Top 10 Favourite Games Of 2010 (Director’s Cut)

Published on Dec 22nd, 2010 by

Yes, I’ve used the same banner as the last post for consistency, and absolutely not laziness. Anyway, over on The Telegraph we compiled a list of what we consider to be the ten BEST games of 2010, and underneath them is our personal staff picks, namely our ten favourite games from 2010, which doesn’t automatically equal ‘the ten best games’. Ten. Originally the staff picks had text, and honourable mentions, and a colourful slideshow gallery of Tom Hoggins at a petting zoo, but these were scrapped after our lists surfaced on Wikileaks. Luckily I was able to salvage mine from the depths of the OpenOffice document in which I carefully saved it, and am reproducing it below, not because it’s interesting but because it makes it look like I’ve updated my blog today, when really I’ve just written a paragraph then copy/pasted something I already wrote. Okay, it could be argued that I spent the time writing it in the first place, and it isn’t published elsewhere, but let’s not be reasonable about this, it’s Christmas after all.

10 Games I Really Liked This Year (and 5 I also really liked but not quite as much as the ones I liked more)

1) Demon’s Souls

I loved everything about this game. Everything. I’m still not finished with it. I’m halfway through the second playthrough with my main character, and have various other playthroughs on the go. There’s loads more I still want to do. The atmosphere, the tension, the danger every single thing poses, it keeps drawing me back. It’s a bleak, oppressive game that somehow manages to be some of the most fun I’ve had in years. And the Tower Knight still freaks me out every time.

2) Super Mario Galaxy 2

If Mark Zuckerberg and Mario had a fight, it’s scientifically proven that Mario might win. The plumber’s second galactic adventure was a joy from start to finish. A comfortable, casual difficulty curve that gradually builds into that ‘one more go’ Mario frustration, and a plethora of extra green stars which, for me, really made the game. Nailing the very, very last star on Grandmaster Galaxy is possibly my favourite gaming accomplishment.

3) Mass Effect 2

I spend a ridiculous number of hours doing almost nothing in games like this. Just checking out the shops, chatting to NPCs in case they have something new to say, exploring every nook and cranny. Mining every planet I can, rinsing every sidequest, listening to my crew mates chat about their problems. In the original game it took me 15 hours before I left the Citadel. Mass Effect 2 offered that same kind of obsessive exploration all over the place, with Shepard’s second adventure gripping me in a way that most games don’t manage.

4) Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

I am a self-confessed ‘rubbish at racing games’ type. It’s a massive surprise to me that Hot Pursuit ended up being one of my favourite games of the year. I like the single player, it’s great, and I love the Autolog, the way all your friends’ scores are integrated into the experience. But it’s the multiplayer that’s really grabbed me. Hurtling down a mountain road in a cop car as racers drop spikes and fire jammers, or evading the police down lanes and shortcuts, it’s constantly exciting and compulsive.

5) Lara Croft & The Guardian of Light

I was sceptical of this. A kind of isometric downloadable co-op title that didn’t even use the Tomb Raider name? It turned out to be all kinds of amazing. I put around 30 hours into this game, and I still haven’t done all the DLC. The single player is fantastic, the co-op even better, and the leaderboards became something of an obsession. It captured the Tomb Raider feel as well as any Tomb Raider title, but this time the combat was crazy good fun as well. Superb.

6) Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Unquestionably the scariest game I’ve played. This is no mean feat; I play as many horror titles as I can get my hands on. Hiding in a kitchen, facing the wall behind a table as a monster lumbered into view, risking a peek every now and then, it’s an experience you couldn’t get outside of video games. The tone was nailed to perfection, and the game also has the added bonus of being one of the very few things to utilise the ‘amnesia’ plot device without making it really annoying. Highly recommended.

7) Darksiders

More than just a post-apocalyptic Zelda clone, Darksiders’ world was filled to the brim with comic book-style goodness. The tale of War, struggling to clear his name in a ruined world, hooked me from the start and Darksiders is proof that you don’t always have to innovate to provide a fantastic gaming experience. It satisfied my collect-em-up urges, coupled with some solid, rewarding combat, and ended with one of the best cliffhangers of all time.

8) Majin & The Forsaken Kingdom

Another explore-em-up here, Majin came along at the end of the year and hooked me with its delightful partnership dynamic, lack of hand-holding and some really inventive, multi-solution puzzles. Majin is one of those games I’d describe as feeling ‘magical’, a sense of nostalgic melancholy combined with wonder and discovery. Tepeu and Teotl’s adventure was one I’m extremely glad to have experienced.

9) Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

I’ve always enjoyed the Assassin’s Creed series, and Brotherhood offered everything I’ve enjoyed in the past, and a little more besides. Originally unsure as to whether the game would feel like a rushed cash-in, my concerns were soon silenced when the scope of the single player revealed itself. Being able to run your own crew of assassins is fantastic, as is the simple yet compulsive act of rebuilding Rome. However it’s the multiplayer which really warrants its inclusion here; an amazing, tense experience that’s far better than I ever expected, playing this with mates has to rank as one of my favourite MP experiences ever. Constantly rewarding, always mixing it up, Brotherhood’s multiplayer shines as one of 2010′s online highlights, even despite occasionally frustrating matchmaking issues. [Amendment: since writing this, there's been a title update, and I've had no problems with the matchmaking. Not sure if it was fixed, or more people are playing, or what, but it seems to be working nicely for the time being.]

10) Nier

Ah, the black sheep. Nier was far from the 10th ‘best’ game of 2010 in some respects, but very few games have grabbed me and refused to let go to the extent Nier did. I obtained all 4 endings, each of which adds an incredible amount to the plot, and for all its annoyances (that infamous fishing spot, for instance – yes, I was caught by that too) no other game throws quite so many different things at you. A bullet hell shooter, a text adventure, an RPG, an isometric dungeon crawler, and that’s just the start of it. The cast were beautifully realised; ‘Nier’, Weiss, Kainé and Emil will remain with me for years, and while it demands perhaps too much from most players in terms of patience, for me personally it was one of my favourite games of the year. If this list was for ‘most memorable’, Nier would be in first place. It also has the best music.

Honourable Mentions:

Mafia II

Ridiculously poor checkpointing was Mafia II’s biggest flaw, but this nuanced, subtle tale of crime drama remains, in my eyes, a largely underrated gem.

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is easily one of the best downloadable games released this year, and satiates the desire for an extremely challenging, retro themed platformer. Frequently punishing but rarely unfair, Super Meat Boy

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

While I understand the problems people had with it, the plot and characters affected me in a very powerful way, and I have a special place in my heart for this game.

Women’s Murder Club: Little Black Lies

Oh no! A casual hidden object game! But if you’re into them, this is a superb choice, mixing hidden object gameplay with some really quite intelligent puzzles, and nailing the difficulty curve perfectly. A fantastic example of a genre that most gamers tend not to be interested in.

Eversion

On the surface it doesn’t look like Eversion does much of note. But it’s a game that’s stuck in my mind ever since playing it, and to explain why ruins it slightly. It’s a fantastic, subversive game that won’t last you very long but will stay with you for ages.

Latest Comments (1)

Molly

Good read! I really do have to get around to buying Amnesia.
Also, didn’t realize I was even on your blogroll. Thanks for that. I need to make one of those.

December 22, 2010 10:21 pm Reply

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