I hope all of you had a great Christmas with your family and friends! I know I did. Typically I haven't been the kind to go out of my way to get gifts for anybody other than my immediate family. But that was then! There's no real better feeling than getting something for a friend and seeing the shock --- from happiness and guilt of not getting you a gift --- on their face. I'm in the camp that enjoys giving more than receiving. That being said, I did end up getting some pretty good swag this year, of course! A purple toque to replace the dark blue one I always wear, a bottle of cologne, two Charles Dickens novels, Fable III, lots of cash, and my personal favourite: a huge bar of white chocolate.
So Christmas may be over as it's the night of the 27th, but that doesn't mean the good times have to end. Well, for several of you working folk, it probably does. But for me, a lower-middle class white unemployed prep school student, I still have a week off. What to do with my life??! How about, play my ten favourite games of the year? Yes, it's that time of year: the end of the year.
2010 was a pretty good year for games as far as quality is concerned. Unfortunately for me, I've had a lot of ridiculousness fill my life this year so I haven't really had as much time or interest in games. But the holiday break has given me the opportunity to get back into the gaming mood. It wasn't difficult to pick ten games, but picking the order proved to be a bit of a task. Which of my three nominees takes top spot for me this year? Final Fantasy XIII, God of War III, or Red Dead Redemption? The suspense MUST be killing you. Either that or you've stopped reading entirely.
10 - Blur (Developed by Bizarre Creations)
Well, what makes Blur so awesome? It's a brilliant concept. Real cars and real locations. Everything else tosses realism out the window in the name of intensity. Although I found the single player to be a little too dry and easy for my tastes, the multiplayer is phenomenal. So addictive, so crazy. Not to mention that I'm a beast and can finish first in just about any event you put me in. 19 other racers on the road, in my rear view mirror. If only there were more people playing online. Blur's good enough for more than 300 people worldwide playing online at once. Hell, it's the only racing game on this list. Give Blur a chance. It might just shock(wave) you.
9 - Fable III (Developed by Lionhead)
Whether or not Fable 3 falls into the RPG category is irrelevant. That bigot Peter Molyneux ran his mout--- Not this time. For what it is, Fable 3 is an incredibly fun and easygoing adventure with so much to do (and this time, it's not bogged down by menus and other boggy...ness). It's everything Fable 2 should have been, and then some.
8 - Splinter Cell: Conviction (Developed by Ubisoft Montreal)
I believe Splinter Cell: Conviction is a top 10 game because you can mark and execute. And it just looks so great while doing so. Instead of being overly critical or tedious of how stealth is done, Ubisoft Montreal introduced a new kind of stealth action. "Action" is the key word. Cool weapons and gadgets that just make you feel so badass, makes clearing a room of tangoes all the more satisfying. Although the story is difficult to follow and the game is a little bit too short, there's more than enough meat on the Conviction bone thanks to some good replay value, not to mention the best co-operative game of the year. Archer and Kestrel are my boys.
7 - Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (Developed by, yet again, Ubisoft Montreal)
Welcome to the Brotherhood. No, it's not Assassin's Creed III. If it were, it'd probably be a lot lower on the list than number 7. However, it's still an excellent addition to the Assassin's Creed series. The jump in quality isn't as astounding from AC2 as I would have hoped. The game isn't as polished as I've come to expect from this series. But, it's still the greatest feeling to climb to the highest point of Rome, or taking out waves of unsuspecting archers. And the multiplayer is surprisingly... awesome. I think I've found my new online game! Not kidding. It's that addictive online.
6 - Mass Effect 2 (Developed by BioWare)
I'd be an idiot not to put Mass Effect 2 somewhere on this list. I'll be the first to admit that I thought we had Game of the Year the MOMENT I put my eyes on this game. And for several months, I believed Mass Effect 2 would be number 1 on this list at the end of the year. But times change. Needless DLC got force-fed our way and it felt like unless I bought this stuff, that I was playing a lesser version of Mass Effect 2. So instead of conforming, I fell out of love.
At least for awhile. When I look back at the year that was, Mass Effect 2 is a game that stays in the back of my mind. Yes, I remember spending 22 hours to finish this game during exam week in January. I remember romancing Tali for some very messed up reasons. I remember how good Mass Effect 2 is, and I can't wait for part 3 next year. While Mass Effect 2 might not be my favourite game this year, it's a no-brainer to have on this list.
5 - Halo: Reach (Developed by Bungie)
This game is the reason that I renewed my Xbox Live Gold membership. Was it worth it? It's number 5 on this list, so yes it was. I still spend a lot of time playing with a friend or two in Multi-Team, or in Firefight, or in Co-op. It's the perfection of the gameplay in this series that most of us have come to enjoy immensely. On top of that, the single player campaign was about a trillion times better than I thought it'd be. Cheers.
4 - Fallout: New Vegas (Developed by Obsidian)
When I first started playing Fallout: New Vegas, I didn't quite know what to expect. One thing I didn't see coming was how impossible it'd be for me to put the controller down. Not even Fallout 3 had that effect on me. I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps it's the bigger sense of isolation, the raised difficulty of the combat, or the change of setting, but what I do know is that Fallout NV is definitely something special. I just wish it weren't so buggy.
3 - Final Fantasy XIII (Developed by Square Enix)
Here we are, 3rd place! Consolation prize? Sure, why not.
Why is Final Fantasy XIII not my Game of the Year? Well, I liked God of War 3 and Red Dead Redemption better.
But, it's 3rd. That's nothing to be upset about, Square. You've crafted a game every bit as good to me as Final Fantasy X was back in 2001. That in itself is a remarkable achievement. I love the characters. I love the combat system. I love the way the game looks. I love the LINEARITY! There aren't many things that I didn't love to death about this game.
I've also figured it's impossible to sway somebody's opinion about it. So, you might not like it, but you don't have to. Fact of the matter is that it's one of my favourite games of 2010. It's certainly the best role playing game.
Take that, you Westerners. Why don't you just marry Bethesda and get it over with?
2 - Red Dead Redemption (Developed by Rockstar San Diego)
Here we are, 2nd place! Consolation prize? Sure, why not.
Why is Red Dead Redemption not my Game of the Year? Well, I liked God of War 3 better.
But, it's 2nd. That's nothing to be upset about, Rockstar.
This game is boss. It's not just Grand Theft Auto in the Wild West. Red Dead Redemption is its own beast. It's definitely the most mature game of the year, and not because of excessive gore or nudity. It's just a sophisticated adventure with a phenomenal cast of characters and overall story-arch. A massive world to explore, tons to do, solid mechanics... THIS is how to do an open world game, people!!! While I felt the multiplayer was initially a wash, the awesome single player was more than enough to make up for it.
Zombies. F*CK YES!
1 - God of War III (Developed by SCE Santa Monica)
God of War 3 is my favourite game this year. As much as I wanted to give it to Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, or Red Dead Redemption (trust me, there were times where I'd be positive it'd be one of those three games), my conscience kept telling me to crown God of War 3. And when I think about it deeply, it's the obvious choice as the greatest game of 2010.
It's the end to one of the Playstation brand's defining trilogies. It's the best action adventure game this generation. It's visually impeccable. It's near-flawlessly designed. It's a thrill ride from start to finish.
I tell you, the first 45 minutes of God of War 3 set the bar rather high. There's no real way to explain what's so incredible about fighting the Greek god Poseidon and his water horse while on the back of the Titan Gaia while climbing Mount Olympus. I believe that explains it. And to think that the following seven hours just continually ramps up until a pretty shocking conclusion is god-of-war-send. But that's exactly what God of War III does.
Play and finish God of War 3. It's not a long game, clocking in at about seven to ten hours. But it is something you need to experience. If you don't find violent videogames to be awesome, I think this game can change your mind. It'll put a sadistic and twisted smile on your face, you sick bastard.
Game of the year.