Grand Theft Auto V
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Much pre-release talk focused on the expanse of the game, and Los Santos is as incredible as it is imaginative. Trucks clogging freeways, deer jumping out in the countryside, sharks in the water and hikers in mountains – this world feels genuinely alive. Such an ambitious setting threatened to be unwieldy but the pure richness in detail make roaming Los Santos almost as rewarding as any structured mission.
In a new development, gamers control three intertwined characters simultaneously, with the ability to flip between them. This creates a more layered storyline and greater variation in how players progress in the game. That progress still centres on missions, many of which are incredibly creative. A welcome advancement sees players involved in the planning as well as the execution – helping to create a customised experience. Characters can even play golf, tennis or try a triathlon but, while entertaining, the activities on offer are not challenging for prolonged enjoyment. From the humour to the game play and the soundtrack to the missions – GTA V has all fans could have hoped for.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Ten years after release on the GameCube, The Wind Waker gets full HD treatment for the Wii U. It's the most cartoonish in the Zelda series, but the world looks inviting and more vivid than before. The GamePad adds a nice touch as players can mix up weapons, play off-TV on the mini-screen, or simply keep the map open. It warns youngsters not to stay up all night playing, but there is also a Hero Mode for confident GameCube pros who want a tougher challenge (plus the sailing is faster than before).
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014
PS3, Xbox 360, PC, PSP, 3DS
Despite PES 2013 being a long-overdue return to form for the series, Konami introduced a new engine this year and it ensures more realism than ever. Gamers can change teams in the master league and coach a national side, but the problems lay off the pitch. It has no stadium editor and the loss of Spanish arenas (plus the bizarre removal of rain) will disappoint. Shots are sluggish and skills difficult to master but, after acclimatising to the new engine and learning intricacies, faithful fans will be satisfied with an absorbing football experience.