1. Horizon Zero Dawn (Playstation 4 exclusive)
On paper, this looked messy. A robot dinosaur theme-park romp that mixes Braveheart with Transformers? What even is this? But Horizon Zero Dawn had one massive thing going for it: Aloy. The game's warrior lead exuded star power and became the strongest female game character since Lara Croft. It helped that she was given plenty to do, making jungle scenery rain nuts and bolts whenever she took down one of those Broadheads with her flaming crossbow. Zero Dawn was such a blast that just writing this makes me want to play it again. Wait - there's DLC? Sign me up.
2. Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch exclusive)
No one does fun like Nintendo. And this game was easily the most fun I've had gaming this year. It's full of vim and spirit, brightly coloured surprises, easy charm and a wondrous sense of adventure.
It's so good that it awakened a long-dormant completionist attitude that had me obstinately refusing to leave a planet until I'd found all of the hidden collectible star moons. All. Of. Them. Send help. Please. On a roster of super games, Super Mario Odyssey stands tall as the superest. It's the excuse to buy a Switch that you've been waiting for.
3. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (Playstation 4 exclusive)
Who needs Nathan Drake? Not Chloe or Nadine. They're the protagonists in this, a game that began as a small DLC pack for Uncharted 4 but expanded to become its very own thing. They deserved it, proving once and for all that the Uncharted series hasn't really been about Drake - it's been about the scenery.
From swinging around giant statues to searching through giant underground ruins and riding elephants through waterfalls, The Lost Legacy was a visual feast from beginning to end. By the end, there was only one conclusion you could make: it's time to upgrade your television.
4. Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One exclusive)
It might be hard to believe for Aucklanders who are often stuck in traffic but driving can be fun. And Forza Motorsport 7 encapsulates the fun you can have behind the wheel. They're not exactly reinventing the wheel when it comes to gameplay: you win races, earn cash, buy more cars and unlock more tracks.
But what Turn 10 did is make every wheel, hubcap, windscreen and windscreen wiper look as real as it ever has in a motorsport game. It's fun to play, has loads of tracks and cars and looks great. Yup, it's the perfect driving game.
5. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Playstation 4, Xbox One)
This year was full of freaky horror frights, from big (The Evil Within 2's eerie poltergeist) to small (Little Nightmares' terrifying troll chefs). But it's Resident Evil 7 that's stayed with me long after I took off Playstation's virtual reality goggles and collapsed in a sweaty mess on the couch.
VR is still waiting for that breakthrough moment, but sneaking through the Baker family's yard and into their house while hunting for your long-dead wife sure felt like one. Immersive and intense, and gory beyond belief, this was a game in which even a cockroach scuttling across a table delivered blood-chilling scares.