It’s that time of the year where we take stock of our friends and family, our possessions, and ultimately receive more than what we really need. It’s a time of giving, and like everyone else, the game industry has reached deep into their pockets and gave generously. From titles like the Sci-Fi RPG of Mass Effect 2, to the wide-open pastures in Red Dead Redemption, this year has brought many titles to our living room, bringing effigies of jubilation, bliss, frustration, fear, and rage.
Yet by the end of the year, it always boils down to which games were the cream of the crop? Which ones will stay on your shelf, and not at the pre-owned section of your local GameStop? With such an explosive year, with games shattering pre-sale and revenue records – we’re looking at you Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops – it’s a daunting and exciting task to figure out.
So with the end of the year, so comes the “Best of 2010” and all of their glory. The three-part section will take you through the games you should have played during the course of your year, the downloadable games you could have possibly missed, and what to look forward to when the ball drops on the 31st. With the first section throwing up the “Top 10 Games of 2010,” it’s enough to get you excited for the start of the 2011.
(Note: All of these choices are of the opinion of the writer. They are not placed in any chronological or numeric order)
- God of War III– Santa Monica Studios/Sony
It’s hard to ignore Kratos, the once powerful Spartan and demigod, with all of his twin-blade twirling might and magic. Forging a tentative bond with the Titans to storm Mount Olympus to finish his revenge-induced rage was nothing short of delightful, but there was more to God of War than just the senseless violence. Between bringing a captivating story, luscious graphics, and a incredible adrenaline-filled ending, God of War III belongs on anyone’s shelf as a prize and a badge of honor.
- Mass Effect 2– BioWare/Electronic Arts
The highly anticipated sequel to 2007’s epic sci-fi story was met with both awe and amazement: a completely revamped leveling system, new worlds and allies, old friends and an even greater threat to stop… what more could you ask for? How about a massive upgrade on DLC, graphics that would make any PC user proud and endless replay options, culminating in one of the biggest games to come out of BioWare? It was a perfect way to start 2010, and with Mass Effect 3 on the way, it’s all the better because of it.
- Heavy Rain– Quantic Dream/Sony
Heavy Rain came somewhat out of left field and took everyone by surprise. With its immersive film noir style of story and unique gameplay, it was instantly a classic for anyone who played. Couple all of that with each decision you make impacting the game, and the addition of Move capabilities, The only downside of an otherwise smash hit was the subpar (and otherwise laughable) voice acting. It’s a title that shows what games could become, and what they can really do, when developers think outside of the box
- Super Mario Galaxy 2– Nintendo
Mario has always be something of an oddity: supposedly a plumber, gamers have seen him save the princess, play every sport imaginable, defeat a giant talking turtle… yet never his real job. As much of a strange world Mario lives in, heading out to the far reaches of the galaxy has possibly been one of his best adventures. Taking full advantage of what the Wii could offer, it brought new abilities that hadn’t been seen before and bringing back an old-school ally, Yoshi. With plenty of collectable star bits, it has everything you need to keep you busy.
- Red Dead Redemption– Rockstar San Diego/Rockstar Games
What can be said about Red Dead Redemption that hasn’t been said already? One of the highest ranked games to come out this year, winning “Game of the Year” by Spike’s Video Game Awards and Good_Game, and with fantastic DLC like the award-winning “Undead Nightmare,” that’s exactly how the west was won. Through captivating story, unique characters, and a different sandbox to play in, RDR definitely the game worth playing at any time.
- Halo: Reach– Bungie/Microsoft
With the final iteration of the Halo series from Bungie’s studio, we weren’t sure what to make of it in the beginning. Not featuring or playing as the legendary Spartan John-117, you instead worked with Noble Team on Reach, watching as their world is turned to ash. Yet it wasn’t just the story that brought players back, but it’s exceptional multiplayer. Upping the ante with new weapons, Armor Abilities and new game styles, there’s a reason why it has sold over 3.5 million copies to date.
- DJ Hero 2FreeStyleGames/Activision
In a world full of action games, first-person shooters, and RPG’s, a rhythm game to come in and both be enjoyable for everyone involved and give players something new is few and far between. So when FreeStyleGames came out with their sequel to the already impressive DJ Hero, it was hitting all the right notes. Allowing a player the chance to feel like a real DJ, the updated system game room for freestyles, mixes and a gaggle of music to play with. DJ Hero 2 is made for anyone, or at anytime.
- Epic Mickey– Disney Interactive
The icon older than Master Chief, Donkey Kong, Mario, Link, Ezio, and all the others finally found himself planted on the Wii, combating the Shadow Blot with a trusty paintbrush and thinner. Yet it wasn’t so much the story that drove Epic Mickey and the gallant mouse, but the story of remembering lost characters, following your path back to your roots, and making it fun along the way. With Warren Spector at the lead, Epic Mickey takes you back, and shows you where it all truly began in style.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops– Treyarch/Activision
It’s broken records left and right, selling more copies within its first five days than any other game to date and making a record-breaking $1 billion dollars in just a month’s time (something that only James Cameron’s Avatar can brag about). Against internal struggles and some heavy release competition, Black Ops has kept players coming back just by having a great story, great acting, and animmersive multiplayer to keep people coming back for more. There can only be one direction Black Ops can go, and that’s up.
- Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood– Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Ezio Auditore da Firenze. A name that has traveled through the ages between the late 1500s and 2010, he is the ultimate in suave sophistication and cold-blooded brutality. Taking off right where Assassin’s Creed 2 ended, the gameplay never really changed, yet it was the story that was spun between the ages, creating a well-received story. Yet what pushed the game over the top was the inclusion of a multiplayer, one that was unlike anything seen previously. Working on the basics of “hide-and-seek” with knives, multiplayer is streamlined, simplistic, and heart pounding. It makes being an assassin all the better.