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By Cheryl Mullin Games reviewer Top of 2015 5.

Byline: Cheryl Mullin Games reviewer

CONTINUING our rundown of the 10 best games of the last 12 months, we've reached the top five. These are the titles which kept us up way past our bedtimes - the games which demanded our attention so much, even the dishes didn't get done...

5 SUPER MARIO MAKER (WII U) THIS was the year that Nintendo delivered the goods for a generation of Mario fans - a level/game creator that was backed up by a fantastic online community. Super Mario Maker allows you to unleash your inner designer, recreating your favourite levels and building new ones which you can then publish to the net for your fellow gamers to play.

Maker doesn't constrict you to using Nintendo gameplay mechanics, you can manipulate the behaviour and game physics to create devilishly difficult enemies to defeat and awkward obstacles to traverse.

Fun, creative, simple and infuriating in equal measure, this is a must have.

4 RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER (Xbox One, Xbox360) IT was all about the return of Lara Croft this year. Building on the massively successful 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, this was not so much a game as a cinematic experience.

Taking full advantage of the next gen console tech, Rise is both breathtaking to look at and to play. With a story that flows beautifully from battle to battle, you get a real sense of accomplishment from solving puzzles and recovering artefacts. But it is Lara herself who steals the spotlight - a genuinely compelling action hero who has emerged from the last title as a more mature and fleshed out character. An absolute must for the Xbox.

3 THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT (PS4, Xbox One, PC) I'LL admit, I was nervous about this one. The first two titles in the series had been stunning, and Wild Hunt's gaming environment was going to be 30 times larger than both of those.

Would it be possible to keep the game's quality in a map of that size? Thankfully my fears were unfounded as what I found was an absolute epic of game. Using its size to full advantage, Wild Hunt's engrossing storyline sees you sail, ride and walk your way around a massive world as you chase leads and uncover clues to complete your missions. The fighting mechanics are refined and taut, and as you journey through the gorgeous landscapes you really connect with your characters - meaning you are compelled to play through to the end to discover their fates. An astonishing RPG title that should be in everyone's collection.

2 BLOODBORNE (PS4) THERE was a real argument over whether Bloodborne should take the top slot, and I have to admit I was torn myself.

Emerging from the shadows of the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne is a taxing challenge.

Set in the darkly beautiful gothic city of Yharnam, The Hunter must track down and destroy the source of a terrifying plague that is ravaging the inhabitants of the ruinous city. There are times of sheer frustration, when you are lost in the game and unsure as to what your next move should be, but I never once felt like walking away. You are so drawn by the story, entranced by the artwork and disgusted by the gore playing out before you, that it is impossible to leave until the last drop of blood has been spilt. A dazzling powerhouse of a game.

1 FALLOUT 4 (PS4, Xbox One) AND to the winner, the spoils. It may be the new kid on the block, but Fallout 4 has clinched the top spot for a reason. Starting where other titles in the series haven't, Fallout 4 shows you a time before the bombs dropped and the world became a wasteland.

You are quite literally thrown into the story, with very little help or tutorials to gather your bearings.

Sitting alongside the main story is a wealth of side quests, which is good as each one you successfully complete helps to increase your player's level. The higher the level of your player, the more skill you'll have when you come face to face with some of the more powerful creatures The level of detail which has been poured into Fallout 4 is incredible, and that makes rummaging for pre-nuclear artefacts so much fun. This is a game you get sucked into, and it's a title you'll happily revisit again and again and again.

TOP 10 GAMES 1. Fallout 4 2. Call of Duty: Black Ops III 3. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate 4. FIFA 16 5. Star Wars Battlefront 6. Grand Theft Auto V 7. Just Cause 3 8. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection 9. Halo 5: Guardians 10. Forza Motorsport 3 CHART COURTESY OF GAME

CAPTION(S):

Taxing: Bloodborne

Super |Mario Maker

Game of |the year: Fallout 4, left and above
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 1, 2016
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