Release year 2007 Last position New entry
Craig Games generally don't scare me, for I am Scottish and therefore the manliest of all men, but Stalker's ink-black night and Russian indifference to player survival is more effective than a hundred carefully choreographed scares from other survival horror games. I've returned to it many times, because I love being alone in the dark with a broken gun, drinking vodka. Which is also because I am Scottish.
Release year 2005 Last position 62
John Arguably scarier than Doom 3 the year before, FEAR used light, shadow, sound and overlay effects to convey disorientation and confusion. The combat and shooting was some of the best I'd played on PC up to that time. Bad guys' guns would still blast away after they hit the floor and Max Payne-style bullet-time meant you could savour every gruesome moment of the combat.
68 BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY
Release year 2011 Last position New entry
Samuel Playing through City's 25 hours of Asylum-beating story content (minus the Scarecrow bits) was just the start, for me. The challenge rooms, particularly the combat maps, encouraged me to dig really deep with the many combos you can build out of Batman's armoury. Arkham's melee fighting is about opportunity and experimentation. And the environment proves the idea that handcrafted detail, not size, makes the most effective open worlds.
67 EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR
Release year 2009 Last position 69
Tom After an inauspicious launch, Empire: Total War has evolved into one of Creative Assembly's best. I've always valued the scale of Total War's grand strategy, and Empire's depiction of multiple theatres of war strung together by dozens of trade routes results in one of the series' most complex and rewarding maps. The cartoon livery of the time sits uncomfortably with the violent boom of a gun-line opening fire. Bravado turns to despair with every round of rank fire, and it's brilliant.
66 LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
Release year 2009 Last position 34
Wes League of Legends takes the intimidating, rewarding, maddening complexity of Dota and simplified it just enough to appeal to millions of players, becoming the most-played game in the world in the process. A smart free-to-play economy keeps players coming back. LoL is the lanepusher of the common man: deep enough to be a competitive sport, approachable enough to suck up the free time of teenagers everywhere. Tip to avoid immense teenage wrath: always ward Baron.
65 EVE ONLINE
Release year 2013 Last position 12
Andy A complex, uncompromising space sandbox light years ahead of any other multiplayer game. Everything that happens in EVE, from giant space battles to buying and selling resources, is driven by the players. CCP only step in under very strict, and rare, circumstances. It's a game notorious for its unchecked scamming and piracy, but that kind of player freedom is what defines it. It's a ruthless online universe that trades instant accessibility for rich, rewarding, and bottomlessly deep systems. Many will stumble at the first hurdle as they're presented with a baffling UI and seemingly endless tutorials, but get past that and you'll find the most unique massively multiplayer game in the world. You'll never forget your first fleet operation or the first time you tentatively fly into the lawless, terrifying nullsec.
Release year 2009 Last position New entry
Ben There are six uniquely puzzling worlds in Braid, and they're all masterful. Time and Decision introduces a shadow of your character who replays your last action. Time and Place binds time to movement—go left to advance and right to regress. The word 'genius' is overused, but using it in Braid's case seems completely justified.
Tony I certainly felt like a genius for completing the thing. Braid forced me to think in whole new ways, not just once, but again and again with each new world—the buzz you get off of that is indescribable.
63 FIFA 13
Release year 2012 Last position 42
Ben FIFA 14's boggy midfield battles and overlong animations left me pining for the snappy pace of its predecessor, a more arcadey game, perhaps, but then you always feel in control. There are few games I consider myself expert at, but after 500 hours, I like to think FIFA 13 is one of them.
62 THE SECRET OF MONKEY ISLAND
Release year 1991 Last position 67
Wes Insult swordfighting. Inventory metahumour. The definitive SCUMM interface. Not only is Monkey Island one of the smartest, silliest adventures ever made, it established the tone, technology and style of every LucasArts game that came after.
Ian It's the game equivalent of my favourite adolescent comedy. Endlessly quotable and equal parts silly and profound, there are ideas here about plot, self-awareness and cleverness that resonate through all of modern gaming.
61 COMMAND & CONQUER: RED ALERT 2
Release year 2000 Last position New entry
John Red Alert 2 was the shiny, jolly younger brother of Westwood's high-budget and much more serious-feeling Tiberian Sun, which came a couple of years before it. The budget costume department and absurd acting are what made the narrative so brilliant, particular respect going to Yuri's flimsy false moustache and the mystery of how it never fell off.
Wes Command & Conquer's FMV cutscenes were the first groundbreaking dramatic storytelling for an RTS. With Red Alert, they got campy, and that was the best decision Westwood ever made. RA 2 imbues each althistory unit with exaggerated personality, from Tanya to the Chrono Legionnaire to the grinning Kirov. The music, missions and characters are still the most bubbly and memorable of the series.