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Giant Bomb's Game of the Year 2010: Day Two

Best Downloadable Add-On, Best Co-Op, Best Download-Only Game, Best-Looking Game, and Best Xbox 360-Only Game get their props.

How did we come to these decisions? Listen to today's deliberation podcast and find out!

Best Downloadable Add-On


BioShock 2: Minerva's Den


2010 might go down in history as the year story-based DLC finally really came into its own, with significant new add-ons hitting some of the biggest games of the year and giving you some great reasons to fire those games back up weeks or months after you finished playing through their core storylines. But while plenty of this year's best DLC added onto and fleshed out the games on which they were based, no DLC felt like such a complete story and package in its own right like Minerva's Den.

Rather than trying to shoehorn a misplaced interlude into the events and framework of BioShock 2 itself, Minerva acts as its own self-contained story featuring entirely new areas and residents of Rapture. Minerva not only established and explored the technological backbone of Rapture with some fantastic vintage dawn-of-computing-style trappings (vacuum tubes! Alan Turing!), it also expertly told the tragic tale of Charles Milton Porter, the brilliant computer scientist who gave so much to his fellow citizens and was rewarded for it with betrayal. Minerva arguably surpasses BioShock 2 itself and is one of the best examples so far of how much can be accomplished with a low-priced downloadable add-on. 


Runners-up: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker 
 

Best Co-Op

 

Halo: Reach

 
It shouldn't surprise you to hear that Halo: Reach is a terrific cooperative experience. Like the rest of the game, Reach's co-op follows in the footsteps of Bungie's previous Halo games, letting you work your way through the campaign with a crew, laying waste to everything in your path. Sure, you might not get the real feel of the game's story, since you're probably going to be yelling at your partners through most of the game, but working your way through waves and waves of enemy forces with a crew makes the campaign way more exciting.
 
Then there's Firefight mode, which was greatly expanded for Halo: Reach to make it a far more exciting take on the whole wave-based survival style. With the ability to tweak plenty of different variables when playing with friends to the variety of different maps you can use, Firefight might be good enough to take this category on its own. But when you add all that stuff together, Halo: Reach is the best cooperative experience to be had in 2010. 

Runners-up: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction
 

Best Download-Only Game


Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

 
Arguably one of the strongest categories in 2010, the downloadable space saw a huge number of amazing original titles this year, though none captured our collective imaginations quite like this re-reimagining of that most venerable of pill-poppers, Pac-Man
 
It's kind of unbelievable that Pac-Man could feel as vital now as he did when he first debuted some 30 years ago, but by shifting the focus from simple survival to a community-driven high-score race, and layering it with a jaw-clenching club-drug aesthetic, Namco has done precisely that. It's a miraculous balancing act between some really deep-seated nostalgic triggers and fresh, frenetic gameplay, and it's our pick for best download-only game of 2010.

Runners-up: Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV

 

Best-Looking Game

 

Kirby's Epic Yarn


I can scarcely recall a game so thoroughly dedicated to crafting an aesthetic as Kirby's Epic Yarn is. The latest platformer starring Nintendo's huggably squishy puff-ball of a hero, Kirby, is set in a world where everything has gone fully arts-and-crafts. All the characters (Kirby included) are constructed out of outlines of yarn, buttons, zippers, and other things you'd typically find at the local fabric store. Developer Good Feel stitches every single piece of this world with this patchwork art style, and manages to make it all mind-numbingly adorable in the process. Seriously, just watch Kirby morph into a little Kirby car, and dare yourself not to go "d'awwwww." Seriously, try it! If there's a heart in your chest, you'll fail! 

Runners-up: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Limbo

 

Best Xbox 360-Only Game

 

Halo: Reach

 
With the launch of the Kinect drawing much of Microsoft's focus this year, it felt like the third-parties had much more to offer Xbox 360 owners in 2010. But Bungie still made a huge impact by leaving its final mark on the first-person shooter it created, Halo. Halo: Reach combines some of the best that Halo has to offer, including a quality campaign, terrific competitive multiplayer and the best cooperative play that we saw all year.
 
Reach also stands out for its interesting story, which fills in a key time in the Halo universe that, up until the release of Reach, had only been addressed in book form. Reach's story is great, and even though you know how it will ultimately end--the battle of Reach certainly ain't pretty for our side--the game makes the whole thing interesting by letting you see it through the eyes of the Noble Team, a great group of characters that are strong enough to make you forget about that " Master Chief" dude.

With its stellar suite of options and high quality throughout, Halo: Reach stands tall as the best thing that you can only get on an Xbox 360 this year. 

Runners-up: Limbo, Dance Central
 
  
309 Comments
Posted by Piot

Lair of the shadowbroker won according to the podcast?

Posted by ShinAli
@mracoon said:

It's the only co-op game I played so it's the only one I can put. I'm also counting split-screen multiplayer as co-op and I've had a ton of fun with that. "
Oh, alright.
Posted by nintendoeats

Nice, they used a category which I suggested. Not saying that they did it because I suggested it, but its nice anyway.

Posted by dragonzord
@BIGMEXN said:
" How did  Lair of the Shadow Broker not win? this suck im out "
The fact that it's only about an hour long and doesn't include anything new other than a neat, albeit incredibly short, chase scene?
Posted by Master_Funk

I cannot believe that they forgot about god of war 3 when talking about best looking game. I mean even if it didn't win, technically it looks much better than nfs: hot pursuit, and I dont know how they could forget it.

Posted by Ghostiet
@Slayer22 said:
" I cannot believe that they forgot about god of war 3 when talking about best looking game. I mean even if it didn't win, technically it looks much better than nfs: hot pursuit, and I dont know how they could forget it. "
I really think they knew Kirby would win, so they just took Limbo and a random game. Seriously, the same was last year - they've completely ignored Killzone 2.
Edited by Kovski
@solidwolf52 said:

" I really wanted to punch Brad in the face during the add-on debate.  For me the term "add-on" implies that that the content actually adds on to the overall package of the game, Shadow Broker does this and expands the universe, while Minerva's Den is a self contained package that does not connect to the game's overall story. "

Geez, you are are a violent fella.  Without knowing what Brad said about add-ons I'll say: "Downloadable add-on" is just a term to distinguish those expansions from downloadable stand-alone games and to separate it from smaller downloadable content.  So what you think "add-on" implies or not - doesn't really add in.
 
Also, in my humble opinion, I would say you are wrong about  Minerva's Den not fitting the bill. It actually adds more gameplay hours and while perhaps self contained, it also expands the Bioshock universe, perhaps not to the original game itself, but in it's small kind of way.
Posted by Turtlemayor333

I'll just say I've been playing Halo from the beginning and Reach is the only one I've ever traded in.
 
The obvious problem with this (that not even the crew would deny) is that they just don't have enough time to figure out the quality of the multiplayer. One example of this is when a review for BioShock 2 (before the game is even in stores) says the multiplayer isn't hopelessly broken.
 
That's not Jeff's fault or anything...but it's still kind of a bummer. Honestly this was a weak year for the 360, and it's a shame Alan Wake wasn't remembered in a better light.

Posted by TwistedGamer

 god of war 3.....not one mention

Posted by Sulla

Really a shame the Minerva's Den DLC isn't available on pc (yet). Would love to see a little bit more of Rapture before the series departs from it.

Posted by quinistheman

I've always liked Brad but he is digging his heels into the dirt a little too much in these deliberations. Not coming off likable AT ALL. One of the things I like about GB is they realize that their opinions are opinions. Brad spends too much time trying to convince everyone that his opinions are facts.

Edited by Vorbis

Kirby was the right choice, I feel Need for Speed isn't the most impressive graphically looking game but that's a mute point since it didn't win.

Posted by PJ
@TwistedGamer said:
"  god of war 3.....not one mention "
Why would it get mentioned? Its not a technical award that Kirby got but an artistic award.  
GOW3 looks great technicaly but its not even close to as good looking as Kirby, Limbo and NFS:HP. GOW3 is artisticly as generic as you can get.
Posted by DoctorScribbler

Excellent day 02!

Posted by Hurricrane

I'm with Jeff, LIMBO IS NOT THAT GREAT PAST THE FIRST 20 MIN.
Edited by TwistedGamer
@PJ said:

" @TwistedGamer said:

"  god of war 3.....not one mention "

Why would it get mentioned? Its not a technical award that Kirby got but an artistic award.  GOW3 looks great technicaly but its not even close to as good looking as Kirby, Limbo and NFS:HP. GOW3 is artisticly as generic as you can get. "
i didn't say it should win out right, but you can at least pit it against NFS, and if GOW is generic so is a racing game. i just think is dumb that the words "god of war 3" are not even 
mentioned  once during the podcast
Posted by Piot

1:03:43 Ryan: "Congratulations Lair of the Shadow Broker!" :)

Posted by Sessh

Not very happy with this list.  
 
The day 1 picks were okay (except maybe for Bayonetta winning best new character), but how the heck is Pac Man better than SMB or Limbo? 
 
And not even to start on Halo: Reach winning best 360-only, while Alan Wake didn't even make the top 3.

Edited by SleepyDoughnut
@PJ said:

" @TwistedGamer said:

"  god of war 3.....not one mention "
Why would it get mentioned? Its not a technical award that Kirby got but an artistic award.  GOW3 looks great technicaly but its not even close to as good looking as Kirby, Limbo and NFS:HP. GOW3 is artisticly as generic as you can get. "
No, it's a good looking award, and God of War 3 looks damn good. Better than Need for Speed personally for me. Seems like they just forgot about it, which is odd. But its not a big deal, Kirby is a fine winner.
Posted by Geno

Kirby's Epic Yarn is a fair choice for best looking game overall, but Hot Pursuit as a runner up? Really? And no mention of the PC version of Metro 2033 which had technical graphics rivaling Crysis and a phenomenally cogent atmosphere, and is easily one of the best looking games ever released from both technical and artistic perspectives?
 
Clearly nobody there is informed enough about the PC platform to make the obvious decision to give Metro at least a nod, so why even have a Best PC Game category? Apparently GB's PC coverage simply amounts to one staff member playing Starcraft II (zero surprise it won that category btw).  
 
Not to mention Best Downloadable could've gone to countless indie titles but rather they chose the billionth Pac-Man rehash with graphics copied from Geometry Wars >.> 
 
If you guys aren't even going to try on the PC front could you at least label yourself a console site? I mean, Gamespot, IGN and Gametrailers are equally incompetent when it comes to PC gaming, but they're, you know, them. You can be more upfront about your lack of knowledge and your members would still love you I imagine. 

Posted by Animasta
@Geno said:
" Kirby's Epic Yarn is a fair choice for best looking game overall, but Hot Pursuit as a runner up? Really? And no mention of the PC version of Metro 2033 which had technical graphics rivaling Crysis and a phenomenally cogent atmosphere, and is easily one of the best looking games ever released from both technical and artistic perspectives?
 
Clearly nobody there is informed enough about the PC platform to make the obvious decision to give Metro at least a nod, so why even have a Best PC Game category? Apparently GB's PC coverage simply amounts to one staff member playing Starcraft II (zero surprise it won that category btw).  
 
Not to mention Best Downloadable could've gone to countless indie titles but rather they chose the billionth Pac-Man rehash with graphics copied from Geometry Wars >.> 
 
they all played SC2 except for Ryan, and countless indie titles? like what? They all really loved pacman.
Posted by sliphazard

Got a question about the "Best-Looking Game" category.  If it's the re-named "Best Graphics" category how come neither Mass Effect 2 or God of War III were even mentioned? I mean clearly those are the 2 "Best looking games" of the year, maybe not in terms of style, but I don't think anyone could argue with the fact they had some of the most jaw dropping visuals this year. They should have got a mention IMO.

Posted by JeffGoldblum
@sliphazard said:
" Got a question about the "Best-Looking Game" category.  If it's the re-named "Best Graphics" category how come neither Mass Effect 2 or God of War III were even mentioned? I mean clearly those are the 2 "Best looking games" of the year, maybe not in terms of style, but I don't think anyone could argue with the fact they had some of the most jaw dropping visuals this year. They should have got a mention IMO. "
It's obviously not just a replacement for best graphics, but is awarding based on artistic merit.
Edited by MrKlorox

Too bad none of the staffers are from Texas. If any were they would agree that Red Dead Redemption looks identical to the actual area it represents. And Metro 2033 is the best looking game since Crysis.
 
The overabundance of Limbo makes it difficult to take anything about this seriously. NFS in the graphics category just shows they're not even trying any more.

Posted by ThePickle
@mrcartoon: It also came out on the PC. I doubt anyone was confused about that.  
 
I am confused about it not being even mentioned for best looking game. 
Posted by James0890
@Geno said:
" Kirby's Epic Yarn is a fair choice for best looking game overall, but Hot Pursuit as a runner up? Really? And no mention of the PC version of Metro 2033 which had technical graphics rivaling Crysis and a phenomenally cogent atmosphere, and is easily one of the best looking games ever released from both technical and artistic perspectives?
 
Clearly nobody there is informed enough about the PC platform to make the obvious decision to give Metro at least a nod, so why even have a Best PC Game category? Apparently GB's PC coverage simply amounts to one staff member playing Starcraft II (zero surprise it won that category btw).  
 
Not to mention Best Downloadable could've gone to countless indie titles but rather they chose the billionth Pac-Man rehash with graphics copied from Geometry Wars >.> 
 
If you guys aren't even going to try on the PC front could you at least label yourself a console site? I mean, Gamespot, IGN and Gametrailers are equally incompetent when it comes to PC gaming, but they're, you know, them. You can be more upfront about your lack of knowledge and your members would still love you I imagine.  "
I think calling DX a rehash is unfair, but I haven't played it so I can't really comment. However I have played Metro (and I was lucky enough to have a PC which can run it on max) and while it is technically impressive I would still agree with the GB team, Kirby is just nicer to look at.  I'm glad that something bright and colorful won, the constant march of technology is seemingly only creating better shades of brown.
Posted by PJ
@SleepyDoughnut said:

" @PJ said:

" @TwistedGamer said:

"  god of war 3.....not one mention "
Why would it get mentioned? Its not a technical award that Kirby got but an artistic award.  GOW3 looks great technicaly but its not even close to as good looking as Kirby, Limbo and NFS:HP. GOW3 is artisticly as generic as you can get. "
No, it's a good looking award, and God of War 3 looks damn good. Better than Need for Speed personally for me. Seems like they just forgot about it, which is odd. But its not a big deal, Kirby is a fine winner. "
 I it includes the technical part(the only good thing about GOW3 when it comes to the visuals) and not only an artistic award then where is Heavy Rain? Heavy Rain is a technical achievement so if its not the winner then its obviously not a graphics award but an artistic one.
I for one dont think NFS HP is a technicaly good looking game but the enviroments, lighting and other effects are really stunning.    
Posted by sliphazard
@PJ said:
" @SleepyDoughnut said:

" @PJ said:

" @TwistedGamer said:

"  god of war 3.....not one mention "
Why would it get mentioned? Its not a technical award that Kirby got but an artistic award.  GOW3 looks great technicaly but its not even close to as good looking as Kirby, Limbo and NFS:HP. GOW3 is artisticly as generic as you can get. "
No, it's a good looking award, and God of War 3 looks damn good. Better than Need for Speed personally for me. Seems like they just forgot about it, which is odd. But its not a big deal, Kirby is a fine winner. "
 I it includes the technical part(the only good thing about GOW3 when it comes to the visuals) and not only an artistic award then where is Heavy Rain? Heavy Rain is a technical achievement so if its not the winner then its obviously not a graphics award but an artistic one.I for one dont think NFS HP is a technicaly good looking game but the enviroments, lighting and other effects are really stunning.     "
Jeff states in the bombcast  "This is our renamed best graphics category". Which they renamed so they could add in the artistic games as well as the technical games (im guessing). They even mention in the bombcast why Heavy Rain doesn't get a spot in the final 3. 
Posted by unreal999

WHERE THE HELL WAS GOD OF WAR 3 IN BEST GRAPHICS? Cmon giantbomb at least mention it. It is by far the best looking game of this year.

Edited by Geno
@Laketown said:

" @Geno said:

" Kirby's Epic Yarn is a fair choice for best looking game overall, but Hot Pursuit as a runner up? Really? And no mention of the PC version of Metro 2033 which had technical graphics rivaling Crysis and a phenomenally cogent atmosphere, and is easily one of the best looking games ever released from both technical and artistic perspectives?
 
Clearly nobody there is informed enough about the PC platform to make the obvious decision to give Metro at least a nod, so why even have a Best PC Game category? Apparently GB's PC coverage simply amounts to one staff member playing Starcraft II (zero surprise it won that category btw).  
 
Not to mention Best Downloadable could've gone to countless indie titles but rather they chose the billionth Pac-Man rehash with graphics copied from Geometry Wars >.> 
 
they all played SC2 except for Ryan, and countless indie titles? like what? They all really loved pacman. "
Super Meat Boy, Chime, Recettear, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Puzzle Agent, NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits, Spectromancer: League of Heroes, Clones, Machinarium...those are just the indie PC games I can think off the top of my head. Notably Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light wasn't mentioned either, and that game more than any other has been the "surprise GOTY" for people from what I hear (though it's not an indie game, the category was for downloadables). 
Posted by granderojo

Game of the Year lists are so overplayed. How about instead of making tiers for people to argue about and make contention over in the comments section were have a "Recommendations of the Year".  
 
 Ohhh no they mentioned a Wii game and a 360 game in 'best looking', here comes the PC Ragnars in a shitstorm frenzy. 
 
Ohh no they forgot to bring up God of War III let's get in a frenzy about that. 
 
Recommendations of the Year, how about it folks, who is for doing that next year instead of Game of the Year?

Posted by MooseyMcMan

I was going to complain about Mass Effect 2 not winning best 360 game, but then I remembered that it was also on PC. 

Posted by ImperiousRix

Wow, I really need to listen to today's podcast to see how they arrived at some of these conclusions. 
Some of these choices are ridiculous, even by GB standards.

Posted by Vinny_Says
@mrcartoon said:
" To those confused about Mass Effect 2 not winning for best 360 title - it's no longer exclusive to 360. It arrives on PS3 in January... "
came out on PC
Posted by Gabriel

They completely forgot about GOW III for graphics.

Posted by Geno
@James0890 said:
 I'm glad that something bright and colorful won, the constant march of technology is seemingly only creating better shades of brown. "
Something bright and colorful always win best art awards, I'm frankly sick of it. It's like people have never walked into a museum or art gallery before. News flash: not all art has to be cartoony or colorful; the stylized and detailed depiction of real life or a fictionalized version of real life is equally artistic.   
 
Kirby's Epic Yarn is fine this time around - it's art style is actually markedly different and it also weaves it into gameplay (ha, get it?). My problem is that if KEY weren't released this year, Limbo would've probably won. Neither are bad looking games, but it panders to the fallacious idea that art in games must be either abstract or cartoony, it whiffs of insecurity and ignorance. 
Posted by sliphazard
@ImperiousRix said:
" Wow, I really need to listen to today's podcast to see how they arrived at some of these conclusions. Some of these choices are ridiculous, even by GB standards. "
Well seeing as how on Day Ones podcast they clearly without reservation gave "Best New Character" to  Mordin from ME2 yet on the write up and video recap it went to Bayonetta..... Don't expect much clarity from the Bombcast
Posted by Ronald

An hour on Minerva's Den vs Shadow Broker. And Brad strong armed his way tot he victory. Too bad it left him too drained to fight for Limbo in any of the other categories. Especially as Ryan seemed willing to back him up if he tried to fight.

Posted by zaglis

Kirby winning best looking category? OH HOW UNEXPECTED!!
 
Also. Metro 2033 in DX11, motherfuckers!

Posted by raiz265

pacman over super meat boy? 
 
you must be kidding.

Posted by GunslingerPanda

I'm so confused. Listening to the 'cast and it seems like Brad's the only one liking Minerva's Den, the rest of the guys are just telling him to shut up... yet it won in this list? What?

Posted by Mannenbrough

So Brad and Ryan say Limbo is the best download game this year, and it's not even a runner up?
 
Does Jeff have their families hostage or something?

Posted by anon463728

I would have loved to see Cave Story as a nominee for Best Download-Only Game. While I'm well aware that it was originally released in 2004, the enhanced WiiWare port seems to be the definite version of the game.

Posted by LiberalTugboat

No Scott Pilgrim for best download only game? WTF?

Posted by sliphazard
@GunslingerPanda said:
" I'm so confused. Listening to the 'cast and it seems like Brad's the only one liking Minerva's Den, the rest of the guys are just telling him to shut up... yet it won in this list? What? "
I love the fact when they're talking about best downloadable game Brad says something along the lines of   "50% of Giant Bomb is of the opinion that Limbo is the best downloadable game".  so I guess when 75% of Giant Bomb was of the opinion that ME2 had the better DLC it didn't matter tho lol
Posted by McGhee

Oh God, they actually caved in to Brad's Minerva's Den insanity.

Posted by GunslingerPanda
@sliphazard said:
" @GunslingerPanda said:
" I'm so confused. Listening to the 'cast and it seems like Brad's the only one liking Minerva's Den, the rest of the guys are just telling him to shut up... yet it won in this list? What? "
I love the fact when they're talking about best downloadable game Brad says something along the lines of   "50% of Giant Bomb is of the opinion that Limbo is the best downloadable game".  so I guess when 75% of Giant Bomb was of the opinion that ME2 had the better DLC it didn't matter tho lol "
Yeah, Brad's kind of annoying this year. Yesterday he was hypocritical, using stats to support one argument then ignoring it to support another, and today he's just being a stubborn child with the argument of "But I liiiiiike it." I normally like Brad but... damn.
 
Jeff's irrational Limbo hate was kinda worse, though.
Edited by 234r2we232
@Ronald said:

" An hour on Minerva's Den vs Shadow Broker. And Brad strong armed his way tot he victory. "

Yes, a shame that the Mass Effect text files didn't win best Add-On :/
Posted by KSlayThaMonster

NO love for God of War 3? That has to be the BEST looking game this year!  

Posted by Llama
@GunslingerPanda said:
" @sliphazard said:
" @GunslingerPanda said:
" I'm so confused. Listening to the 'cast and it seems like Brad's the only one liking Minerva's Den, the rest of the guys are just telling him to shut up... yet it won in this list? What? "
I love the fact when they're talking about best downloadable game Brad says something along the lines of   "50% of Giant Bomb is of the opinion that Limbo is the best downloadable game".  so I guess when 75% of Giant Bomb was of the opinion that ME2 had the better DLC it didn't matter tho lol "
Yeah, Brad's kind of annoying this year. Yesterday he was hypocritical, using stats to support one argument then ignoring it to support another, and today he's just being a stubborn child with the argument of "But I liiiiiike it." I normally like Brad but... damn.  Jeff's irrational Limbo hate was kinda worse, though. "
i liked how all the arguments Brad used against Shadow Broker was also completely applicable to Minerva's Den. I'm getting the distinct impression they just gave it to Minerva's Den so Brad would shut up. :|