Best Games of 2010
Best Role-Playing Game
Getting a head start on the new year is definitely a good thing â and that's exactly what Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360, PC) did when it came out in January. An outstanding story, great firefights, fantastic dialogue and compelling, well-developed characters made this sci-fi RPG/shooter a must-play. Your decisions have great consequences, which could lead to a number of story paths as you visit alien worlds full of unforgettable visuals - and to top things off, there is plenty of excellent optional downloadable content to give you opportunity to explore the galaxy even further. This one is our choice for the Best Game of the Year.
Honourable mentions: Fallout: New Vegas, Fable III, and Final Fantasy XIII
Another year, another Call of Duty. So what? Well, the âwhatâ is the immersive and intense Call of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox 360, PS3, PC), which takes players to the Cold War era â the first time the series has used this setting. Cinematic storytelling, thrilling levels and deep online multiplayer make this one sure to be on the wishlist of many gamers - if they haven't purchased it by now. Plus, don't forget to check out JFK in the excellent zombie mode.
Honourable mentions: Halo: Reach, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and GoldenEye
There was some worry that Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Xbox 360, PS3) would be just a cash grab, coming only a year after the release of Assassin's Creed II, but the game once again proved that leaping atop rooftops is a worthwhile thrill. Excellent stealth missions, a superb story, great multiplayer option and the breathtaking re-creation of 15th century Rome make this third-person game hard to put down.
Honourable mentions: Red Dead Redemption, God of War III, and Heavy Rain.
The jumping gets heavy with Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii) as the lovable ape makes his long-awaited return. This one has some of the best Nintendo Wii visuals to date and will surely challenge gamers with its high difficulty. There's some innovative Wii controls, fun co-op, tons of hidden items and amazingly crafted side scrolling levels, which we've come to expect from Nintendo. You'll go bananas over this one.
Honourable mentions: Kirby's Epic Yarn, Super Mario Galaxy 2
Best Sports Game
Sports games have become so refined over the years, any time you top the previous year's edition it means a lot. With FIFA Soccer 11 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii), the folks at EA Canada have proven that their soccer game is easily the best in the business, becoming the fastest-selling sports game of all time for another year in a row. The attention to detail is apparent throughout, with tight controls, amazing play-by-play announcers, deep online options and realistic player models.
Honourable mentions: NBA 2K11, NHL 11, Madden 11, MLB 10: The Show
Best Music Game
You'll need the Xbox 360's Kinect to play this one, but Dance Central (Xbox 360) is a satisfying music rhythm game that challenges you to put your best dance moves to the test. There isn't any need for clunky dance mats, as you just need to mimic the moves of the avatar on the TV screen, while the Kinect tracks your motions. Even if you aren't the greatest dancer, the game teaches you dance moves, so whether you're a beginner or well experienced this one doesn't care how you bring the thunder as you dance to music from the likes of Lady GaGa, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado and many more.
Honourable mentions: Rock Band 3, DJ Hero 2
Best Racing Game
Sure, it may seem cool to slam a game that took a longer than expected development time (6 years!) to finally get into gamers' hands. But make no mistake, Gran Turismo 5 (PS3) is a remarkable racing simulation and was well worth the wait. With over 1000 authentic cars, amazing racetracks and accurate physics, this one is sure to warm a racers' heart. The game is so deep that listing all the options would seem endless. Things like 3DTV options, kart racing, NASCAR driving and more will have you in the virtual drivers seat for hours.
Honourable mentions: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Blur, and Split/Second
Best Downloadable Game
Downloadable games are games too â and even though you can't really stocking stuff this one, buying a friend a game like Limbo (Xbox 360) would definitely be in the spirit of gift giving. This side scroller has great puzzles, a unique black and white world, and charming artistic levels provide an excellent level of challenge.
Honourable mentions: Joe Danger, Super Meat Boy
Best Fitness Game
EA Sports Active 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360) are equally impressive games that help make fitness fun â while losing that holiday weight. EA Sports Active 2 comes with a bunch of sensors that track your movement and a useful heart rate monitor that ensures you're burning maximum calories. While Your Shape: FE requires the Kinect to play, the exercises come from Men's and Women's Health magazine and are sure to get you moving to a top notch workout.