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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 biospank

I think god of war 3 should have been in Best-Looking Game    imo
Posted by MistaSparkle

I completely agree with all the picks here. Yay top 10s!

Posted by lordofultima
@Technom said:
" Pac-Man, best download-only game? It's good, but the best? Hmm...  What about Undead Nightmare? "
Undead Nightmare is an add-on, Not a download-only game.
Posted by Zereta

Glad that Halo: Reach did not get robbed of the best of 360 award. But God of War 3 definitely got robbed in the graphics department though Kirby: Epic yarn is a good pick as well, I guess.  
 
The only thing in that category that was undeserving was Limbo. Haven't listened to the podcast yet but Limbo was alright. Not as good as everyone, especially Brad, seems to think.

Posted by MJHAYLETT

God of War III doesn't make the Best Looking Game? Even if you hate the game you can't say its not a Great Looking Game. No one with eyes can keep it off this list. AND what about Starcraft 2? That is a F'ing great looking game. Hmmm Giant Bomb methinks something is wrong with your Best Looking Game Category.
 
Kirby's Epic Yarn
God of War III
Starcraft 2
 
is the correct list baby.

Posted by huntad
@Zereta: I agree, I think they should have just put Kirby in a "Best Style" Category and kept GoW3 for best graphics. I haven't played it, but I've watched enough of someone else play it that I have to agree with you.
Posted by ryanwho

Im amazed that Brad won out against that onslaught of pure ignorance and people who haven't even fucking played the shit making sweeping loaded assumptions. 

Posted by MordeaniisChaos
@MJHAYLETT said:
" God of War III doesn't make the Best Looking Game? Even if you hate the game you can't say its not a Great Looking Game. No one with eyes can keep it off this list. AND what about Starcraft 2? That is a F'ing great looking game. Hmmm Giant Bomb methinks something is wrong with your Best Looking Game Category.  Kirby's Epic YarnGod of War III Starcraft 2  is the correct list baby. "
They went for style over, as Jeff puts it "most". It's easy to say which game is the most technically advanced (PS, it's NOT God of War III), but choosing which has the best crafted aesthetic and is great to look at is different. God of War 3 didn't have that much flare, it just worked with a subject matter that has a lot of scope.
Posted by Raven_Sword

How did minervas den win? Im listening to the podcast right now and it sounds like brad is the only one that thinks it should win. I thought it was majority vote?
Posted by Quacktastic

I wonder if they just forgot GoW3 or got rid of it earlier. I kept waiting for someone to be like, "What about God of War?"

Posted by huntad
@ryanwho said:
" Im amazed that Brad won out against that onslaught of pure ignorance and people who haven't even fucking played the shit making sweeping loaded assumptions.  "
That's kind of been my concern from the beginning from before they even started these discussions, but I figured they were going to take some time to play some of the stuff. The fact that they didn't makes these discussions kind of weird. Weird isn't a good word for it, but whatever.
Posted by Raven_Sword

thats what I kinda dont like about these game of the year things. Alot of times its two of the crew arguing it out for 30 or 40 minutes, then one kinda lets the other win probaly due to the fact they arent getting anywhere in the conversation. thats the only way I can see minervas den winning because listening to the cast it sounds like it was majoirty vote that Shadow Broker won.
Posted by ryanwho
@huntad said:
" @ryanwho said:
" Im amazed that Brad won out against that onslaught of pure ignorance and people who haven't even fucking played the shit making sweeping loaded assumptions.  "
That's kind of been my concern from the beginning from before they even started these discussions, but I figured they were going to take some time to play some of the stuff. The fact that they didn't makes these discussions kind of weird. Weird isn't a good word for it, but whatever. "
They were at least aware of it for this one category. Maybe 'best DLC' should go the way of 'best sports game' unless they're sure they can actually have a robust discussion. Same for PC only games, frankly.
Posted by LaFlamaBlanca

Nice work gentleman.  I'm new to the site, but I'm fuckin' loving what I see so far!
Posted by dubios451

I feel like the important part of the bombcasts on their debates is that they are being way more honest than other game websites. Other websites just put up their lists and their viewers either love them or hate them based on personal preference. They have no idea if the people making the lists played the entire game, or had previous biases. It may not be the funniest or most informative podcast but it gives us an honest look at how they decide. I personally really appreciate that. I don't agree with all of their choices but I respect them a great deal, and I like how an impassioned defense by one of them can sway the others. 

Posted by Kajaah117
@dubios451 said:
" I feel like the important part of the bombcasts on their debates is that they are being way more honest than other game websites. Other websites just put up their lists and their viewers either love them or hate them based on personal preference. They have no idea if the people making the lists played the entire game, or had previous biases. It may not be the funniest or most informative podcast but it gives us an honest look at how they decide. I personally really appreciate that. I don't agree with all of their choices but I respect them a great deal, and I like how an impassioned defense by one of them can sway the others.  "
Quoted for articulating exactly what I love about GiantBomb.com
Posted by ocdog45

Kirby did look pretty tight. why can't all wii games look like this or mario galaxy?

Posted by RedSox8933

I'm really happy to see VVVVVV on there, because that game is way better than Limbo.

Posted by MrKlorox

Super Meat Boy is getting a retail box for the PC version... so it should be disqualified for download only.

Posted by LordKorax

Not only did I kill that "last" Sasquatch with two rifle rounds to the face, but a few hours later I found another one wandering the forest and killed him, too. Fuck that guy.

Posted by EnigmaticHeretic

No God Of War 3 for Best Looking Game? hmmmm

Posted by aku

three guys like limbo + jeff doesnt = limbo is shit
 
three guys like shadowbroker + brad likes minerva's den = shadowbroker losing
 
what's going on?

Posted by megalowho

Man, as soon as Jeff booted up VVVVVV for Brad and that music kicked in, I felt an uncontrollable urge wash over me to pause the podcast and play some myself. So I did just that. And it was as awesome as I remembered it. Great game that deserves love!

Posted by BRNK
@ryanwho said:
" Im amazed that Brad won out against that onslaught of pure ignorance and people who haven't even fucking played the shit making sweeping loaded assumptions.  "
Amen.
Posted by prestonhedges

eh, they can't play every fucking game that comes out (though they probably try) and it's not like you (yes, you) have never dismissed a game based on seeing a trailer for it
 
besides, awards are always awkward and terrible
 
now if they put out a review for a game they never played, that'd be something

Edited by Kyle

I can't believe they let Minerva's Den win essentially just because Brad was stubborn. I haven't played it, so I can't say how good it is, but I can say that Brad did not make a strong argument for it at all. Very disappointed with that one.

Edited by AngriGhandi

I love how the Minerva's Den argument in the podcast just turns into everyone throwing Bioshock 2 under the bus as hard as possible. "Hey, remember how we gave that game four stars?" "Yeah, fuck that game!"
Poor Bioshock 2. Not even the fact that people liked you will keep them from hating you.

Posted by WiqidBritt

joining in on the Minerva's Den/Shadow Broker talk... it almost sounded like Brad played the Shadow Broker DLC just so he could say that Minerva's Den was better. He didn't say much about what made MD great and spent most of his time saying that all you do in SB was run forward and shoot stuff. also, it sounded like the only reason Vinny caved in was because he was of the opinion that MD was the only thing worth playing about Bioshock 2. paraphrasing here: "if you paid money for Bioshock 2, well at least you have Minerva's Den"  and I feel that's really not in the spirit of the catagory, Minerva's Den would have been just as good as a stand alone game completely unrelated to the Bioshock universe, whereas Lair of the Shadow Broker gives you a better understanding of the characters introduced in Mass Effect 2 and of the Mass Effect universe in general. 
 
sorry, I wasn't expecting this comment to get so long

Posted by Vitor
@shadowknight508
I have not played the Minerva's Den DLC for Bioshock 2, but I might look into it since the braintrust at Giant Bomb picked it as the best of 2010 DLC-wise.
Sane here - no interest in it prior to all the good things mentioned in various podcasts. It is making ts way to the pc version, right? I remember that being the case and will grab it once I've been reunited with my laptop.
Edited by Karmann

I'm sorry but Kirby is NOT the best looking game of the year. Personally I'd say God of War 3, but their can be a case made for a bunch of other games other than Kirby. It's pretty, and does wonders on the hardware, but it is NOT THE best looking game of the year. Especially not in a year containing GoW3, Heavy Rain, Enslaved, Hot Pursuit, FF13, etc...

Posted by Gabriel
@MordeaniisChaos said:
" @MJHAYLETT said:
" God of War III doesn't make the Best Looking Game? Even if you hate the game you can't say its not a Great Looking Game. No one with eyes can keep it off this list. AND what about Starcraft 2? That is a F'ing great looking game. Hmmm Giant Bomb methinks something is wrong with your Best Looking Game Category.  Kirby's Epic YarnGod of War III Starcraft 2  is the correct list baby. "
They went for style over, as Jeff puts it "most". It's easy to say which game is the most technically advanced (PS, it's NOT God of War III), but choosing which has the best crafted aesthetic and is great to look at is different. God of War 3 didn't have that much flare, it just worked with a subject matter that has a lot of scope. "
Nah they just forgot it. 
Posted by PrivateIronTFU

Pac Man is definitely one of the best games of the year.

Edited by SomeJerk

Kirby is the best looking game when you realize there's more to looks than mega-polycount scenes that are just there to impress you. The looks in Kirby get inside, deep under your skin, they flex your facial muscles or at least give you some tics, they warm you up and move your emotions even when you're a bitter old gamer, as long a you have some heart left in you. GOW3, technically a helluva fine looking game, is just a technical achievement,  and that's it. Kirby meanwhile has me goddamn explode. It's a photo of kittens to GOW3's impressive architectural shot, taken from a frogs-level angle as to make things look larger and more impressive.
 
 
e: Adding to say that I feel well when the staff vote went that way. It's a rare sight to have open eyes ears and minds like these on a website. As a collective set of staff-enses I mean ;D

Posted by Karmann

...also, Final Fantasy 13, it might have been dissapointing, but there is no denying that that game looks AMAZING, and a helluva lot better than KIRBY!

Posted by Lazyaza
@Karmann said:
"I'm sorry but Kirby is NOT the best looking game of the year. Personally I'd say God of War 3, but their can be a case made for a bunch of other games other than Kirby. It's pretty, and does wonders on the hardware, but it is NOT THE best looking game of the year. Especially not in a year containing GoW3, Heavy Rain, Enslaved, Hot Pursuit, etc... "

When they say best looking they don't mean most graphically impressive, its a matter of style and artistry. 
Edited by Karmann
@Lazyaza said:

" @Karmann said:

"I'm sorry but Kirby is NOT the best looking game of the year. Personally I'd say God of War 3, but their can be a case made for a bunch of other games other than Kirby. It's pretty, and does wonders on the hardware, but it is NOT THE best looking game of the year. Especially not in a year containing GoW3, Heavy Rain, Enslaved, Hot Pursuit, etc... "
When they say best looking they don't mean most graphically impressive, its a matter of style and artistry.  "
I'm sorry but kirby is just a one trick pony, sure it's cute, but it's not visually impressive, and I'm not talking tech stuff, I'm talking BEST LOOKING, both God of War 3, and Final Fantasy 13, have great art direction,attention to detail, and an amazing sense of scale. Just looking at them without knowing nor caring about the tech, I was constantly wow'd. GoW3 and FF13, LOOK GOOD! Kirby is cute the first time you see it, and from there on it's just more of the same. 
 
...also, what's worse is that NEITHER of those games were even MENTIONED on the podcast!!!
Posted by BossKong

Lair of the shadow broker wins. Add-ons are add-ons. You add it to the story already there. Lair of the shadow broker gave people what they wanted, more mass effect 2. Minerva's Den is a good stand alone. It could have been just a downloadable game, and have nothing to do with Bioshock.    
Edited by snotboogie

How can Metro 2033 not even rate a mention for Best Looking? Ludicrous!

Posted by Vinny_Says

Just played Shadow Broker (on sale 200 points)....I don't know how anyone found that great, it basically is a bunch of mediocre combat, a terrible taxi chase and text files at the end. That ship looked pretty dope tho, but my lack of interest in Liara was probably a factor in not being amazed by it. 
 
Mind you I haven't played Minerva's or Undead Nightmare, but the crew's praise of Shadow broker does seem crazy to me. 

(Note: I have 3 separate characters, one of them beating the game on insanity) and 30 hours on each "career". I love me some Mass Effect)

Edited by lordofultima
@Karmann said:

" @Lazyaza said:

" @Karmann said:

"I'm sorry but Kirby is NOT the best looking game of the year. Personally I'd say God of War 3, but their can be a case made for a bunch of other games other than Kirby. It's pretty, and does wonders on the hardware, but it is NOT THE best looking game of the year. Especially not in a year containing GoW3, Heavy Rain, Enslaved, Hot Pursuit, etc... "
When they say best looking they don't mean most graphically impressive, its a matter of style and artistry.  "
I'm sorry but kirby is just a one trick pony, sure it's cute, but it's not visually impressive, and I'm not talking tech stuff, I'm talking BEST LOOKING, both God of War 3, and Final Fantasy 13, have great art direction,attention to detail, and an amazing sense of scale. Just looking at them without knowing nor caring about the tech, I was constantly wow'd. GoW3 and FF13, LOOK GOOD! Kirby is cute the first time you see it, and from there on it's just more of the same.  ...also, what's worse is that NEITHER of those games were even MENTIONED on the podcast!!! "
God of War and FFXIII don't really look pleasing to me, so I wouldn't call them best looking. Kirby is something aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, so I think it looks better. It is not just some black and white category where the most polygons win. 
 
@MrKlorox said:
" Super Meat Boy is getting a retail box for the PC version... so it should be disqualified for download only. "
Has it been released as a retail copy yet? If not, then it certainly qualifies.
Posted by Karmann
@lordofultima said:
" @Karmann said:

" @Lazyaza said:

" @Karmann said:

"I'm sorry but Kirby is NOT the best looking game of the year. Personally I'd say God of War 3, but their can be a case made for a bunch of other games other than Kirby. It's pretty, and does wonders on the hardware, but it is NOT THE best looking game of the year. Especially not in a year containing GoW3, Heavy Rain, Enslaved, Hot Pursuit, etc... "
When they say best looking they don't mean most graphically impressive, its a matter of style and artistry.  "
I'm sorry but kirby is just a one trick pony, sure it's cute, but it's not visually impressive, and I'm not talking tech stuff, I'm talking BEST LOOKING, both God of War 3, and Final Fantasy 13, have great art direction,attention to detail, and an amazing sense of scale. Just looking at them without knowing nor caring about the tech, I was constantly wow'd. GoW3 and FF13, LOOK GOOD! Kirby is cute the first time you see it, and from there on it's just more of the same.  ...also, what's worse is that NEITHER of those games were even MENTIONED on the podcast!!! "
God of War and FFXIII don't really look pleasing to me, so I wouldn't call them best looking. Kirby is something aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, so I think it looks better. It is not just some black and white category where the most polygons win. 
 
 
Well GoW3 and FFXIII really look pleasing to me and a lot of more people as well, you are in the minority. It sounds as if you are going out of your way to agree with the staff. There are no and's if's or but's, God of War 3 deserved to be considered, even if YOU don't like it. You have to admit that it should have at least been mentioned. It seems to me that they just forgot that it came out this year.
Posted by DanielJW
@Karmann: Or they didn't like how it looked. It's their opinion, deal with it. 
Posted by Karmann
@DanielJW said:
" @Karmann: Or they didn't like how it looked. It's their opinion, deal with it.  "
Then they are fools.
Posted by DanielJW
@Karmann said:
" @DanielJW said:
" @Karmann: Or they didn't like how it looked. It's their opinion, deal with it.  "
Then they are fools. "
Then maybe this site isn't for you, chum. 
Posted by yakityyakblah

They should rename these the "Fuck it, we let Brad get his way so we could go home awards"

Posted by DrSnaqrite

My favorite part from this year's awards is going to be hearing from old Gamespot people. Those people are hella cool.

Edited by Karmann
@DanielJW said:

" @Karmann said:

" @DanielJW said:
" @Karmann: Or they didn't like how it looked. It's their opinion, deal with it.  "
Then they are fools. "
Then maybe this site isn't for you, chum.  "
I usually get along great with this community, and like many, I've been around since the arrow pointing down days, but you sir, are a douche. If GoW3 is widely considered to be the best looking game of 2010 by most outlets, they should have at least mentioned it to say why they DON'T think it's the best looking, and I'd be fine with that. But not even mentioning it seems like a glaring omission. 
 
, chum.
Posted by Deathpooky

God of War not being on there or even mentioned for best looking sure seems like an oversight to me.  It's pretty hard to argue against it if you've seen that opening battle sequence.  Jaw-dropping and awesome.  Only Uncharted 2 holds a candle to it on the PS3.  Though I'm pretty sure Ryan was the only guy who played it, so no surprise it got lost in the shuffle.

Posted by DanielJW
@Karmann: I don't think they have any obligation to give any credence to the decisions of any other outlet. I played God of War and it's a hell of a game. I agree with you, it looks beautiful. However it is just another grimy world beautifully rendered to look as disgusting as possible. It seems like they stuck with games that had done new things, and gave it to Kirby for doing something we've never seen before and doing it damn good. 
 
I'm not trying to be a douche, I apologize for the "chum" thing.  
Edited by Karmann
@DanielJW said:

" @Karmann: I don't think they have any obligation to give any credence to the decisions of any other outlet. I played God of War and it's a hell of a game. I agree with you, it looks beautiful. However it is just another grimy world beautifully rendered to look as disgusting as possible. It seems like they stuck with games that had done new things, and gave it to Kirby for doing something we've never seen before and doing it damn good.  I'm not trying to be a douche, I apologize for the "chum" thing.   "

Cool, I see your point. I'm sorry about the "douche" thing.