It's the last day of June, so we're now halfway through 2010. I've played a lot of games in that time. Wouldn't it be fun if I told you about the best games I've played so far this year?
Today, however, I won't be listing my games of the half-year in any particular order. I'll leave that for my end of year list. But it will be interesting to see how many of these games end up making that final Games of 2010 list.
So, these are the best games I've played this year... so far:
Alan Wake Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: It delivered tense combat where you constantly felt threatened and a gripping story that wisely refused to give you all the answers. Plus, the lighting was phenomenal, creating terror whenever you stepped out of the light. Why it won't: Was it really much more than a well-executed third-person shooter packed full of the usual horror genre clichés?
BioShock 2 Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: For surpassing expectations. 2K Marin gave us a genuinely worthwhile sequel that improved not only on the original's sandbox combat but also - yes - on its story (if not its plot twist). Why it won't: The failure of its multiplayer mode left a sour taste in the mouth.
Heavy Rain Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: I love how Quantic Dream are happy to forge their own path and create such utterly unique games. Why it won't: Innovation and originality might not be enough to overcome the flaws in its storytelling.
Lost Planet 2 Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: Capcom hooked me through co-op play with objectives and boss battles that demand teamwork, and reeled me in with an addictive unlockables system. Why it won't: I might remember what it was like when I tried to play it on my own.
Mass Effect 2 Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: On that final "suicide" mission, BioWare managed to make me feel like a commander who was in charge of a team of real people whose lives were at stake, not just some extra firepower along for the ride. Why it won't: I did miss the bits of RPG that got lost in the journey from original to sequel.
Monster Hunter Tri Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: It's everything I wanted from a Monster Hunter game but could never enjoy thanks to the crappy controls of the PSP predecessors. Why it won't: I can't help but think how much more I'd enjoy it in HD and over Xbox LIVE...
Red Dead Redemption Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: Rockstar has crafted what is easily, without a shadow of doubt, the most atmospheric poker simulator I've ever played. Why it won't: When I eventually leave the bar, I might find the rest of the game pales in comparison.
Redder Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: I'm a sucker for Metroidvania style platforming and this indie effort nails the lonely ambience and complements it with some devious puzzling. Why it won't: Can a free, browser game really compete with all these big-budget commercial releases?
Resonance of Fate Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: After the deathgrip of Final Fantasy XIII cut off the blood supply in my hand, it was refreshing to enjoy an RPG that forced you to work things out for yourself. Why it won't: It really was a bit rough around the edges, though.
Stalker: Call of Pripyat Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: All three Stalker games have held me in their thrall on atmosphere alone, but this time GSC finally assembled and polished all their ideas into one complete package. Why it won't: I nearly forgot about it when writing this list, so what are the chances I'll remember in another six months?
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: Playing it this week reminds me of everything I just adore about Nintendo. Why it won't: I didn't stick with the first one, despite loving it for the first week.
VVVVVV Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: The perversity of a minimal, rock-hard platformer that looks like it was made for the Commodore 64 appearing in any best of 2010 list does appeal to me. Why it won't: As with Redder, how do I even start to compare this to the rest of the games here?
So there's my list. Of course I haven't played every game released this year, which may explain why your favourite missed out. Or perhaps - just possibly - I thought your favourite to be a bit rubbish.
What would be on your list of the games of the half-year?
And what games do you think I really ought to play before compiling my Games of 2010 list at the year's end?