Best of 2010
sear: Best of 2010
sear: Best of 2010
Civilization V has consumed my soul. It is a phenomenal strategy game, and while not as refined or full-featured as Civilization IV was after several expansion packs and patches, is better-designed and features the first truly compelling combat in the series. While some high-level players might lament the fact that tech trading's importance has been reduced, or that production is too hard to come by, Civ V is also being continually improved and even a few months after launch, is a significantly better game than what shipped. More refinements, updates and so on will doubtlessly continue to trickle out and make Civ V a game truly worthy of its pedigree.
New Vegas takes everything that was passable about Fallout 3 and improves upon it, while at the same time bringing back a lot of the quality writing, quest design and world design that defined the first two Fallout games. While it still can't hold a candle to the original, New Vegas is about the best Fallout game we could have expected considering Bethesda's interference with the series.
The third Sam & Max season is also by far Telltale's best adventure game to date. Featuring some great puzzle design, hilarious writing that finally captures the insanity of the original comics and cartoon series, and improved presentation over the first two games, the only real downside is that The Devil's Playhouse feels just slightly dumbed down from the second season. Even so, the numerous improvements elsewhere wholly make up for it.
Despite its major plot and structure issues, and the fact that it really can't be called an RPG with a clean conscience, Mass Effect 2 is an enjoyable, polished story-driven shooter; while wasted potential abounds, it's still up there with the best games this year.
Alpha Protocol did more for choice, consequence and good writing in games than anything else in the last five-plus years. Even with some middling gameplay mechanics, it deserves special mention for really putting the "role-playing" back in role-playing game.
While technically Monkey Island 2 came out in 1991, the 2010 remake is some of the most fun I've had with a game in a long time. The excellent writing, now backed up by equally excellent voice acting, as well as the hand-painted environments and characters, go a long way towards making Monkey Island 2 one of the most beautiful and enjoyable titles of the year. Even the soundtrack has seen a major overhaul, and the dynamic music of the original is back in full force as well. Other small improvements include a better interface than the 2009 remake of the original Monkey Island. The only real complaints, such as the occasional extremely obscure puzzle solution, are things which existed in the original anyways.
Metro 2033 is one of the better single-player shooters I've enjoyed in a while. The core action is decent, but what really sets it apart is the intense atmosphere that comes dripping from every pore. The story can feel a little disjointed at times, and the ending leaves a lot of doors open, but overall Metro deserves praise for being one of the few games released lately to truly leverage graphical and aural excellence for the benefit of the fundamental game experience.
Call of Pripyat truly manages to capitalise on the core STALKER franchise gameplay style by offering up a much more refined initial play experience that focuses less on action and more on atmosphere and exploration than ever before. While Call of Pripyat isn't fundamentally different from the previous two STALKER games, it is undoubtedly the best (and least buggy) out of the box.
Awakening is a traditional expansion pack, a bit of a rarity in today's DLC-infested market. Awakening builds upon the foundations of Dragon Age by offering up a compelling world to explore. While neither the dialogue, story, quest design, or tactical combat are up to the same level of quality as the original, Awakening still stands out as one of the best true RPG experiences of 2010 - it's just a shame it can't hold a candle to most of the "golden age" late 90s CPRGs.
Bad Company 2 is a quality first-person shooter which, while lacking in immediacy, makes up for that with a wide variety of content and fixing the biggest problem in the Battlefield series - that is, the shooting parts.
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