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20 best console games of the year

PC Advisor’s GamePro colleagues offer their expertise on gaming

Looking to enjoy the finest console games? Here are our top recommendations for Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360
From £10 inc VAT

Brotherhood is the third game in the Creed series and chronicles the ongoing war between the Templars and the Assassins. Succeeding in this movie-like title requires almost as much creativity as it does action-gaming skills. In its innovative online modes, each player has a different opponent as a target, making every match a blend of action and strategy.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360
From £12 inc VAT

Bad Company 2 has a lot more than the average military first-person shooter, with multiplayer maps that simulate war scenarios in areas such as the Panama Canal and the Alaskan Rockies. The single-player story tells of an alternative present-day plot in which Russia invades its neighbours – a wild take on modern war that only Battlefield can do.


BioShock 2

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360
From £10 inc VAT

Melding sizzling visuals with an amazing story, BioShock 2 is a first-person shooter set in a bio-punk alternative universe. The time: 1968. The place: Rapture, an aquatic city ravaged by a second US Civil War. As a ‘Big Daddy’, a creature whose organs have been grafted on to an atmospheric diving suit, the player has to figure out what to do.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360
£44 inc VAT

With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Activision manages the tricky feat of offering more of the same for the die-hard fans of this ultra-successful first-person shooter franchise, and some shiny new features for newcomers. It has a silly and confusing singleplayer campaign, but the barrier to entry for the satisfying multiplayer mode has been lifted smartly. The launch of MW3 made it the hottest product on the planet, and if you give it a try you will see why.


Dance Central

Available for: Xbox 360
£25 inc VAT

Dance Central uses Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor to track your every move, from side shuffles to pop-and-locks. You can match and master 600 dance moves. Dance Central is very good fun. It shows you how to boogie, and can even help you stay fit.


Dead Space 2

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
From £15 inc VAT

Blending terror with intense first-person shooting, Dead Space 2 features accidental survivalist Isaac Clarke, who finds himself amidst Necromorphs – nasty aliens that you really don’t want to be stuck on a starship with. Luckily, he has access to alien-busting tools and an upgraded mining suit. Even so, the odds are seriously stacked against him.


Gears of War 2

Available for: Xbox 360
From £14 inc VAT

In Gears of War 2, one of the best third-person shooters money can buy, the player shoots, punches, stomps, claws and tears through the Earth itself in a bitter fight against the Locust Horde infesting the planet’s core. This marathon of gore, blood and explosions is relentless but fun, and includes some surprisingly strong characters.


God of War III

Available for: PS3
£18 inc VAT

In this phenomenal fighting/exploration game, super-being Kratos is on his final quest for revenge against the denizens of Mount Olympus. Featuring fantastic graphics and epic battles, God of War III is amazing. Plenty of series trademarks include gory finishing moves and detailed environments.


Halo: Reach

Available for: Xbox 360
From £10 inc VAT

Consider Halo: Reach a bookend to the sci-fi Halo saga, but an epic game nonetheless. ?The game introduces some elements unique to the Spartans, such as armour abilities and equipment power-ups. And a highly refined multiplayer system adds new modes.


Heavy Rain

Available for: PS3
From £25 inc VAT

Offering compelling characters, intelligent dialogue and events that require you to make critical decisions, Heavy Rain is one of the closest experiences to an interactive movie we’ve seen. Whether you’re running from an assailant or trying to question someone, the story is constantly branching.


LA Noire

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360
£29 inc VAT

LA Noire puts you in the shoes of Cole Phelps, a war hero who joins the police department at a time when crime and corruption in the city are at their peak. Characters’ facial expressions render in extraordinary detail, which plays a key role in the game: when you’re interviewing suspects and witnesses, you have to figure out who’s lying based on their reactions.


The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Available for: Wii
From £15 inc VAT

Twilight Princess lives up to the high bar set by previous Zelda titles. It’s absolutely stunning, with clever level designs and a great dose of action; on top of that, it opens up a new chapter and widens the series’ potential. It’s a particularly fun game to share with the kids.


LittleBigPlanet 2

Available for: PS3
£19 inc VAT

Co-operative platform action and photo-realistic environments that seem to be constructed from fabric and paper are the tip of the iceberg. Beneath LittleBigPlanet is a canvas for aspiring games designers. The game has thousands of user-created levels to download, and some are out of this world.


Mario Kart Wii

Available for: Wii
£25 inc VAT

There’s something for every Nintendo fan in Mario Kart Wii, the craziest and most fun multiplayer racing-combat game around. It features a who’s-who of the biggest names in Nintendo gaming from the past three decades, and offers competitive racing that’ll have you yelling at other players in frustration and delight.


Mass Effect 2

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360
From £12 inc VAT

Impeccable storytelling ties together the impressive graphics, action-oriented gameplay and diverse mission structure of Mass Effect 2. You take the role of Commander Shepard, who is on a mission to destroy the Collectors, an alien group that’s eliminating human colonies. Even the smallest decisions can come back to haunt you.


Fifa 12

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii 

From £29 inc VAT

Fifa 12 is a masterclass in how to make a brilliant sports game. As well as offering realistic graphics and freeplay, the latest version adds an Impact Engine that gives players’ collisions ragdoll realism, while the enjoyment of the beautiful game is enhanced by being able to engage in tactical defending and precision dribbling. How you play affects teamplay – as you become more experienced and in tune with your team-mates, so the flow between you improves. Clever stuff.


Portal 2

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360
From £23 inc VAT

In the mind-boggling first-person Portal 2, you navigate a dilapidated research centre by using a portal gun to open and close apertures and move from room to room. Escaping requires creative thinking, but the solutions are always slap-your-head obvious once you figure them out. Rewarding, fun and maddeningly addictive, Portal 2 is a must-have game.


Rock Band 3

Available for: PS3, Xbox 360
From £16 inc VAT

Want to sing, drum, play guitar or bass, or even tickle the ivories? Rock Band 3 has a role for you. It offers a fantastic selection with which to play along. There’s a catalogue of thousands of downloadable songs, plus a ‘Pro Mode’ in-game tutoring system made to work with a Mustang Pro Guitar controller that feels just like the real thing.


Super Smash Bros Brawl

Available for: Wii
£25 inc VAT

One of the best showcases of the Wii’s competitive-gaming prowess is Super Smash Bros Brawl, a high-energy multiplayer fighting game. The kids will probably beat the living daylights out of you at first. It’s so much fun, however, you’ll probably want to sneak in a few goes in the evening.


Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Available for: PS3
From £15 inc VAT

When you call a title the game equivalent of Raiders of the Lost Ark, you know that the action has to be over-the-top, the characters must have unmistakable charm, and the experience needs to rival everything else in the genre. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves does exactly that, bringing back flawed hero Nathan Drake in an adventure bigger than even he can handle. The game presents a variety of challenges, from shooting to exploring to fighting.

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