The current console generation may well be drawing to a close, but if past experience is anything to go by, then the best Xbox 360 games could well fall in 2013.
A games console's twilight years traditionally results in a grand hurrah before it fades into obscurity amid a blur of golden gaming memories. Will Microsoft's eight-year-old box see its best year yet in 2013? See our picks of the best games set to appear on the Xbox 360 below and judge for yourself.
YOUR SAY: Vote for the best games of 2013 so far
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Release: November 1 (EU), October 29 (US)
After the mild disappointment of Assassin's Creed 3, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag has hoved into view bringing a much needed shot in the arm for the listing series and more reasons to shout "Arrrrr!" on international Speak Like a Pirate Day. Promising a great deal more than the 'Assassin's of the Caribbean' tag with which internet wags initially dubbed it, Black Flag sees you take on the role of Edward Kenway - Haytham's dad - in an open world full of buckle 'n swash. Mixed piratical metaphors aside, Ubisoft almost always follows up a drop in form with a resounding success. Here's hoping AC IV delivers the latter.
Original developers Rocksteady may have passed over Batman's mask and cape to Warner Bros. Montreal but that's not going to diminish anticipation for the third Batman game. A prequel to Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Arkham Origins sees seven deadly assassins head to the mean streets of Gotham on Christmas Eve with the Batman in their crosshairs. The first cover art confirms Deathstroke as one, but which other deadly foes will Batman face? Who knows? But we'll be keeping on eye on what's sure to be one of October's killer releases.
Grand Theft Auto V
Release: September 17
Grand Theft Auto V is the biggest game of 2013. No question. The first trailer revealed the setting would be Los Santos - a sprawling, beautiful sandbox as big as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption combined - while the second trailer layered things with additional glimpses of the city, as well as confirmation that there would be multiple characters. Oh, and you can fly jet planes too.
With Rockstar at the helm, you be assured of insane technical ambition and quality storytelling, but what's most impressive is their willingness to evolve: this takes the epic scale of San Andreas and GTA IV, but mixes it up with character switching, a series of heists and improved mission diversity. We're so excited about this, we're talking about it every Wednesday at 5pm.
Release: Q4 2013
The announcement may have been more teased than a corkscrew perm, but when Battlefield 4 EA's well-oiled military combat machine finally did report for duty it was via an impressive 17 minute video. Much of what Battlefield 4 will actually contain remains a mystery, but as with most successful sequels it probably won't mess too much with the established formula. Expect a beefed up single-player campaign with multiplayer retaining a mix of infantry, vehicular and airborne combat in a comprehensive variety of the world's most powerful military muscle and technology. See our new Battlefield 4 preview for more details.
Irrational Games' much anticipated threequel to the admirable BioShock series may have been oft delayed, but when it did arrive our Bioshock Infinite review shows it was worth it. Players take on the role of Booker DeWitt charged with protecting supernaturally gifted companion Elizabeth from re-capture by the monstrous mechanical Songbird. Complex, daring and full of Irrational's trademark attention to detail, Infinite is your best game of 2013 so far according to a CVG poll.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
in 2010 Konami's venerable fan favourite vampire-battling series was transformed under the tender ministrations of Mercury Steam into full 3D and one of the best action games of that year. 'Brilliant, bloody fun' was our writer's somewhat startled conclusion. So big things are expected of Lords 2. We've not seen a whole lot of the game over the course of the year, but Mercury has proved it has the pedigree to produce something special. Since it's supposed to be its last Castlevania title, we can hope it'll go out on a massive high. Check our Lords of Shadow 2 studio visit feature for the latest details.