The Obligatory ‘Game of the Year’ Article 2010

December 27, 2010, Author: The TIMJ Team

When you’re a sequel to one of the best action-RPG’s in years, the level of expectation is naturally going to reach astronomical heights. You knew that about Mass Effect 2 before you even put the disc in the tray and thus, there was a great feeling of trepidation about even playing the game at all. However, ME2 did exactly what every good sequel should do, give you more of the things that you loved about the series in the first place, provide a compelling story that continues the threads that the first game left behind, provide lots of opportunities to explore and give us lots of action.

Mass Effect 2 did everything we could ask of it but also managed to improve the combat system already in place and create an even more exciting, enticing narrative than its predecessor. Even though the game came out in January, when you first played it, you knew that this was a solid Game of the Year contender and it would be difficult for anything to top it. As far as I’m concerned, nothing did and that’s why I can quite honestly say that Mass Effect 2 is my Game of the Year 2010!

Runners up: Red Dead Redemption, Halo: Reach.

While it may seem a bit bizarre for my game of the year to be such a short XBLA release, it struck a chord with me and I haven’t really stopped thinking about it since.

The thing that I loved the most about Limbo was how simplistic it was in terms of game play, yet so deep in terms of content and story. While it may have been dark and quite graphic with Noir visuals, the subject matter was beautiful and sweet. I don’t think any other game this year sparked quite so much discussion on what it was really all about.

In Limbo you play the role of a small boy who has awoken in a dark and dingy forest. There is no clear story unless you read the synopsis provided before the download. Nothing will prepare you for the amount of ways this boy will meet his death, though. Pierced through the skull by giant spiders, crushed by rolling boulders and sliced by rotating razors, it’s all quite grim.

Dark subject matter aside , Limbo for me was a complicated statement on the afterlife that was beautifully represented by simple graphics and a silent story.

Runners up: Resonance of Fate, Fallout: New Vegas.

Game of the year is something that I usually find quite hard to pick. Like every year I tend not to go for the overly popular franchises, but pick a game that I have spent a lot of time with and enjoyed thoroughly. This year is no exception and although you may not agree with me, Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga would be my game of the year.

Keeping with a tradition of high fantasy and giving the player an immersive storyline, Larian Studios has produced something spectacular. Originally released in 2009, Divinity 2: Ergo Draconis was a broken game; one that I played and wanted to enjoy, but just couldn’t. Realising the error of their ways, Larian not only rereleased it again this year but accompanied with an additional storyline continuing the saga. This new game, remastered with a new game engine, has eradicated the issues of the old. With over 100 hours of gameplay and hours of dialogue and adventure, Dragon Night Saga is the game that it should have been and one of the best releases in 2010. Becoming a dragon and taking on a man who’s damned and hellbent on revenge; you will forge alliances and lose friends as you save the land of Rivellon. This game is one worth owning.

Runners up: Final Fantasy XIII, Red Dead Redemption.

While the answer to this would have been World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, I don’t think it would be fair to put an expansion pack for an already large game as a new game in and of itself. Mafia II ‘whacked’ all other contenders in my eyes for this spot; be it God of War 3, Halo: Reach, or any other high-profile video game released this year. Believable characters, great graphics, a strong story, and an awesome soundtrack are just a few of the reasons why I chose this game. However, what really impressed me about this game was its ability to draw you in. I didn’t want to put the controller down for more than 30 minutes, not even for World of Warcraft! (Haha). I’m not sure what it was; The intricately designed world or historical validity.

I just know that if and when (probably when…for those of us who beat Mafia II, you know what I’m talking about) Mafia 3 comes out, it is going to steal from me a 60 dollar wad of bills and assorted coins. I urge anyone who has not yet had a chance to play this game to hurry up and find some time for it. I promise you that it will be worth it.

Runners up: God of War 3, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

We are living in a world with so many games exploiting DLC that a game like Call of Duty Black Ops could end up costing you £100 over a year, so for this reason alone, this year’s game of the year was a two-horse race for me. Both Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Red Dead Redemption showed you can provide a fantastic game experience and additional DLC without ripping gamers off.

As a life long fan of Sergio Leone’s films, like Once Upon a Time in the West and of course Ennio Morricone’s timeless soundtracks (“The Ecstasy of Gold” track still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, thinking of a young Charlie Bronson and that Harmonica), my game of the year would have to be Red Dead Redemption.

Any game that allows you to be immersed inside a template of Leone’s world and walk a mile in John Marston’s shoes, the ex-outlaw forced to track down his old gang is like a dream come true for this ageing cowboy. If I put on my Turtle Beach headphones, I can live that dream in what I would consider to be not just a game, but an experience.

There has been a wealth of quality DLC to enhance the game rather than quick cash-ins too, even if you think it’s all taking itself way to seriously you can introduce Zombies into the wild west via the Undead Nightmare Pack in a game that really has everything.

After winning so many awards, my only question is how Red Dead Redemption has not been put forward for the upcoming Gaming BAFTAs in March, but that is a story I will save for 2011.

Runners up: Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Angry Birds.

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