One thing that didn't surprise me is that between the contributors that submitted top tens to me is that there were about five games that were universal that we enjoyed, there were a few others that we all enjoyed that others either didn't get a chance to play or just missed out of our top ten. That is a pretty good thing considering there was a lot of lesser titles that came out that actually performed well.
Before I reveal the site's top games of the year I wanted to highlight some of the games that let us down this year. Lord Bling did a good job of outlining a few of our letdowns but I wanted to highlight a few more that didn't float our boat:
- Modern Warfare 2. If we existed last year, this would have been the game of the year, but the implosion of Infinity Ward, combined with overpriced map packs, and not doing anything about getting rid of hackers and exploiters really made the game unenjoyable into 2010.
- "VIP" Code Bullshit. EA packaged codes to access multiplayer content in their new games, forcing those to buy used to pretty much pony up an extra $10 to access stuff that was already on the disc.
- Crackdown 2. The first game was originally one that we all bought only because of the Halo 3 beta, but what we found was an enjoyable experience. Maybe we should have kept those low expectations going into the sequel. It very much seemed like Crackdown 1.1 with more orbs and no real story. Fell very flat.
- Star Wars Force Unleashed 2. Maybe we (by we I mean apparently mean just me) actually fooled ourselves that the first game was good enough that the next one would be worth investing. It really wasn't. There was nothing new, it was short and it wasn't very challenging.
- Medal of Honor. One of the few games that actually improved the more one played, this was just a lot of hype that it was going to be the CoD killer. It couldn't even surpass EA's other military shooter of this year in Bad Company. The fact that one studio handled the Single Player and another handled the multiplayer just did not work.
- Handhelds. Here's a spoiler: No hand held games made this year's top 10, which is really disappointing for that market. With the Nintendo 3DS and PSP2 supposedly on the horizon, maybe studios are waiting on developing good games for those platforms. There really wasn't any that were developed for these.
- Destructoid. Usually a great site, some reviews were purely irresponsible and stupid for putting ridiculously low ratings for some under-performing games, while giving undeserving high ratings for over-hyped titles such as:
- Splinter Cell Conviction. We said so earlier this year.
Here are a few games that had a good year but that just didn't quite make the cut:
- Alan Wake. An overtly Stephen King story in a video game. It was very inventive in its story telling. I had a review written but never posted. I'll post it here soon.
- God of War clones. Games like Dante's Inferno, Castlevania, Nier were pretty solid titles that followed the whole hack and slash, mystical, mythical, quick-time-event formula pretty well. Most will be pretty affordable and enjoyable now or in the near future.
- Racing Games. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. Blur. Gran Turismo. Mod Nation Racers. Although none made our over all top ten, if you wanted anything from Arcade to Sim, you were well served by this year's crop of good racers.
Now the Contributors of TL;DR present:
TOP TEN GAMES OF 2010
This was the only PC game that made the list and it took over ten years to finally drop. Blizzard really didn't reinvent the wheel and they didn't have to.
Even though this is technically just episode one of at least a three part series that will encapsulate the second Starcraft, this one improves upon what made the original great without screwing up. The single player gives a bit of choice in the story with some great tech upgrades, and the multiplayer provides a good mix of quick and campaign long games. While you may need to upgrade your PC just a bit from your 1998 Compaq that ran the first game, you won't have to wait another decade to enjoy the next installment of this saga.
This Xbox Live Arcade title is an inventive platformer that really entertained, scared, and challenged us. I really enjoyed its simplicity and while being delightfully disturbed. Presented in a chillingly beautiful black, white, gray, soft focus and clear, you are a boy in shadow with creepy glowing eyes traversing a sometimes dead silent landscape. Sometimes the puzzles don't really present themselves until you're wondering why you've died three times or so in the same place, then you need to figure out what you need to do to escape your predicament. Your eight legged freak friend is also your constant nemesis who will not cure your arachnophobia.
No, its not an over the top Devil May Cry ripoff, its its own over the top game with a ridiculously hot protagonist doing ridiculous moves in a beautifully orchestrated bloody romp. I actually had this and Vanquish at a tie on my top ten since they are both developed by Platinum Games, but Bayonetta was the longer, higher received game so it makes the list.
One other thing about Bayonetta is that it can be painfully difficult to traverse. At some point I had to drop the difficulty down to Easy because some of the stages were ridiculous to try while you were down to next to no health and didn't have the points to buy more healing potions.
Not a perfect or life altering game like the first few Halo games were. It also lacked Master Chief and any progression in the Halo Universe (spoiler: its actually a prequel).
What it was, ironically, was a fitting ending to Bungie's run in the game that made Xbox. Much more polished than Halo ODST, you were placed in an elite squad that is the first encounter with the Covenant on the Planet Reach. It was a great mix of face pace and slow and steady.
Multiplayer provided a lot of variety from co-op firefight to a few game variants that provided balanced character classes that needed more skill than just one overleveled character dominating everyone.
6. GOD OF WAR III
Kratos is back and kicking ass again.
With great graphics from beginning to end, Kratos roid rages through Gods and whores. I kind of wish this game was called Gods and Whores, by the way. Who wouldn't buy it?
5. ASSASSIN'S CREED: Brotherhood.
Picking up pretty much immediately where the last game left off, you are left to take care of business in Rome.
Merely the fact that this game sticks to AC2's award winning blueprint is enough to make this one a top 10, but what really kicked ass is the implimentation of a whole new style of multiplayer.
Not that stealth multiplayer is a new concept, Brotherhood adds a lot of suspense in who is trying to track you down while you are trying to kill a target yourself. The only knock on multiplayer is trying to get a party together in a game, otherwise Ubisoft delivered another great chapter in the Assassin's Creed universe.
4. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2
Probably the most complete military shooter of 2010. DICE really did a great job of blending a funny and challenging Single Player campaign (even taking a few shots at Call of Duty) along with a great multiplayer system that actually had some skill needed to take long shot kills (Bullet Drop: a novel concept video game developers)
Battlefield then released a Vietnam expansion last week that created only added to the multiplayer experience. You get through there and you can tell your friends that you were truly in the shit. (No offense to those who were actually IN the shit.)
Before this year, whenever you saw a Call of Duty title and "Treyarch" on the box, you either groaned or was in no hurry to make a purchase. I will totally admit, that most of us were dead wrong on this. While the Single Player campaign was both ridiculous and short, Multiplayer has actually become more enjoyable for me than Modern Warfare 2. Nevermind the fact that you are using red dot sights and scopes during the Cold War, or you are acutally using a crossbow with explosive tips, or can throw a tomahawk across a map to kill another human, Black Ops is not only a lot of fun, but with the Theater feature you can post all your bullshit kills onto Youtube for your title as internet tough guy of the world.
Probably the best Role Playing Game of the year, Bioware continues to improve upon its award winning space opera that surpasses the original.
You return as Commander Shepard reincarnated and assembling your badass team to take on the Reapers who are pretty much going to destroy everything in your universe.
Mass Effect 2 is a superior story with superior characters; each one unique in its backstory and each character is brought to life by remarkable voice acting. I found myself entertained to the maximum exploring each character's abilities and talents. The decisions you make in this game will impact not only how the game concludes, but will carry over into Mass Effect 3, as were the decisions you made in the first game carried over into ME2.
(By the way, Mordin singing Gilbert and Sullivan and offering interspecies oral sex tips are pretty much one of the funnier and greatest moments in video game history.)
Though this is technically a sequel and one can argue that this is Grand Theft Horse,
Red Dead offered a great mix of role playing, action and a great story about one man's journey of trying to find peace in the chaos and tumult of the old west.
John Marston is one of those memorable characters that you really feel for as he goes through some crazy adventures through New Austin and Mexico.
If the main story wasn't good enough, Rockstar added things like Multiplayer Poker, and the Undead Nightmare DLC pack, which is its own alternate universe style Zombie story which is both entertaining and challenging. Red Dead Redemption claims the top spot after being no lower than second on everyone's top ten list. If you don't own it you really need to.
Individual Top 10's:
1. Mass Effect 2
2. Red Dead Redemption
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops
4. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
5. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty
6. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
7. God of War 3
9. Halo Reach
10. Platinum Games (Bayonetta/Vanquish)
1. Red Dead Redemption
2. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
3. Mass Effect 2
4. God of War 3
5. Halo Reach
7. Heavy Rain
8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
9. Call of Duty: Black Ops
10. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit
1. Red Dead Redemption
2. Call of Duty Black Ops
3. Mass Effect 2
4. Alan Wake
5. God of War 3
6. Fable 3
9. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light