2010: the year in review

Biggest surprise of 2010 
So, a friend asked me, quietly, if I minded him getting a game for my birthday. He didn't tell me what game, and when it arrived I was a little surprised, as I'd hated the original. I went on to sink 60 hours into it, buy all the DLC, even re-buy the original and play through it again. 
Mass Effect 2 was an insanely good game.

Biggest letdown of 2010 
It's hard to pin this one down, so I'll go over the two and decide after. 
Crackdown was one of my favourite games in the early days of the 360. I played the game to death, getting all but 2 achievements out of sheer love of the game. But Crackdown 2 was a disaster of a game. A real lazy sequel, it took the fun and variety of the original and killed it off. No more gangs, no more having fun with the world; just mutants, mutants and more mutants. Even the previously colourful cityscape became duller. Everything I hoped for in a sequel died in this game, as did my want for one. 
Fable 3 had a different problem: it became clear, FAST, that they had redesigned the game to use Kinect to do everything rather than buttons. When they decided that wouldn't work... they didn't change it back to how Fable 2 worked. The useful inventory disappeared, but the achievements that relied on it stayed. The massive wheel of interaction became "good choice, bad choice, other". The health system sucked as well, as it was hard to tell if you were near to death, making the "no deaths" achievement jarring. It was a massive backstep from Fable 2, whose systems were fine but the content was sometimes less so. This time, neither the missions or mechanics were fun, and I did the unthinkable: quit caring. 
I think Fable edges out Crackdown, simply because with Crackdown I still kept playing, tried to wring everything out of it, despite the disappointment. With Fable 3, I finished it and traded it. I couldn't bear to play more.

Weirdest trend of 2010 
Everything wanted you to work for your points this year. The Wii had Just Dance, a game that reinforced the  well-worn Wii adage that "a little motion does it just as well" by having the on-screen mirror for you to copy doing some amazingly involved stuff (see any of these) that you didn't actually have to do to get a good score. If you did... well, I can guarantee you'd likely look very silly, as I saw it for myself over Christmas. 
Then of couse, Kinect stepped up and said "no, really, you HAVE to do what they're doing" in Dance Central. And then, it made you do that in everything else, too. On a similar note, due to the constantly mentioned 1:1 accuracy of it, anything on the Playstation Move required that sort of effort as well.

"I'll just Youtube the ending" of 2010 
I will admit, the idea of Splatterhouse making a comeback interested me greatly. Me and my brother played the hell out of the Mega Drive originals, so I was one of a very few people interested. Then it all started to fall apart: development teams were lost, delay after delay after delay, unfavourable preview coverage... and the game just sort of plopped out. The saddest thing about it is, I probably would have still bought it if they hadn't wanted full price for it. So, I Youtube'd a ton of footage, including the ending... and the last of my interest died. It seems the stores lost interest, too, as it's hard to find anywhere that has a copy. At all. 
Runner-up goes to Heavy Rain, a game that would have needed me to buy a PS3 to play it, that I again just Youtube watched instead. Immediately, I couldn't have cared less.

Reason for me to get a PS3 of 2010 
 Gran Turismo 5! Finally, a new entry in my favourite driving series ever! Man, if I had the money, I'd have dropped it for this...

Reason for me to never get a PS3 of 2010 
 ...And then, the patches began, and I was put off ever owning Sony's box. I mean, really Sony? Patches that have to be installed outside the game, and can take hours? I can't believe people put up with it, and I certainly wouldn't be able to.

The "any other year, this'd be it" for 2010 
Assassin's Creed is one of my favourite new IPs of this generation. Like most people, I was skeptical of the alleged multiplayer focus of the new game, but Brotherhood is one of the best games I've ever played. It took everything I loved in Assassin's Creed 2, unified the setting, and heaped on a ton of variety. I plan to do exactly what I did for the previous game, and get everything. The multiplayer will easily last a while. Any other year, this would be my favourite game of the year.

The "but this is it" of 2010     
It has to be Mass Effect 2, though. The fact I still actually have it is testament enough; games are typically traded on completion to pay for the next, but it's still on my stack. I've done every mission, all the DLC, tried every class, and saved everyone on my first try. It's rinsed, but it stays, because somehow I feel I could do more in it still.