Regardless of which console people support, they can agree on one thing: 2013 was a great year to be a gamer. Companies released a staggering amount of quality titles across multiple genres. This was especially true for Microsoft consoles, which played host to incredible first-person shooters, sports and racing games. With this in mind, it's time to reflect on the year by listing the best hits for Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Most shoppers want the best-looking games to show off new pieces of next-gen hardware. For Xbox One, that game is Forza Motorsport 5. Developer Turn 10 Studios' glorious homage to automobiles features realistic-looking vehicles from a plethora of manufacturers like Audi, BMW and Ferrari. The interiors are second-to-none, and the high-speed races will thrill players as they attempt to blow past A.I. and friends. In fact, the Drivatar technology successfully mimics other people's driving tendencies, forcing gamers to make split-second decisions against opponents who will do anything to win. Of course, it may be difficult to emerge victorious while staring at the pretty scenery in the background, from such locations as Prague and the captivating Bernese Alps.
Capcom's Dead Rising 3 receives a lot of attention when it comes to intense zombie action, but Undead Labs' State of Decay deserves a spot in every survival horror fan's collection. This download-only hit casts you as a survivor in the undead apocalypse, charged with rescuing hapless characters from the flesh-eating horde. You'll forage for supplies, strengthen the stronghold and sneak around town, which is the game's coolest feature. Instead of having to rush in guns blazing, you can lose pursuing zombies and opt for a more stealth-based approach while hiding in abandoned stores and homes, which ratchets up the intensity tenfold. Conversely, you can also hop behind the wheel of a vehicle and smash through your shambling enemies. Just remember that every car eventually breaks down. It's this sort of realism that makes State of Decay one of the scariest zombie games available.
Xbox 360, Xbox One
EA Sports' managed to release another quality entry in its smash hit football franchise, and this year's version trumps its predecessors with several attention-grabbing features. Improved ball physics let users apply force to shots from a distance while at the same time making low rising and swerving shots. In addition, players can strike off balance and dribble at different speeds. This also means sprinting in any direction while making sharp cuts to throw off puzzled defenders. As expected, the game looks great on the Xbox 360, but there's no denying the visual splendour of the Xbox One edition, complete with frenzied crowds, lifelike players and even the tiniest of details like individual blades of grass on the pitch. With these improvements, gamers will play FIFA 14 well into 2015, or at least until FIFA 15 arrives.
Gamers in search of a value would be wise to pick up Rockstar's open-world adventure. The outstanding GTA V takes place across two massive areas - the city of Los Santos and the country-themed Blaine County - while giving users the opportunity to experience the riveting plot as three vastly different characters. Live a life of crime running over and gunning down pedestrians. Raise that Wanted Level and go down firing against the law, or take a nice person approach and complete side quests for civilians, retrieving their stolen property from thieves. Later, team up with other criminals and pull off detailed heists, or just watch the sunset from atop a mountain in between hunting and bicycle riding. When finished with the incredible single player campaign, head into GTA Online and run amok with friends and enemies. You can even create your own races (land, sea and air) and deathmatches. GTA V is epic, and with even more downloadable content confirmed for 2014, it's bound to get even better.
After spending considerable time exploring the undersea metropolis of Rapture, 2K Games went skyward with BioShock Infinite, transporting players to the beautiful floating city of Columbia. Like previous games, this haunting adventure forced players to deal with crazed gun-toting enemies, but with one exception: they were accompanied by the beautiful Elizabeth, a mysterious woman with supernatural powers. What ensued was a memorable journey filled with intense gunfights, high-flying escapes and Vigors that let gamers shoot fireballs from their fingertips, among other projectiles. Throw in a richly detailed plot, and Infinite is a game every Xbox fan should experience.