Best of 2010

Solarus: Best of 2010
2010 has been a fantastic year for the gaming community in general. There have been many quality releases, with more still expected for 2011. As a result, it has been difficult to narrow down my favorites this year to a list of just 10 games. Regardless, here it is. Please note that this list only contains games that I have played myself. I'm not including games that are supposedly very good without having experienced it myself.

List items

  • I was a tremendous fan of Starcraft 1, so when I heard that Starcraft 2 was coming out, I was both excited and hesitant at the same time. I was hoping that the same company which had created some of my favorite games in the past would be able to create a worthy successor to an RTS legend. When released, Starcraft 2 managed to not only be an amazing sequel, but even succeeded in surpassing Brood War in many respects. The story is phenomenal, opening up many possibilities for the 2 upcoming episodes in the Starcraft 2 trilogy. The new campaign interface, achievement system and match-making system are very well integrated, while the core gameplay remains very familiar while having enough changes to not be considered a fresh coat of paint. That is why it is my 2010 game of the year.

  • Mass Effect was a stunning game: Beautiful atmosphere, great story, intense gameplay and an interesting Paragon/Renegade dynamic helped to make it one of the best games of 2007 and certainly the best XBox 360 game at the time. With the sequel coming out, I was hoping that the gaming gods at Bioware would keep their track record intact. I was pleased to find that Mass Effect 2 surpassed the original in every conceivable way: The graphics were superior, the gameplay felt more exciting and an interesting system of bringing your data from the first game was implemented. Mass Effect 3 will have a hard time raising the bar even further on a truly epic space opera.

  • I'll admit it: I never really got into any of the Civilization games before this one. Although I've always intended to give the series a shot, other priorities always seemed to win over. When this installment came out however, I figured I would take the plunge and give it a shot. I'm glad I did. Civilization 5 succeeds in truly defining turn-based strategy, taking everything into account, from resources to scientific discovery, diplomatic relations to raw brute force. Civ. 5 was a very enthralling and addictive game from start to... well... Whenever you could pry yourself away from the keyboard to sleep.

  • I've played many different shooters in my time. Although it's not my favorite genre, every now and then there will be one released that I just can't seem to put down. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is one of those games. Although the single player campaign is nothing to write home about, the multiplayer component is absolutely phenomenal. What separates Bad Company 2 from Modern Warfare 2 (which was released only 4 months earlier), is the raw magnitude of scale. With many different vehicles such as tanks, jeeps and helicopters readily available for use and damage physics allowing buildings to be completely leveled, one has to adapt to many new situations they never had to before. Everything from small squad based combat to large scale warfare is here and guarantees a good time.

  • Heavy Rain is not your conventional video game. Favoring story-telling and presentation to actual gameplay, Heavy Rain is more of an interactive graphic novel than a video game. Regardless, I was pulled into the world of Heavy Rain and felt myself genuinely caring about the characters and their struggles. With many different potential endings based on the decisions you make, there is a lot of replay value as well. Regardless of your background in gaming, I would recommend everyone to at least give this game a shot. You may be shocked at how much you enjoy it.

  • What happens when you take an indie-developer with an eye for nostalgic platformers and the creativity to look outside of existing gameplay conventions? you get Super Meat Boy, a fantastic game which reminds us of why 2D platformers were so damn fun. A very tight and responsive, yet simple control scheme highlights this game, with a high degree of challenge to ensure that it remains fun for a very long time. This is one of the very best $15 purchases you can make.

  • Super street Fighter 4 is a great update to an already great tourney fighter. With new characters (all of which are already unlocked, which is great.), a replay channel to watch the pros or find what mistakes you made yourself, as well as balance changes, Super Street Fighter 4 is the definitive version of Street Fighter 4 to own, regardless of whether you're a fan of the series or a newcomer. The cheaper price tag is a plus as well.

  • As a fan of old 2D Zelda games, I can't help but love 3D Dot Game Heroes. 3D Dot Game Heroes has a very interesting premise: It is essentially a game playing homage to 2D Zelda titles (Like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past), except it does so from an isometric 3D view and you can build your character (among other things) out of small boxes. the game is very funny in addition to having strong gameplay and is as much a parody as a nostalgic throwback. Highly recommended for fans of retro adventure RPGs.

  • As a longtime fan of Castlevania, I owed it to myself to pick this one up. When I initially saw the trailer for this game blend elements of God of War and Shadow of the Colossus, I was both excited and cautious in how the final product would be. Luckily, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow turned out to be a tremendously awesome and gorgeous action game that was more than worthy of the lofty series it's titled after. The gameplay and upgrade systems were well done and the light and dark magic mechanic of gameplay help to enhance the action and give it some flair. Definitely worth a look for fans of action games.

  • This game is a spectacular example of a true racing simulation. Very detailed, very accurate and very fun. If you're into cars and how they work, or you're simply interested in racing games in general, Gran Turismo 5 is for you. Review scores for this game have been a bit lower than expected, mainly due to lofty expectations caused by the long development period. My advice is to play this game with an open mind and realize just how fun a racing simulator can be.