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It's All About the Game

Looking back at our favorite video games of the year.

Yes, we work at a fitness publication, but we’re not averse to plopping down on the couch and killing some time on the ol’ XBox or PS3. When we do that, of course, we want to do it with the best games possible. Here’s what’s we’ve been playing when we’re not trying to hit a new bench press max.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

(Multi-platform) The newest chapter in the Assassin’s Creed saga does more than perfect the elements of the previous installments. The controls feel more like a fine art, not a video game. Combine the slick stalking game play with breathtaking visuals—it’s hard to remember the last time we’ve seen scale and perspective done this well—and your disbelief should be fully suspended. Moreover, ACR is elegant and understated. How many times do you get to say that about a video game?

FIFA 12

(Multi-platform) You don’t play soccer and you don’t watch it, either. Fine. FIFA 12 is still the most fun you’re going to have with a sports game this year (especially since Madden trotted out the same playbook yet again). FIFA expertly walks the line of being easy to pick up, but providing the kind of depth (and added difficulty as you improve) that essentially demands that you come back and play for hours on end. Who says low scoring games aren’t fun? Tension hangs over every second of every match.

Gears Of War 3

(XBox 360) The third and final installment in the Gears Of War story delivers on all fronts—single player and multiplayer. The solo campaign is engrossing, with stunning graphics and intelligent enemies who will keep you on your toes. The story itself wraps up nicely, with some unexpected twists along the way. But it’s the multiplayer that really sets this game apart. You can go head to head with COGs around the world in an all out bloodbath, or you can team up to take on as many waves of Locust as possible, with the enemies getting stronger, faster, and smarter every ten rounds.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

(PS3) It’s everything that the first two installments were, but better. Naughty Dog has raised the bar for the graphics, story, and game play. There were rumblings that Drake 2 was a re-hash of the original story. That’s not the case here. An upgraded combat system (with new melee moves) keeps the game fluid, and the improved stealth system allows you to take out enemies in the manner of your choosing-guns blazin’, or getting your Metal Gear Solid on and taking them out quietly. You can’t go wrong either way.

The Final Word

COD: Modern Warfare 3 VS. Battlefield 3 (Both Multi-platform)

No introductions needed here: Modern Warfare 3 sold over 16 million copies and grossed well over $1 billion—in just 16 days. Battlefield 3 has ONLY sold about 8 million copies, hardly making it the Little Engine That Could. But we’re not interested in popularity contests. Which is actually the better game? This faceoff boils down to a case of delicious apples against equally delicious oranges, and is best settled by asking yourself what type of experience you want to have. If you want war in its raw visceral form, go for Battlefield 3. The game is unbelievably detailed in a haunting way—boots echo in empty stairwells, shells clank on pavement, and there’s no drama to the blood spray; war is supposed to be hell, and this game aims to get you as close to that hell as you’d ever want to be. MW3, on the other hand, is the best playable action movie we’ve ever seen. The hell of war is cloaked in hyper-stylized Michael Bay packaging—only with a better story than any of his movies. The pace is insanely fast, and makes putting the thing down harder than playing it through. The verdict: Battlefield 3 might be more realistic—and boast a superior multiplayer experience—but MW3 is still king for one good reason: It’s just more fun.

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