Even though it was first released in January 2010, BioWare's PS3 port of Mass Effect 2 narrowly beat out all other contenders to take home our very first "Game of the Month" award. The fact it came to Sony's console a full year after 360 and PC doesn't diminish its ambitious scale, gripping plot and aggressive gunplay in the least, and we'd recommend it over any other new game this month - assuming, yeah, you haven't already finished it like three or four times.
As a consolation prize for waiting 12 agonizing months, PS3 owners received on the disc all the additional DLC that 360/PC players had to wait and pay for individually - that means Overlord, Kasumi's Stolen Memory and the vastly important Lair of the Shadow Broker are yours from the get-go. It's a nice gesture, but no amount of bonus content can disguise the fact that ME2 heavily pulls from prior ME1 save data - something the PS3 simply cannot offer, as the first game never made it over.
To that end, BioWare created that motion comic above, which enables you to make some crucial plot-point decisions that will carry over into your new ME2 game. Problem is, you have to download the comic (it's not included on the disc) so a large number of people with no net connection won't have the opportunity to directly influence the game's story. Furthermore, there are some odd issues that weren't present on 360/PC, such as the framerate dipping in certain areas and sound effects not loading properly, but they're not widespread and nowhere near the level of slop millions had to put up with in games like Far Cry 2 and New Vegas. Despite these minor shortcomings, ME2 rises above and still delivers a must-play experience that's finally open to those who chose Sony over Microsoft.
So hats off to BioWare and its staggering mix of story, character development and tactical cover-based shooting. So many games try to do one of those things right and fail - ME2 excels at them all.
Visceral Games added multiplayer, crafted a better story, programmed some spectacular new action sequences and finally provided hero Isaac Clarke with a personality, but what we’re really loving about Dead Space 2 is how similar this sequel is to the quiet, isolated original. The real star is still the atmosphere: stunningly futuristic settings that we could stare at for hours if they weren’t covered in so much bizarre alien gore and quietly tragic details. Succeed in fighting your way through Titan Elementary and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
And yeah, we may have given LittleBigPlanet 2 a higher score, but the office consenus is that Dead Space 2 is the more exciting, more immediately appealing game. How's about you - anything other than these three make an impression on you in January 2011?
Mass Effect 2 super review
One of the greatest games of the modern generation, now on PS3
12 gaming mysteries we want solved in 2011
We've got some burning questions. Hopefully this year's games have answers
Dead Space 2 schematics guide
Find every weapon and armor schematic our handy guide