Shea’s Top 10 Games of 2010

*NOTE: Keep in mind that I don’t play/review games for a living, so there’s no possible way for me to play everything that comes out. As with all of my forthcoming lists, I will only be including games that I played, and only games that I played on the proper console in the proper time period. ENJOY!

GAMES I PLAYED:
-Alan Wake
-Amnesia: The Dark Descent
-Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
-Battlefield: Bad Company 2
-Bioshock 2
-Call of Duty: Black Ops
-Crackdown 2
-Darksiders
-Dead Nation
-Dead Rising 2
-Dead Space Ignition
-DeathSpank
-Echochrome II
-Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
-Epic Mickey
-Fable III
-Fallout: New Vegas
-Final Fantasy XIII
-God of War III
-Halo: Reach
-Just Cause 2
-Kirby’s Epic Yard
-Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
-LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
-Limbo
-Lost Planet 2
-MAG
-Mass Effect 2
-Medal of Honor
-Metro 2033
-Metroid: Other M
-Naughty Bear
-Nier
-Plants vs Zombies
-Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver
-Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands
-Red Steel 2
-Rock Band 3
-Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game
-Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
-Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
-Super Mario Galaxy 2
-Vanquish
-VVVVVV
-White Knight Chronicles

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
-Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands
-Battlefield: Bad Company 2
-Deathspank

10. DEAD NATION
1-Dead-Nation

After the months of the infamous Playstation Network outage, Dead Nation was one of the free games I decided to pick up, and I’m glad I did. I’ve never been a huge fan of the over the top, dual analog shooter, but everything in Dead Nation felt extremely polished. And this was before zombies were in every video game ever, so mowing down hordes of different types of walkers still felt fresh, not to mention that you were doing it with constantly upgrading weapons and gear.

+ solid aim mechanics
– uninspired story

9. HALO: REACH
1-Halo-Reach

I’ve never been all that big on the Halo franchise. I came into it late, so Halo 1-3 all just felt very repetitive and bland, and by the time I got into the multiplayer, everyone I was playing against was a complete pro so all I managed to do was single handedly make my team lose over and over. While Reach didn’t fix the multiplayer problem for me, the story was actually something that I could get invested in. A lot of Halo fans didn’t like not playing as Master Chief, but that’s precisely the reason that this is my favorite Halo game to date. Instead of playing a generic badass with no face, you played a character that you (kind of) designed. It helped the epic ending feel even more personal. And the solid shooting mechanics of the series didn’t hurt, either.

+ engrossing story
– shooting mechanics don’t do anything different that its predecessors

8. LIMBO
1-Limbo

More often than not, the most lasting video game experiences are the ones where you see something completely new, whether it be a visual style, a different way of story-telling, or a new game mechanic. Limbo managed to put all three of those into one beautiful, haunting game. It mixed puzzle solving with trial and error gameplay in a mostly satisfying way, though dying over and over at some of the more challenging parts marred the experience a little bit. But the real reason this game makes the list is for it’s simplicity, both in visual style and story-telling.

+ beautiful visual style
– deaths upon deaths upon deaths

7. BIOSHOCK 2
1 Bioshock-2

If you’ve seen some of my other blog posts, you’ll know that the original Bioshock is among my favorite games of all time, so when I heard that they were making a sequel, my expectations were understandably high, even knowing that it was a different developer making the game. I ended up being greatly disappointed in Bioshock 2. So why did it make this list? Because hindsight is logical, not emotional, and even though Bioshock 2 failed to reach the insane heights of the first game, it’s still a great game on its own merits. Being able to play as a Big Daddy was a ton of fun, the Big Sisters were interesting and challenging enemies, and a lot of the story elements added a great deal to the lore of Rapture. The addition of multiplayer was an interesting choice, and while it lacked the depth necessary to make it a lasting option, I still managed to sink several hours of fun into it. A worthy addition to the series.

+ dual wielding weapons/plasmids
– story just can’t hold up to the original

6. FINAL FANTASY XIII
1-Final-Fantasy-XIII

Final Fantasy XIII gets a lot of hate, and there are definitely legitimate critiques of the game out there. But I played through this game on three separate occasions, and sunk countless hours into grinding towards that elusive platinum trophy (sadly I eventually gave up), so it must have done something right. First off, like most Final Fantasy games, it had several very memorable characters, like Lightning and Sazh, which more than outweighed annoying characters like Hope. It was definitely more linear than other games in the series, and the story could be very convoluted at times, but the combat was immensely gratifying once you learned the ins and outs. But the biggest complaint was that it took around 20 hours before the game really opened up to let you explore larger areas and experiment with the paradigm system. I don’t really have anything to rebut that complaint because it’s spot on. It took way too long before you had full control over your party and combat. But if you were patient enough to wait it out, there was a surprisingly deep and varied (not to mention really fun) combat system behind those opening hours.

+ paradigm combat system
– very slow start


5. KIRBY’S EPIC YARN
1-Kirby's-Epic-Yarn

There are no two ways about it, this game was adorable. Not only is Kirby one of the cutest characters in gaming, but having everything made out of bright and colorful string really gave this game a unique look that totally fit the gameplay. Now, I played a lot of Kirby on the original Gameboy, and that game was pretty darn tough for a little kid like I was. I’m older now and much better at games, but Epic Yarn is super easy regardless of your ability level. Heck, my girlfriend at the time (now my fiance), managed to play through most of it, and the only other video game I’ve ever seen her play is Minecraft, and she’s terrible at it. But that doesn’t have to detract from the fun of the game, because most of the enjoyment to be had is from the visuals and the beautifully crafted levels. Pretty much every level gave you a different power, and it really helped to keep the simple platforming and combat fresh. I just wish I could have played it with something other than a Wii remote.

+ cuteness overload
– would have benefited from a little more challenge

4. GOD OF WAR III
1-God-of-War-III

On the other end of the spectrum, the God of War series took violence and combo button mashing combat to the next level, and God of War III is perhaps the best in the series. For a game focused on over the top violence, you’d be surprised by it’s graphical fidelity; God of War III was one of the prettiest games on PS3 at the time of it’s launch, and the graphics still hold up fairly well. I’ve always been more into button mashing than memorizing combos, and God of War III really fit either playstyle. It was just plain dumb fun to beat the living hell out of a skeleton soldier with giant lion head gloves, and God of War III had plenty of that. Kratos isn’t exactly a character with any great depth, but if you went in expecting a Stallone-type where all he does is growl and murder, you wouldn’t come away disappointed.

+ over the top gory fun
– Kratos is a boring character

3. FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS
1-Fallout-New-Vegas

Just like with Bioshock 1 and 2, New Vegas was a game with immensely high expectations pre-release, despite having been handed off to a developer other than Bethesda. And just like with Bioshock 2, I remember feeling pretty underwhelmed after putting 30 some hours into it. But after going back to it about a year ago, I found a new appreciation for the game. It took itself a lot less seriously that Fallout 3, which totally fit the Vegas setting, and while the world didn’t seem to have the same scope as its predecessor, the combat felt a lot more refined. And it’s found new life on PC thanks to hundreds of fantastic mods that update graphics and add new weapons, characters, and quests. The DLC wasn’t half bad, either.

+ New Vegas strip is a great setting
– the rest of the world feels a little underdeveloped

2. SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2
1-Super-Mario-Galaxy-2

Oh man was Super Mario Galaxy 2 a great game. Another case where the sequel didn’t quite hold up to the original in my opinion, but definitely worth the number two spot on this list. The creativity of the worlds, the beautiful, shiny designs, the addition of Yoshi, everything was firing on all cylinders with this one. Honestly, I think the main reason that I didn’t get as much out of this game as I wanted to was because I sunk so many hours into the original, managing to get all 242 stars (yes I am a badass). I can’t claim the same feat for Galaxy 2, but after playing through all of the main levels, finishing most of the challenge stars, and trying most of the hidden, super difficult worlds, I came away from Galaxy 2 completely satisfied and with my Mario nostalgia itch sufficiently scratched.

+ great use of the Wii remote
– with the exception of the Yoshi worlds, it feels too similar to the first game

1. MASS EFFECT 2
1-Mass-Effect-2

No big surprise here, Mass Effect 2 is the best game I played back in 2010. And while honestly some of the combat doesn’t hold up as well after playing Mass Effect 3, the story, decision making, voice acting, and the world of the game just can’t be matched. Mass Effect 2 lost a lot of the RPG customization of the original, but it didn’t really suffer for it. So you couldn’t change ammo types on your weapons and you couldn’t add modifiers to your armor. So what? The combat moved so much faster with the new powers and ammo, and issuing orders to squadmates was so much easier than in the first game. Choices you made had real (and sometimes fatal) consequences in the late game, and unlocking special abilities for your squad through optional loyalty missions added another layer of depth to the supporting cast. Not having the ability to dodge roll during combat wasn’t a problem at the time since I didn’t know what I was missing, but after being able to do it in Mass Effect 3, it was kind of a bummer to not have that added mobility when I went back to replay this. Also, the final boss was kind of lame. But those are small complaints compared everything else this game had to offer. Also, Miranda. DAYUM.

1-Mass-Effect-2-Miranda

+ dialogue choices have real consequence
– lost some RPG elements from the first game

Didn’t see your favorite game from 2010 on this list? Let me know how much of an idiot I am in the comments below!

Also, if you like video games (and I would assume you do if you’re here), then feel free to check out my Youtube channel where I upload gaming videos several times a week!

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