GAF Games of the Year 2010 - Voting Thread - VOTING CONCLUDED

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RZI

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May 17, 2009
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1. Bayonetta ; The first game I played in 2010 and also the one I had most fun with. I didn't get DMC style games before, but with Bayonetta everything clicked. This game got so many things right it deserves to be my GOTY.

2. Demon's Souls (PAL) ; Best rpg I've played in years. Difficult, but rewarding.

3. Vanquish ; Best third-person shooter gameplay there is.

4. Super Street Fighter 4 ; I suck at fighting games, but I still love them. I'm going to get better.

5. Yakuza 3 ; Worst game in the series, but it still is so goddamn satisfying to punch a dude in the face.

6. Nier ; Okay I haven't finished this yet, but so far it seems the most interesting thing Square-Enix has done in years.

7. 3D Dot Game Heroes ; 2D zelda style games are kinda new experience to me, but I enjoyed this greatly.

8. Super Meat Boy ; Another difficult, but rwearding game.

9. Red Dead Redemption ; The reason why I rate this game so low is because I think a good number of story missions were kinda boring.

10. Final Fantasy 13 ; FF13 has some serious issues, but I really enjoyed the music and the really fast battle system. Also, Fang. I also didn't play that many games that were made in 2010, because I often don't buy them until I get them really cheap.
 

alanias

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Mar 19, 2007
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1. Minecraft ; The best game I have played this year. I haven't played something so different and original in years. Brought me back to the pure feeling of play is used to have as a kid with legos.

2. Mount & Blade: Warband ; The surprise best reason for upgrading my PC. Nothing was more fun than taking my army of badass soldier and tearing apart an army twice my size.

3. Mass Effect 2 ; Despite the removal of a lot of RPG elements this is still the best RPG I played this year. Great action, great dialogue, and a lot of cool carry-overs form ME1.

4. Red Dead Redemption ; So much better than GTA 4. Outside of Mexico this game was incredible.

5. Cave Story ; Finally got to play this on Wii and was not disappointed. Everything it had been hyped to be and more.

6. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West ; Great roller coaster ride of a game. I even liked the ending.

7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game ; I am a brawler fiend, so this one is a given. An updated River City Random with music by Anamanaguchi? Yes, please.

8. Game Dev Story ; A sim game I actually want to play! An iphone game I actually played instead of console or PC games! I have to restart on my new device, but I am looking forward to building a much better game company this time.
 

Fredescu

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Jan 30, 2007
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1. Fallout: New Vegas
+ Lashings of non combat options for progression
+ Many Factions
+ So many little story elements scattered throughout the world, from the obvious to the little camp sites where you're invited to fill in the blanks and imagine what story existed there.

2. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
+ Addictive multiplayer
+ Excellent spectator sport. I still have Blizzard's Fruitdealer art as my wallpaper

3. Mass Effect 2
+ Excellent Pacing
+ Memorable Characters

4. Super Mario Galaxy 2
+ Sublime level design
+ Joy in videogame form (again)

5. Alpha Protocol
+ Meaningful choices!
+ Steve Heck

6. Mafia 2
+ Interesting story
+ Great contrasts between acts

7. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
+ Fun multiplayer (when someone isn't lagging)
+ Road surface graphics
+ I'm a sucker for drifting
+ Swedish swoop

8. 3D Dot Game Heroes
+ A beauftiful humourous love letter to one of my favourite games of all time
+ I'm a sucker for DoF

9. Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
+ Tugs at my love for accumulation in an interesting way and turns it into the primary objective, which is actually a challenge

10. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
+ Good fun when you have a squad that works together
+ Rush maps
+ The Vietnam DLC, which is actually what pushed this into my top 10

x. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2 – Chaos Rising
+ Great improvement in campaign level design. Beginning to move away from simple RTS maps with a boss at the top, to interesting scripted events and some different level progression.
- Lack of mid level saving means I still have problems finishing it. Having a wife and kid means I don't always get hours on end to play each level

x. Split Second: Velocity
+ Great challenges, feels like a platformer on wheels a lot of the time
- 30fps lock even on PC and poor controller support

x. Minecraft
+ I do love to dig
- Not much to do after a while, but to be fair it's in beta. Hopefully this will make my list when it's properly released
 

Diamond

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Dec 5, 2008
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Bonne jour ! Je vivre en la France !
Don’t really like listing games with numbers, but here goes. And I have yet to play many, many good titles from 2010 : Super Mario, Minecraft (just tried for a few hours), Vanquish, New Vegas… Bloody hell, videogames !

1. Mass Effect 2 ; It’s the obvious choice and I generally don’t like the obvious choice. Not a philosophical art game, not a hardcore RPG fans darling either. But at the end of the day, I really feel like Bioware is building a classic series here and I have the chance to really adore it. And it feels awesome.
As a total fan of the first episode, the week Mass Effect 2 came out has been one of the best last year. It was really great to be back in the universe and meet the characters again. I loved helping Garrus to deal with his conscience, defending Tali in the Flotilla or chatting with the tragicomic doctor Solus. What a great cast. The last mission was a real achievement in design, provided that you liked your comrades in the smallest degree. Some great DLC was the icing on the cake. Mass Effect 3, don’t disappoint !

2. Alan Wake ; Great thriller that blurs the line between fiction and reality. A mysterious setting, good gameplay (despite a real lack of variation, but for some reason I didn’t care at all) and a story which can be interpreted in many ways. Plus, a memorable soundtrack with both incredible original and licenced tracks.

3. Nier ; Perhaps the best story of the year, at least from an experimental point of view : you get the complete Nier experience when you play the game THREE times. It can be tough, because the game is not as immediately rewarding to play as, say, an Uncharted or a Mass Effect, but at the same time, there are so many ideas in there, so many great characters and situations (even the horrible fetch quests are full of little narrative surprises) that you generally can’t help but love the adventure as a whole : a hopeless quest in a mystic world that slowly falls apart. It’s far from perfect but it uses the strengths of video games at its core, and mostly succeeds at the key moments. It’s really something else. It doesn’t hurt that the soundtrack is already a classic among classics.

4. Limbo ; Great artistic direction, but that’s not all. Limbo is a game with interesting puzzles and an atmosphere to remember. Like Alan Wake, the story can be fascinating to decipher, but in a more abstract form, without any text.

5. Super Meat Boy ; An outstanding platformer, with nearly perfect controls and level design. You can die hundreds of times in a few minutes but you don’t care because of the incredible flow of the gameplay. On top of that, there are hilarious characters, great original soundtrack and art design, replays, downloadable levels, a dozen of guests from other indie games... And those Kid levels.

6. VVVVVV ; A great platforming game with a simple gameplay gimmick. It was a lighter experience than Super Meat Boy, but the same good vibes emanate from the two titles. VVVVVV was also great because it had funny characters, dialog and text. And good art. And superb music. That’s the perfect example of why building a compelling little universe around your core gameplay mechanics can make your game better.

7. Deadly Premonition ; F.K. In the coffee !

8. Bayonetta ; Iconic heroine, crazy visual design that you either love or hate, but above all, fantastic combat and flow. It’s hard to tell that the same guy did Okami but damn, Kamiya, you did it again.

9. The Infinite Ocean ; A remarkably well written little game. It tells the story of the creation of the first real IA, and that’s about all you need to know. The gameplay is not really engaging, but the creator manages to do a lot with very little. Black and white graphics, haunting music and philosophical topics in a sci-fi setting... And the ultimate question : who is the player ? A game that came out of nowhere and that I immediately included in my favourites of the year.
You can play it here.

10. Red Dead Redemption ; The game is probably too long and the GTA mission scheme is getting a little old, but Rockstar managed to recreate the wild west so well that I don’t really care when I look back at it, even if, like many others, I was about to stop playing at some point in the second part. The good things about Red Dead ? The attack of Fort Mercer, the “Far Away” arrival in Mexico, the encounters with the mysterious man in black, the hunting, the return at the farm, the ending. Your hands upon a deadman’s gun, dumdumdum dadum...


x. Fable 3 ; It seems rushed, John Cleese stops talking, but I love Albion and some quests are incredibly well done.

x. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon ; It was a little bit boring to play, but it's a charming, disturbing game with a marvelous soundtrack.

x. Ilomilo ; Wonderful puzzle game with great design and moving little stories behind the characters. Played it last year but it officially comes out in 2011 however (this wednesday). You should give it a try.

x. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light ; Some great cooperative moments with my brother. Perhaps too much combat, to me the best moments were the puzzles and the traps.

x. Silent Hill Shattered Memories ; It suffers in this kind of thread because of its blurry release dates (2009, 2010, I don’t really know myself), but I played it in 2010 and it allows me to list more games. In short, it was great. Lots of little details were similar in Alan Wake. Even if the duality exploration/chase gets a little boring in the end, I loved the nightmare levels, the psychological tests and the ending, of course. The forest at the beginning is eerie as hell, when you don’t know nothing can attack you there yet.

x. Super Street Fighter IV ; More of the same, but that "same" is Street Fighter.
 

MrDaravon

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Mar 24, 2005
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1. Bayonetta
2. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
3. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
4. Halo: Reach
5. Mass Effect 2
6. Deadly Premonition
7. Super Mario Galaxy 2
8. Final Fantasy XIII
9. Kirby's Epic Yarn
10. Call of Duty: Black Ops
 

Dave Long

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Jun 8, 2004
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davelong.wordpress.com
1. Minecraft
2. Super Mario Galaxy 2
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn
4. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
5. Epic Dungeon
6. Goldeneye 007
7. Sin & Punishment 2: Star Successor
8. MAG
9. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
10. Super Crate Box

x. Super Street Fighter IV
x. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
x. FIFA 11
x. Pinball FX2
x. Commander: World 01
x. Radiangames Fluid
x. Explosionade
x. Hoard

This was an outrageous year for games. If I had to guess, the industry saw more game releases across all platforms and download services than ever in the history of videogames. It was an overwhelming number and I've essentially decided that I won't buy a single game in 2011 because frankly I have no time for anything new. I haven't even come close to catching up with the last couple years. You'd need to be unemployed/a student to even come close to playing everything that people might label as "Great" in 2010.
 

Rubezh

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Jun 6, 2009
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1. Mass Effect 2
2. Medal of Honor
3. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
4. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
5. Civilization V
6. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops
8. Minecraft
 
Oct 19, 2007
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Aw snap
Just a top 5 for me. Wish I had time to play more this year. Vanquish, Castlevania and Enslaved are the three is wish I played the most and plan to play this year. Heres to a great 2011, thankfully I finished grad school last month so no more school ever again and hopefully more free time

1. Kirby's Epic Yarn ; An amazing and beautiful game that constantly surpasses your expectations. Just when you think you got the game figured out it throws something new at you that surprises and delights you. Is it hyperbole to say this game is like standing in sunshine? Always warmer and brighter than you remember.

2. Solomon's Keep ; (not on the post # 2 list) A dual joystick dungeon crawler. Wait what? The fun of dual stick shooting combined with leveling and loot. Chocolate and peanut butter, why don't I have dozens upon dozens of these to play! This game has a charming art style and has been well supported all year. The only problem (and it’s a pretty big one) is that it’s an iOS game. Touch screen analog sticks.... I admit it feels like 75% or so of my deaths could have been prevented by good controls but I still enjoy the game and keep coming back. There is a PC version in the works that will let you use a 360 pad so look forward to that being my 2011 game of the year.

3. Dark Void ; What am I doing gaf? Dark Void as number 3? I don't even know. All I can say is that this is probably the game I thought the most about all year. No matter how many flaws the game threw at me I still kept coming back. The fundamental shooting and jet pack were fun enough to ignore everything else. Don't get me wrong this game has a TON of flaws but I still enjoyed it and have the DLC sitting in my cart right now but haven't pulled the trigger. Why won't this game let me go? Fantastic final boss fight as well.
You fight a robot alien dragon while on your jetpack and there are giant tornados in the background. I love fighting robot alien dragons while on a jetpack.
Actually that final fight combined with being able to replay the good missions and skip the really really really bad ones is probably leaving me with a better impression than the game deserves. Oh well!

4. Coconut Dodge ; A solid concept that has a good art style and an AMAZING song. That’s right only one song but its the only one you'll ever need (well maybe the FFXIII battle theme too). Not much to say here - a great, but simple, game.

5. Who's That Flying ; (not on the post #2 list) Finally a side scrolling shooter for people like me... people that suck at them. Not that the game is easy (well maybe it is for veterans) but it takes aspects of the genre that annoyed me and turned them into strengths. The game is more about shooting than dodging. If you run into an enemy you rip them apart with such force that it destroys nearby baddies as well. You can't be hurt, only slowed down, and you "die" by letting too many guys past you which destroys your city you are protecting (so the city has a life bar not you - background changes too nice touch). The game also nails that 5th grade sense of humor.

Honorable Mentions:

x. Super Meat Boy ; The controls in this game are so good its actually tricks you into thinking you're good at platformers. Oh let use remember the good old days of the forest level. I will punch who ever thought fans were fun.

x. Final Fantasy 13 ; Never beat it but I did like what it was trying to do. A FANTASTIC battle theme, good battle system and some great ideas wrapped in a pretty bad story, voice acting and dumb decisions.

x. Minecraft ; Never bought it but I always enjoy stopping by the site once or twice a month, playing the free version, and getting all that fort building out of my system for the next few weeks.

Dishonorable Mentions:

Ivy the Kiwi? Would have been a great game if it wasn't on the Wii. The controls just don't work well enough (IMO anyway). If gaf had an official port begging thread where we can post our pent up port begging needs (and we should have that thread btw, what could go wrong?) then I would beg for this on the PC.
 

SPEA

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Sep 24, 2006
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1. Red Dead Redemption
2. Mass Effect 2
3. Bayonetta
4. Assassins Creed Brotherhood
5. God of War 3
6. Bioshock 2
7. Alan Wake
8. Halo Reach
9. Call of Duty: Black Ops
10. Dead Rising 2
 

bluedeviltron

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Oct 11, 2009
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Austin, TX
If you would have told me a couple of weeks ago that I'd end up editing my top 10 games of 2010 to include Bayonetta, I would have chuckled to death. But that just happened.
 

PistolGrip

sex vacation in Guam
Sep 7, 2006
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1. Starcraft 2
2. GT 5
3. God Of War 3
4. Sports Champions
5. Heavy Rain
6. Fifa 11
7. Halo Reach
8. Professor Layton & the Unwound Future
9. MAG
10. Final Fantasy 13
 

InternHertz

Member
Feb 28, 2009
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I'm from Europe, so I'll write when it's imported.

1. Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru EP8 : Twilight of the golden witch ; import
2. Tales of Graces f ; import
3. White Album 2 -introductory chapter- ; import
4. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd ; import
5. Xenoblade ; import
6. No More Heroes 2 : Deasperate Struggle ; import
7. Umineko no Naku Koro ni : Majo to Suiri no Rondo ; import
8. Deadly Premonition
9. Nier
10. Steins;Gate ; import
x. Persona 3 Portable
x. Super Meat Boy
x. Bayonetta
x. Darksiders
x. Alan Wake
x. God of War 3
x. Mafia 2
x. Super Mario Galaxy 2
x. Kirby's Epic Yarn
x. Donkey Kong Country Returns
x. Chou Jigen Game Neptune
x. Heavy Rain
(x. Every other games I played this year)
 
Jun 9, 2004
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Must remember to make a post in here through the weekend. Hopefully my copy of Vanquish shows up today or tomorrow so I can get through enough of it to make an informed decision on whether it should be included.
 

Struct09

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Oct 9, 2006
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1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 ; Not only my game of the year, but my game of the decade. This game encapsulates everything I love about video games - it's pure fun, has the right level of challenge, and it looks and sounds fantastic.

2. Mass Effect 2 ; The term "RPG" may be becoming more vague these days, but never have I felt more like I was playing a role than I did while playing ME2. The main plot line wasn't even the draw for me - every time I booted the game up it felt like I was watching and interacting with an episode of an awesome sci-fi TV show. Can't wait for ME3.

3. God of War 3 ; A great entry in one of my favorite video game franchises. This game is epic like its predecessors, and the combat system is fun and satisfying. The ending could have been stronger, but the ride was amazing.

4. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm ; I wasn't sure if I should include an expansion pack on this list, but what Blizzard has done with this 6 year old game can not be ignored. I've been playing on and off since beta, and the game is better now than it ever has been. Overall, WoW has earned a spot in my top ten of all time.

5. Red Dead Redemption ; I loved GTAIV, and this game outclasses it in every way. It's gorgeous, the story telling is amazing, the plot and characters are memorable, and the gameplay is the best of any Rockstar open world game.

6. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty ; I'll never keep up with the competetive community, but this game has a great single player experience, and it's tons of fun to play with my friends. Bring on the Zerg and Protoss campaigns!

7. Picross 3D ; An engaging puzzle game that melts time, and by far my most played game of 2010. I traveled quite a bit, and this title came everywhere with me. I've poured hundreds of hours into the game, perfectly completing all the main puzzles, and I've managed to keep up with both Nintendo's and user's DLC.

8. Super Meat Boy ; The spot on controls, great level design, awesome sense of humor, AMAZING soundtrack, and right level of challenge makes this my favorite downloadable of 2010.

9. Rock Band 3 ; I've been on board with the plastic instrument genre since Guitar Hero 1, and this feels like the perfection of that type of game. I've pre-ordered my Squier, and I can't wait to begin re-learning the game when it arrives.

10. Dance Central ; Like many, I was skeptical of Natal/Kinect when they first started showing games for it. But then I played Dance Central at PAX, and I couldn't pre-order a Kinect fast enough. This game is a blast, and I'm stoked for the eventual sequel.

x. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood ; Assassin's Creed II was my GOTY of 2009, which made AC one of my favorite new franchises of this generation. The amount of things to do in Brotherhood's single player is overwhelming, it's really easy to just get lost in the world. The multiplayer is a nice surprise, I find the slower-paced gameplay to be a breath of fresh air. Can't wait for AC3.

x. BioShock 2 ; I feel this game deserves a mention as well. I really enjoyed it, and can't wait for the release Minerva's Den on PC.


And sadly, there's some games I just didn't have time to get to that may have made my list. Donkey Kong Country Returns, Darksiders, Ghost of Sparta, and Fallout New Vegas come to mind. I'm sure these games have a chance at making my top ten list for 2010, but I won't be able to get to them for another couple months at least :(
 

~Devil Trigger~

In favor of setting Muslim women on fire
Jan 4, 2007
26,532
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1. Bayonetta.
2. Lara Croft & The Guardian of the Light.
3, Vanquish.
4. Super Street Fighter 4.
5. God of War 3.
6. Darksiders.
7. Dead Nation.
8. Limbo.
9. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.
 

Psychotext

Member
Jun 15, 2007
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1. Mass Effect 2
2. Rock Band 3
3. Toy Soldiers
4. Halo: Reach
5. Dead Rising 2
6. Heavy Rain
7. Dance Central
8. Gran Turismo 5
9. Alan Wake
10. Limbo

x. Super Meat Boy ; This would have likely been near the top, but I wont play the game any further until it's patched, and there sure as hell wasn't a patch in 2010. Ridiculous.

There are quite a few others which may have made the list but I simply didn't get time to play them properly. Bayonetta, Bioshock 2, Fable 3, Kinect Sports, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, Pinball FX 2, Red Dead Redemption, Vanquish. Stupid lack of time. :(
 

so1337

Member
Aug 16, 2006
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1. Deadly Premonition
2. Vanquish
3. Bayonetta
4. Donkey Kong Country Returns
5. Super Meat Boy
6. Alan Wake
7. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
8. Super Mario Galaxy 2
9. Red Dead Redemption
10. Mass Effect 2
 

enzo_gt

tagged by Blackace
Jun 7, 2009
78,143
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Psychotext said:
1. Mass Effect 2
2. Rock Band 3
3. Toy Soldiers
4. Halo: Reach
5. Dead Rising 2
6. Heavy Rain
7. Dance Central
8. Gran Turismo 5
9. Alan Wake
10. Limbo

x. Super Meat Boy ; This would have likely been near the top, but I wont play the game any further until it's patched, and there sure as hell wasn't a patch in 2010. Ridiculous.

There are quite a few others which may have made the list but I simply didn't get time to play them properly. Bayonetta, Bioshock 2, Fable 3, Kinect Sports, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, Pinball FX 2, Red Dead Redemption, Vanquish. Stupid lack of time. :(
IIRC, there were about 10 or 11 patches to the PC version. Though if your particular issue wasn't fixed or your on 360, I can understand your woes.
 

jkanownik

Member
Feb 3, 2009
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1. Red Dead Redemption; One of the greatest games of all time. An unparalleled interactive experience that puts GTA IV to shame.
2. Mass Effect 2; More RPG elements or greater gameplay variety could have pushed this to #1. Best choose your own adventure book of all time.
3. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty; Never finished SC1 but this hooked me completely. Impressive presentation from start to finish with solid and varied gameplay. It blew away my expectations and I didn't even touch the multiplayer.
4. BioShock 2; Great game that doesn't get its fair due. Storytelling, atmosphere and gameplay were all excellent.
5. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood; Improves on a top 10 LY AC2 in almost every way. Missing a cohesiveness to combine all of the good parts into an even better whole.
6. Alan Wake; Amazing atmosphere and storytelling made up for sub par gameplay.
7. Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition; 2010's 2009 GOTY. Played through every DLC pack and loved most of it (FU Moxxi and oil cans). Greatest game ever for couch co-op with my wife.
8. Call of Duty: Black Ops; Enjoyed the single player and played a ton of multiplayer. Unparalled for solo console online play after a long day at work.
9. Battlefield: Bad Company 2; Awesome in multiplayer when it works, but incredibly frustrating to play without friends. Single player was just OK.
10. Dead Rising 2; Sure you have to play it on the games terms, but once you give in to multiple playthroughs it provides an experience you can't get anywhere else.

x. Dragon Quest 9: Sentinels of the Starry Skies; I don't play my DS enough to put this in my top 10, but this is definitely a great game.
x. Kinect Sports; Gesturing during ping pong and celebration dances deserve recognition. A very pleasant surprise.
x. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4; Reinvigorated Lego franchise but bugs killed it's chances for a top 10 spot.
x. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare; Amazing as a standalone game for $30 considering the content packed in.
 

Psychotext

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Jun 15, 2007
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enzo_gt said:
IIRC, there were about 10 or 11 patches to the PC version. Though if your particular issue wasn't fixed or your on 360, I can understand your woes.
I've had the save bug too many times to consider playing it any more, even had it when using the supposed work arounds which stop it. Bandage girl's levels are far too frustrating to consider repeating them.
 

Owensboro

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Oct 22, 2007
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1. Darksiders ; Easily my biggest surprise of 2010. It's a combination of so many types of games... AND IT WORKS. I still can't believe how much fun I had playing it. Once I clear off a pile of shame I plan on replaying it again.
2. Picross 3D ; The best puzzle game I have played in a long time. No story, no wasted time, just puzzles; each one a mathmatical logic bomb of sudoku-like proportions.
3. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty ; I like single player games, otherwise this would be higher I'm sure. The single player in SC2 is something you have to play if (like me) you loved RTS games, especially if you ever felt that RTS games were the same thing (build up base, crush enemy) over and over. Changing up the pace almost every mission was great fun.
4. Super Mario Galaxy 2 ; Platforming heaven. I don't think I frowned once while playing this game.
5. Red Dead Redemption ; I haven't played a "GTA" style game since Vice City and I've never been a huge fan of westerns, so when I found myself hopelessly addicted to this game I was floored. I loved the single player (never touched the MP), even if it did drag a little in the middle.
6. Fallout: New Vegas ; This game would be so much higher if it wasn't for the crashing issues I had. I adore this game and am having a blast still exploring the Mojave Wasteland. But god, the crashes! I really should have just played it on the computer...
7. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm ; This game has to make the list simply for 1) The new Undead starting area up through Silverpine, and 2) the new Westfall quests / Deadmines. Blizzard remade my favorite instance ever (did I mention Deadmines? Van Cleef?) and that guarantees a top 10 spot.
8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 ; Simply the best co-operative multiplayer shooter released this year. Actually working as a squad makes this game so much fun, as opposed to the constant SpawnDieSpawnDieLoneWolf games that are more popular. It's nice to have a game to rotate with TeamFortress 2.
9. Super Street Fighter 4 ; I tried Street Fighter 4 and just didn't get it. For some reason the addition of Dudley has made this game hella fun for me. So fun in fact that I played it to much and hurt my wrist. Thanks to that a huge backlog, it's looking like it might be a while before I get back to this gem.
10. Yakuza 3 ; Another game I thought I would never play. I've been a sucker for the RPG-Beat-em-Up system since the first game. It having a bunch of characters I care about is a huge plus too. I can't wait for 4 to hit stateside!

x. Dragon Quest 9: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
x. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
x. Singularity
x. Heavy Rain
x. Costume Quest

My Pile of Shame (that I wish I had gotten to):
Mass Effect 2
Super Meat Boy
Halo:Reach
Enslaved
Castlevania: LoS
VVVVVV
 

nincompoop

Banned
Jul 23, 2006
9,170
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HamPster PamPster said:
Dishonorable Mentions:

Ivy the Kiwi? Would have been a great game if it wasn't on the Wii. The controls just don't work well enough (IMO anyway). If gaf had an official port begging thread where we can post our pent up port begging needs (and we should have that thread btw, what could go wrong?) then I would beg for this on the PC.
I'm not sure how you could have any problems with the controls if you've ever played a Wii game that uses the pointer, but that aside, you do realize it also came out for DS, right? Or if you want to play it on PC with a mouse that badly you could always load it up in Dolphin, even if you don't have a monster PC I can't imagine it being too difficult to emulate.
 

squicken

Member
Dec 27, 2005
48,413
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0
1. Red Dead Redemption
2. Mass Effect 2
3. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
4. Fallout: New Vegas
5. Halo: Reach
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops
7. Singularity
8. Splinter Cell: Conviction
9. Just Cause 2
10. Alpha Protocol
 
Apr 10, 2008
4,037
0
765
Buenos Aires
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 ; better than SMG
2. Kirby's Epic Yarn ; yes easy, but pretty good nonetheless
3. Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth ; better than Ace Attorney 4, wose than the original trilogy
4. WarioWare D.I.Y. Showcase ; since I'm not creative the Wii version suits me just fine, plus has some great Nintendo-themed microgames that I understand are not in the DS version
5. Mega Man 10 ; barely played it (only beat 9 a few months ago), but still it's classic MM, it has to be good.
6. Metal Slug XX ; PSP, I hadn't played any MS much before this. Initially I didn't like it much, I only stayed for the mission mode, where I managed to S-Rank all but 2 missions after about 2 months of intermitent play.
7. Thexder Neo ; PSP, game's good, and pretty hard to beat on Normal the first time. After that you can beat it endlessly on loop without much effort with full health bar. Needs more substance maybe but it's a PSN game so the scope is reasonable I guess.

That's pretty much everything I've played that was released in 2010. I wish these GOTY things were made 6 months in the next year, since this list isn't representative of my fav of 2010 games.

Haven't played from 2010 yet:
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Metroid: Other M
Sin & Punishment 2: Star Successor
Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
Little Big Planet PSP
Random wiiware/dsiware games
Mega Man 10 (need to play more, only beat like one stage)
 

Grayman

Member
Feb 7, 2005
15,125
0
0
34
Surrey, BC
1. Alpha Protocol ; Alpha Protocol combined a genre fresh theme of spies, terrorism, and corruption with a meaningful conversation system and branching interaction of characters. From the end of my first game I knew that I had played something special where every choice had a repercussion beyond moving a karma meter or getting rewards. Characters respond to Mike Thorton’s words differently based on their personality(SIE and Heck standout).

The controls are janky, combat is clunky and superficial, the hacking games are minimalist, and none of it matters because the decision making is brilliant and makes the meat of the game. The non interactive expository chit chat of most games bores me and wastes my time between game action but AP took this time and made it not only an enjoyable part of the game, but the most enjoyable part.

There will never be a sequel but Obsidian can put the spirit of Alpha Protocol into anything and I will be playing it.

2. Starcraft II ; Never have I been an RTS player. Playing some 2v2 with a friend has shown me a new type of game and given me the rush of minor competition. It is a game I will play a little bit for years to come. I do not know if I will explore the genre more though.

3. Battlefield Bad Company 2 ; Without giving it any thought I think I played this game the most in 2010. I played the beta for 40-50 hours and retail for 90 and counting. Destruction 2.0 make the maps with door to door combat really fun. The unlocking while tedious gets out of the way quicker than Battlefield 2. It is not a full battlefield experience but I had a lot of fun playing Urban maps on a 12 player server with friends. Blowing up walls and knocking down buildings is fun and I encourage you all to try. Vietnam adds new maps that lack in destruction but are still enjoyable. My appetite is wet for a new real battlefield 2 sequel that may never come.

4. Gran Turismo 5 ; The Real Driving Simulator. Driving. Gran Turismo 5 is a terrible video game in many ways. The grindfest of single player is the worst in the franchise. Making B spec a PS3 murdering time waste required for progression and cars is idiotic and someone should be fired and or tarred and feathered. All promised features seem to be unfulfilled or overstated. Sony needs to apologize for this shit and the season events are a start. It is still an awesome driving game that has hundreds of interesting cars and enough tracks to have fun with. GT5 is one of a small number of games that give a joy of driving that not everyone can go experience.

5. Fallout New Vegas ; Took Fallout 3 and made it better. New Vegas feels to have a larger number of towns to visit and does not overuse any combat settings like Fallout 3(metro, ruined dc streets, and vaults), maybe a few too many offices but that’s all. In two and a half plays I did not experience nearly all the game has to show. The major paths seem to diverge a lot and most side groups can be skipped or shortened if the player does not want to deal with them that game. The combat is alright and usually it is safe to go explore. Hardcore mode added a little bit to the game as well. I still prefer the original Fallout structure of a large world map with really big quest driven towns.

6. Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City ; If I recall correctly Grand Theft Auto 4 did not even make my list the year it came out. The package deal of 2 episodes in one is also something I dislike for GOTY type considerations(orange box is a deal or pack in, it was 3 separate games). The Ballad of Gay Tony brought fun back to Grand Theft Auto. The items were varied and the missions were weird. It is not a return to San Andreas or a complete repair of Grand Theft Auto 4 but shooting explosive shells into a car from an automatic shotgun does a lot to improve my demeanor on the new GTA games. The shorter length(and replayable missions) prevented the game from over staying its welcome like shitty mexico(RDR) or fuck this third island(GTA4). I also do not recall a moment where I wished I was playing a wrpg so I could bust a cap in all the side characters and carry the magic whatzit to my gold plated assault chopter.

7. Minecraft ; I did not play a large amount of minecraft. I dug some holes and built a fort. I had a sense of awe in exploring some of the locations my friends had constructed. I expect that I will play a lot more minecraft in 2011.

8. Scott Pilgrim versus the world ; A good throwback game with a nice amount of content. I played through the game a few times solo on the hardest difficulty. I am not sure how it was supposed to be balanced though. Maxing out stats was easy but that may have made the characters too strong. When modern beat em ups do stats they usually stick to just health and new moves. With Scott Pilgrim I would wonder what playing “right” is and there is probably no correct answer. I would buy another if it had online play.

9. VVVVVV ; VVVVV: a total disregard for how awesome this game is. Neat new(?) style of 2d platforming that makes its own challenges. Stuck for now but will finish.

10. Red Dead Redemption ; I played it, finished it, guess I shouldn’t not list it. I think Red Dead Redemption is a good but not amazing game. I burned through it in less than a week and never played it again.
 

KilgoreTrout

Banned
Dec 5, 2008
2,618
0
0
1. Limbo
2. Super Mario Galaxy 2
3. Donkey Kong Country Returns
4. Dead Rising 2
5. Red Dead Redemption
6. Bioshock 2
7. Super Meat Boy
8. Starcraft II
9. Just Cause 2
10. Vanquish

Platformers for the win!
 

Zierath

Member
Feb 13, 2006
236
0
0
31
1. Nier
2. Donkey Kong Country Returns
3. Super Mario Galaxy 2
4. Dragon Quest 9: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
5. Monster Hunter 3: Tri
6. Alpha Protocol
7. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
8. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
9. Trauma Team
10. Civilization 5
 

tim.mbp

Member
Oct 4, 2009
7,063
0
0
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 ; I haven't played too many 2010 releases, but this stands above everything I've played.

2. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future ; Wraps up the trilogy in Layton's usual combination of absurdity and melodrama.
 

Butane123

Member
Nov 27, 2007
1,035
0
0
1. Halo: Reach ; Ah, Bungie's last entry into the Halo franchise. Campaign is easily my favorite since the original, cooperative campaign and the expanded firefight is still a complete blast to play with your friends on the couch. The multiplayer, while I rant and rage over the maps and some features (I'm looking at you armor abilities!), is still solid and has kept me hooked for several hours. Can't wait to see what Bungie produces next.

2. Battlefield Bad Company 2 ; Probably my most played game of the year. Could not care less about the single player, but man the multiplayer is so good that I keep coming back to it. The Vietnam expansion had a few poor design choices, but overall, it was good.

3. Mass Effect 2 ; I was initially disappointed from the reduction of the RPG elements of the game, but overall, I think it was a vastly improved game from the first one. Regardless of whether or not it should be considered an RPG, it was still one of the best offerings of the year.

4. Super Meat Boy ; I hate this game with a burning passion, but I can't stop...

5. Bayonetta ; Easily the best action game since Ninja Gaiden Black, and personally, I don't see how anyone can hate on its completely outlandish style.

6. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit ; I don't think there has ever been a racing game by Criterion that I haven't liked. Its the perfect fusion of the original Hot Pursuit and Burnout, and continuously trying to beat my friends' best times by tenths of a second on the speedwall is addictive.

7. Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver ; The original has to be one of my favorite games of all time, and the remake didn't disappoint.

8. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood ; I was initially worried about this one. Seemed too soon after the 2nd one. Game is still awesome, but it feels like more of the same. the multiplayer is just OK.

9. Vanquish ; Action packed and fun. All shooters need rocket boosters attached to your character's thighs.

10. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX ; Its like the perfect sequel to the original.... you know what, screw it, I have to put this in my top 10.

Honorable mentions:

x. Gran Turismo 5 ; Deserves mentioning for the driving physics alone, which is amazing. It just has a lot of little problems that make it difficult for me to want to play. Maybe I just need more time with it.
x. God of War 3 ; The whole presentation was nothing aside from completely epic. Too bad I could only stomach one play through. Originally this was my 10th game, but after thinking about Pac-Man, it just had to be replaced.
x. Toy Soldiers ; Neat little tower defense game that I enjoyed quite a bit.
x. NBA Jam ; Have 4 buddies on a couch playing this is still a blast, cost way too much though.
x. Hydro Thunder Hurricane ; Fun sequel to the original.

Excellent year overall, I still need to play Fallout: New Vegas, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Donkey Kong Country Returns (my Wii pretty much imploded) and Dead Rising 2.
 

toastyToast

Member
Dec 18, 2008
23,783
0
0
1. Bayonetta
2. Super Mario Galaxy 2
3. Donkey Kong Country Returns
4. Super Meat Boy
5. Mass Effect 2
6. Persona 3 Portable
7. Assassin's Creed 2 PC
8. Super Street Fighter IV
9. Final Fantasy XIII (I was disappointed but I still played it for over 100 hours :lol )
10. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
 

Iksenpets

Banned
Sep 3, 2007
6,208
0
0
1. Mass Effect 2
2. Red Dead Redemption
3. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
4. Bayonetta
5. Limbo
6. Super Mario Galaxy
7. Halo: Reach
8. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
9. Civilization 5
10. Fable 3
 

Kntj

Member
Aug 17, 2007
271
0
0
1. Super Meat Boy ; Perfect controls, great music and more content than I'll ever be able to finish. Had to buy it after trying one level of the demo.
2. Nier ; I might be overrating this one, because it's the most recent one for me, but rpg of the gen so far
3. Mass Effect 2
4. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker ; I think I played more of this than any other game this year. The extra missions were a bit repetitive though. Story fell flat at some point and I realized it's not mgs5, but portable ops 2. My save data was corrupted :(
5. Fable 3
6. Halo: Reach
7. Alan Wake
8. Heavy Rain
9. Gran Turismo 5
10. Bioshock 2

x. Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth ; Worst in the series, but I like AA so much that I happily take anything like it.
 

Ashes

Member
Dec 11, 2008
23,382
0
845
Greater London
1. Gt5.
2. Bayonetta
3. Vanquish

4. God of war 3
6. Halo Reach
7. COD:BLOPS
8. Super Meatboy
...

I've got Mario galaxy 2/Mass effect 2/ Red dead redemption, and they may very well have challenged my top 3.

..

Gt5: Wasn't first on my first, second, third list. now it is. Definitive console driving sim of this generation. It's not perfect, but I was forgetting for a second how much attention this games gets. It offers too much not to be my game of the year.

Bayonetta: Beautiful game. Beautiful gameplay. This studio is the most underrated developer, metacritically & sales figures wise.

Vanquish: Third person shooter done right. I think gears 3 will have the same level of improvement over gears 2, that gears 2 had over gears 1. In other words, Vanquish rains supreme as the best third person shooter on console for me.

Super Meat Boy: Wowsers. Straight up from the get go. This blows so many platformers out the water.

Mario galaxy 2: Will go deeper into later on this year, as I haven't finished this yet.

God of war: Started so well, like all god of wars. But unlike the other two, this dipped a bit in the middle, and didn't pick up all that much through out. Still love this franchise to bits, but not my top 5 after this. (edit- franchises I mean)

Red Dead Redemption: open world is not my cup of tea. So this being here is some achievement.

Halo Reach: All round excellent game with good pacing, good ai, good variation. Vehicular parts are shit. The ground ones I mean. Graphically meh, even if it is better than the last few ones.

COD:BLOPS: This was such a good game, till it got repetitive, and the infinity ai lines suck. The few times they tried something different, it was awkward, especially, that level, where you catapult bombs one from the prison rooftops.
 

eternalb

Member
Mar 15, 2007
1,184
0
0
Los Angeles
1. Mass Effect 2 ; Cinematic gaming at its finest.
2. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood ; Always something to do.
3. Halo Reach ; Mulitplayer at its most refined.
4. Alan Wake ; Engrossing story.
5. Lara Craft and the Guardian of Light ; Great co-op/girlfriend game.
6. Donkey Kong Country Returns
7. Red Dead Redemption
8. Fallout: New Vegas
9. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
10. Super Meat Boy

Honorable Mentions:

Deathsmiles; Best game to come with an obsolete collectors item (faceplate). I have a slim 360
God of War 3; Best HD boobies :)
 

tenz0r

Member
Jan 1, 2010
328
0
630
1. Mass Effect 2
2. Red Dead Redemption
3. Bayonetta
4. Assassin Creed Brotherhood
5. Heavy Rain
6. Alan Wake
7. Halo Reach
8. God of War 3
9. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
10. Splinter Cell Conviction

x. Donkey Kong Country Returns
x. Fallout New Vegas
 

voodoopanda

Member
Dec 10, 2007
2,290
0
0
1. Deadly Premonition
2. Sin and Punishment 2: Star Successor
3. 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
4. VVVVVV
5. Bayonetta
6. Super Meat Boy
7. Limbo
8. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
9. Snoopy Flying Ace
10. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game

x. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
x. Super Street Fighter 4
x. Kirby's Epic Yarn
x. Etrian Odyssey 3: The Drowned City
 

Amory

Member
Jul 10, 2008
10,229
63
645
Connecticut
1. Mass Effect 2
2. NBA 2k11
3. Gran Turismo 5
4. Red Dead Redemption
5. Heavy Rain
6. Picross 3D
7. Limbo
8. Fallout: New Vegas
9. Darksiders
10. Game Dev Story
 

parasight

Member
Aug 27, 2007
3,685
0
0
Toronto
1. Assassins Creed: Brotherhood
2. Dance Central
3. NBA 2K11
4. Limbo
5. Game Dev Story
6. Rock Band 3
7. Infinity Blade
8. Bayonetta
9. Darksiders
10. Picross 3D

x. DJ Hero 2
x. Fruit Ninja
x. Kinect Sports
 

JohngPR

Member
Dec 5, 2008
3,408
0
0
Orlando, FL
www.johngpr.wordpress.com
1. Red Dead Redemption- It was hard to choose between ME2 and RDR, but ultimate I chose RDR because it went from a game I only got because I was talked into it (for the multiplayer), to being of the best experiences I had with a game last year. The characters, gameplay, and awesome ending really set it apart from most games of 2010.

2. Mass Effect 2- Mass Effect 2 took almost every negative from Mass Effect 1 and turned it into a positive. Bioware created a fully realized sci fi universe here that’s as deep and interesting as any universe before it.

3. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood- More of a single player campaign than I initially anticipated, ACB took everything I loved from ACII and added your very own band of bad ass assassin's to your arsenal. Add to that a satisfying and unique multiplayer mode and you have yourself one of my favorite games of 2010. Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

4. God of War III- God of War III sports one of the most amazing openings to any game I've played. Although the ending left fans polarized, the brutal gameplay, visual fidelity, and cool boss battles make this one of my favorites from last year.

5. NBA 2K11- Yea, that's right a sports game. NBA 2K11 is my WOW, my Start Craft II...the game I'll continue to play all year round. Updated gameplay, graphics, well pretty much everything really make this one of the best sports games I've played, period and that's without mentioning the Jordan Challenge!

6. Super Mario Galaxy 2- It was a toss up for me for best Wii between this and Donkey Kong Country Returns. You can pretty much flip a coin as to which game was my favorite of the two. Ultimately, it’s amazing what Super Mario Galaxy 2 does in a 3D space, so that nudges it over Donkey Kong Country. Between SMG2, Kirby, and DK, 2010 was an awesome year for Nintendo platformers and I couldn’t be happier about that.

7. Donkey Kong Country Returns- Retro is in rare form (see what I did there?) with DKCR. A sequel that takes the best things about the original and adds new wrinkles, this game is a (barrel) blast to play through. I also like the fact that they didn't skimp on the difficulty. It provides enough of a challenge to keep things fun, which is something that Kirby lacked.

8. Bayonetta- I love the fact that Platinum Games developed a game and didn't give a shit whether you liked it or not. Seeing a developer fully express their creative freedom is very rare these days so I can appreciate when a game with that ambition comes along. Bayonetta (the game) is equals parts fast, fun, and bat shit insane.

9. Heavy Rain- Despite its problems, Heavy Rain was successful in bringing adventure games away from their text based roots and into the next generation.

10. Darksiders- This game is the mature Zelda you'll never get from Nintendo. Although it really didn't do anything original necessarily, Darksiders did manage to combine a bunch of different gameplay aspects into one satisfying experience.
 

Dave Long

Banned
Jun 8, 2004
6,242
0
0
47
Reading, PA
davelong.wordpress.com
Allan Holdsworth said:
That's pretty much everything I've played that was released in 2010. I wish these GOTY things were made 6 months in the next year, since this list isn't representative of my fav of 2010 games.
I would really like to see GAF conduct this same GOTY voting six months into 2010. Would be really interesting to see if results change or if they end up mostly the same?

I think once people have time to live with games for awhile, they realize what's really great and what is not.
 

Flib

Member
Dec 11, 2008
1,588
0
0
1. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
2. Mass Effect 2
3. Red Dead Redemption
4. Minecraft
5. Super Meat Boy
6. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty
7. Metro 2033
8. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game
9. Dragon Quest 9: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
10. Hydro Thunder Hurricane

x. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
x. VVVVVV
x. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2 – Chaos Rising
x. God of War 3
x. Halo: Reach
x. Donkey Kong Country Returns
x. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Games I have on my backburner and am sad I haven't played yet: too many to count, but mainly Nier and Resonance of Fate.
 

radcliff

Member
Jun 10, 2004
1,840
1
1,255
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2
2. Mass Effect 2
3. Bayonetta
4. Red Dead Redemption
5. Donkey Kong Country Returns
6. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
7. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
8. Super Street Fighter IV
9. Goldeneye 007
10. Metroid: Other M
 

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff Member
May 30, 2004
21,014
8,236
1,450
Dave Long said:
I would really like to see GAF conduct this same GOTY voting six months into 2010. Would be really interesting to see if results change or if they end up mostly the same?

I think once people have time to live with games for awhile, they realize what's really great and what is not.
I'm hesitant to write up a list for this thread, yeah, since there are a lot of games I waited for the steam holiday sale to pick up. My lists right now and six months from now will look vastly different.
 

Gillian Seed

Banned
Nov 24, 2009
3,348
0
0
39
Portland, OR
1. Mass Effect 2
2. Super Mario Galaxy 2
3. Fallout: New Vegas
4. Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver
5. 3D Dot Heroes
6. 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
7. Dragon Quest IX
8. Heavy Rain
9. Alpha Protocol
10. Transformers: War For Cybertron
 

Temujin

Member
Jun 7, 2004
427
0
1,230
36
Belgium
1. Bayonetta
2. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty
3. Mass Effect 2
4. Demon's Souls (PAL)
5. Toy Soldiers
6. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
7. Tropico 3: Absolute Power
8. Hydro Thunder Hurricane
9. After Burner Climax
10. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

x. Game Dev Story
x. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
x. Alan Wake
x. Limbo
x. Bioshock 2
x. God of War 3
 

Haunted

Member
Nov 16, 2006
78,207
0
0
steamcommunity.com
shintoki said:
Well, we can't get much worse than Adventure Game of the year being Flower. The bar is low!
psyduck

Should've been flight sim of the year.


But you know I was obviously referring to that stain on GAF's honour. 2008. *shamed*

Dave Long said:
I would really like to see GAF conduct this same GOTY voting six months into 2010. Would be really interesting to see if results change or if they end up mostly the same?

I think once people have time to live with games for awhile, they realize what's really great and what is not.
We did have that "one year later" thread to see what held up and what didn't. I'm sure someone will do something similar for 2010.

Of course, the actual GAF GOTY has to be done at this point in time or it loses a lot of its meaning. It's a beacon for other sites to see "oh, so that's what we should've done"
sometimes
.
 

shintoki

sparkle this bitch
Oct 9, 2007
29,365
0
1,070
Dave Long said:
I would really like to see GAF conduct this same GOTY voting six months into 2010. Would be really interesting to see if results change or if they end up mostly the same?

I think once people have time to live with games for awhile, they realize what's really great and what is not.
Many have expressed desire to push it back. I personally think a few weeks after the Steam sale would be a fair compromise, because as mentioned. We have to do it now, or it loses it's relevancy compared to the rest of the gaming world regardless of how shortsighted it is.

I'll definitely do another 1 year later at the back half though, for 2010. Past years, I had to tendency to have to make sure I filled out the list. Resulting in a lot of so-so choices. And in many cases titles I haven't played. Last year for example, I would have to add in LoL as my one, move Mirror's Edge PC down to 2, and add Killing Floor as 3. I didn't play LoL till July of this year. And KF I got at the start of the Steam sale, after I already voted.

Haunted said:
psyduck

Should've been flight sim of the year.


Haunted said:
But you know I was obviously referring to that stain on GAF's honour. 2008. *shamed*
What you are asking is trying pick out a virgin at an anime convention. But to play along, which one? :lol
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
3
0
(I plan on editing reviews in shortly, if some are missing don't hurt me)

1. VVVVVV ; This is the best platformer released in the last decade. There's absolutely no fat. Mechanics are introduced, tested, refined, developed, plumbed, and discarded within 10 minutes, and it feels totally organic. The open world feels even better than Super Metroid, and the individual world-segments are beautifully self-contained. Every single platforming puzzle works. Of the entire game, there is only one single screen that I feel is suboptimal. It doesn't overstay its welcome; it has about 3-4 hours worth of content, and that's exactly how long it'll take you. Every screen makes your grin wider as you realize that, yes, they did just pull that trick out of the bag. There's something to be said for perfectly executed modesty. What's wonderful is that despite the handful of mechanics, they all descend from one base mechanic--you can flip from ceiling to floor or vice versa but can't change directions during a flip. The crown jewel is an optional sequence called "Veni, Vidi, Vici" which is the single most challenging sequence I've played in a game in years and so so satisfying when you beat it. What's most poignant about the VVV sequence (and thus VVVVVV as a whole) is that the theme of being able to do these amazing space flips but not even make a little hop causes both thematic frustration--I can see that damn shiny trinket, why the hell can't I climb over this block and get there--and puzzle-related frustration. Wonderful.

2. Super Meat Boy ; I don't really like the aesthetic of Super Meat Boy, I don't really like the style of the cutscenes (although I do like the homages), and the music grates on me after a while. But it's here because it's got 300 levels of which at least 220-230 are really well made and it throws probably a solid 100 mechanics at you (of which almost all work--the repulsor magnets are pretty much just miserable). It really does it well, too, like a great student of all the great platformers. Each mechanic is presented in some surface level fashion, but a few levels later it'll come up again, and this time it'll be trickier. The replays are perfect, the game trimmed as much cruft as possible to make retrying a level an enjoyable experience, the Dark World levels are some of the best remixes in gaming and reminded me of games like Eversion that explore these concepts. The controls are dead-on, most of the extra characters feel as good to use as Meat Boy, the game is tough but very rarely frustrating. I ended up getting all the achievements and peaked around #100 on the leaderboards although I didn't go back to optimize my speed much so I'm sure I'm in the toilet by now.

3. Fruit Ninja ; Fruit Ninja is kind of the opposite of Meat Boy's kitchen sink approach. You're a ninja. Ninjas (?) hate fruit. Cut up the fruit. Although the game has been patched with more modes, the main mode remains the most compelling. Cut up fruit. Don't cut bombs. Works with a single finger or multitouch. This is the best pure arcade / score attack game this year. One of the real triumphs is the satisfying splat visuals and noises you get for slicing a fruit. It would have been so easy for the same game with a slightly more sterile presentation to not be half as enjoyable. In that sense, it had an almost PopCap-like sense of presentation mastery. The audiovisual success/failure cues stand up with Peggle on the most emotionally involving/rewarding.

4. Alpha Protocol ; What a trainwreck! This is very obviously a game that was made by a number of very intelligent very bold core designers sitting down, pitching some great ideas, and then pretty much utterly failing to make that game. Whole chunks of the game were clearly unfinished or rewritten at the last minute, the development process was obviously a disaster, and it got delayed over and over again. Many things remain unrealized; character development is interesting but it's super easy to back yourself into a relative corner, and this stinks from untested or unfixed design issues. Some mechanics are poorly explained, the game doesn't perform particularly well, and it's clearly very rough around the edges. But boy golly is this game more brimming with potential than pretty much any I've ever played. Absolutely killer writing, awesome characterization, and a far gutsier main character than Badass/Saint Shepard, it is possible to make Thornton a genuinely insane schizophrenic or a nerd trying to act suave. Secondary characters are rich and allude to a world that could have been even better with more time, more money, and more people working on it. Some of the best political themes in gaming ever--there are some really rich allusions about media control, terror-through-fear, mass panic, the psychology of crowds, to say nothing of the central premise of a government agent operating as a sort of rogue spy. Mission design is great, with the tense ice cream scene in Rome or the ambiguous sniper mission in Rome where you can choose to take a confirmed shot at an unconfirmed baddie or let him live until further proof is found play with the player's mind, the embassy infiltration mission... just three of the many missions I really adored on a design level. I'd rather more companies go big and release this kind of title than retreat to safe press-A-to-win pap.

5. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood ; Ubisoft critically mismarketed this game. Going in, I thought (based on everything--the ads, the boxart, the announcement) that this was a multiplayer sidestory with a short single player campaign. Bzzt, wrong. This is Assassin's Creed 3, it just happens to take place in the same time period as Assassin's Creed 2. They took everything they did right with AC2 and made it better (Temples of Romulus are worthy successors to Assassin's Tombs, city building metagame kicked up to 10, inventory/items/equipment all added to), added new layers, tried new experiments--some successful (recruiting new assassins) others not (stealth challenge levels). What amazes me is that the game has literally dozens of mechanics that do nothing. You collect art just to stare at it on walls. You upgrade equipment but you could easily finish the game with starting equipment. You upgrade a city to get money that's not useful for anything. You upgrade assassin trainees that aren't useful for anything. You do side missions that lead to nothing. The platforming Assassin's Tombs / Temples of Romulus lead to nothing. The reward for playing with the games mechanics is the gameplay itself, which is refreshing and fun. If you are looking for a more external reward, you won't find it. The ending cliffhanger is hilarious. The Subject 16 segment probably goes a little far past the "wonderful mystery" territory and into "thinks it is cooler and more compelling than it is" territory, but that was inevitable from the growing confidence of the series. Can't wait for AC3.

6. Mass Effect 2 ; I think this is also the most disappointing choice on my list. I pre-ordered ME2, paid full price, took the day off work to play it on release. I had previously finished ME1 6.5 times, and the original is definitely my game of the generation. So by that standard, ME2 is a disappointing sequel. I think ME2 is definitely a more fully realized execution of its concept. They came up with what they wanted to do and did it. ME1s failings are all failures to deliver on a grand, ambitious design. ME2s failings all stem from the utter modesty in its designs. Rather than fix ME1s problems, they just wholesale removed problematic mechanics. With Subject Zero, BioWare went for a cynically lame "badass" that seemed like a worthy followup to the Marilyn Manson ad campaign for Dragon Age, and the dialog is definitely written to have a harder edge, but then the sex scenes are shot as PG-13 style allusions. Either change in general would be fine--a harder tone is fine and a softer tone is fine too--but the changes combined constitute a fear of alienating anyone, and that's something that reflects in pretty much every facet of the game. I feel like a guy who is complaining that his favourite band sold out to make a buck, but that's what happened here. The idea was to turn a 3 million selling game into a 5+ million selling game, and they did that by toning down any elements that were characteristic. It's a beautiful, well written game with a huge number of well realized levels and a lot of fun missions, and it belongs on this top 10 list, but it's a shocking step back in terms of design from ME1. It's still an A+ game and a lot was done right, which is why it's so heartbreaking to have to put it on a top 10 list while simultaneously saying almost entirely negative things about the game.

7. Mafia II ; Here is an interesting game specimen. A lot of the backlash against Grand Theft Auto IV was that the game had a great campaign but nothing else to do in the world. Mafia II comes along, and despite the fact that it takes place in an open world, the exact same complaint is true. There are no side missions. There is no mission choice. There's no fun to be had in wreaking mayhem in the world and running from the cops. The open world is totally incidental to the main campaign, which is a linear action / adventure / third person shooter. With that in mind, the game knocks the campaign out of the park. The shooting feels great, the driving is fantastic, they kept Mafia's innovative "cops actually ticket or arrest you when you break laws" system--speeding is a crime, as are collisions with pedestrian vehicles. The arc is similar to any great Mafia story and there's generous pilfering from The Godfather, Once Upon a Time in America, Scarface, and others. But I think what impressed me the most is that about half-way through the game there's a major plot twist that results in the game skipping from 1942 to about 1951. When this happens, the world changes. The cars are different, the clothes are different, the music is different, the world just feels different. The dreary war years have given way to a liberating, modern decade. This distinction might seem subtle, but it's the best world transformation I've seen since Final Fantasy VI. Fun from beginning to end.

8. Alan Wake ; On a lot of levels, Alan Wake didn't work. The game design is far more modest than the original pitch, even with the DLC resolving the ending it still feels a little bit like gibberish, combat never really feels satisfying, Alan's apparent asthma is one of the most frustrating control failures of this year, the collectible placement is rarely rewardable. It's not technically great, it's sub-HD and very visibly so, and it really should have had a 60fps/1080p PC version. For all the complaining about the collectibles telegraphing plot twists, the camera actually telegraphs them far worse with the bizarre choice of doing cutaways to enemies who are sneaking up on you. I'd say it's Remedy's worst game. That being said, Remedy is an exceptional developer, and even their worst game is still amongst the best of the year. They nailed the environment. Whether you look at AW as inspired by Twin Peaks or just situate it in the Pacific NW in general, it really feels like you're there. The writing is quick and witty even if there are fewer lines than resonate as well as Max Payne's. The game constantly straddles the line between clever and too clever by half, but I think on the balance it is clever enough to justify the smug self-congratulation. It's a genuinely funny game in terms of the writing. The episodic structure works far better than this generation's two other episodic games (the dreadful Alone in the Dark 2008 and the even more dreadful Lost Via Domus) and the music choices are superb and show a keen awareness of the pop culture that the game plays with. The pacing, as well, is amongst the best in the year. I think this makes it clear that although Alan Wake is not a perfect game, the experience is much greater than the sum of its parts so it belongs on this list.

9. Heavy Rain ; Controversial!! Let me start with the gameplay. Indigo Prophecy had serious gameplay problems. QTEs basically suck. But what Heavy Rain has isn't so much QTEs as it is context-sensitive control. In Heavy Rain, the buttons logically map to the parts of your character's body that are moving at the time, which makes the controls feel more natural and less like Simon Says. There are no extended segments of timed button presses. But most critically, the game deals with failure in the narrative; maybe the impact of failure is basically nil until certain critical moments (of course you don't notice this until the second playthrough, so the illusion is great anyway) but the point is that unlike Indigo Prophecy which would mostly fall into "Sequence failed, repeat sequence" (a failure that RE4 and God of War also have), Heavy Rain looks at failure as another possible outcome, rather than a wall that needs to be overcome to progress. I like that. I don't care to classify it in genre; interactive novel or light adventure would be the closest. I think most people can agree that whether or not they'd like a more actiony game, Heavy Rain is an immeasurable improvement on the QTE-style control versus previous experiments. I like the story. I think many of the criticisms made are true; Norman Jayden has a comical accent and he's basically an exaggerated goon. Typical movie-style "if the characters just said what they were thinking this whole mess would clear up instantly" logic is present throughout the game. Madison is basically a floozy whose only purpose is build up Ethan, a guy who is basically a pretty big loser. But most of these are somewhat intentional. Ever watch a film noir? Detective stories always have larger than life, caricature-style characters. It's a hallmark of the style. They always have convenient logic that only allows the conclusion to happen exactly when it does, and always allows insane clues to be picked up where necessary and obvious ones to be missed when necessary. All of the best noir of the decade (Brick, Season 1 of Veronica Mars, Mullholland Drive, Memento, especially stuff like Sin City, or even the cheekier lighter Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) suffers variously from these "problems". The emotional tone of the game wouldn't work without this specific setup. I think the criticisms of the plot are more germane. Several plot choices, including the Ethan red herring / unreliable narrator twist are poor choices. The original direction of the game as detailed by Cage would have been a much worse story still and most of the worst elements of what did get released are holdovers from that story. Still, the pacing was aggressive, there was good use of tension and release, the perspective switching was fun, the story was a bit of a groaner but still a fun yarn, and the tone/setting were great. Combine all this with the fact that I think the gameplay was successfully executed, and you have in my opinion a great game.

10. Costume Quest ; Childlike wonder is a tough thing for an adult writer to capture because it generally tends to be mostly condescendingly treating kids like drooling idiots. Costume Quest evoked a lot of genuinely childlike spirit, but maybe mostly in a Pinky and the Brain kind of way. The battle system is basically four or five flashes in the pan; get a new costume, play with the timing micro-game (like Mario RPG), watch the hilariously over the top special move, move on. I think that's okay. Some of the best RPGs ever have pretty rote battle systems, and CQ has the benefit of having a fixed and low number of fights so that the weaknesses of the battle system don't have too much time to set in. The collection elements reminded me positively of early Pokemon or Pog. The atmosphere was really good and I didn't find myself missing voice acting or more intense background music. While both the game itself and the DLC are a little short for my liking, I find it hard to figure out how long I'd like them to be because if they were too much longer, the thinness of the substance would overwhelm the brilliance of the style, so I'll settle on saying that CQ did it just right. It's slight, but it's also slightly wonderful.

Quid pro quos:
- If a great game isn't on my list, it's because I haven't played it yet rather than having played it and not liked it
- Two of the games on my list I've played since December 25th so I suspect my full list 6 months from now would be different
- Although I own every system and bought games for every system this year, I didn't finish a single DS, PSP, or Wii game this year. I'll get around to them, I swear!
 
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