Our favorite games of 2010
posted on 01.02.11 at 02:00 PM EDT by (@gematsucom)

Rather than do a ‘Best Games of’ feature for 2010, we thought it’d be more efficient to instead tell you which games we enjoyed the most. Let’s be blunt, here — we haven’t played every single game released this year, but we did play a good lot of ‘em. Out of what we did, these are the game’s that we enjoyed the most.

Sal Romano’s Top 5

3D Dot Game Heroes – PS3

3D Dot Game Heroes not only successfully employs a nostalgic atmosphere, but it enacts it in a beautifully updated approach. Its story is a cliched ‘save the princess, then the kingdom’-type affair, but it’s all in good spirit. Players are armed with a shield and sword that, at full health, stretches ‘long and thick’ across the map, easily taking care of any enemy on screen. The map is big and its element-themed dungeons are fun and challenging. Custom character creation, finding and upgrading new swords, killing zombies for loot, and smacking monsters with a giant book are only a few of 3D Dot Game Heroes‘ sweet spots.

Bayonetta – PS3, 360

Action games don’t get any sexier — or harder. Bayonetta is difficult. Maybe I just suck at playing it, but I couldn’t go a single chapter without dying at least three times. Regardless of difficulty, its mindless combos, free-flowing gameplay, witch-time slow-motion, weapon upgrades, and giant bosses make Bayonetta the Devil May Cry-killer we’ve all been waiting for. And it’s well proper, as it’s directed by the same guy. Let’s just see if she can do it again — am I hearing Bayonetta 2, Kamiya-san?

Costume Quest – PSN, XBLA

New role-playing games so rarely hit a console’s downloadable platform, which is why Costume Quest is worth a look even if you don’t know anything of it. But what’s inside is a lovable cel-shaded Halloween treat that’s sure to store itself somewhere inside your heart. Players control a party of three children and trick-or-treat in areas like the neighborhood, the mall, or the Halloween fair in hopes of finding the protagonist’s kidnapped sibling. At the same time, they’ll fight monster baddies in turn-based combat, who’ve come to Earth with a plan to steal everyone’s candy. Of course, players can buy ‘Battle Stamps’ to upgrade their stats and abilities. What more could you want?

God of War III – PS3

Kratos is the meanest character in gaming. He has a goal, and doesn’t give a damn about who he harms or how he harms them to do it. His sole priority is to kill his father, Zeus — for good reason, of course. If you thought God of War or God of War II were any bits of impressive, then God of War III is a friggin’ spectacle. Offering a new variety of weapons and magic, beautiful out-of-this world visuals, new puzzles, and updated action gameplay, God of War III is pretty much a ‘must-have’.

Mass Effect 2 – 360, PC, PS3 (1/18/11)

An early release, Mass Effect 2 is the sequel to a 2007 success. It one-ups everything accomplished by the first game, vastly improving upon combat, story, and gameplay. No longer are you in a Mako Rover for 3/4 of a planet! The game gives players a choice for every bit of conversation had and their decisions ultimately affect the outcome of the game. You can go to one planet now, recruit a new crew member, then gain their loyalty, or go to a different planet and do that segment later. Developing a bond between Commander Shepard and his crew mates is one of the game’s major selling points, I believe. Not one of 2010’s best RPGs, but one of 2010’s best third-person shooters? I think so.

Closing Statement

What I’ve listed aren’t the only amazing games of 2010. Plenty of great games released that deserve as much praise as those I’ve provided. But it’s a big release schedule and I’m just one guy, so I unfortunately can’t play them all. I’m currently waiting on Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood to hit my mailbox, which I’ve ordered off Amazon for a fair deal. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, so I think it deserves mentioning. That, and games like Red Dead Redemption, Mafia II, Enslaved, Limbo, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Star Ocean: The Last Hope International — if you didn’t catch it on Xbox 360 in 2009. Let’s look forward to an even greater 2011!

Adam Meadows’ Top 5

Final Fantasy XIII – PS3, 360

In spite of some considerable technical deficiencies on the Xbox 360 – notably a lower resolution, and, in larger areas, frame rate inconsistencies – Final Fantasy XIII is, if nothing else, an interesting experience. And whilst its linear design, relatively automated battle system and restrictive structure will undoubtedly push many away, Square’s latest single-player iteration into the ever-changing world of Final Fantasy was undoubtedly worth my time – even if it was just to engage with something so disconnected from the status quo.

Halo: Reach – 360

A honing of and homage to Bungie’s past-iterations of the blockbuster first-person shooter, Halo: Reach – to use a cliche – is the definitive Halo title. Without abandoning the series’ fundamentals, Reach incorporates, integrates and refines the best elements of its forbearers. Forge, replays and firefight, amongst a sea of content and features, made this a worthy and worthwhile competitor for my multiplayer gaming in the latter half of last year, and will do for the foreseeable future.

Mega Man 10 – PSN, XBLA, WiiWare

A steadfast dedication to a formula more than two decades old, to some, might leave Capcom’s latest foray looking a little long in the tooth. For others, however – myself included – Mega Man 10 was an intense, sadistically addictive platformer that shouldn’t be ignored. Topped with ’retro’ production values fitting of the period, it’s difficult not to be charmed by this downloadable title. And if you’ve yet to be introduced to the era of 8-bit gaming, Mega Man 10 is an excellent starting point.

Splinter Cell: Conviction – 360, PC

Sam Fisher’s latest foray, though divergent of an established formula, is undoubtedly a compelling one. Fisher’s evolution – he’s forgone the shackles of authority, adopting the role of a quicker, quieter predator – invites players to a fleeting sense of pseudo-omnipotence – he knows his environment, his foe and the precise way in which to take them down. To be a rock on the road to Sam’s success is, particularly in Conviction, to invite an interview with death itself.

Street Fighter IV – PS3, 360

An improvement on an already fantastic fighting game, Super Street Fighter IV isn’t a title to be overlooked. Its relative simplicity, wacky personality and distinctive appearance guaranteed that Street Fighter is my go to fighting game when entertaining friends. If you’re willing to venture beyond this point, moreover, Super Street Fighter reveals a ‘let’s see how they do it on YouTube’ level of depth and competitive play – it’s definitely a contender for your time and money. It certainly was for mine.

Closing Statement

Not to forget our ‘A Game Forgotten’ series, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Bayonetta, Mass Effect 2 and Alan Wake, would be, if I hadn’t already dedicated an article to each, equally legitimate contenders for the body of this article. Indeed, 2010 wasn’t only a testament to the continuing longevity of this generation, but to the commercial viability of a year-round release schedule – publishers obviously weren’t afraid to ship products at the ’wrong’ side of the holiday season. It’s been a good year for games.

  • xxmika

    obvious choices, great games! (FFXIII D:)

    just missing heavy rain and alan wake

  • http://www.youtube.com/tezchi TezChi

    Some excellent games here, great lists guys! I’m happy to see 3D Dot Game Heroes on the list, along with ME2 and FFXIII!

    My personal favourites list, for anybody wondering, would most likely be…hold on, I’ll get my thinking cap….right.

    – Bayonetta (on the above list, and I agree with everything said)
    – Valkyria Chronicles 2 (I loved it, despite it being PSP only)
    – Alan Wake (the latest DLC was less than I expected, but the main game was superb)
    – Heavy Rain (a classic, in my opinion)
    – Fable 3 (still playing through this – wonderful adventure)
    – Final Fantasy XIII (yes)

    Anyway like I said, great lists. Some interesting choices there, as you say there is so much to choose from, making a list can be a very difficult task.

  • http://myanimelist.net/profile/PrinceHeir# PrinceHeir

    awesome choices :D

    mine probably this:

    Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker(it’s shows The Boss’s past, on why she betrayed her country, it also features one of the hardest Metal Gear Boss fights ever. probably one of the best PSP games ever made, along side Valkyria Chronicles, Dissidia, Crisis Core, Kingdom Hearts and soon to be The 3rd Birthday :D

    No More Heroes 2(Travis is back again and this time he’s out for vengeance, one of the craziest boss battles ever made, this beam katana game will make you crazy due to it’s
    slice and dice mechanic, funny voice acting, and over the top story that will make you go hell yeah. this is personally my favorite Wii game this 2010. so No More Heroes 3 please suda ^^

    Metroid Other M(people may not like this iteration of metroid due to samus’s interpretation as a bounty hunter but you cannot ignore how fun this game is. the fast past battles and the cool takedowns makes this one of my favorites this 2010. if only we could use the nunchuk to move in 1st person :D)

    Bayonetta(this is one of the fastest and most sexiest action game ever made, kamiya outdid himself with this one. tight controls and big boss battles, tons of over the top scenes, awesome weapons, you can combo the way you want. plus the character itself is sexy :) this makes this the queen of action games this generation,)

    Super Street Fighter IV(i may have been late comer on the Street Fighter series(since me and my brother mainly play tekken and guilty gear(also blazblue) but you cannot ignore what this game has done in the fighting genre, some say it revived the fighting genre in this gen. not only it includes all new 10 characters(i think) from past SF games, add some 2 completely new characters into the mix, more streamline online mode, tons of new game modes, replay mode(sucks it’s only at online mode though) and you got yourselves on the best fighting games this generation ^^

    Honorable Mentions:

    Blazblue Continuum Shift I and II(arcades)
    Final Fantasy XIII

    games i haven’t played yet but deserve a mention
    Vanquish
    Castlevania Lords of Shadow
    Valkyria Chronicles 2
    Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
    Neir
    Gran Turismo 5
    Yakuza 3

  • JTX09

    Excellent game choices! Agree with the majority of it, but I think I would put Mafia 2 somewhere in there, too.

  • Chaos Raiden

    Awesome list. I agree with it. ^_^

    @Adam Meadows: In your Closing Statement, you have misspelled Alan Wake to Alan Awake. Nothing much noteworthy, though.

    • http://gematsu.com/members/admin/ Sal Romano

      Fixed.

  • whiteferrero

    to be completely off topic first, anyone get a weird program download when accessing scrawl through google? I think someone may have hijacked your link with a trojan.

    Anyway, mine is:

    Valkyria Chronicles 2, been playing it for more than 100 hours already and I’m still pumped to play it.

    SMT: Strange Journey was a blast to play. But that ending really sucked as usual.

    Birth by Sleep was pretty snazzy. A bit less magical compared to the original, but a lot better than the 2nd.

    4 Heroes of Light had a good appeal. But the repetitive gameplay and areas was a bit of a letdown lol.

    I’ve yer to play Starcraft 2 but I think it at least deserves a mention.

    Hmm, I guess Valkyria 2 is pretty much the game for the year for me.

    Obviously, I’m not too big on this year’s games, but the line-up for next year (new games/translations) should be good! Radiant Historia, 3rd Bday, Dissidia Duodecim, Okamiden, Mon Hun 3rd, etc etc. I just hope Persona 5 comes out in 2011!

    But really, I’ve been playing mostly old games this year. Such as Ace Attorney, and DDO.

    • http://gematsu.com/members/admin/ Sal Romano

      Looked into that. Fixed it and secured the site. Everything SHOULD be alright now. Let me know if it happens again. It’s always quicker if you send me an e-mail.

      editor[at]scrawlfx[dot]com

      • whiteferrero

        w0w. Thanks sal, that was a really quick fix!

  • Juam

    great list. im waiting for ME2 to hit the stores this 18th :D

    well, as for my list, it’d probably be:
    – FFXIII (yes, its on top of my list!)
    – Resonance of Fate (the battles are addictive, though sometimes gets repetitive. but still, imo, an awesome game.)
    – Bayonetta (a very sexy game. ‘nuf said :P)

    i have quite a short list because, i only pickd up a handful of games.

  • FinalFantasy_fangirl

    2010 was a good year for games and choosing your favorites is hard.. Costume Quest I havent heard about but I’ll check it out.
    My list….
    FFXIII
    Heavy Rain
    Bayonetta
    Red Dead Redemption
    Nier
    AC Brotherhood
    NFS Hot Pursuit

  • http://blogeadorsolar.blogspot.com Palitococo

    Im currently playing Majin and i love it, what wonderfull game have Namco missed, and i say missed because they dont care at all about this one, 0 ads, and this is way better than Enslaved, i just have the same complain about both game and is that they look unfinished (graficaly at least), like if namco had rushed to much the develovers, but even so Game Republic has done a incredible game.

    Aside that one i really enjoy Heavy Rain, Fallout New Vegas (my favorite) and some others.

  • http://xcite79.1up.com Keegs79

    Red Dead Redemption
    Mass Effect 2
    Limbo
    Splinter Cell: Conviction
    Pacman DX CE
    Super Mario Galaxy 2
    Donkey Kong Country Returns

    Honorable Mentions: Super Meatboy, God of War 3, Alan Wake

    It was easy for me to name a top 7. There is no way I would list Vanquish. I enjoyed it but it was so repetitive. I like it but it by no means could be in my top 10. Same goes for FFXIII for being a huge letdown.

  • ekka4shiki

    My favorite this year :

    Mass Effect 2
    Final Fantasy XIII
    Resonance of Fate
    Alan Wake
    Enslaved : Odyssey to the West

  • Rezar

    My favorite games of 2010 are:

    Mass Effect 2 (my Game of the Year)
    Red Dead Redemption (this coming from someone who hated the direction Rockstar took GTA IV)
    Fallout New Vegas
    Bayonetta
    Mega Man 10
    Dead Rising 2
    God of War III

  • Warnner

    is that so difficult to choose favorite game? because playing is my hobby so i like all these game but rule is rule my favorite is Final Fantasy XIII…..