It's that time again, folks. Just as I did back in 2009 and 2008, here is my incredibly imprecise and unscientific top 10 list of games from the past year. The only ones I'm really set on are the top three; everything past that could shuffle around depending on how I feel on a particular day. So let's just call this my favorite games of 2010 for Monday, January 3 at 9:54am.
10. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Enslaved suffered from awkward movement issues and a camera best described as jaunty, but it was a beautifully crafted game set in a landscape both gorgeous and heartbreaking, and the nuanced characters were a real treat to spend time with.
9. Fallout: New Vegas
I decided to wait a couple months for this game to get patched up, and all signs point to a smart decision--New Vegas is an engrossing adventure set in a world where it's a blast to simply wander around and allow yourself to get lost in the atmosphere.
8. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Assassin's Creed II was my favorite game of 2009, and when they announced a sequel was coming out just one year later, I was worried. Clearly I was wrong, because even though Brotherhood isn't as special as its predecessor, it's still a terrific game that bears the series' quality standards quite well.
7. Dragon Quest IX
I'm a dyed in the wool Dragon Quest fan, so it's pretty much a guarantee you'll see the series make my list any year a new DQ is released. But don't let that detract you from Dragon Quest IX, because what Level 5 has done here with the fabulous loot system and story sequencing really adds new life to the series.
6. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
I was a little disappointed that DICE scaled back the sense of humor in the story campaign, but this game's stellar multiplayer more than made up for it. I was addicted to this game in a pretty fierce way when it came out back in March, going from class to class as I maxed out each upgrade tree. But in my heart of hearts, I'll always be a sniper.
5. Heavy Rain
When I set out to put this list together, I wasn't expecting to rank Heavy Rain so high. But the more I looked back on my experience with this game, the more memorable it was. It's not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a very special one--and a game that I loved.
4. Halo: Reach
I was a huge fan of the new direction Bungie took with ODST's choose-your-own-adventure campaign, so I wasn't sure what to make of a return to a more traditional structure when Reach was first announced. What a fool I was.
3. Alan Wake
Alan Wake is a real testament to just how far atmosphere and novel storytelling can get you when the gameplay itself is nothing to write home about. Dark and gloomy in all the right ways, Alan Wake's wilderness was a terrifying place to spend time in. But you add to that a story that unfolds in non-chronological fashion with an out-of-order manuscript page system, and what you've got is a game that toys with you, almost taunting you with its glimpses at what lies around the next corner. Love, love, love it.
2. Red Dead Redemption
As you can tell from my experience with Fallout: New Vegas, I love a game where you can just wander around and get lost in. Red Dead was certainly that, but it was also a terrific story about a man who simply wants to be a better human being than he's been in the past. Also, bears.
1. Mass Effect 2
I'm beginning to sound a bit like a broken record, so at this point you've probably picked up on just how much I love a game that nails story and atmosphere. As far as I'm concerned, no one did it better this year than BioWare. From the explosive intro to the final charge against the Reapers, Mass Effect 2 was my favorite game of the year by a fairly sizable margin. The only real knock against it is the way BioWare slimmed down those RPG elements we diehard gamers know and love. But you know what? Look at that iPhone or Android device in your pocket. Think of how many devices you had to carry around 10 years ago that your current phone can do in one tiny package. Now think of how things will look a couple hundred years into the future. You're not going to be running around picking up loot, coins, and other bits and bobs as you would in a fantasy RPG. The future is streamlined. The future is ruthlessly efficient. But it still has hamsters in it.
The Best of the Rest:
Vanquish, Dance Central, Dead Rising 2, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Limbo, God of War III, Just Cause 2, Super Meat Boy.
Games I Will Probably Love But Just Haven't Played Yet:
Mafia II, StarCraft II, Rock Band 3, DJ Hero 2, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. Amnesia, Valkyria Chronicles II, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
Crackdown 2. I loved the first game so much. I just wasn't expecting them to ship it again in 2010.
Most Anticipated Game of 2011:
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. But before that was announced, it was The Last Guardian.
Favorite iPhone Game of 2010:
Personal favorite game has to be Angry Birds, but objective best game of the year is easily Trainyard.
Favorite Movie of 2010:
Inception. No surprises here!
Favorite Album of 2010:
High Violet by The National.
...and that just about does it. Phew! Thanks for reading!
Enslaved doesn't belong anywhere near a top 10 list, very overrated IMHO, a solid title, just not great. However, I do think you just nailed the top 5.
@shaunmc I just heard on the HotSpot you haven't played any Mass Effect 2 DLC. ARE YOU CRAZY! Drop what you are doing IMMEDIATELY and get Lair of the Shadow Broker. If Mass Effect was your #1 choice before you played DLC, it might be the game of the century when you play Shadow Broker. Stop reading, just to to xbox.com and queue it NOW! Here: xbox.com
Some good picks, but I really don't understand the hype with Enslaved. I didn't find anything fun or original about that game. It was like Too Human with really bad platforming.
great list :D Mass Effect 2 and RDR were in my top three too and it's good to see Enslaved make the top 10.
That is a very nice list of games! I share your common interest with Heavy Rain, Alan Wake and Halo : Reach! All three will be in my must keep collection for ever! :)
@ stephenage - No , that would be Magrino's awards .. which if you read (provided he writes them in the first place) Brendan will send you $500 :D
Alot of good games in 2010. Inception was a great movie, however my favorite film would be Alice in Wonderland.
@stephenage: No, you have to capitalize the "P" in "pun", because you might read it as "punp-unpun.com"
Surprised to see Alan Wake so high on the list. Then again, I think I do really like the game it's just the DLC that unfairly soured my opinion of the game a bit. Probably going to replay it some before I make my own list. Mass Effect 2 is a great choice, I loved that game myself. And you reminded me that there is totally a space hamster in that game, I loved the space hamster! Even if I couldn't figure out the difference between that and a normal hamster.
Nice list my friend and since I got Inception on DVD I can't wait to see it all because of you. Thanks!
I blogged about my top five a few days ago...Mass Effect 2 is # 1 and I chose the same picture you did. ;) Great choices and a great year for gaming in 2010! 2011 looks even better.
Nice choice at #1. Exactly the same as mine. Also, cannot agree more with your most disappointing game. They totally missed the boat with Crackdown 2.
Don't worry, there really is no such thing as a scientific game of the year list :P I literally cannot wait until ME2 is released on PS3 on the 18th, I must appease my anticipation by going outside and slamming the asphalt, all manly like. Or cry, but I keep that to myself.
I didn't play Enslaved or Dragons Quest. My GOTY was also Mass Effect 2, with Deadly Premonition as a runner up. New Vegas was a big improvement on Fallout 3 and makes me wish even more that Bethesda have nothing to do with Fallout games in the future. I also loved Crackdown, Crackdown 2 and Heavy Rain were my two biggest disappointments.
@Just-Adam Wow, glad to see a dedicated HotSpot fan here! @zwgiantsfan It was a great game, but it just felt like a better Mario Galaxy 1. It didn't have the same impact the first one did. @gbrading I did a lot of planet-scanning. I'm still not sure why. It wasn't very fun. @UpInFlames I didn't like it quite as much as Boxer at first, but it definitely grew on me. Now it's my favorite of theirs.
Ah, a National fan. I'd say High Violet is their best work yet. It just feels much more personal than any of their previous efforts which come off as subdued in comparison. "Sorrow found me when I was young, sorrow waited, sorrow won"...oh, man.
Great choices: I also consider Mass Effect 2 my Game of the Year. Although it didn't do everything right (planet-scanning being the classic example), it's narrative and universe are so engrossing that everything else falls into the background.
Shaunmc's awards ! Brought to you by ............. red bottle of water :roll: :lol: Take it away brendan's brother's band . Do do do dot do do