The lights are on
Best Graphics: Metro: Last Light
With Battlefield 4, Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Dead Space 3 in the running, this award was hotly contested in 2013. But no game used technology to strike a mood better than the PC version of Metro: Last Light. This is one of the most atmospheric games we've ever played. Ukrainian studio 4A Games' excellent use of light and shadow created an foreboding atmosphere both in the derelict Russian subway system and in the barren wasteland above ground.
Best Audio: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
The Blood Dragon score sounds like a soundtrack that was cryogenically frozen in the 1980s and thawed out in 2013 to re-state the case for synthesizers and electronic drum kits. Australian duo Power Glove brought its A-game to the project, and the gun sound effects fit in perfectly with the nostalgic aesthetic.
Best Weaponry: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
So many games stick with the tried-and-true effectiveness of modern military weaponry that it's easy to never give a second thought to the arsenals at your disposal. Blood Dragon's inspired ordnance conjures memories of the early FPS era where guns like the BFG 9000 ruled the day. Quadruple barrel shotguns, sniper rifles with explosive rounds, and gatling guns all excel at turning cyborg enemies into scrap metal. But the best weapon of all is the Killstar (pictured above), an arm-mounted laser cannon that eviscerates anything that comes into contact with its overpowered beam.
Best Gunplay: Call of Duty: Ghosts
A majority of first-person shooters have above-average gunplay these days, but few can match the smoothness of Call of Duty. With fluid weapon handling, quick reloads, varied weapon performance, and deep customization options, Activision's world-beating shooter is still the cream of the crop when it comes to the basic act of firing.
Best Cooperative Multiplayer: Payday 2
Pulling off a frictionless heist in Payday 2 isn't easy, but when a competent team of four players coordinates carefully and moves with purpose, no one gets hurt and it can result in a huge payday. For the rest of us, we take the safeties off our guns before we even enter the bank and spend the majority of the afternoon fending off waves of law enforcement. Either way you try to play, Payday 2 is a great cooperative experience that stresses teamwork and rewards skill.
Read on to find out which games claimed our best competitive multiplayer, best map, and shooter of the year awards.
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