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The year 2013 has been huge for gaming. We got sequels, originals, remakes, revamps, and everything in between. In fact, this year has been one of the most debated since the beginning of Front Towards Gamer – so much came out, and so much deserves recognition.

To manage the sheer amount of awards we have to give this year, the 2013 Golden Claymore Awards are being spread out over the course of seven days. It’s day four, and here are today’s awards.

Best Voice Actor – Troy Baker (Bioshock: Infinite, The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Origins, etc.)

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Considering Troy Baker’s rise in popularity as gaming voice talent this year, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Troy Baker is an extremely talented actor whose ability to put a voice to a character is uncanny. He’s so good, in fact, that we considered abandoning the “Best Voice Actor” category this year in favor of “Best Troy Baker Role” (I’m not kidding). His range of characters is so impressive, in fact, that if you hadn’t told me, “oh, that’s Troy Baker” behind the Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins, I’d have thought him just some really talented guy WB Games Montreal picked up off the street. Instead, I got to find out that the same guy who played the engaging anti-hero Booker DeWitt is the same man behind the Clown Prince of Crime (and he’s damn good at it).

– Rhys Egner, Associate Editor

Best Mobile – Device 6

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With Device 6, Simogo has crafted something that literally couldn’t be done on any other platform. Its intelligently designed puzzles, narrative, and sound design never cease to amaze. Never has a text-based adventure game so keenly portrayed a sense of travel, with its scrolling text representing walking down hallways, turning, and more. Device 6 never overstays its welcome, always keeping the player on his toes, with ever-evolving puzzle design. It somehow manages to never reuse a gameplay mechanic, yet at the same time make every mechanic equally interesting; it’s a triumph on several fronts. In a mobile game market saturated with poorly designed free-to-play games and micro-transactions, Device 6 is a breath of fresh air.

– Morgan Park, Associate Editor

Best Single Player – The Last of Us

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There were two standout games this year that really pushed a solid, enjoyable, and memorable single player experience. Both Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us contain experiences that will live on for years in the memories of gamers and critics, but, thanks to having to crown a “best single player” experience, I’ve been tasked with writing about just one.
It’s not an easy task mind you – I’ve debated this for a long time – but Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us takes the top honor in 2013, and for a couple of good reasons. Joel and Ellie’s voyage alone is more than worthy of any free time you have with your PS3. This generation, with the Uncharted series and now The Last of Us, Naughty Dog have become masters of character development, growth, and pathos. The Last of Us can be a hard game to stomach at times; it’s dreary, gloomy, and full of only just enough happiness shining through the darkness to keep you going, but it’s not a lot. Many others may argue Bioshock: Infinite’s story, with its deeper meaning and mythology, should be the best single player experience, and they may not be wrong, but The Last of Us told a story spanning a year that took gamers on a journey that shook us as a community. The Last of Us was the last excellent PS3 game, and has gone on to become a pivotal video game and industry staple of how we, as a still heavily criticized industry, can truly create something unforgettable and poignant.

– Curtis Stone, Associate Editor

Best Multiplayer – The Last of Us

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How many times have you played Call of Duty and thought to yourself “this is just the same as last year?” Let me rephrase that: how many times have you played any multiplayer shooter and thought it was the same as every other multiplayer shooter out there? I guarantee you that you’ve been thinking this ever since the first Modern Warfare revolutionized the once lackluster genre. It’s formulaic now. All games must have multiplayer in them, and most of the ones you’ll get in your $60 purchase are an afterthought of a disapproving developer. But, there are some out there that think deeply on how they can do something different or add something to the experience of multiplayer grinding than their previous competitors.

Naughty Dog did that this year. On the surface The Last of Us multiplayer is just the average multiplayer death match that you’ve all played before, but they add something at the end of each game that makes you care for your win – not just on a competitively driven level, but on an emotional one as well. Once your match is over, a whole new game begins: the game to keep your group alive. How many are dead, bitten, starving, sick, or healthy is something that you have to consider if you want to gain any ground in the multiplayer world of The Last of Us, and if you don’t, you’re going to suck…hard. Care about your group, or lose. Those are your options.

– Quinn Sullivan, Contributing Editor

Best Soundtrack – Bioshock: Infinite

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Have you actually listened to Bioshock: Infinite? I don’t mean played, but actually listened. It is full of anachronistic tracks that both sound really awesome in context of the Bioshock universe thanks to their appropriately corresponding motifs, but also have been reworked to a style that they would likely have taken were they originally recorded in this timeline. I have yet to meet a game such as Bioshock: Infinite that manages to draw me into its world not just by its visuals, but by its excellent soundtrack too.

– Sam Eskenazi, Associate Editor