Inside - Xbox One, PC
Don't read about it, just play it. You won't regret it.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End - PS4
The end of Nathan Drake's story had it all: romance, action, drama, Luke Perry, sliding around, refusing to use a grappling hook to climb up an eight-foot high wall, that sort of thing. Despite its many flaws, it's by far and away the best entry in the series, keeping the globe-trotting escapades while acknowledging (if never condemning) the notion that Nathan Drake's escapades are reductive, violent, and mostly pointless. Oh, and it looks amazing. So there's that.
Hitman - PS4, PC, Xbox One
Io and Square got themselves in a bit of a mess with the marketing and promotion of this latest Hitman, alienating a fair few fans in the process. Now onto the third episode, most of those troubles have been forgotten, or at least pushed to the back of your mind where you keep all the other stuff you'd prefer not to think about. The first and third instalments are good Hitman levels, but Sapienza is an all-time great: where sheer agency and experimentation combine with clever challenges and devilish kills to create something which demands to be played and replayed, daring players to find all the answers in its world of assassin-based schadenfreude.
The Witness - PS4, PC
Jonathan Blow's long-awaited follow-up to Braid confused, confounded, and delighted players in equal measure. What starts as a kind-of 21st century Myst-alike with a striking look soon descends, expertly, into a tricksy labyrinth of puzzles, revelations, and other cool shit. Like Inside, saying too much about it is likely to lessen the impact of what Blow has up his sleeve, so go into it as cold as you can. Then stay for months as you slowly lose your mind drawing blocks on grid paper.
Doom - PS4, PC, Xbox One
While Steve doesn't think that this is nearly as good as Brutal Doom, the rest of the world seems to really love Nu-Doom. In fairness to it, after a shaky start filled with nonsense exposition and a shit gun it does start to really get going, combining intricate stages with massive violence to create something that is recognisably Doom while at the same time being markedly different.
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine - PS4, PC, Xbox One
Listen, the best game so far this year isn't even a game, it's DLC. (Sigh - Ed.) It's DLC that's better, bigger and more beautiful than any of the 'proper' games that have come out. Witcher 3's final expansion pack Blood and Wine serves as a swansong for Geralt of Rivia and also as a giant CD Projekt RED shaped middle-finger pointed straight at the likes of BioWare and Bethesda, who everyone used to think made Good Role Playing Games, until CDP came along and made an actual Good Role Playing Game and we realised how truly awful the past had been.
Blood and Wine is a gorgeous work of political satire (though the politics are that of bloody medieval France, so don't expect The Thick of It) in which you get to kill vampires, own a vineyard, and have zero-gravity sex.
Dark Souls 3 - PS4, PC, Xbox One
A greatest hits album it may be, but Dark Souls 3 still has enough invention, adventure, and imagination to ensure it's comfortably well worth your time. Misleadingly easy in the early stages, it soon starts to ramp up in both difficulty and overall quality, back-loading the experience with callbacks, massive boss battles, and other Fun Stuff. Now is the time for Miyazaki and co to move on to pastures new, but this is a good ending to a series which contains one of the best games of all time. Cheers.
The Division - PS4, PC, Xbox One
Ubisoft's quest to do games without towers continues, and they sort of managed it with The Division, although you're still clearing and controlling different areas of a city so... Still, this "secret numbers game" - part shooter, part RPG, part post-apocalyptic survival sim - has a lot going for it, notably the setting itself: a really lovely rendering of a desolate New York in winter, all snow and Christmas lights and body bags. It also has great multiplayer and versus play, resulting in tense stand offs where no one and everyone could be on your side. Ubisoft has been supporting the game this far with DLC and additional game modes, so it's still worth picking up.
Overwatch - PS4, PC, Xbox One
If one can measure a game's quality by how many memes and parody twitter accounts it generates then Overwatch would be a 10/10 must buy. Luckily we don't measure quality by that standard, and Blizzard's team shooter is still a great game. It's boasts really well made competitive gameplay that's enjoyable even if you lose (and if you're that kind of shouty type they've just introduced a ranked competitive mode to coral you away from those of us dicking about and having fun). Plus it's got a bunch of cool heroes to play as and some of them shoot dragons from a bow and arrow and stuff. Game of year.
Firewatch and Oxenfree - PS4, PC, Xbox One (Oxenfree), Mac
We've lumped Firewatch and Oxenfree together because we're lazy, and they are essentially both incredibly good at telling a story inside a fairly light game experience. In both you walk around and explore the environment, accompanied by more believable dialogue than you usually hear in video games. You get the sense that the people and the environment could exist, which is a big achievement in the world of interactive murder-bang simulators and sports stuff.
Pony Island - PC, Mac
This is a bizarre game. Pony Island is part endless runner, part puzzle game, and part classic adventure, yet not really any of those things. Give it a whirl and you'll find one of the most original and memorable releases in quite some time. The less you know about it going in, the better.
Quantum Break - PC, Xbox One
Remedy's fun actioner suffered from the double whammy of badness that is being on the Xbox One and running at 720p. This was enough for many to write it off as 'rubbish', but those people missed out on a game that is hugely entertaining to play (not so much to watch) and incredible to look at. To be fair, the PC launch was actually a complete disaster, which is a shame. The time control mechanics in action here made for some great shootouts and one of the best games on Xbox One. Shame no one buys games on Xbox any more.
Superhot - PC, Xbox One, Mac
One of those games whose setup is so simple yet so intriguing that you have to play it, Superhot's time-bending central mechanic nethertheless could have gone either way. It avoids crossing over into purely gimmick territory by being stylish, moreish, and very cool. Shame, then, that the campaign wrapped around it is dull and intrusive, but that doesn't stop Superhot from being something you should play.