Whether its fighting terrifying beasts, wreaking anarchy in a parallel universe or singing karaoke, these titles challenge both your intellect and reflexes

God of War

A majestic adventure across Norse mythology in the company of buttoned-up old god Kratos and his young son Atreus. Alongside jaw-dropping encounters and fights with the creatures, places and gods of the Norse canon, it unexpectedly has a lot to say about family dynamics and grief. The current high bar for action games.
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Horizon: Zero Dawn

A post-apocalyptic game thats decidedly exciting, imagining a world in which robot dinosaurs have taken over the Earth and humans have once again become cave dwelling hunter-gatherers. Fighting the machines is great fun, as is getting around this fascinating world.
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Shadow of the Colossus

Understatedly profound Shadow of the Colossus (PS4). Photograph: Sony

Combines astounding beauty with an understatedly profound story about grief, loss and power. In this game your task is to ride into a forsaken wilderness, find moss-covered ancient colossi and bring them down with a pathetic little sword and a bow though its not long before you start to question your motivations.
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This electrifyingly scary horror-action game starts in a doomed Victorian-styled city and gets steadily more disturbing as you go on. Through exploring and fighting properly terrifying beasts, you slowly piece together what happened in this dreadful place. It is a challenge both for the reflexes and the intellect; there are no other games out there with this level of conceptual sophistication, except director Hidetaka Miyazakis other masterpiece, Dark Souls.
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Yakuza 0

A prequel to a long series of Japanese gangster soap operas that offers you the chance to beat up thugs in back alleys, sing karaoke and eat and endless selection of photorealistic food in Osaka restaurants. More accessible than any of the other Yakuza games thanks to the absence of convoluted backstory, Yakuza 0 is a unique, lovable combination of melodrama, fun and ridiculousness.

Persona 5

Enormously stylish Persona 5 for PlayStation 4. Photograph: Atlus

A group of teenagers form a small anarchist rebellion in Tokyo, studying and hanging out by day and delving into a parallel universe to do battle with the corrupt adults psyches by night. Enormously stylish, with a vibrant sense of place.
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The Witcher 3

Taking well-worn fantasy tropes and twisting them into something memorable and blackly comic, The Witcher 3 is an enormous, sprawling game in which everything nonetheless feels authored. A pinnacle for open-world role-playing games.
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What Remains of Edith Finch

Discover the sad tale of a very unfortunate family by exploring their abandoned home. This magic-realist story is short but profoundly affecting, grounding its flights of fancy in a relatable tale about family and the fear of living.
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Monster Hunter World

Incredible fun Monster Hunter World. Photograph: Capcom

Mean-eyed dragons, amphibious leonine creatures, bat-like wyverns that puff themselves up like fluffy hamsters Monster Hunter Worlds creatures are amazing, and hunting them with a selection of overblown, cartoonish weapons is incredible fun. Enjoyable as much for the believable fictional ecology as the David-v-Goliath face-offs against enormous foes.
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Ni no Kuni 2

Playful but not childish, this Studio Ghibli-styled game about a young catboy prince is an innovative and gorgeous feelgood fantasy, especially refreshing for the aesthetically sensitive player tired of the grey-brown-green colour palette of many photorealistic games.
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Uncharted 4

A globe-spanning cinematic adventure story with immense heart and likable characters that look and talk like real people and the final chapter in the life of Nathan Drake, who has continually vied with Lara Croft for the position of video gamings best-liked treasure hunter. The single best example of a game that absorbs and emulates the strengths of film.
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