While preparing to celebrate the New Year, we put up the nominations for Game Rant’s 2010 Video Game Awards, our first ever official awards to recognize the vast array of video game releases in 2010. Ranging from the best of the year to the most disappointing, and paying special attention to the innovation and gameplay, we celebrated the top five games in seven different categories.

It took us a long, long time to narrow down the the finalists for each category to put together Game Rant’s 2010 Video Game Award Nominations, but not long at all to pick the winners for each, which speaks volumes to the games and developers we honor today.

So, without further ado, here are the winners of Game Rant’s 2010 Video Game Awards:

Best Video Game Story of 2010: Alan Wake

Best Story – Alan Wake

Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Xbox 360

Heavy Rain set the bar high for games in the “Best Story” category back in February with lifelike emotional portrayals of fractured and broken characters but, ultimately, the 3rd person-action game Alan Wake typed its way to the top of our list. While a story about a troubled writer is hardly new ground, Alan Wake’s ability to build and maintain tension, utilize foreshadowing both subtle (the posters of Thomas Zane in the cabin at the beginning of the game) as well as not-so-subtle (novel pages that reference boss fights the player has yet to encounter), make for an engaging and immersive story that flirts with its genre-fiction roots while still managing to provide a wild and thought-provoking ride.

StarCraft 2 is the Best Multiplayer Game of 2010

Best Multiplayer Experience – StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platforms: PC, Mac

Twelve years after the original hit, the much anticipated sequel to StarCraft was finally released. StarCraft 2 quenched the thirst of Blizzard’s fanbase of strategy gamers who have waited over a decade to immerse themselves back into the world (read: universe) of the Protoss, Terrans and Zerg. Now the fastest selling strategy game to date, the multiplayer is unquestionably the top factor for the game’s popularity and the franchise’s longevity. Aside from the lengthy wait, the beautifully enhanced graphics and upgrade to the Battle.net 2.0 platform were part of the great multiplayer experience. There is a multiplayer mode for any type of online gamer, ranging from leagues and ladders to unranked and custom matches – to fit your preferences while ensuring you are properly matched up based on your rank. The multiplayer in StarCraft 2 stood out from the rest, and with two expansions still to come, it’s a safe bet we’ll hear much more about this favorable multiplayer experience for years to come.

Best Gameplay of a 2010 Video Game comes from Bayonetta

Best Gameplay – Bayonetta

Developers: Platinum Games, Nex Entertainment
Publisher: Sega
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

For many, Bayonetta is best-known for its female protagonist: a six-foot tall witch who loses her clothes when she uses her magical hair powers. While some may dismiss this title as a 13-year old boy’s weird sexual fantasy, underneath the layers of this offbeat game, there is a deep combat system that action fans should not miss. Integrating a defensive bullet time feature with a wide range of combat options, Bayonetta’s arsenal of moves and combos are some of the most inventive ever seen in an action title, yet are fluid and easily accessible. Her “torture attack” finishing moves are outlandishly gruesome and really have to be seen to be believed. And is there anything more satisfying than shooting someone in the face with a rocket launcher in your boot? If you said turning into a dragon and biting the head off of your enemy, well, Bayonetta can do that too. Sorry Kratos, but this year Bayonetta danced all over her competitors.

Limbo has the best video game presentation of 2010

Best Presentation – Limbo

Developer: Playdead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade)

Dark, gauzy, dreamlike, nightmarish. No game this year managed a visual presentation more vital to its experience than Playdead’s brilliant Limbo. At once starkly original and unsettlingly familiar, Limbo’s layers of light and shadow, clear foreground silhouettes and obscured, ghostly backdrops conspire to create a pervasive sense of danger lurking unseen, but in plain sight. Every mechanic necessary to completing the game is subtly presented through exclusively visual cues, and players learn quickly that no element of the landscape is trivial. The game’s aesthetic design is inseparable from its mechanics, a singular achievement that handily earns Limbo Game Rant’s Best Presentation award.

Most Disappointing Game of 2010 is Final Fantasy XIV

Biggest Disappointment – Final Fantasy XIV

Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3

Final Fantasy XIV Online, the highly-anticipated MMORPG follow-up to one of the biggest, and most beloved, franchises in the video game industry left many gamers unimpressed – those that could even get online to play it. Despite the quality of the games that came before it, as well as the size of the studio helming the title, FFXIV was plagued with numerous problems that lasted beyond the initial launch including a myriad of server-related glitches, generic missions and characters, as well as an overall “thrown into the deep end” feel, preventing new players from learning the core mechanics (as uninspiring as they were), since the game was lacking a comprehensive tutorial system. Hopefully, the recently announced FFXIII follow-up FFXIII-2 will help restore credibility to the franchise – especially since Final Fantasy XIII was somewhat of a disappointment as well.

Most Innovative game of 2010 is Minecraft

Most Innovative – Minecraft

Developer: Mojang
Publisher: Mojang
Platform: PC (Java)

Doing what all LEGO games have failed to do, Minecraft takes players to the very simple world of 1×1 blocks and lets you do, literally, whatever you want to within it. The indie hit of the 2010, the 3D sandbox Java-based Minecraft has spread like wildfire through word of mouth and gave rise to growing video game industry celebrity, Markus “Notch” Persson. The game, which for some time was only an Alpha build, and more recently a Beta, is buggy and simple in design and execution – yet is limitless in its innovation, creativity, potential, and plain ol’ fun. Minecraft is constantly evolving with frequent updates and a growing library of community-generated skins and mods. Play alone or play with friends, just make sure to build some shelter before night falls or else the Creepers will find you and destroy your creations.

Best Game of 2010 is Mass Effect 2

Game of the Year – Mass Effect 2

Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Improving upon the design elements and intense action of BioWare’s breathtaking 2007 space-based RPG, Mass Effect, and utilizing the decisions your custom-built human hero made in the original space adventure, Mass Effect 2 continues the story of Commander Shepard and the crew of the Normandy. What the sequel may have lacked in RPG elements and customization, it made up for in incredible cinematics, an intriguing continuation of the overarching story, and immersive gameplay, and it paid off in spades with mainstream game audiences. Let us not forget the grueling decisions which affect how your journey, and that of your lifelike teammates, plays out. How fitting it is that Mass Effect 3 is our most anticipated game of 2011. We can’t wait to jump into the shoes of Shepard once again, to save the galaxy and end the Reaper threat once and for all.

Be sure to read our review of Mass Effect 2 to see why you need to play it.

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