Best of 2010

The definitive top 10 games of 2010.

List items

  • Mass Effect is what I'd call a "flawed masterpiece". It's game that I love very dearly but I can recognize that it's not a great game by any means. The world and characters are fantastic but actually playing the game poses a lot of issues. Fortunately for us, Mass Effect 2 fixed almost every issue present in the first game and was able to retain this game's fantastic world and engaging characters. Making the combat actually fun and modern, removing the infuriating Mako sequences and countless other refinements remove the "flawed" from the description and leave what can only be simply called a masterpiece.

  • I've never considered myself a "pro" gamer by any means. I never replay games on hard or get invested in any kind of leaderboards. As a result, I expected to start playing Super Meat Boy, play a couple levels and then immediately throw down by controller in frustration. Instead, I fell in love. Super Meat Boy is a game that oozes charm at every orifice from the retro inspired art style to Dr. Fetus, the greatest villain of our generation. Super Meat Boy is the only game this year or in recent memory, that literally made me jump for joy. Something about this game drove me to press on, where I would have otherwise quit. I powered my way through the Light World and while I may never see what the Dark World holds, I can proudly say that I love Super Meat Boy.

  • I never experienced the addiction factor of the Civilization series. I dabbled in Civilization IV but I never got into that "one more turn" mentality. That is, until Civilization V. Now, I understand the massive following that these game have gained over the years. And that's really the beauty of Civilization V. Anyone can get addicted. It doesn't matter if you've never played a Civilization game or played every single one. I watched as Civ V turned minutes into hours, as it turned 7 PM into 3 AM. And during all this time, I finished like 3 games. I had more than enough fun fooling around with the different civilizations and victory types. So, I could have this much fun with Civilization V and still barely scratch the surface, I think that says a lot to the quality of the product.

  • Assassin's Creed is a franchise that always really spoke to me. Maybe it's my hidden desire to stab dudes in the face and neck or maybe it's something a little less sinister. Either way, I just love stabbing dudes. I even love the first Assassin's Creed for as repetitive as it is. So, it says a lot that Brotherhood might be the most fun I've had with an Assassin's Creed game. Brotherhood took the refinements made by Assassin's Creed 2 and made them even better to create the quintessential Assassin's Creed experience.

  • Let me preface this by saying that I have never played a game of Starcraft II multiplayer. I am pre-Bronze tier. But that never hampered my enjoyment of Starcraft II. Warcraft III is my favorite RTS of all-time and Blizzard releases still get me all warm and tingly inside. So, it was to my delight that Blizzard showed that they could still make the best RTS that money can buy. Paired with their trademark Blizzard storytelling and beautiful cinematics and you got the best RTS in years.

  • Braid, Flower, and now Limbo. Every year, there is that game that pushes the boundaries of art and video games. However, the thing that sets Limbo apart is that it's never self-indulgent. It never pauses to preach some message to the player. It's a video game, through and through and Limbo is all about gameplay first. The result of this attitude is one of the most tightly made and rewarding puzzle platfomers I've ever played.

  • Alan Wake is far from the best video game I played this year. The core gameplay of Alan Wake is, admittedly, not great. What Alan Wake is, however, is pure atmosphere. It sucks you into this twisted world and refuses to let you go. But perhaps even more than its atmosphere, Alan Wake had style. There was something about the title card accompanied by an ending song at the end of every chapter or the "Previously on Alan Wake..." at the start of every chapter that made giggle with glee every single time.

  • Super Mario Galaxy is one of my favorite games. As far as I'm concerned, that is platforming perfection. So, when Nintendo said "Hey, want some more of that?", I said yes, please. And while it may be as impactful as Mario's first trip to the stars, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the same high quality, charming platformer that you could come to know and love from Nintendo.

  • I don't have the fond memories of Just Cause that many others seem to share. I thought it was a janky mess that had some nice ideas but ultimately just wasn't very fun. Luckily, Just Cause 2 removed just enough of that jank to make the game fun but not enough to completely lose its charm. You haven't lived until you've parachuted around a tropical island shooting a RPG at every unsuspecting merc that is unfortunate enough to cross your path. Just Cause 2 is a euphoric experience of pure video game fun and is a nice wake up call to remember us why we love these dumb games in the first place.

  • I was ready to hate Bayonetta. The pre-release trailers were insufferable to me. It seemed like someone let a horny 14 year old make a video game. Little did I know that horny 14 year olds make the best video games. Bayonetta is ridiculous and stupid. The story is completely nonsensical and the characters are pretty much cookie cutter Japanese stereotypes. So, why do I love this game? I honestly have no idea. I hold no fondness to the Devil May Cry series at all so I don't understand what it is about Bayonetta that made me enjoy it so much. The bottom line is Bayonetta is something that everyone needs to experience, if only to witness the madness.