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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Top video games of 2010

Published: January 21, 2011
Section: Arts, Etc.

Now that 2010 has actually ended, we can finally look at the top video games of the previous year.

Before I do that, however, there are many games out there deserving honorable mention. “Mass Effect 2,” “Bioshock 2,” “Assassins Creed 2,” “ModNation Racers,” “Fable 3,” “Rockband 3,” “GoldenEye 007” and “Donkey Kong Country Returns” were all games that I enjoyed.

Aside from the many fantastic games listed above, Microsoft and Sony entered the motion control market in an effort to take a bite out of Nintendo’s casual gamer market share. Additionally, Nintendo announced the development of its newest handheld, a glasses-free 3D gaming device called the 3DS due out this March. On the whole, 2010 was a great year in video games.

But, without further ado, here are the top video games of 2010. Considering that they span three consoles, two handhelds and many different genres, I cannot legitimately rank them, but I know that all are worthy games.

“Final Fantasy XIII”

After nearly five years in development, “Final Fantasy XIII” made its way onto both the PS3 and the Xbox 360. Despite some early concerns that the Xbox version would have inferior visuals compared to the PS3 version, both versions received good reviews from aggregate sites such as Metacritic. While I haven’t played through many other games in the “Final Fantasy” series, I found it to be an excellent experience, as the action and battle system found the balance between fast-pace action and strategy. The story was not only interesting but unique.

“Red Dead Redemption”

This game—an old western developed by Rockstar Games (the same company that makes the “Grand Theft Auto” series)—features a sandbox environment and top-notch gameplay, which helped it secure numerous game of the year awards and an average ranking of 95/100 on Metacritic. I haven’t had much time to play far into it, but, based on the few hours I was able to immerse myself in it, I can easily agree with the critical acclaim.

“Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver”

March 2010 saw the release of the latest installments in the Pokemon series. Both enhanced remakes of the 2000 releases “Gold” and “Silver” were simultaneously nostalgic and refreshing. Playing through these games, it was interesting to realize how these remakes brought a breath of fresh air to the series.

“God of War 3”

Kratos’ war against Zeus comes to an end as Kratos plows his way through any god, titan or hero that dares to stand in his way. The game was very similar to the first two but featured many graphical enhancements. “God of War 3” was among my most anticipated games of the year. After playing through the first two games, it was satisfying watching the story’s conclusion unfold.

“Halo Reach”

Arguably game developer Bungie’s magnum opus of the “Halo” universe, Bungie’s last foray into the “Halo” universe is a prequel. While stepping backwards in the story, including the technology used by the player, Bungie manages many leaps forward in gameplay, improving the gaming experience as a whole. These improvements only help solidify Bungie as the gold standard for the “Halo” series.

“Super Mario Galaxy 2”

The “Super Mario” games have always been among my favorites. Even though I generally set higher standards for the Mario brand, “Galaxy 2” does not disappoint. While retaining many elements of the original “Galaxy” game, “Galaxy 2” offers new worlds and new power-ups. Pretty much everything is new—except the standard story of Princess Peach being captured by Bowser. While the traditional platform gameplay remains, I found myself having to think outside the box to collect the many stars.

“Gran Turismo 5”

After numerous delays, Sony’s racing series made its official debut on the Playstation 3. With more than 1,000 cars available to unlock, the game has a lot to offer for fans of racing simulations. It may not be the type of racing which fans of “Mario Kart” would expect, as the game aims to simulate actual racing and appease the appetites of racing simulators.

“Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep”

Both its excellent gameplay and its contribution to the overarching story of the “Kingdom Hearts” series earn this game a spot on the list. The game’s story was largely expository, adding to our understanding of the earlier installments in the series. This prequel also introduced new characters that felt right at home and were well-integrated into the story.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops”

I’ve never been a big fan of the “Call of Duty” series; I prefer “Halo” if I want to play an online shooter. That being said, after spending a winter break with friends who frequently wanted to play the game, I have to admit that it’s a very fun experience. My favorite new feature is a collection of games called wager matches. One such game, titled “Gun Game,” is basically a race to score 20 kills, each with a different weapon and the last one with the most difficult weapon in the game.