It's the first face-off of the New Year and with it, the opportunity to bring the cold, hard, iron first of order to the games cupboard by rounding up the games we really should have covered by now, but didn't for reasons too numerous and too tedious to get into. It's also the chance to take a look at how the first high profile release of 2009 - EA's Lord of the Rings: Conquest - measures up under Eurogamer's unyielding scrutiny.
As we've got a lot of software to get through, we've bumped up the interesting games to the front of the feature, then grouped together the rest in the form of smaller, round-up featurettes at the end. However, as per the norm, all games get the full screenshot gallery treatment - captures losslessly derived from the HDMI ports of both consoles at full range 24-bit RGB precision. Where PS3 outputs a 1080p signal on any given game, additional galleries are provided, along with their 360 counterparts.
For the headline games there's also the customary video coverage. Set your Flash Player to 'high quality' to appreciate the full might of h264 encoding, or check out the author's blog if you want to download bandwidth-saturating full-HD versions running in real time, optimised for playback on PS3, Xbox 360 and dual-core PCs.
Onto the line-up then:
Many thanks to MazingerDUDE for additional technical observations.
- Round One (Ridge Racer 6/Ridge Racer 7, Def Jam: Icon, Fight Night Round 3, Virtua Tennis 3, NBA Homecourt, Need for Speed Carbon)
- Round Two (Call of Duty 3, F.E.A.R., Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007, World Championship Snooker 2007, NBA 2K7, NHL 2K7, Enchanted Arms, Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII)
- Round Three (Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Sonic the Hedgehog, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Tony Hawk Project 8)
- Round Four (The Darkness, Spider-Man 3: The Game, The Godfather, Madden NFL '08, NHL '08)
- Round Five (Virtua Fighter 5, SKATE, Transformers: The Game, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Colin McRae: DiRT, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, SEGA Rally, FIFA 08)
- Round Six (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, NBA Live 08, Need for Speed ProStreet, Stuntman Ignition, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2008, The Simpsons Game, Conan, Assassin's Creed)
- Round Seven (Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, TimeShift, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Blazing Angels: Secret Missions of WWII, Medal of Honor: Airborne, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Clive Barker's Jericho, John Woo Presents Stranglehold)
- Round Eight (Burnout Paradise, Cars Mater-National, The Golden Compass, Beowulf, Ratatouille)
- Round Nine (Devil May Cry 4, The Club, Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, FIFA Street 3, Juiced 2, Turok)
- Round Ten (Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Blacksite: Area 51, Army of Two, Conflict: Denied Ops, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, Dynasty Warriors 6, Lost: The Video Game)
- Round Eleven (NFL Tour, Dark Sector, Soldier of Fortune: Payback, SEGA Superstars Tennis, MX vs. ATV Untamed, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, Condemned 2: Bloodshot, Viking: Battle for Asgard)
- Round Twelve (Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Race Driver: GRID, LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Overlord: Raising Hell, UEFA Euro 2008)
- Round Thirteen (Unreal Tournament 3, Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy, Top Spin 3, Iron Man, Battlefield: Bad Company)
- Round Fourteen (SoulCalibur IV, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, Kung Fu Panda, Beijing 2008: The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, FaceBreaker, The Incredible Hulk, Madden NFL 09, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09, NHL 09)
- Round Fifteen (BioShock, Dead Space, Pure, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed)
- Bonus Round: The Orange Box
- Bonus Round: Grand Theft Auto IV
- Bonus Round: Fallout 3
- Bonus Round: Call of Duty: World at War
- Bonus Round: Far Cry 2