Given that the past 365 days have been some of video gaming’s best, it’s our rightful duty to salute those that achieved pixel perfection. These are the games that we’ve pumped the most unsociable hours into: keeping ourselves locked away until our eyes were bloodshot, our stubble was scraggly and the cat started buying its own food. After weeks of chin-stroking, these are our must-have games of 2010.
Fable III may not have quite lived up to the monumental hype that preceded it, but with Albion it delivered a massively rich world to explore, filled with quaint locals each with a tale to tell. However, it was after leading the resistance to triumph that Fable III unleashed one of 2010’s biggest (and controversial) rug-pulls: let’s just say that being King really ain't all it’s cracked up to be.
Kratos was more than a little peeved with Zeus at the seismic opening of God Of War III. Greek justice has never been more brutally realised than in this Titan-sized threequel, and we loved every sword-swinging, eye-popping (quite literally at times) minute of it. Each blood-drenched battle packed more punch than a dozen 300s. Clash of the Titans eat your Kraken-y heart out.
On its seventh instalment in the franchise, Call Of Duty is yet to show its age. Providing some of the best gunplay around, Black Ops trumped its predecessor - thanks to a plot with more than a semblance of coherence. With Black Ops, Treyarch really excelled themselves, producing the quintessential action game. And in the fiercely competitive online arena it’s still leagues ahead of its competition – that’s if you can withstand profanity-spouting infants.
The accolades poured on Heavy Rain praised its seamless interaction of gameplay and narrative. Forget 3D, this is interactive movie making. Taking inspiration from the likes of Seven, Quantic Dream’s exceptional noir thriller introduced a series of compelling, grounded characters whose decisions, actions and ultimate fate were in your hands. No pressure then.
In what many assumed would be nothing but a mere expansion to Assassin’s Creed II, AC: Brotherhood earned its merit in refined gameplay and its addictive multiplayer mode. Set in Rome, it’s the most visually outstanding AC yet. Along with the usual sneaky-stabby-run process, it also allowed players to start their own school of assassins, allowing for each assignment to be, ahem, executed with unprecedented precision.
World Of Warcraft developer Blizzard’s other baby, Starcraft II was just as ludicrously addictive as everyone hoped. The defining real-time strategy experience of the year can easily be classified as a classic among its ilk. Whether honing your skills on your own, or taking this online, you’ll rarely find a game so tightly crafted and rewarding. It may not be to everyone’s liking but if you have the patience, you won’t find a more polished or sleek RTS game around.
Epic is a word that's criminally overused, but here it feels somehow inadequate. Halo’s swansong proved exactly how much combat had evolved since its debut, taking the series to new heights both thematically and in its gameplay. Multiplayer also mixed things up, adding new modes and features that were embraced by the community and ensured longevity long past the single-player’s solemn close. Bungie closed the ring in style.
While it was released far from these shores last year, it didn’t arrive in our territory until the second half of 2010. It was without a doubt worth the wait. Oozing medieval atmosphere, the game was unequivocally unique, featuring oodles of depth in its combat system and level design. However, it was the unforgiving mantra that secured Demon’s Souls as one of the best; fail at a mission and you’ll be pushed right back to the start. It’s been a long time since a game felt so punishing. Ultimately, it was more rewarding because of it.
Who can resist the loveable charms of Nintendo’s mascot? Nobody, that’s who (and we won’t hear different). Super Mario Galaxy reaffirmed the plucky plumber’s place as platforming king and this year’s sequel improved on almost everything that the original boasted. The intricacy and ingenuity packed into each stage, along with the mind-bending puzzles, made this visual feast the Wii’s best game to date. It also saw the return of Yoshi. ‘Nuff said.
Walking the line between RPG and action, Mass Effect 2 did nothing but astound anyone who entered Commander Shepard’s universe. There’s no false note in BioWare’s sequel, leaving the original choking on its space dust. Each member of Shepard’s team fascinates; the world is visually breathless in magnitude, and the enthralling combat and the rewarding RPG elements effortless gel. Rich in mythology, gameplay and visuals, Mass Effect 2 is nothing short of a masterpiece. Now don’t mind us, we’ve got an alien to seduce.