Best of 2010

2010 was a heavy year for great games. I have a lot of unconventional choices, but it was an unconventional year.

Update 12/30/11 - Going over my GOTY for 2011 made me look back at my previous lists. A lot has changed since I made this list so I've re arranged it a bit. A lot of games that I added on here I just threw up because I couldn't think of anything else. Now that I'm a bit further away from 2010, I have a better idea of what I enjoyed most.

List items

  • By far my favorite from this entire year. Granted it had its' list of problems, primarily lowering the importance of RPG elements and streamlining so much of the experience that a lot of the depth from previous BioWare games (Dragon Age) was lost. However, Mass Effect 2 made huge strides in what themes are dealt with in video games: a large inclusion of respectable female lead characters, a realized universe with depressing undertones that mirror our own world and most importantly really deep and interesting cast members. Thane's impending doom, Miranda's Utopian existence being less than ideal, Mordin's cold calculating mind processes and everyone else in the game. ME3 definitely one of my most anticipated for next year.

  • BioShock 2 is better than BioShock 1. It'd be very easy for me to explain the gameplay reasons (dual wielding plasmids and guns best idea ever). However I'd go further to say the rivalry between Sofia Lamb and Andrew Ryan is far more interesting and sensible to the game's story than Fontaine's presence in the first game. BioShock 2 is definitely one of the better FPS games I've played in a while. My only word of advice is to play the game on Hard with no vita-chambers, lotta fun man.

  • This is probably where people start saying "THE FUCK IS THIS LIST?" Yes. Alpha Protocol is an amazing game. Granted it doesn't demo well (quick look makes it look real bad) but the important part of AP is the overall experience. Starting from the beginning, building up your connections in the game, using all of our resources for the end game to take down who turns out to be your own personal enemy. It was the perfect spy story translated to video games. I loved the hell out of this game, played it four time in two weeks and want nothing more than an Alpha Protocol 2. If this series could continue it'd have more potential than any other series I can think of.

  • I was a huge Starcraft 1 fan. So the fact that Blizzard made Starcraft II, a competent successor to the beloved original... that's just incredible. I've played the hell out of this game's multiplayer. The single player kind of sucked, but the multiplayer is unmatched. Best RTS to date.

  • I bought this game off the Steam Winter sale in December 2010 and at the time of making this list, I had no idea the impression this game would have on me. In short: It made me a Battlefield fan. I was never interested in the series before because it never exactly clicked with me but that all changed in BFBC2. I don't even like multiplayer shooters but I've squeezed over 60 hours of BFBC2 and I still come back to it every now and then. This is the only competitive multiplayer game I've seen that encourages teamwork through its mechanics and it's the only community I've seen that gives a damn about working together. A landmark in multiplayer design, BFBC2 is definitely one of the most impressive games from 2010.

  • Alright I'm getting further down the list so I'll try to keep this short. Nier, fantastic characters: Nier, Weiss, Kaine and Emile are easily part of my top ten favorite characters of recent years. Really great world and atmosphere too. This game looks like an N64 game, but give it a chance and you'll love it.

  • Although not nearly sophisticated enough to be directly compared to it's predecessor, Civilization V still delivers mild entertainment while attempting to rule the world. Civ 5 sought to simplify many of its mechanics which of course some of those concepts ended up being dumbed down in the pursuit of simplicity. If I was actually any good at Civilization 4 I might've been more upset about these changes, but the fact is I typically play on the easier settings and just seek out world domination. It manages to allow that play style to be boatloads of fun and that's enough for me to put it on this list.

  • I'm a believer that the scripted-sequence design found in Call of Duty is going to die real hard, real soon. Halo Reach is the opposite of this. Emergent water-cooler moments abound all throughout the campaign made me love playing through this game. Easily my favorite Halo yet, even if franchise veterans say it's the weakest in the series. But then again, I didn't like Halo 1 or 2.

  • The concept of "Fallout 3 but more" sounded great and sure enough the overall execution turns out to hold true to that promise. An entire month of my life was dedicated to playing New Vegas for a few hours every day. For some reason I never finished the game (literally on the last quest) and I probably never will. But I can't deny the fun I had on various adventures Fallout New Vegas allowed me to embark on.

  • Living up to the name of Max Payne is a difficult task as Remedy discovered with the release of Alan Wake. This game seems like it was remade on several different occasions and although the final product might not have reached the goal they intended, it's still an interesting game with various memorable set pieces. It's a good first entry in what could turn out to be one of gaming's most interesting series.