LordofUltima's 10 of 2010

I present to you, my top ten games of 2010! Some of these may have been expected, some maybe took you for surprise. Some of you don't even care, and that's fine too! A big lacking in downloadable titles this year, I just couldn't think of one super duper high quality game in that regard. Oh well, there's always next year -- with Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 on the horizon. Not to mention the full-fledged games set for arrival: Skyrim, Uncharted 3, Dead Space 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution...MAN, that is fully loaded. 2010 wasn't too shabby, though! 
 

10. Amnesia: The Dark Descent 

Holy crap, I haven't been scared by a video game seriously in many years. It's so scary in fact, that I actually find it hard to play this game. Hard to advance into the next room, the next encounter with shadows, insanity, thinking and seeing things...even the thought of thinking of things is scaring me! But hey, it deserves a spot on this list just for its ability to force me to stop playing it. Not since the original Clock Tower on the PS1... 
  
  
 
 

09. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors 

Surprise late entry, fitting that this would chime in at #9 on my list! This game harkens back to old NES adventure games like Shadowgate, complete with dark overtones. This is a game that features a lot of dialog, along with some very interesting plot twists and character development. It features multiple endings, and you're sort of supposed to go through the bad endings first to gather intelligence to help you with the good ones. Definitely an awesome game. 
  
  
 
 

08. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 

Lords of Shadow is sort of like God of War. I mean, the 3D action brawler stuff is there, the long chain combos by hitting one of a couple buttons in sequence are there, the sprawling environments and epic set-pieces are there too. But what propels Castlevania further than any of those games (including GoW itself) is the honest-to-goodness challenging encounters (tons of boss battles), pure money-to-gameplay ratio, and the wild twist of a story that it presents you with. A real underrated classic of 2010, if you so much as passively LIKE to hit one button on a controller, followed by another, followed by a quick evasive roll to the left or right...you have to play this game. 
  
   

              

07. Alan Wake 

I've been following Alan Wake for years, I never gave up hope that it would come out, and sure enough it finally did early in 2010! While this game in no way lives up to the memories I have with Max Payne 1&2 (particularly Max Payne 2), it has that same knack for storytelling then the aforementioned titles. The narration by Mr. Wake himself is a refreshing take on a horror novel, and the story itself sees many twists, turns, and bumps along the road to a fairly satisfying conclusion that doesn't really explain much (but that's the way I like it!). The DLC sort of pisses on the game a bit in my opinion, as I don't think Alan's story needs to be expanded on any further -- I'd much rather let the story fade into obscurity the way it was left in the retail copy of the game. 
  
  
 

06. Super Street Fighter IV 

What can be said about Street Fighter that I didn't say last year? Super Street Fighter IV is a fantastic upgrade of the vanilla flavor, adding a bunch of new characters and modes, balance changes, and online functionality to the mix. I didn't play it all that much this year, as I had that life-changing event half way through the year, but I plan to keep grinding away at this well into 2011 when I get the chance.  
  
  
  

  

 05. Heavy Rain 

Heavy Rain probably takes the cake in the moral ambiguity category. So many choices in this game led to dire consequences, and none of them were easy to make. I was a little uneasy playing this game, which was compounded by the fantastic storytelling and human emotion that was being conveyed from the in-game models. Sure the voice acting is hilariously un-American, and the controls leave something to be desired, but Heavy Rain is one of the most unique gaming experiences in 2010, and should be played by everyone. The twist in this game is a little unbelievable and sort of out-of-nowhere, especially considering how likable the character in question was, from a background and performance perspective. Oh well!  
  
  
 

04. Mass Effect 2 

2010 started off with a bang when I decided to make Mass Effect 2 my first impulse purchase in January. I never played the first game, but it really didn't matter -- I was blown away regardless. I love moral choices, no matter how polarizing and binary they may be...and Mass Effect 2 may take the cake in that regard. I just got so damn addicted to picking the renegade decisions, since that's where most of the dialog fun happens! Of course, the real morally ambiguous decisions in this game were really tough to make, with all the choices falling somewhere in the grey area. Better than the choices were my deep emotional unrest upon picking them, but it was something that needed to be done. Oh yeah, and there's some shooter RPG elements and stuff, which is pretty cool. But yeah, CHOICES N' SHIT! 
   

  

03. Civilization V 

A surprise hit for myself, I really didn't know what to expect going into Civilization V. All I knew is that Civ 4 was pretty sweet from the little amount that I played of it, and I was hype as hell for this installment. What ensued after the games release, were countless nights -- crack sessions, if you will -- nights filled with global supremacy, winning my countries rights into space exploration, forming fake treaties, brutally slaughtering other nations, discovering nuclear technology required to begin the Manhattan Project...and I didn't even explore the tutorial section. It just wasn't needed. The game is so streamlined and user-friendly, despite all its inherent complexities. Now that's a GAME.  
  
  
 

02. Crackdown 2 

This game seems to gather a lot of scrutiny from people, and I'm not really sure why. A sequel isn't required to blow you away with new features, this game in particular removed inessential crap from the original, and added a couple cool things to an otherwise perfect formula. I could probably glide around the city for another 40 hours and still have much of the same experience. If they came out with a Crackdown 3 tomorrow I would gladly purchase it, to check out the slight feature modifications, and more importantly...to get more orbs! 
  
   

 

01. 3D Dot Game Heroes 

No game captured my heart like this gem. Shades of the original Legend of Zelda, but somehow better. The writing is charming, winking and nodding in every game players direction, and the music is eerily familiar to rpgs of yore. The most striking aspect of this game however, is the graphical stylings. Every inch, every pixel, constructed with the care of a lego set, everything existing at a 90-degree angle. Oh yeah, and you get some big fuckin' swords. That's pretty darn cool if you ask me. 
  
  
 
 
 

I have a couple other awards to give out, honerable mentions if-you-will: 

Best Downloadable Title

Super Meat Boy (XBLA) 

Yeah this game is super frustrating thanks to its difficulty, but it's also super fun! It's a super meaty time! Still workin' on playthrough videos of that, my sanity is on edge! 
 
 
 
 

Best Resurrected Title 

Xenogears (PS1)

This was a gem I uncovered from years past, back when I was way into JRPG's and a little console called the PS1. I never really got a chance to play through this game at that time, for whatever reason I glanced over it. And man, was I missing out! This is one of the best, most thought-provoking JRPG's I've ever played. I highly recommend it. 
 
 
 
 

Best Character

Francis York Morgan (Deadly Premonition)

I never actually played Deadly Premonition, but from watching all of the endurance run stuff Giant Bomb put out, I could tell that the game from a mechanical standpoint was awful. Still, the game was severely entertaining, in thanks mostly to the main protagonist, Francis York Morgan. You can call him "York," it's easier that way. Just his banter between his two separate personalities (York and Zach), and the interesting questions posed throughout the game -- "Who is Zach? An actual being? A figment made up in York's mind? The player playing the game?" -- make for one of the best character developments in a video game I've seen in a long while.
18 Comments
19 Comments
Posted by lordofultima

I present to you, my top ten games of 2010! Some of these may have been expected, some maybe took you for surprise. Some of you don't even care, and that's fine too! A big lacking in downloadable titles this year, I just couldn't think of one super duper high quality game in that regard. Oh well, there's always next year -- with Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 on the horizon. Not to mention the full-fledged games set for arrival: Skyrim, Uncharted 3, Dead Space 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution...MAN, that is fully loaded. 2010 wasn't too shabby, though! 
 

10. Amnesia: The Dark Descent 

Holy crap, I haven't been scared by a video game seriously in many years. It's so scary in fact, that I actually find it hard to play this game. Hard to advance into the next room, the next encounter with shadows, insanity, thinking and seeing things...even the thought of thinking of things is scaring me! But hey, it deserves a spot on this list just for its ability to force me to stop playing it. Not since the original Clock Tower on the PS1... 
  
  
 
 

09. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors 

Surprise late entry, fitting that this would chime in at #9 on my list! This game harkens back to old NES adventure games like Shadowgate, complete with dark overtones. This is a game that features a lot of dialog, along with some very interesting plot twists and character development. It features multiple endings, and you're sort of supposed to go through the bad endings first to gather intelligence to help you with the good ones. Definitely an awesome game. 
  
  
 
 

08. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 

Lords of Shadow is sort of like God of War. I mean, the 3D action brawler stuff is there, the long chain combos by hitting one of a couple buttons in sequence are there, the sprawling environments and epic set-pieces are there too. But what propels Castlevania further than any of those games (including GoW itself) is the honest-to-goodness challenging encounters (tons of boss battles), pure money-to-gameplay ratio, and the wild twist of a story that it presents you with. A real underrated classic of 2010, if you so much as passively LIKE to hit one button on a controller, followed by another, followed by a quick evasive roll to the left or right...you have to play this game. 
  
   

              

07. Alan Wake 

I've been following Alan Wake for years, I never gave up hope that it would come out, and sure enough it finally did early in 2010! While this game in no way lives up to the memories I have with Max Payne 1&2 (particularly Max Payne 2), it has that same knack for storytelling then the aforementioned titles. The narration by Mr. Wake himself is a refreshing take on a horror novel, and the story itself sees many twists, turns, and bumps along the road to a fairly satisfying conclusion that doesn't really explain much (but that's the way I like it!). The DLC sort of pisses on the game a bit in my opinion, as I don't think Alan's story needs to be expanded on any further -- I'd much rather let the story fade into obscurity the way it was left in the retail copy of the game. 
  
  
 

06. Super Street Fighter IV 

What can be said about Street Fighter that I didn't say last year? Super Street Fighter IV is a fantastic upgrade of the vanilla flavor, adding a bunch of new characters and modes, balance changes, and online functionality to the mix. I didn't play it all that much this year, as I had that life-changing event half way through the year, but I plan to keep grinding away at this well into 2011 when I get the chance.  
  
  
  

  

 05. Heavy Rain 

Heavy Rain probably takes the cake in the moral ambiguity category. So many choices in this game led to dire consequences, and none of them were easy to make. I was a little uneasy playing this game, which was compounded by the fantastic storytelling and human emotion that was being conveyed from the in-game models. Sure the voice acting is hilariously un-American, and the controls leave something to be desired, but Heavy Rain is one of the most unique gaming experiences in 2010, and should be played by everyone. The twist in this game is a little unbelievable and sort of out-of-nowhere, especially considering how likable the character in question was, from a background and performance perspective. Oh well!  
  
  
 

04. Mass Effect 2 

2010 started off with a bang when I decided to make Mass Effect 2 my first impulse purchase in January. I never played the first game, but it really didn't matter -- I was blown away regardless. I love moral choices, no matter how polarizing and binary they may be...and Mass Effect 2 may take the cake in that regard. I just got so damn addicted to picking the renegade decisions, since that's where most of the dialog fun happens! Of course, the real morally ambiguous decisions in this game were really tough to make, with all the choices falling somewhere in the grey area. Better than the choices were my deep emotional unrest upon picking them, but it was something that needed to be done. Oh yeah, and there's some shooter RPG elements and stuff, which is pretty cool. But yeah, CHOICES N' SHIT! 
   

  

03. Civilization V 

A surprise hit for myself, I really didn't know what to expect going into Civilization V. All I knew is that Civ 4 was pretty sweet from the little amount that I played of it, and I was hype as hell for this installment. What ensued after the games release, were countless nights -- crack sessions, if you will -- nights filled with global supremacy, winning my countries rights into space exploration, forming fake treaties, brutally slaughtering other nations, discovering nuclear technology required to begin the Manhattan Project...and I didn't even explore the tutorial section. It just wasn't needed. The game is so streamlined and user-friendly, despite all its inherent complexities. Now that's a GAME.  
  
  
 

02. Crackdown 2 

This game seems to gather a lot of scrutiny from people, and I'm not really sure why. A sequel isn't required to blow you away with new features, this game in particular removed inessential crap from the original, and added a couple cool things to an otherwise perfect formula. I could probably glide around the city for another 40 hours and still have much of the same experience. If they came out with a Crackdown 3 tomorrow I would gladly purchase it, to check out the slight feature modifications, and more importantly...to get more orbs! 
  
   

 

01. 3D Dot Game Heroes 

No game captured my heart like this gem. Shades of the original Legend of Zelda, but somehow better. The writing is charming, winking and nodding in every game players direction, and the music is eerily familiar to rpgs of yore. The most striking aspect of this game however, is the graphical stylings. Every inch, every pixel, constructed with the care of a lego set, everything existing at a 90-degree angle. Oh yeah, and you get some big fuckin' swords. That's pretty darn cool if you ask me. 
  
  
 
 
 

I have a couple other awards to give out, honerable mentions if-you-will: 

Best Downloadable Title

Super Meat Boy (XBLA) 

Yeah this game is super frustrating thanks to its difficulty, but it's also super fun! It's a super meaty time! Still workin' on playthrough videos of that, my sanity is on edge! 
 
 
 
 

Best Resurrected Title 

Xenogears (PS1)

This was a gem I uncovered from years past, back when I was way into JRPG's and a little console called the PS1. I never really got a chance to play through this game at that time, for whatever reason I glanced over it. And man, was I missing out! This is one of the best, most thought-provoking JRPG's I've ever played. I highly recommend it. 
 
 
 
 

Best Character

Francis York Morgan (Deadly Premonition)

I never actually played Deadly Premonition, but from watching all of the endurance run stuff Giant Bomb put out, I could tell that the game from a mechanical standpoint was awful. Still, the game was severely entertaining, in thanks mostly to the main protagonist, Francis York Morgan. You can call him "York," it's easier that way. Just his banter between his two separate personalities (York and Zach), and the interesting questions posed throughout the game -- "Who is Zach? An actual being? A figment made up in York's mind? The player playing the game?" -- make for one of the best character developments in a video game I've seen in a long while.
Posted by Video_Game_King

Shit. I haven't played a single game on your list. Not even Xenogears, oddly enough.

Posted by ZeroCast
@Video_Game_King said:
" Shit. I haven't played a single game on your list. Not even Xenogears, oddly enough. "
Sorry to tell you, but you have a lot to catch up to in 2011, Prince of Video Games :P.  
 
@ Lord: What can I say, pretty list as far as my eye can see. I played a bunch of those this year, namely ME2 and Heavy Rain.
 
 It's nice to see some kind of change on many #1's of this years lists.
Posted by Hamz

Glad to see Heavy Rain make it so far up the list. I have half a feeling we'll see it overlooked or forgotten by many people when creating their lists.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@ZeroCast: 
 
Prince? I am no prince! I AM THE KING, RULER OF ALL VIDEO GAMES!!! None can surpass my sovereignty!
Posted by Hailinel
@Hamz said:
" Glad to see Heavy Rain make it so far up the list. I have half a feeling we'll see it overlooked or forgotten by many people when creating their lists. "
The problem I had with Heavy Rain, and the main reason I didn't put it on my list, is that what the game purports to be its strongest point, its narrative, has some severe flaws at points that undermine the experience.
Posted by transience

Xenogears, fuck yeah.

Posted by isles

Big love for 999.

Posted by Oni

This 999 game came out of nowhere, sounds right up my alley. Gotta track me down a copy.
 
Castlevania though, my expectations for that game were super high, which is probably the reason I was disappointed in it. It's not bad, but it's not truly great either. It's got a great middle third, but the last few levels suuuuuuuuuck. Story is bad also, except for the ending. Just nothing really happens in it. Yeah... disappointing. God of War 3 didn't disappoint.

Edited by lordofultima
@Oni said:

" This 999 game came out of nowhere, sounds right up my alley. Gotta track me down a copy.  Castlevania though, my expectations for that game were super high, which is probably the reason I was disappointed in it. It's not bad, but it's not truly great either. It's got a great middle third, but the last few levels suuuuuuuuuck. Story is bad also, except for the ending. Just nothing really happens in it. Yeah... disappointing. God of War 3 didn't disappoint. "

I'd say the opposite. God of War definitely disappointed, it was bland as hell. In fact, I've hated every single God of War game. I like the difficulty of Castlevania, if a 3D beat-em-up isn't difficult I tend to not like it. I played Castlevania on the tougher difficulty as well, for even MORE CHALLENGE. God of War is like a push-over of a game. IMO Devil May Cry 3 is the pinnacle of this genre.
Posted by Oni
@lordofultima: God of War games are plenty challenging on the hardest modes. Don't know how you can call it bland either, it's got a very strong aesthetic imo, but to each his own.
Posted by EVO
@Hamz said:
" Glad to see Heavy Rain make it so far up the list. I have half a feeling we'll see it overlooked or forgotten by many people when creating their lists. "
Yeah, I this is the first list I've seen it on. It's easily my GOTY.
Posted by HaroldoNVU

Your list is great. I only think that if you have Amnesia on your top ten, and not Super Meat Boy, the Amnesia: Dark Decent is your best downloadable title. But I guess your were going for "Meat Boy is cool, I wish I could give it an award just so I don't have to name it 'Honorable Mention".

Edited by lordofultima
@HaroldoNVU said:

" Your list is great. I only think that if you have Amnesia on your top ten, and not Super Meat Boy, the Amnesia: Dark Decent is your best downloadable title. But I guess your were going for "Meat Boy is cool, I wish I could give it an award just so I don't have to name it 'Honorable Mention". "

But Amnesia is a full retail game...with an actual DVD. If I picked up Alan Wake on "xbox on demand," it would still be considered a full retail game. I downloaded Civ V off steam, that should technically be the BEST downloadable game then by that logic.
Posted by HaroldoNVU
@lordofultima said:
" @HaroldoNVU said:

" Your list is great. I only think that if you have Amnesia on your top ten, and not Super Meat Boy, the Amnesia: Dark Decent is your best downloadable title. But I guess your were going for "Meat Boy is cool, I wish I could give it an award just so I don't have to name it 'Honorable Mention". "

But Amnesia is a full retail game...with an actual DVD. If I picked up Alan Wake on "xbox on demand," it would still be considered a full retail game. I downloaded Civ V off steam, that should technically be the BEST downloadable game then by that logic. "
Well, until you said that I didn't even know that it had been released as disc. But still, it's a rather limited release on eastern Europe and it's usually $5 dollars more than SMB on digital distribution, I think it makes them closer than comparing to a high budget games with a $50-60 MSRP originally released as disc. But I get that it's a gray area, that's no proper name for that sector. Still comparing to Alan Wake or Civ V feels a bit of a stretch. 
 
But you list, your criteria, and even if I don't agree with that particular point I still think it's a great selection.
Posted by GetEveryone
@lordofultima: Great list, dude. If you enjoyed Castlevania, definitely give Darksiders a look in. Its fantastic. Can't understand your dislike of GoW personally, but to each their own. 
 
...and what happened to make you stop playing SF? That game is crack. I've literally had to peel myself away again for the umpteenth time since its release.
Edited by lordofultima
@GetEveryone said:

" @lordofultima: Great list, dude. If you enjoyed Castlevania, definitely give Darksiders a look in. Its fantastic. Can't understand your dislike of GoW personally, but to each their own.  ...and what happened to make you stop playing SF? That game is crack. I've literally had to peel myself away again for the umpteenth time since its release. "

Just a time sink with no end or purpose to be sinking the time into. A lot of video games I use to escape from real life for a fleeting moment, the game eventually ends and I go about my normal business. Street Fighter never really ends, and it was making my blood pressure go through the roof and I found I just wasn't having fun with it anymore at that time -- so I put it to rest for a while. Even video games that frustrate me like Meat Boy, I still have a fantastic time playing. I started eating healthy and working out, which took me away from video games for a good 4 months or so, and then I just never returned to SSFIV in full. 
 
As for Darksiders, it's a lot like Zelda I hear so I'd probably love it. It just didn't look aesthetically appealing to me when I seen all the footage of it, so I never played it. 
 
@HaroldoNVU said:
" @lordofultima said:
" @HaroldoNVU said:

" Your list is great. I only think that if you have Amnesia on your top ten, and not Super Meat Boy, the Amnesia: Dark Decent is your best downloadable title. But I guess your were going for "Meat Boy is cool, I wish I could give it an award just so I don't have to name it 'Honorable Mention". "

But Amnesia is a full retail game...with an actual DVD. If I picked up Alan Wake on "xbox on demand," it would still be considered a full retail game. I downloaded Civ V off steam, that should technically be the BEST downloadable game then by that logic. "
Well, until you said that I didn't even know that it had been released as disc. But still, it's a rather limited release on eastern Europe and it's usually $5 dollars more than SMB on digital distribution, I think it makes them closer than comparing to a high budget games with a $50-60 MSRP originally released as disc. But I get that it's a gray area, that's no proper name for that sector. Still comparing to Alan Wake or Civ V feels a bit of a stretch.  But you list, your criteria, and even if I don't agree with that particular point I still think it's a great selection. "
Arcade title would be much more appropriate. Price point really doesn't have anything to do with the game experience itself. Amnesia feels like a full-fledged game, Super Meat Boy feels like a cute time waster that I downloaded. Pretty much it.
Posted by GetEveryone
@lordofultima: If you've only seen the quick-look I can definitely see where you're coming from; the opening hour or so really isn't indicative of the quality of game that follows and the visuals are (at the very least) pretty varied throughout.
 
Great to hear you've had an epiphany regarding SF; mine hit in the summer as well, and I didn't touch it again until recently. Remembering why I stopped playing (basically everything you mentioned) allowed me to shelve it yet again. Hopefully I'll start being productive once more. 
 
I just found Castlevania for cheap as chips: bought.
Posted by Tru3_Blu3

This list proves that I'm a shitty gamer. Great and passionate list.