By T_Prime 0 Comments
I'd need several more hands in order to count on my fingers the games I should have played in 2010 that I didn't get around to. However, in my eternal struggle to remember why I seem to remember liking games so much more when I was a kid, I realized that I played games to death much more often so if it takes me days and weeks on near-nonstop playing to really get at the guts of a game, then that's what I'll do.
As a result, much as past years, I have games not of 2010 on my list.
Much like I did with inFamous a the end of 2009, I didn't play enough of these games in 2010 to form a solid opinion on them. However, the glances I got during the year were enough to call attention to them as quality games, plus they remain eligible for my personal, numbered 2011 list.
Final Fantasy XIII
I only played FF XIII for about 7 hours, and despite the frustration I remember feeling when fighting Odin, I want to go back. I've never been an RPG player, so I really have no complaints aside from the difficult-to-comprehend cIass system: certain strengths from one party member can compliment others, but in certain fights you have to do something other than attack?
I've never finished a Final Fantasy game. I'll be doing all I can to cross that off my list in 2011.
God of War III
By the time I got to GoW3, I was "God-of-Warred out" after playing through the GoW Collection early last year. The first two games, played more than once each for the Trophies, were more than enough for me. When I finally got around to number 3 I found I didn't care, but I hope that itch comes back to me soon.
T-Prime's Top 10 for 2010
10. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
That's right, not 2010's Peace Walker, but 2006's Portable Ops finds itself on my list. Despite initial reservations, I actually found myself immensely enjoying the time I spent sitting and/or lying around playing this game. Having a mission hub and shorter missions definitely makes MGS work on a handheld. The weird-yet-workable prisoner collection system works because, despite headaches, stunning and capturing enemy soldiers and scientists to work with Snake's team is fun in an odd, Pokémon-like way. Complete that with entertaining Cold War intrigue and it almost makes up for the atrocious camera, aiming system and digital movement. The fully-voiced, graphic-novel styIed cutscenes are pretty awesome too.
9. Pokémon HeartGold
I love Pokémon and likely always will, but despite playing the heck out of HG and the fact that Pokémon Diamond was my GOTY in 2007, I must face the fact that it's constantly the same game over and over. HeartGold (and SouldSilver, I suppose) is a very solid and entertaining game that WILL need the shake-up that is purportedly going to hit with Pokémon Black and White in 2011.
8. Dead Rising 2
Slicing zombies with swords and sledgehammers, playing hero by saving innocent survivors from crazy psychopaths, using a motorbike to run of zombies by the dozen and watching female reporters in tight skirts bend over just far enough? This game has everything!
To be fair, I found that Dead Rising 2 can get old very quickly unless you find yourself able to project onto Chuck Greene. I couldn't care less if his daughter dies or if those survivors out in Fortune City need help, but if you think of it as "MY daughter needs Zombrex every 24 hours," "that lady with the busted leg needs MY help" and "I'M gonna get that sonofabi+ch for hanging innocent people" you'll have one hell of a time.
7. Mirror's Edge
Months later, I'm still pleasantly surprised at Mirror's Edge's quality. Learning how to best control Faith and how to deal with the frustration of missing jumps was an exercise in quiet seething, but executing a well-timed double wall jump after running through a reservoir and jumping down a city maintenance shaft while a subway train barrels down on you to escape from the thickly-armoured mercenaries that really, really want the backpack that Faith is carrying is a one-in-a-million experience.
6. Brutal Legend
Brutal Legend is a weird game. I love the sandbox and exploration parts. I love the scenery and the creepy atmosphere of the darker parts of the world. I love the characters, the genuinely funny well-thought-out dialogue, the story and the soundtrack. The strategy parts are not the easiest on higher difficulties, but they make up a relatively small portion of the game. And yet I'm still not sure how I truly feel about Brutal Legend. All I know for sure is that it belongs on my list.
5. Rock Band 3
I love playing plastic guitar. I also love plastic bass and drums and slightly more real vocals and keyboards. Anyone who knows me knows I love music games. The only big complaint I have about RB3 is that it's still too much like two-year-old Rock Band 2 aesthetically, and there are always a few nitpicks, like being unable to assign specific avatars to specific instruments, but those are only minor when you stop and consider that Rock Band 3 is probably the ultimate music game. You did it, Harmonix. It's done. It's finished. You can rest now.
To say Bayonetta is like God of War is to say like Splinter Cell is like Metal Gear Solid: I can see where you're coming from, but you're wrong. I've never played a Devil May Cry game, which is the series to which you SHOULD compare Bayonetta, so aside from a few screenshots I knew nothing about Bayonetta going in. My habit of renting games seems to have shortchanged Bayonetta, I game I bought due to its demo, because every time I would get into a groove with Bayonetta another rental would appear in my mailbox and I'd shelve Bayonetta for another few weeks. It seemed like I could never come to like it.
However, much like Mirror's Edge, I finally hit some sort of Bayonetta singularity around the time I had to ride a motorcycle down a collapsing highway bridge in order to reach a plane to take me to the city to which I was headed, only to be stopped by a giant sea demon that I was forced to surf around while using my newly-unlocked tripleshot attack and using another newly-unlocked item that avoids taking damage if I push the left-thumbstick towards the attacking monster. That was before I had to ride a missile across a massive body of water into the city center while dodging angels, which is followed shortly thereafter of using an anti-gravity power to run up an elevator shaft and then ride another motorbike across a crumbling clock tower in the middle of an empty space.
The story is mind-bending, the set pieces are beautiful, the combat is annoying yet very fun and satisfying to learn, the characters have a surprising amount of depth considering Bayonetta's shameless first impression, and the action is so over the top that you cannot help but love all of it even all you constantly yell "What the hell was that?" at your TV every time Bayonetta uses a new torture attack on some poor angel.
After giving it an honourable mention last year, inFamous finally blew me away this past summer. The city is massive yet somehow seems smaller after acquiring all the fast-travel powers. Using Cole's electric powers never gets old regardless of the morality path you choose, from using little balls of electricity as grenades as a Hero to zapping red arc-lightning as Infamous. The story isn't good or bad; it borders serious and ridiculous well enough that you just want to find out what happens next. Doing a wide assortment of side mission types for civilians is great fun, and depending on your morality you can do things like defend a police station from enemies in suits of trash, or attack that very same police station by summoning lightning from the sky. I highly look forward to inFamous 2 in 2011.
2. Assassin's Creed II
I never played AC1 and AC: Brotherhood is on my "should've played in '10" list, but Assassin's Creed II's world sucked me in so completely that I almost ruined my plasma TV screen. Using the narrative mechanic of "genetic flashbacks" is as good a way as any to ensure that AC as a series can go to any number of historical locales, but playing as 15th-century Italian Ezio Auditore da Firenze was quite a sight to see. From a humble start as a street fighter for pocket money to breaking into the Vatican to attack the crooked Pope and every second in between, I wanted nothing more than to keep playing Assassin's Creed II. Chasing bad guys across rooftops, swimming under bridges to escape detection, hiring prostitutes in order to better blend into the crowds, perfectly parrying a sword attack and killing three men, and climbing to highest point in the world, surveying it in all its marvel and jumping straight down, unharmed, into a bale of hay are just a few pennies in the hundred-dollar bill that is Assassin's Creed II.
1. Heavy Rain
A rule of thumb for me is that the longer you want to play a game without putting it down, the better it is. When I finally got my hands on Heavy Rain, I decided to throw it in for an hour or two and let the story unfold in front of me. I started playing just after midnight on a Saturday night, and by 8:30 AM on Sunday morning I had finished it. I never stopped playing Heavy Rain until I beat it. I never put it down despite controls that remind me of Resident Evil 1 and a few annoying QTEs that made me restart chapters when I got a result I couldn't have lived with a few hours later. The idea of "interactive drama" sound preposterous to someone who just wants a good game, but to "play" Heavy Rain is to "experience" Heavy Rain. As a film or TV miniseries Heavy Rain may not have worked: a good murder mystery and a race against time to find another potential victim has been done numerous times on celluloid, but in the medium of "video games" it truly works like nothing else before it, and Heavy Rain shines above all other possibilities as my personal Game of the Year for 2010.