2010 was an incredible year for gaming, to say the least.
Nintendo fans got the phenomenal Super Mario Galaxy 2, PlayStation fans got the brutally-superb God of War III, and Xbox players got Halo Reach. An unbelievably solid year all-around, but a certain sequel might have been the finest game to release that year.
Yes, Mass Effect 2 was an instant classic upon release, building upon the excellent foundation established by its predecessor while streamlining nagging issues that plagued it. Some may have been concerned with EA's acquisition of Bioware, but it was clear the storied developer was still firmly in the driver's seat (at least for the time being).
There certainly had been plenty of other sci-fi games that gave you an experience akin to what Star Trek and Star Wars offered, but ME2 provided the DEFINITIVE sci-fi gaming experience. Players finally had a finely-tuned, adaptive RPG that paid attention to what YOU wanted to do and how YOU shaped each companion's perception of Commander Shepard.
All of this taking place in an engaging storyline that never releases you until the credits, only to then hook you again into playing the next one.
Simply put, Mass Effect 2 remains the golden standard for how great a sci-fi game can be, and here are the reasons why.
10. THAT OPENING
If you're going into ME2 completely blind, you're in for quite a shock with the game's opening. With the first Mass Effect's intro being relatively understated, maybe you expected something along the same lines? Well, what you get is something FAR more unexpected, tense, and immediately engaging.
Seeing the Normandy again and all of the familiar faces within gets you feeling comfortable and safe, then BAM! An unknown threat pops into the picture and wreaks absolute havoc. You're completely on-edge as you don't know what's going on and if everyone's going to make it out safely. Then as you try and get Joker to safety, one more massive blast strikes the Normandy and sends you flying out into the unknown. Wait a minute, did Shepard just die?!
The combination of Shepard hurling through space with only the sounds of panicked exhales and a melancholy piano piece accompanying was a harrowing intro that made your enemies an incredible threat. That, and the immediate motivation to get back at them for what they did to you and your crew. All in the span of about five minutes, Mass Effect 2 has you invested in seeing this journey through to the end.