Fourth Place - Battlefield 3 / Portal 2
This seems to happen every year; no matter what selection system we decide to use or which games are released, there's always a tie somewhere. This year, however, the tied games couldn't be more unlike one another - Electronic Arts' awesome multiplayer-centric shooter drawing level with Valve's hilarious singleplayer-centric puzzle game.
A direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, Battlefield 3 was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated titles of the year for some of our panellists - especially Harry - and the final product didn't disappoint. Even EA's aggressive marketing campaign, which pitted Battlefield 3 as a direct competitor against Activision's entrenched Call of Duty series, couldn't prepare us for the graphical splendour of the Frostbite 2 engine. Battlefield 3 offered bigger levels, more destruction and more precise, varied combat than ever before.
It's the last point that won over our judges, it seems. It doesn't matter that Battlefield 3 controversially requires players to use EA's Steam-competitor, Origin. It doesn't matter that you need an absolute beast
of a graphics card to see everything that Frostbite 2 has to offer - the firefights are simply too slick, and too fun to ignore.
'It's an incredibly slick and polished multiplayer manshooter,
' says Craig Lager, '[even despite] awful singleplayer and online services tacked on.
Almost the exact opposite holds true for Portal 2, however. Once again following the efforts of the enigmatic Chell to escape the Aperture Science Labs, Portal 2 is a gunless puzzle game full of science, slapstick and song. A new co-operative mode has been bolted on to the side, providing a handy distraction from the much longer singleplayer game and capturing the imagination of our experts.
'Staring blankly at walls for 30 minutes on Portal 2's penultimate co-op puzzle is a memory I will cherish forever,
' says James Livett.
'The devious puzzles, interesting story and delightfully twisted characters easily assures it a place on this list regardless,
' agrees Chris Capel. 'There was nothing wrong with Portal, and Portal 2's only sin is being longer and similar - and how is either a bad thing?