The Obligatory ‘Game of the Year’ Article 2010

December 27, 2010, Author: The TIMJ Team

So, like every other site out there, we’re jumping on the bandwagon to provide our list of games that have enriched our lives this year. Just as last year, with our Game of the Year article we’re very keen to highlight what a diverse team we have and show what our site is all about: Opinion.

So without much further ado, there’s some obvious, dubious and debatable selections in the articles ahead. Agree, disagree? Hit us up in the comments section. Make sure you check back in two days time to see which games managed to disappoint us the most this year!

Oh Bayonetta, you were so very close. You managed to hold off what the public might have thought to be ‘bigger games’ in my GOTY shortlist for most of the year, and just as I thought that you were about to clinch it, you were pipped at the post by Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. It was by mere chance too that I would end up with the review copy that would end your lengthy spell at the top of my list. I’m sorry it ended this way, but I’m happy with my choice.

Ahem… sorry about that, but Bayonetta was at least owed an explanation in this messy divorce. My choice for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was, in the end, a relatively simple one. This is a game so rich in content that is not only beautiful, but bold and significant. With this iteration it turned Assassin’s Creed from a series I merely enjoyed into a series I evangelised about. Offering not only a single player campaign that is as close to perfection as I’ve seen since Nathan Drake found himself among thieves, but also managing to provide a truly original multiplayer component that stands out masterfully in a sea of shooters. Easily the best, most polished and most immersive game I’ve played this year.

Runners up: Bayonetta, Splinter Cell: Conviction.

Being a huge fan of the too-often overlooked Mass Effect, pre-ordering the sequel as soon as possible was a must. When it came through my door a day before my 21st birthday, I could never have imagined how awesome it would be.

From the start, it reinforces everything that made the original so fantastic. The epic space opera, straddling Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica with ease and managing to create a huge, believable sci-fi galaxy to get lost in. The freedom of travel and choice running through every facet of the game, from how to react in conversations to where to start your journey and which planets to visit. The peerless ‘interactive cut-scene’ conversation system and the ability to truly create your personal Commander Shepard all back in force and enhanced for the new experience. Even the elements that failed the original have been brought up to scratch.

The somewhat flimsy combat of the first game has been hammered into shape, creating a cover-shooter experience to rival (and in some cases trounce) the competition. Planetary exploration is given a new lease of life with more missions to discover and wildly different locales to experience. The new plotline trumps that of its predecessor, twisting and turning while maintaining a solid structure and a constant level of excitement and enticement from the player. In-jokes and familiar faces, as well as the revelation of the consequences of your actions in the first game having an impact in this one, keep loyal players like myself feeling well looked after and immensely happy.

Mass Effect 2 ticks all the boxes, for fans and newcomers alike. It combines the depth and quality of an RPG, the thrilling and intriguing plot of a fantastic space epic, and the excitement and smooth playability of an advanced cover-shooter all comes together in perfect harmony to create one of the most complete, compelling and universally appealing games of all time. Bioware are at the top of their game, producing titles that are way ahead of the curve. Mass Effect 2 serves as a perfect example of this genius and that is why it’s my Game of the Year.

Runners up: Fable III, Red Dead Redemption.

My game of the year choice may come as something of a surprise. Initially I had to think about it as not many of the games I have played this year have really blown me away. I enjoyed Crackdown 2 and as a Sports fan have found some fun in the annual PES and Madden titles, but ultimately there can be only one winner.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane was released during XBLA’s “Summer of Arcade” promotion and is undoubtedly my most played game of the past calendar year. It boasts fast, high-adrenaline, good old-fashioned arcade racing and I love it.

Graphically, Hydro Thunder stands out not just against other arcade titles but also against some of the big full releases this year. There are an excellent variety of tracks and boats from the off and enough unlockables to keep even the most demanding gamers happy. What surprised me most is that in general I am not a fan of racing games yet I have been unable to put this down. It is definitely in the “easy to play, difficult to master” school of gaming and multiplayer, be it local or across xbox live, is as enjoyable as any game on the market.

In terms of pure gaming fun, I challenge anyone to find a game that surpasses Hydro Thunder: Hurricane and that is why it is my Game of the year.

Runners up: Madden 11, Sonic Colours.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of turn-based strategy games, but I’ve found Civilization V immensely enjoyable; accessible to the point I barely took any time to learn how to play, but also possessing tons of depth. Talking of depth, Halo: Reach has it by the bucketload in multiplayer and was a close contender for my no. #1 spot, but I found some aspects disappointing, particularly single player. My Game of the Year for 2010 then, is Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

I’ve loved the Battlefield series for quite a long time now, and Bad Company 2 certainly didn’t let me down. The campaign is surprisingly playable for a feature I expected to be a rubbish tack-on, and the online multiplayer is immense. Everything has been lovingly refined as the series has gone on from a tried and tested formula of gameplay, but it still feels fresh.

The destruction of buildings that the Frostbite engine allows is perhaps one of the most brilliant features, making Call of Duty’s comparatively static fields of play seem stagnant and archaic. The level of support that continues is great to see as well, with seven VIP map packs now released, along with the recent Vietnam expansion that expands the game even further.

Runners up: Civilization V, Halo: Reach.

I really dislike trying to choose a Game of the Year especially for 2010. We have had so many excellent games this year, from blockbusters like the thrilling Mass Effect 2 and expansive Red Dead Redemption, down to little indie games like the frustratingly fun VVVVV and the long-awaited Darwinia+. However, three games have stood out for me this year; Civilisation V (its way addictive!), Battlefield Bad Company 2 (its way multiplayer!) and ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead (its way realistic!). So out of those, my Game of the Year is Operation Arrowhead.

ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead is a game many of you won’t have heard of but it’s probably the game I have sunk the most of my time into. I’ve have spent several hundred hours flying over the hill of Takistan before piling out of a Blackhawk to doing several hundred different missions. It’s a game that let me play out my crazy military simulations with up to 50 human players and several hundred AI characters in a whole variety of tanks, cars, helicopters and fighter jets. However, it’s also a game that allows you and your friends to do stupid stuff like racing tractors away from attack helicopters or taking part in sniper battles at 5000m across valley’s and hills. If your PC supports it, and you’re willing to learn, this game is a ton of fun.

Runners up: Civilization V, Battlefield Bad Company 2.

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