Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

World's 50 best video games - from Angry Birds to Gran Turismo

How much fun can you have on your sofa?

Gran Turismo 5
The most realistic driving sim ever not only includes hundreds of painstakingly modelled motors, but also sets them loose on perfectly replicated versions of the world's best race tracks, from Suzuka Circuit to the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Platform PS3 How much £49.99
L.A. Noire
'Cases in this 1940s cop thriller get more captivating as the game progresses,' says Caleb Cox. 'Comb crime scenes, chase suspects and finally interrogate them. The unbelievable facial graphics and well-written script set it apart.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360 How much £44.99
DeathSmiles
'Cave's 'bullet-hell' shooters are legendary among hardcore gamers thanks to their mesmerising barrages of colourful enemy ordinance,' says Rob Hearn. 'DeathSmiles is more accessible than its predecessors, giving you less to dodge and more to shoot.'
Platform iPad, iPhone, Xbox 360 How much £7.99
Resistance 3
The Chimera, the malevolent aliens of Resistance, are once more on the march. Superb pacing and breathtaking visuals make this an essential shooter.
Platform PS3 How much £49.99
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Can it really be 13 years since Ocarina of Time debuted on N64? Staggering then that not only does this 3DS remastering remain immensely satisfying, but also showcases a game yet to be bettered by any subsequent Zelda title.
Platform 3DS How much £39.99
Angry Birds Rio
'Angry Birds is more than just a ruinously addictive physics-based casual game,' says Rob. 'It's a global industry, spanning clothing, toys, films, and more. Rio represents the latest version of a game everybody should try.'
Platform iPad, iPhone, Android How much 69p
inFamous 2
'Electrifying' is the term most commonly extolled when summing up inFamous 2, not just because combat is exhilarating, but also because hero Cole MacGrath's weapon of choice happens to be lightning fired from his fingertips.
Platform PS3 How much £49.99
Portal 2
'This mind-bending first-person puzzle game is a contender for game of the year,' says Guy Cocker. 'Stephen Merchant's robot keeping you amused, as you try the fiendish 'tests' posed by the vengeful AI GLaDOS.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac How much £34.99-£49.99
Xenoblade Chronicles
Restoring faith in the Japanese-made RPG, Xenoblade brilliantly fashions a living world for the player to explore. The real-time fighting is a breath of fresh air, as is the Monado, a time-manipulating ancient sword at the game's centre.
Platform Wii How much £39.99
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
StarCraft fans had been waiting years for a sequel and this first chapter in a new trilogy doesn't disappoint. Perfect balancing between Terran, Protoss and Zerg forces makes multiplayer engagements irresistible.
Platform PC, Mac How much £44.99
Fight Night Champion
'The best graphics seen in a boxing game ever,' says Caleb. 'The clichéd-but-fun story mode and improved control system will get you hooked, while there's still the option to set up bouts between classic boxers.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360 How much £49.99
Groove Coaster
'An unconventional and unmissable experience,' says Rob. 'The aim is to tap points on the screen in time with the beat, as a pulse of light travels along a line suspended in a hypnotic geometrical game world.'
Platform iPad, iPhone How much £1.99
Gears of War 3
'Marcus Fenix returns in the final instalment of the current Gears story arc,' says Guy. 'The new and improved competitive multiplayer will have you coming back for more.'
Platform Xbox 360 How much £49.99
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
'It packs in all the gripping elements that made the original Deus Ex an instant classic,' says Caleb. 'Use your choice of bionic enhancements, hacking and stealth in this futuristic tale of corporate corruption.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC How much £34.99-£49.99
Catherine
Catherine pits the hapless Vincent in the midst of a love triangle between current girlfriend Katherine and the beguiling Catherine. Cue angst, guilt, nightmares and drunken texting. Bizarre and brilliant.
Platform PS3, Xbox 360 How much £44.99
Super Mario Galaxy 2
'How to improve on the already classic Super Mario Galaxy? Add even more gravity-defying platforming, fresh power-ups and, of course, Yoshi,' says Guy.
Platform Wii How much £24.99
LittleBigPlanet 2
'The second instalment of LBP brings back the catchy music, creative level design and personal customisation that the platformer is so widely loved for,' says Caleb.
Platform PS3 How much £49.99
Anomaly Warzone Earth
'A reverse tower defence game in which you guide a convoy of military vehicles through a series of urban battlegrounds,' says Rob. 'It looks great and is one of the year's best mobile games.'
Platform iPad, iPhone How much £6.99
Capsized
Capsized's sparse plot sees the player assuming the role of an astronaut stranded on a strange and hostile alien world. Perfectly adjudged physics allow for inspired exploration.
Platform PC via Steam How much £5.99
Child of Eden
'COE is an immersive synesthesic journey through a neon world of psychedelia,' says Caleb. 'Blasting away at organic computer viruses and obscure bosses is absolutely mind-blowing.'
Platform Xbox 360 Kinect How much £49.99
MotorStorm Apocalypse
While racing around a city in the middle of a tectonic episode might not sound the safest idea, it certainly makes for an exhilarating experience as the roadsters of MotorStorm compete through crumbling streets and collapsing buildings.
Platform PS3 How much £49.99
Age of Empires Online
Microsoft's strategy game had been in hiatus for some time, presumably while it decided where best to take its famous franchise. The answer? A free-to-play Age of Empires infused with a constant online community.
Platform PC How much Free with paid for DLC
Fallout: New Vegas
'New Vegas sees a return to Fallout's post-apocalyptic world, albeit with warmer hues courtesy of the Nevada desert setting,' says Caleb. 'Discover more factions of humanity and gun-wielding mutants than ever out in the nuclear wasteland.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC How much £34.99-£49.99
DiRT 3
'The high-octane rally series is back with a bang,' says Guy. 'Luscious visuals, realistic handling and new modes, such as gymkhana stunt-based time trials, keep the driving challenging and entertaining.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC How much £16.99-£49.99
Red Dead Redemption
'Rockstar excelled with this, the spiritual successor to the Red Dead Revolver,' says Guy. 'Cast as inimitable outlaw-going-straight John Marston, undertakings include everything from gunfights and horseplay, through to poker and armadillo hunting.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360 How much £24.99
Bulletstorm
'It's all about getting creative with kills in this space-age FPS,' says Caleb. 'There's no shortage of wisecracks or action as you assume the role of a drunkard captain fighting across a planet overrun by mutants.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC How much £34.99-£49.99
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
'The Witcher 2 retains the original's spooky atmosphere but ramps up the scale,' says Guy. 'Expect multiple paths through the storyline and bigger, more terrifying, monsters than before.'
Platform PC How much £34.99
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
'As a recent addition to the afterlife it's up to you to investigate your own death,' says Guy. 'Ghost Trick boasts slick animation, quirky characters and innovative puzzling.'
Platform DS How much £29.99
Fifa 11
'While Drogba might not hit the deck quite as readily as in reality, Fifa 11 is as true to life as they come and a fine representation of the beautiful game, says Caleb.' Or wait for Fifa 12 later this month.
Platform All formats How much £29.99-£49.99
WipEout
'There's no better phone for traditional gaming experiences than Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play,' says Rob. 'WipEout is a colourful and stylish drift-heavy racer that benefits hugely from the phone's control pad-like interface.'
Platform Xperia Play How much £3.99
Dead Space 2
'Dead Space 2 ramps up the horror, gore and uncertainty of what lies round the next corner,' says Caleb. 'A sure recipe for sweaty palms and interrupted sleep.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC How much £34.99-£49.99
Killzone 3
The Helghast have all but eradicated the ISA from their planet and preventing them unleashing their planet-killing weapon against Earth makes for one of gaming's most dazzling entries.
Platform PS3 How much £49.99
Bastion
'A striking RPG,' says Guy. 'Bastion casts you as 'The Kid', out to restore order to the world; all while, the 'Old Wise Man' watches on, brilliantly narrating your every move.'
Platform Xbox 360 via XBLA How much £10.20
The Sims Medieval
Medieval is more about completing quests such as reading the stars or encouraging education, all in order to improve your kingdom and enhance the skills of your sims.
Platform PC, Mac How much £39.99
Kinect Sports
'This was one of the few motion-controlled titles that kept me on Microsoft's latest peripheral last Christmas,' says Caleb. 'A fun party game, which never loses its charm.'
Platform Xbox 360 Kinect How much £39.99
Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint
'The aim of Magnetic Billiards is to bring same-coloured balls together in the most indirect route possible,' says Rob. 'It's an ingenious riff on Puzzle Bobble, shot through with humour and plenty of personality.'
Platform iPad, iPhone How much Free
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
While we wait with bated breath for the next entry into the ongoing ordeals of adventurer Nathan Drake, it's worth pointing out that his second escapade, one of the finest games ever crafted, is now available at a discount price.
Platform PS3 How much £19.99
Crysis 2
'The Crysis saga hits consoles, packing those stunning visuals and superb narrative in a dilapidated NYC overrun with alien hostility,' says Caleb. 'A beautiful game with thrilling multiplayer, sure to keep gamers cosy in their nanosuits.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC How much £34.99-£49.99
Pokémon White/Black
'The Pokémon series may have peaked in the Nineties, but the cute, monster-raising RPG still remains entertaining,' says Guy. 'Ever-improving graphics, innovative battle types, a fresh city to explore and all new Pokémon, keep the series ever appealing.'
Platform DS How much £34.99
Pokémon White/Black
'The Pokémon series may have peaked in the Nineties, but the cute, monster-raising RPG still remains entertaining,' says Guy. 'Ever-improving graphics, innovative battle types, a fresh city to explore and all new Pokémon, keep the series ever appealing.'
Platform DS How much £34.99
Driver: San Francisco
'The series returns to form with this San Francisco edition,' says Guy. 'The far-fetched but novel new 'Shift' feature lets you switch between vehicles at will, as Tanner struggles through his coma-induced delusion.
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC How much £49.99-£39.99
Mega Mall Story
'Kairosoft made its name with Game Dev Story, a sophisticated management game about running a development studio,' says Rob. 'Mega Mall Story is both a richer and more accessible experience than its predecessor.'
Platform iPad, iPhone How much £2.49
Super Meat Boy
'If I met the makers of SMB, I don't whether I'd shake their hands or punch them,' says Caleb. 'One of the most addictive, yet frustrating, platformers ever made, with perfect controls and ingenious level design.'
Platform Xbox 360, Steam How much £11.99
Halo: Reach
The last Halo game to be created by its founder, Bungie, was never going to disappoint and so it proves, as an enhanced visual engine, impressive AI and poignant story combine to finally tell the tragedy of Reach.
Platform Xbox 360 How much £29.99
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
The Cataclysm expansion prompts the return of evil dragon, Deathwing the Destroyer, whose carnage reshapes the landscape, thus activating new quests and locations.
Platform PC, Mac How much £24.99
Patapon 3
As a rhythm-based, side-scrolling strategy game, Patapon lives something of an exclusive existence. Original, funky and downright brilliant.
Platform PSP How much £24.99
Top Spin 4
'If only Andy Murray had a copy of Top Spin 4, he might have been able to stop Nadal in this year's Wimbledon,' says Guy. 'So lifelike is the play that it's difficult not to be impressed.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, Wii How much £39.99-£49.99
iBlast Moki 2
'This sequel is a corker,' says Rob. 'Building on the original premise of propelling a 'Moki' into a portal, iBlast Moki 2 has immaculate level design and a comprehensive level editor.'
Platform iPad, iPhone How much £1.99
Limbo
'As a wimpy arachnophobe, Limbo had the hairs sticking up on the back of my neck,' says Caleb. 'It's a well-crafted absorbing adventure soaked with genuine atmosphere.'
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC How much £6.99
Call of Duty: Black Ops
While Black Ops' largely forgettable single-player campaign might have faded into obscurity, its multiplayer lives on. Recent downloads add ever more varied content.
Platform PS3, Xbox 360, PC How much £54.99

Click 'More Pictures' to launch our guide to the 50 best video games.

This week's panel:

Guy Cocker is editor of gaming website GameSpot UK ( uk.gamespot.com);

Caleb Cox writes about games and gadgets for top tech website Reg Hardware ( www.reghardware.com);

Rob Hearn is editor of mobile and handheld gaming website Pocket Gamer ( www.pocketgamer.co.uk)

Do you agree with our panel's top 50? Leave your comments and suggestions below.

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