Best of 2010
TheBeast: Best of 2010
TheBeast: Best of 2010
To me, the Mass Effect fiction is quickly becoming one of my favourite sci-fi universes with its extremely rich history, locales and characters, I find myself craving more and more tidbits of information.
Mass Effect 2 delivers this in more ways I could count; from the engrossing storyline, through exceptional dialogue, to the astoundingly detailed codexes and documents. This is a game that despite being released at the start of the year, has remained in my mind ever since. Now I'm salivating over the thought of the third installment. Damn you.
Obligatory clichéd entry description: I was never a big fan of the Halo games, yet somehow, the big ol' Microsoft marketing machine had me eagerly chomping at the bit even before Reach's release.
Before I knew it, I was absorbed by Bungie's beautifully crafted Halo swan song. While the campaign was a blast by itself, the multiplayer offerings were what kept me coming back to this game. The flexibility of multiplayer Halo is something I'd never experienced before, sure it's slow paced and relatively simple, but that's why I like it.
Ignoring the arguments over this one; as far as I'm concerned, this game was released in 2010. Minecraft is an outstanding achievement - a simple concept, developed by one man, catapulted to popularity by its ability to capitalise on our imaginations.
I would never have believed that in the age of technical and artistic beauties like Uncharted, I'd be staring at a jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape generated entirely by my computer made up of pixelated blocks.
Sure, Rockstar's open world formula is tried and tested by now, but that doesn't make Red Dead Redemption's world any less compelling. Redemption manages to not only tell the tale of John Marston, but of the people he meets, and of the land on which he rides - turning the world in to as much of a character as the various eccentrics you meet on your journey.
While there's certainly a degree of monotony in the mission structure, the variety of gameplay; from hunting, through scavenging, to playing dice games means the game rarely feels overly repetitive or stale.
Pac-Man was never my thing, I was too young to play it at its peak, and every remake/emulation I ever played just served to show me how useless I am at any game with a real challenge to it. As a result I never even considered looking at this game, yet alone adding it to a top 10 list. Without the GB crew's euphoric exclamations of joy at this game, I don't think I'd ever have even given it a chance.
But holy crap I'm glad I did - this isn't Pac-Man! Rather than punishing you for every little mistake you make, this game sets out to make you feel like a total badass. A single five minute game with the energetic soundtrack, gradually increasing in tempo, coupled with the blissful chain-ghost-eating-pitch-increasing sound effects culminating in a aural and visual climax will leave you both breathless and energised. That's a quality you don't find very often.
There's something about having to move more than your thumbs to play games that makes the average gaming enthusiast inexplicably angry - I think that might be due to the disconnect that these motion control systems create between actions on a screen and your physical movement.
However, when the game is there to merely provide feedback on your movement, that disconnect is no longer an issue, a design choice that makes Dance Central feel really good despite the limitations of the hardware and of our own predisposition to dislike motion games.
On top of that, Dance Central is an outstanding rhythm game, a lot of fun, and in my mind, a successful attempt at making motion controls really work.
Yes it's another Rock Band game. Yes it does exactly the same thing as every other Rock Band game before it, and yes, it's probably the last Rock Band game I'm ever likely to care about. Why? Because it's everything now.
The addition of keyboard, pro instruments (although I haven't tried any of these) and vocal harmonies, along with the minor tweaks, such as the interface improvements, the improved progression mechanics and song filtering, all serve to make Rock Band the most epitome of fake (and pseudo-real) instrument experience around, and who can say they don't love fake-rocking-out?
A delightfully fun, quirky and enjoyable little RPG which engaged me in a totally different way to most of this years games. Despite the combat's simplicity, the game was short enough that it wasn't too repetitive or boring, with a decent variety of locales and new costumes thrown in to keep things interesting. There's certainly something to be said about short game experiences, and Costume Quest's charm and easy-going gameplay makes it one of the best I've played.
More than anything, it's Limbo's design that appeals to me - minimal shapes, sounds and environments combine to create a distant, detached atmosphere that feels almost as dreamlike as it is eerie. Reducing the game to very basic elements seems to trigger some sort of subconscious necessity to 'fill in the blanks' - playing through you find yourself, somewhat disconcertingly, interpreting complex stories from where there is so little.
When I set out to write this list, I never imagined I'd be adding this game to it, but then I looked down at my iPad at the game I had open to see how well Call of Dirty 4 was selling. It hit me, that I'd never really considered Game Dev Story as an actual game... despite the countless hours I spent playing it, despite that day I had to recharge my device three times after playing so much...
It still seems odd to consider it in my top 10 games of the year. I'm still not sure it belongs here... but it certainly deserves to be.
Use your keyboard!
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