If there were Olympics on Azeroth, our shortlisted games would be its athletes. But will the victor be an upstart app or a long-running franchise reboot? Each of these games is here on its own merit, but only one can take the gold.
Mass Effect 3
Proving that games can tell an epic story as well as movies, the galaxy-spanning spacewar trilogy reaches its brutal conclusion.
Max Payne 3
Angry, drunk, bald, addicted to painkillers and with a terrible taste in shirts. But enough about us – Max Payne's first outing in nine years is dark, dirty and downright brilliant.
Journey, a game in which you do little more than walk and enjoy the scenery, is completely original and very beautiful.
Bombing around 50 tracks and pulling huge, improbable airs is brilliant fun, but it's the ability to make your own tracks and share them that makes this XBLA download a keeper.
Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click. The hyper-addictive RSI-inducing dungeon-crawler returns, with even more loot than ever.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Slay dragons, shout gouts of fire, and choose sides in a sprawling civil war. Oh, and spend ages smithing iron daggers and nicking brooms.
No less frantic than Call of Duty, Battlefield 3 makes the list thanks in no small part to its more nuanced, tactics-focused multiplayer mode.
New Star Soccer
This flick-kick action game combines with an RPG-esque quest to go from non-league journeyman to top division superstar. A must for any footie fan.
How do you follow a world-conquering game like Angry Birds? With this physics-based, Rube Goldberg-esque puzzler, that’s how.
A new Tactical Defending system breathed new life into the FIFA franchise, bumping up the realism and making it more playable than ever.
Check out the Stuff Gadget Awards 2012 – and don't forget to come back on November 1st, when we'll be announcing the winners!