Games  |  Lists

The 20 Best Videogames of 2010

December 9, 2010  |  7:00am

10. Monster Hunter Tri

Developer: Capcom Production Studio 1

Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Wii

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Capcom did right on the Monster Hunter series’ first foray onto the Wii—beautiful graphics, flawless online play, and a never-ending sense of challenge all work together to make one of the most compelling arguments against all those arguments that the Wii doesn’t have viable “hardcore” games.

9. Heavy Rain

Developer: Quantic Dream

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 3

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By no means was Heavy Rain a perfect game: Its branching stories, even when approached with the most reckless decisions, all eventually dovetail to the major plot points as prescribed by Quantic Dream. But in the grand scheme that’s a niggling gripe compared to all the new and amazing things Heavy Rain ushered into gaming. Taking on the roles of four different characters, all the choices you make as each of them matter. They have consequences that ripple out to the world around you—even if your decisions land them in prison or dead. Either way the story continues on, unrelenting in its gripping noir, making for something not only hard to play all the way through but that’s also memorable all these months later.

8. Just Cause 2

Developer: Avalanche Studios, Eidos Interactive

Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, OnLive

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With no shortage of things to explode or weapons to cause explosions with, and a handy-dandy parachute and grappling hook to get you out of any sticky situation, Just Cause 2 takes the prize for being one of the year’s most over-the-top games around.

7. Super Mario Galaxy 2

Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Wii

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Super Mario Galaxy 2 was truly gorgeous. It also took many of the ideas presented in its planet-hopping predecessor and either carried them farther or took many more bolder risks, the least of which was bringing Yoshi into the mix. Some stages changed to the beat of the background music, others allowed you to mess with the time-space continuum, and all of them exhibited remarkable amounts of inventiveness.

6. Vanquish

Developer: Platinum Games

Publisher: Sega
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

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The greatest bad-good ‘80s action movie that never got made, Vanquish unapologetically dishes out enormous robots, kneepads with jetpacks on them, and a short running time of roughly five hours. There’s no multiplayer and virtually no reason to go back and play after you’ve finished up the first time, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more thrilling ride while it lasts anywhere else.

5. Limbo

Developer: Playdead Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Xbox 360

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Your average gamer might not know what chiaroscuro even is, but they no doubt appreciated the masterful command of black and white shading in this grim and provocative puzzle-platformer. Limbo harkens back to the trial-and-error school of puzzle solving, with “error” here meaning you will die dozens and dozens of times without minding.

4. God Of War III

Developer: Santa Monica Studio

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 3

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Even though Kratos hasn’t had much of an arc over his trilogy, the games he’s been in over the past five years have experienced a renaissance of refinement, with this series-ender game being a showcase for those perfectionist ways. The best elements from the series hallmarks come together in the best way possible, making for an occasionally repetitive but just as often impressive technical and artistic accomplishment.

3. Mass Effect 2

Developer: BioWare

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: Xbox 360

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Mass Effect was a good first effort, but was hard to unabashedly love due to its clunky combat. That and its item-management system were more than fixed in this sequel, a remarkably ambitious action-RPG that fires on all cylinders and makes its forerunner seem almost laughably lame and unwieldy by comparison.

2. Red Dead Redemption

Developer: Rockstar San Diego, Rockstar North

Publisher: Rockstar Games
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

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You can dismissively call it Grand Theft Auto: Old West if you like, but that’d be missing the finer points of this game’s achievements. Its expansive open world never failed to impress or offer something to do outside of the main quest, and its vastly improved gunplay and combat mechanics with period-accurate weapons made this one of the harder games to pry away from.

1. Super Meat Boy

Developer: Team Meat

Publisher: Team Meat
Platform: Xbox 360

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It was more than a little cocky that Team Meat envisioned Super Meat Boy as the flagship for contemporary indie games and also somewhat the spiritual successor to the original Super Mario Bros., but the brutal 2D platformer has succeeded in both endeavors. Agonizingly difficult but never unfair, Super Meat Boy is also reminiscent of the original Donkey Kong, wherein a booby-trap-laden obstacle course is all that stands between you and the girl—before she’s moved to the next screen that’s even more dangerous.

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