2010 Year End Summary
2010 has been a solid year for releases as well as new hardware. There was at least one strong release each month, with other months being bum-rushed with a lot of excellent titles. With the beginning of December upon us, there aren’t many more titles releasing during the Christmas holiday season, many big games waiting until after the season and releasing in the first part of the new year.
The PlayStation Move and Kinect released, both of which I’m interested in seeing the progression of the titles, but have no real interest in playing. I’m not a big fan of motion control gaming, preferring using the DualShock 3 or Xbox Controller to the Move or Kinect and even the Motion Controller of the Nintendo Wii.
Digital Downloads and DLC flourished a lot more this year, showing that the format is viable to games, though the DRM of the systems do get a little annoying. The idea of purchasing online passes for games (Hi EA), is something that’s fighting against used sales, an argument that has good basis on both sides.
Some people don’t know, but I moved from News.GotGame.com to start this site, taking more control over my work and what I want my site to be. It’s been almost six months and I still enjoy it, but it does take a lot of time out of the day.
I appreciate anyone who reads the site, whether it be through Google Search, a random link, or suggestion by a friend. This site will probably never be as big as others, and considering I work alone, occasionally getting help from past writing friends, thank you for reading.
The titles I’m mentioned are ones that I personally played, so if I’m missing a big title, it’s probably because I wasn’t able to play it.
My preferred system is the PlayStation 3. I enjoy the media center usage of the system, along with Blu-ray. I’m not knocking the Xbox 360 in anyway, but I just prefer the controller and the brand. Even when the graphic comparisons of the Xbox 360 and PS3 release for the big games, I could care less. Everyone has a preference, and mine is the PlayStation 3.
The end to the trilogy starting on PlayStation 2 and not including the expansion stories of the PlayStation Portable, God of War III was an intense game from start to finish. Really illustrating that knowledgeable programmers could create incredible visuals on the PlayStation 3, it is the only game to rival Metal Gear Solid 4. Both titles have a different style, and God of War III takes a more aggressive approach shoving in so much to see as players take Kratos against Zeus.
MAG showed that 256 matches could work. While it took some leveling to unlock that last stage, the moment players dropped into the levels, they found themselves fighting multiple skirmishes on a tactical level and having to make decisions that could sway the tide of the battle.
Many hours were spent in MAG, opening new weapons and finding strategies while defending or attack targets and each time I leveled up, it wasn’t so much excitement for gaining a level, but excitement in what it took to get there.
Taking the 8-bit style into HD was an interesting idea, and while 3D Dot Game Heroes was essentially a clone of previous old RPG titles; it kept the heart of those games intact and presented a throwback that showed younger games what the older consoles were all about, even with the visuals being what they were.
The PSP has become an interesting portable. It has strong titles developed for it, but there is also a secondary market for titles being ported to the console with great results. XSEED and Atlus USA have been slowly releasing titles on the portable with new additions creating a port and re-developed title at the same time.
The Kingdom Hearts series is getting old, but the PSP addition to the universe shows that the series is still strong. Birth By Sleep being a prequel, it doesn’t have to play too much safe; and shows that the potential for the portable is still pretty big even with the PSP2 rumors around.
Ready At Dawn showed that they knew how the PSP worked with Chains of Olympus and then impressed again with Ghost of Sparta. Taking a lot of influences from God of War III, Ghost of Sparta is a title that expands the universe of the series showing that Kratos had a brother. Whether or not the series continues with another title, each game is worth playing.
What could have been a simple port of a PlayStation 2 title became one of the best titles for the PlayStation Portable. Ported, but developed to work better with the PSP’s control scheme, Atlus USA has shown that there is a huge market for older games becoming more portable.
Even though the PSPGo didn’t explode and was much more of an experiment, the PSN digital download section continually expands and SMT: Persona 3 Portable is one that none should miss.
The series is much more of a niche than others, but it’s one of the best titles on the PSP.
Essentially when I play Xbox 360, it’s for console exclusives only. Through XBLA or the 360 itself, it doesn’t get as much attention as the PS3 when it comes to multiplatform. The console does what it does well, but I was never hooked on it like many others.
The last Bungie Halo title being a prequel featuring a squad rather than one-man army, Halo: Reach was a return to the Halo universe after I left it when I finished Halo 2. Even though I enjoy single player fps campaigns before jumping into multiplayer, many dive straight into the online action.
Reach’s story was much more understandable with Noble team working to stop the Covenant any way they could and the sacrifices that happen were amazing.
I did enjoy the story of Conviction and I did enjoy most of the gameplay, but it’s not a title that I would really go back to. The stealth genre is a good one, but I didn’t find all the parts of Conviction gelling at the end. But it is another title that is multiplayer focused for a fun experience with friends.
The Nintendo Wii is one of the most difficult to review. I usually don’t get a response from Nintendo proper and focus more on the interesting third party titles. The system appears to be losing a lot of steam, and haven’t seen much other than what Nintendo is offering. Though Disney Interactive Studios’ Disney Epic Mickey could change that.
The title is a series of puzzles that slowly become more difficult as players guide Ivy through levels, avoiding traps and enemies while trying to collect feathers. It’s more fun to play with people than alone, though the later levels are very challenging.
The DS like the Wii also has lost a lot of the ground that is used to have on the portable level. I’m not sure is the 3DS will bring the system back, but it doesn’t release until mid-Spring of 2011.
KORG DS-10 Plus isn’t even a game, but portable KORG synthesizer on the DS. It’s difficult to use with the learning curve being one of the highest I’ve ever experience, but considering it’s more music software; that’s a little expected. Though it was and still is one of most fascinating uses of the DS.
Survival horror works best when it’s not about absolute gore, following a much more Japanese horror style. Dementium II followed this style and delivered a DS title that was both technically impressive and scary as hell. While the gameplay was a little difficult, it was the experience that made it great.
It’s unfair to attach multiplatform titles to the one I played it on, so these are some of the better cross-console titles. However, whenever I play title for review I do so on the PlayStation 3, it’s just my preferred console. The arguments of which system visually looks better or runs smoother means little to me unless it’s to the point where it breaks the title.
A sandbox title that left the urban environment and just presented a gigantic island where missions or freedom awaited. The best part of the title was that even after dying from a mistake, it was fun enough to go back and try a different strategy that still ended up with big explosions.
Another free-world title, but with the “real” Old West; Red Dead Redemption made living without consistent showers a fun experience. Adding in the great multiplayer where you could screw over your own team and the constant DLC makes RDR one of the great of the year.
Scott Pilgrim should have swept the entertainment industry with the movie, the popularity of the books, and a “based on” video game title that actually met the source material. Granted, I’m a huge fan, but not many could say that Scott Pilgrim vs The World wasn’t one of the most fun four player DLC titles that released this year. The only knock against it was that it only had local multiplayer, but seeing 8-bit in HD was awesome.
Skate 3 was one of the first titles I was able to cover from announcement to release and I was hooked from the first of the series. Expanding the trick roster and presenting a new city with plenty of street sections and vert possibilities, while including a much more integrated online presence which looks like it’s moving into other Electronic Arts titles. Hopefully there is a Skate 4, but Skate 3 is almost the perfect video game skateboarding title.
A step away from simulation and back to arcade racing, nail’d is essentially what racing fans needed. Also stepping away from highly researched cars and vehicles, trading in for an ATV or motorcross bike and shooting through levels full of big air and high speed. Honestly, the HUD doesn’t even have a speedometer and that should tell what the focus of nail’d is: fun.
Medal of Honor
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Each title had a different style, but all presented a solid single player experience and deep multiplayer which should keep a lot of FPS fans busy until next year.
Some titles aren’t the triple-A, full-fledged marketing backed hits that are shoved down the throats of players on TV, magazines, or online ads. And while these titles might have an issue here and there; they still have a lot of offer players who are a little burned out with these games.
Even though many critics enjoyed Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, it hasn’t done that well at retail. But players shouldn’t miss out on a title that has a great traveling experience. The gameplay is interesting enough with the upgrade abilities and provides a lot of poignant moments.
It might be too bloody for most people, but Splatterhouse is a title that looks back through its history and brings it forward. Even though it’s a bit repetitive, it provides enough fun to be worth the purchase. Besides, how many third person titles let you use your own arm as a weapon?
Obviously there are a lot more titles than the ones that I mentioned. It’s difficult to say what is better than something else unless it’s simply really broken. While a lot of players will wait until some titles hit the Greatest Hits or Platinum Hits section, there are a lot of titles that cater to specific tastes that don’t hit the $59.99 price point.
Before the end of the year, I’ll have titles to look out for in 2011; featuring some of the long-awaited titles for all genres.
Thanks for reading.