Here’s our pick across a range of consoles and categories. If you haven’t played these, you’ve got some serious catching up to do.
PC — Fallout 3
The is the game of the year because it has something for everyone. You could explore the wastelands, indulge in slaughter, or be the hero and help people out. The game offers a truckload of content, every aspect of it screaming of high production values and the most visceral combat mechanic I’ve encountered.
The PC version stood out even though the game was released on PS3 and Xbox360 as well. It performed phenomenally well, and not only looked better but also ran flawlessly.
PlayStation 3 — Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
If there’s one reason to buy a PS3, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is it. It’s the best tactical action game, thanks to more than a decade of perfectly-crafted iterations and a plot that makes other games seem banal.
The gameplay isn’t as stealth-dependant as the previous versions, but fills the void with polished gameplay. The visuals also surpass any other game on PS3 by leaps and bounds.
Xbox360 — Gears of War 2
Gears of War was the first killer application on Xbox 360, so the sequel had high expectations to live up to. Luckily, Epic managed to deliver a game that was bigger and better in every aspect. It is truly epic in scope and has wave after wave of scripted events and ingenious enemies. It offers tonnes of multiplayer content and is one of the best-looking games on Xbox360.
ACTION — Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)
I never understood why people went crazy over the Metal Gear franchise, till I encountered Metal Gear Solid 4. From the moment I booted up, I knew this was one of the most gorgeous and technically sound games ever made. It has an epic plot, a lengthy single player campaign, tight gameplay, tighter controls, and a non linear approach, though we wish it had been edited to do away with some of the dialogue. Gears of War was a close contender for the top spot.
FIRST PERSON SHOOTER — Call of Duty: World at War (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
People were apprehensive about this game, not only because it was set in the World War II era all over again, but because it was developed by Treyarch and not Infinity Ward. But this turned out to be a mighty fine game that lives up to the standards set by its predecessors.
It even turns things up a notch by introducing a co-operative mode (a first for a game in this series) and an awesome Horde mode where players took on wave after wave of undead Nazi soldiers. With an entertaining single player campaign that can be replayed in co-op and some excellent versus modes, this one’s a game you should definitely get your hands on.
RACER — Race Driver: GRID (PC, Xbox360, PS3)
Visually, GRID remains unsurpassed and possesses some of the tightest racing controls I’ve experienced. The realistic damage mechanics tie in with the way cars are controlled, making it a challenge to keep your ride together and stay in front of the pack. This demands tact and ingenuity, lending more depth to this well-crafted racer.
This one’s a winner because it treads the middle ground between arcade and simulation, offering the kind of variety most racers don’t even dream of, and without sacrificing on quality.
PLATFORMER —Little Big Planet (PS3)
Apart from the best platformer, this game is also the year’s ‘happiest’ one thanks to its adorable protagonists (sack people), copious amounts of content — both in-game and user generated — and oodles of charm.
This game has players spend a good amount of time navigating their sackboy/girl through a whole lot of obstacles spread across diverse maps.
The game can be played in co-op and even rewards players for playing together. Once you get bored of the maps, you can create your own levels using the materials you picked up during your play. You even have the choice of a lot of user-generated content available on the PlayStation Network. This replayability is the game’s best feature.
HANDHELD PSP — God of War: Chains of Olympus
The only respite we got from the God of War 2 hangover was from this portable prequel to the franchise. Developers Ready at Dawn did a brilliant job of bringing a console defining game like God of War to the PSP, that too in a package that delivered the same awesome gameplay that the series is known for.
Though the main story was definitely a bit too short, it managed to make every bit sound epic. And even months after having finished the game, we find ourselves discussing brilliant moments from it, or bringing it out to relive some of them.
HANDHELD Nintendo DS — Ninja Gaiden Dual Swords
Ryu Hayabusa had a lot to live up to on the Nintendo DS version of Ninja Gaiden. The DS hardware and its unique control system demands that every game delivered for the console be designed for it specifically.
Tecmo recognised that and made a version of Ninja Gaiden that used the DS’s plus points. The gameplay was definitely simpler than the home console version, but the lengthy story mode and intuitive controls make it hard to put down.