Even though 2010 is well behind us now, I've finally gotten around to doing my list for my favorite games of the year. I'll list the games here, from #10 to #1, with #1 being my favorite (thus also my "Game of the Year"). Along with each game, I'll list the applicable platforms and the date it was released (obviously all games were released in 2010). So here are "My Top 10 For 2010". So clever.
10. Rock Band 3 - PS3, Xbox 360, Wii - October 26
The game that perfects the music genre. This game has all of the good stuff of the previous ones without any of the bad. It also adds new features like keyboard and three-part vocal harmonies. It has a good track list and the ability to import most of the songs from Rock Band 1 and 2, along with all DLC. This is really a well made game, but it's ashame it didn't sell well. I think that's more the fault of people getting tired of music games and already owning earlier Rock Band/Guitar Hero games, because it's certainly not the fault of the quality of this game.
9. Madden NFL 11 - PS3, Xbox 360 - August 10
Easily the best Madden since '06 (when they switched to the next-gen consoles). The addition of GameFlow was genius, and the gameplay and physics keep improving every year. Throw in some great online features like Online Franchise and Co-op mode, and the single player "Madden Moments" and regular franchise, and you've got yourself one of the most solid Madden titles ever.
8. Call of Duty: Black Ops - PC, PS3, Xbox 360 - November 9
While not a huge departure from the series, this is another game that takes what's great about the previous games, gets rid of the bad stuff, and adds a few new things to keep it fresh. The multiplayer is the best of any CoD game, with a bunch of new modes, a cool new money system, and a ton of customization options. The single player campaign, while expectedly short, was one of the best of the series, second only to maybe CoD 4. And dont forget my favorite part: Nazi Zombies. Or, I guess just "Zombies" now since we're not in WWII anymore. Whatever.
7. Fallout: New Vegas - PC, PS3, Xbox 360 - October 19
It took me a while to warm-up to this game, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it. This is essentially Fallout 3.5; the same game engine with a few new things and a whole new setting and characters. I still prefer the actual game world of Fallout 3 to this, but New Vegas definitely has better characters (Felicia Day!) and a better main quest (side quests are arguable). Also all the new things they added, like iron sights and hardcore mode, were a nice touch. I'm definitely looking forward to DLC for this game in the coming months.
6. Dong Kong Country Returns - Wii - November 21
I loved the original Donkey Kong Country for Super Nintendo back in the day, so I'm sure nostalgia has something to do with this pick, but there's no arguing that this is a very good game (check Metacritic if you don't believe me). The art and level design are awesome, along with the music, and the game is just a lot of fun to play. There's even co-op and a few new features added.
5. Limbo - XBLA - July 21
This game is only available on Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), but it is definitely worth playing if you have an Xbox as this is easily one of the best downloadable games I've ever played. It's a 2D platformer with some cool mechanics, and every aspect of the game's design in great. You really have to play this game for yourself to understand why it's so great, it's one of those that's hard to describe to someone who's never seen it. It's a pretty short game (about 4-5 hours long), but it only costs $15. I would definitely recommend this if you have an Xbox.
4. God of War III - PS3 - March 16
The incredible end to the God of War Trilogy that does not disappoint. The graphics are amazing and the action and combat are intense. This game probably has the most epic boss battles of any game ever. Every level is a brand new adventure in dominating everything around you, and I mean that in the best possible way.
3. Red Dead Redemption - PS3, Xbox 360 - May 18
Basically Grand Theft Auto (GTA) meets the old west, but that doesn't truly do it justice. Try as I might, I've never really liked any of the GTA games (they're just not my thing), but I loved Red Dead Redemption. The single player is more than just an open world were you blow stuff up, run people over, and occasionally do a mission. It's a beautifully realized recreation of Southern Texas and Northern Mexico in the early 1900's, and the characters and story are all great to complement the awesome game world. There's a lot of variety in the single player so that even though the campaign is long, very rarely do you get bored. There's also a multiplayer component, which lets you play competitively or cooperatively with your friends. I never really got into the old west and cowboys and stuff like that, but this game actually made me start to appreciate the genre a lot more (although I still need to see The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). Also, the "Undead Nightmare" DLC that came out for this, though not technically part of the original game, was very well received by both critics and fans.
2. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - PC - July 27
The best RTS (real time strategy) game I've ever played. Everyone knows the Starcraft series has great online multiplayer, and this game doesn't disappoint on that front. But it also has a great story and single player campaign, and every mission (I think there were around 25) was interesting and contributed to the plot in its own way. It never felt repetitive. That's really what makes this game stand out above the rest for me. SC2 is also probably the most addictive game on this list: I can play online for hours and hours, always having that mentality "just one more match!".
1. Mass Effect 2 - PC, PS3, Xbox 360 - January 26 (PC & Xbox)
As soon as I beat this game (which was almost exactly a year ago from now), I knew it was going to be my favorite game of the year. And it's not because I had already made up my mind, or because I'm some kind of Mass Effect fanboy. I just realized that I loved this game so much that the chances of me liking any other game that came out last year as much as this one were incredibly slim. Mass Effect 2 just has it all. Obviously it's still considered mainly an RPG, so its strengths lie in its story, characters, and the relationships between those characters. It delivers on all those fronts. What really put ME2 over the edge for me was how much they improved the gameplay from the first one. You could really also say that this is a third person shooter - the combat and shooting mechanics are tight, and the biotic powers and special abilities work very well. Bioware added in a lot of other improvements too, like the new inventory system. So the gameplay was fantastic, but it still was the story that was the strength of this game. I mean, depending on your choices during your playthrough, you and any/all of your crew can die by the end of the game. That's pretty insane. All of this, and even some other stuff I haven't mentioned, is why Mass Effect 2 gets my Game of the Year Award for 2010.
Because I wanted to keep the list at ten, there were two games that got cut and left off, so I figured I'd give them a quick honorable mention here. They were Halo: Reach (#11) and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (#12). Both were very good games that I enjoyed both the single and multiplayer of, but unfortunately they just missed the cut.
So there's my top 10 list for 2010, and my 2010 Game of the Year. Thanks for reading through, and as always comments are welcome!