Carrie Gouskos Carrie Gouskos has been working in games for 11 years. Most notably, she ensured the quality of the stripping in BMX XXX, dressed up like one of the Fur Fighters , played HBO Boxing with Coolio, and designed the Gerstmann Crypt in Warhammer Online. She moonlighted briefly as a journalist who wanted to be a game developer while Features Editor at GameSpot. She's currently the producer overseeing all of BioWare Mythic's Live MMOs, which include Warhammer Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and Ultima Online.
Most Honorable of Mentions
Mass Effect 2, for being a stupendous game made by my employer and which I didn't want to go through the turmoil of having to slot on this list.
10. Alan Wake
Admittedly there were times when Alan Wake was too scary for me. But I kept playing despite a very strong desire to curl up beneath some very well-lit covers. Entertaining through the end, Alan Wake provides the right combination of storytelling, atmosphere, and gameplay mechanics to make it uniquely refreshing and truly fun.
I swiped this nomination from the lists of a few people whose opinion I really admire. This free downloadable game tugs at the strings of both emotion and nostalgia. Anybody who has ever felt themselves falling for someone on the internet must play this game.
While DX didn't make the mind-blowing leap forward from Pac-Man that the original Championship Edition did, the fact that it was still able to improve a formula, which has been timeless for the past 30 years, is a marvel.
While much can be said about the quality and atmosphere of the game, both campaign and multiplayer, Black Ops most deserves a nod for creating the most memorable and likeable characters in franchise history: Viktor Reznov and Sergeant Frank Woods.
Darksiders combines mature themes, the mechanics of the 3D Zelda games, and the combat of God of War. But where any other game attempting the same might seem derivative, Darksiders makes it an homage, and more than worthy of its great source material.
With each iteration, Assassin's Creed gets better, and Brotherhood adds yet another sheen of polish and slick action to an already beautifully refined series.
Whether you're an explorer, builder, socializer, or collector, Minecraft has probably gotten a stranglehold of your gaming compulsion this year and dragged you into endless hours of clicking at square boxes. There's no watercooler talk like Minecraft watercooler talk, and no viral video funnier than " Minecraft Fire WTF!!!"
It's been years since Devil May Cry was this good, but it's taken Bayonetta to remind us of what pure stylish action should be. Only next time less crotch plz.
Abandoning most of the clunkiness of its predecessor, Dead Rising 2 retains the mechanics that make it blissfully hard, and then majorly ups the ante with joyous new ways to brutally skewer zombies and even sillier outfits than before. If only you could unsee the Mankini.
1. Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain is a bold and different type of game, that is as memorable as it is beautiful, and as poignant as it is sad. It's also proof that great game experiences don't require sophisticated controls, and can tell stories that rival any movie. In a year blessed with atmospheric, emotional, and moody games, it seems only fitting to call Heavy Rain the best.
Rocco Botte Rocco Botte is one of the men behind Mega64, a comedic show portraying awkward social situations within and outside of video games. His questionable work can be seen on Mega64.com and all around YouTube. He has never been arrested.
I started my 2010 gaming year off with playing Heavy Rain, where I got the bad ending where everyone is murdered because I didn't feed my son a frozen pizza after school, or something. Pretty much any other game this year was a better experience than that, so this probably won't be the pickiest list ever.
A tighter, slicker package for Mr. Travis Touchdown (I'm beginning to word things as perversely as the game itself) was forged, but kind of at the expense of memorable characters and scenarios that the original title seemed to have in spades. Still a great time, and I don't know any other title on this list that I actually stayed up all night to beat in one go like I did this one.
Most people have probably stopped reading my article at this point, so I can pretty much say whatever I want without fear of embarrassment. Okay then, here goes: I love dressing up these damn girls. They have done this on like 8 different systems, each version worse than the last, and I STILL NEED ALL THESE SWIMSUITS. Most people will take this portion of the article as "that guy from Mega64 trying to be funny," but if you could genuinely see the amount of polygonal bikinis I racked up on a single flight to Boston, you'd see how serious I really am.
Aside from realizing my childhood dreams of seeing the characters from G-Force beat the crap out of Mega Man's sister, I really just appreciated this game's wild presentation, roster, and controls. As someone who loves, but sucks at fighting games, I really appreciated the simplified control system that many others might not have cared for.
Does this count as a game from this year? Despite getting the import version four months before it was released in the US (That's 11 years in Internet-time), I'll let it count. This game had everything going for it--a hot main character, an unintelligible-but-fun storyline, and strategically-placed hair-clothes. And the music was awesome too! Didn't the soundtrack to this game have like 600 tracks or something? That's right. Because even each sound effect was a work of cherished art here.
This was more levels from Super Mario Galaxy. I feel like I shouldn't have to explain myself any further, but if you need any more cool reasonings, just know this: Nintendo added a bunch of perfectly designed levels where Yoshi could run super-fast, just to be total dicks to Sonic Team. Totally.
This game would be way higher on the list, but then Retro Studios added a world made entirely of minecart levels and barrel-rockets, so EEHHH EEEHH! This game just slipped on a banana peel to number five! ("EEHHH EEEHH" is the sound Donkey Kong makes when he is critically injured).
This game isn't perfect by any means--it actually kinda has a lot of flaws. I can't even really figure out why I'm placing this game so relatively high. I think I was just pleasantly surprised by it. While it definitely featured little originality in the gameplay department, I just really dug this game's portrayal of Hell, its characters, and storyline. I could tell there was a lot of thought put into each little detail, and that kept me wanting more. Just a solid, good time.
3. Rock Band 3
The Rock Band series is something I play, either at home or at the Mega64 offices, almost every single day. It just isn't a good work-day if we can't cap it off with a couple off-key performances of old Weezer songs. This new incarnation just perfected every little thing and added tons of gaudy 80's synth-hits, and I really can't ask for any more. Except for maybe more Them Crooked Vultures tracks--you just can't have enough Homme-related content in any one video game.
This would have actually been my number one pick, but I really feel like this game needs co-op play to truly shine, and it's just not always available. That being said, when I wasn't desperately trying to find people to sneak around and blow up helicopters with, I was clocking serious hours on collecting staff members from Wi-Fi hotspots, organizing staff members, Fulton-izing and recruiting passed-out dudes… all from the comfort of my toilet seat. I'm not joking--this perfect collection of bite-sized espionage adventures is my official pick for Ultimate Dump Game of 2010.
After the first 20 exhilarating minutes of this epic, the game could have just been 10 hours of Kratos handcrafting tortilla warmers. It still would have been 2010's game of the year. A great trilogy-ender and the perfect sendoff to one of gaming's most visceral family stories.