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Call of Duty 4 & Project Gotham Racing 4

6. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

In a year when arguments raged over which was the best or most over-hyped FPS - Bioshock? Crysis? The Orange Box? Halo 3? - there was one thing that everybody could agree on: Call of Duty 4 was bloody great. Where single-player Call of Duty 3 was a lumbering WWII mess, CoD4 was a taut masterpiece of orchestrated action-movie mayhem, following US Marine and SAS troops through a terrorist crisis, and bringing the military shooter bang into the present day. This was a turbo-charged Call of Duty, fast, fluid and expertly paced. It also featured - in the Chernobyl sniper mission - arguably the most breathtaking sequence of levels in any action game this year. Maybe a few difficulty spikes spoilt the party, but minute by minute, second by second, this was 2007's most exhilarating thriller.

And let's not forget the multiplayer options, either. CoD3 was great in this regard, but CoD4 introduced a range of features - particularly the quick kill replay - that are guaranteed to become standard-issue. With cracking maps, a smart bonus system and a superb range of high-end military weaponry, CoD4 managed to compete on platforms that should have been dominated by Halo 3 or Team Fortress 2.

Above all else, this was a game with genuine widespread appeal. If you wanted one action game that everyone, from a casual weekend gamer to a hardcore Counter-Strike fanatic could appreciate, Call of Duty 4 was it.


5. Project Gotham Racing 4

Metropolis Street Racer on the Sega Dreamcast shook up the driving genre by giving players real, recognizable locations to race around. This proved to be an instant hit and Microsoft soon tied the developer into a multi release deal for its original Xbox console.

PGR3 was a launch title for the Xbox 360, and although it was good, it wasn't great. PGR4 on the other hand, is. In fact, right now it's the best driving game on any platform. It doesn't pretend to be a driving simulator like Gran Turismo, and it's all the better for it. While the driving dynamics are surprisingly good, the gameplay is easily accessible and wildly entertaining.

Graphically PGR4 is head and shoulders above the competition, with the new environmental effects only adding to the atmosphere. There's the usual array of dream cars on offer, but thankfully they're not as easily accessible as they were in PGR3. And with Shanghai, Macau, Quebec and St Petersburg added to PGR3's city line-up, PGR4 had the series' strongest track selection yet.

The online play is first rate and limiting the online score boards just to just your Xbox Live friends adds a level of competition even when you're playing by yourself. Gran Turismo 5 might have the Top Gear tie-in, but it will have to do something special to beat this.

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