Best of 2010

To be fair, there were a lot of games that I didn't get around to playing this year, or didn't spend enough time with, including: 

  • Bayonetta
  • Darksiders
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Just Cause 2
  • Alan Wake
  • Saw II: Flesh & Blood
Okay, just kidding about that last one. 
 
As far as the games I actually played, my list is as follows.

List items

  • Rockstar delivered on another great story in Red Dead Redemption. While its plot never really had me guessing what was going to happen next, I was still interested all the way to the end of the game. Call it "Grand Theft Horses" if you must, but it's far and away the best western game I've ever played.

  • Yes, it's graphically stale and the game engine is definitely showing its age, but none of that matters here. New Vegas took everything Fallout 3 did and improved upon it. The quests are both more varied and more numerous, and the leveling system has been tweaked so you can no longer be a master of everything, which keeps the game interesting for much longer.

  • As much as I wanted Black Ops to be number one on my list, there's just something about it that doesn't measure up to the previous games. Sure, Modern Warfare 2 was over-the-top and unbalanced as all get out, but at least it had personality. Black Ops, while a technically superior game, just doesn't pop.

  • This amazingly atmospheric platformer got a lot of attention this year, and it's well-deserved. Every puzzle is so well designed. The story (or lack thereof) is emotional and moving. The environments are beautiful in their simplicity. Limbo is more than a video game, it's an experience.

  • One of the most visually impressive games that has ever graced my plasma screen, Hot Pursuit strips away all the cruft of the past three years of Need for Speed games and brings back the white-knuckle racing we all love. On top of that, the Autolog feature is one of the most innovative things I've seen in gaming this year. I have a feeling that before long, every game will feature something like it.

  • When this game first came out on XBLA, I was intensely disinterested in it. It's just the same old Pac-man again, right? Wrong. After playing the demo, I was instantly hooked. Pac-man CE DX takes a 30-year-old concept and makes it feel fresh and new again. 800 Microsoft Points very well spent.

  • Alright, it didn't technically come out in 2010, and depending on who you ask, it might not even be considered "out" at all. But Minecraft sucked up so much of my time in 2010 that I have to include it on this list. I was obsessed with LEGO as a kid, and the sandbox building and exploration in this game kick that obsession up to a whole new level.

  • I'll be honest: Costume Quest is not really challenging in any way. But unlike most games without challenge, it's still fun to play. Double Fine's story and charming art are plenty enough reason for anyone to check out this lighthearted RPG.

  • This game made me want to put my controller through my TV more times than I can count, but I could not stop playing it. I love the lack of penalty when you fail. Die and you almost immediately respawn, ready to try again. Also SPIKES!!!!!!!

  • Halo is really not my thing, personally, but I was really impressed with the presentation of this game. It really is Bungie's last hurrah, and they went out on an excellent note. For people who like Halo, I'm sure this is probably Game of the Forever.