Oh yes, it’s that time of year again! The question is can you resist scrolling instantly down to the bottom to see what our choice was for number one? Best comments go towards featuring in our inaugural letters page so get writing.
12) Deus Ex: Human Revolution
One of gaming’s best loved franchises gets the introduction to current-generation visuals it deserves in Square Enix’s stunning prequel. While the Bladerunner-esque setting and film noire plot captivate it’s the free wheeling approach to combat situations which steal the show, allowing the player the choice to decide to shoot, hack or sneak their way through any given situation.
Haunting, beautiful and melancholy, Limbo is gaming at its most affecting, blurring the barriers between art and entertainment. Assuming the role of a boy looking for his lost sister in Limbo, expect to be hypnotized by the uniquely desolate environments, slow pace and solving of the games many trial and error-based puzzles.
10) Fifa 12
Regular as clockwork it might be, but while EA’s Fifa franchise continues to deliver such a tactical and engaging representation of the beautiful game there will be no complaints from us. Just about as accurate, involving and convincing as a football game can get.
9) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Love or loathe it, there’s no denying that the Modern Warfare brand delivers the kind of thrills and spills you won’t otherwise see outside of the latest Jack Bauer 24 adventure. With a single-player campaign that thinks nothing of levelling London, Paris and New York alike, and a multiplayer which regularly tops the active user charts there’s no getting away from Activision’s leviathan.
8) Gears of War 3
Marcus Fenix returns in the final part of this particular Gears of War arc. While gun play, pacing and explosive action as just as compelling here as previously, it’s the multiplayer aspect which truly shines; providing hundreds of hours worth of online intensity.
7) Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
The portable game of the year and, remarkably, one its best looking delivers the perfect combination of puzzle-solving, humour and visual flair. Assuming the role of a recently departed soul, it falls to you to work out who killed you, and why, via the subtle possession of inanimate objects – genius.
6) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Proving that there’s still life in the Nintendo Wii yet, Skyward Sword does everything that makes Zelda games great, and then adds in fluid sword play by way of MotionPlus-assisted gesture controls. The best Zelda yet? Tough to call, but that we’re asking the question goes someway to describing the game’s quality.
5) Batman: Arkham City
Taking the Caped Crusader out of the necessarily confined asylum and out into the city is handled with expected aplomb by Rocksteady. Once more the Dark Knight descends on Gotham’s criminally insane, using brain and brawn to bring them to justice. Batman fans will delight in the villains on show and attention to detail in every nuance.
4) Dark Souls
The toughest game of 2012 is also one of its finest. By reintroducing a key gaming fundamental of yesteryear – that beating a game is an achievement in itself – From Software have created a study in patience and exploration. While not for everyone, those that dare enter Lordran will not easily forget it, such is the commitment required to survive in its tumultuous environments and torturous dungeons.
3) Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
No other game this year features anywhere near the ambition as that seen in Skyrim. The scope for adventure is practically unlimited as, regardless of plot, every mountain peak and unending chasm remains eminently explorable – providing that is you have the skills and experience to deal with the hostile creatures which lurk in such places. Bethesda’s tremendous achievement deservedly topping the sales charts over Christmas.
2) Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Gaming’s answer to Indiana Jones just got better with the return of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Uncharted 3 takes in more world spanning locales than you’d think could be spun into a cohesive plot – with London, Colombia, France, even the Rub ‘al Khali desert all featuring in Drake’s struggles – while tremendous animation and acting bring the spectacle to vibrant life. Add adrenaline fuelled chases into the mix and you end up with an experience few games can measure up to.
1) Portal 2
Hilarious, mind-bending, perfectly designed and above all an absolute joy to play, Portal 2 has everything. It’s deceptively simple sounding gameplay mechanic is for the player to guide the taciturn Chell through a variety of ‘tests’ via use of her portal gun – one shot creating an entry, the second an exit. Fun enough as is, but introduce the malevolent GlaDOS, the Stephen Merchant voiced AI, Wheatley, and Valve’s perfectly poised scripting and you have the game of the 2011.