I'll be blunt and simple...
I'm not a huge fan of GOTY awards. You have to try and narrow down all these lists to about five nominees or so, then try to narrow those down for each category until you end up with the Highlander scenario of "there will be only one". That pisses me off. How is anyone supposed to genuinely create those things? Have they literally played EVERY SINGLE GAME that came out in a year? Probably not. Most likely not. Fuck, I hope not!
In turn, I decided to wrangle up the 25 games that defined 2010 for me, package them up in a nice little list (courtesy of Giant Bomb's great list feature), and give a little flavor text to each. Will you guys agree? Oh, I mostly certainly guarantee you won't (especially when you see how low Mass Effect 2 is on the list). Will people call me a Wii hater because there are a total of zero Wii games on this list? Probably...but as someone who no longer owns a Wii, I can't say that I would feel right throwing any of them in when I haven't played them. This is a list of games that I personally played in 2010 that I feel are the most exceptional of the exceptional, so there are going to be some games that you may have that I won't.
So with that said, I present to you (and yes, they are in order)......
jakob187's Pretentious-As-All-Hell-Because-I-Think-My-Opinion-Matters GOTY 2010 Stuffthings
An interesting protagonist, a convoluted but intriguing story, dynamic-as-all-hell combat and gameplay, fluid controls and animation, crazy Japanese madness, and a great soundtrack - Bayonetta is perfect in every way, and regardless of what comes out, this IS my Game of the Year.
|2. Alan Wake|
Maybe it's because I bought the limited edition that came with the additional reading material and cool bonus stuff, but Alan Wake really resonated with me. The story was probably the strongest of the year, the characters were highly memorable, and Bright Falls is not a place I'll forget any time soon.
Being the first game released this year, it was expected to be a mediocre game at best. I had confidence that it was more than that, and as it turned out, it was easily one of the best games of the year. This is another one that I would label as being perfect, as everything about it was done incredibly well with a great level of detail thrown into every single nuance. Moreover, it's a testament to the old days of gameplay that works on all levels.
|4. Super Meat Boy|
DIFFICULTY GO!!! It's mind-numbing to believe that a game this difficult can exist in such a casual-friendly space nowadays. Thankfully, Team Meat showed why the downloadable marketplace is the way to go if you want unique and adrenaline-pumping video games!
|5. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX|
Pac-Man DX adds a new spin to an arcade classic and arguably makes the most addicting and worthwhile addition to the Pac-Man franchise since the original Ms. Pac-Man. Focusing on time-based chunks of gameplay where you collect up ghosts and then chomp them down in chain-combo fashion, Pac-Man DX gives you a reason to fight for high scores again.
|6. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit|
It's like Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit, Ridge Racer, and Burnout 3 had a threesome and created the master racing game. Great weather effects, an incredible online integration setup, and thoroughly addictive levels of speed make this a no-brainer for any racing fan. There's a pureness to the game, as it gets rid of customization and all the other cluttered crap, and breaks racing down to "drive car, fuck shit up, have fun".
|7. Fallout: New Vegas|
It's the game that Fallout 3 should've been. There's far more to do than you can even comprehend, and the world in general is far more in line with what makes Fallout such a revered thing. Is it buggy? Sure. Do I care? Nah. The level of depth in the storytelling and content is goddamn mind-blowing!
|8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2|
With the amount of time I logged into the multiplayer, as well as the level of additional content and support that the game continues to get, it's a title that will last quite a while. Also, I just enjoy blowing shit up real good.
|9. Halo: Reach|
It's Halo: Reach. I don't think anything more needs to be said except this: when a game has so many technical bugs, flaws, and issues...and you STILL love it...then yeah, it's one hell of a good game!
|10. Sid Meier's Civilization V|
Having been a fan from the beginning, Civilization is a franchise that grabs me by the left testicle every time and doesn't let go. Now that Sid Meier's has essentially procured that I will never father a child, I will have to deal with the second best thing: virtual world domination...and sex without condoms.
|11. BioShock 2|
A lot of folks frowned upon this sequel ever being made, and to those people, I say "fuck you". This game, personally, surpassed the original Bioshock in so many ways, especially in how moral choices actually affected something in the game. Mix in the deep multiplayer component, and you've got a stand-up title.
|12. Red Dead Redemption|
This game makes me wish more people made games set in the Wild West. Unfortunately, I'd compare them all to this, and that would leave far too many games crying in a corner. Rockstar delivered yet again on an open world game, but this time, the mechanics of it all (despite the massive amount of bugs) and more consistent DLC support makes the game a necessity for any collection.
|13. Mass Effect 2|
The first Mass Effect sucked. The controls felt like driving a tank, the shooting felt imprecise, and other than the sweet soundtrack, great characters and solid dialogue trees, everything just felt too meh. That's why Mass Effect 2 is so great - it improves on every single part of the "game" side while retaining everything that was done well in its predecessor.
|14. Call of Duty: Black Ops|
The multiplayer is the best that the franchise has seen yet, and the single player is pretty damn memorable and hair-brained. What makes the game really shine, however, is the overall feature set. Campaign, multiplayer, Zombies mode, Dead Ops Arcade, Zork, all the intel...the level of depth put into this package is really impressive.
|15. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty|
I didn't enjoy the original StarCraft, so I'm kind of astonished that I loved the sequel. The multiplayer features are robust, the single player campaign is varied and intriguing, and the new Battle.net setup is pretty damn swanky.
|16. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light|
This game was a huge surprise for me, as the new isometric viewpoint and dual-analog combat style mixed with traditional Tomb Raider-esque environmental puzzles played out EXTREMELY well. That's not even mentioning the great co-op play (despite online co-op not being available at launch). Great great game and worth every penny you spend on it.
Blur is a real love/hate thing with me. I love the gameplay and what it does for the racing genre. I hate that the game's single player has a pretty steep difficulty curve, even on the lowest difficulty settings. It means that I'm getting my $60 worth, but it pisses me off that I have to restart races soooo often. The online, however, is incredibly rewarding, as even if you don't win, you are still having a tremendous amount of fun.
|18. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West|
While the game may be linear and hasn't sold gangbusters, this Ninja Theory joint features a great narrative written by screenwriter Alex Garland as well as stunning performances from Andy Serkis as Monkey and Lindsey Shaw as Trip. The world has also been well-realized, as mixtures of real world locations and fanciful affections almost akin to Beyond Good and Evil marry together seamlessly. The combat is simple enough that it doesn't get in the way of anything, and traversing this world is one of the easiest and exhilarating experiences in modern gaming.
|19. Skate 3|
I was surprised with how much Skate has streamlined its controls as well as general gameplay. This, to me, felt like the most accessible of all the Skate games so far. Sure, the single player feels like a big tutorial for the multiplayer side, but the multiplayer side of this game is incredibly robust. One might even compare it to something like Burnout Paradise in size and scale. Great job all around.
|20. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood|
Typically, lightning doesn't strike twice when it comes to uniqueness, but Brotherhood proves that Ubisoft can find ways to take a major franchise under their umbrella and add a unique multiplayer component to it that just feels right (ya know, like Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow). There's also the fact that the single player is a deeper experience than its predecessor, even if it misses a couple of beats here and there. Had the multiplayer actually performed better, this game would easily be higher on the list. As it stands, everyone above it did their stuff better.
|21. The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom|
This puzzling platformer of paradoxical proportions positively pressed every proverbial button on my piss-me-off-because-I'm-not-that-smart meter. However, once you figure out one of the puzzles in this game, you feel like the smartest goddamn genius on the face of the planet. Again, well worth the small amount of Microsoft Phony Bones you need to spend for it.
|22. Dead Rising 2: Case Zero|
While Dead Rising 2 may be pretty damn sweet, Case Zero is the one that deserves the attention. For $5.00, Case Zero proves that you can release small chunks of the core gameplay from a full disc release to XBLA and make it both compelling and worthwhile. If anything, Case Zero felt incredibly focused, concise, and to the point about what it wanted to do. I'll be honest - I think Capcom could drop making full Dead Rising games and just release these, as I felt completely satisfied by the end of this game...and the subsequent seven playthroughs I did afterwards.
|23. Monday Night Combat|
Bringing elements of Team Fortress 2 and DotA together for an XBLA game...as well as a RIDICULOUSLY HIGH LEVEL CAP...makes Monday Night Combat THE game that finally proves XBLA titles can be online-specific and still be played for a while after its release. Good job to Uber. Now just balance your shit a bit better.
|24. Madden NFL 11|
The last Madden game that I liked was Madden 1994. It took 17 years for EA to finally make another Madden game that I enjoyed. Madden 11 is everything that I could've hoped EA to finally make a football game into. It has enough elements that give it an ESPN 2K feel, but it's still very much a robustly featured Madden game.
|25. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing|
Hey, fuck you. Don't judge me. Not only does it apply mega Sega fan service with a brush that never seems to dry up, it also happens to be one of the best kart games out there that isn't named "Mario Kart" or "Blur". If you didn't play this game, then I'm so so so sorry for you.