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Games of 2010: Tom's Edition
by Tom Acres

2010 has, for the most part, been a fantastic year for games. Whilst there may not have been as many truly outstanding titles as in previous years, the quality of the top-tier games in 2010 was perhaps greater than any year in memory.

We've been treated to improved and refined sequels, gawped at some great new IPs, used up download quotas on some truly wonderful downloadable games and played to death plenty of great expansions for older games that have kept the likes of Borderlands and Uncharted 2 relevant one year on.

It's been a challenge narrowing down my favourite games of the year, but I've managed it. These are the games I've enjoyed the most and spent the most time playing - these are my Games of 2010.

5: FIFA 11

I'm a huge football fan, so I can definitely appreciate a great football game and EA Sports delivered one of those with FIFA 11. Managing to improve and refine the already brilliant FIFA 10 is no easy feat, but that's just what the folk at EA Sports managed to do. The gameplay is as realistic as any football game to date, there are plenty of modes to play through, and the improvements to the graphics are most welcome. It's one of those rare sports titles that can be enjoyed even if you aren't a huge football fan, which is a fantastic achievement. In terms of hours played, FIFA 11 is probably at the top of list.

4: Call of Duty: Black Ops

Following up on Modern Warfare 2 was never going to be easy, but Treyarch stepped up to the mark and in my opinion crafted the best Call of Duty game yet with Black Ops. The campaign was well-designed with a genuinely intriguing story, and the usual smattering of competitive online modes have seen me sink dozens of hours into the game. The return of Zombies provides us with some great and unpredictable co-op, and it's all wrapped up in one of the best audio and visual presentations this year. If you like shooters, you won't find a better one in 2010.

3: Red Dead Redemption

I wasn't a huge fan of Grand Theft Auto IV, so for Rockstar to suck me in to Red Dead Redemption and for me to enjoy it was something I didn't expect. For a start, the game looks and sounds stunning, with a beautifully realised world that really does feel alive and different every time you pop the disc in. The story is of the highest order, with memorable characters and incredible set pieces. Add to that some inspired and well designed gameplay mechanics, which are far more intuitive and fun than GTA, and you've got the base of a truly great game. What stood out for me though was the multiplayer: the free roaming, the team modes, the co-op and all that came with it were so addicting and so damn fun that it should be experienced by everyone. Oh, and there's that Zombie DLC... brilliant.

2: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

This might seem like a crazy choice, but goodness me: this game is just flat out fun. The feeling of playing cops and robbers in the world's most desirable cars, over the roads of a beautiful landscape with a rocking soundtrack blasting in your ears is the stuff of childhood dreams. This core mode is supplemented by standard racing and time trials, but it all works because of the fast paced and action packed gameplay which is a joy to play. The multiplayer will keep you coming back, the innovative Autolog feature makes everything competitive and worth trying, and the game looks stunning. This is like the Top Gear of racing games: crazy, explosive fun... with cars.

1. Mass Effect 2

You only have to read my review to know why I think this game is so damn good, and why I love it so much. I've completed the game three times, each time doing all the missions and side-quests and I've played through all the DLC. This game is huge, with an incredible story in which your decisions do really matter. The way in which your choices from the first game are carried into this one is an incredibly innovative and well done element of the story, and it makes your adventure feel totally personal and unique. The characters are so well written, the set pieces are stunning and there's still plenty of mystery left to answer in the third act of this incredible trilogy. Not only that, the gameplay itself is phenomenal. The shooting can easily stand up against industry juggernauts like Gears of War and Uncharted, whilst the other elements like the conversation system and the vehicle segments are also far enhanced over the first game. It's got incredible voice acting and music, with stunning visuals both technically and artistically to match. Games don't come any better than this; simply stunning, and certainly my game of the year by a long way. PS3 gamers: don't you dare miss out on this when it releases later in the month.

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- Tom Acres

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