Best of 2010

ApocalypseLater: Best of 2010 
To be honest, these may be the ONLY games from 2010 that I bought this year save a few sports games that won't make the cut.  I did buy and play the hell out of many games from 2009 or earlier so my 2010 game of 2009 list would be quite full (Thanks Steam Sales!).  Having said that, I bought these games for a reason.  This site and others do a lot to inform my decision on what I should purchase so I haven't had any regrets . 
Even though I haven't played many great releases from this year, and won't get around to it until next year or later, no game out there could shake the #1 & 2 spots on this list.

List items

  • Hands down my favorite game series. Compelling, addictive and polished. That it came out in January and still warms my heart at the mere thought of it is a testament to its quality. I didn't get around to Mass Effect until 2009 Holiday Steam sale and from that moment on every game from this universe and Bioware will be preordered until they break my heart. Surviving the final mission with no casualties is so incredibly rewarding and I know that if one of my team had died, I'd be crestfallen. That says a lot about this game.

  • Best new IP (if you ignore Revolver), amazing world, great characters, and an ending that affected me more than I could have imagined. Everything about this game was top notch. The game will also hold sentimental value for reasons outside of the gaming world and I have so much to do in the world after the campaign that I know there's some more great secrets to be uncovered.

  • Much more than just the multiplayer aspect of the game, the single player of Starcraft II produced the same level of obsessive gameplay. This would probably rank even higher if I was in the least bit competent at multiplayer.

  • I was sold on this game based off of 1 Bombcast discussion and the Quicklook. I put down my money immediately after and was not disappointed.

  • After dropping the COD series prior to Modern Warfare 2, there were very few FPS of interest to me except for this one. It may be unfair to think of this as a placeholder for the upcoming BF3, but a lot of the reason this was addictive to me was imagining how the concepts and tech on display here could be applied. Probably the best sounding game I've ever played.

  • To be honest, I'm still playing through this one but after playing, and loving, the first 2, it's safe to say that this is in my top 10 this year. Each game in the series ups the ante with gameplay improvements from the previous one. Rolling around with my own murderous guild and having them take out enemies makes me giggle like a child.

  • Some Splinter Cell purists hate what they've done to this game, but I loved it. Some of the most effective games draw you in by making you feel empowered and that's what this game did for me. Mark and execute allowed playing as Sam Fisher to feel sufficiently badass without making it feel cheap. Giving players the ability to choose between going in completely quiet or guns blazing is all that the next one needs.

  • Characters you care about are difficult to create for games, and I'm a sucker for any game that tries to tell a good story with compelling characters. Saying "this is pretty good for a game" isn't quite the slight you'd think it'd be, because there are so many games that don't do character interaction well. The time and effort they put into the relationship shows up in the game and drives the narrative well.

  • For most of my gaming life, I was a sports game fiend. Having not owned a console between my Sega Genesis and purchase of a PS3 in late 2009, all of my gaming was on PC. As sporting franchises moved away to consoles, there was a large hole in my gaming catalog. So this year I got Madden, Fifa and NHL and started up my old addiction again. None were more revelatory that NHL for me. Seeing how much I missed really made this game stand out in my mind.

  • What this game does to me that makes it good enough to round out my list is compell me want to buy an expensive steering set up so I can experience its cars and courses in their full glory. The issues with limited damage modeling and inconsistent visuals are problems for some, but for me they never get in the way of what makes this game good, the driving. I hope I can get by with just a Dual shock in my hand, but eventually, to get the best out of core of this game, I'll need to get behind a wheel.