x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Best video games of the year

To help you avoid disappointment this Christmas Day, here's our roundup of the biggest and best titles this year. Warning: some of these games are unsuitable for children, so you might have to play them yourself.

Commander Shepard's intergalactic journey came to a stunning conclusion in Mass Effect 3.
Commander Shepard's intergalactic journey came to a stunning conclusion in Mass Effect 3.

While most adverts and greetings cards might give the impression that children are after wholesome presents such as bicycles and toy trucks this Christmas, really they just want video games - ideally violent ones involving big guns.

It's a sad truth, but what can you do? To help you avoid disappointment this Christmas Day, here's our roundup of the biggest and best titles this year. Warning: some of these games are unsuitable for children, so you might have to play them yourself.

Mass Effect 3

The sci-fi role-playing game drew to a stunning conclusion with the third part of Commander Shepard's intergalactic trilogy. While the uninspiring ending may have sparked rather a lot of outrage from fans, the previous 98 per cent was pure class. And, responding to the detractors, Bioware released an extended cut and some end-altering downloadable content to make amends.

Fifa 13

Although it faced improved competition from a souped-up Pro Evo, EA's all-conquering Fifa franchise continued to show its dominance as the king of the football games. Aside from the addition of the Saudi Pro League, this year's version had much more realistic on-field antics, with closer ball control and a passing system that required greater accuracy. Now, pressing the button doesn't mean the ball will automatically find the target.

Borderlands 2

Mental, weird, hyperactive yet absolutely brilliant, Borderlands 2 was a welcome respite from the current crop of oh-so-serious first-person shooters, a colourful, cartoonish romp across an alien land littered with insane baddies in all shapes and sizes and an eye-watering amount of peculiarly titled weapons. Gromsky Bratchny sniper, anyone?

Xcom: Enemy Unknown

If you can remember the first Xcom then you're probably old enough to genuinely wish for socks this Christmas. A reimagined remake of Microprose's 18-year-old classic, Enemy Unknown was a joyous - and highly addictive - step back into the world of alien-zapping, turn-based strategy, a game that required skill, tactics and - ideally - a few soldiers with big guns.

Far Cry 3

It's so new that we haven't yet completed it ourselves, but you can't leave this paradise-island-goes-bad thriller out of any list. Mix together your standard first-person shooter in an open world environment, throw in some lush tropical scenery, a load of deranged gun-toting pirates and a lot of deadly animals with sharp teeth and you've got an edge-of-the-seat winner.

Halo 4

Among the most anticipated games of 2012, Halo 4 proved worth the wait for most Halo fans, a gorgeously polished, action-packed fourth edition in a series that few want to ever see end. Master Chief returned with new aliens, new weapons and a blossoming relationship with the hologram Cortana. And lo, he was triumphant.

Dishonored

A fresh face in a video game landscape dominated by long-running series, this Steampunk-inspired adventure was one of the year's most original titles, setting a supernaturally gifted assassin amid a spectacular world with branching paths, multiple endings and a clever, witty plot. Let's just wait until Dishonored 17 before we start getting a bit bored.

Assassin's Creed 3

From crusade-era Palestine to Renaissance Italy and now to revolutionary America, Assassin's Creed continued its (increasingly confusing) time-spinning story with spectacular style, taking the Knights Templar-battling adventure to the land of redcoats, muskets, Boston Tea Parties and triangular hats. Thankfully, the new addition of firepower hasn't scuppered your stealth-like jump and stab abilities, largely because the guns back then took ages to reload.