It’s a vintage year for happy gamers

IT MIGHT have been a year which finished with Sony and Microsoft's hardware head-to-head but when it came to the software, here's what our reviewers loved playing the most ...

1: The Last Of Us

(PlayStation 3)

YES, it had zombies - but The Last of Us is not about scary violent mutants known as Clickers. It's about the sweet but sick relationship between Joel, a silent and violent hardman, and Ellie, a 14-year-old girl; both living in post-apocalyptic times. Joel's job was to smuggle Ellie, who may hold the key to a zombie cure, to a group of vigilantes (the Fireflies) but the pair develops a father-daughter relationship. The Last of Us comes with a brutal twist which sparked a Sopranos-style debate over its worthiness. For a big budget game on just one platform it was a huge risk, and it totally worked.

- Chris Schulz

2: Grand Theft Auto V

(PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

SWITCHING between characters in a bank robbery. Racing in a stolen car with a police helicopter tracking you. Guiding jet-skis as angry gangsters take pot-shots at you. Taking your dog for a stroll only to become a hero. Every time you play Grand Theft Auto V, it's different. GTA V gives you more bang for your buck than any game on the market.

- Chris Schulz

3: Bioshock Infinite

(Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

WHEN your character takes his first steps in Columbia, the depth of detail in the graphics, music, and effects envelopes you in a sense of privilege. There's social privilege; the floating city-state invokes feelings of everything that was nasty about American society at the end of the 19th century. On the other hand, the beautifully rendered world is a privilege to experience. Bioshock Infinite is one of the most exceptional games of its generation.

- Troy Rawhiti-Forbes

4: Ryse: Son Of Rome

(Xbox One)

HAVE you ever wanted to stab someone through the throat? Smash a barbarian with a shield before hacking off his arm? If you answered yes, then Ryse: Son of Rome is for you.

As a Roman soldier seeking revenge for the murder of your family, you fight your way through unrelenting waves of adversaries, each requiring a number of sword thrusts and whacks over the head. Ryse is astonishingly realistic, from the lifelike facial animations to breathtaking scenery, so the limb-severing gore may be off-putting for some gamers.

- Paul Harper

5: Tomb Raider

(PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)

THE 2013 reboot of this game had me hooked. There are oddities in the story-telling, such as Lara feeling bad about killing one person, then murdering everyone in sight. That said, I've never felt so compelled to complete every single optional objective in a game, collectibles included. Plus the bow and arrow felt good to use. Thanks Hunger Games.

- Siobhan Keogh


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