Choosing our favourite games of 2010 was no easy task, with arguments, witchcraft and mathematical equations all being used to take hundreds of games and whittle them down to just 20. Read on for our thoughts on the games that just missed out on the Top 10 and head to our Game of the Year 2010 hub from Monday December 20 for the start of our video countdown from 10-1, as well as access to loads of other content.
20: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Ezio's back, look at that. This sequel-to-a-sequel is quite possibly the best title in the series so far. Brotherhood has learned its lessons from the previous two games: it's changed its combat to be faster, maintained the charming personality of AC2 and chucked out the tedious visual puzzles that littered the last game. The overarching storyline might continue to slowly unfold at the usual glacial pace, but Ezio's Renaissance tale is still teeming with life.
19: Demon's Souls
It's hardcore. In fact it's bloody hard. The game continuously punishes you but gives you incentives to keep pushing forward. It might have a niche appeal but for that handful of masochists and gamers tired of the industry's tendency to hold your hand it's an ideal title. And yes, we know it came out everywhere but the UK in 2009, but we only got it this year.
Bizarre Creations' Blur might have had disappointing sales but it's still a must-have for fans of arcade racing, or just anyone who finds the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo a little dull. The racing genre might be oversaturated but, with some of the best community and social features ever seen in a video game alongside plenty of multiplayer options, Blur proves there's still some innovation left.
17: Civilization V
We're five Civilizations in but the game continues to try and perfect its formula. The game is even more polished than it was last time around but the biggest change is to the tiles. Civilization V has gone all hexagonal, which changes the pace of the game and even the way you expand your nation. Needless to say, it's a strong addition to one of the best turn-based strategy series' of all time.
16: FIFA 11
It's football! Your kick things with your legs! It's a series that's been around for eternity, and it also happens to be a brilliant one. EA has taken something that was great to begin with and fixed it. Now FIFA feels even more realistic than in FIFA 10, and the game is more rewarding, somewhat more difficult, and impossibly fine-tuned. Shame lots of the players still look like freakish waxworks of themselves.
15: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
This isn't your Dad's Castlevania. Lords of Shadow is a gorgeous and viciously aggressive title. With influence from God of War along with Shadow of the Colossus and a combination of combat, climbing, platform jumping and puzzles, the gameplay is surprisingly varied. It's truly an adventure of epic proportions.
14: Super Meat Boy
He's super. He's made of meat. He's a boy. With that premise out of the way you can concentrate on the stupendous gameplay. This platformer is tough, but it's widely considered one of the greatest the genre has produced. It's incredibly fast, and sometimes so difficult tears will start falling from your eyes, but you'll inevitably end up begging for more.
A game that came out at the beginning of 2010 and was in danger of being forgotten twelve months later. But who could forget the ol' girl? Bayonetta is larger than life and indulges in her own cartoonishness. Wearing a skin-tight suit made of her own hair (yeah) and consistently coming out with sassy one-liners, she immediately stands out from the crowd of this year's slew of video game characters. The combat is incredibly in-depth, but the story and characters are completely barmy.
12: God of War 3
God of War 3 takes you through ancient mythology like it's a series of immensely pretty tourist attractions. From Mount Olympus to the River Styx, to standing on the back of Titans, it's an intense, bloody, and beautiful affair. We reckon it's got the most spectacular opening hour of any game we've played this year. The massive fight against Poseidon ranks as one of the most entertaining video game moments of all time.
11: Alan Wake
Whether you like his character or not, Alan Wake explores one of the most interesting game settings of the last ten years. Taking its cues from the likes of Twin Peaks and to a lesser extent the X-Files, this title is weird, eerie, and immensely cinematic. It also has one of the best game soundtracks, period, featuring the likes of David Bowie and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Never will playing a fiction writer feel more action-packed. Alan Wake was a long time coming, but certainly worth the wait.
For more end of year content, head over to our Game of the Year 2010 hub. Amongst other things you'll be able to watch videos in which we talk about each game in the Top 10.