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AP's GOTY Awards/List: The Christmas Aftermath Blog

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I was going to finish this up by the time Christmas came around, but I was so enamored with other things that I just didn't find the time to do so by then. I'm kind of late to the party, but that's not stopping me. I'm sure everybody's grieving on Gamespot's picks for GOTY and whatnot--and people are making their own awards/lists to make their voices heard--so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon. Here are my personal video game awards. Enjoy!

Note: Images were taken out because Gamespot won't allow me to post a blog that's longer than 2000000 words.


Best Kinda Old/Kinda Retro Game (That Didn't Come Out In 2011)

Dark Cloud 2

Look, there are a ton of video games coming out each year. We barely have enough time to actually invest hours on every single one. So I occasionally roll out my cabinet of old, past-gen library and basically finish up whatever games I haven't yet. In this case, the best 'old' game I enjoyed the most this year was Dark Cloud 2 (Dark Chronicle in other regions). The game offered a great dungeon-crawling experience with some unique additions to the role-playing formula. In all its seemingly impenetrable layer of complexity--the weapon synthesizing, the Georama system, fishing, Spheda (basically golf), photography/invention (list goes on and on)--everything was extremely fun to do and, more importantly, meaningful to the overall experience. Dark Cloud 2 may fall short on its contrived story, but everything else about it is captivating, and definitely one of the best role-playing games I've ever played so far.

Runners-up: Final Fantasy IX, Machinarium, Final Fantasy III, Aquaria

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Best New Character

Wheatley

There was no other character this year that both played as the bumbling idiot and worthy antagonist quite like Wheatley. He more or less served as comic relief in Portal 2, but this funny personality core managed to become something bigger than himself, evident in the game's narrative. It's easy to make fun of Wheatley because he's that type of character, but his moments alone are what give Portal 2 its appropriate light-hearted tone and some pretty hilarious lines on top of that. Of course, you'd have to give credit to voice actor Stephen Merchant for producing such a memorable character this year, but it's Valve's excellent writing that deserves most of it.

Runners-up: Space Core (Portal 2), Johnson (Shadows of the Damned), Adam Jensen (Deus Ex: Human Revolution), Katherine (Catherine)

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Best Nolan North Performance

Penguin (Batman: Arkham City)

Oh man, this seriously was hard to choose. Well, not really. It was between his "SPAAAAACE!!" impression in Portal 2 and his outstanding performance as Cobblepot; I chose the latter. The best thing about both of these choices? None of them actually sound like the Nathan Drake voice, and shows how much range and talent Nolan North has. It's pretty obvious, but hey, I had to point it out.

Runners-up: Space Core/Defective Turrets (Portal 2), Nathan Drake (Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception)

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The 'Drinking Game' Game of 2011

Shadows of the Damned

Bored at parties? Can't seem to find a way to make gaming sessions with your best buddies more fun and interesting? Tired of playing the same old beer pong? Have I got just the game for you! From beginning to end, SUDA-51's latest outing, Shadows of the Damned, is littered with d*ck jokes and other sexual innuendos that it just makes for a good drinking game at a party. Every time you hear a sex joke, you drink! It's just got enough of these tidbits that won't totally kill you of alcohol poisoning. And you know what? Some of these jokes are actually pretty funny.

Runners-up: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (every SPOICE MUHREENS!), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (every explosion)

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Best Music

Bastion

It's weird that somebody would even think of picking a game that they haven't played yet for this category. And yet, here we are. Still, that won't stop people from going to Youtube and listen to Bastion's soundtrack there, and that's exactly what I did. There were some great video game music this year, but it was "Build That Wall" and the ending song, "Setting Sail, Coming Home" that captured my attention the most. Don't get me wrong; the rest of Darren Korb's instrumental work is fantastic, but these two songs are more than enough to justify the soundtrack's quality, the tone it's going for, and just another game that's slowly convincing me to get an Xbox 360.

Runners-up: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Catherine, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Props for Originality

Catherine

A block-moving puzzle game with a story? Sounds like a bad combination, right?

Actually, no. While it's not the best way to promote a healthy relationship with that special someone, Catherine manages to implement its fairly intense puzzle sequences with an entertaining narrative filled with morality choices, freakish nightmares, and sheep. And let's face it: We need more games like Catherine; games that introduce unique concepts to familiar genres and put them to good use. It's not every day we get to see publishers take a risk on original IP like this, and I'm glad Atlus has taken the plunge.

Runners-up: Bulletstorm, Driver: San Francisco

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Best Game I Haven't Played (Yet)

Dark Souls

There were a number of noteworthy titles I missed playing this year, but Dark Souls is what I'm guilt-ridden about the most. I spent only a few hours on Demon's Souls, and it was every bit as punishing as they say. Yet, I wanted to jump back in and try again…only to fail. That's fine with me. Dark Souls seems like it's every bit of the latter but much harder, and I'd have to wonder if the developers at From Software just absolutely hate the entire human race. Still, it's an immersive role-playing game I have interest in, and hopefully I'll man up and actually buy it someday.

Runners-up: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Magicka, Bastion, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, You Don't Know Jack

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Most Disappointing Game

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

As a big fan of the AC franchise, it saddens me that I have to put Revelations as the 'winner' of this dubious honor. You can read my review on it here because I've already said all there is to say on how disappointed I am with Ubisoft's latest face-and-neck stabbing extravaganza. In short, it's still a fun game but it doesn't fulfill all expectations, and the new additions to the formula are needless, feel like they're forced, and worst of all, boring. I really hope Ubisoft addresses these issues and improves with Assassin's Creed III next year, but I'm still having doubts.

Runners-up: Shadows of the Damned, Brink, Dead Island

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Other awards:

Best Story – Batman: Arkham City

Worst Game – Duke Nukem: Forever

Best Looking Game – Dark Souls, Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, El Shaddai, I can't choose!

Best Character Voiced By Someone Other Than Nolan North – Grayson Hunt (Steve Blum – Bulletstorm) and The Boss (Troy Baker – Saints Row: The Third)

Best Box Art – Dark Souls (Japanese Version)

I've got the (late) post-E3 blues

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Hello all you Gamespotters! E3 2011 is finally over, but I'm even more excited than ever for the rest of the 2011 gaming season. It was fun to see some surprises here and there, but perhaps Nintendo and Sony stole the show. The PS Vita seems like it'll be a great system, and it's awesome that the Wii U is getting the third-party support I've been sort of wishing for the company to get, despite the horrible name. But enough about that. This blog isn't going to be a boring recap of the whole event, just some thoughts on my personal highlights of the show. So I apologize if it's lengthy or that it lacks pictures. :P

Who "won" E3 in my mind
As much as I initially felt good about Microsoft's conference and felt indifferent about it afterwards, and as much as I liked Nintendo's presentation, I'd have to go with Sony on this one. The way they addressed the PSN outage was cl@ssy to say the least, and I couldn't be any happier with that. Shame Kevin Butler wasn't there though.

Despite my qualms about the whole 3D and Playstation Move inclusions in every game they were showing at the briefing, I actually think the $499 24-inch 3D TV was reasonable. That aside, they showed off some blockbuster games that I can't wait to play when they all come out. The same goes for the PS Vita, and I was thorougly impressed with their demonstration of the handheld's capabilities. I'm tempted to actually get one, because I think it's worth it. But hey, you're more than welcome to prove me wrong.

My game of the show, and others I'm looking forward to
My game of the show is definitely Bioshock Infinite. After seeing more E3 gameplay footage and demos from various sites, Irrational Games' latest title is only disappointing in the fact that we have to wait until next year to play it. Moving through the skylines is extremely thrilling, and the powers protagonist Booker DeWitt acquires puts emphasis on strategy, not just mindlessly gunning down hordes of enemies. His relationship with Elizabeth is what I'm most intrigued by, and I can't wait how that turns out. Here is a complete list of all the games I'm most looking forward to playing after E3 (in no particular order):

  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations
  • Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
  • OverStrike
  • Battlefield 3
  • Catherine
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2
  • Dance Central 2 (haha! No, seriously. Oh, and it was rather cute seeing Ms. Jane Douglas dance during the GS live show. Just a quick shout-out! Hope this doesn't sound creepy...)
  • Tomb Raider
  • Starfox 64 (3DS)
  • Asura's Wrath
  • That new Super Smash Bros. game
  • Wii U games they've yet to show (that Zelda tech demo in HD looked fantastic, by the way)


E3 2011 trailers I couldn't stop watching

With that title in mind, it's rather ironic that Bioshock Infinite is my most anticipated game right now, but I've probably watched these trailers over and over again--and more so than Infinite. I've probably seen the Assassin's Creed: Revelations CG trailer more than 20-30 times and gotten that Woodkid song stuck in my head (and despite being 52 years old, Ezio is still a beast). As much as I hate Kanye West (with a freakin' passion), his song included in the Saint's Row: The Third trailer has gotten me weirdly interested in the game. STRAP IT ON. Moving on to Insomniac's Overstrike, I'm getting the Incredibles vibe to the trailer (it's kind of like the mature version of the Pixar movie), and I'm pretty excited about the crazy weapon loadouts they've got cooked up for the game (hope they're just as insane and enjoyable as Ratchet and Clank's). Of course Uncharted 3 is to die for, and it's by far, the only game I'd actually play in 3D (despite me not being very fond of the gimmick). Last but not least, Mega64's intro to Kojima's "Transfarring" feature. Why? Just 'cause. Oh, and it's even better in the Japanese dubbed version. Enjoy.

My E3 pet peeves
I'm still pretty upset these games weren't even shown or mentioned at E3. Where's my Persona 5, Atlus!? Kingdom Hearts III, Square Enix?! Where be my Versus XIII!? Last Guardian? Rockstar's Agent? Huh!? Why couldn't you show us at least 10-second teasers!? Huh!? A screenshot, perhaps!? But noooo! But that's enough venting for now. I'd rather keep that in check than turn this decently-organized blog into an ugly rant.

Summer, and Pile of Shame
Oh, right. Summer. I've still got that Pile of Shame in mind. Oh, good news! I beat Final Fantasy IX! so add that to the list! It's slowly growing (no it's not...), and I hope to at least get through half of the games on that list. But just to update you on that progress, here's what I've completed so far:

  • Dead Space 2
  • Portal
  • Portal 2
  • Final Fantasy IX

And...I've got a long way to go. But hey, I'm still going. I've still got 2 months of summer left until I return to my college life (*sigh*). I don't have anything special planned for the summer either, since my "best friends" seem like they would rather do other things than hang out with me. Anyway, how was E3 for you guys? I thought it was pretty good. I'd like to hear your thoughts on what you liked and didn't like at the event. :)

Birthdays, E3, and My Pile of Shame

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So before this turns into a self-indulgent blog, just to let you know that it's my birthday today. And not just any birthday: it's also the day I'm finally legal enough to purchase beer and uh, you know...other stuff.

So yeah. Happy Birthday to me. Celebrate it.

Cake.

Aaannndd...glad I got that out of the way. I got nothing special planned today, just thought I'd spend it on a nice dinner with my family, then it's off for the rest of the summer. I know it doesn't seem like it, but I'm actually pretty excited.

E3 Dude, E3!

Besides gaming for the entire summer, E3's right around the corner, which is probably the best thing to look forward to this season. Finally, Nintendo's new console will be unveiled, which they say might be playable at the event. I couldn't really get myself to be interested even with the things I've read about it. Sure, HD and screens on controllers might sound appealing, but will this Wii successor actually get me motivated to use Nintendo's new console on a regular basis? I can't remember the last time I actually turned on my Wii. The last game I truly appreciated about the console was Super Mario Galaxy. And that was it. I didn't even bother playing the second one. For me, I think it boils down to how much third-party support Nintendo's going to get out of this one, if we're finally going to see more games that would appeal to the "hardcore" crowd. I guess we'll wait and see.

What about Sony's press conference? Will the Playstation Store be up before then? How is Sony going to address it? Are we going to see some self-aware Kevin Butler ads that make fun of the whole thing? And how will Sony's customers and loyal fanbase actually take it? Will they also laugh it off, or become an angry mob at the end? Also, will their NGP become something that a wider audience will be enticed to purchasing? There's a lot of question marks I have on how E3 will go down this year, and I just hope it doesn't turn out to be bad. I'd hate having to wait though. What about you?

E3's always been about big announcements for the most anticipated AAA titles out there. I'm sure some of you are stoked about Modern Warfare 3, so expect a demo of that at one of the press conferences (most likely Microsoft). I'm mostly excited for Assassin's Creed: Revelations. You know, it's hard to get behind Ubisoft with this one, especially since they're starting to go the Call of Duty route of releasing games of big franchises annually. At the same time, I can't help but feel excited about this one. Sure they're releasing yet another Assassin's Creed game, but Brotherhood last year turned out to be awesome. Plus, all the mystery the series have been building up are the things to look out for, is intriguing, and they did promise that "all will be revealed." So hey, Ubisoft, I still trust you, so you better make good on that promise.

I'm itching to see more footage of Bioshock Infinite, Rage, Asura's Wrath, Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, and a ton of other games. But that's enough E3 talk for now. We're all going to be discussing the games we're all excited about soon anyway. So uh, GET HYPE!


Oh Right, Summer.

I mentioned in my previous blog that I'll be going through a list of unfinished games of the past-era, but man it's going to be tough. Most of them are RPGs, so it's going to take a while just trying to go through them. I'll probably have to go over the games that take shorter amounts of time to finish before I take on the 100+ hour long titles. So far, here are the games I've finished since the summer started:

  • Dead Space 2 (still 1/3 of the way through Hard Core Mode)
  • Portal (part of The Orange Box for PS3)
  • Portal 2

Yup...not a very long list so far. Here is the rest of the list:

  • Final Fantasy IX (On disc 3, doing good so far)
  • Final Fantasy VIII
  • Half-Life 2 (Part of Orange Box PS3)
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (Ditto)
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (Ditto)
  • Resident Evil 4 (on the very last chapter of the game, will finish it soon)
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Machinarium
  • Aquaria
  • Samorost 2
  • Braid
  • Katamari Damacy
  • Dark Cloud 2
  • Valkyria Chronicles (finally found the disc, will play it soon)
  • Xenosaga Episode 1
  • Xenosaga Episode 2
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
  • Shadow of the Colossus
  • Fallout 3 (this'll probably take longer than the entire summer, but I thought I'd put it here anyway)

That's what I have so far. I have a feeling I won't be able to finish all these when summer's all said and done. But hey, that's not stopping me. Anyways, I've gone on far too long. Sorry for such a long blog. I could've written this better, but I just wanted to get these thoughts out of the way.

Have a great summer everyone, and here's to a stellar E3. Enjoy the song. :)

-AP

Happy Mother's Day, and Summer

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Hello. Well, it's been a while since I've blogged about anything. I'm sure you know how it is, dealing with college work, projects, exams, etc. Then there's the other side of things, trying to get some reviews and some other stuff done for the NoobFeed website. It's been a fairly busy semester for me, but I've actually managed to get things done. Guess my depression's going away now that I'm staying active, working out once in a while to improve my mood. It's working out for me so far.

Enough about that. It's Mother's Day! Did you get your moms something special today? No? Well how about at least a greeting? Call, text, whatever. Just let her know you still care, yeah?

Besides that, I've only got 1 week left of school left to tackle. I'm actually lucky, just have to finish two exams and a couple more online projects to finish. Shouldn't be too long, because after next week, I've got the entire 3 month long summer all to myself. I'm excited!

Oh, I wish.

Also, my birthday's coming up this month, so I'm planning to purchase Portal 2, as well as that 70's sty1e poster Valve's been teasing lately. Looks so good, yeah? Also, whatever leftover money I've got left, I plan to spend it on Catherine. Got lots of time to get it anyway, especially getting the soundtrack disc and art book pre-order before July comes around. I'm interested in trying out a few games that are coming out as well, like Alice: Madness Returns, L.A. Noire, Brink, and Duke Nukem Forever. I've also got this huge pile of shame I aim to get done as well. I might try getting the platinum for Dead Space 2. Hard Core's pretty rough though, so I don't know.

Latest news, well...PSN's still down; they said it'll be back up this week, but it's still not up! Pretty excited about that. Also, AC: Revelations.

That's about what I've got going on for now. I'm kind of taking it one step at a time and really hoping everything goes as planned (because they almost never do!). Anyway, this blog's all over the place and I'm just putting whatever comes to mind, so I'm done writing. Hope you guys and gals are doing alright and have a great summer. Cheers and enjoy the song :)

It's that time of the year.

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You know, where man and woman get together,

and do some lovey-dovey time...um, together.

While cynical, cold-hearted, broken, alone men like me

spend this time...alone...*sniff*

Joking aside, ya'll know what day it is. Spend it well. Or not.

Top 100 Reviewer

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Top 100 Community Reviewers Icon

Top 100 Community Reviewers

Power and influence. Those who rank amongst this hallowed 100 greatly benefit those searching for critical information about games. These individuals' thoughtful, analytical reviews tend to be much more detailed and sophisticated than most of the so-called professional game reviews you could find elsewhere. Sure enough, the top 100 tend to be prolific writers and avid game players.

Bow down, motherf--no jk, just happy that I got the update from community manager Jody Robinson herself during CES live. Well, there you go. :)

In other news, I start school again in a couple weeks. So that makes me really, really happy...yay...

Happy New Years, yo.

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What up! I'm sure most of you are making your New Years blogs right about now, so might as well join in on the fun. We've come to the very last day of 2010 and I'm both sad and glad to let it go and move on to what seems to be another great year in gaming (yet another one, who would've thunk :P). Here's so far, the list of my most anticipated games of 2011:

Dead Space 2
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Catherine
Duke Nukem Forever (that's right! Don't hate!)
New Assassin's Creed title
Batman: Arkham City
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Homefront
Brink
Portal 2
Rage
L.A. Noire
Mortal Kombat
The Last Guardian
Mass Effect 2 (and 3)
Persona 5 (Come on, Atlus!)

I haven't thought of my New Year's resolutions yet, cause I'm lazy. It's all about relaxation from here on out. I don't know what I'm gonna do today, probably listen to some podcasts or music, or watch some por--uh, movies, stuff, or whatever I feel like doing. To end this blog, just wanted to greet ya'll a Happy New Year. Hope to see you guys and gals on the other side. :)

AP's Best of 2010

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Now that I have a much easier access to many of the latest & greatest titles out there, I'm still sad to say I haven't played the unhealthy number of games as I had originally planned. But surprisingly, I managed to play through more than enough games to create a top 10 list of my own. Who knew, right? So without further ado, I present to you the top 10 games that made a lasting impression on me this year.

Enslaved

10. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

What Enslaved lacks in gameplay and crisp visuals, it makes up for in impressive storytelling. And it is with the game's well-developed characters--add in great voice acting and dialogue (spearheaded by one Andy Serkis)--that immediately suck you in, and really drive the narrative forward. It may not be the most highly regarded game by majority vote, but it's probably one of the most special story-driven adventures I won't forget anytime soon.

*

FFXIII

9. Final Fantasy XIII

It's easy for me to declare that Square Enix should've taken each copy of the game back and just start over from scratch. But when it came down to it, Final Fantasy XIII ultimately just became a game you either loved or hated, despite what it represented. I'll admit, this game and I got off to a rough start; characters were unlikable, story initially didn't make sense, and just slaving through endless bits of tutorial made me want to scrap Final Fantasy XIII from my mind altogether. But as I delved deeper and deeper into it, everything--from the eye-popping visuals to the exciting cinematic combat--finally started to sink in, and actually found myself enjoying and appreciating everything this game had to offer. While I think Final Fantasy XIII's most crucial elements could've been so much better, there's still enjoyment to be had here, however late that said enjoyment eventually comes around.

*

New Vegas

8. Fallout: New Vegas

When I was first putting this list together, I thought long and hard on why New Vegas even deserved to be here. This game probably has some of the most frustrating technical issues I've come across this year; freeze glitches and bugs everywhere, and I encountered two save-corrupting disasters that had my blood pressure up to its limit. The first one was my own save data, and the second time involved my best friend's. So you can just imagine the hair-pulling, screaming, and wrist-cutting antics that may or may not have happened during our time with the game. Despite these grievances, I was still enamored by the gameplay improvements from its predecessor and just the way they tell the story. Almost everything you do has a significant impact in the world at large, and it's still very daunting to watch these events pan out in your favor or completely out of your control. I don't mean to be clichéd about it, but New Vegas is definitely more than the sum of its parts. If you just get past its major flaws, Fallout: New Vegas is still a great game that is worth your time.

*

Kirby

7. Kirby's Epic Yarn

Whiskey Media folks Ryan Davis and Alex Navarro pretty much summed up my feelings for Kirby's latest outing; this game is so damn charming and overwhelmingly cute, I hate the fact that I love it. The game's unique knitted aesthetic is obviously its strongest point, but the way Kirby interacts with the world just makes me feel so giddy inside. Just the numerous happy dances, lovable squeals and cute transformations he does…and then you get to decorate Kirby's cute little yarn apartment, just--OH! I'd love to tell you more about this delightful game, but I think I'll just die of massive cute overload if I go any further. Go play it; it will definitely warm your heart like it did to mine.

*

Rico

6. Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 takes a lot of the cheesiness, superficiality, and over-the-top elements from B-list action flicks; you can definitely tell it is when the game's got terrible voice acting and the large amount of stereotypes it contains. Yes it's stupid, but as far as I'm concerned, everything that's [entertainingly] bad about this game was intentional by its developers. And you know what? I'm totally okay with it. But it's not the extremely corny moments of the story that make Just Cause 2 fun, it's basically an amusing open-world action game in which to constantly blow stuff up and defy the laws of physics. There's a bit of frustration to be had with tedious exploration and the way the game checkpoints in only specific areas, but the rest the game has to offer–from the fairly wide range of weapons (grappling hook!) and vehicles at your disposal–make Just Cause 2 an explosive, worthwhile experience.

*

NFS

5. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

I'm not much of a racing fan, nor am I "good" or even "okay" at them. Sure, I spent my early gaming years playing bits of Midnight Club, Gran Turismo 3, and early Need for Speed titles, but I didn't quite understand the importance of braking/slowing down on sharp turns or the art of drifting. Then EA decided to release Hot Pursuit, and--with the help of a couple of friends--I think I'm finally starting to be better at it. The Autolog feature is a new and very fun system for racing with your friends, but it is with the rest of the content where the game shines. I was eager to try out every single mode and still felt in control of most of the action. Every race was intense, and rarely got to the point of frustration. Whatever side of the law you prefer to race with, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is arguably the best racing game of 2010, and it shows. Coming from someone who's not into the genre, that's saying something.

*

Kratos

4. God of War III

I love blood. I love brutality. And no other game this year showed near-unlimited slaughter and savagery more than God of War III. Kratos's imhumanity sure knows no bounds; from the head decapitating of Helios moment to the gut-wrenching blinding of Poseidon, everything Kratos did to the Gods of Olympus made me cringe and constantly exclaim, "OH MY GOD!" and I kept wondering why I couldn't stop playing it. Though it still plays like previous God of War titles (surprise, surprise), God of War III proves that mowing down hordes of enemies and brutally mutilating them to bits is still highly gratifying. It also features some of the biggest boss fights I've clashed with (second only to another game on this list), massive levels that are fun to explore, and is probably one of the most technically appealing games to date, especially on the Playstation 3. Santa Monica Studios has really put a considerable amount of work in the most distorted version of Greek mythology, and it's a world I'd be glad to jump in again.

*

ACBrotherhood

3. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

I wasn't initially interested in the idea of expanding Assassin's Creed II's storyline for fear of turning that particular world into a contrived experience. But seeing everything in action erased all the lingering doubts I had for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. The game's paranoia-inducing multiplayer especially exceeded my expectations; hunting down others were all incredibly satisfying and escaping the clutches of your would-be assassins were intense as they were exciting. Also, the additions of new kill moves and having the power to command your own Assassin army had me playing the game for hours on end. Ubisoft has really crafted a compelling world that gave me one of the most immersive gaming experiences I've had in years. While I am excited to dive in a new time period and relive another one of Desmond's face-and-neck-stabbing ancestors, I will truly miss the times I spent with Ezio, Mario, and the entirety of Renaissance Italy.

*

RDR

2. Red Dead Redemption

Let's face it; Western games haven't exactly made an impact in gaming history actually worth talking about (we can call it history, right?). Sure, there have been some pretty noteworthy titles like Call of Juarez and GUN, but I've always felt Western games needed some kind of revolution to put them further on the map. And boy, did they ever get it. Rockstar has made something special with Red Dead Redemption. They didn't just home in the look and feel of the Old West; they made old guns, Mexican standoffs, and horse-riding--well…cool. Top that with a heavy, brilliantly written story and one captivating and badass protagonist, this game had me thinking about the entire experience long after I put the controller down. Whether I'm gunning down fools in the face or messin' around with zombies, Red Dead Redemption is a game I'll appreciate for years to come.

*

Bayonetta

1. Bayonetta

Bayonetta is one of those titles that remind us a game doesn't need to take itself too seriously to make a lasting impression. It's all about having fun, and not being afraid to try something completely outrageous that somehow makes it, frankly, ten times better than the games it descends from. From beginning to end, Bayonetta takes you on a roller coaster ride chock-full of cinematic, Japanese over-the-top craziness, surprisingly enjoyable combat, memorable characters, extremely satisfying boss fights, and of course, hair. On top of some great homages to Sega arcade cl@ssics like Space Harrier and Outrun, it also has a beautiful visual design and a kickass soundtrack that is an absolute treat to listen to. To sum it all up, this game is purely insane, chaotic, and 100% awesome. Sure, I enjoyed the other nine titles that are on this list, but the experience I had playing Bayonetta is genuinely unmatched and truly one of a kind. These are the reasons why Bayonetta is, hands down, THE best game of 2010.

*

So that's that! My top 10 games of 2010. Thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas to all.