20. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Nintendo, Retro Studios / Wii
What we said: "Quite unlike the slew of generic first-person shooters crowding out the shelves this year, it's a special game that might take a while to appreciate because of the way it does things differently to other games of a similar nature - but once you do unravel its charms, you'll be glad did. Immersive, engaging and with the kind of gameplay depth that so many shooters lack, Metroid Prime 3 might not represent a huge progression as far as the series goes, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the best games I've played all year - and certainly one of best yet on the Wii."
smelly: "I hated the first two Prime games, and indeed hate most FPS games on consoles due to the controller, but Metroid 3 plays like a dream and is hugely underrated/overlooked. Graphics are top-notch, gameplay keeps you playing. And unlike Halo 3, the single-player lasts a hell of a long time (took me nearly 50 hours to complete first run through in easy). It was a toss-up between this game and SKATE, but prime wins the toss just."
Bowser: "Intelligent FPS/adventure with most precize control scheme. Best artistic design, great graphics (even if it is running only in 480p), great music. I was totally immersed. This game is a masterpiece! Way better than Bioshock, COD4, Halo 3 and other over-hyped FPS."
19. Final Fantasy XII
Square Enix / PS2
What we said: "It's not hard to see us looking back in five years time and seeing FFXII as a pivotal, changing moment in how RPGs are designed; a game which drew on the experience of Final Fantasy's branches into tactical strategy and massively multiplayer, as well as on the more mature storytelling of other mediums, and folded it back into the number series, to wonderful result. Fans will, of course, debate the merits of Final Fantasy XII for a long time - but our own experience with this game fully justifies giving it the highest accolade we can award."
groovychainsaw: "Final Fantasy reinvented for those of us who tired of Warcraft. An opportunity to show other JRPGs how to offer the addictive qualities of a MMORPG in a single-player game, whilst keeping story and character at the forefront and providing probably the best plot since FFVII."
18. Project Gotham Racing 4
Microsoft, Bizarre Creations / Xbox 360
What we said: "Freed from the pressures of developing to match a hardware launch, and perhaps steered by the Forza team's strength in simulation, PGR4 wrings the best yet out of an already scintillating arcade racing game. As a swansong for Activision-bound Bizarre Creations, it's more than we could have wished for, and a daunting prospect for whichever developer Microsoft asks to follow it."
OldK1ngCole: "Simply the best driving game ever created IMO. Awesome graphics, balanced gameplay and cracking online features."
17. Half-Life 2: Episode Two
TheGoose: "Storytelling took off in leaps and bounds after the action-heavy episode 1, and the scene with you-know-who surprised the hell out of me. Combined with the most vicious enemy yet seen in HL2 (those fecking Hunters are hard to kill), a Strider fight that had me literally whooping with joy for winning and of course Alyx, this is the direction storytelling in games should go. The fact that the ending worked at all is testament to the emotion and immersion Valve can create with its characters."
16. God of War 2
Sony, Santa Monica / PS2
What we said: "So why isn't it a 10? Perhaps in purely PS2 terms it deserves that sort of hysterical mark, but we can't rate games in a vacuum, so it's a 9, but a 9 that stands up to any other game regardless of the platform. Maybe the one notable down-side of this incredible sequel is that it is 'just' the second part of a game we all loved two years ago, and even die-hards like myself have to acknowledge that. As such, as refined and honed as the gameplay is as a whole, you can never quite replicate the wow factor of the original - even if it ends up being a better game. Lack of innovation or not, the important thing to stress is that God of War II boasts some notable improvements in every area, and is therefore a game that any fan of action-adventures should rush out and buy immediately. Satisfaction guaranteed."
nick_f: "Made Heavenly Sword look like a PS2 launch title. If this had come out in 2001 we would have burnt it at the stake for witchcraft."
Rafeage: "One of the few games that are both rock solid and fair. It requires lightning fast reflexes and total concentration that immerses the player in a way only games like ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry can. This dynamic coupled with the best graphics on the PS2 and an equally epic story makes this my favourite game of the year. On a final note, this is a game aimed at gamers that reassures me that the games industry still caters for us and hasn't just 'sold out' by making super easy games for casual market."
15. Team Fortress 2
What we said: "In an uncharacteristic burst of intelligent observation, the game's Wikipedia entry remarks that the old design of TF2 is 'quite possibly the only game to have spawned a thriving sub-genre without ever being released itself'. For the people who make up that sub-genre, as well as those addressing it afresh, we're confident the reaction will be 'ten years well spent'."
MouzerMalti: "The best game, simply because it's just plain fun, graphics are just wonderful and have their own art-style. Gameplay is just fantastic, simple and fun."
neuroniky: "It's the perfect teamplay online shooter, really - both on PC and on the 360, even if the PC version is better because of better server being currently available."
elredeyegrande: "2fort and Dustbowl. Nuff said."
14. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
THQ, GSC Game World / PC
What we said: "For some people the odd rough brokenness of Stalker will frustrate and annoy. It isn't finely polished, and it's not Hollywood; this is more like an antidote to the Americanised way of doing things. It's a warped behemoth from the Ukraine, and one of the scariest games on the PC. Stalker will remind you of all kinds of prior games, and yet it will also defy your expectations. Like the mythological Chernobyl zone it is based upon, this game is a treacherous, darkly beautiful terrain. Not everyone is going to enjoy venturing into the zone, but some of those who do will find what they've been looking for."
Hunam: "There is something about a flawed game that really appeals to me. It has a personality, you develop an understanding with it, and you can see the love and devotion in it. Everything in STALKER screams vision at you, from the wind blowing in the open fields, to tense firefights next to a nuclear meltdown. You can love this game as much as you could see the designers loved making it."
13. Assassin's Creed
What we said: "After each briefing, you travel the same route to the Masyaf border with no way to skip the journey, and it takes five minutes. You will play to the end anyway, I imagine, because it's not very frustrating, it looks nice and the low-level mechanics are engagingly fluid and spectacular to watch. And you certainly want to know what's going on. Or will do, until it stops dazzling to deceive and goes a bit Dan Brown. But while there's no end of potential to the foundations Ubisoft Montreal has set, the game built upon them is ultimately disappointing, and leaves you unfulfilled."
udat: "While the different mission types were a bit repetitive, no other game has had so well realised a game world. The scale of the cities especially just edges out BioShock in terms of level design. Altair had a real sense of momentum and weight behind his movements, the free running was well executed, and the combat was engaging, brutally realistic in places, and the story was intriguing."
louyfitz: "I have never seen a game quite like this before. It's got free-roaming which is made worthwhile by the amazing scenery, but at the same time it never lacks action, with brutal assassinations just a brief horse ride away. In a way, it takes everything that is beautiful about gaming, and the wonderful evil feeling that you get from assassinating a tyrant, then mixes them together then adds touch of back story."
12. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
What we said: "Despite sharing the exact same innards as Guitar Hero II, Legends of Rock is, in every conceivable way, a better product than its predecessors. It's better presented, better put together, more professional, more complete. As the series always has, it brings fantastic music together with challenging, addictive, endlessly rewarding gameplay and a great sense of style - only this time it has flawless co-op, online multiplayer, and a 1980s German-language punk anthem."
Nick: "This game is so good that when my Xbox scratched the disc so badly it stopped working, I went out and bought another one, the same day, for Ł50. And didn't even feel that ripped off."
Lukus: "It brings out the obsessive in me."
Capcom, Clover Studio / PS2
What we said: "Okami is, without doubt, a landmark game, and one that's beautiful in almost every sense. A few very minor control and camera issues occasionally threaten to gnaw away and the ankles of the design perfection running rampant throughout the game, but even they can't possibly undermine what is a fantastic achievement that may not be topped in the genre for some time. Right from the start it conjures an atmosphere of being something special, but to keep that level of quality up consistently over 60 hours ensures that this will be a game that will be talked about for years to come."
dhenriksson: "There is really no word strong enough to describe the visuals, but I guess 'beautiful' will have to do for a start. Just roaming the lands, feeding animals and reviving nature filled me with a sense of peace and delight like no other game. Also, perfecting a formula that The Legend of Zelda has developed for twenty years is no small feat. All hail the Celestial Brush!"
TelexStar: "This was simply one of the most beautiful and enjoyable games I've played in years! Clover Studios, R.I.P."
Xephon1970: "More than just a Zelda for the PS2, it was awash with ideas, fantastic characters, a story that swept players along, stirring music and one of those things that only comes along every so often - a brand new way to interact with a game. The Celestial Brush was so intuitive that the increasing number of strokes available never threatened to overwhelm the player. And that ending, it leaves you wanting more and you can't really ask for more. Loved the game from start to finish. It was a close run thing between this and FF XII for my personal game of the year."