Best of 2010
GetEveryone: Best of 2010
GetEveryone: Best of 2010
I dislike the term "epic" when thrown around loosely, but this game meets the criterion to the very letter. For the week that I played ME2 I dreamed I was a Space Captain every night: It infected my subconscious, unconscious, consciousness. The universe it created is unparalleled, and the characters utterly believable and it handled like a joy. The only not-entirely-convincing downside was the lack of imagination bestowed on the actual planets; A small gripe, and one that I can't fully endorse, myself.
I have played a combined 900 hours of SF4 since its initial release in '09. 300 of those were SSF4 and it remains my most played game of all time. There is little I can say to express the feeling I have playing this game, and while it may not have been my game of the year (simply for the reason that ME2 provided me with a very different, albeit incomparable experience), I stand by everything I said.
Combing an intriguing story with a fantastic world inhabited by fantastically designed characters, puzzles and a fully-formed combat system, Darksiders is not only a truly awesome debut, but one of the best games of the year. While the progression system and game structure is certainly reminiscent of the Zelda franchise, it's entirely unfair to disregard it only as such: It is true that the game lifts from that series, and it also finds inspiration from Legacy of Kain, God of War and, atmospherically, Shadowman (the towering Dark Throne stands looming, akin to Legion's Asylum) but, most importantly, Darksiders finds its own voice within a heavily stylised mythos. Bring on the sequel!
My housemates and I played through Heavy Rain in a single evening: By 5am we had refused to turn it off and were fighting fatigue. Come the home stretch, we failed to vindicate Ethan, while poor Agent Jayden fell to his gruesome demise and the real killer escaped scot-free. Heavy Rain provided such a complete story experience that when I attempted to replay the last section, it felt hopeless. My Ethan had died saving his son, and that's where his story ended. "But what about the true ending?", you ask? I'll leave the semantics to you; make mine a tragedy.
God Of War III's scope was without fathom, and, while whether this had been to its benefit may still be in doubt, what is unquestionable is that the genre-reinventing GoW series was finished in a spectacularly bloody manner: Kratos disemboweled Titans, dismembered Gods and put to bed his own demons. More importantly, SCEA gave us to opportunity to hammer O until Zeus' head was little more than a pulpy mess covering our screens. What more could you ask than that?
While not instantly-gratifying, SMB merged a beautifully responsive and intuitive control scheme with fantastic level-design and the best soundtrack of the year. A game so entirely and unashamedly caught up in its own gameyness, that it feels fresher than almost anything else this year.
Had I not discovered it so late, ACII would probably have been my 2009 GOTY. I disliked the original, and so, was hesitant to play the sequel: big mistake. I was enraptured with the story, characters and most importantly game progression. Pacing is something so few games fail to get right, but ACII was pitch-perfect. The reason I'm discussing the original so heavily is that I'm only around 6 hours into Brotherhood (plus a handful of hours in the multiplayer) and I'm having exactly the same feelings; I'd hate not to give this installment its due on account of not having finished it in time.
Don't worry: I know Alpha Protocol is broken. It is broken as shit. That doesn't detract from my absolute adoration of the game, though. While AP fails in key areas (namely, shady enemy AI and poor gun-play that cause frustration I can't begin to put into words), it has such great intentions that I genuinely can't do anything but love it. The branching dialogue options offer depth close to what ME2 presented, the rewarding RPG elements allow you to play the game the way you want (not to mention the great "perks" system) and the story is a mix of typically riveting, though somewhat cliched, espionage tropes. If more people had given it a chance, we may have hoped to see a better polished sequel somewhere on the horizon. Alas...
Enslaved is somewhat indicative of this year's output. Where one area excels to a degree not previously seen on the medium, it is hampered by irritating flaws. What works? A beautifully realised world, brought to life with thoroughly engaging characters. Unfortunately, it is mired by generic gameplay and a fairly dull combat-system. If only the other 5 people who bought it had told their friends...
Though I've never been an RTS nut, my housemate is an unadulterated Starcraft fanboy. It is solely for this reason that SCII stole more hours from me than I ever thought it would. Unwilling to put in the time and energy required to become adept at 1v1 skirmishes by myself, I was coerced into learning the ropes and before I knew what was happening I had begun to give up evenings in order to play. I haven't touched the campaign...
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