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Game on: The 10 best video games of 2010

By this point in the year, nearly every game that will come out in 2010 is already on store shelves.

With the end of the year comes my annual look at the best games released throughout the year.

This has been a strong year for the Nintendo Wii among hardcore and legacy gamers, and the PlayStation 3 has started to hold its own against the Xbox 360. That competition has made it tough to narrow down a top 10 list of games for 2010, but it also means there are plenty of quality games out there for potential gifts this holiday season.

10. “NBA 2K11”: This game offers the usual annual basketball game experience, but adds a retrospective of Michael Jordan’s career that must be played to be appreciated.

9. “Battlefield: Bad Company 2”: EA hoped “Medal of Honor” would present a challenge to the market dominance of “Call of Duty,” but “Bad Company 2” is the true top competitor to the best-selling “Call of Duty” franchise.

8. “Splinter Cell: Conviction”: I think this is the best Tom Clancy-branded game ever released.

7. “Halo: Reach”: Bungie leaves the “Halo” series with a strong final effort. In the year of the big-name sequels, “Halo: Reach” is one of the best.

6. “Rock Band 3”: Harmonix added a keyboard to the equation and a souped up pro guitar mode to keep this franchise well ahead of the rest of the music games.

5. “Limbo”: In a year full of great downloadable games, “Limbo” stands above the rest. The bleak game is a throwback platformer complete with simple but beautiful graphics.

4. “Super Mario Galaxy 2”: 2010 was the best year yet for Nintendo Wii games, and this was the best of the bunch -- and perhaps the best Wii game yet overall. This is like the “Citizen Kane” of 2010 games, with so much innovation and experimentation that will influence games for quite some time.

3. “Call of Duty: Black Ops”: Treyarch showed it can make a “Call of Duty” game just as strong as the two Infinity Ward made. This game has a standout campaign mode to go with the always strong multiplayer.

2. “God of War III”: If this was the final chapter in Kratos’ journey (I’m sure it won’t be with the money this series rakes in), the developers sent their hero out with a bang.

1. “Red Dead Redemption”: This was my top game for the first half of the year, and it stayed at the top of the list through the rest of the year. This is probably Rockstar Games’ best release so far.

Honorable mentions: “Alan Wake,” “Angry Birds,” “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood,” “Blur,” “Dead Rising 2,” “Deathspank,” “Donkey Kong Country Returns,” “Goldeneye 007,” “Gran Turismo 5,” “Just Cause 2,” “Madden NFL 11,” “Mass Effect 2” and “Split/Second.”