Every year it's a struggle narrowing down the dozens of brilliant releases to a final top ten, and 2010 was no different. In fact, it was so difficult that instead of a brief list of honourable mentions, we count down to our final list with ten titles that almost made the cut. You can see what joins Grand Theft Auto IV and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as our latest Game of the Year winner in our Top Ten feature on Boxing Day.
BioShock 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
From our review: "BioShock 2 builds admirably on the first game's brilliance, while adding some welcome tweaks and new additions, including a solid multiplayer offering. The pacing is strong and the sense of atmosphere, mystery and genuine fear remain in full effect. As long as players do not expect to be quite so awestruck and enthralled as with the original BioShock, they will find that the return to Rapture delivers an exhilarating, enjoyable and genuinely scary adventure under the sea."
Heavy Rain (PS3)
There was nothing else quite like Heavy Rain in 2010. Jumping between an ensemble cast of characters - a journalist, private investigator, police officer and father of a missing child - players investigated a series of clues and mysteries left behind by a serial killer. Decisions and actions would impact the narrative and effect outcome of the story, going as far as killing characters off for good, and pleasingly left out all the supernatural nonsense that set back spiritual predecessor Fahrenheit. One of the PlayStation 3's most unique and standout exclusives.
Rock Band 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)
From our review: "Rock Band 3 is the definitive music game thanks to its excellent soundtrack, wonderful gameplay and its added educational appeal. Its biggest drawback is that in order to get the most out of the game, players will need to fork out some serious cash in order to pick up the new Pro instruments and keyboard. However, even without the new additions, the game is still highly enjoyable thanks to its deep career mode and vast array of customisable features. Considering the demise of the rhythm action genre, it's great to see that Harmonix isn't prepared to go down without a fight."
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty (PC, Mac)
From our review: "It's visually stunning, exceptionally balanced and simplistic enough to pick up and play from the off. Given that Wings Of Liberty is merely the base game, fans have plenty to look forward to with Zerg and Protoss campaigns in the pipeline and the promise of additional DLC through the in-game Marketplace. With so much scope for expansion and early evidence suggesting that a thriving online community is emerging, StarCraft II is sure to go supernova."
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
While Medal Of Honour was Electronic Arts' direct response to Modern Warfare, DICE's first-person sequel probably did a better job at countering Activision's monster franchise. Instead of mimicking its linear corridors and massive set-pieces, it went with what Battlefield does best - offering huge multiplayer skirmishes with vehicular play - while keeping Bad Company's console roots intact. It's been supported with a healthy number of DLC packs since release, including a recent Vietnam expansion that transforms everything from maps to the weapons themselves.
Bejeweled 3 (PC, Mac)
From our review: "Bejeweled 3 is without doubt the jewel in Popcap's crown thanks to a vast array of enjoyable game modes and the incredibly addictive challenge it offers. Popcap Games could easily justify releasing an entire game dedicated to Diamond Mine, which is just one of the many essential game modes. Here's hoping the developers don't wait another six years to release the next sequel, although you'll be having too much fun with this one to care."
Super Meat Boy (Xbox Live, PC)
From our review: "Top it off with an irresistibly catchy soundtrack, homages to classic games, an amusing cast of side-characters as well as playable cameos from indie gaming royalty, it's a game that just continues to surprise and entertain. Its only point of contention is its difficulty, and although Super Meat Boy features some of the most horrendous challenges you're likely to come across in a meat-based product, its charm and subtle willingness to see you succeed ensures you'll lap up every blood-soaked moment it has to offer."
GoldenEye 007 (Wii)
From our review: "While the cynics might call it a contrived attempt at cashing in on the popularity of the original, GoldenEye 007 is arguably one of the best Wii titles of the year. Striking a good balance between old and new, the game appeals to old-schoolers and contemporary FPS fans alike. It would have been easy for EuroCom to simply rehash the original, so it's refreshing to see the studio put its own stamp on the formula while acknowledging its roots. Obviously, it's nowhere near as groundbreaking as the N64 version was in its day, but GoldenEye 007 is a view to a thrill nonetheless."
FIFA 11 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
From our review: "FIFA 11 takes the winning formula offered in last year's game and improves things just enough to warrant a further purchase. Perhaps the biggest compliment that can be paid to EA Sports is that it's difficult to see how the developers can keep things fresh for future instalments, because eventually, offering only minor improvements will leave players debating whether or not to reinvest. But in terms of this year's release, EA Sports has another cup-winning FIFA on its hands, which certainly justifies its tag as the best football game of this generation."
Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360, PS3)
From our review: "The wealth of adjustments also makes it an obvious game to recommend: the frequent tutorials and lax approach to failure - dropping you outside of battle with no punishment - as well as its linearity throughout all its systems makes it feel welcome to anyone. And while it does scale back the freedom and exploration that seasoned players cry out for, an explosion of side-content awaits in the latter stages, before returning to the straight-and-narrow for the home stretch. Despite its allowances, it still offers an epic, world-spanning adventure, and ultimately, that's what a Final Fantasy game is all about."
What do you think will be Digital Spy's game of 2010? Join us on Boxing Day when we'll list our ten best games of the year.