This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
"Mass Effect 2" (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) • If there ever were a top example of the cinematic potential for video gaming, the epic storytelling in Electronic Arts' "Mass Effect 2" demonstrated interactive entertainment can be just as engrossing as the best movies.
In this superlative sequel, Shepard (controlled by the player) has been rescued from his burning spaceship by a shadowy human organization and thrust into a galactic conflict between races of aliens. What unfolds is a truly interactive story that gives the player the power to control Shepard's fate, all while encountering interesting, fully fleshed-out characters. If only today's Hollywood science-fiction films could be as compelling.
2. "Red Dead Redemption" (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) • Simply the best action-adventure Western video game ever released, featuring first-rate writing, beautiful visuals, cinema-quality cutscenes and this year's greatest protagonist, John Marston.
3. "Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty" (PC) • After a grueling 12-year wait, Blizzard finally released a sequel to its prized futuristic real-time strategy game that's better in every way. Alien invasions have never been such fun or so addictive.
4. "God of War III" (PlayStation 3) • Kratos, the beefy warrior of Olympus, returns in this spectacularly big action setpiece in which he battles more gargantuan monsters of Greek mythology. Even James Cameron can't make a movie feel as epic as this.
5. "Bioshock 2" (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) • The diesel-punk-inspired sequel to 2007's best first-person shooter is thankfully similar in visual atmosphere, but also offers the new experience of playing a Big Daddy rather than a stranded plane-crash survivor.
6. "Halo: Reach" (Xbox 360) • The popular Xbox shooter series finally gets a campaign mode that matches the quality of its legendary multiplayer options.
7. "Fallout: New Vegas" (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) • The post-apocalyptic RPG sandbox moves west in this familiar-but-engaging chapter in the ever-expanding "Fallout" saga.
8. "Gran Turismo 5" (PlayStation 3) • Again, it was an agonizing wait for the latest version of this popular racing-car simulation game, but it was worth it. The result is a gorgeous, realistic game that re-creates the thrill of driving.
9. "Space Miner" (iPhone) • With apologies to those angry birds, this "Asteroids"-style space-blasting game combines humor and role-playing elements to make it truly this year's most addictive game-on-the-go.
10. "Super Mario Galaxy 2" (Wii) • The popular Nintendo-platform video game improved on every aspect of its predecessor, making it the best game available for the Wii.