Matt Greenop looks back at the best and worst games of 2010.
GAME OF THE YEAR: Red Dead Redemption
(PlayStation3, Xbox 360)
Universally lauded for its massive environment, riveting storylines and good ol' Wild West action, Red Dead Redemption was - like many new games - not perfect right out of the box, but it had something for everyone and updates addressed the bulk of its issues. The giant open world "sandbox" style game, from the hallowed halls of Grand Theft Auto maker Rockstar, was a cross-platform beast that was fed with a continuous stream of downloadable content that meant as soon as you thought the game was over, there was more action to tackle.
God of War 3
Sony finally signed off on the trilogy set in and around Greek mythology with its furious protagonist Kratos. The game had stunning graphics, an incredible story, and asked the big questions - like "Zeus - baby daddy or all-seeing grumpy bastard?" Savagely violent, with challenging mythical beastie enemies to tackle - a must-play for PS3 owners 18-plus.
A true psychological thriller set as TV-style episodes, Wake follows a fiction writer who visits a tiny Twin Peaks-y mountain town with his wife, seeking inspiration. She disappears and he is left losing his mind as he struggles to discern between fact and fiction. Genuinely scary, perfectly paced and riveting. DLC now released.
Mass Effect 2
(Xbox 360, PC)
Commander Shepherd is back in this awesome space adventure that builds on the acclaimed original. He hooks up with the evil Cerberus empire and its weirdo leader to discover why civilisations keep disappearing. A thoroughly absorbing third-person epic that will take 22-ish hours to finish. It's coming soon on PS3, according to rumour.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
(Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
After Infinity Ward's controversial Modern Warfare 2 last year, this Call of Duty title developed by Treyarch took players through Vietnam, Cuba and Russia. There are intense levels in this frantically paced, market-slaying killfest. Online glitches for PC and PS3 won't be forgotten though.
BEST HANDHELD: God of War: Ghosts of Sparta. Best PSP graphics yet, a clever combat system and frustrating, addictive puzzles.
BEST RPG: Fable 3. Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios excel again with this giant game. It's darker than earlier Fable titles, but with much more at stake. Few can play it only once.
BEST FAMILY: Kinect Adventures. A bit light, but the only game I've ever seen three generations pick up and play together without fights or hours of instruction.
BEST SPORTS: Tiger Woods PGA. Using the PlayStation Move like a golf club, this is as close to the real sporting experience as you'll get. St Andrews' old course in the living room? Nice.
BEST COMMUNITY: ModNation Racers. Technically unbelievable amount of things to build, tweak and render - in real time. Massively creative community kart racing. It killed Mario Kart.
BEST WII: Goldeneye. A respectful remake of the N64 classic offers the best first-person shooter on Wii, and is a brilliant multiplayer.
BEST IN 3D: Call of Duty: Black Ops. You don't know fear until someone fires an RPG through your lounge. Outstanding.
BEST MOBILE: Angry Birds. There are more technically clever games, but 30-odd million addicts can't be wrong. The new "Seasons"' version is equally awesome.
BEST MULTIPLAYER: Halo: Reach. The prequel to the Halo series has so many multiplayer options, online and off, that it's hard to beat.
WORST GAME: It's a toss-up between the huge mess of Tron Evolution or the crap Winter Olympics title Vancouver 2010, undoubtedly one of Sega's worst-ever games. We don't recommend either to anyone. Ever.
COMING IN 2011
NINTENDO 3DS: Nintendo's "no glasses" 3D handheld was unveiled at the E3 show in Los Angeles. The 3D effect is stunning, and with a huge back catalogue of games in its arsenal, there's real potential for the 3DS. it was on many a Christmas list, but Nintendo has cruelly left us waiting. Expect a release date to be announced early in 2011.
Film noir comes to the console with another Rockstar behemoth. Developed by Aussie's Team Bondi, it is set in a "perfectly recreated 1947 Los Angeles" and features a beautiful graphics style in a world of gangsters, drugs and money - all set to a sweet, sweet jazz soundtrack.
Dead Space 2
Survival horror at its grisly, gory and nasty finest. Set on space station Sprawl, the mental illness from the Necromorph infection is spreading fast, and affecting our protagonist. The original was meaty and evil. This is even better.By Matt Greenop Email Matt