Home > Random Thoughts, Rants, Uncategorized, Video Games > 2010 Game of the Year Nominees

2010 Game of the Year Nominees

2010 was another great year for gaming. It was abundant in fresh and rich gaming experiences. Above all else; fun. Lets face it, gamers are a very difficult group to entertain. They can smell bullshit from a mile away and they’re not afraid of being vocal about how much a game sucks. If a gaming experience can’t hold our attention, then it has no place in our consoles/PCs, let alone our library. It will be ejected so it can be returned, sold, traded, trashed, or broken. However, the year is winding down and it’s time to look back at the games that ARE worthy of our attention and hard-earned cash. These are the quality games that have made me lose track of time and forced me into work the day after with bags under my eyes. In no particular order, I present to you my five nominees for Game of the Year.

Bayonetta – Yes, this game came out at the dawn of 2010 (January 5th) and is largely overlooked by the gaming community. Bayonetta is bursting from the seams with it’s Japanese sensibilities and it doesn’t let up. Over-the-top and unforgettable moments populate the disc. The makers of Viewtiful Joe crafted a satisfying and kinetic action game that is lengthy and a complete pleasure to play throughout. It’s elegant chaining system will have you racking up stylish combos and unloading lead with the utmost ease. The accessibility can please newbies and veterans of the action genre alike, ANYBODY can play this game. Sexy femme fatale? Check. Guns? Check. Sword? Check. Giant bosses? Giant check. Sexually ambiguous finishing moves? Uh…. check. Bayonetta is the natural evolution of the beat-em up genre that dominated 90’s gaming. Dante who?

Heavy Rain – David Cage is a man that can tell great stories. Quantic Dreams’ Heavy Rain is an excursion into the surreal. The characters are life-like and the tragedies that befall them are genuinely heart-breaking. It is the nuances of the human expression that are very seldom in gaming, but the digital actors convey subtleties that are often off target in other games. Heavy Rain’s cast isn’t filled with space marines or super heroes, but regular humans. The well-developed characters are so human that they can actually die. Not die as in, “Oh I’ll just start the level all over.” No. If any of them perish during the course of the game, they STAY dead. This makes their presence in the story all the more valuable and engrossing. They’re not demi-gods with regenerating health. They’re as mortal and fragile as you and I. You become attached to the characters as they come to grips with lost and redemption. However, the difficulty isn’t crippling. Non-gamers can even have their hand in enjoying everything Heavy Rain has to offer. The adventure genre is relatively dormant, but David Cage and his team at Quantic Dreams gave it a tear-jerking shot in the arm.

God of War 3 – Kratos is quite possibly the MOST pissed of character in the world of gaming. His fury and thirst for vengeance could not be contained in one or two installments. The third game debuted on the PS3, forcing bloodthirsty fans to wait an entire console generation to complete his story. Undeniably, it was worth the wait. This is one of those games that NEED to be played on an HD display. Blood has never been so beautiful, it is a drop-dead gorgeous piece of work from Sony Santa Monica. The staple God of War combat is still intact complete with the iconic mini-game finishers that started it all. Flawless pacing, CGI-quality visuals, and relentlessly climactic moments make this God of War entry unforgettable. Want blood and gore? Look no further. The epic ending serves as one of the most satisfying cherries on top. That’s all I’ll say.

Mass Effect 2 – You’ve got your RPG in with my shooter! What a wonderful union it is. Mass Effect 2’s intergalactic romp blurs the line between the shooting genre and role-playing games. No “dice-roll” shooting mechanic or long-winded dialogue trees *ahem* Fallout *ahem*. Bioware put out a very polished package. Bioware trimmed the fat off of the first Mass Effect title. The combat, the dialogue system, the variety in it’s gameplay are all tied into a cohesive experience. The galaxy couldn’t be any bigger. Each character you run into and interact with are all affected by your decisions and moral standing. Want to play Mr. Nice Guy and befriend everybody? Go for it. Want to be a douchebag and shove a gun in everyone’s faces before they can even talk? You got it. You call the shots, you make the decisions, you live with the consequences. And consequences there are…

Assasin’s Creed: Brotherhood – Ezio Auditore da Ferenze. His name NEEDS to be said in full. The newest installment in the Assassin’s Creed series came as a surprise. Many believed it was simply an expansion pack with a few additional hours of single player and a multiplayer suite. WRONG. It is a fully featured Assassin’s Creed experience that is much more robust than it’s predecessor in every way. Sure it’s the same engine from ACII, but it is vastly optimized and smooth as butter. It’s a damn beautiful rendition of renaissance Italy. The lengthy open-world gameplay is nearly flawless, liberating Rome is as addictive as ever, and shoving a blade (or two) in dude’s faces never EVER gets old. Throw in exceedingly varied missions, an improved combat system, along with the most engrossing story in the series yet and you’ve got a quality gaming experience that is well worth your money. Plus Nolan North voices in it! What else needs to be said? Requiesta de pache.

Come back next week when I reveal my 2010 Game of the Year!

  1. Joe
    December 15, 2010 at 1:24 am

    You have Bayonnetta and Heavy Rain as game of the year nominees and no Red Dead Redemption?

    • C.L. Anderson
      December 15, 2010 at 2:35 am

      While Red Dead Redemption is a very excellent game, it brought nothing new to the table. All the nominees listed above are games that I felt have evolved the genre that they are working within. But Game of the Year material can’t simply be that. It has to be engaging and fresh. I’m not knocking on the quality of Red Dead, John Marston’s plight was nothing short of memorable and fun. However, it just felt somewhat derivative, like I’ve done it all before. Rockstar has always been great at crafting open-world games, but I feel as though they’ve bettered the wheel not so much as reinvent it with Red Dead.

      I can understand that the same argument could be made by game’s you’ve mentioned or Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood but the sheer variety and how you go about navigating the world they’ve given you is an impressive feat that other games need to top. Red Dead Redemption still boils down to a third-person shooter in an open-world setting. Whereas, AC: Brotherhood, for example, is an open-world game that blurs the lines of the hack n’ slash, stealth, platformer, and action genre in on fell swoop.

      Honestly Joe, it was a tough call. Every website, publication, and blog is going to have their own idea of what Game of the Year means and stands for. I believe the nominees listed excel within their own genre while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of what gamers should expect out of gaming entirely. This is what Game of the Year means to me.

      • Joe
        December 15, 2010 at 8:50 am

        you’re fired

        jussssst kiddding

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