Picking only 10 games for this year was a difficult task. It is always tough to compile a list that is so subjective, but this year, with the incredible number of titles released, it was especially difficult, and several games that could justifiably be on this list or (at least the honorable mention) got bumped down for one reason or another. Also missing are expansion packs, such as World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, download-only games like Limbo and Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, both of which could have made the list. Also missing are handheld games, because there are just too many differences, and it becomes like apples and oranges.
So below is out list of the best games of 2010. If you are looking to purchase a game this year, you won’t go wrong with one of the titles below. If you think we missed a title, sound off in the comments below, and give us your reasoning.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 Ultimate EditionAmazon (PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Rated M; $39.99)
This is probably the most controversial of all the games on the list, not because it is a bad game, but many will think that there are better games out there. To be fair, the single-player campaign is fun but forgettable, and the first-person shooter style is not exactly unique. But the reason that this game made the list is for one simple fact, the multiplayer, which takes a proven formula and makes it even better.
Where other first-person shooters are all about the agro and adrenaline online, BFBC2 is all about teamwork. There is still a healthy dose of agro (especially in the more traditional deathmatches) and you can try to do everything solo, but the game is made to be played as a team, which is a refreshing change from the other online war games that dominate the charts. As a technical feat, the ability to destroy structures and use vehicles is also impressive. It is also nice to see a game that you can pick up anytime, and while you will have some rough games while you are learning what to do, even a beginner can have success online. So if you are looking for an online shooter that won’t make you scream obscenities every few minutes, then BFBC2 is the game for you. Medal of Honor uses the same engine online, but a flawed single player game will mean there are more people that remain loyal and play BFBC2 long after they trade MoH in.
Call of Duty: Black OpsAmazon (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS; Rated M; Price varies by system)
Call of Duty is arguably the best title that will frustrate you like no other. It has its issues, but the annoyances of lag quickly give way to the thrill of a solid killstreak. The leveling should keep you entertained for awhile to come, and the online community will make sure that you can always find a game, and no two games are identical. Love it or hate it, the game is a must-have for shooter fans.
For every person that loves this series, there is another that bitterly hates it—and yet both will probably still be playing it online until the next Call of Duty title drops next year – when they will probably love the new game and yet hate it compared to this game. To be fair, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare set the bar so high, that many first-person shooters will be held to it for years to come. And while Black Ops may not be the same breakthrough game that its predecessor was, it is still a great game, and the most popular online shooter available on consoles.
God of War 3Amazon (PS3; Rated M; $59.99)
The God of War series had many people collecting their change for years to save up for a PS3 just to play this game, and it’s one of the best the PS3 has to offer. If it were released this year, the God of War Collection, which features both of the PS2 God of War games with shiny new HD graphics, might have bumped GoW3 simply because this is the continuation of the story, and you need to have played the first two in order to appreciate the plot.
But assuming you played the originals, the third game meets, and in some ways exceeds, all expectations. Besides offering fluid and well-honed controls, GoW3 is perhaps the best-looking game on the PS3. That is saying an awful lot, but the imaginative settings, the incredible details, and the scope make this an easy pick for one of the best games of 2010.
Halo: ReachAmazon (Xbox 360; Rated M; $59.99)
If this game were a TV show from the 80s, it would be The Incredible Hulk – specifically because of the scene at the end of each episode when Bruce Banner walked down a lonely highway with melancholy music playing until the credits rolled. Halo: Reach is the melancholy goodbye to the series from developer Bungie, which has drawn the Halo story to a close and moved on to other projects.
Although Halo: Reach is a prequel to the original trilogy, it is also the culmination of the work Bungie spent developing the series for over a decade. The gameplay is tight, and the multiplayer will have people coming back for years to come. It’s a must-have for Halo fans, and a solid end to the series from Bungie (although the franchise will continue under Microsoft).
The only bad thing about Mass Effect 2 is that you should play through the original Mass Effect first. It isn’t necessary, and the first game isn’t bad by any means, but Mass Effect 2 will likely go down as one of the best games of this generation of consoles, and far overshadow its predecessor. The other thing that might turn people off from this game is the RPG style and its length. It can easily take upwards of 40 hours to make it through, and that is not including all the side quests and additional expansions that have been released.
Of course, that criticism is true of every game – if you don’t like the style you won’t like the game – but with Mass Effect 2, it is a real shame if people overlook the title because of past experiences with the genre. Although the game is currently only available for the Xbox 360, a PS3 version is due out in January and available for pre-order.