Top (And Bottom) Games of the Year 2010 – Gaming Article
Picking the top 5 movies of 2010? Easy. You’re pulling from one source; two if you count direct to video as something glaringly different than the traditional “starts at the cinema” model. Try picking 5 games – do you stick to the Xbox 360 and the PS3? What about the Wii? Or the PSP, or DS, or the explosion of mobile device gaming on iPhone, iPad, WP7, and Android? Don’t forget about PC…
So, rather than applying some sort of scientific process to set all consoles and games on a level playing field, we’re splitting it up this year; say hello to your top games of 2010, plus a ton more notable runners-up!
Best Multiplatform game of 2010 – Red Dead Redemption
This was a tough one, with so many great multiplatform games out. Why did I choose Red Dead Redemption as the best 2010 had to offer? Simple: I hate Grand Theft Auto. I hate Westerns. Yet, I love Red Dead Redemption. Go figure.
Take the sandbox nature of the GTA series and take it as far out of the big city as possible. Add mountain lions, horses, a huge play area including California and Mexico, and some DLC zombies for good effect, and you’ve got a game that really can cater to everyone. Red Dead Redemption is ideal for those who love a good story (and what a doozy of an ending!), those who can spend hour after hour just exploring territory in a game, and everyone in-between.
Multiplayer is a treat in co-op missions or simply in the free-roaming environment you get placed into. The Undead Nightmare DLC pack literally is a game on its own and injects a breath of fresh air into the title when it starts to wear a little thin (and that’s literally after a year of playing).
It’s great value for money and you really can’t go wrong.
Runners Up: Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Dead Rising 2
FPS-lovers were spoilt for choice this year with team-based Battlefield 2 and the most recent instalment in the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops. Both were great titles, but lacked the innovation required to get the gong. Despite stellar new multiplayer modes, that’s also why Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Dead Rising 2 are runners-up rather than big winners.
Big losers: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, Fallout: New Vegas
It’s a tie for the big loser of the year, and both were selected for very different reasons: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 was a disgrace of a game due to its length, lack of original content, and extreme repetition. It’s a bad sign when the game’s developers decide to release heavily discounted DLC as an apology for their game. With Fallout: New Vegas, the game’s story and content are amazing, but the game has been out for close to three months now and still suffers from horrible frame-rate dropouts, freezes, and game-destroying glitches. Obsidian, it’s called a testing department. Use one.
Best Xbox 360 exclusive game of 2010 – Alan Wake
Again, some great titles in this bunch, but Alan Wake picks up the gong due to its innovation and originality. Let’s put it this way: no other game has made me go and download entire seasons of television shows to try to keep myself surrounded in creepiness (by the by, Twin Peaks is awesome).
Alan Wake and its additional DLC continue to innovate from their last iteration; the base game might feel a bit repetitive near the end, but each of the DLC packs move in a very different direction, keeping it fresh. The story is gripping and I personally cannot wait for Alan Wake 2 to push the narrative forward. Gameplay is challenging, the voice acting superb; I simply cannot say enough great things about this title. If you own a Xbox 360, you owe it to yourself to play this.
Runners Up: Halo: Reach, Mass Effect 2, Limbo, Super Meat Boy
Innovation was key this year – both Reach and Mass Effect 2 made leaps and bounds with armor abilities and a retooling of travel and mining, respectively; despite being amazing games they’re really more of the same. Lastly, Xbox Live Arcade continued to deliver high-quality games for a miniscule price tag; Super Meat Boy and Limbo offer two unique experiences that have to be played to understand and enjoy.
Big loser: Fable III
The big loser of Xbox 2010 has to be Fable III. By simplifying the game to make it more accessible, Lionhead managed to strip the game of what actually made it fun. It’s Fable 2.5, really, and not worth it.
Best PS3 exclusive game of 2010 – Heavy Rain
Arguably, the PS3 had a better range of exclusives over Xbox 360 this year…especially when considering Mass Effect 2 is on its way to the PS3 very soon.
Despite all the jokes of “Press ‘X’ to ‘Jason!’”, this game joins Xbox’s Alan Wake as an original thriller worthy of game of the year.
Multiple endings, branching storylines, and accidental nudity (!) help to cement this title as a standout. Tracking down the Origami Killer was scary, intense, and very rewarding.
A couple tips to the wise: if you haven’t tried this with PlayStation Move yet, give it a go — you’re missing out otherwise. Additionally, check out the game’s soundtrack — it’s stellar!
Runners Up: God of War 3, Modnation Racers, MAG, Demon’s Souls
Noticing a theme here? Sequels aren’t winning awards this year (Wii doesn’t count). New IP was fast and furious this year, and Heavy Rain narrowly beat out Modnation Racers, MAG, and Demon’s Souls to take the top prize. God of War 3 was a solid experience; worth playing, but definitely more of the same.
Big loser: Gran Turismo 5
The biggest loser on PS3 this year was Gran Turismo 5. Where Alan Wake was stuck in development hell for years and years, yet managed to deliver the goods, Gran Turismo 5 was in the same boat and fell flat upon release. Two words: realistic damage.
Best Nintendo Wii exclusive game of 2010 – Super Mario Galaxy 2
If you’ve read my thoughts on the Wii in the past, you’ll know I don’t respect the platform too much. Still, Nintendo did deliver with Super Mario Galaxy 2, again proving that Wii first-party titles are where it’s at. Think Super Mario Galaxy with further twists, turns, and Mario-costumes, and of course – Yoshi! It’s hard to go wrong there.
Runners Up: Just Dance, Epic Mickey, Red Steel 2, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
The runners up listed are pretty much the only titles this year on Wii that weren’t party-game compilations. Cheers to them!
Big loser: Metroid: Other M
Metroid: Other M gets the biggest loser award for showing exactly what SHOULDN’T be done when trying to revitalise a franchise. Utter garbage.
Best PC exclusive game of 2010 – Starcraft 2
A winner that’s NOT a MMO, you say? Absolutely. Starcraft 2 was years in the making, highly anticipated…and when released, managed to meet everyone’s expectations. How often are you able to say that?
Too bad I suck at it.
Runners Up: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Civilization V
Cataclysm almost won big in this category, but the destruction of the WoW environment as it was known tended to polarise players. The other titles? I’ll admit it: they were put up here as recommendations from trusted friends.
Big loser: I’m Not Alone
Also recommended by PC-savvy gamers, I’m Not Alone is the big loser of the year. Think Fallout: New Vegas bugs and glitches times 100, I’m told. Avoid at all costs to spare your sanity.
Best portable gaming title of 2010 – Angry Birds (iPhone, iPad, Android)
This was probably the hardest category to judge, considering the sheer amount of portable games on the market.
If you own an iPhone, you’ve played Angry Birds. It’s the number one selling game in the Apple App Store, and has been all year. It’s tremendous, and you know it. Challenging, fun gameplay, plus constant new content make this title hard to beat.
(Can I have a WP7 version so I can get achievements, please?)
Runners Up: Plants vs Zombies (iPhone, iPad, Xbox Live Arcade), Flowerz (WP7), Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (DS), Dark Void Zero (iPhone, DS), Sonic Colours (DS), God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP), Fruit Ninja (iPhone, WP7)
I have to say, from all of the runners-up, I was closest to giving the gong to Plants vs Zombies – and I say that as a person who generally hates tower defence games. Each of the runners up are so diverse, innovate, and great titles to knock back a couple minutes on the tram. As most of them are quite cheap, grab these and play them if you haven’t already!
Big loser: Guitar Hero 5 (iPhone, WP7)
Guitar Hero 5 takes the take as the portable big loser of the year. It’s a game suited to a plastic guitar peripheral, not a phone touch screen. Gross.
So there you, the top (and bottom) games of 2010! I fully admit to being more of an Xbox 360 expert than anything else…so do you agree with my choices for other platforms? Post a comment and let me know what I got right, and what I got wrong.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year of gaming – bring on 2011!
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