Plenty of video games have readily consumed by spare time over the year of 2010. Some of these games were fantastic, others little more than a competent distraction. Some were none more than abominations not even worthy of listing in this post.
So, here are my top five games of 2010. Before I delve into the list, I wanted to explain that it was an odd year of gaming as three out of five games were downloadable titles. Perhaps it goes to show the types of games I like, or maybe it shows that you don’t need a multi-million dollar budget in order to make a game that can offer a worthwhile experience. Regardless, I believe these are definitely titles that should be bought for they are games that can offer something few others can this day.
5. Pinball FX2
Best Pinball: Pinball FX2
I’ve been a pinball fan for years and have never found a game that mirrored the physics of a real pinball machine. It appears that this current generation of game consoles has finally found an engine that can come very close to replicating that feel.
The four initial tables released with the purchase of the game had plenty of challenge and depth that could leave a player feeling refreshed as they moved from table to table. All of the older tables from Pinball FX could be imported if previously downloaded or purchased anew with the updated physics engine. The recently introduced Marvel Comics tables added something for comic fans and pinball players alike – superhero pinball!
Whenever a player beats their friends’ score, they can send a customized message to them via Xbox Live to challenge their score (and do a little boasting in the process.)
I thought this game was recognized a little late in game journalism but offers something that few other games can right now. Pinball FX2 can give the real feel of pinball without breaking the bank for a quarter supply.
4. Super Meat Boy
Best Platformer: Super Meat Boy
Few games nowadays remind me of the games I had while growing up. My first game console was a Nintendo Entertainment System, bought for me when I was just seven years old. In those days, it wasn’t hard to find a game that was either completely broken or so solid and challenging that it made you want to bang your head against a wall in frustration. Yet, it was those same frustrating games that made a gamer think to them, “I can do this. I can beat this game. I can overcome this challenge.”
Super Meat Boy does the latter in all the right ways. No other game in the past few years has provided me with such precise control over a little mobile hunk of meat while sadistically throwing numerous instruments of death in the way to finding your girlfriend at the end of each stage.
Plenty of extras offer additional challenge to the game and a greater replay value including collecting all the bandages scattered throughout each world, the punishing dark world levels, the hidden warp zones, and more.
If this game were any less precise in controls or if the timing after dying took any longer to respawn, this game would’ve been seriously hampered. Instead, the two designers who created almost the whole game showed gamers that a skill-sharpening video game could still exist and do it well.
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops
Best multiplayer: Call of Duty: Black Ops
I placed this game precisely in the middle spot, because I love this game for its multiplayer but feel indifferent about the campaign and the zombie mode. Regardless, I’ve spent over 75 hours playing the multiplayer and have continued to find new ways to survive each map with a positive kill / death ratio.
The contract challenge system encourages me to play different modes I may have passed up were it not for the possible promise of some extra “CoD points” and experience to put in my pocket should I complete the contract.
It’s hard for a student like me to find the time to invest in a video game with a story while burdened with schoolwork, but Black Ops offers just the right amount of time to devote while offering a way out after each round.
Best immersive experience: Limbo
This game was released during Xbox’s “Summer of Arcade” digital release schedule. It got top scores from many different game journalists and brought about a heated debate over whether a four-hour game was worth $15.
I didn’t play it until the 24-hour game marathon I participated in for charity and boy was I surprised with what was presented. This monochrome side-scrolling game provided the player with zero back story, yet left something to the players imagination as they maneuvered through a bleak world out to get you.
Never have I experienced a game with the atmospheric qualities this game provided. Limbo is like the video game version of a Criterion movie. The ending was fantastic and if I were to choose to go see a 3-D movie at a theater only once or purchase this game that can be replayed for close to the same price, I’d choose the game any day.
1. Mass Effect 2
Best Action-RPG: Mass Effect 2
I had to think long and hard about the number one spot on my list. I needed to enjoy the whole game, take into the account of whether I’d like to replay it over, and if the game would take into account a respect of some of my favorite genres in video gaming.
Bioware’s sequel action-RPG threw much more action into my RPG this time around while offering enough depth in storyline and customization to be able to play over again. Numerous downloadable content has been released over the past year since its release, which I’ve yet to play, but have heard nothing but good reviews from respected journalists. It has been close to exactly a year since I’ve played through Mass Effect 2 and I think it’s about time to head back in to play a renegade version of Shepherd, especially since I just picked up all the DLC on a great deal from Xbox LIVE.
Red Dead Redemption for its entertaining world, hunting and, at times, outlandish story.
Just Cause 2 for its huge, lush landscape to roam around in and the addition of a grappling hook with many uses.
Alan Wake for its interesting use of narrative reminiscent of a Stephen King novel and a Twin Peaks episode. The soundtrack was a great addition between each chapter.