Top Games of 2010 Thus Far
If you've been sleeping through 2010 and waiting for the holiday gaming season, it’s time for you to wake your ass up. Our editors have picked their favorites and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it… like slamming a Red Bull, electrifying your nipples, and taking a baseball bat to the groin all at the same time, these titles will rock your world.
Dakota Grabowski – Community Manager
Ranking such titles is a difficult matter, so I have resorted to placing them in order of release date. Read on to see what has left me in amazement and begging for more like Oliver Twist on the streets of London.
Bayonetta – January 5
She may be dangerously sexy. She may be explicitly violent. And she may look like Sarah Palin, but one thing we must not forget about Bayonetta is that she ultimately is a lady. Platinum Games paid extra attention to the design of the luscious protagonist to make certain that their lead would remain in the memories of gamers. Not only did they fulfill this goal, but Platinum Games went forth and created a blitzkrieg fast action title that leaves the competition salivating for similar results.
Mass Effect 2 – January 22
BioWare took what was successful with the original Mass Effect – dialogue, a dynamic supporting cast, and compelling storytelling – and brought it over to the Mass Effect 2 in high fashion. Mass Effect 2 paved way to the belief that gamers can now sit back and feel comfortable that BioWare is literally taking the trilogy ship in the right direction. As an ambitious role-playing/shooter hybrid, the Mass Effect series should conclude with a bang after the events that occurred in fantastically delivered sequel.
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars – January 26
Capcom has been on a roll as of late (Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Street Fighter X Tekken, Tekken X Street Fighter and much more) and don’t seem to be slowing down one bit. Kick-starting off the year with Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, Capcom proved that the fighter genre is back in glorious fashion. As a Nintendo Wii exclusive, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is in a class all its own as it doesn’t use either of the Street Fighter IV or Marvel vs. Capcom engines; instead, it provided a 2.5D engine unique in its own right to the Wii. It’s a must-have for any Wii owner or fighting fanatic.
Mega Man 10 – March 1
If one thing is popular in today’s gaming landscape, it’s going retro and embracing your roots. Capcom did such a thing with Mega Man 9 in 2008 and have once again provided another tale, that while isn’t as difficult, is just as entertaining. Mega Man 10 may be a little too nostalgic for gamers who didn’t grow up on the blue bomber in the ‘80s, but barring the graphics that harkens back to a day of simplicity, Mega Man 10 is pure bliss.
Super Street Fighter IV – April 27
Competitive gaming has received an adrenaline shot of vigor with 2009’s Street Fighter IV. In 2010, the madness ensued with Capcom’s standalone update, Super Street Fighter IV. Combining exhilarating action with uncommon ecstasy of triumph, Super Street Fighter IV takes the original and beefs it up with new characters (much love goes out to the addition of Juri and Ibuki), game modes, refinements to the tier structure, and ultra combos. It’s the ultimate way to play Street Fighter IV, one of the premiere fighters in the last decade.
Steven Hopper - News Editor
It's not even fall yet and we've already seen a huge amount of fantastic titles. Here's a look at some of my favorites.
Red Dead Redemption - May 18
After the landmark release of Grand Theft Auto IV, people were left wondering if lightning could indeed strike twice for Rockstar (well, more than twice in their case). These concerns were assuaged and then some upon the release of their open-world western, Red Dead Redemption, which saw release in May. The game’s slick production values, immersive world, and compelling story made it one of the best experiences you’re likely to have in this or any year.
Mario Galaxy 2 - May 23
When it comes to sequels, Nintendo has always been one to adhere to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra, but that doesn’t mean that their first-party titles rest on their laurels. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a fine example of this. While it isn’t the revolution that its predecessor was, it at least adds in enough extras and fixes (Yoshi!) to bring players back while retaining the charm that made the original such a classic.
Mass Effect 2 - January 22
After the tour de force that was the original Mass Effect, BioWare certainly had their work cut out for them when it came time to work on the sequel. Luckily, they delivered on all fronts, thanks to a revamped combat system, and even more open-ended storytelling and compelling characters. Mass Effect 2 was a fantastic sequel, and definitely a great way to not only carry the story well from the original, but also set the stage for the third entry in the trilogy.
God of War 3 - March 16
Kratos’ final journey made a huge splash on PS3s this year, offering some of the most brutally visceral combat you’re likely to find on any system. The game combines fantastic graphics, smooth controls, and awesome enemies and environments for a game that no PS3 gamer should miss.
Bioshock 2 - February 9
After the landmark success that was the first BioShock, 2K Games had some huge Big Daddy shoes to fill for the successor. Luckily, the development team (composed of several different studios working in tandem), delivered a superb title, offering another look at the underwater dystopia that is Rapture, this time through the eyes of a Big Daddy. Additionally, the game added in a multiplayer element that was nothing to scoff at.
Michael Splechta - Downloads Manager
Jolly Rover - June 7
Humor in games is fairly uncommon, so it was extremely refreshing to see Jolly Rover from developer Brawsome, a point-and-click adventure title starring a cast of pirate dogs. While it no doubt drew inspiration from Monkey Island, it managed to still have a great sense of humor, and a great storyline. Jolly Rover had me smiling from start to finish.
3D Dot Game Heroes - May 11
Retro is making a comeback! 3D Dot Game Heroes combined a retro pixel look with a 3D view, giving the game quite unique and stylized visuals. Being in love with the Zelda series, Dot Game Heroes emulated that formula and brought back a sense of nostalgia. With the option to build my character pixel by pixel, I was able to quest through the land of Dotnia as a ninja with over-sized feet and a pixelated canary on my shoulder. Epic.
Yakuza 3 – March 9
Yakuza 3 is an extremely immersive game. While its setting may not be as huge as Liberty City, Yakuza nailed the feel of modern Japanese culture. The story that spanned over three games continued to be gripping, but straying from the path and playing a game of Pachinko, belting it out at a Karaoke Bar, playing a round of ping pong with an attractive girl, or visiting and eating at a ramen shop, immersed me in a world that hasn't been seen since the two Shenmue games.
Dragon Quest IX – July 11
Being an RPG fanatic, I couldn't pass the opportunity to play one of my favorite RPG series on the go. While it was a shame wi-fi multiplayer wasn't included, the single player experience, that put me in the role of a fallen angel guardian on a quest to regain his wings, was still phenomenal. Creating the characters for my entire party, and being able to outfit them with tons of varied equipment, each that changes their appearance made the experience extremely customizable.
Transformers: War for Cybertron – June 22
I can't say I'm a follower of Transformers lore. I never followed the TV series, or any of the comic books, but I was always fascinated with the toys. War for Cybertron opened my eyes, and showed me the beginnings of my favorite Autobots. Having similar gameplay to Gears of War, without the use of a cover system, it was the transformations that stole the show. Being able to shift from vehicle to robot form at will was extremely satisfying.
Brian Rowe - Video Producer
Bayonetta - January 5
Bayonetta's the kind of girl who would sooner snap your neck in a leg-lock than shake your hand, and I'd gladly let her do it. With those curvaceous legs, that skintight outfit, and sultry-librarian allure, she can do anything she wants. But, as a game, Bayonetta has far more than luscious sex appeal. It is one of the best brawlers ever created. Hideki Kamiya really outdid himself; taking everything that made Devil May Cry so amazing and juicing it up with pure adrenaline and a combat-system that is both accessible and deceptively deep, not to mention gorgeous in action.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle - January 26
I want to live in Travis Touchdown's world. Scratch that, I want to be him. He's a hopeless geek with impeccable fashion sense, a sharp wit, and serious martial prowess. And, how many guys can make dropping a deuce look cool? Perhaps that's not the best impression to make, but you have to understand that nothing in this city is ordinary. It's overflowing with absurd assassins, including a brain-bot, mechanized cheerleaders, and a fishnet-clad dominatrix, all battling for the top spot on the charts. From balls-to-the-wall action, to 8-bit minigames and a seriously kicking soundtrack, there's hardly a single moment of No More Heroes 2 that isn't pure awesomeness.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey - March 23
Strange Journey is perhaps the worst entry-point for MegaTen newcomers, which coincidentally makes it one of the best in the series for fans. Strange Journey's closest relative is the original Persona, and no, neither Persona 3 nor 4 have prepared you for this. It hails from the roguelike school of roleplaying, in which a single mistake can easily wipe out two hours of work, and even basic encounters can feel like boss-battles. Fusing demons figures prominently in this sci-fi epic, as does conversing with demons, and all of it is bolstered by new system of morality. For role-players who like their games technical and storylines with deep socio-cultural undertones, it doesn't get much better than Strange Journey.
Split/Second - May 18
I haven't had this much fun in a racing game since Burnout: Revenge. Nearly every moment of Split/Second is exhilarating; the type of game that makes you forget to breathe as you chain near-miss after near-miss and defy death. Split/Second is a blazing fast and beautiful game, but that's only part of the equation. The tracks are littered with traps, from small explosives to stage altering catastophes, including falling brides and breaking dams. And, like the game's namesake, a fraction of a second is more than you'll have to react.
DeathSmiles - June 29
Ever since River Raid on the Atari 2600, shmups have been my games of choice. Unfortunately, the years haven't been too kind to my beloved genre. Barring very few exceptions, the best titles have either been retro-remakes or ports from the last generation of consoles. Deathsmiles is neither of these, and fully deserves a place in the pantheon of shooters. Then again, I would expect no less from the illustrious developer, Cave. With six modes, numerous difficulty settings, and multiple characters, Deathsmiles begs to be replayed over and over, and I will gladly oblige.