Best Videogames of 2010
2010 Has passed in quite a breeze and there comes a time when one thinks back to what made the year a special one.
In this post (and probably the next few posts) I’m going to list the best stuff I’ve seen/played/done/experienced and explain why I think it’s worth your time.
Best Videogames of 2010
Let’s start with what I love most. The videogame market per se (and by that I mean retail videogames) hasn’t been very extraordinary in 2010 but some games outshined others. Here are my top 10 videogames of 2010.
This list is based on what I had most fun playing this year.
10 – Call of Duty: Black Ops – Xbox 360, PS3, PC
The Call of Duty Franchise is already at the pinnacle of the 1st person shooter genre.
You would think this top-selling blockbuster game would be higher on the top 10 chart but I didn’t like the single player at all.
The story is cliché, the AI is so embarrassingly 1992-programmed that even Pac Man CE seems to do better in that area.
It has some very good parts though. Piloting a Helicopter, or infiltrating Vietcong bases killing them in their sleep was worth the effort.
I included Black Ops mostly because I had fun playing multiplayer with friends over xbox live.
On the other hand, I do hope the whole 1st person shooter genre renovates itself in the next installment (I wish there wasn’t another iteration in 2011) because personally I think the Call of Duty franchise is getting very boring indeed.
9 – Need for Speed Hot Pursuit – Xbox360, PS3
I felt like I needed to include a racing game in the list.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit has gone back to the origins with the first need for speed games. I remember how cool it used to be to play “Cops and Robbers” in the older games on the PC and this new game has brought that all rushing back with a hint of novelty that makes it a whole new, great experience.
You can either race as a Bandit, increasing your wanted level by escaping from police capture or you can play the cop, increasing your rank by catching baddies! The gameplay is simple and arcadey and that’s what I was looking for this year. I was pretty tired of the old driving simulators. Forza Motorsport 3 and the endless wait for Gran Turismo 5 didn’t really do it for me.
8 – Sonic 4: Episode 1 – XBLA
People hate it a lot, others hate it less.
I actually liked this modern take on the classic Hedgehog. You might say I’m a little bit of a fanboy (playing Sonic on my Sega Master System II and Game Gear), but I actually really enjoyed it this time. After endless shitware Sonic games, finally something playable! The levels looked great, sonic controls pretty well (even though some people say he is too floaty), the lock-on feature is awesome and the Sonic avatar costume you can unlock makes it worth playing!
Only a few downsides to this one. It cost me 1400 Microsoft Points and considering its length it wasn’t worth all that money. The cost of the next episode will determine if I’ll buy it or not.
Oh and the music… OH THE HORROR! Play this one on mute!
7 – Game Dev Story – iPhone
This little gem for the iPhone made my battery run out very quickly for a few weeks or so. The idea seems really stupid and uninteresting until you actually start playing it.
You impersonate the founder of a game developing company and you start by hiring some coders to make your games. It’s similar to what an imaginary Game Dev Tycoon would be. You can buy licences to develop for consoles with silly parodic names such as the Playstatus instead of the Playstation and so on.
You can choose what kind of game to develop and what genre it will be.
Your aim is to sell as many games as you can and in the end you will also be able to develop a console.
It’s hard to believe such a great game could come out of this idea but I urge you to try it out to see for yourselves. I wasted more than a few weeks on this one.. Ask my girlfriend! A true gem of 2010.
6 – Kirby’s Epic Yarn – Wii
Speaking about my girlfriend… Kirby’s Epic Yarn wouldn’t even be on this list if it wasn’t for her. This has been my “sit on the couch with my girlfriend and play together” game of 2010.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn graphics are incredibly innovative. Everything is made of yarn and you can move the whole background by unzipping it or pulling a well placed string. Your co-op characters will sometime merge together creating a truck or train and sometimes even a huge mech that shoots missiles. These parts of the game are really exciting and really need you to cooperate with your partner to get to the end of the level safely.
Death doesn’t exist in Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Instead you are faced with humiliation… a gamers’ worst nightmare. The score of the level depends on how many Beads (Bijoux for Gloria) you can collect. By falling into pits and getting hit by enemies you lose most of your beads. And the humiliation comes when you finish a level without any beads at all. This formula is kind of new and it works pretty well with the game as it makes you want to keep those beads to end the level well and removes the frustration that dying might give.
On the negative side we couldn’t care less about personalizing our virtual kirby-home with the stuff we collected (Animal Crossing Style), some of the storytelling was way too childish (and also weird sexual references like Yin Yarn putting stuff into his weirdly placed sock), and playing alone with no-one to help you can be quite boring.
I mean… look at his sock!
Definitely a game one should own just for its innovation and co-op fun.
5 – Red Dead Redemption – Xbox360, PS3
I love westerns… and I love sandbox games… therefore I love Red Dead Redemption.
I actually had good and bad times with this game but pushing through and finishing it paid off in the end.
The game is what you’d expect from Rockstar. A GTA-similar open world-ish game with a Western theme.
Missions are mostly cool and horse riding really looks and feels amazing. The good nature of John Marston (the main character) makes for a nice change instead of the usual GTA bad boy.
The animations are so amazing in Red Dead that for the first time in videogame history I actually felt like crying when my horse got shot and died or when shooting an enemy’s horse by mistake and killing it.
I did get bored halfway through the Mexico campaing but I pushed on and the ending was truly worth it. Buy this game and finish it and you’ll know what I mean.
4 – Enslaved – Xbox 360
Enslaved… I wish I could put you at number one…but I can’t.
I have said, more than once, that Enslaved was my game of the year 2010, and I still want to believe it. So why is it sitting at number 4?
Enslaved has proved that proper acting can make or break a game… at least that’s what I wish it did. There’s a book (Extra Lives) that speaks about this thoroughly…and it seems that gamers don’t care enough about acting in videogames as they should, but that’s a topic for another day.
The acting portrayed by the characters in this game is so good it deserves an Oscar. Facial expressions, tone and especially EYE and eybrow expressions were all incredible and really made the story in this game a joy to experience.
In reality, other than the AMAZING acting there’s a good game underneath it all. I underline good and not great… It has a simple combat mechanic and the game could have done a lot more in the customization sphere of things.
You are Monkey, a very agile – Prince of Persia mixed with Goku – kind of guy and your weapon is infact an extendible Staff (just like Goku in DBZ, not to mention a floating cloud to roam around in). The first part of the game is one of the best I’ve seen in a while and I won’t ruin any of the story for you because it’s worth going into this one with no preconceptions.
I can’t bring myself to say anything else about it because you absolutely need to buy it and see for yourself. Game developers should learn from Enslaved and use that kind of acting to improve the whole videogame market.
3 Limbo – XBLA
Another XBLA game in my list… now you’re realizing why I mentioned a bad year for retail videogames in the beginning of this post.
Limbo is something you experience rarely in videogames, especially in modern videogames. Limbo’s gameplay is NEW and novelty is something new gamers don’t seem to care about. We are always fed iteration after iteration of the same type of game until the franchise is too milked to sell anymore.
Limbo is an amazing achievement, and a game that is different in how it makes you feel.
You are a child who wakes up in this black and white shadowy world inhabited by monster spiders and man eating shadow hounds.
The game is a solid mix between platforming, adventure, and strong puzzle gametypes and it delivers all of them perfectly.
The ending is something you hope to be prepared for but it really hits you hard. It personally left me open mouthed for a minute or so.
This game is ART.
An easy buy for 800 Microsoft points.
2 – Mass Effect 2 – Xbox360, PC
I have to admit… I only played this recently…and am still playing it. All of this because after having played Mass Effect 1 I knew how much time I’d spend being sucked into Mass Effect 2.
I decided not to import my previous character from ME1 because I wanted to start from scratch and create a female character with different stats.
Here she is (I tried to make her resemble to my girlfriend but to her say, I failed miserably).
Mass Effect 2 is just what you would expect but better. The story is amazing, gameplay is better than ME1, characters are well developed and they make you want to get to know them and help them in their own personal subquests.
You know an RPG game is good when you WANT to do the side-quests before continuing on your path with the main story.
Also: 2nd best start scene of 2010 (after enslaved ofcourse).
There’s little to add except to say this game is near perfect on every level.
The only downside it has is that it’ll suck up so many hours of your life you want to plan ahead for it, reason why I only got to it in January 2011, exactly one year after its release. SHAME ON ME!
1 – Super Meatboy – XBLA, PSN, PC, Mac
Man oh man… another XBLA game in the list and NUMBER 1 too!
Super Meatboy, just saying it makes me shiver with various emotions that include love, hatred, rage, fear and frustration.
Super Meatboy started as a small flash game created by 2 people that I personally never played. It got then converted and improved into an XBLA game and BOOM!… mega success.
It’s a simple 2D platformer that takes from all the best platformers ever made and merges them into a game that not only will amaze you, but it will make your hands hurt like with old school hardened games.
All you can do is jump and move left and right to reach your girlfriend in each of the hundreds of levels. Yet it ends up burying itself right in your heart as one of the best games ever made.
The sheer happiness you receive after completing a level you were trying for the past 4 hours after dying 600 times is something I hadn’t felt since reaching the second castle in Alex Kidd in Miracle World on the Sega Master System II.
You can see some of my videos trying some of the most frustrating levels in Super meatboy right here:
I did complete them later off-camera.
So that completes my top 10 videogames of 2010.
Here are some Best of the Rest that didn’t make the top 10:
Donkey Kong Country Returns – Wii
A great reboot of the saga that deserves to be bought
Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Wii
Great game but it’s just more of the same
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX – Various
Having missed the CE version I decided to buy the DX version and I couldn’t believe how I could still be enjoying Pac-Man after so many years.
Hope you enjoyed the list and obviously I want everyone to have their say!