This was a close one. To be honest any of the games below could have taken the award and we would have been pretty happy. As it was it came down to a single vote. We've been blessed in the past twelve months to have seen a marked rise in the calibre of the games released, something that we're yet to fully adjust to as critics. we've delighted in a swathe of technically brilliant games, executed impeccably and delivered with thunderclaps of publicity and huge amounts of polish as you can see below. Perhaps looking forward into 2011 we should take that as a benchmark standard and aspire to higher heights of inventiveness and innovation, the blockbusters of 2010 have certainly made that an exciting possibility.
In the meantime, though, let's look back on some of the brightest stars of 2010.
Get your vote on below...and if there's a game you loved that didn't make it here, LET US KNOW ABOUT IT!
NB. Hit the thumbnail for price comps and the title for our full reviews where applicable.
Astoundingly, in the space of a year, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood managed to top its predecessor in virtually every way and also find space for a whole bunch of new stuff too including a cracking multiplayer mode. No, it wasn't the big leap that might accompany a ‘3′ in the title, but for any fan of the series, or sandbox games in general, it was an absolutely essential purchase.
Busting out with Frostbite 2.0 and offering a more team-oriented experience than some of the other shooters this year, it was arguably BBC2, more than Medal of Honor, that really challenged Call of Duty's dominance in 2010.
New Vegas didn't look or play that much differently to its critically acclaimed predecessor, and it was riddled with bugs when it first emerged. But that didn't stop it from being an absolutely fantastic game. The changed and improvements were subtle, the customisation options even greater than before, the narrative focus superb. Plus Hardcore mode provided one of the most gruellingly compelling experiences of the year.
David cage and co. outdid themselves with Heavy Rain, a striking noirish piece of interactive entertainment that was unlike anything else we saw this year. Impossible to fail at, Heavy Rain set the bar for narrative exploration and player choice. Far more than just an extended tech demo, Heavy Rain was one of the bravest mainstream games of the year.
I don't think that there can be any denying that Mass Effect 2 is one of the finest games to burst forth in 2010. Bioware tuned up their space opera in almost every department to make it a truly exhilarating experience. True, we could have done without the mining game, and the big twist was quite literally telephoned in, but for spectacular = character-driven entertainment, it was hard to look beyond Bioware once more.
One of the most finely crafted games of the year, Red Dead Redemption was a glorious paean to the Old West and in John Marston gaming had one of the most interesting protagonists in years. Aided and abetted by a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, masterful writing and a very well-thought-out multiplayer package to boot, RDR was yet another golden success for Rockstar.
We've been ragging a fair bit on Nintendo for lazily rehashing old franchises (there'll be more to come on that) but SMG2 managed to sidestep that by being really, really, REALLY good. The point's more or less moot as to whether or not the first or the second game is the better of the two, they're both brilliant, near-pearless examples of platforming at its best.
Winner: Red Dead Redemption
Mass Effect 2 ran it so close when it came to the voting but, as we said before, the sheer pedigree of Red Dead Redemption was difficult to ignore. It was built on a tried and tested formula, but the expansive (mis)adventures of John Marston add up to so much more than simply GTA Cowboys. Hard-hitting, at times incredibly moving, ambitious, engrossing and, best of all, exceptionally good fun, Rockstar proved that gaming could do Western epics just as well as Tinseltown. A staggering achievement.