In the far reaches of space, one man (or woman, if you'd prefer) holds the key to the salvation and preservation of the human race. In Mass Effect 2 players are introduced to a host of new characters that fight alongside Commander Shepard. While Shepard can be crafted to be as good or as bad as you want him or her to be, the character manages to remain a completely memorable figure in the world of video games for what he or she is able to accomplish.
It may be spoilerish to say (although, it happens within the first five minutes of the game), Shepard literally comes back to life and with him a completely new experience is born. Throwing out much of the original title's gameplay, Mass Effect 2 turns into an intense shooting experience with a focus on telling an incredible story, rather than spending hours buried within menus. Not only is Mass Effect 2 the best role-playing game to come out of 2010, it may be one of the best role-playing titles ever developed.
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Runner-up: Final Fantasy XIII
One of the most divisive titles released in recent memory, Final Fantasy XIII has a love it or hate it relationship with gamers. While the game takes it's sweet time trusting gamers with some of its more "advanced" features, Final Fantasy XIII tells a heroic story with a number of memorable characters. Beautiful from top to bottom with fantastic gameplay--if you're willing to work for it--we're definitely in the camp of loving Final Fantasy XIII and think it came close to being named the best role-playing game of the year.