this feel like a true portable adventure, and I can't wait to see what comes next from the mainline SMT franchise.
2) Rogue Legacy (PC)
A game that shows 2D side-scrollers still have teeth, Rogue Legacy rewards persistence and courage with amazing rewards and wonderful gags. Playing as a diminutive Lich King has never been so appealing, nor has the prospect of dying 96 times to see the final credits. This indie title took over my life for five days. I couldn't think about anything else and screamed out in joy when I finally beat the last boss. I haven't done that in years with a video game, so count Rogue Legacy in a very special category.
1) The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
The latest Zelda adventure on 3DS somehow manages to straddle the nostalgia and innovative skill trees with such amazing aptitude that it's almost silly. Stripping away the tedious parts of the console games and putting the focus back on adventuring, exploration and puzzle solving (with almost no hand-holding to boot), Zelda reclaimed it's spot in my heart. Let's hope Nintendo applies this same logic to the next game on Wii U...
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)
I really wanted to love Ni no Kuni. The amazing art style and wonderfully told story had me from the moment the game started, but the dull combat and borderline awful AI kept me from truly falling for this game. Why would you hold back key features that make the combat shine, and, worse still, how can a game have such awful collision detection in this day and age? Watching my familiars bump up against enemies in a futile attempt to save my skin left a really sour taste in my mouth, making Ni no Kuni a very flawed game that I wanted desperately to love.
Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together (PSP)
I know, I'm about a decade or two late to the party with this one, but I can't help that this was the best game I played all year. A great story with wonderfully personal combat mechanics made Tactics Ogre an absolute delight to play, and other developers should take note of things like the Chariot System when it comes to remaking a classic game. Matsuno needs to make another game in this style, and he needs to do it fast!
Dark Souls II (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Not much to say, really. Bring it on, From Software...