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.
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
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
What we said: Rocksteady succeed with the 'difficult second album', smashing expectations and delivering a darker, deeper and more delicious experience than before. Go, go and buy it now, you won't be disappointed! - 9/10
27. Left 4 Dead
What we said: Left 4 Dead is a refreshing and frantic take on the hackneyed Zombie Shooter; delivering its own unique blend of desperate mayhem and cooperative tactics. It also happens to be an exceptional FPS. PC gamers and Xbox Live Gold members will discover a fantastic new addiction, but the experience may leave solo players cold. We hope that the concept of the AI director will start to appear more prominently in future titles as we’re convinced that it represents the future of FPS gaming. - 8/10
What we said: Its quality is there for all to see, and its impact is still being felt. Call of Duty is the biggest IP in all of entertainment media, and Modern Warfare is the benchmark by which it, and every other FPS pretender, is still judged. Few games, if any, have proven so utterly complete, so impressively capable, so mechanically sound, steeped in depth and yet invitingly accessible, and so extraordinarily game-changing.
What we said: Deliciously tight mechanics, combined with a fine balance between scripted setpieces and player-driven action deliver an immaculately paced piece that grabs hold and never let's go. It might not prove transcendental, but it points towards a future of great promise for the franchise. Simply outstanding. - 9/10
What we said: Occasionally dodgy graphics and crappy gun battles can be infuriating, but the stealth gameplay makes up for it if you put the effort in. The game really shines with the adaptable missions, conversational input and light RPG character elements. - 7/10
23. Super Mario Galaxy
What we said: Some vomit-inducing camera work aside, this is quite simply a sublime game. Everything, from the seamless integration of the Wiimote and Nunchuk, to Nintendo's trademark tongue-in-cheek humour, to the personality-stuffed design, animations and character models simply glows with development pride. Galaxy is all the more striking because it poses a direct challenge to all would-be Wii developers and says 'This is how it's done'.
What we said: Alan Wake is a solid adventure game with survival-horror elements, structured in a very unique fashion. However, while the story is solid, the writing is flawed, and the game lacks variety and often drowns in repetition. But if you're in the market for something fresh and original, Alan Wake is most definitely the game for you. - 8/10
What we said: Heavy Rain is a success and has grown into something so much more than a glorified tech demo or one long QTE. It also raises possibilities of how traditional game genres may incorporate elements seen here into their own games. It might not be to everyone’s tastes because of the nature of the gameplay, but everyone owes it to themselves to at least try it. - 9/10