7. Race Driver: GRID
With no new entries in the Project Gotham and Forza Motorsport series on Xbox 360, and only Ferrari Challenge and the cut-down GT5: Prologue on Sony's machine, Codemasters' racing studios finally had a chance to shine. And shine it did with Race Driver: GRID, producing a truly cutting-edge racer that mixed stunning graphics with slick, ultra-competitive driving and a fiendishly aggressive AI, then topped it all with a superbly implemented flashback feature that let you fix your mistakes before they cost you pole position. GRID could be hard, and the competition still has the edge on included cars and tweaking options, but for our money this is the strongest, most satisfying real-world racer to appear so far this generation.
Read the full review of Race Driver: GRID.
6. Fallout 3
One of the most divisive games on this list, Fallout 3 will be some peoples' biggest and best of the year, while some will mutter 'meh, it's just Oblivion meets Mad Max.' Fallout 3 took time to get going, and its sheer size and incredible depth can make it a bewildering or even boring experience for the newcomer. Not all the voices are fantastic, and the world is just as prone as Oblivion's to those moments where the fiction collapses in a heap of illogical behaviour or insane scripting. Yet, those of us who let Fallout 3's storytelling and atmosphere take root found it utterly compelling.
This wasn't a game you picked up for a weekend of action, but one you had to dedicate most of a month of spare time to. If you could accept that, then you were in for a treat; not since Bioshock has a game delivered a sci-fi world so weird, so rich and so immersive. If you gave up after the first few hours, give Fallout 3 another try.
Read the full review of Fallout 3.