Over the past several years, Kratos has cemented himself as one of videogaming's most disgruntled badasses. We all suspected that the final chapter in the furious Spartan's quest for revenge (and Kratos' first original adventure on PS3) would live up to the high expectations set by the first two games.
What we didn't expect is how masterfully God of War III would top the size, scope, and beautiful bloodiness of the high-octane combat and fantasy that made the series a favorite in the first place.
More impressive still is the game's (still relatively unique) ability to deliver pulse-pounding cinematic action without forcing the player to fight with an uncooperative camera. The true depth of Kratos' moveset and arsenal becomes more apparent at higher difficulty settings, keeping the challenge alive for multiple playthroughs. In the end, God of War III leaps over the bar set by its predecessors and sets a new one, delivering the type of feast for the senses in 2010 that can't help but influence what the next crop of action titles hope to achieve.
Runner-up: Super Mario Galaxy 2
Everyone's favorite plumber's latest romp among the planets received some serious love this year, and not just because he was starring in the sequel to one of the best platformers ever made. Super Mario Galaxy 2 proved that sometimes it's okay to give gamers some more of what they want, especially when you're building on such a beloved foundation. Super-fun additions like the Cloud Suit, Rock Suit, Drill, and Yoshi are incorporated into some very inspired level and puzzle design. Despite the fact that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is more iterative than revolutionary, its combination of action and platforming had few peers in 2010.