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The best Xbox games of 2013

Our pick of this year's current and next gen releases

Picking the best games of any given year is a little like drunkenly throwing darts across a crowded bar - the perfect way to start a fight, in other words. The OXM team's selections await your inspection, below. Feel free to mount a retaliatory salvo in the comments thread.

10. Dead Rising 3

Microsoft Studios, Capcom Vancouver
How best to apply the power of Xbox One to a city of zombies? Make the city bigger and put more zombies in it, obviously. It might not be the prettiest debutante in the next-gen ball, but you've never seen so expansive a horde of shambling undead, nor had so many deeply inventive ways to return them to the grave. Impromptu wingsuits made from patio furniture, teddy bears refitted as rocket turrets and clown-faced street sweepers that fire necrotic flesh-balls into the crowd are just some of the implausible but enjoyable constructs on offer, and the story picks up nicely too. A fine debut for Xbox One.


9. Battleblock Theater

Microsoft Studios, The Behemoth
Finish BattleBlock Theater and you're treated to a musical finale that celebrates the persistent vegetative state of your best friend with an underwater song about fastening your trousers. It's the perfect ending to a jubilant, frothing-at-the-mouth title that stretches puzzle-platforming in a variety of wild and enthusiastic directions. The brilliant co-op mode has its own levels featuring team-based puzzles, and the deceptively simple block design of the levels means that the generous level editor allows you to build anything that the developers could. BattleBlock Theater has the beautiful soul of a brilliant gurgling baby, that just wants to laugh, fart and solve intricate logical puzzles.


8. Saints Row 4

Deep Silver, Volition
Saints Row knows how stupid it is, and it owns that idiocy with brazen finesse. It also knows how stupid other games are, and it owns that, too. Basically, Saints Row IV has hoovered up all this stupidity, with a view to blowing it directly into your face for ten hours. From Metal Gear to Tron, the characters all feature in their own sim-fantasy worlds, glued together by a sim-Steelport that's half Crackdown, half-Prototype. Volition will need to produce some weapons-grade Stupidium isotopes to keep this trajectory up.


7. Tomb Raider

Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics
If you're going to transition from wide-eyed explorer to cold-blooded killer, you might as well do it in a world populated by one-dimensional stereotypes. It makes the process so much less traumatic if they're not believable people. While this doesn't score so high in the character sympathy stakes, the combat is best-in-series, the level design is amazing, and getting around is so satisfying, that we went back to pick up collectibles in the mostly empty post-game map. Pure action movie, with a script to match.


6. dmc: Devil May Cry

Capcom, Ninja Theory
Ninja Theory's story and script are brilliantly judged, featuring an initially distant Danté who learns to care just before that aloof crap gets tedious. Limbo's dual-world mechanic adds intrigue, and the aerial combat and traversal is fantastically empowering on your first play through, becoming cruel and unusual in Danté Must Die mode. If you like pointless swearing, turn up the volume during the Succubus fight.

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