Best Games of 2010

The Best Games of 2010 (Reprinted from my website Graveside Entertainment)

Below are my top picks (in no particular order) for the best games of 2010. There are quite a few that I'm missing that i haven't had time to play yet but will get around to playing eventually they are:
  • God of War III
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Fable III
  • Bioshock II
  • NHL 11
  • Mass Effect II
  • Splatterhouse

List items

  • Castlevania always held a special place in my heart. Having grown up playing Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest and Castlevania III for the NES I was a big fan of the franchise even as a young boy. Symphony of the Night was a Playstation masterpiece and kept the side scrolling, castle exploring game play of it’s predecessors but added a brilliant RPG mechanic, that featured tons of character customization options. That incredible game was followed by a bunch of terrible 3D Castlevanias made for the N64 and PS2. Having finally endured (and wasted money on) these terrible atrocities to the Castlevania brand, I was soured on the future of the franchise. That is until this year, because of Lords of Shadow…

    This game flew under my radar only about a couple of months ago. I first heard the members of SG Blue talking about it during their weekly podcast. They all seemed to be enjoying the game and praising it’s visuals and fun factor despite it receiving barely above average reviews around the net. I decided to download a demo off the Playstation Network and give it a go.

    Within 10 minutes of playing the demo I knew this was the 3D Castlevania I had been waiting for. It played a lot like God of War and mixed in huge epic boss battles from the days of yore, the game was pure sweetness. Sure it’s not your old school, side scrolling Castlevania. There is no Dracula and no Castle setting to explore. It’s a somewhat linear 3D action platformer, featuring awesome weapon combos, rappelling, warg riding and ass kicking. Those looking for a traditional Symphony of the Night experience will be disappointed. However, those that are looking for an excellent game that borrows elements from many successful franchises like God of War, Shadow of the Colossus and Prince of Persia and weaves them into a classic horror tale of Good vs. Evil will be thrilled with this game.

    The icing on the cake is the wonderful narrative voiced by Patrick Stewart. He really breathes life into the story, embellishing the right words, and delivers the story with utmost quality. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a magnificent new chapter for the franchise, and has my vote as one of the best of 2010.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops was my most anticipated game of the year. I waited with great excitement leading up to Nov 9th, eagerly awaiting it’s release. I began playing the Call of Duty games with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and have not missed a game since. Every year like clockwork they are released come November and me, like millions of other gamer nerds line up at our favourite game store, horny to get online and begin accumulating killstreaks. I am very happy to say that Call of Duty Black Ops, completely met my expectations and I believe it’s the finest game in the series thus far. Often maligned developer Treyarch went all out with this edition and focused their entire studios efforts and manpower on this game and it shows. Black Ops refines the formula for multiplayer madness that Infinity Ward created with CoD4 and then pushed too far with MW2. Fixing all of the annoying glitches and overpowered classes, guns, and attachments from MW2 and implementing a new “CoD Points” currency system and tons of character customization options, Treyarch have developed the online multiplayer shooter to beat. Prepare to burn away the hours killing, dying, collecting xp and unlocking guns, attachments, camo and more online with your friends. Never has an online shooter been this addictive!

    Black Ops also features a compelling and exciting single player game. The main campaign tells a story set in the Cold War era, viewed through a series of flashbacks during different covert Black Ops. Much fun is to be had playing through the single player, unlocking all of the achievements and finding all of the hidden intel. The missions are varied, exciting and memorable. Treyarch have also thrown in a few different zombie modes this year for those hungry for co-op action. The zombie modes are a fun time with friends also, and while not the main draw of the game for me, they are a nice little addition that I much prefer over the lame “Spec Ops” mode from last years Modern Warfare 2.

  • A favourite around these parts, Godzmassacre and I have spent many an hour online playing BFBC2. Offering a more user friendly, albeit slower multiplayer experience than it’s Call of Duty competitor, BFBC2 is unique enough to warrant a purchase.

    Featuring an awesome class based squad system, Battlefield Bad Company 2 is a team players game. Each class has a wide variety of different roles, and each is integral to the survival and victory for each team. Teams are made up of squads of up to four players who can view each other on the map, communicate, revive, resupply each other with ammo and more. The maps are much larger than other shooters, and are loaded with vehicles to commandeer! Yes, Tanks, Helicopters, Quads, Boats, Trucks and more are all at your disposal to hop in and use to wreck havoc on the opposing team. Destruction is also a big part of the game. See a Sniper camping in a window picking your teammates off? Pull out your rocket launcher and knock the building down around him!

    Because of these very unique aspects, Battlefield Bad Company 2 stands out amongst a slew of first person shooters on any console. It’s different enough than the Call of Duty, Halo & Crysis series’ that it is a must buy for any shooter fan. I cannot wait for the new Vietnam expansion to arrive in a few short weeks!

  • Another game I was super excited for in 2010. I really enjoyed the first game of the series; Red Dead Revolver for the original Xbox, and was happy to learn that Rockstar were making another Western Sandbox game for the 360 and PS3.

    The game focuses on John Marston; an ex outlaw that is trying to reform his old murderous ways, and do the right thing. Unfortunately for Marston, his past has caught up to him and he must kill hordes of Bandits throughout America and Mexico. This game is very similar in design and execution to Rockstar’s previous effort Grand Theft Auto IV. Their version of the wild west is just as big and nasty a place as Liberty City, with just as many side quests and things to keep the player entertained and hooked for months.

  • Another game I lined up for at Midnight. Now I’m not a huge Halo fanboy, and honestly I prefer the Call of Duty series, but Halo Reach sure is an amazing accomplishment for Bungie and a fitting triumph to cap off their Halo development cycle. Halo has to be recognized as the genre innovator. Almost every FPS you play currently has taken things from Halo, be it it’s control scheme and layout, or recharging health meter. Now while Halo is the innovator and brought so much of this goodness to the table, I feel other series’ have eclipsed Halo’s single player and multiplayer offerings. I find the guns in Halo often feel like super soaker 5000′s and are horribly underpowered and underwhelming compared to say guns in the Call of Duty, Killzone and Battlefield games. I just don’t get the same amount of joy popping someone with a DMR as a I do using a AK-47 and feeling the recoil of the gun and hearing the shell casings ping off the ground while the gun blazes out hot death.

    Speaking in context to the other Halo games of the series, Reach has perfected the formula and tweaked the Singleplayer, Firefight & Multiplayer Death Match modes to perfection. If you like Halo, and are looking for the be all end all of Halo games, Reach is certainly your best bet.

  • Blizzard have delivered another winner here. Among the same elite group as Bioware, Blizzard always bring the quality, and Starcraft II is no exception. Taking things that worked from Starcraft II, like the UI, game play mechanics and memorable characters and transferring them into 2010 was a brilliant idea. The UI have been polished and tweaked to a glimmering shine, the single player campaign is great and ties all of the missions together through excellent cut scenes and an interactive ship that serves as your hub between missions. Tons of dialogue, environmental interaction, memorable characters and an awesome story make Starcraft II worth every penny. The game also ties into Blizzards wonderful multiplayer system and allows you to speak to anyone on the network at any time, even during your game! I’m a late arrival to the Starcraft party. I never played Starcraft when it was huge and only since the release of Wings of Liberty did I pick it up. I can safely say that Starcraft II completely blows it’s former out of the water, there really is no reason to go back.

  • Ahh WoW you evil temptress! Stayed away for over a year I did. As soon as I saw the trailer for Cataclysm, I knew I was going back in. Blizzard’s flagship, World of Warcraft is now played by over 12 million people worldwide, making it the most popular game on the planet! That alone should be a testament to how amazingly huge this game is, but I’ll give you another one. It was originally released in 2004 and has received tweaks and updates, but no major graphics overhaul and it still looks and plays great. I cannot think of any games that are six years old and still look as good as WoW. WoW is the biggest game in the world and it shows in everything it does. Nobody builds a larger, more interactive world, nobody builds the same level of customization, nobody builds the same party and group co-op game play, and no game on the planet is as rewarding, addictive and at times mindless as World of Warcraft.

    Cataclysm has brought so many of us back because not only has it added two new Races: The Worgen Werewolves for the Alliance, and the The Goblins for the Horde; but it’s also brought destruction and massive world changes. The enter world of Azeroth has been affected by the return of Deathwing, the most evil dragon in existence. He’s ripped up the entire world, changing zones and areas forever. It essentially looks like a new game. I went into Orgrimmar last night and after playing a Horde toon for over 6 years, was completely lost and clueless as to where anything was. That’s the level of changes that Cataclysm has brought, and that’s why it’s one of my choices for game of the year 2010. World of Warcraft is that old dog that is still kicking and will not go away.