Call it our favorite moment in a console’s lifecycle: that point where it’s no longer a “next-gen” system but is instead a mature piece of hardware that developers have finally wrapped their heads around. Such is the case with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Both are at the top of their games, and both have delivered some great gaming experiences in 2011. Meanwhile, the PC had a strong showing, with a meaty selection of exclusive and multisystem releases. And the nascent Nintendo 3DS is just starting to come into its own, with at least one game making the cut for 2011’s top games to buy, and several others that were just below the cutoff point.
2011 was indeed a great year to be a gamer. Here’s our buyer’s guide of the top must-own games from the calendar year. Have you played them all?