Steam: Hits and Misses of 2010

I didn't buy every game on Steam this year but those sales always get me to spend a few bucks. Every game here is roughly ordered from best to worst purchases. Some of them I have yet to get around to playing so no opinion is given.

List items

  • This is the kind of game I ..game for. The first two fallout games shaped my video gaming youth and this is the perfect follow up to those. While Fallout 3 felt somewhat alien with both the new perspective and the new writing team this brings back some serious nostalgia. If it didn't crash so often it may almost be too good.

  • Hell yeah, the ultimate sand box game. Impossible physics and crazy stunts keep me coming back whenever I need to let off a little steam. As a bonus I hold this as my gold standard of PC ports. It's rock solid, looks great and you can even switch between gamepad and keyboard/mouse on the fly with in game button prompts updating immediately! Why can't every game do that?

  • I was a little late jumping on the Mass Effect bandwagon so after I finished the first one I immediately grabbed the sequel. The gameplay is a huge improvement over the somewhat awkward combat of the original,, but being a PC gamer I'm not totally burnt out on cover shooters yet. I think the story is a little weaker but it's part 2 of a trilogy. Unreal engine always runs great on PCs.

  • It's not perfect but it is still damn fun and I suspect it will age rather nicely, with extensive community and dev support. The AI has some issues with the new tile layout and movement rules but it's a single player game so a gentleman's agreement with yourself to avoid exploiting a few bugs is necessary.

  • I went from first hearing about this game, to playing the demo, to buying it in about half a day. A week later I even went out and bought a gamepad just to fully appreciate the Zelda-esque dungeon crawling. It does not look like a game I would ever want to play but it's so novel and, as everyone always mentions, very well written by a couple guys just trying to make it in the business.

  • I already owned this but I bought it again for a few bucks just to have it on my Steam list. I've probably sunk more hours into this game than any other I own. If you're a serious historical sim grognard you might not appreciate history going off the rails but if you're just sort of vaguely familiar with what countries existed in the 15th century and want to build a world spanning Irish Empire then it's great.

  • This game is a really good game. A 2d platformer that still manages to be one of the most graphically impressive additions to this list. The gameplay is fairly simple but still quite fun and I was compelled to go back through the game several times.

  • Epic roleplaying at it's epic-est. The characters may be hit or miss but I liked Alistair ok. The gameplay immediately brought to mind Baldur's Gate 2 which I was a big fan of. The whole thing was dragged down by what seemed to be a horribly put together game engine. Awakenings is half-hearted DLC sold as a full expansion so I got burned bad on that one.

  • Got this for $15 on sale and enjoyed it thoroughly. It's an Unreal Engine game so it runs perfectly on PC and it's a solid shooter to boot. Just read Jeff's review he covers all my thoughts pretty much. I never really got into the multiplayer so this is one of those play through it once and you're done kinda games.

  • The best curb stomping simulator I've played. The story was good enough, though with the worst possible "twist" at the end. This was an entertaining game once I got past a couple PC port issues (vsync! mouse acceleration!) Once I was finished with the story though, I was finished with the game.

  • GOTY edition. I'm one of the few who didn't already have this I guess. Enjoying the game although it does seem a little easy. If I didn't get all the DLC as part of the package I could see feeling a little ripped off with at least one of those.

  • This is an amazing game for the $20 or so I paid for it. It hits all the notes that Diablo used to save for the multiplayer. And I hate people anyways so that wasn't too big of a loss for me. When things started to get a little stale the modding community has tons of stuff to spice things up. Unfortunately they added achievements in after I was mostly done with this one and it broke my heart.

  • I was late to the party with this one. The gameplay is decent but the main draw is the space opera storyline. Luckily the sequel came out just as I finished with this one so I could jump straight into that to see what happened next.

  • This is an odd one but I still enjoyed it. I can't imagine playing it on a console but on the PC modding hit in a big way to really open up the sandbox aspect of running around a mall and chopping up zombies. The gameplay is good, but the story goes nuts with unnecessary exposition towards the end that it actually put me off a little bit. I don't need the bad guy to sit me down and tell me why he's being bad, Capcom. The PC port is solid but surprisingly gamepad support is middling at best. Sometimes my controller loses connection for a split second, at which point DR2 may or may not recognize it anymore, requiring a restart of the game.

  • My dictator sim of choice (the only one I have sadly). The scenarios were all creative (time travel!) and felt to about the right amount of challenge. Unfortunately it's too tempting and too profitable to build the perfect island paradise where secret police and guard posts aren't needed at every intersection, but it's nice to have that option.

  • What you'd expect in a game from the eastern bloc, and pretty much how Dave Snider's review puts it, even if the quick look did seem rather harsh in retrospect. This game is dripping with atmosphere and ambiance, but the enemies are kind of odd and the gameplay is a little clumsy. Still definitely worth the $12 I put into it, it held my interest to the end and if I had more time I'd run through it again.

  • Pretty much what I expected. Brings back some fond memories of my time in college wasted on N. I have an xbox controller so I avoided what are apparently some dodgy port issues. Still somewhat buggy, one of the few games that has made my computer go blue screen.

  • A fairly straightforward strategy game, nothing fancy or unexpected. It kept me interested throughout the campaign and a few skirmishes but I haven't gone back to it since then. I never played the first one so I'm not disappointed by all the crazy stuff I guess they took out of this one.

  • A puzzle game of some sort. Slide puzzles to more precise, but towards the end getting so complex that it kept me occupied for quite some time. Steam says I've put 62 hours into this game believe it or not.

  • The HD version of both encounters actually. The info page says that the HD versions do not alter the gameplay at all but that is wrong. If you played these back in the day you probably remember the insane MC Escher type gravity going every direction at once, running around tubes and outside of spheres. The HD versions remove this aspect, the new engine couldn't handle it I guess. That was a huge disappointment.

  • I still go back to this one occasionally to knock out a couple more songs. It's Asteroids basically, but with a better soundtrack. A bigger impact from the music on gameplay would be nice, I think it falls behind Audiosurf in that regard.

  • A decent tactical strategy game, with a crazy difficulty curve. Running back and forth between islands looking for the easiest fight isn't necessary, unless you're dead set on never losing a single unit in your carefully constructed army. This isn't a bad game by any means but it just didn't mesh with my style of gameplay.

  • This had the makings of an awesome game. Tearing down buildings with explosives and big hammers is a blast! Too bad this is an atrocious PC port, at least from my experience. Booting me back to the desktop when things started getting too hectic meant I couldn't go all out on the building smashing, just bits at a time. Graphical glitches were a constant after the game had been running over a minute. Despite the issues I still powered through to the end of the story, which says something about how good this game could have been.

  • I have never played poker before in my life. I don't know anything about poker or poker simulations such as this one. This not only taught me the basic rules but has provided me with hours of entertaining banter between virtual people. If you want a hardcore card game sim, this is not it, but it is a fun game nonetheless.

  • A fun little indie game with a twisted sense of humor I can get behind.

  • The entire series actually. It's not a 2010 release but I bought it this year ok. It's a Pikmin clone, only demonic. This works well enough but the game didn't hold my interest through the campaign. Maybe it's a psychological thing since I bought it for only a couple dollars but that makes it feel like it's worth less of my time as well.

  • This is a pretty good game, at least from appearances. But I'm having a hard time recalling my own experience with it, I guess it just didn't grab me like some other games. I enjoy the Warhammer mythos but my time with this game sits at 19 hours, I'm not sure if I beat it or not. It all seems rather odd.

  • It's a puzzle game, nothing more to it really. If you like this sort of puzzle you'd probably like this game. I enjoy it for what it is, though it's hard to put in order on a list of favorite games. It's got steam achievements too if you're into that.

  • A very laid back puzzle game of sorts. You manipulate objects in 3d in order to tie them up in rope while ambient music soothes your senses. At $5 I am perfectly happy with my purchase as there is a surprising amount of gameplay here. Not really a typical gaming experience though so it's hard to order on a list like this.

  • Just the right blend of frantic puzzle solving and zen-like meditation mean you can spend hours on this game without noticing.

  • A great premise where the gameplay quickly gets in the way. The first couple levels you are flipping off buildings 100 floors up and it's awesome. Then guys start shooting at you and the game goes to shit. The story takes 4 hours to play through and that was all I put into this game.

  • This was a fun game and I enjoyed it at first. It took me awhile to get the hang of combat in full 3d, keeping my weak side pointed away from the enemy. Unfortunately, once you do get a good handle on that, the game loses all challenge as the AI simply is not very good. On top of that there is literally 30 minutes of unique gameplay here, as that's about how long a campaign lasts.

  • An indie platformer where you can rotate the entire level to get around. Also everything looks like it's made out of paper. Nothing exceptionally enthralling about this one and it didn't hold my interest.

  • A breakout game! With sucking and blowing! That's pretty much it, it's not particularly deep or satisfying gameplay.

  • Indie action/puzzle game. Starts off at a very relaxed pace but I got frustrated with the later levels pretty quickly.

  • This is a game. I think I received it for free somehow and maybe that influenced my perception of it but it didn't seem especially compelling.

  • I didn't really "get" this game I think. It's either too frantic for my tastes or I was just playing it wrong.

  • Another indie game that I thought had very limited appeal in the time I spent with it. But hey, it's got steam achievements!

  • This game is not a great game. The Total War style battles are ok in the beginning and the magic spells on top of it are a neat addition but the campaign is not very good. Eventually I realized I'd just rather play a Total War game than a knockoff version of a Total War game. Features a built in "nerf archers" button in case you don't want them slaughtering your entire army before you can reach them. May be more of a game than the previous few entries but the substantially higher price hurts my opinion of it.

  • Great looking indie puzzle game. Unfortunately I don't think this type of point and click adventure is for me. It didn't take long for me to become frustrated and start searching for walkthroughs for some of the more esoteric puzzles. And once you do that the game loses all sense of accomplishment and that was it for me.

  • Another point and click adventure, this one not nearly as good looking as Machinarium.

  • I bought this for $4 on sale and played it for about 2 hours. This game generated some buzz for how they were purposely gutting the PC port because PC GAMERS ARE PIRATES. No multiplayer and terrible mouse acceleration issues kept me from enjoying it too much. Other than that, it definitely felt like Ghostbusters, albeit with that slightly stilted video game scene direction.

  • Bought this during the summer sale on a dare for $2 or something. One of the worst shooters I've ever played. Fun in an ironic sort of way as you listen to the protagonist bounce back and forth between waxing poetic about the nature of war to growling out tough guy catchphrases.