Top Ten Games of 2010 part 2

Posted on December 9, 2010 by


So, we’re back again with the continuation of our top ten video games of 2010. In case you missed it, here’s part 1. Now, without further ado, let’s rock out numbers five to one in our epic countdown of epicness.

5- Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsilver Nintendo DS

If you can count on anyone to put out a ceaseless cycle of games featuring the same characters every single year, it’s Nintendo. With a never ending stream of Mario, Zelda and Pokemon games generating a constant stream of delicious revenue for the company, some people are starting to question whether the constant releases are actually any good. While Mario and Zelda can be a bit hit or miss thanks to various attempts to go in new directions, Pokemon has stayed steadfast insofar as that it’s hardly changed since 1995, and going to far as to re-release updated versions of older installments in the series, just because they can.

That said, as someone who caught onto Pokemon during the initial wave of childhood euphoria, I’m all for seeing the older games get the update treatment (something Sony has started doing with games like God of War, Prince of Persia and Shadow of the Colossus) because my personal nostalgia rests firmly in the first and second generations (Red, Blue, Gold and Silver, though I will admit to having a soft-spot for Sapphire). Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsilver is (in the traditions of Pokemon games) a double release (one wonders if we’re going to see Chakra Crystal anytime soon), rehashing the original Gold and Silver with a major graphical update, adding full 3D to the game as well as throwing all the obligatory DS touch-screenery stuff (though I respect them for not going overboard with it, and the touch screen can in fact go completely unused).

Add to that the Pokewalker device (a small pokeball shaped tamagotchi that, like the Digivice toys of yore, let you train up Pokemon on the go) and the fact that everybody who had a DS owned this game, and of course, the fact that it was the second most time-consuming game I played all year (after number 1 on this list, in fact) it’s well-deserving of it’s place here on our list.

4- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker PSP

The second handheld game on our list, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is both a sequel and a prequel, thanks to the wonderfully convoluted timeline of the series. Originally billed as Metal Gear Solid 5, Peace Walker is in fact a continuation of Big Boss’ story, acting as a direct sequel to Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Snake Eater, and as a prequel to MGS, Sons of Liberty and Guns of the Patriots (See, I told you it was convoluted), and explained away several rather gaping plot holes that had cropped up over the years while basically just tying everything together.

It is, without doubt, the best game you can buy on the PSP, standing way out in front ahead even of Dissidia: Final Fantasy and God of War: Ghost of Sparta. It took the basic formula laid down by Portable Ops and tweaked the controls so that they actually worked on the console, it featured a deeper and much richer storyline, more memorable characters and a better management system that made it sometimes feel more like an action RPG than a stealth-shooter. On top of that you had online the multiplayer that let you stealth it up on the go, leaving us all hoping for further games detailing more of Big Boss adventures, and absolutely deserving of it’s spot here at number 4.

3- Mass Effect 2 PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Mass Effect 2 is a lot like Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. It had a huge, deep storyline to it, with twists and turns and surprises, it had suspense, action, and it was, without question, the best Star Trek film ever made. The only problem with this analogy is that the first Star Trek movie was awful, and well, Mass Effect 1 wasn’t. It was great. It set my mind alight in ways I hadn’t experienced since the first time I held a Nerf gun in my hands. It would perhaps be better to say that Mass Effect 2 is a lot like The Empire Strikes Back, the best of the Star Wars movies, which followed on from an already great movie, but there’s a problem with that analogy too, as it suggests that Mass Effect 3 will be a disappointment and the Reapers are going to be fought off by a bunch of cuddly widdle teddy bears who make me want to do unspeakable things to George Lucas (Though not quite as much as Phantom Menace does).

Mass Effect 2 is an action RPG space opera from Bioware, who have, quite possibly, the only totally flawless catalogue of games in history. In a world where every company makes at least one bad game, Bioware have laughed wryly and churned out one classic after another, because they stick to what they know best- action RPGS. They took everything that made the original game fantastic, streamlined and improved it, and for everything that didn’t work (driving and inventory) got the boot. It turned things up to 11. It had more- more of everything, and it was glorious. I honestly can’t come up with a bad word for Mass Effect 2, and while I think it is pretty much perfect, it’s still not number 1 on the list. What is, you ask? Well, you’re going to find out soon.

2- Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood PS3, Xbox 360, PC

I think most people can agree that the original Assassin’s Creed was a pretty good game. A medieval cross between Hitman and Prince of Persia, if a bit repetitive and stiff, it laid the foundation for one of this generations defining game series. When Assassin’s Creed 2 came out last November, it fixed every problem from the first game, updated the characters and setting and gameplay and made one of the best games in recent years. Naturally, when no more than a year later, Ubisoft came out with yet another Assassin’s Creed game, some people were suspicious. One year couldn’t possibly be enough time to make a full length game, it could surely only be a paltry expansion pack introduced just so they could stick some bland multiplayer out there, right? Wrong.

Brotherhood wasn’t Assassin’s Creed 3 (I’m betting on Revolutionary France for that one, by the way), instead of moving onto a new subject and time period, it was a continuation of Assassin’s Creed 2, following Ezio for several more years as things go suddenly very bad and he has to claw his way back into power again.

It improved upon Assassin’s Creed 2‘s very nearly flawless gameplay, boasted full-game-length gameplay and let us spend more time running around in the present day as Desmond and the multiplayer proved to be an excellent addition to the series, adding more to the story instead of just being an unconnected add-on. For a game that only came out in late November, you can tell it’s had to be seriously good to get this high on the list.

So, what’s number one? What’s the best video game of the whole year? Well, here it is…

1- Red Dead Redemption PS3, Xbox 360, PC

I’d like to say that this was a hard choice for me, that all the great games of this year were roughly equal, but, to be honest, there was never any contest here for first place. Red Dead wasn’t perfect, but perfection is dull. This is the game that soaked up more hours of play time this year than any other. This is the game where I could happily perch my character on a cliff edge and just watch the sun set, where the wilderness was a character in and of itself. Red Dead harked back to a simpler time, when a man had only his horse and his iron to rely on in a harsh, unforgiving new world. A world where men were men, the women were also men, and the children kept their mouths shut and stayed out of sight.

With a heart-wrending story of redemption, betrayal, and fighting against ones own nature, Red Dead asked if a man can really change for the better, and if it even matters. John Marston is swept through a melancholic and apathetic America, a seditious and revolutionary Mexico, blackmailed into killing his former friends by the government in order to see his family again.

With a massive and expansive open world that could be played both single player and multiplayer, Red Dead offers a wide variety of co-operative and competitive online gameplay, with regular DLC updates to expand on it’s already impressive range, including the epic what if story Undead Nightmare, setting John against a zombie apocalypse, Red Dead Redemption is, without question, the best video game of 2010.