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A list that recaps the hottest video games in December has three distinct advantages. One, they wrap up the year in interactive digital entertainment, listing all the dope video games you have -- or should have played. Two, with the holidays, it serves as a no-brainer gift guide for your friends, or if a game falls into the “should have” category, a present for yourself. Three, with time off from school or work, you can hunker down and get some quality play time in.

Enough with the intro on what is a self-explanatory article, go out and cop a game or two, turn off your cell phone, power up your console/PC, load up on Red Bull and get down.

The Five Hottest Games of 2010

#5 Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty

I hate waiting. As in I detest it more than the cast of Jersey Shore does skin whitening creams. But waiting for cheese, cognac or Miley Cyrus to turn of legal age (wait, she is now?) is nothing compared to the patience-testing Blizzard inflicted with the Starcraft sequel.

Not two, five or ten, but 12 freaking years. Ridiculous. But, despite the fact that you can play only as a Terran (For the Protoss and Zerg campaign you have to, you guessed it, wait for it), the online Battle.net is the bee’s knees, making Wings of Liberty worth the wait. Almost. Ok, it totally was.

#4 Mass Effect II

Mass Effect is the closest thing to digital Tofurky. It took two genres previously thought incompatible and combined them -- only unlike the faux poultry, BioWare made the fusion yummy.

Taking the character building depth in RPGs and the thrilling action of a third-person shooter, Mass Effect II takes off where the last game ended, placing you in Commander Shepard’s space shoes in what is a suicide mission (naturally). Combining character development, strong storyline and great gameplay, Mass Effect II has the rare ability to give an RPG game mass appeal.

#3 Call of Duty: Black Ops

I have a confession. I enjoyed Call of Duty: World at War -- like thoroughly enjoyed. While it was no Modern Warfare, it was still good fun.

The playability was in vein with the COD franchise and there’s a sick thrill putting down a Japanese soldier running at full Banzai Charge. Treyarch, the Activision developer behind the red-headed World at War, is back with Black Ops and the Cold War has never been so much fun.

#2 Gran Turismo 5

With every iteration of Gran Turismo, the folks over at Polyphony manage to push the boundaries of auto-realism. And with GT 5, other than going down to the dealership with a pocketful of cash and A-plus credit, it’s about as real as it gets -- especially the premium cars modeled down to the last detail.

Plus, it’s the only game where you can drive the Red Bull X2010, the fastest car in the (digital) world.

#1 Red Dead Redemption

If you like Grand Theft Auto and Clint Eastwood (pre-director days), chances are, you’ll like Red Dead Redemption.

Developed by Rockstar, of GTA infamy, Red Dead takes place during the waning days of the wild west, where you play John Marston, a former outlaw still down to do some dirt. While there are no cars to jack, “hot coffee” to drink and the only thing you ride is a horse, there are more than just a few redeeming aspects to the game.

Other Hot Video Games from 2010

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