Returns of Lara Croft, Super Mario, Zelda -- and Darren Franich's pick at No. 1
A city in the sky and a girl in trouble, a damaged hero and a villainous philosopher-prophet, symbolic baptism imagery and symbolic George Washington robots firing symbolic chainguns: The best game of 2013 was a reckless action fantasy, half a decade in the making and so ludicrously ambitious that the word ''infinite'' was right there in the title. Call it delirium noir. Lead designer Ken Levine adopted the structure of his original BioShock, but where the original game was a bleakly cerebral tour through an undersea hell, Infinite was a color-blasted and emotional trip through a vanilla-sky metropolis.
Emphasis on ''trip'': The storyline is a tesseract of quantum-druggy incoherence, with American history refracted through several space-time continua. But the moment-to-moment experience is pleasantly straightforward: Here's a game about building the perfect world, and then burning that world to the ground. BioShock Infinite is a monument of sacred-profane entertainment: Thrill-drunk Bullet Porn about the salvation of the human soul. Infinite? Close enough.
NEXT: The worst videogames of 2013.