2010: Game of the Year
Another year rolls by, as we make our way through heaps of game-related delights. The industry continues to grow, while game experiences rapidly evolve to answer to the entertainment needs of a wider and wider audience. Although we still haven't seen any major genre breakthroughs, it was an immensely fun year and I hope development studios and publishers continue to pour as much effort and devotion into their projects as they have so far (even more so, in fact).
Not all games are great and we certainly don't feel they should all be mentioned here. As much as we feel that some games are objectively worthy of acclaim, it is also crucial to note that, at the end of the day, we all have our own tastes; hence, I'm sure there will be titles some of you are very fond of personally, which may not get any recognition from us. Also, you may notice that particular categories, like the 'Best MMOG' are missing this year. Well, we can't say much about that, other than the fact that the only two MMORPGs we've played this year are Star Trek: Online and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. The first wasn't exactly God's gift to the MMO genre. We still haven't formed a solid opinion on Cataclysm (so far we are getting this hunch that it may not be the MMOG of the year... for once).
Another crucial category that's missing this year is "Game of the Year - People's Choice." This was more of a technical mishap on our part than anything else to be honest. As ActionTrip got a new makeover this year, we've excluded the traditional voting poll. I'm sure most of you are disappointed by this and I apologize if we have let you down in that sense. However, I can promise that the voting poll will return in 2011.
Anyhow, I think it's safe to say we had some disappointments in 2010, but there were some very good games as well, which is precisely why we look towards the year 2011 with optimism (even though no RPG received our GotY
Award this time). Alrighty then, enough chitchat. Let's see who gets the top honors.
Red Dead Redemption
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Games
We knew that, when the time comes, the names Red Dead Redemption and Rockstar would start popping up all over the place. Well, ladies and gamers, that time has now arrived. Rockstar San Diego has indeed delivered a game that's almost as encompassing as GTA. In its time, GTA has established itself as one of the most appealing and best-selling game licenses of all time. Red Dead Redemption reached the very top branches of the industry, allowing gamers to get involved into an exciting, Western-style open-world adventure with an incredibly detailed environment, amazing visuals, compelling characters and first-rate voice-overs. The entire story of Red Dead Redemption unfolds perfectly to give us a completely satisfying ending, which is something we see rarely these days in video games (and in movies for that matter). If you still don't know what we're talking about, I'd say it's high time you found out. Red Dead Redemption won't disappoint you.
Runners-up: Call Of Duty: Black Ops (Activision, Treyarch), Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games), StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (Blizzard).
Red Dead Redemption
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Games
It was touch and go in this category. We've been debating for a long time, until Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption finally came out on top as, really, the best action game we've seen this year. Now, make no mistake there are some aspects in games like Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops, which outshine RDR. For instance, we feel that the extremely well-polished AI in Halo: Reach and the entire epic single-player campaign in Black Ops are worth anybody's time and money. However, in the end, Red Dead Redemption is generally a better game (despite some of its many technical flaws). It has the potential to seize the attention of any gamer. The world is immersive, the characters are interesting and there's plenty of GTA-style action going on. You can always ask for more, but you'd probably be insane to do so.
Runners-up: Call Of Duty: Black Ops (Activision, Treyarch), Halo: Reach (Microsoft, Bungie), Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (EA, DICE).
None of the Above
By rights this award should go to Mass Effect 2. Well now, the thing is, Mass Effect has gone beyond what we normally associate with a good, traditional RPG experience. It is a fabulous game, but it cannot be called an RPG. We've thought a great deal about whether or not we should even include the Best RPG category this year.
Out of all the games in the RPG genre that got released this year, we simply couldn't single out a game that shines above all others - one that could be referred to as 'RPG of the Year.' Hell, if Red Dead Redemption was an RPG, I'd name it as king of the genre, but alas it's not.
The sad truth is that unlike last year (with the predominant Dragon Age on the scene), we just haven't seen anything remotely inspiring in the realm of role-playing games in 2010. Let us hope that 2011 proves to be different. Hey, at least we have runner-ups...
Runners-up: Final Fantasy XIII (Square Enix), Fallout: New Vegas (Bethesda, Obsidian), Fable 3 (Microsoft, Lionhead Studios).
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
Developer: Criterion Studios
EA and Criterion Games appear to have pulled off the impossible. After a series of disappointing additions to their much declining Need for Speed franchise, EA successfully returned to NFS roots. Everything that made some of these racers good (I'm thinking largely of Need for Speed: Most Wanted) has returned. This doesn't mean that it's a perfect racing game, but it's certainly the best one we've seen this year.
So, whether it's good, old-fashioned cop chases you're after (or if you prefer being the cop this time) or exciting multiplayer races, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit delivers. Just remember, if you really want to have fun with this game, don't forget to dive into its incredibly addictive online component. Way to go guys.
Runners-up: Blur (Activision, Bizarre Creations).
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis Games
Recent news that John Shafer, lead designer of Civilization V left the development studio Firaxis, made us rather unhappy and worried. This is a terrific game and a spectacular past-time for anyone who appreciates a decent strategy. As our editor Vince put it: "The gameplay in Civilization 5 is still as addictive as ever. The changes to the combat system make players focus more on planning and executing their attacks."
The point of the matter is that Civilization V isn't just a good strategy, but a great challenge and will put your tactical abilities to the ultimate test. What's more, it encapsulates everything we liked about Civilization IV and brings a variety of innovations, which made the experience more enjoyable than ever before.
Runners-up: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (Blizzard).
Rock Band 3
Developer: Harmonix Music
Even though we never got around to reviewing EA's third installment in the exceedingly popular rhythm/music game series Rock Band, we did spend quite some time playing it. Our entire staff agrees that the developers have actually managed to keep the spirit of previous music-themed games, while adding a few interesting new elements to make your jam sessions even more entertaining.
Rock Band 3 embraces what we love about rhythm/music games and we strongly believe this will continue to be one of the most powerful franchises in that particular domain of gaming.
Runners-up: Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (Activision, Neversoft)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Publisher: Frictional Games
Developer: Frictional Games
One of the best surprises this year. Amnesia: The Dark Descent arrived on the scene in the knick of time it as it happens, breathing life back into the genre of survival horror games. We'll let this quote from our review explain the rest:
"It proves that you don't need a colossal Hollywood-powered budget and 300 people to make a good game. This is a classic first-person survival horror game, spooky enough to frighten almost any player. 'Spooky' doesn't quite cover it. Some scenes in the game will send shivers down your spine. So, 'terrifying' would be the best word. On the down side, we did notice a few occasional bugs, though nothing serious. There's also the question of level design. While the game varies enough in that department, it's nothing you haven't seen in other games before."
Runners-up: Super Meat Boy (Team Meat).
Well, ehm, how does one put into words what all these lovely female specimens mean to us over the course of the sometimes extremely dull gaming year? This fine woman has so much we can admire. She began her modeling career in May 2008, when she was discovered by a photographer on Bournemouth beach. She has since, shall we say, expanded her career and has gone from glamour modeling to, well, other productive "independent business ventures." This award is well-deserved.
Babes of 2010 we salute you!
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