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2013: The Year In Review | Stuffed With Drama

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013, Year In Review

2013: The Year In Review | Stuffed With Drama

Farewell 2013! You've given us a right rollercoaster time of it over the last twelve months. This year of transition, in which we've seen one console generation give way to another, has certainly been an odd one. It's telling that the year kicked off with a tiny three-person outfit dropping one of 2013's most-played games in Temple Run 2 even as the staffers at one of the industry's biggest publishers locked up an abandoned building as THQ finally kicked the bucket.

It had been predicted that one of the industry's biggest companies wouldn't make the jump to next-gen.

Indie Uprising

2013: The Year In Review | Stuffed With Drama

2013 has been a year that's seen the storm of change break after rumblings over the past eighteen months or so. On the positive end, that means there's arguably never been a better time to be an independent game maker, with the means and avenues towards realising one's interactive vision more plentiful and accessible than ever before. Sony might have niftily transformed their freshly-found indie spirit into a nice marketing message for the PS4, but they spoke for the whole industry.

Once again, the PC has paved the way. It could be argued that it was only a matter of time before the console manufacturers woke up and realised that offering self-publishing opportunities to the wealth of independent creatives out there, but now we have actions rather than mere words. The exciting advent of open publishing on next-gen platforms is very much a work in progress and there's much to be done, but the wheels are turning at least. Even so, the PC still put consoles to shame with unique gems such as Papers, Please and The Stanley Parable, and where else might you have found a game like Gone Home? The Fullbright Company gave us one of the most important games of the year with their experiential marvel, once again underlining the undeniable fact that the term "game" is about as obsolete and archaic as can be.

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The Underdogs of 2013 | Top Ten Games No-One Bought

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

The Underdogs of 2013 | Top Ten Games No-One Bought

2013 has been a cracking year with some big-name franchises firing on all cylinders, well-regarded studios at their very best, indie visionaries again making huge waves, and no shortage of quality gaming nourishment for our hungry souls.

But, as always, there have been many games -- large and small -- that have slipped under the radar. There are one or two characters in this list we would never have expected to find adorning a rundown of underdogs, but times are changing.

There are dozens that we could have included on this list (pretty much any Wii U or Vita game that released his year, to be honest), but here are ten of the best that we've plucked out of sales obscurity to champion as the year draws to a close.

Antichamber

The Underdogs of 2013 | Top Ten Games No-One Bought

Antichamber is amazing. And it was made by one person. One! If you liked Portal, if you're a fan of mind-bending games and enjoy a challenging experience, sort your life out and get on it.

Bravely Default

The Underdogs of 2013 | Top Ten Games No-One Bought

Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, and Pokemon took the popular plaudits for the 3DS this year, with good reason. But then, just before the end of 2013, Square quietly dropped the best RPG they've make in years onto the system.

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Readers' Choice: Vote For Your Best Game Of 2013

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
community, Game of the Year 2013, Readers' Choice

Readers' Choice: Vote For Your Best Game Of 2013

That's us done for the year (almost), so now it's your turn. You can catch up on our shout for Game of the Year 2013 here, and be sure to cast your eyes over the rest of the awards and our personal Staff Picks if you haven't already, but now we want to hear from you.

As per usual, we've compiled an extensive list of the games that have featured thus far (not to mention one or two glaring omissions that failed to feature in our staff shortlists) and we'd love to see what our community thought was the best game to come along in 2013.

We'll keep the poll running for a week or so and announce the winner, along with a roundup of all of our other awards in the New Year.

Cast your votes ladies and gentlemen, for this year's Readers' Choice: Game of the Year Award 2013:


Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

And so it comes to this. After two weeks of Staff Picks and genre awards, we come to the ultimate showdown. When we look back, what will we say was the best game of 2013? What game best represents the quality we've seen over the past twelve months? The nominees below are all worthy, and all should be somewhere in your collection.

We've had stronger years, to be sure, but coming up with a shortlist and an eventual winner in 2013 for Game of the Year has still been tough. Not because of games lacking quality, but once again because there've been so many cracking games from which to choose.

The Nominees

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

"Animal Crossing: New Leaf is an utter delight, but then you knew that already. For all of the little tweaks and new treats, the core experience remains the same. But stepping into the role of mayor connects you better than ever before to this joyous world of camaraderie and generous spirit. New Leaf is a game that lets you fashion an identity in whatever manner you choose, and then share it with the world. It's the best game in the series so far."

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

"Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a wonderfully harmonious game. It's enormous, packed with more things to see and do than ever before, but Ubisoft have managed to make every little thing mean something in tangible, impactful terms. Black Flag is a wonderful piratical romp that manages to revive the stealthy focus of earlier series instalments, whilst delivering an outstanding naval sandbox, an excellent setting and story, and lashings of swashbuckling action. Unmissable."

Bioshock Infinite

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | The Best Game of 2013

"Bioshock Infinite's final moment is one that will leave the player anywhere between gobsmacked and muted, but regardless of how the game ends, its journey is a thoroughly engrossing rollercoaster ride in a crumbling, thought-provoking paradise with one of the finest AI companions ever created. Irrational strike gold yet again."

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Games at Christmas – How Do You Play Yours?

Author:
Chris Hyde
Category:
Features
Tags:
Christmas

Games at Christmas – How Do You Play Yours?

Christmas is a special time for a lot of us – it’s a period where we spend time with friends and family, and maybe indulge in a few things that we wouldn’t think of doing for the rest of the year. But this strange change in habits is not limited to bad jumpers and eating sprouts, but I find it also impacts the type of games I play greatly too. As I reflect on another Christmas gone by, and await the next 360-odd days until the next one, I thought I’d share my observations of a gaming Christmas – and it would be good to share yours too.

The More The Merrier

Games at Christmas – How Do You Play Yours?

The most obvious change at Christmas time, with the arrival of a plethora of distant relatives, is the amount of people to play games. And as gaming becomes more and more widely embraced, this means the life of the local multiplayer receives a well-deserved lifeline.  The beauty of the local multiplayer is in its variety. Party games, competitive multiplayer and even co-op play provide a wide range of different experiences that suit multiple people huddled around the same TV with a controller in their hand. Suffice to say that no matter how good online gaming is, a headset is a poor substitute for the look on your brother’s face when you beat him, and proceed to ceremoniously wind him up .

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Consoles Doomed to Pay High Digital Prices Forever?

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Digital Distribution, Games prices, PS4, PS4 games, Steam, Xbox 360 games, Xbox One

Consoles Doomed to Pay High Digital Prices Forever?

For years, PSN and XBLA gamers have been enviously staring at the generous offerings PC gamers can gorge themselves on via sites like Steam, GOG and Green Man Gaming. The ever-increasing number of sites sees regular price war over these digital titles, leaving PC gamers the clear winners for cheap games.

For console gamers, it’s been a very different story as PlayStation and Xbox gamers have been left with one first-party option for a digital game store on their console. With only one option available, this has of course meant that there is no need for competitive prices or discounts bar the odd sale.

So when I heard Amazon.co.uk had opened a beta site selling full PSN titles, I dared to hope that this could lead to games going for a little bit cheaper than the bloated prices we see every time we log onto PSN.

Except Amazon aren’t offering a competing service, they’re only selling codes to use on PSN, so why would there be a discount? The games online at Amazon today include the likes of Journey, Stealth Inc and Hotline Miami, all selling for the same price as PSN, which you can access on a web browser here. The shop window may be different, but the prices still leave us out in the cold.

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Action / Adventure Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Action / Adventure Game

There were some seriously big hitters in the action-adventure genre this year, with long-running series like GTA and Assassin's Creed returning to searing form, a resurgent Lara Croft and Raiden staking claims for Game of the Year in their respective titles let alone Games of the Genre, and the likes of Capcom and Nintendo and Naughty Dog getting in on the act too. The swansong year for last-gen has yielded some cracking entries in this genre. Run your eyes down the shortlist below, and if you're missing some in your collection, rectify that as soon as possible.

The Nominees

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Action / Adventure Game

"Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a wonderfully harmonious game. It's enormous, packed with more things to see and do than ever before, but Ubisoft have managed to make every little thing mean something in tangible, impactful terms. Black Flag is a wonderful piratical romp that manages to revive the stealthy focus of earlier series instalments, whilst delivering an outstanding naval sandbox, an excellent setting and story, and lashings of swashbuckling action. Unmissable."

Dead Rising 3

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Action / Adventure Game

"Dead Rising 3 is the essential Xbox One launch title: a rampant, ridiculous and riotous sandbox that delivers countless hours of unapologetic unrestrained fun. Rather than a pristine graphical showcase, it's a bountiful content-rich slaughter smorgasbord that encourages us to get our hands dirty in obscenely silly ways."

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Shooter

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Shooter

When all the rest of the games are long gone, shooters will remain. The most enduring genre, and the most lucrative, there's nothing we like more apparently than shooting virtual things in the face, and there were plenty of games that gave us the opportunity in 2013.

The Nominees

Battlefield 4

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Shooter

"It hasn’t been a smooth launch for its multiplayer component, and the single player campaign still won’t win any awards, but the latest effort from DICE is certainly the best Battlefield experience we’ve seen for a quite a while. Thanks to a rather shiny Frostbite 3 engine, and an array of social features with Battlelog, Battlefield 4 on PC might well be one of the best multiplayer titles of the year."

Bioshock Infinite

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Shooter

"Bioshock Infinite's final moment is one that will leave the player anywhere between gobsmacked and muted, but regardless of how the game ends, its journey is a thoroughly engrossing rollercoaster ride in a crumbling, thought-provoking paradise with one of the finest AI companions ever created. Irrational strike gold yet again."

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best RPG

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best RPG

The Western RPG was pretty much absent this year, allowing a host of excellent titles out of Japan to really make their mark. The death of the JRPG has been rather over-exaggerated it seems. Even Final Fantasy managed too have a good year, eventually, though not good enough to make our list.

The Nominees

Bravely Default

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best RPG

"Bravely Default dares to refresh the classic Final Fantasy formula with quiet yet confident innovations across the board, resulting in one of the best JRPGs of 2013 and a fitting end to a barnstorming year for Nintendo's handheld."

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best RPG

A superb dungeon crawler that expertly blends the ancient and cutting-edge.Etrian Odyssey IV demands a great deal from its players, both in terms of retro-tough difficulty and fleshing out its menu-heavy world. However, for students of the old-school, a little effort will pay off in spectacular style.

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Portable Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Portable Game

We came to the conclusion on the final Game Buzz of the year that this really has been the 3DS' year. Nintendo have just been pumping out the quality releases on their handheld, putting the claims of doomsday soothsayers for portable consoles to shame with some of the best games we've seen in the last decade across all platforms, let alone portable ones. Sony's Vita continues to quietly impress too, even if Sony themselves often appear to forget about their own machine. Though it's still waiting to really take off, we're yet to find anyone who's bought a Vita who regrets the decision.

The Nominees

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Portable Game

"Animal Crossing: New Leaf is an utter delight, but then you knew that already. For all of the little tweaks and new treats, the core experience remains the same. But stepping into the role of mayor connects you better than ever before to this joyous world of camaraderie and generous spirit. New Leaf is a game that lets you fashion an identity in whatever manner you choose, and then share it with the world. It's the best game in the series so far."

Bravely Default

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Portable Game

"Bravely Default dares to refresh the classic Final Fantasy formula with quiet yet confident innovations across the board, resulting in one of the best JRPGs of 2013 and a fitting end to a barnstorming year for Nintendo's handheld."

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Strategy Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Strategy Game

Oh it was a damn fine year for strategy. Relic returned with a long-awaited sequel to one of the best RTS titles of all time, Firaxis unleashed MechsCOM, Nintendo finally released one of their astounding first-party "launch" titles, and the 3DS got its best game yet.

The Nominees

Company of Heroes 2

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Strategy Game

"Company of Heroes 2 is a big, sprawling beast of a game, but it doesn't really evolve significantly from its predecessor until you take the game online. As such, it's not a game that will redefine the RTS genre, but rather one that'll keep the COH community happy for another half-decade with its impressive depth and robust challenges. Make no mistake though, it's very, very good."

Desktop Dungeons

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Strategy Game

"Desktop Dungeons is magnificent and terrifying; expertly mixing the most compelling parts of RPGs, roguelikes, puzzlers and browser games into a monstrously moreish and ferociously challenging package. I can't help but recommend this satisfying thief of time, but I'm so very sorry, dear reader. I may have just ruined your life, and chances are I won't be able to sleep tonight knowing that. Then again, I'll just be playing Desktop Dungeons anyway."

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

This generation has been good to us when it comes to the platform/puzzle genre, and this year has seen more invention, more innovation, and more entertainment than ever before. Rayman and Mario have returned firing on all cylinders, mind-bending indie darlings have taken the critical world by storm, and people are excited about the Vita again thanks to Media Molecule.

Antichamber

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Antichamber is amazing. It throws players into a world of Euclidean, mind-bending puzzles, delighting and purposefully frustrating, challenging players to think in weird and wonderful ways. It's enormously rewarding, hair-tearingly obscure in places, but there are some absolutely fantastic eureka moments to be had here.

Papers, Please

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

"It shouldn’t work, it shouldn’t be fun, but what Lucas Pope has crafted with Papers, Please is a pixelated triumph that blends point-and-click mechanics and a charming artstyle with increasingly fiendish observation puzzles. This is one indie game you should not miss. Glory to Arkstozka!"

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Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 10 - 1

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games of the Generation

Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 10 - 1

At last we have arrived. You came, you played, you voted. Here's the list we've all been waiting for. ladies and gents, I give you the Dealspwn Community Top Ten Games of Last-Gen!

NB. We've added in the vote tallies for this one so you can see just how close things were. Games ranked 1st got 30 pts, 2nd had 29 pts etc.

10. The Walking Dead (206)

Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 10 - 1

What we said: Through masterful writing, some of the best voice acting that this industry has ever seen,and moody soundscapes and a strikingly emotive and communicative art style, The Walking Dead provided the storytelling experience of the year with five superbly wrought episodes that forced us to make hard choices time and time again, and care more about a bunch of virtual characters than many of us do about things here in the real world.

9. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (207)

Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 10 - 1

What we said: Bethesda have managed to meet, and perhaps exceed, the expectations placed upon the fifth entry in the series. With so much freedom to play the role you wish to, and a huge area to explore, those looking for a deep medieval fantasy experience will get their money’s worth with this one. As far as we're concerned, Skyrim is the pinnacle of the RPG genre.

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best PC Indie Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best PC Indie Game

Once again, the PC has been the place to be for indie games. Where else could you have stepped into the shoes of an Eastern-bloc border official or enjoyed a family story that, god forbid, was about everyday people and made a mockery of violence ad action and choice and consequence, or found a game like The Stanley Parable, which still somehow defies explanation. Just play it already.

So, yeah, 2013 was just like every other year, really -- a damn fine one for PC fans.

The Nominees

Antichamber

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best PC Indie Game

Antichamber is amazing. It throws players into a world of Euclidean, mind-bending puzzles, delighting and purposefully frustrating, challenging players to think in weird and wonderful ways. It's enormously rewarding, hair-tearingly obscure in places, but there are some absolutely fantastic eureka moments to be had here.

Desktop Dungeons

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best PC Indie Game

"Desktop Dungeons is magnificent and terrifying; expertly mixing the most compelling parts of RPGs, roguelikes, puzzlers and browser games into a monstrously moreish and ferociously challenging package. I can't help but recommend this satisfying thief of time, but I'm so very sorry, dear reader. I may have just ruined your life, and chances are I won't be able to sleep tonight knowing that. Then again, I'll just be playing Desktop Dungeons anyway."

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Console Marketplace Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Console Marketplace Game

It's been a good year for digital console downloads, with more and more publishers taking cues from the indie scene and gradually seeing the benefit in exploring mid-range titles that can still provide triple-A experiences at a significantly lower risk and cost. Hats of to Ubisoft, then, for having two games on this list, but so to will you find indie darlings, quirky niche titles, Defender's futuristic offspring, and loads and loads of zombies.

The Nominees

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Console Marketplace Game

"Another gaming experience that demands to be played all in one sitting,Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ends up being a triumph in storytelling through unconventional means. Conveying characters without words, co-operation without multiplayer, and daring to construct mechanically polarising game in the name of an emotional climax, Brothers shouldn't really work. But its final act stuns and satisfies and proves something to savour."

Call of Juarez: Guslinger

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Console Marketplace Game

"Here’s a game that refuses to be tied down by a digital-only release. The Western setting is a breath of fresh air to the usual Generistan sandy hellholes or grey corridors. Sometimes the aiming feels a little untrue, but the story entertains over at least five hours and the score-chasing combo fun of the arcade mode was a much better idea than tacked on multiplayer."

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Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 20 - 11

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games of the Generation

Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 20 - 11

Top twenty, here we come! A minimalist marvel, multiplayer magnificence, Adam Jensen, and Rockstar's magnum opus await.

20. Borderlands 2

Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 20 - 11

What we said: Borderlands 2's ultimate triumph lies with its personality. Its demented, crass, brash and brilliant personality. Like the best loot-driven games, you'll come for the loot and levels, but you'll stay because you're having so much damn fun. And because you'll want to kick Handsome Jack square in the Butt Stallion. We wanted more. We wanted bigger. We wanted better, brasher, bolder andbadasser. Borderlands 2 takes care of business. -9/10

19. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 20 - 11

What we said: Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a triumph of open-ended gameplay, impeccable level design and the realisation of a believable, authentic universe. Its scant flaws are thrown into sharp relief by the exceptional quality of the overall experience, and Human Revolution is as good as we could possibly want from a prequel to an epic series. We have no doubt that its successor has the potential to be the best game of all time.

Oh, wait. It already is. - 9/10

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Sports Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Sports Game

Hold on to your hats everybody, it's Best Yearly Sequel Award  2013 Edition! Yes, the sports category is filled with incremental sequels and evolution rather than revolution when it comes to innovation, but that doesn't mean it isn't stuffed with quality and value.

Especially, as it turns out, on next-gen systems.

The Nominees

FIFA 14

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Sports Game

EA Canada have pulled out all the stops once again to present a FIFA game that feels meaningfully different when compared to previous iterations, braving new ground with improved controls, expanded game modes (Career has never been better), and an emphasis on realism that has not been reached before. The impressive, addictive multiplayer offerings remain enticing, and on next-gen tech the game oozes aesthetic class.

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Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Fighting Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2013

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Fighting Game

It's time for the award for the game that best allowed for a spot of face-smacking this year. Anarchy Reigns would have been in this list had we not been all over the import version last year and declared it the best fighting game of 2012. But it does at least give a few others a fighting chance (hurr!), and we finally got around to playing Persona 4 Arena -- don't worry wquach, it made the grade this year.

The Nominees

Divekick

Game of the Year Awards 2013 | Best Fighting Game

It's easy to write Divekick off as a parody of fighting games, too simple in form to be taken seriously. But, on the contrary, if you subscribe to the notion that the genre has become bloated by overly complex combo systems, and needlessly stacked, overwrought special bars and abilities (and there are plenty who would), Divekick presents itself as a perfectly balanced fighter that forces players to think strategically and make the most of their limited movesets in order to achieve victory. It might not seem to take itself too seriously on the surface, but underneath the humorous veneer lies a beating heart of fighting purity.

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Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 30 - 21

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games of the Generation

Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 30 - 21

Only thirty games to go, and today's countdown of quality sees us celebrating the exploits of everyone's favourite plumber, a masterclass from Valve, a zombie lick from an AI director, and The Best Game of the Generation.

30. Dragon Age: Origins

Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 30 - 21

What we said: If Lord of the Rings had a bucket of gore tipped over it, it'd probably look like this. Exciting, engaging and thoroughly entertaining, BioWare have done it again. Probably the best RPG since Mass Effect, which isn't surprising really. - 9/10

29. Portal 2

Top 100 Games of the Generation – Community Edition | 30 - 21

What we said: Valve turn a mini-project into a triple-A winner and show that big budgets and big ideas aren't mutually exclusive once again. Whether playing on your own or with a friend, the quality simply shines through unerringly. Funny, fiendish and fantastic, Portal 2 is an utter triumph. - 10/10

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Five Games For Christmas Day | Fun For All The Family

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Christmas, multiplayer

Five Games For Christmas Day | Fun For All The Family

Local co-op has been an ailing beast for some time, struck low by the sheer convenience of being able to beam one's virtual avatar across time and space thanks to the wonders of online gaming. It doesn't matter how small someone's couch is when you're gaming online.

But Christmas Day would be a sad time if we all just retreated to our own little pods and ignored the fact that some games out there still champion the glories of local co-op. Thankfully, we're here to save the day with five nods to some of the finest local multiplayer games of the year, along with a bonus shout for the Best Family Game Ever.

Probably.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

Five Games For Christmas Day | Fun For All The Family

The most ambitious LEGO game to date, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes busts the world's greatest comics wide open, with an enormous range of playable characters (over 160), each with their own unique abilities and typical personalities, and plonks players down in a LEGO New York filled with Marvel landmarks.

It's a blast solo, but it really comes alive in local co-op, ferreting out the slew of hidden items, easter eggs, and in-jokes in each and every level, and saving Stan Lee more times than one can count until you unlock him and delight in the fact that not only does playable Stan Lee have almost every power in the game, but he can Hulk-out too.

It's really, really good.

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