Game of The Year: 2010

10 01 2011

The New Year brings a fresh start to our calendars and hopeful New Years resolutions and with this fresh start its only natural to look back and reflect on the year that was 2010. I absolutely love these types of thoughtful musings since we often times are so focused on whats upcoming that we forget to look and see whats in the past. This can be true of any facet of our lives however this particular post will focus on gaming as I will attempt to proclaim the best games of this past year.

Before we get started I must first put a disclaimer, this is my list and therefore you may not and in fact I hope you do not agree 100% with my findings. Secondly just because a game did not make my list or was a runner up does not mean I dislike the game its a simple fact of numbers and the sheer amount of quality games that release every year. In fact it may mean that I just haven’t played it yet. Lastly many factors come into play when I determine which game is eventually crowned however it ultimately comes down to my overall likeness of that game.

Anyways without further a do here is my Game of The Year 2010.

Morphing into the #5 spot is … Transformers: War for Cybertron

Just like last year my 5th spot was a surprise to even me. Transformers War for Cybertron was released in the early summer months and is a movie based game therefore not many including myself had high expectations. However Transformers came out of left field and was a total surprise hit for me. Transformers War for Cybertron shined were most movie based games and bland third person shooters fail, in the story and shooting mechanics. Even with all of this Transformers kept that old nostalgia Transformers feel that is so revered by fans easily making this one of the best games I played all year.

Galloping up into the #4 spot is … Red Dead Redemption

Surprised? While a consensus game of the year for most other blogs it just didn’t provide enough for me personally to reach that top spot but is easily one of the best games this past year. Red Dead Redemption is a black hole of content worthy of spending hours upon hours in. Rockstar San Diego gave us such a stunning visual world that at times I would just gallop around the barren western desert admiring the environment they have made. Luckily Rockstar also filled this open world with a multitude of activities to do as well as an intense and attention grabbing story which compliments the surroundings.

Dribbling past the competition and into the #3 spot is … NBA 2K11

Although this is my list I feel I should pretense my third pick considering I enjoy the game of basketball with Michael Jordan being my favorite player of all time. But even though I do enjoy the NBA I haven’t purchased nor played a basketball game since 2002 that should say something about the genre. All things changed with NBA 2k11. Michael Jordan was a great fit for the cover of this game as like Jordan’s game I found no inconsistencies or glaring holes but rather a pure, elegant, graceful and creative slam dunk. NBA 2K11 is one of my favorite sports games of all time easily making it into the top of my list for 2010.

Covertly shooting its way all the way to #2 is … Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty titles have always been a favorite of mine mostly due to the lasting competitive multiplayer in which I play hours upon hours with online with friends. Call of Duty Black Ops is no different as Treyarch has expanded the options while refining and focusing other areas of the multiplayer. However this year I was a huge fan of the surprising single player campaign as well. Treyarch decided to take the single player in a slightly different direction that I feel paid huge dividends. Mix this fresh single player with the always consistent, hugely popular and complete time sink of a multiplayer and Black Ops was a highlight of the 2010 year.

And lastly my 2010 Game of The Year is … Starcraft 2

I could have seen this coming from 1998 when the original Starcraft was released or later that year when the expansion Brood War was released. One of the only titles I have anticipated more than Starcraft 2 is another yet to be released Blizzard game, Diablo 3. I played both Starcraft and the expansion extensively for several years making me eager for the sequel. So much so that to date Starcraft 2 is the ONLY title I have actually purchased new hardware in order to play – a true system seller. The single player while resembling its past was well varied and included some truly incredible moments. Speaking of competitive multiplayer, Black Ops, Starcraft 2 is on a level completely on its own. This anticipation along with reverence for the series and developer not to mention the exceptional quality of the both the single player and competitive multiplayer without question make Starcraft 2 my personal ‘Game of The Year’.

I applaud all of the aforementioned games as well as the rest of the games that released in 2010.  Whats your Game of The Year? Drop a comment below and let me know.

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Game of The Year: 2009

16 02 2010

Well it’s that time of the year again, technically it’s past that time for most major blogs but that’s why this isn’t a ‘major’ blog. The main reason for the delay was I hadn’t played all of the blockbuster titles of 2009 and was going to attempt to play a few more but I figured that wouldn’t be fair to the other games I wasn’t able to play but more technically I didn’t play that game in 2009. I say that because I am certain not everyone will agree with my picks for Game of The Year and it’s not because I disliked a certain game it could very well be I have yet to play it.

I enjoy these types of reflection posts since for the most part we as gamers spend so much time and energy focusing on what’s new or upcoming that we sometimes neglect what we left in the past. This came apparent to me while looking at the games that released in 2009 and realizing just how many great games were released this past year. Its always difficult to differentiate my top games of the year or even of all time and how to pick these titles but for Game of The Year I factored in a few things like the amount of time I spent playing, overall presentation, my likeness for that title and impact on future titles just to name a few. I understand all of that can be subjective but for now that is what I choose to do since at the end of the day it is MY list. Anyways without further a do here are my games of the year 2009…

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Game Of The Year: 2008

14 01 2009

goty-08a

With 2008 in the rear view mirror and people reflecting on the year that was, I too will reflect on the masses of games that hit the shelves and crown one of them king and declare it Game Of The Year. This award if it even deserves that is a highly personal decision. For instance, what if I hate first person shooters? That would unfairly disqualify plenty of great games that deserve recognition. Mainly what I am trying to say is don’t look here or anywhere else for confirmation of your personal pick, everybody is different and no one person will be correct.

I must first try to clarify what are the pre-requisites to becoming the game of the year. In my eyes it is not one distinguishable object rather a multitude of things that makes a game enjoyable and better yet the game of the year. One of the things I believe these game must try to do is establish a genre by trying something new or redoing something in a different way that makes it more entertaining and immersing. Here are a few of the runners up I chose. Although all of these games are great and deserve their own recognition there can be only one. Which will be the “Game of the Year”, keeping reading to find out.

Our first runner up is… Fallout 3

This was a tough decision and almost ended up being a tie but after careful consideration I think I made the right decision. This experience is very deep and realistic and offers hours upon hours of gameplay definitely making it worth playing and re-playing. The world you explore, called the wasteland, is yours to journey at your will in which you will encounter many different characters and enemies. The main quests are interesting and expansive however there are many side quests that can also be completed by just exploring the desolate areas of D.C. The visuals are impressive along with the extensive attention to detail in even the smallest areas. At its soul Fallout 3 is an open ended action RPG but also incorporates other gameplay genres such as first person shooter and survival horror. During the course of your quests your decisions truly make an impact on the outcome of the game and often come with consequences that you must deal with. The combat includes a new way to engage your enemies called VAT’s, which that can lead to gruesome animations and is a nice change of pace for regular combat. While fighting raiders, super mutants, enclave soldiers and the likes with the vast amount of weapons on your disposal you will begin to gain experience. Which each bit of experience you will be one step closer to the intricate leveling system which unfortunately is capped at level 20. I personally didn’t really get into the first hour of the game but am glad I gave it time as it became complex, exciting, addicting and fun. Much can be found lurking in the darkest corners of desolate Washington DC and surprisingly it’s not politicians – if you overlooked this game earlier make an effort to pick it up now.

Splashing in at #2 is… Bioshock

Some may be confused by this pick thinking I may be a year behind and although I am late I assure you this is no typo. Although previously released on the Xbox 360 and PC I personally had yet to play it, which was a mistake. The experience was just has advertised and worth all of the hype despite having to wait over a year. Bioshock is a first person shooter that takes place in a utopian city, Rapture, which has fallen on hard times and is located far below the ocean’s surface. The design of and layout of said city is fantastic and even while laying waste to these decaying genetic freaks the world around you feels alive. The experience of this game is what drives you to play and immerses you into the game despite being technically sound. The moral aspect of the little sisters puts a different twist on video games and is one of the only games that had me still thinking after I turned it off. While the combat is more slowly paced in comparison with more traditional FPS the addition of plasmids is enjoyable. Plasmids are genetic modifications you are able to unlock and include such powers as discharging an electric pulse, super healing abilities, and shooting fire from your hands. Graphically the PS3 version is mostly identical to the critically acclaimed previous releases but adds a Survivor difficulty and also includes trophies. Therefore if you have yet to play this game take the plunge and go buy it.

Leaping its way to #3 is… Mirror’s Edge

If I only had one word to describe this game it would be “innovative”. Due to its uniqueness, like faith, this game has many hurdles to leap compared to more traditional games. The visual style is a very attractive, clean and crisp style that is pleasing to the eyes. The story unfolds as faith; the main character is part of an underground courier service set to deliver sensitive information and documents. During these deliveries you control the character in first person perspective through the city while jumping, gliding and grabbing to escape from enemies and when these moves are done right they feel flawless, thrilling, and satisfying. However the experience changes when engaging in any melee combat and seems to be counter intuitive to the overall fluid movement of the game. During the story the reason for running changes but it doesn’t seem to matter although still satisfying. The campaign is broken up into different acts which are separate by animated cut scenes that deliver the information and while visually different from the game style still look attractive. While traveling across rooftops, along walls and jumping over walls onto building tops you can help but to think this is different and cool. On the other hand be careful because as much as this game can be fulfilling and thrilling it can also be confusing and infuriating. Although not for everyone I must applaud the leaps this game attempts to land and if given the right thought is a pure joy to play.

Creatively building its way all the way up to #4 is… Little Big Planet

“Creativity” -I know, I know it’s another one word description for a game, but it fits. Little Big Planet is built around this idea as everything can be customized from your character to your environment and even your own levels. The game has very high ambitions and largely succeeds on most levels. This game almost deserves to be in the top 5 strictly for breaking into a new mold and being very bold while doing just that. The main game is centered on a sequential progression story mode which consists of eight themed worlds with a fantastic back story and short but fun journeys. The story mode while fairly short to complete has many extras that will take some time to find. Then again the real gem is the level creator and online community, essential anything that you saw in the story mode can be replicated with the tools provided in the level creator. The tools needed are all accessible to the player and very comprehensive. There appears to be a slight learning curve when creating different levels but if you ever run out of ideas simply go online to play levels that were created by other users. These levels can then be saved for future playing and if you truly enjoyed the creator you can search other levels made by them. This means over time Little Big Planet will continue to grow as the community expands and becomes more creative. The whole experience is nicely wrapped up and very intuitive for the user whether playing the story mode with a friend or exploring other planets for those must play user created levels. Whether or not you have a creative spot in your mind, I can’t imagine anyone not playing this game.

Stealing its way into the top 5 is… Grand Theft Auto IV

People’s view of this game is always polar opposites, they either love it or hate. I noticed other people had left out GTA 4 from their contenders which I can understand, I just could not. The game despite its hold ups basically defined the modern era of sandbox play. That is the reason you play these games not for the storyline therefore I think it’s unfair to judge it based on that. Even with that statement I don’t believe the storyline is bad, just not reinvented. But when you sell as many units as this series does why try to re-invent anything? However in the new installment of the series you play as a new protagonist, named Niko, terrorizing a new city called Liberty City. The storyline follows the traditional gameplay of its predecessors where your character is given quests by a criminal faction who you are hired by. The ultimate choice on what to do however is up to you and the consequences or those actions are yours to bear, whatever they may be. Niko’s new tricks this time around include the ability to scale fences, shimmy along ledges, and finally, taking cover behind objects. While not perfect — the skill to stick close to walls, parked cars, and other cover greatly improves the gunplay in GTA IV. Another welcomed addition is online multiplayer which is seemingly integrated into the game and includes such modes as Deathmatch and Race. But make no mistake about it; the single player non-campaign mode is the real reason to play this wonderful expansive game. The minor flaws you will encounter are easy to overlook considering the vast amount of thought and detail that was put into this game. Simply put, you must at least experience this game if only once.

Game of the Year 2008 is… Metal Gear Solid 4

When the only con I can think of is that it ultimately ends, then I can’t help but make this game of the year. It as an unprecedented brilliant mix of storytelling and gameplay that convey a story that is both convoluted and very compelling. Which of course is to be expected of such a sequel to the series and therefore believe should not even be considered a weakness. Obviously I am a fan of the series and this game did not disappoint while carefully tying all of the loose ends together in a beautiful package for the user. From a technical stand point this game without a doubt is the most visually stunning game I have ever seen and keeps that consistently down to its roots. After my first play through I was awestruck, happy I was able to see the end but sad that it was over. If you are not familiar with the series you play as an aging solid snake and without giving too much of the story away play a pivotal role in a deep power struggle. The game is broken up in different acts and often seamlessly will transition from cinematic to gameplay. Metal Gear Solid 4 walks the narrow line between action and stealth gameplay – and feels comfortable no matter which way you decide to play it. The level design and enemy AI is top notch and present a challenge even with the redefined combat controls and immense amount of weapons. As indicated earlier you will spend a fair amount of time watching cinematic scenes however I don’t feel this hinders the game at all but instead adds emotion and tension to an already wonderful game. Also featured on the disc is an online mode which can be cumbersome to log on to, but a nice extra. Simply put this game is a cut above the rest and truly showcases the ability of the platform and MUST be experienced by everyone which is why it has earned my game of the year.

Think of a game that deserves to be on this list, or maybe you have a whole different list. Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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