Casey LyonsAlthough it may not have been the most popular game of the year, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was my undisputed pick for most fun I’ve had cramping up my thumbs in 2010. I have, admittedly, come on the FPS scene a little late. Unlike most aficionados that picked up the lust for that camera angle early, like when Golden Eye was still played on a cartridge, or with the dawn of the genre, Wolfenstein, I was more of an action adventure kind of gamer in the earlier days. In fact, I had to ease my way into the whole thing playing Vegas 2, a combo third and first person shooter. That indoctrination into the world of shooting people in the face was so influential that I have a strong aversion to any game that doesn’t employ a well developed cover system. I guess all of this is meant to illustrate how good BC2 would have to be to get me on board, since it has no cover mechanism and all. The beauty in that game can be found in the subtleties, all of the little details that really brought the world we played though to life, like being able to blow up any standing structure that you come across! Surely there has never been a gaming experience as fulfilling as watching some little bastard duck in and out of cover, only to remember that the rickety thatched shack he is in will fall like a house of cards when introduced to one of the grenade launchers that just happen to adorn all of the rifles you own. Sweet. Worst game of the year: Alpha Protocol. Even worse than a really bad game is a potentially playable idea that just falls flat on its face. The only positive spin I could put on this would be that it gave me a very authentic feeling of working in the QA department at Obsidian.
Elyas Gorogo-BakerAs I trawled through my game library and thought of all the games I’ve played this year, I had to keep checking back to see which games were actually released in 2010. Once I had my list down I pretended to hem and haw for a while, acting as though it were a hard choice for me. “Gosh, I played a lot of Super Street Fighter IV. That looks good. Ooh but what about Heavy Rain, love me some quicktime events. But Vanquish! So awesome.” But really all of that was pretty pointless, as soon as I remembered that Mass Effect 2 came out January of this year.
I think I plugged more than 100 hours into both the original and the newest Mass Effect, which I still don’t regret. Pretty much everything was improved upon the first game. The shooting mechanics were much tighter in the second one; it actually felt like a true(ish) third person shooter. I looked forward to getting out of the more passive, story driven aspects of the game to start shotgunning more robots with my Vanguard. That says a lot, for me, since I really like the Mass Effect story line and, even more than that, its characters. I would run around the ship for hours talking to everyone on my ship to see if they had anything new to say to me. From the two engineers at the bottom of the ship and their banter, to Thane and his crazy religion/assassin/family talk, and Joker’s…well. Jokes. I ate it all up. The character models and movement always kind of teeter on the edge of the Uncanny Valley for me, but they got it mostly right in this one. The graphics were, of course, stupendous. My only real complaint is that the RPG elements of the game got really downplayed in Mass Effect 2. All the upgrades you could do with your guns in the first one are turned into a joke in the second one. You could choose which weapons you wanted to take but literally every new gun you got was better in every way than your last one, so there was no reason to ever stick with the last gun. But still. Epic story, solid gameplay, beautiful graphics, and huge replay value really made this my game of the year.
As for worst game of the year, it’s hard to say. Certainly there were tons of movie spin offs and half-assed handheld/Wii games that just try and capitalize on the industry rather than try to put out any quality work, but I’m just taking it for granted that everyone thinks that games like High School Dreams: Best Friends Forever suck. I didn’t really out right hate any game, but there were certainly some that disappointed me. The highest on that list is Final Fantasy XIV. You all know what I mean. A game with little to no tutorial, a limit on the amount of quests you can take (which essentially means that you have to grind most of your experience), a crafting system that is just grinding, an absolutely terrible market system, buggy UI, and on and on. I really expected Square-Enix to have learned from their failures with Final Fantasy XI and maybe actually release a quality online game. Sigh. Well. At least they’re going to be doing a pretty major over haul of the game sometime soon, effectively making all these past months a beta test for Final Fantasy XIV. Which we paid 50 bucks for. Nice.
Kevin MayThe best game of 2010, in my opinion, is Civilization V. Of course Civ has been around a long time, and I have a particular affection for this game. One might think I would naturally love it. Not so. Case in point: I love SimCity, possibly more than any other game franchise. When SimCity Societies came out (the proverbial Sim City 5) it was possibly the greatest disappointment of my (gaming) life. So much so that, to this day, I use this story as an anecdote. That said, it would have been easy for Sid Meier and Firaxis Games to miss the mark of my expectations with Civ 5. Every aspect of the game exceeded my expectations. I loved the new layout of the controls and the map, the graphics were fantastic, the battle system more logical and more challenging, and I found the new government/social policy system and scientific advancements to be drastically different from the all the prior versions. Sid Meier and Firaxis did not just retool prior Civilization editions, but really gave it a full makeover. I call this a makeover success, and the best game of 2010.
Joshua HarrisI’m casting my vote for game of the year 2010 to Fallout: New Vegas. I hadn’t played a Fallout game since Fallout 2 and I’m really glad I was able to get back into the Fallout series. Fallout: New Vegas really does capture the overall feeling of the Fallout universe and isn’t “Oblivion with guns. Lol!!”
Worst game of 2010? RHEM 4: The Golden Fragments. This was a painful game to play. I was hoping for a great Myst-like adventure and what I got was a game with graphics from the 70s coupled with a poorly inspired story. Maybe I’m missing something that people who have been playing the whole series get, but for a new player picking up the game, a huge disappointment.
So what are your best and worst games of 2010? Post them in the comments below!
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