20. WipEout HD
Sony / Sony Liverpool / PlayStation Network
What we said: "The extra effort has paid off. The result is a game that commands your attention, ruthlessly hauling your eyes into the flatscreen while tickling your brain with impeccable track design and spine-snapping speeds. Sackboy may be the new face of PlayStation, but the console just hasn't been the same without WipEout. It's great to have it back."
marronthered says: It may not be a full version but at 1080p and 60fps it's an absolute asssault on the senses! Everyone should experience the real next-gen with this game.
YobRenoops says: A game that really does look like its from the future.
Chinster says: Stunning recreation of the defining PlayStation game. Graphics and gameplay to die for and surely it's also the bargain of the year?
Scimarad says: When PS3 owners are having to put up with substandard conversions this game is a ray of sunshine. Technically incredible and immensely playable, this WipEout seems to bring the best of the series in downloadable form for a criminally cheap price. In my opinion the most impressive PS3 game available - and let's not forget, cheap!
chudders says: I simply cannot overstate how 'future' this is. Did you know it was made by a studio in Liverpool? That's why the cars have no wheels.
PatAU says: The Zone 45 colour scheme, in 60fps 1080p glory. For about 3 seconds until I explode into the wall.
BraveArse says: After a lot of marketing umming and ahhing, nonsense release dates and epilepsy scares - the biggest surprise was the price. It was worth three times the asking price in my opinion. It was jaw droppingly beautiful, blindingly quick and at last... at long last, my beloved WipEout was online on a non-handheld. That simple fact answered all my complaints since I started complaining on Moto GP that I would have beaten them all if this was WipEout. Because you know what? I checked last night and after a month break I'm still skulking sround the top ten in Flash class Speed laps. \o/
19. Far Cry 2
What we said: "Far Cry 2 is unforgettable rather than perfect, then; brilliant, frustrating, sombre and comical, it offers freedom within extremely curtailed limits, and strives to treat its players like adults. In the end it remains, true to its source material, a game that was born to struggle with itself."
RunningMan says: Best shooter since STALKER.
Iliad says: Single-player is stunning and so impressive, with the multiplayer a great deal of fun. Still, it's the single-player experience and stunning open gameplay that makes this so good. Of course, it wouldn't have been mentioned if not for me, somehow, not getting stuck at 88 per cent.
Mr.Do! says: For the lovely freedom, and it looks so god damn beautiful.
newt says: "I used to think if I died in an evil place then my soul wouldn't make it to heaven. Well, f***. I don't care where it goes as long it ain't here."
spartancog117 says: Best shooter this year, Africa is a beautiful place with LOTS OF RUSTY GUNS AND STUFF innit, no? Okay.
Firewarrior706 says: I loved the vast, open world that was full of beautiful plants and animals. The gameplay was fun and I loved how you could go about almost anything in a stealthy or gung-ho fashion. The range of weapons is quite large and the physics and real world effects were applied excellently. The AI was superb in the way they honestly had to think about every action they took, whether it was in combat with the player, or just going about their daily business.
Sir_TimAlot says: Very easy to lose a lot of time playing this game, flawed but still very ambitous and playable.
sedgyman says: Far too harshly criticised by reviewers. Although the gameplay mechanics were nothing new, it's a first-person shooter, what did you expect? An environment that sucks you in like no other game with believable, likable characters. I almost shed a tear when the APR bastards killed my in game best friend Josip. Although that probably says more about me than Far Cry 2.
18. Rock Band
What we said: "We do recommend Rock Band - it's outrageous, hilarious and memorable, and the best four-players-on-one-screen multiplayer game since GoldenEye - but you shouldn't buy it until you've thought long and hard about what else you could spend the money on. If you're talking about spending 100 quid on Xbox 360 games, there are plenty of three- or four-game combinations that represent stunning value by comparison, and as long as Rock Band's priced the way it is now, that's the yardstick by which it has to be measured. If after all that you're still ready to rock, we salute you."
AllenSpawn says: Actually taught me basic drumming... and I have no rhythm!
neuroniky says: If you're asking 'why?' then you haven't played it. While all the other games try to be more realistic, or gruesome or whatever, Rock Band just tries and manages to be the most fun for one to four people out there.
thehipster7 says: The drums and the songs. Downloadable Clash, Ramones, Grateful Dead... the stuff of dreams for an old fart.
martinh says: BOOM TISH BOOM TISH WARBLE WARBLE. It never gets old. And we all love to do it. A game that benefits from the inclusion of alcohol.
Ignatius_Cheese says: Harmonix's new baby succeeds in breaking new ground where Red Octane/Neversoft feel obliged to follow in tow. From a corking line-up of tracks on the disc to a continually growing DLC catalogue to jam along with mates, this new franchise truly delivers a next-gen experience, even if you are tethered to a cheap USB hub. Rock on! \m/
Weebleboy says: Don't even own it, but it's provided hours of drunken entertainment at friends' houses.
17. Mirror's Edge
What we said: "There's something broken thematically, deep within Mirror's Edge: it tells you a rambling story about freedom even as it confines you to the tight squares of its own personal hopscotch court, and for many that will be one wrong-footing too many. But for those who can shrug off the contradictions and the limitations, ignore the tearing cityscape and lingering qualms about value for money, this will shove you so deeply into the experience of being in someone else's body, and taking it on a terrifying, breakneck joyride, that nothing else will matter."
finski says: Something different. That's what describes this game best. And it's only a good way! Only bad thing I found from this is that it's a bit short and may get a bit repetitive. But love it still!
dr_swin says: Daringly innovative and beautifully produced. This game got so much right. The feeling of exhilaration when you were running full pelt and taking on the obstacles was amazing. I loved the sylish visuals as well. They made a real change from the monochramatic palettes of other games. The speed runs and time trials are addictive in a 'just one more go' type way and help to give longevity to an otherwise short game.
Move42 says: You want to know how much I love it? I even like the fighting, that's how much.
Oceadge says: The unique look and feel along with the music reminds me of a Michael Mann film. In a time of endless FPSs and sequels this game really stands out. Who cares that it's not all 'free running' - that can be done in the time trials - this is a first-person 3D platformer.
pickles4uk says: Not many developers take risks these days so I admire DICE for trying something new. The game wasn't brilliant, and a little short, but the gameplay was new and interesting and kept me entertained.
Hybridshadow says: Loved the free running concept, a game you can pick and play again. Looking forward to DLC.
16. Call of Duty: World at War
What we said: "It's easy to be impressed by World at War. It's a game designed for maximum initial impact and, while it wobbles along the way, it delivers precisely the sort of carefully stage-managed carnage that fans will expect. The addition of a robust and varied co-op option helps to mitigate the disappointment of the by-the-numbers traditional multiplayer modes."
BigSmith says: Not as good as COD4 but still a great game.
Gilegend says: WWII never looked so good. And killing Nazi zombies never gets old.
Kangoo says: An amazing turnaround from Call of Duty 3. Treyarch has excelled and almost got to the same level as Modern Warfare.
Zalohuw says: Nazi zombies!!!!
JIS87 says: If the issues with PS3 version got fixed, this would be the game I would be playing most.
markypants says: Quite simply the most balanced FPS I've ever played. Racked up hours and hours of gameplay and enjoyed daily doses of shooting my brother in the face.
15. Mario Kart Wii
Nintendo / Wii
What we said: "The sheer sensory pleasure of playing Mario Kart Wii - from the charming animations, to the bopping tunes, to the sugar-rush boosting, to the exquisite steering - far overcomes the few concerns we have about it. It still has to be docked a mark for the awkward structure and compromised battle modes - but it's still unreservedly recommended to anyone for whom Mario Kart is a gaming cornerstone. And really, that should be everyone."
RABicle says: When competing with a housemate for the best times on Sherbert Land, the competition eclipsed friendly rivalry when my housemate beat my time and in doing so, entered the continental top ten. When I beat this time of his, it pushed him out of the ten. I sent my ghost to a friend in Sydney, who beat me and pushed me out of the top ten. This is a whole new level of epic.
FaceOmeter says: Take that, dialogue..! This should have been better than it was. But it's the first time Nintendo has done justice to their promises of online play, in spite of the friend code problem. Twelve-player worldwide racing with almost literally no lag. Cool. More levels would have been nice. The removal of POW blocks would have been nice. A good battle mode would have been nice. Lots of things would have been nice, but they preserved the Mario Kart 'feel' and in spite of (or perhaps because of) all its frustrations it's still some of the most compelling gameplay ever.
romanista says: Endless depth with all different modes. Time trials with online leaderboards. A Wii game that works online. And for Christ's sake, it's Mario Kart.
Pitoon says: What a claaaassic.
Stompy says: RACE FASTER THAN MARIO IN THE RACE!!!
Steifybobbins says: It's classic Mario Kart with the added bonus of a pretty solid and immensely addictive online mode whether that be standard racing or time-trialling. I must have put three or four hundred hours into this and I still love it.
Leolian'sBro says: Does everything right, but really nothing new. No other game series has me screaming at the screen in an empty house though, so it merits inclusion for that alone.
FabricatedLunatic says: Mario Kart Wii holds the distinction of being the first and only game that's managed to tempt me online for any serious amount of time. Whether playing against random internet people or the twisted denizens who inhabit the MK Wii forum thread, the game takes me through a wildly oscillating series of emotion: joy, euphoria, frustration, and despair. But I always come back for more.
CromeYellow says: It's a superbly balanced game. Almost as good as Mario Kart 64 and much better than Double Dash.
14. Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Nintendo / Level-5 / DS
What we said: "Where were we? Oh yes, a really lovely, surprisingly dark, and utterly engrossing collection of varied puzzles. It's getting a 9, and if you tried to argue I should have given it 8 you'd be right on every technical level. But then I'd lift up the top of my skull and show you all the happy it's put inside my head, and then you'd realise you were wrong."
letmelive says: The perfect puzzle game, graphics are cute and colourful and updates keep this game new and fresh.
DB2k says: A taxing and infuriating game which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Lawlost says: A bizarre puzzle game that keeps you coming back again and again. I found myself working on problems I was stuck even after I switched it off. Only the DS could pull this kind of game off.
Chimpus says: - - - CORRECT.
gav_and_the_gavster says: Along with Zack & Wiki, it's shows that there is still life left in a genre often perceived to be dead and/or retro. It has more charm on a single, stationary screen than other games manage to produce over a stretched out 40 hour quest. Now give us the sequels!
Fozzie_bear says: What should have been as dull as ditchwater became more than the sum of its parts thanks to the great presentation. Impossible to put down till you've finished it.
TheMoonRat says: This is what 'casual gaming' should be like; a game that a 26-year-old gaming addict loves, yet also recommends as a Christmas present for my girlfriend's grandma. It's easy to play, it has a beautiful style to it, it's perfect for a five-minute train journey, it's perfect for half an hour of puzzle-solving action. And like another game in my list, it can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be. Can't wait for the sequels!
UberChew says: Challenges the mind with classic puzzles, foolishy targeted at the younger market. The function to skip puzzles and return to them later makes sure the player is never fustrated. A charming murder mystery tale ties the game together nicely.
13. Rock Band 2
EA / MTV / Harmonix / Xbox 360
What we said: "More or less every concern and complaint we had about the original game has been addressed, the new tracklist is very much to our taste (with 20 more free songs to come, remember), and with the rebalancing of difficulty, modes like Battle of the Bands and the No Fail modifier and Drum Trainer, Harmonix has completed the awkward job of broadening the game's appeal at both ends of the skill spectrum successfully. It's an excellent, measured sequel that should appeal to all."
NeoNatica says: Just another improvement from the first, yet makes a total difference.
Wickedbug says: What my friends and I play when we're not playing Left 4 Dead or Team Fortress 2! Two passions, music and video games, combined into one well crafted game.
fragglefart says: For being the first game that my girl has ever asked me to buy expansions for. For all the luls and awesome it has provided during parties with family, neighbours and friends. For taking the three best things in the universe - rock n' roll, booze, and gaming - and combining them into something more awesome than I could have hoped.
TonyGster says: Set list not as good as RB1 but everything else has been improved.
eqd says: Not only is this a completely addictive game, but my flat has had a large amount of Rock Band parties, giving an excuse to drink with friends, look like lunatics, play with plastic instruments and even dress up like rock stars.
Faulty says: A behemoth of a game, Harmonix's dedication to this franchise is staggering. There's always something to keep you interested from the daily battles to the weekly downloadable content.
Tricky2050 says: This is the best thing to happen to multiplayer ever.
Robyrt says: Rock Band 2 is the rare sequel that delivers exactly what its fans wanted: they have fixed almost everything that was wrong with the original, without ruining any of the parts that made it so wonderful. Rock Band is the preeminent party experience, with a vast library of content to please anyone and a control scheme welcoming enough to please everyone. As a real musician, I use this game to give others a taste of the fun that making music entails. As a hardcore gamer, I can spend hours honing my skills and chasing leaderboard scores. The age of downloadable content has arrived, and its killer app is Rock Band.
12. PortalPC (standalone) Xbox Live Arcade
What we said: "Portal remains an absolutely fantastic game, a wonderfully constructed vignette of puzzles and gallows humour that everybody should play. This solus download offers just that. If you've already sucked the original experience dry, you can skip this without worrying that you're missing out. If you've yet to make GLaDOS' acquaintance, however, you should waste no time in downloading this."
Jocho says: Portal does a lot of things with their unique mechanic, tossing you in every possible and impossible direction. And with a story that lets you choose if you want to know the story or focus on playing.
Wellytopp says: Well and truly messed with my head, and as a game mechanic ingenious to say the least and for that alone was well worth the asking price, if it was produced by a Brit developer we would have had more pie than cake, as everyone loves pie!
Ariondax says: Simple idea fantastically executed. Great design, good visuals, challenging gameplay, fun experience. Doesn't outstay its welcome but so good it leaves you wanting more.
RABicle says: Because I'm still alive. A short evening of gameplay, but incredible throughout. I didn't know there was a song at the end: best song.
ChaoticImpulses says: Clever, funny, scary, dishonest, revolutionary. That's Portal in five words, there's no excuse for any gamer not to own The Orange Box, none at all.
Tomo says: Truly innovative gameplay, buckets of humour and a twisted, engrossing storyline made for that rare game - a title that surpassed the immense hype.
Headache says: Simply put, this game is pure fun. From the computer and drones through the challenging enviroments and the hints at a wider world through the mad scrawlings of a previous 'test subject' Portal provided on every level.
Sulphur says: Haha, do you really need a reason? Wasn't this last yea, though, along with The Orange Box? Oh right, separate release. Okay, apart from the inspired Portal gameplay, why is this still awesome? Two words: Erik Wolpaw. GLaDOS remains one of the best-written game antagonists ever, almost reaching SHODAN's lofty heights. Yet the rest of the brilliance is also in the details, and the story's execution, which surely is something that the entire team worked hard at. It's a brilliant, singular experience and I doubt that will change with time. Okay, okay, the truth: I'm really nominating it for the song at the end. BEST. END. CREDIT. SONG. EVER. Say it with me: This is a triumph.
11. FIFA 09
What we said: "It feels like football, it rewards football, and it punishes football, for football reasons. It may not always be your brand of football, and you can ask for more, but only by degrees. The myth is dead. "Let's FIFA"."
SuspectedDog says: Better than Pro Evo...
scowat says: EA very quickly tinkered and tweaked UEFA into its larger baby and it produced the single most impressive and immersive football game on a console ever.
slowcc says: Having been a PES player for the last ten years FIFA 09 comes out and improves in every area imaginable. A big surprise.
sininc says: Gameplay is fluid, good build ups and excellent online play. I've always been a Pro Evo player but the new FIFA is far better.
caligari says: The online Be-A-Pro is a revelation! The roars and cheers of team-mates as you crash the ball in from 30 yards - the even louder huzzahs as your bone-crunching tackle against Ronaldo leaves him writhing on the floor. It's the gaming equivalent of playing football with the big kids at school - each kick has the chance to make you look like a Premier League prodigy or a non-league nincompoop. I've also lost my voice from screaming 'PASS' down the mic. Over and over again.
Stu says: Because it, by innovating every year rather than festering on its laurels like its competitor, has become the best football game ever made. Not perfect, but still brilliant.
Teacher987 says: FIFA 09 is the ultimate football simulation. Period. The gameplay is now so polished and rewarding, that I could play it all day long, and never get bored. The graphics are great, the sound is excellent (as is the music), the database is huge, FIFA 2010 will face a tough task of improving on this.