You know what time of the year it is? The time where we look back and think about all the amazing games that have come out over the past year. 2010 was an amazing year for games. There were more than enough Game of the Year contenders this year which made it tough to choose just one. Check out our personal top 5 games of 2010 below.
5. BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) – Anyone who knows me knows that I love myself some BioShock. I’m a huge fan of the original game and also a big fan of the sequel. The sequel improved the controls and brought new gameplay elements into the mix. The story was even interesting. In my opinion BS2 is a great sequel and I would still be interested in coming back to Rapture in the future. The DLC Minerva’s Den was also a very welcome storyline.
4. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) – While I may not have enjoyed Red Dead Redemption as much as the rest of the gaming community I still enjoyed it thoroughly. RDR is a solid open world game. Rockstar really caught me off guard with this game as it is nothing that I would come to expect from them. The story in RDR is one of the only stories I’ve ever followed from beginning to end in a game so that means a lot.
3. Halo: Reach (Xbox 360) – Halo Reach is on this purely because its a game I can play with everyone. My wife and I enjoyed the campaign together and friends come over to enjoy the multiplayer. Halo Reach is in my opinion the best of the franchise and also the last Bungie made Halo game. They will be missed.
2. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC) – I never played the first StarCraft but all the hype around this game got me interested. I’m a big fan of RTS games so I felt right at home with SCII. The game is highly polished and very diverse. The game never felt repetitive and that is very important in an RTS game. StarCraft II is definitely one of the greatest RTS games I’ve ever played.
1. Game of the Year: Alan Wake (Xbox 360) – Some people may be surprised with my choice for game of the year but they shouldn’t be. The gameplay in Alan Wake is outstanding. It all just felt perfect to me. The environments and the settings really played a big part in the impression Alan Wake left on me as well. Alan Wake has it’s flaws but I truly believe it is worthy of my Game of the Year.
Honorable Mentions: Fallout: New Vegas (PC), Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii), DeathSpank (XBLA), Limbo (XBLA)
5. Monday Night Combat (XBLA) – Does this really surprise anyone? Monday Night Combat is among the best online shooters I have played, and it’s an Xbox Live Arcade release! The combination of influences of Team Fortress 2 and tower defense make this a unique game worth trying, and I have gotten much more than my $15 out of this game.
4. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (Xbox 360) – I said in my review this was the best racing game I have ever played, and I meant it. The dual careers, fantastic races and innovative Autolog make this a game with an almost infinite replay value. Criterion has outdone themselves, and that is saying something.
3. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC) – Blizzard hit this one out of the park, quite the feat considering people have been waiting for so long. Great storyline, fantastic gameplay and a non-linear mission selection make StarCraft II the new gold standard for RTS gameplay. Add to that the addictive multiplayer that actually tries to match you with people more or less equal to you in skill and you have the best PC only games to come out this year.
2. Alan Wake (Xbox 360) – Innovative gameplay, fantastic atmosphere and possibly the best story I have seen in a game, Alan Wake grabbed me from the start and never let go. This game is one of the only ones I have played where I did not want to rush into the next chapter after completing one. I needed the time to process what I had just seen and wind down a bit from what had just transpired, and the fact this game actually made me do that made me appreciate it all the more.
1. Game of the Year: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) – Mass Effect is one of my favorite games of all time. As good as it is, Bioware trumped it with the sequel. All the things I liked about the first game, from the conversations to the epic storylines, are back, but the streamlining and tweaking the company did really shows. Bioware even managed to top the ending of the fist game, something I was not sure was possible. In a year full of great gaming experiences, Mass Effect 2 was my favorite by far.
Honorable Mentions: Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360), Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Xbox 360), Fifa 11 (Xbox 360), Alpha Protocol (Xbox 360)
2. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) – Coming a whole lot closer then I thought any game would to challenging Mass Effect 2 as my GOTY, Red Dead Redemption is a fantastic game for so many reasons. With some of the most impressive graphics I’ve seen in any game, sandbox or otherwise, RDR truly immersed players in the Old West and delivered the definitive Western experience. RDR’s success is due to the incredible level of craftsmanship demonstrated by Rockstar and evident in everything from the gorgeous environmental effects, to the voice acting and motion capture. Everything is absolutely top shelf. The game is a technical work of art. The campaign design is tried and true GTA, but the gameplay is straight out of your favorite Western. The story is a poignant ballad of sin and redemption that emanates within the fabric of the world and the superbly crafted characters. Easily one of the best games of this generation.
1. Game of the Year: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) – Few games manage to transcend the medium itself. Even the great ones seldom exceed the boundaries as anything more then a very fun video game, but every now and then a game is able to tear down the third wall and engage us on a deeper level. I could go on about the quality of the gameplay, the improved combat and the stunning production values, but aside from the usual accolades, I can think of no greater compliment then to applaud the compelling depth of Mass Effect 2 as a brilliant sci-fi adventure and emotional journey. It’s a rare achievement when you genuinely care about the fates of the character’s you’ve fought alongside of for 40-50 hours. The great writing and compelling time shared with your squad mates ensures that not only will you think twice before sending them into peril but feel genuine remorse if one falls in battle. This is the highest connection and ultimate success a game can achieve. In addition to an outstanding campaign, the finale is one of the most intense and gripping 45 mins I’ve ever experienced in a game, and one of the best endings in any game ever. Mass Effect 2 is a landmark sci-fi epic.
Honorable Mentions: Fallout: New Vegas (Xbox 360), BioShock 2 (Xbox 360)
5. MLB 2K10 (PC) – It’s been ages since a baseball game has captivated me, and, despite Gamestop’s bad digital distribution service, MLB 2K10 does a great job of porting the console favorite over to the PC. The game is beautiful, the soundtrack was awesome and the Career Mode was extremely fun and interesting. Really enjoyed this as a go-to game this year.
4. Transformers : War For Cybertron (PC) – This is the first great Transformers game that I can remember. The multiplayer was really fun, the campaign was entertaining and enriched the backstory of the universe, and the gameplay somehow managed to be as fun as a Transformers game finally should have been. High Moon studios did a great job with this game, and I can’t wait to see it’s sequel.
3. Alpha Protocol (PC) – Sure, it was one of the most hated games in 2010, especially by one of our own writers, *cough* Jordan *cough*. However, I think glitches and bugs aside, this game had a fantastic story and took some of the innovations of Mass Effect 2 and brought them to the next level. I really enjoyed the interactivity and the bold consequences each and every one of your decisions made – be it from an email reply or a timed mission choice. It’s a real shame to see that Obsidian and SEGA won’t be continuing this franchise; it’s one of my fondest memories from 2010.
2. Starcraft II : Wings of Liberty (PC) – This is a no brainer in any PC gamer’s “Top Games of 2010” list. It is not a fluff nomination, however. I am not an RTS fan; there are select few games in the genre I enjoy, and this game blew them all away. The story, the mechanics, the mission objectives and variety, the training missions… the overall package is definitely worth the price of admission and then some. The amount of polish that Blizzard put on a game–one of the few 2010 games I played that didn’t suffer a buggy release, mind you—is awe-inspiring. The multiplayer space, while not my cup of tea, is fantastically implemented with it’s tiered structure and a lot of fun to skirmish in with friends. I absolutely loved the game, and yes, it may sound cliche, but every second of the game was worth the 12 year wait.
1. Game of the Year: Mass Effect 2 (PC) – This was a very tough call for me to make. On the one hand, you have the amazingly, awesome bodacity of Mass Effect 2, and in the other hand, the juggernaut forged in the fiery pits at Blizzard, honed to perfection over time, and invading PC’s after 12 years of waiting—Starcraft II : Wings of Liberty. Ultimately, what pushed my decision in ME2’s direction was the fact that, even though I probably had as much enjoyment for each of the titles as I did for the other, I am still not a huge RTS player and will get more replay value from Mass Effect 2. The story was brilliant, the mission structure was fantastic and the game was just fantastic from beginning to end. It is one of the few games that you finish and immediately start looking for sequel release news. I haven’t gotten much of the DLC yet, but Mass Effect 2 pushed the boundaries of what we know sequels to be with all of the save game import features that can only get better in Mass Effect 3. Job well done Bioware. More please?
Honorable Mentions : Although, I have not finished any of these game, I plan on digging into them soon and have definitely enjoyed my time with them. I am not above eating crow when I have spoken wrongly about a game, and so far, BioShock 2 definitely has me eating crow–it’s a fantastic ride so far. BioShock 2, Metro 2033, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Call of Pripyat, Just Cause 2, Aliens Vs Predator and Haunted House will all be on my playlist for the next few months.
Jordan de Boer
5. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Xbox 360) – No other first person shooter in 2010 brought more to the table then Bad Company 2. Unlike Call of Duty, Battlefield games actually include tactics and the need for teamwork. The game also includes tons of vehicles and a totally destructible world thanks to the frostbite engine that just makes other online shooters feel like child’s play.
4. Super Meat Boy (Xbox 360) – Without a doubt the toughest game released in 2010, Super Meat Boy will challenge you to the point of madness. Luckily the game is flawlessly designed and executed perfectly. I cannot think of a thing I would change about Super Meat Boy. The visuals are amazing, the music is some of the best this year and the gameplay is sensational. What’s not to love?
3. Assassins Creed: Brotherhood (Xbox 360) – Developers take note, this is how you make a game in less then a year. It’s understandable that this game didn’t take very long (reusing a ton of assets from AC2), but the quality of the game is truly shocking. A clever multiplayer on top of a full length single player make this game worth every penny. It’s everything you loved about Assassins Creed 2 made even better.
2. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) – At one point it looked like this game was destined to disappoint, oh me of little faith. RockStar absolutely surpassed by expectation with Red Dead Redemption. It’s a better version of Grand Theft Auto, set in a western. I love the idea of it and, even more so, I love the execution of it. It’s fantastic game with great characters, story and environments that would have been my game of the year if not for this other game called…
1. Game of the Year: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) – I loved the first Mass Effect game despite it’s many flaws, so naturally I was excited about the sequel. Turns out I was right to be hopeful because the folks at Bioware really took it to the next level. A fantastic integration of the first game immediately starts Mass Effect 2 off on the right foot. They fixed everything you hated from the first game and made some stuff you liked even better. It’s a fully polished and fully realized experience that I personally don’t think any other game tops in 2010.
Honorable Mentions: Civilization V (PC), Limbo (XBLA), Alan Wake (Xbox 360), Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (Xbox 360), Halo: Reach (Xbox 360) and Heavy Rain (PS3).
5. MLB 10: The Show (PS3) – I’ am a huge baseball fan, and even though sports games do not hold much value, I got a ton of playtime out of The Show. It’s a very sim experience which may turn a lot of people off, but that’s what I love about it. Between the Road To The Show, and great online play, this is the must have sports title for any baseball fanatic.
4. God of War III (PS3) – Say what you will about the God of War titles rehashing the same content over and over, but this is one of the most beautiful looking games of 2010. One of the reasons why I had to put this game in my top 5 is because of the amazing epic boss battles. Sure the game may have not changed much as far as pure gameplay goes from the other two games, but God of War 3 is as gruesome as ever and it is a must own for any Playstation 3 owner in my opinion.
3. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (Xbox 360) – The Racing game genre is not something I was much into this time last year. But 2010 has been an incredible year for arcade racers so I would be a fool not to add one of the great titles into my top 5 of 2010. Hot Pursuit most definitely takes the cake though. It has everything I enjoy about a good arcade racer. Tight controls, beautiful atmospheres, and nail biting races that will drive you nuts trying to beat your friends times with the Autolog feature. Criterion Games did a fantastic job with Hot Pursuit and I can only hope we get slammed with great DLC all the way into 2011.
2. Alan Wake (Xbox 360) – Alan Wake is a game that I thought would never come out. Remedy would constantly tease us with little trailers here and there, then you just wouldn’t hear about the game for another year. I was getting so fed up that I stopped believing this game existed until it was in my 360. So 2010 rolls around and this game finally releases! It was everything I hoped for. An amazing story that had a very creepy feel and great characters. Is it fair to say that Barry may be my favorite video game character of 2010? I also enjoyed both DLC packs that came out. I just hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Mr. Wake.
1. Game of the Year: Heavy Rain (PS3) – I admit Heavy Rain won’t be a popular pick when people are talking Game of the Year. But for me it was. Heavy Rain added something new that we hadn’t seen a whole lot of in gaming this generation. This is the first time a game had me truly feeling for the characters. Sure, a lot of people did not like the QTE’s and even gave the argument that it was too much like watching a movie and not enough gameplay. I can see that being a reasonable argument, but there was just something about Heavy Rain that kept me intrigued all the way through. Quantic Dream did a great job of putting the player into these people’s shoes and made you truly ask yourself what would I do in this situation? And for that Heavy Rain gets my Game of the Year for 2010.
Honorable Mentions: Call of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox 360), Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360), LIMBO (XBLA), and Darksiders (PS3).
And the Winner Is….
Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360/PC): Can you think of any other game that has come out in January and yet still has been fresh in everyone’s mind come time to decide upon the Game of the Year? This is a testament to just how amazing a job Bioware did putting this game together. The intense action, fantastic storyline and memorable characters set this game apart, even in a year with many heavy hitters. Now the question is can Bioware repeat next year with the release of the third game in the trilogy.