logan j. fowler ranks his favorite games of 2010 …
The following list isn’t a “best of 2010.” It’s more like a ranking system. So keeping that in mind, this is almost a complete list games I bought and played in 2010. However, all these games are worth trying out, so my list goes from “pretty good” to “you should really play this game.” With that said, the countdown begins at 10 and goes on to numero uno. Games listed will have what systems they were available for (Note: I only own a Wii and an XBOX 360, as well as a DS).
10. Rock Band 3 (Multi Platform)
I wrote an article a while back for this blog declaring music games on the verge of death. While I completely ignored Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, I bought Rock Band 3 because I trust in Harmonix’s (both Guitar Hero and Rock Band’s creator) music game vision. The company continues to innovate with RB 3, providing a new career with goals to master, adding fun songs, and introducing the keyboard. While I shelled out $90 for the peripheral, it adds a new layer of challenge, and provides the user with both the standard and pro way to play the game. I said what I said about music games before and I stand by it, but I realize and believe that Harmonix isn’t going down without a fight.
Rock Band 3 Summary
The Good: New ways to play, good selection of songs, career mode is revamped
The Bad: Some songs just stink, new peripherals mean more cash out of pocket
9. Goldeneye 007 (Wii)
Trying to bring back the “golden” age of multiplayer, Goldeneye 007 seeks to have the audience who played the original Nintendo 64 classic pick this up for mere nostalgic purposes. Thankfully, the game is not a cash-in. Goldeneye’s campaign mode is severely addicting and adrenaline fueled. Using the plot of the original game/movie loosely, this updated version utilizes the recent Bond actor Daniel Craig and Bond’s more brutal tactics to take out all he is “licensed to kill.” As fun as the campaign is though, the real reason behind this update was the multiplayer. Unfortunately, it fails to recapture the glory it had in its Nintendo 64 heyday. Worth a look, though.
Goldeneye 007 Summary
The Good: Strong and fun campaign, voice acting is well done
The Bad: Graphics could’ve used a tune up, the multiplayer is not as fun as we all hoped.
8. Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii)
Taking the pink puffball out of Dreamland and placing him in a world where string is the thing, Kirby’s Epic Yarn is a gaming children’s book. The aesthetic looks like an arts and craft project done by some very talented game developers. Kirby can’t fly for a few seconds or gain enemies abilities like he normally does, but in this game he forms into a car, a tank, and a surfboarder, amongst other things. So cute it’ll make you nauseous, Kirby’s Epic Yarn may look like kid’s stuff, but even as an adult, I had a blast playing it.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn Summary
The Good: Fun levels, great art design, Kirby’s new transformations are something to behold
The Bad: Difficulty is not challenging, the cutesy element may not work for you
7. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Playstation Network/PS3 and XBOX Live Arcade/XBOX360)
Okay, so I said there would be no more Scott Pilgrim “anything” for this blog. However, for a complete Top 10 list, permit me to write a few sentences about this downloadable arcade style game. *Ahem* Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a “beat-em-up” much in the style of Double Dragon, Final Fight, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, and River City Ransom. You have a choice of four characters to choose from (Scott, Ramona, Stephen Stills and Kim Pine), taking them across the streets of Canada to defeat Ramona’s evil exes, beating up thug after thug and collecting coins for energy boosting items in the meantime. As fun as the game is, the music is even better, with a style of chiptunes providing a throwback to the NES/SNES era. If you’re a fan of the books and/or movie, or even looking for a game in the style of the “beat-em-ups” of yesterday, you won’t go wrong with this. Just make sure you call three friends to come play with you.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Summary
The Good: Very addictive beat-em-up, fun levels, great music
The Bad: Unbalanced game difficulty, freezes at points, no online multiplayer
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Multiplatform)
As soon as I was tossed my weapon in the first few minutes of the game, I knew COD: BO was not messing around. Using the Cold War as its backdrop, COD: BO has your character reliving key battles from the time. You will spend a lot of your gameplay dodging, ducking, shooting, and practically doing your best to stay alive. The action happening on screen at points had me floored, and the game does no hand holding; there is no tutorial before you are thrown into battle. That’s what makes COD: BO pretty spectacular. Along with great driving shoot out sequences and ridiculous first person gunfire, COD: BO boasts great graphics and spectacular voices. Multiplayer is also very fun.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Summary
The Good: Ridiculous amount of things going on makes the game more fun, great graphics and voice acting, solid multiplayer
The Bad: Multiple first person character roles makes the game tough to follow at points
5. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
The barrel buster is back! Years after his final Donkey Kong Country stint on the SNES, Donkey Kong returns with Diddy Kong in tow, stomping baddies, controlling mine carts, and collecting letters all the way back to their banana horde. The 2-D level layout of the game is extremely impressive, as Donkey and Diddy may be shooting out of barrels from the foreground all the way into the background. The silhouette levels are very artistically appealing, and the game’s nostalgic factor wins you over, even while the design surrounding the core element is completely new. Hearing the familiar jungle beats adds points to it as well; DCKR is a trip down memory lane worth taking.
Donkey Kong Country Returns Summary
The Good: Creative level design, good graphics, awesome music, nostalgic
The Bad: Sometimes difficulty is frustrating
4. Pac-Man Championship Edition (Playstation Network/PS3 and Xbox Live Arcade/XBOX 360)
Probably the first Pac-Man game I’ve played since … well … Ms. Pac-Man (brings you back, doesn’t it?), Pac-Man Championship Edition is a game celebrating Pac-Man’s 30 years in existence. The levels are new, but the basics are there with a twist-survive the time limit by eating all that you can. In this case, eating pellets will make food appear, and eating the fruit will add new pellets on the map. Eating a power pellet will turn all your ghost enemies blue (who now create a train behind you, so watch your corner turning), rendering you powerful enough to eat them. The better you do and your speed increases, making the action more fun and furious. Simple enough in its explanation, Pac-Man Championship Edition is insanely addictive and the best Pac-Man game I’ve played since … well … Ms. Pac-Man
Pac-Man Championship Edition Summary
The Good: Multiple maps, keeps you hooked, the sound effects are glee inducing and nostalgic
The Bad: Sometimes I confused food for an enemy, Pac-Man doesn’t turn when you need him to sometimes.
3. Limbo (Xbox Live Arcade/XBOX 360)
Play this game in the dark. I dare you. Anyway, Limbo is a 2-D side-scroller with a young boy as the hero. Seems innocent, right? Well, in this game you will be snapped into pieces by bear traps, electrocuted by wires, and stabbed by spiders. The dark and gloomy atmosphere makes the game all the more entrancing. Puzzle solving and reaching the end while trying to stay alive are your main obstacles. You owe to yourself to give this game a look. It is a visual and gaming gem.
The Good: Intoxicating atmosphere, visual design is gloomy but beautiful in its own way
The Bad: Puzzle solving can be a chore sometimes, game is very short
2. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
“You put out a new Mario Galaxy game, Nintendo? Well, I can’t imagine it’ll be any better than the first one …” Yeah, well, if you thought that, you were wrong. SMG 2 is a sequel amongst sequels in the Nintendo library. The hero with the red cap and overalls is at it again, going from galaxy to galaxy in order to save the princess from the King of the Koopas, Bowser. New suits are introduced providing you with ways to break things down (Rock Mario) and reach new heights (Cloud Mario). Yoshi makes a great 3-D return, along with power ups for the dinosaur as well. The music is great, the level design is vastly creative, and the difficulty is amped up. So you may be asking yourself: What’s the major problem with this game? Well it does end eventually. Damn.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Summary
The Good: Great level design, fantastic orchestrated music, beautiful graphics
The Bad: The battles with Bowser following your initial meeting with him are uncreative, the game ends when you are done
1. Red Dead Redemption (Playstation 3 and XBOX 360)
Chosen by the government to take down a gang of outlaws the main protagonist was formerly a part of, Red Dead Redemption is the Old West at its most violent, raunchy and dark. The hero (and your character), John Marston, is a man who must right his own wrongs by killing criminals he once rode with.
He will work with a Marshall, a man selling miracle elixirs, an Old West legend, a frequently drunk man named Irish, a female farmhand, amongst more charismatic characters to help him redeem himself and get back to his quiet home life he yearns for.
Red Dead Redemption provides a back drop of glorious view, as there is nothing more breathtaking than riding your horse through the desert while the sun is setting. In fact, as the game transports you to Mexico, you saddle up on your horse, and instantly you hear a song come on, titled “Far Away” by Jose Gonzalez. The small change in the soundtrack was more than welcome; while the soundtrack beforehand was great, the switch to the music with words completely changed my outlook on the game. At that point, it turned a great game into something memorable. It made it amazing.
Red Dead Redemption definitely earns a “Game of The Year” status in my book. The visuals, the story, the characters, and the voices are all of top notch quality, and the game even has random events popping up each time you play to make the game different and unpredictable.
Out of a year of games that worked based on nostalgic gamers returning for more, were first person shooters, were arcade classics revisited or just straight up arcade games, were franchises getter better or were just small diamonds in a massive library of downloadable games, Red Dead Redemption stands out because it’s a story of man trying to fix his past so that he might have a better future.
As gamers, we can all relate to that.
Red Dead Redemption Summary
The Good: Beautiful landscapes, amazing soundtrack, quality voice acting, intriguing story
The Bad: You will die many times. But you will get back on your horse time and time again (because it’s worth it).