Links Top Ten: Games of the Year 2010

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by LinksOcarina, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. LinksOcarina

    LinksOcarina Rookie

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    A disclaimer before I begin. I guess I am one of the few exceptions for this, but I normally hate reading and making top ten lists. It is just an excuse for people to pretty much spew their opinions, however validated, onto internet forums and blogs and then bash trolls, fans and readers everywhere which may disagree with their opinions.

    Let’s face it, top ten lists are popularity contests that are rarely, if ever, in the correct order for the people reading them. As subjective as they are though, they do form a purpose; it can honestly showcase aspects or opinions you don’t normally see. With this all in mind, I want to present my top ten games of the year 2010.

    It has been a wild one to be sure. A lot of great games, and a few phenomenal ones, have graced the numerous console systems out there. Whether you agree or disagree with this list is not the point, but I do hope to showcase several games that, to me at least, exemplified what makes a good game and why it should be played. Now I will say that if I never played the game, it won’t show up on this list, and that includes some big titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Halo Reach, so don’t expect to see them on here.

    Without further ado, here are my top ten games of the year.



    10. League of Legends (Riot Games)

    Ok, I admit, I am cheating already since League of Legends launched in late November of 2009, but I didn’t begin playing it until around February 2010 and since then I have been hooked, so for me it counts as a game that came out this year. Possibly one of the few games I keep coming back to every once in a while just for mindless team based fun, League of Legends is one of several spiritual successors’ to the Defense of the Ancients mod from Warcraft III, where you must destroy the enemy teams base with the coordination and abilities of your teammates heroes. The beauty of the game in the strategy of the game, each champion has various abilities that can tip the scales in your favor if coordinated properly, and there are a slew of items, runes, and even a repec tree that augments the base stats of your selected hero.

    Since its release, League of Legends has also followed a free to play format, offering a majority of its functioning services for free, with extras like costumes and rune pages as cash deposits. It is possible to play the game without spending a dime, and that alone makes it noteworthy. The community is also amazing; with Riot doing what it can to differentiate League of Legends from other DOTA games like DOTA Allstars and Heroes of Newerth, offering special events and a rich lore that has begun to grow and expand the League of Legends universe. If you are a fan of DOTA or of just strategic role playing in general, the game is definitely worth a look.

    9. Assassins Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft)


    Continuing a trend from a series that has really picked up since last year, Brotherhood is, in all honestly, a short game through the single player experience, but an important one in the grand scheme of the multi-game storywise. You again control Ezio Auditore die Firenze, an ancestor of the series protagonist Desmond Miles, as he attempts to rebuild the Brotherhood of Assassins in Rome, Italy during the decline of the Renaissance. The game may be short, but the new features do add depth and also add some new possibilities for future titles, such as co-op gameplay or team objectives in the single player mode.

    But where Brotherhood shines is the multiplayer, and that is why it is on this list. Even more so than Modern Warfare 2 or other FPS multiplayer games, Brotherhood takes a novel concept and executes real well, how do you make assassinations shine with eight guys running around a closed space? Using powers and sneaky tricks make the multi-player heart pounding and exciting, as well as engaging overall fun. It is not a chore anymore to wait to be sniped by a level 50 gunman, or worry about someone somehow cheating. In the end, it is all based on skill and wit, and that alone is something lost in some multiplayer games today.

    8. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (Atlus)

    The Shin Megami Tensei series has become one of the most pristine examples of JRPG’s in recent years, gaining popularity thanks to the Persona series and slowly surpassing Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy as the RPG series around the world. Strange Journey is no exception here, going back to its roots as a dungeon crawler with a Sci-fi aesthetic. The story is remarkably adult, dealing with issues of religion and belief as well as the manifestations of demons and the seven deadly sins, all located in a growing black hole in Antarctica known as the Schwartzfelt.

    While the game is more of a throwback to turn based RPGS with dungeon crawling first person modes, it is the typical SMT gameplay that keeps it engaging. Raising your demon pokemon from lowly slimes and pixies to powerful demigods from various forms of mythology and folklore is not only for the faint of heart, since it requires excessive grinding at points, but at the same time rewarding for beating the game. While not as difficult as Nocturne, Strange Journey is a remarkable RPG with great psychological depth, although it would be hard to recommend it for everyone.

    7. Costume Quest (Double Fine)

    Double Fine has recently decided scale back its projects after the mediocre success of Brutal Legend, and the results include a light-hearted RPG in the same vein as Super Mario RPG, borrowing the quick time mechanics to do battle against evil goblins and trolls on Halloween night. You star as a kid whose sibling is kidnapped by these greedy gremlins because they want all the candy on Halloween, and your sibling happens to be dressed as an overgrown candy corn. The game is really short, clocking in at less than six hours and highly repetitive, but the charm is in the design and dialogue, which is witty and what you would expect from Double Fine these days. Hell, collecting all twelve costumes alone in the game make it worth a look, but the simple pick up and play mechanics make it all the more easy to get into.

    Apparently Double Fine is, at the time of this writing, already expanding Costume Quest with some DLC. I sure hope that a game this innovative and charming can keep making an impact, because if nothing else, Costume Quest is perhaps one of the most unique games to come out this year, and that is saying something since it is a Downloadable title. It also looks like Double Fine is going to continue this trend of quirkiness, since their recently announced game Stacking has already perplexed me.

    6. Fallout: New Vegas (Obsidian Entertainment)

    Fallout 3 was a great game, but what is amazing is that New Vegas almost surpasses Fallout 3 in terms of its scope and scale. New Vegas has you play a courier in the Mojave Wasteland, left for dead by a zoot suit wearing vagrant who steals a package from you. What follows is a series of unfortunate events that pits you against several factions all vying for one location, the still standing Hoover Dam.

    The game improves on Fallout 3 in numerous ways, with the factional system being the most prominent one. Now you can have good or bad standing with different groups instead of being attacked by raiders every ten seconds, even when you are wearing their armor. It also adds a lot to the role playing aspect, talking your way out is usually more successful this time around than in 3. The hardcore mode offers a crazy challenge for gamers, and the companion system has been revamped, and now works! Plus the companions have personalities and quests instead of just being another body to attack things. These are just some of the changes, and all glitches withstanding, New Vegas proves that Fallout will stay a fixture of excellence if it continues redefining itself.

    5. Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar Games)

    When I first saw screens of Redemption, I wasn’t impressed. I was never a fan of Red Dead Revolver, and I didn’t expect much from Grand Theft Equine until I actually played the game for the first time. Where Rockstar games misstepped with the story in GTA IV was the strange dichotomy of the seriousness of the story with the goofiness of the world around it. Here, there are few, if any, laughs to be found by strange events or witty jokes. John Marsten’s quest for Redemption in a world that doesn’t understand him is compelling and a wonderful character study about how times change people, and people can’t let go of the past.

    The game design is standard sandbox play, but the narrative this time around is worth going through and so compelling it is hard to put Redemption down. The extras around the world add to the realism, from bounties to treasure hunts to gambling and cattle herding, each peripheral activity makes the game feel more realistic and authentic in 1910’s America. Yes it is distracting at times, but nothing beats getting random phone calls from your cousin to visit a strip bar, which can instantly take you out of a game. And the multi-player’s open ended structure was also well crafted, offering a slew of gameplay modes and activities both in and out of typical deathmach scenarios that Rockstar could constantly add-on to this for years to come. Redemption is not perfect as some would say, there are still snags in the narrative and structure of the game that I feel a dash of linearity would fix, but it is easily one of Rockstars best, and one of the best of the year.

    4. Minecraft (Mojang Specifications)

    Anyone who loves games knows about Minecraft. A pet project by indie developer Markus Perrson, Minecraft is a sandbox style game which is simple in structure, but vast in scope. You essentially can create anything in this world by digging, mining, crafting and constructing through a random generated map of caves and islands. Clever gamers have created roller coasters, fortresses, a replica of Rapture from Bioshock and even the Starship Enterprise through a meticulous combination of patience and perseverance.

    What makes Minecraft particularly special is the fact that the game has never been released fully yet, it is still in its Alpha stage. And yet, it has already generated over 600,000 purchases into the Alpha with over 2 million users playing the game at least once before. That alone is impressive, and very telling on how good and addicting Minecraft actually is.

    3. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (Ninja Theory)

    An action platformer starring an apathetic brute named Monkey in a dystopian future is a hard sell for a new I.P, but Ninja Theory was able to draw from Chinese Mythology the core of the Journey to the West story and create a wonderful game. Visually striking and aesthetically pleasing is just one half of the coin, and despite some gameplay quirks that many found boring and repetitive, Enslaved worked because at its heart was a relationship between unlikely allies. Monkey is a hulking mass of independence, and his controller Trip forces him, through enslavement, to help her go home after being captured by sentiment machines which now control the landscape. On the run and constantly fighting, the two, after beginning as enemies, slowly become friends and companions through harrowing moments rendered in gorgeous cut-scenes.

    Enslaved works as a story piece to show how games have come so far. It is a narrative driven by visuals, with the gameplay secondary, but it is such a good narrative it almost transcends the gameplay faults and quirks to become something truly special. The sad truth is the game is already out of print despite being released in October of this year, selling around 800,000 copies by the end of November. Enslaved is a fun romp and a great character study, and in the right hands a fun game to master despite the repetitive nature of the gameplay.

    2. Kirbys Epic Yarn (Good Feel/ HAL Laboratories)

    How does Nintendo do it? Year after year, they take a core group of franchises and try to reinvent them to make them fresh and engaging, and in most cases they are always successful. Ok, Metroid Other M backfired, but Kirby’s Epic Yarn shows how the big N still has this magic within them. Kirby’s adventure takes a strange turn as he is sucked into a giant, magic sock by the vile wizard Yin-Yarn. Now a piece of string, Kirby must fight fabric with friction as he traverses through various worlds using his powers to collect beads and find secrets.

    What makes Kirbys Epic Yarn so enchanting is the style. Only Nintendo, no doubt guiding the two studios who created the game, could come up with Kirby as a piece of string fighting similarly styled creatures. It is an aesthetic that is just downright amazing, so much so even the VGA’s, which I despise, gave Kirby a Best Graphics Nomination. The gameplay is also addicting and simple to get into, and frankly, it is just nostalgic to play a platforming Kirby game again that is akin to Dreamland on the Super Nintendo. The only complaint is that it is far too easy, but even then that’s a minor problem with such a great game.

    1. Mass Effect 2 (Bioware)

    All of the games above have one or several aspects that make them great. Be it game design, story elements, emotional attachment, gameplay; the uniqueness of this list is possible because of the innovations and conventions we seen in games today. No matter how clichéd a game can be, the strength of a good game is how it is shown, played, and viewed. But one game encapsulates everything, in my opinion, which is seen above; a great storyline, superb dialogue and emotional cut-scenes, and exceptional gameplay. And that is Mass Effect 2.

    Bioware shows how games can be taken to the next level in a way that is both entertaining yet artistic. As the resurrected Commander Shepard, you need to fight the Collectors, a secretive race of aliens abducting whole colonies by assembling your dirty dozen of specialists, each with their own baggage in the vast galaxy we call home. The story is almost perfect, the dialogue is poignant, witty yet engaging and the games engine shows cinematic quality that is unlike everything I have seen in games before. Mass Effect 2 had the ability of being influenced by the first game in the series based on specific choices from that game carried over via save states here, and the trend will continue with Mass Effect 3.

    What makes it remarkable is that this core idea of your actions in game speaks volumes for gamers. Decisions are not exactly black and white anymore, but you need make tough choices that can literally kill your own squad mates without a moment’s notice if you are not careful. The gameplay is also more than just corridor shooting and cover firing, but it employs some great Role Playing elements that can make fights either exceedingly difficult or a walk in the park depending on your builds. Mass Effect 2’s weaknesses are there, but in the grander scheme of things, of what makes a game standout; it is as close to perfection you can see in a year, and my choice for the number one game of the year.

    So there you have it, my own top ten. I have to admit, after writing this I feel a bit better about doing some more top tens, although it needs to be something special I think for me to continue. But what do you think? Do you agree with this list, or is there something I am missing, or should play if I haven’t that is worthy of this list? Let me know, and if you ever come across one of these games and have never played them before, give them a try. You will not be disappointed.
     
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  2. Green_Lantern

    Green_Lantern Forum Moderator
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    Costume Quest is so awesome.
     
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  3. Longo_2_guns

    Longo_2_guns Forum Moderator
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    I'm not even going to bother...
     
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  4. LinksOcarina

    LinksOcarina Rookie

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    Please indulge :). Nothing better to do at the moment.
     
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  5. Rakon

    Rakon Rookie

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    Dude. God of War 3. I know it was a sequal, but shit man it was so good.
     
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  6. Icepick

    Icepick Rookie

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    I came here to bicker, but for the most part I do agree with your list, really all I wanted to say now is that Mass Effect deserves numero uno, I have yet to be sucked in and captivated by a videogame like mass effect managed to do to me. I ask you know, the suicide mission, who else got fucking goosebumps gearing up to go kick some ancient galactic ass?... last boss not withstanding, how a t-1000 ended up there is beyond my understanding, but Bioware can not get enough praise for the way they handle story, voice acting, and cinematic moments
     
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  7. used44

    used44 Forum Moderator
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    Cool story, bro.
     
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  8. WickedLiquid

    WickedLiquid Regular

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    I was going to make something like this for games and movies but thought it was too soon. I'm glad you did though Links because I haven't played what many consider to be the best video games this year.

    But here's my list...

    #10 Bayonetta
    Like Devil May Cry, this was a great action game that was loads of fun. Unfortunately the story is cringe-worthy, also like Devil May Cry. At least you play as a sexy witch who gets naked.

    #9 3D Dot Game Heroes
    A great homage to the original Legend of Zelda. If Nintendo were to ever remake the classic series like they've done with New Super Mario Bros, this is how you do it!

    #8 Scott Pilgrim VS The World
    Not only a fun beat 'em up but it deserves some respect for being a good game based off a movie. When was the last time you can remember a fun and challenging game based off a movie? Goldeneye? No online though which leaves me scracthing my head. But regardless, the game was awesome for any fan of River City Ransom, Double Dragon, and many other games like them!

    #7 Alan Wake
    When I first saw this game, I was under the impression it was a Silent Hill clone. However, I soon learned it was an original mix of action and horror.

    #6 Final Fantasy XIII
    Final Fantasy ain't what she used to be, but 13 was still pretty damn fun. I didn't mind the linear path because I thought the plot, gameplay and leveling up was enjoyable. But please Square Enix, can we quit it with the annoying chirpy female character? At least in 12 Penelo wasn't so bad. But in 13 I wanted to strangle Vanille. That's just a nitpick though.

    #5 Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
    It's fucking MGS, nuff said.

    #4 Donkey Kong Country Returns
    The latest addiction in my gaming world is DKC Returns. A nostalgic throwback to the awesome SNES game. Are you ready to go Ape? ....ok I need to move on and finish this thing...

    #3 Heavy Rain
    Yeah, there's a problem when walking and the game has a plot hole. But regardless, I felt Heavy Rain offered a brand new experience in gaming and fell in love with the characters, story and interactive cut scenes through out! Cheers for bringing something new to the table that works

    #2 God of War 3
    Besides MGS4, I'm pretty sure people bought a PS3 because they knew this game was coming. I mean, Kratos kills Gods for frig sake. Not terrorists, not supervillains, GODS! Yeah, pretty epic...

    #1 Super Mario Galaxy 2
    It's been 25 years since Mario made his debut on Nintendo and here he is still delivering the best game of the year. Sure, it's a sequel to the already groundbreaking Super Mario Galaxy but part 2 does everything the first game did and improved it! Think GTA Vice City and then GTA San Andreas. I don't know how you've been able to keep Mario fresh, exciting, and on top all these years Nintendo, but for the love of God don't stop!





    Upcoming games in 2011 I want to get my hands on....
    -Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
    -Metal Gear Solid Rising
    -New Silent Hill
    -Marvel VS Capcom 3
     
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  9. MattAY

    MattAY Forum Moderator
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    I need to play Mass Effect dude. After my Christmas royalties I'm on it like a man grabbing a bag o' sand.
     
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  10. LinksOcarina

    LinksOcarina Rookie

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    Its funny, cause God of War 3 is still not a game I played, along with Super Mario Galaxy 2. Hence, they are not on this list.

    And not a bad list either Wicked, although XIII and Scott Pilgrim I would have personally kept off it. Good job still!
     
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  11. Kuulei_N

    Kuulei_N Rookie

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    I definitely agree with your choice for number 1. I remember when I was hesitant to try Mass Effect considering I'm not much of a sci-fi fan, but once I did, I was hooked. Can't wait for ME3! And God of War 3 is one badass game.
     
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  12. TheDiesel

    TheDiesel Rookie

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    Happy to see Enslaved getting some much deserved love.

    Definitely wanted to keep it when renting, but alas, couldn't. :(
     
    #12
  13. truncheon5000

    truncheon5000 Rookie

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    Sounds like you need to play some games over the holidays Links :)
     
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