4. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DICE, EA / PC, PS3, Xbox 360
What we said: "Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is quite simply a superb package, with neither single-player nor online feeling like it's been given short shrift. They come together in the most robust, nuanced and carefully crafted game of its type this hardware generation. Modern Warfare is the obvious benchmark, and Bad Company 2 meets and even passes it with ease. But it's the high bar it sets for a genre mired in complacency that makes it so invigorating."
DUFFKING says: "The point where I realised just how great multiplayer is in BC2 wasn't when I took down a tank by diving out of a first floor window, and planting C4 on the top. It wasn't when I gleefully scored a kill by flying a miniature helicopter into someone's legs. It wasn't even when I captured every single objective on the map single-handedly, like Rambo possessed. No, it was in a normal game, right after we captured the penultimate objective. The last cracks of gunfire died down as we cleared the base, leaving a slightly eerie silence. Not a sound but the rolling of tank tracks. In the distance, the defenders readied their fortifications, and we regrouped. And with the final charge, the noises of rockets, artillery, gunfire all built once again into an incredible crescendo. There's no doubt that BC2 would be half as intense if its sound design wasn't far and away the greatest I've heard in an FPS."
3. Heavy Rain
Quantic Dream, Sony / PS3
What we said: "A thrilling mystery, cleverly composed, and unlike anything else you will play this year. It may also be the only game you play this year where pulling the trigger makes you really feel something, and I can think of no greater compliment."
joaomuas says: "An epic thriller with 20 different endings played with four awesome characters. I was wrong: Red Dead Redemption hasn't got the deepest story, Heavy Rain does. Ethan Mars tries to save his son from a serial killer while the other three characters investigate this same thing. These four characters want to find Ethan's son in an adventure with revolutionary gameplay and hard decisions that change the story and... your character can actually die. The game is very realistic, packed with awesome moments and hard decisions that can make the player cry. Soon, mysteries are unfolded and things start making sense..."
2. Red Dead Redemption
Rockstar San Diego, Rockstar Games / PS3, Xbox 360
What we said: "An exceptional Rockstar game, one that successfully re-clothes the Grand Theft Auto framework in an exciting, distinct and expertly realised scenario. But just how satisfying the formula remains after the exuberant destructiveness of Red Faction: Guerrilla, or the joyful, ad-hoc player stories born in the freedom of Just Cause 2's playpen, is increasingly under scrutiny."
dadrester says: "It's funny that my top two games for the year (the other is Mass Effect 2) are in the list, not necessarily for gameplay reasons but because they are the first games where I felt the narrative and delivery of it were of a quality that could match other forms of media. For all its shortcomings (with the exception of Landon Ricketts, Mexico could have been cut entirely), Red Dead Redemption had such a strong narrative, and such a memorable and likeable protagonist, that it really is a landmark game for me. The opening, the Bonnie MacFarlane missions, and especially final hours of the game were absolutely peerless in terms of games writing. They never once relied on cheap, game-centric set-pieces. John Marston, humble as he may be (probably because of it), stands as one of the greatest videogame characters ever created." lemonfist adds: "The lasso, that's why."
1. Mass Effect 2
BioWare, EA / PC, Xbox 360
What we said: "Whether or not you come to Mass Effect 2 afresh, and whether or not you ever see it through more than once, your experience won't just have been an acceptable storytelling throughline in a ludicrous simultaneous equation, it will have been fantastic adventure full of memorable characters, places and events that justify its grand scale and sober disposition."
YtheName says: "I felt this was the game of the year because it made me feel genuine emotion for the characters. As I am a sucker for spoiler forums I read that Shepard and/or other main characters could die permanently, so when the final assault came I was holding my breath with anticipation as to my outcome – and it turned out that I saved everyone. The outcome was never in question and the storyline follows clichéd structure but it's how I felt during and well after completion that makes it my game of 2010."
bruno0091 says: "Mass Effect 2 took the wonderful universe already established in the first game, layered onto it improvements in the areas that needed it (party AI, combat and Interface) then turned the story, action and characters up to 11."
evild_edd says: "Big-budget sequels so often lead to disappointment – over-promising and under-delivering, or failing to push gaming boundaries and the licence in to new and interesting areas. Mass Effect 2 just seemed to deliver effortlessly on all fronts."
Commander Shepard says: "Hi, I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favourite game of the year on the Citadel."