With so many big releases sprinkled throughout the calendar, it’s worth cutting the gaming wheat from the bargain basement chaff.
To save your wallet and your time, join us as we run through the best games of 2010.
Gran Turismo fans will likely be typing away in the comments section as we speak, but after months of delays and possibly a little too much expectation, it was somewhat inevitable that the racing simulator wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype.
Which is why Need for Speed’s blisteringly fun gameplay roared past the competition and straight into pole position. Burnout meets Mario Kart by way of Grand Theft Auto, it had speed in spades and such a wealth of gameplay options that it dominated its rivals.
The return of the rock game that started it all reminded us why we fell in love with it in the first place. The best track listing (‘Saturday’s Alright For Fighting’), the best instruments (who knew the Keytar could ever be cool?), and the Pro mode (which actually begins to bridge the gap between gimmicky control and actual instrument) are all just new innovations to an already genius formula.
It broke records by the bucketload, and with good reason. The series may have changed developer hands, but only diehard fans could tell the difference. Electrifying, adrenalised and stylish, and with a world-class multiplayer to boot, it’s blockbuster military mayhem in the best possible way.
Ridiculously easy to pick up and yet so infuriatingly difficult to master, Angry Birds became the first breakout mobile game for the new smartphone generation.
Addictive, clever and charmingly endearing, the simple drag and shoot war of the aforementioned narked fowls and their squeaky snuffly pig nemeses is the very definition of ‘time suck’.
While others excelled with graphical innovation and more ingenious use of the touch-screen technology, Angry Birds is the only game to have transcended its 59p limitations to become a veritable cultural phenomenon.
Don’t believe us? Check out this hilariously infantile, utterly stupid (read: brilliant) spoof on Israeli comedy show Eretz Nehederet, which went viral (3 million views and counting).
Seeping with atmosphere, stuffed with clever level design and head-scratching puzzles, Limbo debuted on Xbox Live with fitting understatement – yet you’d be mad to miss it. Haunting, atmospheric and an undeniably unique experience.
BEST ACTION ADVENTURE
Rockstar proved that their sprawling Western was much more than Grand Theft Eastwood, with an adventure overflowing with character and mood that paid faithful homage to its cinematic heritage. Throw in some perfect balanced gunplay, a heap of DLC and the recently released Undead Nightmare add-on and you’ve got the game that keeps on giving.
BEST SPORTS GAME
For the first time in years, the battle between Pro Evo and FIFA didn’t even have to go to extra time – it was a one-sided thumping. Intricate play, clever tactics, stunning visuals and a range of gameplay options make FIFA the one to beat.
Nintendo’s trusty mascot returned with an immersive, entrancing and heart-warming adventure that reminded us why he’s the King of the Platformers. Beautiful graphics, a charming score and flawless level design all combine to help Mario retain his platforming crown.
Mass Effect 2
The fact that Mass Effect was released way back in January and still lingers strong in our memory says it all. Bioware’s sci-fi RPG brought seemingly limitless depth, a sprawling and yet somehow involving storyline, stunning visuals and electrifying action scenes to life with panache. Bring on Mass Effect 3.