The Top 7... Best games of 2010 (so far)

2010 is special. Normally, when we choose the best games from the first half of the year, we're taking time to recognize and celebrate stuff that will be forgotten by December. Take a look at 2009's winner, for example, and then check how many Platinum Chalices that title received just a few months later. From number one… to only one mention.

This Top 7, however, could easily serve as a blueprint for our eventual end-of-year awards. Six of the games received "10/10" from GamesRadar, and total countdown combined, almost 150 perfect scores from the industry as a whole. What follows, then, aren't merely the best of 2010 so far. Judging by their quality and by the rest of the release calendar, these might be the best of 2010 – period.

Above: These games are great… but in a year that started like this, not nearly great enough

7. Bayonetta

GamesRadar's review

The great thing about Bayonetta is the way it doesn't cut any corners. Where Devil May Cry 4 would make you fight a previously-beaten boss again, Bayonetta throws in a Space Harrier remake. Where Heavenly Sword gives you a QTE run down a giant rope, Bayonetta gives you a fully-controllable dash up a boss's tongue. And where almost any game would pad out a level with a fetch and carry quest, Bayonetta sends you to a spectacular new area where you get to jump across slow-motion fountains and find an hourglass that rewinds time. There's just so much imagination and quality here, it's embarrassing for everyone else.

The gameplay is impeccably balanced and always fair. Learning how to use witch time is only your first step to mastering the combat, which can be augmented until you can block any attack. Even then, the challenge of finishing levels without taking a single hit is the hardest of hardcore challenges – and you'll really want those elusive Pure Platinum grades.

Bayonetta herself may not be immediately likeable – a lot of gamers are put off by her overt sexuality – but we reckon she's one of the strongest and most developed characters in gaming. And besides, any girl who wears her own hair as a catsuit is alright in our book.

6. Final Fantasy XIII

GamesRadar's review

Nowadays it's normal, and almost expected, to encounter a few bugs in every game, so there's something fundamentally, indescribably pleasing about playing through an epic 50- to 60-hour experience in which you can just feel that every last detail was entirely deliberate and thoughtfully considered.  Final Fantasy XII oozes that perfection from every pixel, and represents not only a great technical achievement, but also a milestone – no other current-gen title has anywhere near the level of polish.

Specifically, let's talk about the battle system. In the proud tradition of previous Final Fantasies, XIII takes the Active Time Battle we all know and love, then adds its own twist: the Paradigm system. ATB was originally introduced to make battles more fast-paced than traditional turn-based RPGs, but the Paradigm system takes this a step further, creating some of the fastest, tensest action the genre has ever seen. We dare anyone who claims that the battles play themselves to complete all 64 Cie'th Stone missions without uttering the word "impossible" at least once.

Final Fantasy's ensemble cast isn't entirely lovable, it's true, but the good characters are really, really good. Sazh in particular is a GamesRadar office favorite, and we'd go so far as to play a Chocobo Racing sequel if he were in it – Square-Enix, make it happen!


Top 7

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  • Cloud1Fair3 - December 12, 2010 5:32 a.m.

    Hmmm... not sure about FF13, obviously as my name suggests I'm a huge final fantasy fan. But I'm gonna agree with the Game Informer review that said it isn't a final fantasy feeling game, it's so fundamentally different from any final fantasy that it should be it's own game series. As an rpg it was alright, the combat is what makes it even playable for me, the story, characters and gameplay in general(100% linear???) made me dislike it. It might be biased but God of War 3 deserves to top this list for obvious reasons (I just killed a titan and a god in a matter of 15 minutes=erection lasting more than 4 hours). Anyways, now that the year is almost over, I'm gonna say just off what I've played not neccessarily a for sure, but Assassins Creed Brotherhood needs to be a top 5 of the year if not #1. So get on that gamesradar and maybe you'll earn my respect again as best online gaming site. IGN is a tough competitor.
  • TheTrooper424 - November 11, 2010 1:33 p.m.

    Mass Effect 2 FTW! How can you even compare Red Dead to that? I have both and personally I think RDR is just a GTA sequel with different skin. Instead of stealing cars you steal horses though...
  • Zepaw - October 14, 2010 3:37 a.m.

    I finally got around to playing RDR for real. I gave it a try but got so bored with the driving miss daisy mission I quit about a half hour in. I had too many games I wanted to play more at the time. I still believe Mass Effect 2 is my GOTY, but I can totally stand behind you giving it #1 in this list. Fantastic and deep game.
  • Chojiroll - September 24, 2010 4:07 p.m.

    @everyone who thinks ME2 should be top: I'm actually happy people are able to review games fairly. FF13 not being high up or ME2 being top are two good signs.
  • Sleuth - September 3, 2010 1:45 a.m.

    Great list here. ME 2 is certainly my favorite game of all time.
  • thegamer183 - August 5, 2010 3:43 a.m.

    red dead kicks ass
  • freezi42 - July 21, 2010 6:22 p.m.

    top 7 for me are dojo 6.poke'mon p&g 5.god of war 3 4.modern warfare 2 hunter tri 2.Halo 3 1.Left for dead 2
  • awil117 - July 20, 2010 4:06 p.m.

    Yes! I'm going to challenge it! Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Dead Rising 2. :D
  • tayruh - July 19, 2010 8:21 p.m.

    Wow.. maybe I just hate life, but Mass Effect 2 is the only game I like in this list. Though, to be honest, I haven't enjoyed many games released this year, so these probably *are* the best ones this year. That's sad.
  • Bateman666666 - July 6, 2010 1:43 p.m.

    XBOX 360 EXCLUSIVES xbox winner of the year for games...
  • Ashkael - July 4, 2010 4:04 p.m.

    The fact that FFXIII and BioShock 2 are considered to be on the same level as ME2 and GOW3 invalidates this entire list. I have never had a worse time playing a current generation game than I had in FFXIII. And BioShock 2 was a completely unnecessary sequel that added little to the actual gameplay. It was more of an expansion pack than an actual game.
  • MangaPunkSai - July 4, 2010 12:57 a.m.

    Big toss-up between Mass Effect 2, Red Dead, and Bayonetta. I love the Mass Effect series, I liked Red Dead ALOT more than I expected to, and Bayonetta is a unique, campy romp that is fun to play over and over and over.
  • TheHolyHandGrenade - July 4, 2010 12:56 a.m.

    Red Dead Redemption = Batman Arkham Asylam? Game of the Year, calling it.
  • Killadis9 - July 3, 2010 10:35 p.m.

    RDR is the best game of all time. the credit music should be Wanted Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi and the game has traditional online competitive gaming and co-op [DLC] for around 60 dollars. Just Cause 2 should be at least 7th place for amazing graphics and gameplay for 4 stars but it should have multiplayer 4 more quality. assassins creed brotherhood, medel of honor and gran turismo 5 are top quality games to look out for later in the year PS: whoever thinks fat princess should be here is retarded
  • egregious - July 3, 2010 2:23 p.m.

    I eventually grew to enjoy Super Mario Galaxy 2 by the time I reached World 4, but my biggest gripe with the game is the fact that all of the characters that are talking down to the player like you're a four-year-old child. I also can't tell if Nintendo is serious or not trying to actually have a story in Mario games, but can we please get past "Bowser kidnaps Peach?" At this point it's obviously a running joke for Nintendo, but if the goal in the end is simply for Mario to defeat Bowser, you have a nearly endless amount of opportunities for even a slightly better story.
  • bambooshark81 - July 3, 2010 3:02 a.m.

    what no assasins creed
  • th3warr1or - July 2, 2010 1:57 p.m.

    Agreed with the placement of RDR. #1 game of the year IMO.
  • G_R7 - July 1, 2010 11:38 p.m.

    I haven't played Red Dead but thats because I am bored of sandboxes. However, I may give it a go sooner or later. But so far, the best game I have played this year is Super Mario Galaxy 2.
  • Kytl - July 1, 2010 8:43 p.m.

    Monster Hunter Tri should've been on this list somewhere.
  • dxlightning - July 1, 2010 4:17 p.m.

    Absolutely disagree with Bayonetta and FFXIII. Bayonetta is just Devil May Cry with a twist, you might as well have Dante's Inferno on there if you really think this is a top 7 game. If it were me I'd have Monster Hunter 3 at 6, Alan Wake at 7 - though I think it'd be best to just keep it at 5, because as good as those games are I'm sure they'll be surpassed by games in the second half of the year.