Before we knew it, December was upon us and all the games had arrived in stores in time for everyone to buy them as presents. We've got the reveal of our Game of the Year coming after Christmas, but for 24 days starting December 1 we'll bring you a new contender for the title. Please note that these games are in no particular order, but feel free to speculate on where they might appear in our final list.
Martin Gaston, Reviews Editor
Mass Effect 3 is one of the best games that everybody in the world simultaneously decided they hated about two weeks after launch. Heck, it was flipping brilliant. I cried. Twice. Admittedly I almost cried a third time when I saw how disappointing the ending was, but even a rubbish ending shouldn't have been able to undermine some of Mass Effect 3's most glorious moments the way that it did. The Tuchanka level was simply sublime; if this was a list of best gaming moments of the year, it would easily be my number one.
BioWare got so close, they really did. I worry people let things like the wonky DLC and crappy ending make them forget how good Mass Effect 3 actually is, but then I understand why it can be so disappointing - the whole trilogy deserved a fantastic swansong that it didn't quite get, and I think BioWare could have done it. They should have done it. Yet Mass Effect 3 is still a triumphant game, and one I very much enjoyed.
David Scammell, Deputy News Editor
To give you some background as to how we whittle down our GOTY shortlist, every one of us individually votes for our top ten games of the year in secret, with points allocated to each one based upon where we rank them. From that, a shortlist is deducted, and within that - if we're all in agreement - we move things around slightly within the final top ten. Anyway, after all that's done, we each go away and write our own little paragraph, short story or synopsis on why we liked (or occasionally disliked) each game in question. So, tl;dr, I haven't got a clue what everybody else has written about Mass Effect 3 elsewhere on this page, but I can almost guarantee that the words 'The Ending' have been uttered at least half a dozen times.
So yes, The Ending. At the risk of annoying forum-goers the world over, I didn't actually think it was that bad. Disappointing, yes, but bad? I'm not so sure. If you've already made your mind up about it, I'm not going to try and convince you otherwise. But what I will say is this: while the significance of The Ending certainly shouldn't be downplayed, I felt that the controversy surrounding the last 20 minutes of play unfairly deflected attention away from the game's previous, stunning 20+ hours.
BioWare really mastered its craft with ME3, I felt, honing the series' gunplay to rival an out-an-out shooter, triumphantly executing its goal of creating an approachable, yet soulful action-RPG, and elegantly handling a powerful tale of love, honour, and loss. It's just a shame, I fear, that one of gaming's greatest masterpieces is fated to become overlooked for a bum final note.