Best of 2010
beard_of_zeus: Best of 2010
beard_of_zeus: Best of 2010
Red Dead Redemption continues Rockstar's history of compelling narrative, snappy writing, and a colorful array of characters. But this time, they've set their game in the Wild West, complete with absolutely gorgeous vistas and landscapes that I never got tired of riding across. John Marston's tragic tale is one that you absolutely have to experience from start to finish.
And...on top of that, the Undead Nightmare DLC (which was meaty enough to be it's own game, sold on disc) that was released post-launch was my favorite add-on content that I played through this year. In spite of my initial skepticism (ugh, zombies again?), this piece of content exceeded all my expectations. It's truly a credit to Rockstar that they were able to take their already established universe and turn it on its side into a B-movie cliche, full of hammy dialogue and predictable zombie maulings and still have it be fun as hell. From being able to tame the Four Horses of the Apocalypse to the sickly green coloring abound in the menus and landscape, Rockstar gets all the minor details right, and it's that attention to detail that helps make RDR my #1 game of 2010.
Ubisoft could have just put out another meaty single-player story a la Assassin's Creed 2 that continued the exploits of Ezio through Renaissance Italy and I would have been more than content. I already love the setting, characters, and gameplay they established in AC2, and those aspects continue to shine here. But on top of that, they created an entirely new unconventional multiplayer mode that is a breath of fresh air needed by the current state of the console multiplayer scene. It might not be the most balanced at times, but the constant paranoia paired with stabbing dudes in the face is some of the most fun I've had online in a while.
This sci-fi epic streamlined all the minor issues from Mass Effect 1, from the cumbersome inventory to the boring Mako-driving missions, while continuing the galaxy-spanning tale the first game put forth. Bioware has crafted a universe and characters that I care deeply about, even willing to get down to the nitty-gritty of the fiction through its expansive (yet completely optional) set of codex logs, allowing the player to become as invested as they choose to in the universe.
Super Meat Boy evokes myriad emotions in me - hate, stress, joy, accomplishment, and more hate - but damn if this wasn't one of the biggest surprises of 2010 for me! This game straddles the line between fun and frustration oh-so-carefully, never feeling cheap due to its impeccably precise controls, and always pushing you along with its rapid-fire 20 second levels. It also doesn't hurt that the game has an astonishingly good soundtrack, and oozes charm and humor at every single turn. You can tell a lot of love went into this one.
I don't think I can explain this any better than Vinny already has. Bayonetta wants to get naked, hump a desk, and dance around, and she doesn't give a fuck. This early 2010 release from none other than PlatinumGames (who else did you expect? :P) is just wonderfully glorious nonsense that raises the bar for character action by rewarding skillful play over button mashing.
This was a late entry in my top ten, but goddamn if Criterion didn't do an excellent job revitalizing the Need For Speed franchise. The gorgeous high-speed cat-and-mouse gameplay (which is even better online!) combined with the addictive task of besting your friends' Autolog times caused me to put hours and hours into this game from the time I purchased it.
Playing this game was the first time when I went, "Wow, this is what the PS3 can do!" The visual awe of this game combined with its brutal protagonist and gameplay just makes me so angry!!!!!! RAWR!!!!!!!!!!!
This closure of Kratos' story doesn't stray far from the formula established by its predecessors, but it certainly perfects it, and is just a blast to play. A wonderful action game from start to finish.
Holy shit, they made Pac-Man better! Again! After the breath of fresh air that was the HD remake/re-imagining called Pac-Man Championship Edition, this was like being pumped full of oxygen - sweaty, bass-driven, totally bumping oxygen created from that oh-so-delicious menu music. Devouring 30 ghosts in a row, accompanied by the cavalcade of higher and higher musical notes is nothing short of amazing.
The DS had a banner year in 2010, with tons of great games coming out (Golden Sun, Miles Edgeworth Investigations, Picross 3D, etc.), so I knew at least one had to make my Best of 2010 list. How appropriate that my favorite DS game of the year, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, ends up at number 9!
Speaking of wonderful pieces of interactive fiction (a la my #10 pick), this game blew me away from the start with its varied array of genuinely interesting characters whom you go from knowing nothing about (not even names, everyone goes by codenames) to learning about the core of their very humanity through the traumatizing experience they all have to face. The extremely well-written and excruciatingly detailed (one of the descriptions of a mauled corpse was positively nauseating) story was compelling the whole way through, and is punctuated by clever puzzles and choices from the player, leading to 1 of 6 endings.
I love a game that decides to push the boundary of the medium and tries to innovative; I also enjoy a compelling narrative that makes me care about the characters and their plight. This game combined the two into a wonderful package that I was engrossed in the entire time and managed to finish in 2 settings. Regardless of any issues with ridiculous adolescent accents or simple gameplay, Heavy Rain is a wonderful piece of interactive fiction that should be heralded for its achievements.
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