The Best Videogames of 2013

  • Publish Date: December 30, 2013
  • Comments: ↓ 8 user comments

Grand Theft Auto V is the top game in a down year

Grand Theft Auto V
The Walking Dead [Retail]
Batman: Arkham City
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) 96
Metacritic's Game of the Year
(Highest-scoring title, min. 7 rev.)

A year ago at this time, we noted that 2012 was a bit of a transition year for games, with a dearth of high-scoring titles perhaps the inevitable symptom of the coming transition to next-generation consoles. Well, that transition finally happened last month, but too late to save 2013 as a whole; the result was another somewhat down year for games.

Just 11 console games—representing a mere 7 unique titles, as most of those games were multi-platform—scored 90 or higher in 2013. That is by far the lowest number of "great" games in a single year since the arrival of the last generation of consoles. Add in handheld (non-iOS) games and PC games, and the total number of 90+ releases in 2013 reaches 18, which matches the total in 2012—an amount that was far lower than in previous years.

The good news is that while the new PS4 and Xbox One consoles added little to 2013's numbers, there is reason to hope they will lead to better results in the future. During 2013, the older platforms (Xbox 360, PS3, even PC) experienced drops in their average Metascores for games released during the year. But the newer Wii U saw a significant improvement in games released for that console—as did the next-gen handhelds, 3DS and Vita. Given a year to establish themselves, perhaps the PS4 and Xbox One will experience similar quality boosts.

This year's very best, however, was very good indeed. 2013's highest-scoring title—which was probably the favorite to take game of the year honors heading into the year, and didn't disappoint (at least score-wise)—was Rockstar's latest GTA installment, Grand Theft Auto V. Set in a fictionalized Los Angeles, the game scored 97 on both PS3 and Xbox 360, making it the highest-scoring release since 2010. It is also the eighth-highest-scoring game of all time (the PS3 score is technically a tiny fraction higher than that for the 360 version, but the two scores are so close that you can consider them even). However, it's not the top GTA release; the 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV collected a 98 in 2008.

Over the following pages, we'll reveal 2013's best-reviewed games for each platform. Before that, let's take a look at how the various game platforms compared this year.

Console/PC Comparison - 2013
Console # of
Average Metascore Great Games**
(90 or higher)
Good Exclusives**
(75 or higher)
PS3 PlayStation 3 172 80,74,18 70.1 4 8
Xbox 360 Xbox 360 165 64,76,25 66.9 3 3
PS3 PlayStation 4 29 16,11,2 73.4 1 1
Xbox 360 Xbox One 19 8,8,3 67.7 0 3
Wii U Wii U 53 26,23,4 72.6 3 7
PC PC 321 129,164,28 69.1 5 46
Handheld Comparison - 2013
Console # of
Average Metascore Great Games**
(90 or higher)
Good Exclusives**
(75 or higher)
3DS Nintendo 3DS 74 23,46,5 69.1 2 19
PS Vita PS Vita 70 34,33,3 71.6 0 5

* Games with 4 or more reviews in Metacritic's database released between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 (based on North American release dates, except in cases where a game has not been released in North America).
** Excludes games with fewer than 7 reviews; downloadable map packs are also excluded.
All Metascore data for this and all other tables in this report is from December 29, 2013. The pie charts reflect the percentage of all releases for each console with Positive Reviews (receiving a Metascore of 75 or higher indicating), Mixed Reviews (receiving a Metascore of 50-74), and Negative Reviews (receiving a Metascore of 49 or below). Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

And here are 2013's best-reviewed titles, regardless of platform (iOS games are excluded; they're ranked in a separate article):

The 90+ Club: The Best-Reviewed Games of 2013 (Any Platform*)
  Title / Platform Publisher Genre Metascore
1 Grand Theft Auto V PS3 Rockstar Games Action-Adv. 97
2 Grand Theft Auto V Xbox 360 Rockstar Games Action-Adv. 97
3 The Last of Us PS3SCEA Action-Adv./Horror 95
4 BioShock Infinite PS32K Games FPS 94
5 BioShock Infinite PC2K Games FPS 94
6 Super Mario 3D World Wii UNintendo Platformer 94
7 BioShock Infinite Xbox 3602K Games FPS 93
8 Fire Emblem: Awakening 3DSNintendo Strategy/RPG 92
9 Rayman Legends Wii UUbisoft Platformer 91
10 Fez PCTrapdoor Puzzle/Platformer 91
11 flower PS4SCEA Adventure 91
12 Rayman Legends PS3Ubisoft Platformer 91
13 The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 3DSNintendo Action-Adv. 91
14 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Wii UNintendo Action-Adv. 90
15 Spelunky PCMossmouth Action-Adv. 90
16 Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons PC505 Games Adventure 90
17 Dota 2 PCValve MOBA 90
18 Rayman Legends Xbox 360Ubisoft Platformer 90

*Excluding iOS games. Minimum 7 critic reviews. Games are ranked by Metascore prior to rounding.

Turn the page for best/worst games by platform ...

Continue reading for rankings of the best and worst 2013 games released for each platform, including the top titles exclusive to each platform.

Comments (8)

  • Metabolic  

    Why wasn't Dragon's Crown included in the PS3 best games of 2013 list? It received a meta score of 82!

  • WadeMcG  

    @ conditionals: The 3DS definitely had more games that deserved at least 80% in 2013, but it also had a more copious amount of third party (some of which were official license job) turds dragging the grade down.

  • conditionals  

    In contrast to this article, this was actually my favourite year of games. Tomb Raider, Last of Us, Ace Attorney 5, Pokemon X, Saints Row IV, Beyond: Two Souls... they were all games I really enjoyed. Also, given how general perception of games seems to change after the initial wave of reviews, I think it's fair to say that Last of Us was the clear winner over GTAV for GOTY. I enjoyed GTAV, but nobody is really talking about it as much as Last of Us now. Finally... Vita had a better year than 3DS? Eh?

  • Patman1234  

    It was a good year on PS3, not as good as last year but obviously there was GTA V and PS3 had The Last of Us as well. The only exclusive from Xbox 360/PS3 to get over 90 or above. Also, I'm tired of the GTA haters, being different for the sake of being different doesn't count. Grow up. I'm looking at you Soapert...

  • Soapert  

    GTA V deserved an 80 at best. So much mediocre crammed into one ugly, uninspired package.

  • AnonJ  

    Fez definitely doesn't deserve such a high score

  • DanJ  

    I really don't think this year has been bad at all. I do however think reviewers are getting harder on games, as they should. So reaching that 90+ is getting much harder. Theirs loads of games between 75-89 score ranged that I loved far more than the big budget 90+ games. They just don't get as much hype. Games like Rogue Legacy, Papers, Please, PoE, Outlast, Tales of Xillia. All these games I would put in my top ten over some of the "best" of 2013 on this list.

  • TheQuietGamer  

    I didn't think it was that bad of a year for gaming. Sure there were only a handful of games that scored a 90 or above average on here, but I found many great gaming experiences in titles that didn't score that high. Whether or not the next gen consoles flopped or not in their big premiers this year I can't say, but I found more than enough great games on this console generation that made 2013 a much better year of gaming for me than probably both 2011 and 2012 did. Of course the my personal favorite year of gaming is still 2010. 2014 is going to have to do a lot for me to forget that year.

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