1 | GUILD WARS 2 (PC)
A massively multiplayer game devoted to keeping you entertained by the minute? So many make the claim, but this one actually pulls it off. Drop by for a fine-tuned fantasy romp in a battle-saturated world; stay for the unparalleled diversions. Guild Wars 2 offers a seductively volatile world, lending it the sort of compulsive appeal that other MMOs only dream of.
2 | XENOBLADE CHRONICLES (WII)
Gamemaking on an Olympic scale. It's Japanese-style role-playing (read: eclectic fantasy) that pits you against a race of deadly mechanical creatures, the campaign staged across the frozen bodies of two planetoid-size combatants. With its ever deepening battle system and grand expanses inhabited by hundreds of exotic creatures, it pulls off a trick few games do: keeping you riveted while making that bid for your attention seem effortless.
3 | XCOM: ENEMY UNKNOWN (PC, PS3, XBOX 360)
A turn-based, isometric strategy game that's part X-Files, part Fringe, XCOM distills the best parts of what made the original 1994 PC game so compelling. You'll deploy an alien-hunting squad to creep through buildings after dark, hunker along curbs, park benches and water fountains and even explore a firelit forest after a UFO crash--all while working to bolster your top-secret research base and unearth the aliens' inscrutable plot.
4 | DISHONORED (PC, PS3, XBOX 360)
Set in a steampunk, Victorian-style universe, Dishonored offers sandbox-style levels you can traverse any way you like, either avoiding combat or reveling in it. You'll sort through objects strewn on shelves, empty bottles, teacups, coins and audiograph players that offer snippets of story. Choosing violence or nonviolence has real consequences, transforming the story line.
5 | ASSASSIN'S CREED III (PC, PS3, XBOX 360)
Five years after we first poked our hook-cowled heads into the weird world of protagonist Desmond Miles, Assassin's Creed III stages the series' epic finale during the American Revolution. Instead of belfries or minarets, you'll clamber over colonial rooftops and dangle from eaves and gables as you fraternize with George Washington and Samuel Adams, assassinating their enemies in service of the revolution.