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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
 
  
319 Comments
Posted by Winternet
@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. "
You gotta realize that Jeff and Ryan didn't even touch Minerva's Den. They can't really say that Shadow Broker is better than Minerva's Den. So it was pretty much Vinny vs Brad. That's why it's the 2 talking for an hour pretty much.
Posted by patbaer

Costume Quest was my favorite download-only game this year. I'm bummed it didn't make top 3, but not surprised.

Posted by Winternet

And they really don't like that much Alan Wake. Putting Dance Central instead of Alan Wake is crazy. It almost looks like they were trying to end it quickly and didn't put all that thought on it. Vinny didn't like Dance Central and the rest said it had quite a lot of flaws.

Posted by sliphazard
@Winternet said:
" @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. "
You gotta realize that Jeff and Ryan didn't even touch Minerva's Den. They can't really say that Shadow Broker is better than Minerva's Den. So it was pretty much Vinny vs Brad. That's why it's the 2 talking for an hour pretty much. "
I totally understand that, but listening to the bombcast they were constantly making the argument for Mass Effect 2. Really it's funny how this all played out, Jeff only played through Bioshock 2 and Brad only played Minerva's Den. Honestly in my opinion it shouldn't have been up there in the first place. If you never played the game the ADD-ON content was built for, then I don't think you have a sufficient understanding of what the DLC really brings and you can't say for certain "this is the best DLC of the year".
Posted by solidlife

kriby win

Posted by Agent47
@sofacitysweetheart: ?
Posted by Agent47
@ImperiousRix: I hear ya man.
Posted by notsonic

I thought lair of the shadow broker was excellent. Listening to brad go on and on for an hour about minervas den was really annoying. He was selling shadow broker short, even admittedly saying he didn't go through all it had to offer. Oh well.

I also thought me2 looked great on pc, didn't even get a mention. One of the sticking points for best graphics they brought up was frame rate and other technical issues (enslaved was the example.) The pc versions of many games fix those technical issues and they're not even considered most of the time.

It doesn't much matter though. It would be impossible to have one person play every game of the year, let alone 4, and have a definitive discussion.

Posted by 234r2we232
@Agent47 said:
" @sofacitysweetheart: ? "
?
Posted by RampageAssassin

OK I just finished listening to the best looking game category and I'm shocked that God of War III never got talked about. Some of the nominees this year have been shocking.

Posted by Kaspar

Why do I keep reading comments?

Posted by NekuCTR

The fact that Brad, Vinny, and Ryan aren't going to let VVVVVV win in anything is pissing me off to no end, and the internet rarely pisses me off.

Posted by Parsnip

I'm surprised no one brought Mass Effect 2 up in the best looking game discussion. That shit looks fantastic.

Posted by RVonE
@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 "

Good point.
Posted by Ksaw
@Kovski said:
@Kovski said:
" @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. "
@Kovski:   
Listen to the podcast. I think Brad is a smart guy and I wouldn't say that I wanted to punch him in the face at all, but he was pretty relentless in his argument in favor of minerva's den. It sounded like the rest of the staff was leaning pretty heavily towards lair of the shadow broker as their pick, but yielded to Brad's stance only because they were exhausted by the debate. It got kind of ridiculous.
Posted by mr_moustache
@raiz265 said:
" pacman over super meat boy?  you must be kidding. "
They are kidding. On Jan 1. they´ll reveal they´re real picks and that the whole deliberation podcast was staged to troll the internets for lols and clicks. 
 
No offense to you, but seriously WTF is wrong with people? A few midly controversial picks and everbody seems to forget that opions are opinions and opinions differ. And I agree with you, I like SMB far more than Pacman.
But I can respect that they pick pacman. 
Posted by LordAndrew
@raiz265 said:
" pacman over super meat boy?  you must be kidding. "
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is a very good game too.
Posted by Spoonman671
@RampageAssassin said:
" OK I just finished listening to the best looking game category and I'm shocked that God of War III never got talked about. Some of the nominees this year have been shocking. "
I just started listening to the podcast, but if this is true, then that is shocking.
Online
Posted by deathmill3002

i still dont understand why god of war wasn't in the process of choosing the best looking game. it was pretty damn sexy looking, the second best looking game on the ps3 hands down and the best looking this year next to kirby

Posted by dtaken

No Alan Wake makes me sad. 

Posted by RiotBananas

I am amazed that people still nerd rage about the staff picks. 
 
Just because they didn't pick what YOU think is the correct game doesn't mean they're wrong. 

Posted by bybeach

Of the games I hear(well, see) the bitching about, I played Minivera's den and a 1/3 of Limbo. Limbo was okay, but I really, really liked Minivera's den. But then, I buck the popular, burned -out -on- Bioshock mood, I loved Bioshock 2. 
 
Whereas Mass Effect 2..it was good, but I'm no Mass Effect fanboy . I tried getting(I actually do own it all) the dlc, lair of the shadow broker, and some lind of glitch will not let be play it. I need to get that staightened out, I keep forgetting to. So it's hard for me to favor shadow broker over Minivera's den, both by lack of experience of the dlc, and in reverse my experience of Mass effect 2. I'm not oppossed that Mass effect will do well, but that is because I have not too much to favor more. Halo reach impressed me, just to say though. That did suprise me.
Posted by papercut

What is going on! nothing matches! I don't know what to believe anymore!

Posted by GunslingerPanda

Man I played the trial of Pacman and had seen enough. I don't get the love, it's just more Pacman.

Edited by mr_moustache

@Ksaw:
  @Ksaw said:

" @Kovski said:

@Kovski said:

" @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. "
@Kovski:   
Listen to the podcast. I think Brad is a smart guy and I wouldn't say that I wanted to punch him in the face at all, but he was pretty relentless in his argument in favor of minerva's den. It sounded like the rest of the staff was leaning pretty heavily towards lair of the shadow broker as their pick, but yielded to Brad's stance only because they were exhausted by the debate. It got kind of ridiculous. "
The rest of the staff was Vinny. Ryan and Jeff did not play Minervas Den. 
  
I think if you feel strongly about an subject you should be (and allowed to be) relentless in your argument. No need for any face-punching to occur. 
It was pretty obvious that Brad and Vinny would not come to an agreement on the subject, so one of the two had to give in. This time it was Vinny, maybe tommorrow it will be  (has been) brad. 
  
PS
As someone who has not played Minerva but has played Shadow I must say that I can agree with most of Brad argument against Shadow. (still an absolute beauty of DLC)  
 
P:P.S. 
@RiotBananas said: 

" I am amazed that people still nerd rage about the staff picks. 
 
Just because they didn't pick what YOU think is the correct game doesn't mean they're wrong.  "

   100%
Posted by MadLaughter

In the MD vs SB argument I supported Shadow Broker, but that was because I never played Minerva's den.  Brad supported the underdog and I respect that, but he seemed to have some flaws in his SB viewpoints.  The voice acting thing, I didn't hear it at ALL.  It all sounded fine to me.  Lack of variety in 90% of Shadow Broker? The car chase was clunky only because I didn't know how to do the boost the first few times I did it.  Otherwise it was awesome.  Liara had a new power, I just don't remember what it was.  There was that investigation sequence in the apartment, that was fine.  Pretty much all of the DLC was new areas.  The boss fight against the bad chick was pretty damn cool.  And saying the SB himself was made only to have a big boss fight is just grasping for straws.  I'm cool with Minerva's den winning, but some (not all) of Brad's arguments were flawed. 
 
Either way, I didn't ever think it reached annoying, It was just passionate.  I'd rather these guys be passionate about their choices than apathetic. 

Posted by Antihippy

I think most people miss the fact that brad and vinny are the only people who played the add ons, and ryan and jeff are going for SB mostly because they preferred ME2 over BS2.

Posted by lacke
@mr_moustache: I can respect that they picked Pacman and I fully understand that these are the GB' s awards, not my awards. However when two people have said that they thought Limbo was the best game and there wasn't even a discussion about it, just makes me resent Jeff's attitude. It feels like these awards are about convincing Jeff this game should get the award more than anything else.
Posted by dtaken

Oh and Brad is full of shit about Shadow Broker combat being the same. The boss fights were unlike anything in Mass Effect 2. God I wish the other guys would have spoke up more for Shadow Broker. 

Posted by BlazingWookie

Awesome vids guys

Posted by DG991

I don't like the kirby as best looking game. 
It's alright though, not really mad about it. 
 
Jeff did good in halo multiplayer by the end. Unlike brad and he terrible failure yesterday. 

Posted by big_jon

I am glad to see Reach get some love, it really deserves it.
Posted by LordXavierBritish

Fuck. 
 
Now i have to go buy Bioshock 2. 
 
Again. 
 
I hate you all.

Posted by Vod_Crack

The only winner that I disagree with is Halo: Reach for best Co-op game... I would have been happier with either Lara Croft: GoL or Splinter Cell: Conviction since they have fully fledged co-op modes.

Posted by sliphazard
@Antihippy said:
" I think most people miss the fact that brad and vinny are the only people who played the add ons, and ryan and jeff are going for SB mostly because they preferred ME2 over BS2. "
Exactly, when in the position where 2 people have never played the content, it is left to the one who has  to convince them that it is indeed "DLC of the year". All through out the bombcast Jeff kept raising points of "well from what you're saying, the game sounds like this...." and it was usually received in a negative view, same goes for Ryan. Judging from the bombcast Brad didn't convince them of anything, he simply wore them out. Much like a spoiled 6 year old in a toy store.  It's kind of sad really, you can almost hear the disappointment in the others voices when they realize "wow dude, this is how you're going to act? Fine you can have the fucking the toy!"
Posted by raiz265
@mr_moustache said:
" @raiz265 said:
" pacman over super meat boy?  you must be kidding. "
They are kidding. On Jan 1. they´ll reveal they´re real picks and that the whole deliberation podcast was staged to troll the internets for lols and clicks.  No offense to you, but seriously WTF is wrong with people? A few midly controversial picks and everbody seems to forget that opions are opinions and opinions differ. And I agree with you, I like SMB far more than Pacman.But I can respect that they pick pacman.  "
It's my opinion that Meatboy >>> PacMan Championship Edition... :P 
 
I mean, at the end of the day I don't even really care about those awards anyway....
Posted by Ksaw
@mr_moustache: I'm not endorsing face punching at all, and enjoyed the overall podcast. 
Posted by VisariLoyalist

How was final fantasy 13 not even considered for best looking game?! Seriously! It seems like they only care about games that were released within the past few months. Fucking ADHD

Posted by DorkyMohr

I think Brad did Minerva's Den a disservice by not explaining what exactly about the story was so amazing to him that I think potentially less people will play it now. To listeners it really does still just sound like "guess what... more bioshock." Even if it had a better story in comparison to Lair of the Shadow broker, I'm still not as invested in that world.

Posted by RVonE
@dtaken said:

"Oh and Brad is full of shit about Shadow Broker combat being the same. The boss fights were unlike anything in Mass Effect 2. God I wish the other guys would have spoke up more for Shadow Broker.  "


It's also kind of funny how he says that the events of Lair of the Shadow Broker are in no way vital to the ME universe. Kinda weird how he arrives at that conclusion while having finished it half a day before the recording of the podcast started. 
 
Another thing is that in his review of the ME2 he states that he would put the combat "right up alongside any pure third-person shooter on the market" while in the GOTY discussion he says that "there are way better third-person shooters on the market". 
 
Now I think it is fine for him to feel that Minerva's Den was better, but the way he tries to get his way is kinda silly.
Posted by Antihippy
@sliphazard said:
" @Antihippy said:
" I think most people miss the fact that brad and vinny are the only people who played the add ons, and ryan and jeff are going for SB mostly because they preferred ME2 over BS2. "
Exactly, when in the position where 2 people have never played the content, it is left to the one who has  to convince them that it is indeed "DLC of the year". All through out the bombcast Jeff kept raising points of "well from what you're saying, the game sounds like this...." and it was usually received in a negative view, same goes for Ryan. Judging from the bombcast Brad didn't convince them of anything, he simply wore them out. Much like a spoiled 6 year old in a toy store.  It's kind of sad really, you can almost hear the disappointment in the others voices when they realize "wow dude, this is how you're going to act? Fine you can have the fucking the toy!" "
It's hard to convince them because they are way more into ME2 than BS2.
Posted by MooseyMcMan

I'm still a little upset at God of War III not even being mentioned in their discussion of best looking game. Seems crazy to me. 

Posted by MeatSim

That discussion about the best downloable add-on during GOTY Bombcast just got monotonous and repetitive.

Posted by Hairydutchman

No game looks as impressive as God of War 3 this year.  Weird that the game is totally forgotten in the best looking category.
 
I'm happy for Kirby though. An absolutely beautiful looking game.

Posted by Technom

Pac-Man, best download-only game?
It's good, but the best? Hmm...
 
What about Undead Nightmare?

Posted by Ratfoot

Brad's filibuster for Minerva's Den was disgusting, I'm really disappointed in him now fighting so hard for that and just letting York die for a Mass Effect character.

Posted by Pop

wait I thought lair of the shadow broker won.. I'm confused.

Posted by MOAB
@VisariLoyalist said:
" How was final fantasy 13 not even considered for best looking game?! Seriously! It seems like they only care about games that were released within the past few months. Fucking ADHD "
exactly... i'm playing it now, and it looks awesome. ff13 and me2 should have at least been mentioned before alan wake. hell, they even mentioned tron... the fuck?
Edited by huntad

Listening to both Brad and Vinny discuss Minerva's Den and Shadow Broker and it is amazing. The way they both were so heavily invested in the addons makes for some really interesting debate. This is how I really wanted Day 1 to go, but that one seemed to get really juvenile. It still went on for a very long time, but I gotta say I am much more impressed and informed of how the process for these things go. Great job! 
 
Edit: Also, I think Jeff is correct to say that Brad does not know what Bioshock 2 is and it might have changed his opinion if he finished it, but that was coming from a guy who ruled out some Red Dead Redemption stuff and did not even touch it. Overall, I think the fact that some guys are ruling on games that they didn't play makes this whole thing crazy. It's really funny and hectic, but not necessarily fair in some cases. Still, I'm having fun!

Posted by CrimsonNoir

great now i gotta wait for Minerva's Den to go on sale. just barely bought the Lair of the Shadow Broker and the other ME2 DLC because it's on sale for 200 pts each. anyone who was even slightly interested in the DLC should jump on it cause 200 is a steal for DLC.