By LumpyTheCook 0 Comments
10. Crackdown 2
Crackdown 2 is an funny game to me. It got fairly mediocre reviews - which is very understandable considering a host of issues (lack of change in the world between the first Crackdown, distinct lack of mission variety, etc.) but mediocrity turns into hilarity when you invite your friends to blow the hell up out of Pacific City with you.
9. World of Warcraft: CataclysmAnybody who played World of Warcraft during the Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King knows that after journeying through places like Outland and Northrend, going back and leveling up new characters in Azeroth was tedious to the point of exhaustion. Blizzard decided to go back to Azeroth and completely restructure the level 1-60 leveling system, whether by switching zone levels, planting new quest chains or adding new weapons, and that's just the mandatory content. The expansion itself boasts new races, a new profession(archaeology, which can be tedious until it gets into the later stages), new zones for levels 80-85, and my favorite feature- flying in Azeroth. It's about time.
8. Just Cause 2
I love it when video games are honest. Just Cause 2 is a very honest game - it lets you know almost right away that it will not bother with petty trifles like "meaningful dialogue" and "character development". Indeed, the story is very easy to follow: "blow shit up". There is no deep inventory structure, and no interesting characters. You complete missions (while blowing shit up), do side missions (where you blow shit up), unlock new items (by blowing shit up), fly around a huge island (while blowing shi- you get the point). All you really need to know about this game is that shit blows up. I wouldn't have it any other way.
7. Amnesia: the Dark Descent
Never before have I actually had to step away from my computer in fright- especially not because of a video game. Frictional Games decided to step into my life and change that. This game is pure, unadulterated, lovecraftian horror. It feeds the player just enough sensory cues, from far-off shrieks to sudden movements in shadow, to get them to the point where they are leaning around every corner just to make sure there isn't any sort of flayed-up monster-man stalking the corridor. And somehow it knows - it knows - when a player has let their guard down before finally throwing one out. A lack of weaponry means only one things in such a situation - RUN. RUN AND HIDE. This absolute powerlessness enhances the horror tenfold, and the game is absolutely amazing for it. A brilliant level creation and customization system makes sure that there is no end to this game's terror.
6. Halo: Reach
As much as I loathe to admit it, I didn't much like Halo 3. Unlike the first two installments in the trilogy, Halo 3 felt more like a chore than a triple-A shooter (although it was a blast with enough friends). It seems Bungie wasn't entirely satisfied with it either - Halo: Reach brings a litany of changes to the series, including a monetary system for in-depth character customization, easier forge level creation, and a completely revamped matchmaking system. After playing Halo: Reach, it's very sad to see Bungie's departure from Microsoft, and their flagship series. We can only hope 343 Industries can fill in such a large gap.
5. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Assassin's Creed is one of those games that I focus all of my attention on until I finish it. I feel compelled to go out of my way to get as close to 100% as I can, because let's face it, anything less than the best is a felony. That being said, Brotherhood is possibly the strongest entry to the series yet. A Fable-like "real estate" system makes money easier to come by then it was in ACII(where the real estate was limited to one small town), and a wealth of new challenges and replayable missions(including much more focus on Desmond) make this a truly amazing sandbox/adventure game. The multiplayer is also surprisingly versatile, with distinct tactics and hilarious moments.
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops
I was skeptical when I first heard Treyarch was stepping up to make a new Call of Duty shortly after Modern Warfare 2's release. Although MW2's campaign is one of my all-time favorites, infinite care packages, shotguns with sniper-rifle accuracy, and pesky nuke-boosters made the multiplayer leave me with a sour taste in my mouth. And that game was made by Infinity Ward- the Infinity Ward! CoD3 was mediocre, and World at War was only fun because it emulated CoD4 in most ways, so how could Treyarch make a good followup to a game like MW2? The answer is simple: community support. Treyarch took a good, long like at the things that so deeply flawed MW2's multiplayer and either switched them up or disposed of them entirely. Minor changes, such as removing tactical insertions from free-for-all modes and removing ridiculous killstreak rewards(nukes?... really?) go a LONG way, and I can safely say that Black Ops is the best Call of Duty since the first Modern Warfare. An insanely in-depth campaign storyline also helps.
3. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Many people would argue against my decision to place Bad Company 2 above Call of Duty, but I have had a lot more fun with DICE's latest installment due to one reason: it goes out of its way to reward good teamwork. Sure, teamwork is necessary in many of CoD's game modes, but battlefield rewards players for just about every conceivable team action, from resupplying ammunition to repairing tanks and reviving dead teammates. More often then not, the majority of my score at the end of a match came from team actions rather than killing enemies or detonating objectives. It's an amazing team experience, and with the release of the new Vietnam expansion, there seems to be no end to the fun of Bad Company 2.
2. Mass Effect 2
As I mentioned earlier, One of the things that made Just Cause 2 so fun is because it completely eschewed story in favor of its explosive gameplay. In many ways, Mass Effect 2 is the polar opposite - although it holds its own well enough in the action department, its story is where it fully shines. Extensive character dialogue and a complex cast of characters make this one of the best-written and well-presented games this generation. Bioware knows how to hook a player on their stories, and I'm more excited for Mass Effect 3 than I have been for a game in a long time.
1. Red Dead Redemption
Here it is, number one. There's a litany of reasons I put this game at number one, but every reason I could give has been said more eloquently by professional reviewers, so I guess I'll just try to cover my favorite parts. The game's biggest draw is in its sprawling campaign as you guide reformed outlaw John Marston on a quest to annihilate those who would stand between him and his family. The combat system improves heavily from Grand Theft Auto IV, not least of all because you'll aim at the person in the middle of the screen shooting at you instead of locking onto a mailman half a kilometer away. The multiplayer stands out exceptionally on its own as well - free roam is fun on your own and absolutely hilarious with a big posse at your back. The competitive game modes are well-structured and hold their own, even against the near-irresistable draw of free roam shenanigans. All of these features put together make for an immensely enjoyable experience and my number one game of the year 2010. Number one. Number. ONE.