Top 10 Games of 2010

This is the first in a series of posts of 2010 top 10 lists that nobody will care about except me, and I’m fine with that :)

For this list, I’ve decided to be slightly controversial and include games that weren’t necessarily released in 2010, but that I’ve played for the first time this year. There were a couple of standout games that I didn’t want to miss discussing and, as we already established, nobody cares anyway.

In the traditional reverse order then…

Alan Wake
10 – Alan Wake
Even though I was hoping for much more, this still turned out to be an interesting, great-looking and fun albeit linear action game. The environments and atmosphere were superb, and the flashlight mechanics were at least an attempt to add something new.

9 – Civ V
I’ve seen some strong criticism of Civ V recently, but I enjoyed it more than Civ IV. It has some nice new mechanics and a great interface. On the downside, the AI is a bit ropy. I didn’t try the new patch yet though, which claims to enhance this and many other areas of the game.

8 – God of War 3
An amazing technical achievement and just a great, strong third-person action game. More please!

7 – Gran Turismo 5
Another achievement but wow do I have a love/hate relationship with GT5. The menus and career modes are awful, but the actual driving is sublime. Definitely the best driving sim on a console.

6 – Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain surprised me with its ability to tell a genuinely good story with meaningful branches depending on how you played it (almost everyone I know who played it took a much different path to the one I experienced, which made the post-game conversations really fun).

5 – Minecraft
Everyone’s heard of Minecraft now and deservedly so. Notch just did an amazing job with his sandbox world generator and he deserves all the success he’s had, and the success no doubt still to come.

4 – Batman: Arkham Asylum
The first 2009 game of the list! I didn’t get around to playing it until the start of the year though, but it’s brilliant. Amazing narrative and combat.

3 – Fallout: New Vegas
I almost didn’t play this, thinking that it sounded a lot like an extension rather than a sequel. In a way, I still think that’s sort of the case but that doesn’t change how great it is. A huge map with tons of interesting locations to discover and some excellent writing (though I think some of the best Fallout 3 quests still eclipse the best quests in F:NV). Luckily I started playing after the first patch which GREATLY improved stability, so I think I only had one crash in about 50 hours of gameplay.

2 – Assassin’s Creed 2
I feel like I’m cheating slightly putting this as my #2 as I’m still playing through it, not to mention the fact it’s another 2009 release, but what a game! It gets my vote for being the best-improved sequel in recent memory. I actively disliked AC1, but somehow Ubi managed to fix basically all the issues I had with it and AC2 is just so fun. They even throw in a sort of city-improvement-lite metagame on top of the exploration and combat. Great stuff and I can’t wait to move onto Brotherhood.

1 – Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption
As good as AC2 and the other games are, for me this year RDR is in a class of its own. It probably helps that I love spaghetti western movies and music, but as a cohesive experience this game is on another level. Every part is superb and complements the whole, from the character design, wonderful dialogue, music, and especially the landscape which is almost a character in itself. The technical achievement to bring all these things together in an open world, and not have any streaming or AI issues show it up is notable (compare with Fallout!). And without spoiling the ending, the depth and the commitment to provide a proper conclusion to an epic experience highlight one of the biggest differences between Rockstar and everyone else right now. We’ve all heard the horror stories around RDR’s development and yet despite the circumstances in which it was created, the game has emerged as a nearly perfect classic. Congratulations to everyone who almost died making it!

Honorable mentions:
Mass Effect 2, Amnesia: Dark Descent, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, No More Heroes 2, Limbo

Games I didn’t get around to playing, some of which will no doubt end up on my 2011 list:
Bayonetta, Halo Reach, Mafia 2, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Starcraft 2, Darksiders, Back to the Future (Telltale)

Most-anticipated games of 2011:
Dead Space 2, Journey, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Forza 4, Diablo 3, Portal 2, Crysis 2, Rage, Deus Ex 3 (wow… that’s a sequel-heavy list)

  1. #1 by Justin on December 29th, 2010 - 9:02 pm

    I’ve still got RDR on my list to play. I had been telling you to play AC2 and Batman all last year – glad our tastes are similar! I just downloaded Fallout: Vegas from Steam for $30 so I’m starting that post-NY.

  2. #2 by DaveS on December 29th, 2010 - 9:12 pm

    I know, I know, I should listen to you more, or at least act on it more quickly :)

    Have you played anything from my not-played-yet list that you’d recommend?

  3. #3 by BHC on December 30th, 2010 - 2:19 am

    RDR would be at the top of my own list as well. Even if some of the gameplay mechanics were a bit flat, the world was so detailed and so beautifully rendered that it was a place I had to explore. I would ride around the world just to look at it.

    The story missions, while a collection of similarly executed shooting galleries, at least serviced a compelling tale about trying to leave one’s past behind.

  4. #4 by DaveS on December 30th, 2010 - 10:20 am

    Hey Bruce, hope you don’t mind but I edited the spoiler out of your comment. I had the same experience though :)

  5. #5 by Justin on December 30th, 2010 - 3:13 pm

    Dead Rising 2? :p

    I didn’t game as much this year on the console, due to Z making it more difficult. I did most of my gaming at work, or on PC, and now that I have an iPhone I’m playing a lot more on there. Game Dev Story was probably my favorite game all year in terms of high amounts of addiction, although replay value I found a bit sparse. I think you’ve got most of it covered there :) Oh, and I may pick up AC: Brotherhood as it’s on for $39 at Future Shop. I’ll keep you updated on how that is.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Comments are closed.