Stuff's Best Games Ever: The 50 greatest games of all time

The best games ever: 30-26

30) Fallout 3 (2008)

An immense, action-packed reinvention of the RPG genre, Fallout 3 gave you a real sense of time as you shaped your character from birth in the safety of the Vault, and then of enormous space as you sent her/him out into the vast, post-apocalyptic wastes as an adult. More than that, there's just so much to do in this brilliant world – so take your time.

29) Bloodborne (2015)

Best described as the creepy uncle of the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne is just as brutal and jarring as any other game by From Software. Combat is perfectly crafted with every swing, slash and stab deadly enough to end your life – especially when you encounter any of the gorgeously realised bosses, whether it's the gigantic spider or the mangle of reinvigorated corpses.

28) Resident Evil 4 (2005)

Widely regarded as one of the best Resident Evil games, the fourth entry upped the action while maintaining the horror. The shift to an over-the-shoulder perspective smoothed out the gameplay while ratcheting up the tension, all across a lengthy campaign that kept up the series' knack for freaky surprises. And it debuted on GameCube, of all places!

27) The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)

Its 2D point-and-click gameplay may seem rather old-fashioned by today’s standards, but Monkey Island’s quick wit is still streets ahead of the competition. Add an excellent soundtrack and stylish graphics, and you’ve got yourself a classic. 

26) Burnout 3: Takedown (2004)

The Burnout series evolved over the years from being a racer with a hint of aggression to an all-out smash-'em-up by the time this bombastic affair sped into view. Combining speed boosts with epic smashes and labyrinthine courses, it just about pipped Burnout 2 in our voting to earn its spot on this hallowed list. We could really shunt someone off-road in slow-mo right now…

The best games ever: 25-21

25) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

The original Modern Warfare had the larger impact, but Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 went even bigger and delivered insane moments, like the gripping, controversial "No Russian" mission. Add in an enhanced multiplayer mode with some of the series' best-ever maps and it's hard not to think of it as the series' top time-sink to date.

24) NBA Jam (1993)

Truly, they don't make them like this anymore: a sports game where blitzkrieg-paced fun slam dunks any sense of realism into another dimension entirely. At its best, NBA Jam is just one frantic race back and forth across a basketball court to see who can rack up the most points. Why bother blocking and tackling when that could be time spent shooting some sweet hoops?

23) Life is Strange (2015)

As a five-part high school soap opera with BioShock-like moral choices, Life is Strange may have served up melodrama in industrial quantities, but it was the characters that really struck such a chord with so many people. Because who hasn't spent their painfully insecure teenage years struggling to master some new-found time-rewinding powers? Just us, then.

22) Super Mario Kart (1992)

You can keep your hyper-realistic physics and your engine tuning. When it comes to having actual fun, nothing beats taking one of the definitive Mario Kart's cheeky shortcuts, picking off the leader with a red shell, and power-sliding round the last corner. Unlike "proper" driving games it's an absolute piece of cake to get into, but you can spend years honing your skills on Rainbow Road.

21) Tomb Raider (1995)

The original Tomb Raider might be remembered by some for Lara Croft's polygonal… uh, assets, but its influence on 3D action-adventure games was the biggest treasure to be uncovered here. It set a path that would later be journeyed by the likes of Nathan Drake, Altair and the Prince of Persia years later, and Lara ruled the gaming world for quite a stretch.