Best of 2010

Hashbrowns: Best of 2010

List items

  • Ever since Max Payne, Remedy has consistently created worlds I can enjoy simply by inhabiting them, and their writing is easily the most layered in the industry. Alan Wake was no different.

    In a genre defined by horrible tank-like controls, Alan Wake controls effortlessly. Instead of rationalizing poor controls as "essential to the horror" as Resident Evil insists upon, Alan Wake is responsive. Alan Wake's tension doesn't come from an inability to properly control the game, but from the unsettling atmosphere and dangerous (if at times repetitive) enemies.

    A satisfying and extraordinarily well-paced story gracing fluid and original gameplay. My game of the year.

  • While the shooting gameplay is still only passable it has definitely improved. Bioware still has a lot of learning to do when it comes to actual gameplay in their games but they're trying at least. Mass Effect 2 is no Uncharted or Gears of War in the shooting department.

    That said, no one does dialogue trees (or wheels) like Bioware. A heavier focus on Shepard's relationships with the crew was a good decision, but the actual plot was severely disposable, and don't get me started on that ridiculous Megatron fight at the end. And let's all just do our best to pretend that planet-scanning never happened.

    Technologically more polished, but a back-step in fundamental design from the first game, Mass Effect is still a very enjoyable experience. More importantly, much like Bethesda's flawed games, no one makes games quite like Bioware's, so for all the problems I have with Mass Effect 2, it still stands alone and ambition has to count for something.

    I just hope Mass Effect 3 realizes the true potential of the franchise.

  • While I still have some issues with the overall storyline, Halo: Reach is a marked improvement in story-telling, and easily the best entry in the franchise since Combat Evolved. No one combines sandbox shooter and vehicle combat as seamlessly as Bungie, and the sheer variety of what can occur in combat is still astounding.

  • I'll be honest, I'm really just putting this on my list due to a terrible lack of quality games I played that were released in 2010. I enjoyed Darksiders from a basic gameplay standpoint, but the muddled "it's Revelation but not" universe held the game back. A truly original fantasy universe would have served the game far better. The fact that I didn't even feel compelled to finish this game is incredibly frustrating.

  • Limbo is a great puzzle game. But to burst the indie bubble, if you infer a story, you might want to have something to say. The children, the sister... these elements beg to have purpose. A story doesn't limit mood or atmosphere, it gives meaning. Limbo feels like a dream, and it is ultimately just as forgettable. But good puzzles!