1. Mass Effect 2
Mass. Effect. 2. More like Epic 2, am I right? No? Oh... OK. There is no place to start the praise that I owe Bioware for this masterpiece of a game. The writing is tremendously intricate and well realized. The voice-acting is superb. The graphics are great. The gameplay has been completely redefined from the first one, thus making the perfect sequel. I can't get enough of this game. What they did from the first installment is nothing but awe-inspiring. Bioware knows what I like, and I want so much more.
2. Alan Wake
Alan's story is a very weird one. It's also a very lovable one. Watching the creepy story of a writer stuck in a very real nightmare was more than enticing for me. The atmosphere shines (shrouds?) through and it single-handedly pushed the game up here. Alan Wake has some small oddities more-than-likely caused by it's long development time, but what it presented this year was more than worthy.
3. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Enslaved is a tricky game to place on this list. I love it so much, but I had problems with it too. The platforming is very simple, and so is the combat. The story on the other hand, is not. The emotions and animations are not. It's the animation and story telling that blew me away. I've yet to see a video game character tell a whole story with their eyes in a saddening conversation. If it wasn't for the ending it may have received higher praise, but overall Enslaved was fun and engrossing.
4. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
I am a regular World of Warcraft player. I love the game, and I'm into the lore. I also like video games. Some would say WoW is far from a video game. In it's most simplest form though, it is. Blizzard threw everything they had at Cataclysm and it really shows. I was a little disappointed in the short time it takes to get from 80-85, but the new quests are phenomenal. Flying on a large dragon shooting flame and tearing out the throats of others in the sky amidst two godlike Dragon Aspects duking it out is exhilarating. All of the changes to Azeroth are breathtaking and makes you feel even more a part of the world. Even leveling a low level character through the new quest lines is a blast. Blizzard sought to make it a more cinematic experience, and a more involving one. They did it.
5. DJ Hero 2
I was extremely happy to see a non-guitar music game stand out this year. As soon as I picked up DJ Hero 2 there was no stopping me. The track list is filled with a wide variety of songs that even if you are not a fan of hip-hop (like me) will find something you like. It also feels like it's beginning to understand it's niche and uses it to its advantage. Although it has a rather high learning curve,when you get into it you feel awesome.
6. Halo: Reach
Bungie's last send off for their beloved Halo series was nearly perfect. They've fine tuned their ability to present story and characters and it shows. While some of the events were a little cliche, they came off very heartfelt. The feeling of dread and desperation are prominent from the beginning and it culminates into a conclusion to be ever-loved by all Halo fans forever.
7. Game Dev Story
iPhone gaming hit us hard during 2010, and Game Dev Story was in the front lines. At first glance it looks like a rather boring idea to make a game about making games. Then you play it. Your family begins to worry about you. The mailbox begins to overflow, and you lose contact with the outside world. Having the ability to choose the genre, the team members, the platform, and even whether or not to release it early to make some bank has never been more appealing. That, my friends, is a video game.
8. Costume Quest
Costume Quest is a simple game. In fact, it's probably one of the easiest games I've ever played, but it's that Double Fine charm that kept me entertained enough to forget it's childish nature. If a game can get me in the rare mood for Halloween through atmosphere and writing it definitely is worth noting. Not to mention the art style is one of my favorites this year.
Woah. Woah. Woah. Minecraft? Yes, Minecraft. If you didn't get your hands on this little java-based crac-I mean game, it's in beta now, go buy it. The ability to build nearly anything with ease. Massive castles, small little huts, and even giant super computers. My favorite moments were the times I came upon an unknown cave system that was yearning to be explored. I think the Inception trailers put it well. Your mind is the scene of the crime. The crime of so many hours playing Minecraft.
10. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
I would have never guessed any real-time strategy game would ever make it on my top ten list for the year, but I cannot quit thinking about Starcraft II. Yes, I haven't played through the storyline yet, but from what I've played of the multi-player this game will stick around for awhile (even if Blizzard is quick with the second part). If you knew me this would already be shocking to see, because I simply don't enjoy RTS games. Starcraft II is a first, and will hopefully introduce me to all of the other RTS games before and after it.