TGD’s Games of the Year: The Writers’ Picks

So, it’s now the end of the year and it’s time for a run down of our Favourite Games from 2010. You’ll get to see one pick from each writer with justification for each. First up is….

Nick’s Pick

My Game of the year is a brilliant little game I managed to snag for free out of luck. It’s a game for iDevices that I like to call (due to it being its name) Mega Jump. As you may have noticed I reviewed this personally and my opinion on it still hasn’t changed. It truly is a brilliant little game that’s kept me occupied more than it possibly should have. I’ve actually lost some work time just sitting trying to grab those coins and get to the top of the screen. It’s got a charming art style, brilliant gameplay and is just an amazing game for the iOS family. It’s actually unusual for such a simple game to addict me so much that I just keep playing, and playing, and playing. Which is why I’m glad to say that it is my personal Game of the Year. To think, if it wasn’t for the Free App a Day service I may not even know that this gem even existed!

Joe’s Pick

As for my personal pick, this is – without a doubt – one of the most infuriating decisions I’ve had to make this year. I have three contenders in my mind, all of which have drawn me in like no other games have for this year. This ‘ann’ saw me digesting in to downloadable titles, which should explain why two of my contenders aren’t on discs. The other one is, and even a brain-dead man could work out what my physical nominee could surely be.

After making up my mind, I’ll tell you about my rejections, first. Super Meat Boy, in my opinion, was a shining red ruby that splattered in-front of my gaming tastes from nowhere, after it had unfortunately fell on the wrong side of a spinning buzz saw. Ouch. That’s not to suggest that I don’t like it anymore, but rather to suggest the gruesome level of awesomeness found in this indie hit. It’s extremely hard to believe that, much like the original South Park, SMB (don’t confuse yourself) was completely developed by two independent game developers. Considering the amount of levels that can be indulged in to (200+), each designed with a creative pinch of salt that’s sure to push your platforming skills to their limits, I’d forgive you for thinking that thirty people worked on this N-esque star of a downloadable title.

Then, there was Halo: Reach.
SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? A Halo game? Rejected? Sorry, but your nightmares have been confirmed. Had time stood still since September, this would – and had – been on course to get my coveted pick. After all, my glowing review suggested it. Don’t get me wrong, this comes a narrow second place – three months on, I’m still hooked to the game and the amount of stuff there is in it. The Campaign is (IMO) the second best of all of the games, Matchmaking is as CoD-beating as it ever was*, Firefight is still finely tuned with excellent AI, Custom Games still provides a real blast with friends, and Forge…well, I fully understand the comparisons between that and PC map editors. There’s nothing you cannot like about Reach, unless you can’t care, you’re frustrated out of frankly ‘sucking’, or you’re a CoD-head. If you haven’t got it already, do so. Before my Noble Six avatar comes and blows your head off with a Rocket Launcher.

So, that leaves my pick for 2010. Surprisingly, it’s not big-budget. It doesn’t strive for graphical perfection, or media attention. My game, of twenty-ten, is something even I never saw coming. From out of the caves, out of the darkness, and in to the light, my choice represents an astonishing tale of rags to riches, from bust to boom. Here it is:

Minecraft (in its Alpha and Beta stages). Of course, it had to be. Not familiar with this game? Well, I imagine that not many people are, so I’ll care to explain it for you. It’s an independent, Java-run Swedish downloadable game that’s truly original, addicting, and downright epic. Once you buy it for somewhere in the region of £12, booting up the game leaves you in the middle of…well…nowhere.  You’re given no objective, but with nothing to boot and the sun slowly setting, it’s a best idea to start off making a shelter for the night. As you end up cutting down trees to make tools, which can then be used to mine other materials to make more advanced tools (and so on), you end up building up your shipwreck stranglehold as the days and nights go by. Before long, you end up in a position where the world is at your mercy, and you can build on it in any way that you fancy. With Diamond tools, a heavenly house, some armour and a bow and arrow, you’ll end up building ANYTHING you want – megalostructures, 8-bit sprites, rollercoasters, cities, underwater settlements, Rube Goldberg machines, computers, or anything you may want to. As suggested by the name, you can mine in to the ground for more elusive ores, but be careful – you may run in to monsters down there, or on the night-time surface. If you want, you can open a public (or private) multiplayer server, so people can explore your randomly generated game world, at which point the game becomes an absolute hoot. It doesn’t sound like much, but it wasn’t, why would this RPG-sandbox crossover score my pick of the year? This game is, in short, breathtaking. It’s nothing like anything that anyone has experienced before, and for the true, deep originality of this game, it would be a crime not to put it at the very top.

Tom C’s Pick

My pick for game of the year? Probably the least likely contender, considering it is coming from such an overused genre. Well I am not gonna talk about the back story, just the game itself, I promise!

The first thing that caught my eye when i heard about this game, was the different visual style they went for, it gave the game a very unique feeling from the start. They decided to take an almost realistic character design, and in the process made the game feel very different to its predecessors. Next up is the new instruments, I wont talk to much about the amazingly amazing  keyboard. It’s the two new guitars that really wowed me, i know someone who has one of them, and they describe it as authentic. Harmonix took a HUGE gamble…and boy did it pay off! Next thing would be the Audio AND setlist. Why are these two different subjects? Because for the first time in a music game, they actually are totally different things. First off, the setlist is bliss, not a single song i hate on there, but plenty that i have loved since first hearing them on the game! But Harmonix took this all one step further…Digital Surround, for the first time in a music game, actually makes the game immersive. The crowd for example sounds like where they are in relation to the camera, and the actual audio mixing on the music gives the impression (underneath the actual song) of the amplifiers at a concert. They did this so subtly it adds to the game in such ways, the game has almost become my music player of choice because of this.

 

So, my reasons for it being my personal GoTY may seem very different to other people’s, but in my eyes, the game has revitalised a genre more than any game, in any genre has ever done before, and Harmonix deserve recognition for this, since they are now an indie developer as they were when they made GH1+2.

Tom D’s Pick

I must say my game of the year is Battlefield Bad Company 2, closely followed by Black Ops, but for me, Bad Company 2 is far superior.

Just the ability to destroy the environment around you in, what can only be described as the best multiplayer experience of any FPS game you can buy, makes the game unique in its own right. It gives that added edge to the game. There is no place to hide, there is nowhere to take refuge from tank shells, RPG’s and helicopter attacks. There is no relent, there is only Onslaught (800MSP or £7.99); coincidentally some new DLC recently released for the game, similar to Gears of War 2’s Horde mode, taking on waves of enemies to get to checkpoints.

The other saving grace for this game is the DLC. Map packs are free and regular, as long as you have a VIP code (free with all new purchases, £9.99 otherwise), and regularly contain new maps and add new game modes, Map Pack 7 for example has 4 brand new maps for the game. The newly released Vietnam Expansion Pack also shows promise, bringing an entire new era and warfare to the game for the reasonable price of £9.99 or 1200MSP.

The graphics and audio are impeccable and unquestionably beautiful, even after a few months of release they are relatively cutting edge on consoles. The feel of the game is really immersive and the gameplay is well-balanced, no over-powered weapons like there are in some games and vehicles provide added challenge to the onslaught of the multiplayer.

I cannot comment on the solo campaign as I have never had the fortune of completing it.

Tom W’s Pick

Hello people! My game of the year for 2010 is….. *insert drum roll here* SplatterHouse! Nah, just kidding, it’s Alan Wake. This was a tough one, as there were so many good games released this year, such as Bad Company 2, Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Red Dead Redemption, to name but a few. I’m not including Reach on my list of best games of 2010. I refuse to. It was a good game, but by no means is it GoTY award material, in my opinion. Anyway, we’re here to talk about Alan Wake and why I think it’s GoTY deserving, not (in my opinion) the let down that is known as Halo Reach. Alan Wake is a brilliant game. It’s scary, it’s fun, it’s got a (and pardon my French here) fucking amazing story. Admittedly, the combat can get a bit repetitive when you get towards the end of the game, but that by no means makes it awful. It has brilliant graphics, an awesome soundtrack, and the limited edition of the game is easily the best I’ve seen in a long time. The game’s story will get you hooked right up until the end, ending on a cliffhanger, but the 2 DLCs provide a brilliant conclusion to the story, shaping the way for a sequel. Alan Wake is my game of the year for 2010.

David’s Pick

My favourite play on 2010? That’s an easy one! It has brought me wondrous amounts of joy, heart-racing moments and a giant lump of satisfaction after it all ended. Mass Effect 2 is the best game I’ve played all year. One of the early birds of 2010, it still carries the title of best game to me. I thought to myself: “Could any other launch this year be better than this?” Many tried (see Halo: Reach, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Alan Wake) but they just couldn’t top the amazing feeling I had after the game was beat. There are plenty of reasons why this game comes out superior so here’s a few for those who are on the fence about purchasing this wonderful game! If you left hungry after 2007’s Mass effect, buying the sequel is an obvious choice! The story of Shepard is continued as he assembles a crack team of the universe’s finest. Plenty of missions and variety in objectives is sure to please. Gameplay is change from the original game but nothing to complain about. The support from extra missions ready in DLC are amazing and extend the life of the game. This game is worth very penny of your money , go get it! (PS3 users, you have no excuse now as it’s set to arrive with all add-on content early 2011 too!)

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About Nick Duggan
I'm 19 an I study Computer Games Design at Staffordshire University. I'm a video gamer and also a Yu-Gi-Oh! collector/player. Twitter: @30DiedOnMars

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