Best of 2010
veXedbulldog: Best of 2010
veXedbulldog: Best of 2010
Mass Effect 2 is not only a vast improvement over its predecessor, it is sci-fi done better than video game I've ever played: voice acting and storytelling on a cinematic level; a cast of characters both memorable in design and execution; and an epic galaxy rich in scope and detail. I felt particularly attached to Jack, and after her loyalty quest revealed the crux of her broken, miserable condition, I was compelled to make her a part of my permanent mission party. I'm sure many would agree that the "Leave No Man Behind" achievement is one of the most personally rewarding accomplishments in their gamerscore.
One of the most engrossing, beautiful game worlds I have ever traversed, and a terrific story to boot. The quirks do not detract, either: cougars are predatory monsters, grizzlies are pack animals, and people sometimes clip into the ground, but it's all part of the charm. Walking (and riding) in John Marston's boots was an altogether satisfying experience that took up most of my summer months.
A sleeker, smoother design makes this iteration of Civilization as good as any strategy game out there. I don't know if I would put it ahead of post-patched Civ IV, but it's damn close. While I feel that the absence of Religion as an aspect of civilization is disappointing, the terrific, streamlined "societal paths" mechanic alleviates the end-game micromanagement that bogged down previous Civ titles, so I can easily forgive Religion's absence.
Sure, it's essentially Assassin's Creed 2, but I loved that game's beautiful locations, cast of characters, and free-flow animation. This game is more of that, but better; specifically, the "Whistle for Assassin Death Squad" feature makes me giddy with power. My only fear is that the Assassin's Creed franchise will crumble under the weight of its own increasingly far-fetched mythology before it reaches its climax.
General Knoxx and the Claptrap Revolution DLC packs gave this game considerable life for me this year. The original game, along with the first two DLC packs, left me wanting, but this year's additions were on the mark. The level cap boosts make this game a rewarding long-term investment, especially with the great cooperative multiplayer. I think Gearbox really has found its voice with this title, and I have high hopes for the eventual "Borderworlds" (perhaps?) sequel.
Bungie's Halo swan song is the definitive title of the series. The refined gameplay and multiplayer options set the new bar for all shooters save for Call of Duty. I was glad to see the inception of Cortana and the inklings of the soon-to-be Master Chief satisfied my canon-continuity demands. But really, this game was far more than that. The fate of Reach was at once both depressing and bleak, and the sacrifices of Noble Team made this story poignant, and worthy to stand on its own.
While I will never roam the ranks of Diamond (or even gold or silver, for that matter) it is hard not to appreciate Blizzard's accomplishment this year with SC2. Given that this is the first of three StarCraft 2 campaigns, I was skeptical about the scope and depth of this game. Fortunately, I was wrong.
I will never play pro guitar, ever. The keyboard peripheral will take some practicing, for sure. But Rock Band 3 ties everything you ever wanted from this genre together so adeptly, you almost feel slighted for having to purchase RB1 and 2 while waiting for this edition. Furthermore, the addition of the keyboard means an entire new frontier of tracks for Harmonix to release for my song list, already numbering in the three-hundreds.
Even though this title feels like a more outrageous version of Modern Warfare 2 (which is saying a lot), it is a polished, unrelenting ride within the Call of Duty universe. Treyarch did everything right except casting Sam Worthington as Alex Mason, whose awful, inconsistent accent made it that much more difficult to suspend my disbelief in an already ridiculous story. And yes, the multiplayer is not so bad, either.
When you spend most of your "off time" attached to a game, it should probably make your Top Ten list. Going for three stars has never been so addicting, although the criteria for said stars is erratic from level to level. But who am I to complain about a 99 cent game?
Use your keyboard!
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