BurnTheBlueSky here. The following is taken from my partner in podcastery Kiel/Reset. It is his top games of 2010 list, so, enjoy!
A year that was birthed with a scream of great titles and ended with holiday releases that housed the biggest entertainment sale opening of all time; 2010 was quite a year for video games. This year had a big push in downloadable games and also the catch up game of Microsoft and Sony in the motion controlled games market. Here is my humble list of games and their explanations.
It’s hard to remember that this game even came out in 2010 since it came out in the far out land of February. Quantic Dream excelled in making an evolved adventure game that was leaps and bounds better than their prior release, Indigo Prophecy. The tone and graphics in the game were great, but the controls that were applauded made the game frustrating for me. My frustrations are outweighed by the great story and anxiety from it. I am saddened that the things that will be remembered about the game though are the horrible accents and “press X to Jason.” Note: I played the game in French (Quantic Dream developers are French), and thoroughly enjoyed it and was very believable. I am also aware that makes me sound like a pretentious jerk.
I played this game right at the end of the year, but I am glad I got to play it to include it. Enslaved came out in an already busy 4th quarter with very little promotion but this is a game that should not be missed. Ninja Theory (of Heavenly Sword fame) provides a well animated game with a story by the guy who wrote the Beach and the screenplay for Sunshine, and motion capture/voice work by the guy who did Golem in Lord of the Rings. It’s an all-star team-up to bring a different take on the ancient Chinese story Journey to the West. It takes the platforming from Prince of Persia, combat from Arkham Asylum and a story all its own that make one it great title. I think in time, this will be the Beyond Good and Evil for this console generation.
After the fallout of the incredibly disappointing Brutal Legend, developers Double Fine were at an impasse. Instead of spending millions of dollars and years making one game, they made small teams to make games in less than a year for downloadable services. Costume Quest is the first in that series. It is a mixture between an adventure and a light RPG, very casual and fun. The plot revolves around a sister or brother saving their sibling from goblins when they were misinterpreted as a giant piece of candy. The player and their friends must then go door to door getting candy and fighting goblins. Did I mention the costumes that they wear are magically turned into fighting machines? (i.e. Cardboard Robot into a Giant Mech, etc) This was also the funniest game I played this year; it was legitimately intentionally funny…which is very hard for a video game. If you have a heart, play this game.
What really needs to be said about the “Biggest Entertainment Launch Ever?” While those numbers are heavily skewed, it definitely was a huge game. This was the game that proved Treyarch was more than just a B-team for the modern warfare franchise. A plot from a conspiracy theorist wet dream, solid controls, and a action movie matinee pace…the single player was very entertaining. Most people bought Black Ops for the amazing multiplayer though. Gone are the days of using weapons you don’t want, now you earn money round to round and can get that semi-automatic darling you’ve been eying. The best thing I can say about this game is that a devout hater of the Call of Duty franchise fell in love with it thanks to this game.
While the sequel with the return to Rapture didn’t thrill me, it was entertaining. The multiplayer was a ham fisted Call of Duty clone that was not very fun. They released a couple DLC packs just for the multiplayer, but finally they released Minerva’s Den; A single player campaign expansion for the game. This is more of a “Tales From Rapture,” than a continuation of the story of Bioshock 2. I don’t want to say much about the story except it has a hard sci-fi feel and has an ending that was surprisingly different. New characters, weapons, and one more dive into a broken utopia….I’m in.
Similar to Minerva’s Den, I was not in love with the main game of Dead Rising 2. I felt it was too long, bloated, and frustrating. Case Zero took the best parts of Dead Rising 2 and put it in an appetizing downloadable game. It took me a couple hours to beat which was the right time for me. Case Zero actually turned me around on my stance on Dead Rising, since I did not care for the original title. Weapon customization, great protagonist, story, length, and price were the reason this game is on the list. I believe these downloadable cheap episodes of games will start to be the new standard over expensive boxed games…at least I hope.
The final ride into the sunset for developer Bungie, this truly was a love letter to the fans. Fun over the top single player, co-operative Firefight mode, competitive multiplayer, and an expansive level creator all on one disc…the best sixty dollars you could spend on a game this year for your buck. The additions of objective based multiplayer and experience rewarding via challenges will help the multiplayer live on well after Bungie leaves to work on their next title.
My anticipation for this game was intense; compound that with my media blackout of the game so that nothing was ruined for me, I was chomping at the bit for this release. A game to follow Fallout 3, which is one of my favorite games of all time, is no hard task. Developer Obsidian takes you on a different adventure back into the land of the first two games, the west coast. New Vegas continues on the tradition of Fallout: great story, interesting characters, humor, and hard sci-fi. Unfortunately New Vegas also had all the bug and glitches that Fallout is known to have as well. Even with the bad bugs, this is a 60+ hour game that shouldn’t be missed.
A game that is so much more than “GTA with horses.” Redemption is a tale of an ex-outlaw that tried to get out of the game, do the right thing, and then found out you can never outrun your past. A heart-wrenching tale of struggle and strife mixed with equal parts humor and action. If I was an American History teacher, I would make this game a supplement for the “Death” of the Wild West. This game actually takes place much later than most think, it is during 1911 during the Federal expansion of the west. There is an actually part in the game that you are ordered by the federal government to kill Native Americans with a Gatling gun; I can’t think of a more dense metaphor for technology and government killing the Wild West. I could write more about this game, but I will leave you with this: This was the only game on this list that made me cry at the end of it. Note: I am aware I’m lame.
A sequel that shines brighter than it’s original. Mass Effect 2 lets you use save data from the previous game including all your choices: who lived and died, what planets did you save or destroy, romances, and other conquests all carry over. The ability to import your saves helps shape the game into your own unique story. The game has a deep story with robust characters that are intriguing enough to keep talking to them until they have nothing left to say. Mass Effect 2 has some of the most rewarding supporting characters in a game. Going on loyalty missions that not only help you bond with your crew also gives a vertical slice on the history of your ally. Mass Effect 2 has so many strong parts that together it is stronger than steel. This is the closest thing to Star Trek: The Game I’ve ever felt, which is probably the reason it’s at the top of my list.
Note: Honorable mentions go to Rock Band 3, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. Rock Band 3 was great, but it seems a little late with all the music game exhaustion, also it needs better integration and more keyboard support. Kirby is just gorgeous, simply beautiful but I have not played it entirely. Undead Nightmare is a blast and super cheap for the price, but I started to get exhausted of the game halfway through and have not gone back yet.