2010 was a great year for games, and there was not enough free hours to play them all. Looking back at what I was able to play, I’ve come up with a top ten list, but to be true to the nature of this blog, I’ll be splitting it in two; The Top Five Games Completed in 2010, and The Top Five Games I Wish I Completed in 2010.
The Top Five Games Completed in 2010
Honorable Mention: Costume Quest (XBLA) This game surprised me with it’s charm and fun. Using light RPG elements and harnessing a child-like imagination, this short adventure captured the magic of being a child on Halloween.
5. Batman: Arkham Asylum (Playstation 3) Finally someone made a game worthy of the caped crusader. Whether perched high in the rafters waiting for an unsuspecting thug to wander under your perch, collecting microscopic clues with Wayne technology, or punching Killer Croc in the sewers, I finally felt I was in Batman’s kevlar lined boots.
4. Assassin’s Creed 2 (Xbox 360) I’ve ran across the rooftops of Venice, flown Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine, and slid my stiletto into countless throats. As Ezio, I experienced the exhilaration of the life of an extremely agile and gifted assassin. This was a great action game that I looked forward to playing every night. I couldn’t wait to climb the next tower and gaze over the amazing version of Venice that Ubisoft created. It’s only a matter of time until I’ll be drawn back into Ezio’s cloak for Asssassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
3. Alan Wake (Xbox 360) As a child, I was once lost in the woods without a flashlight. This game reminded me of the terror of half-imagined shapes formed by shadows of the trees. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Alan Wake searching for his wife in the dark forests of Bright Falls, Washington. There were several memorable supporting characters, a solid story, and very dramatic action sequences. Of all the games I played this year, with the possible exception of Uncharted 2, this game felt the most cinematic.
2. Dead Space (Playstation 3)Atmosphere: this game had it in spades. The cramped corridors of the spaceship Ishimura were brought to life by flickering lights, creaks, pops, metallic bangs. The sound design in this game was phenomenal, truly making the case for owning surround sound as a gamer. Dead Space took the formula of Resident Evil and made it fresh by giving Isaac Clarke unconventional weapons, pitting him against Necromorphs that could crawl out of any vent and had to be dispatched limb by limb, and setting the action in space, where lack of gravity brought new challenges.
1. Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) Who wouldn’t want to lead a band of misfit alien warriors and save the galaxy? Mass Effect 2 provided the grandest adventure of the year by far. As Commander Shepard, I took my ship Normandy far across the galaxy, meeting and enlisting a handful of alien and human companions to fight a grave galactic threat. I enjoyed the range of choices available as Shepard; thanks to Bioware’s unique dialogue wheel I could play him as a virtuous, diplomatic hero, or as an aggressive scoundrel whose only concern was getting the job done. Combat was a fun mix of cover-based third person shooting and tech and biotics attacks(think Force powers) and controlling your squad-mates around you. I look forward to completing the swashbuckling saga in the next installment.
The Top Five Games I Wished I’d completed in 2010
Honorable Mention Singularity (Xbox 360) After a disappointing return to Rapture in Bioshock 2, it was refreshing to play this strange Russian timebending game that reminded me of the greatness of the first Bioshock. Wielding a device that allowed me to age or reverse age of objects around me, I gradually began to unravel the secrets of an abandoned Russian research island. I hope to return to the island someday, but a room full of exploding bugs has halted my journey so far.
5. Deadly Premonition (Xbox 360) This is not a good game by any quantifiable standard, yet it was one of the most compelling games I played in 2010. The graphics are dated, the shooting mechanics terrible, the driving sections almost unbearable, and the enemies (zombies bent over backwards shambling backwards towards you) laughable, and yet I really want to finish this game. If the plot of an eccentric FBI agent visiting a backwater lumber town to investigate the grisly murder of a beautiful woman sounds familiar, it should. The game’s main story, mood, and even music is lifted unashamedly from my favorite TV series, Twin Peaks. Agent Francis York Morgan is unquestionably insane, but driving around listening to him muse on obscure 80s movies to his imaginary partner Zach is one of my favorite gaming memories of 2010.
4. God of War 3 (Playstation 3) I’m not sure why I stopped playing this game. I’m sure I was distracted by a new title, but there is little to criticize with this game. Kratos glides through enemies like a dancer on butter, and the mythology of Greece is brought to magnificent life in not only the settings, bu also the characters, which often fill the screen. Perhaps I’m simply tired of Kratos as a character, and his seemingly unquenchable rage. I hope to finish his quest to topple Mount Olympus, but after that I hope he finds some peace.
3. Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time (Playstation 3) After playing trainwrecks like Epic Mickey (more on that in the coming weeks), I am resolved to return to this game. This game is colorful, has a diverse variety of worlds to explore, lovable characters, and a great variety of gameplay styles. From spaceship battles, platform jumping, third person shooting combat, to puzzles involving cloning and time manipulation, Ratchet and Clank has much to offer.
2. Uncharted 2 (Playstation 3)If Alan Wake is a fall psychological thriller, Uncharted 2 is a summer action movie. Beginning in a literal cliffhanger, Uncharted 2 ratchets up the action and rarely slows the pace. A great blend of cover based shooting, puzzle solving and platforming make this game everything that the Tomb Raider games were trying to be. Witty banter between the characters keep this game moving along as well as the fast-paced action, and I look forward to completing this chapter of the adventure soon.
1. Darksiders (Xbox 360) On the surface, this may game looks like a generic amalgamation of heavy metal, post-apocalyptic imagery with a World of Warcraft color palette. Once I played the game, however, I discovered the best love letter to the Legend of Zelda series I have seen in this console generation. War, one of the Four Horsemen, is blamed for the apocalypse, and stripped of his powers. In a quest that unravels just as a Zelda game would, he gathers tools and explores dungeons, fights large monsters, and solves puzzles. Since the original Legend of Zelda was what that brought me into this gaming, I think I may be holding back on finishing Darksiders, as if it were a special treat.
I hope to finish these games, but I also look forward to what 2011 brings. What were your favorite games you played in 2010?