AusGamers Game of the Year 2010 Awards "Editor's Picks"
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:21pm 27/01/11 | Comments
Here's a lengthy breakdown of the AusGamers team's Game of the Year choices, across the whole editorial contingent...
For Australia Day yesterday, we presented you with the Redaer’s Choice picks for the AusGamers Game of the Year Awards based on your very own voting over the Holiday break. To see the results, just click here, but for today, as promised, we have our Editor’s Top Picks for Game of the Year 2010, as broken down by our awesome contributors, and followed by Dan and Moi - Steve.
And remember, tomorrow is the big one, as we break down the Top 10 Game of the Decade votes by you in a lengthy and meaty feature.
Now, here’s what the AusGamers editorial team had to say about the year in games that was 2010.
Kosta Andreadis - Contributor
Mass Effect 2
Taking what worked exceptionally well with the original, that being building relationships with the members of your team against the backdrop of a sweeping science fiction story, and then using this as the core aspect that drove the narrative, Mass Effect 2, was brilliant in more ways than one. Without a doubt Mass Effect 2 showcases Bioware’s talent in story driven character interaction but it also proves that they’re able to objectively look at both their previous achievements and misfires. And with their storytelling prowess never in question, they also somehow managed to create a truly exceptional action game.
2. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - Blizzard games have always had cinematic flair, but with StarCraft II, their greatest achievement was not in recreating the look and feel of the original, but in building a campaign with a level of variety not usually associated with the RTS genre.
3. Fallout: New Vegas - Sure it was buggy, and the engine was starting to look old and clunky, but the mere fact that it wove countless storylines and threads into such a cohesive and multi-layered narrative, made it quite the memorable experience.
4. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood - Although it sounded like a cash-in, Brotherhood turned out to be the best entry in the series yet. And one that finally brought with it a sensible sense of cohesion to the proceedings.
5. Mafia II - Mafia II was a wonderfully immersive story-driven period piece that borrowed heavily and lovingly from many classic gangster films.
Adam Mathew - Contributor
Mass Effect 2
Not the most technical RPG Bioware has ever made, but definitely the slickest. Mass Effect 2 effortlessly got me to care about my crew and the suicide mission end-game was actually thrilling to play. I look forward to re-saving the galaxy on the PS3. Perhaps as evil female Shepard, for a change.
2. Red Dead Redemption - Perfectly captured the feel of being a cowboy. The only game in recent memory where I've deliberately walked around slowly. Just to see that bad-ass wild west amble.
3. Super Mario Galaxy 2 - This offered super-tight platforming and charm which served as a great holiday away from my staple diet of first-person death.
4. Assassin's Creed 2: Brotherhood - Loved doing what the Romans do in this (killing/ climbing /shagging). Multiplayer was well worth a stab.
5. Game Dev Story - Got absolutely addicted to this iPhone gem. Consumed me utterly for a week. Roll on, Game Dev Story 2.
Chad Drake - Contributor
Fallout: New Vegas
Even with its bug-riddled game-world and even though it wigged out and corrupted my save games, Fallout: New Vegas still comes out on top. With its massive game-world, top-notch voice-acting and replayability, Fallout: New Vegas has taken up more of my time than any other game last year and continues to do so.
2. Mass Effect 2 - This sequel rectified the sub-par combat mechanic that existed in the first Mass Effect and improved on everything else in the process, creating the best looking, sounding, and playing sci-fi game around.
3. Red Dead Redemption - Improving on GTA in all aspects, Red Dead delivers a more directed and visually pleasing experience, in turn creating a believable, living breathing Western world.
4. Call Of Duty: Black Ops - My online FPS of choice. Plus it has zombies.
5. Darksiders - An uber cool comic-book storyline and visuals to match from Joe Mad made this Zelda-esque homage an absolute pleasure to play.
James Cottee - Contributor
Monster Hunter Tri
An ambitious reboot for the cult action RPG series, with refined combat, solid online co-op play, and graphics so good you had to remind yourself you were playing it on the Wii. Tri also introduced underwater combat, a first for the series, but its real draw was the monsters — dragons and sea serpents with stacks of personality, and believable behaviour. A better name for this game would've been 'Conan on Safari.'
2. Minecraft - Part LittleBigPlanet, part S.T.A.L.K.E.R., all awesome.
3. Fallout: New Vegas - Sex and violence in a faction-packed post-apocalyptic plunderland.
4. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker - When you've got portable co-op Metal Gear action, who needs depth perception?
5. Valkyria Chronicles II - A little heavy on the grinding, but an otherwise impressive sequel to the hit PS3 game of WWII-esque tactical combat.
Nathan Lawrence - Contributor
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
I thought the single-player was pitch-perfect in terms of tone and it had oodles of action, while the multiplayer is still something I’m addicted to almost a year on. DICE has done well to provide a heap of new content to keep the online foray interesting and the destructible environments have forever changed the way I look at first-person shooters.
2. Halo: Reach - After the abortion that was ODST, Bungie had their final Halo hurrah with a well-rounded game.
3. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - A fantastic Arcade title that kept me engrossed from start to finish; highly recommended in co-op mode.
4. Alan Wake - Sure, it had a sloppy first chapter, but the atmosphere was great and the writing was clever.
5. Darksiders - Cool combat, interesting visuals and a lengthy campaign made for an addictive experience.
Dave Kozicki - Contributor
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
The best damned FPS on the market. There, I said it. Once you've tasted the sweet, sweet lovin' of destructible environments, it's hard to go back. Keep your spawn campers in Black Ops, if I find you in Bad Company 2 I've got a Gustav with your name on it, and if you get smart, I'll pepper your rooftop hideaway with C4 and bring the whole thing crashing down on top of you. Ahem... but I digress. Either version, be it the regular edition or the relatively new expansion Vietnam, is ahead of the curve and changes the nature of FPS, be it design or adapting your skills on the fly. The appeal of unsafe cover is magnetic and after clocking in over 300 hours combined across both versions, it's an easy pick for the top spot.
2. Mass Effect 2 - Saving the galaxy from an insect-like alien menace as a super hot evil vixen vanguard (my preference) with a short fuse and penchant for defenestration... what's not to love?
3. Fallout: New Vegas - If it wasn't for Farrelly, I may never have played it. Two playthroughs down and eighty hours later and I'm still hankering for another roll of the dice.
4. Just Cause 2 - Liberating fictional Panau from a cartoon dictator has never been so much fun. Rico Rodriguez is a B-grade throwback lead in a plot littered with unintentionally racist humour and filled with explosions so bad-arse they had Michael Bay taking notes.
5. DJ Hero 2 - You can take your guitars and shove it. I'll rock out on 2 turntables and a microphone. Bringing a whole lot more freestylin' to the mix, it remains the pinnacle of music based gaming.
Mike Bantick - Contributor
Mass Effect 2
I like a good story with theme and atmosphere, couple this with improved combat, pacing and interfacing and you have a winner in my books. ME2 built upon a solid basis of fiction, added the link of importing characters and situations from the first game, and turned the whole thing up a notch. Gone was much of the filler injected instead was more Commander Shepard, building relationships via violence and dialogue, even the planetary mining mini-game was not a detraction. This game is Bioware at its best, already pools of saliva are forming at my feet in anticipation of the final chapter.
2. Red Dead Redemption – More than GTA in the Wild West, RDR again, like ME2 gave us a compelling story, one that injects emotion amongst the carnage of an environment both harsh from a natural as well as a man-made perspective. Along the journey of John Marston’s redemption, there will be action, humour, wonder and intrigue. Presentation is top-notch, voice acting superb and technology impressive, everything from jack-rabbits to tumbleweeds have personality and a rightful place in the world RockStar Games has created. It just probably didn’t need zombies.
3. Alan Wake – A long time coming, and some trepidation in playing a hero with leather elbow patches are easily overlooked once in-game. The tale of a thriller writer trapped in one of his own stories is ripped straight from the Stephen King word processor.
4. Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Difficult to wipe the smile from the faces of those exposed to Mario in space.
5. Blur - Take this baby online and you will need to spend several hours post-session at the manicurist working on nail repair and restoring pigment to knuckles.
Amos Hong - Contributor
Mass Effect 2
I absolutely loved this game thanks to its superb storyline, gameplay and visuals. Many of the annoying features from the first have been corrected to ensure a more smooth and enjoyable game. An almighty plus is Australia’s own Yvonne Strahovski as Miranda Lawson.
2. Fallout: New Vegas – Riddled with bugs, but I just couldn’t put the game down.
3. Dead Rising 2 – Paddle Saw. Zombies. Gore. ‘nuff said.
4. MLB 10: The Show – An excellent baseball sim that caters for fans of the game.
5. StarCraft 2 – It may be the Korean blood flowing through my veins, but I enjoyed this game immensely.
Steve Farrelly - Editor
1. Mass Effect 2
From the game’s explosive start to its doubly explosive conclusion, Mass Effect 2 never fails to deliver. It has action, drama, romance and even a bit of comedy. Brilliant voice-acting, some of the best scripting in the interactive domain, the best soundtrack in a videogame. Ever. And characters you can’t help but want to know more about. Action was tighter in the gameplay department without hinging on the RPG elements too much to craft what I feel is an almost perfect gaming experience. November, 2011 cannot get here quick enough.
2. Fallout: New Vegas
Yep, it’s buggy as all hell, and the engine really looks dated, but in many ways New Vegas delivers what Fallout 3 couldn’t thanks to the story-specialist development studio that is Obsidian. I’m still playing the damn thing now and with the introduction of things like Hardcore mode and proper crafting, New Vegas was more RPG than game. Bring on Fallout 4 running of Bethesda’s new Creation Engine.
3. Red Dead Redemption
Crafting the most believable world to ever grace videgames, Rockstar San Diego’s red Dead Redemption had me at first sunset. Riding across dusty plains with bloom lighting illuminating the game’s atypical antihero, John Marston, never got old. Add to this great shooting mechanics that left GTA in the proverbial dust along with a more engaging mission-structure and great background characters, and you have one of the year’s best. Oh, and multiplayer was a hoot too.
Kicking 2010 off, Darksiders from virgin development studio, Vigil, was an amazing action romp; taking many cues from the likes of The Legend of Zelda and Metroid, but bringing them collectively into the next-generation and with its own flair. Amazing art-direction from Joe Madureira only sealed the deal, and its exploratory challenge was unmatched in the year. Really cannot wait for the inevitable sequel to this.
5. Call of Duty: Black Ops
While its single-player component was a mish-mash, Treyarch showed they had the goods to play with the big boys, and this was never more evident than in the game’s uber-addictive multiplayer. Sure there were problems with the PC and match-making, but on Xbox 360 the experience was almost flawless and add to this Zombies, Dead Ops and even Zork! and you have one of the most jam-packed games of 2010. The future of the series is going to be interesting, but I’ll be playing Black Ops’ multiplayer for a while yet.
6. Transformers: War for Cybertron
Maybe it was my inner child coming out, but Transformers: War for Cybertron was a solid effort that did what no other game has for Transformers as a brand - make it cool again. It was cheesy in parts, but securing at least a few of the voice-actors from the cartoon series and making a story that is now officially part of the Transformers cannon is no easy feat, but High Moon Studios pulled it off. Very much looking forward to the sequel.
7. Civilization V
A lot of people experienced teething problems with Civ V upon its release, but after a tidy patch or two the game really came into its own. Aggressive AI just made it all the more challenging; something I invited. Great visuals, a more streamlined management system that was surprisingly deep and the introduction of both City States and a whole new hexagonal tile system changed the face of this series forever, and I’m still playing it.
8. Super Mario Galaxy 2
Nintendo know platforming. That’s it. I could finish my write-up of SMG2 right there, but I’d be remiss not to mention that amidst so many dark and violent games of 2010; filled with zombies, insurgent armies and grotesque mutants, you have Mario and co, ready to brighten up your day with colourful visuals, tight gameplay and music that just begs a smile. The plumber really still has it. Can’t wait to see him officially debut in original form on the 3DS.
9. Super Street Fighter IV
It might have seemed cheap giving us Street Fighter IV and then a super version, but it’s what Capcom have been doing for years and fighting game fans ate it up. Me included. New characters and revamped online tools made this a must-have in the genre, and my household still holds bouts with one-another for the ultimate Streeties bragging rights. Again, this is another game I’m looking forward to playing on 3DS.
10. Game Dev Story
When I learnt there was a JRPG styled game on iPhone about running a videogame development studio, I couldn’t possibly have been prepared for what followed; the most addictive handheld game I’ve played in years that not only poked fun at the industry in which I worked, but did a bloody good job capturing it as a mini-RPG of sorts. Console development licensing fees, reviewers, advertising and even the ability to build your own console make this an absolute winner - if you haven’t played it, I highly suggest you do.
Dan Chenoweth - Editor
1. Mass Effect 2
BioWare once again showed us why they are the kings of interactive storytelling and proved that their purchase by publishing giant Electronic Arts has not impacted on their progress on making good of that promised trilogy. Mass Effect 2 continued the epic space drama of its predecessor, improving on several lacking features and offering another full package of new adventures and meaningful exploration.
2. Red Dead Redemption
For someone who found Red Dead Revolver utterly forgettable (among anything else that’s come out of Rockstar San Diego) and Grand Theft Auto IV incredibly overrated, the notion of these two concepts melding really did not intrigue. The awe of that pleasantly shattered expectation is what earns Red Dead number two. The narrative and deep characters aside, this game put you in the wild west with a frikken all-access cowboy license and it’s just good, bad, ugly, fun.
3. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Perhaps a surprise addition so high on the list of a year with so many great games, but this one just struck the right chord with me. Castlevania was a great example of a franchise cow milked beyond death. So imagine my surprise when after pushing on past the chore-like opening levels of Lords of Shadow I discovered that this game wasn’t just yet another forgettable God of War clone but a visceral and challenging action game with some of the slickest art direction and environments in the business. All from a Spanish studio who’s only claim to fame was Clive Barker’s Jericho.
4. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
The lack of evolution since Assassin’s Creed 2 is of little consequence, because this game needed to happen for us to play in Ubisoft Montreal’s Rome. That the multiplayer mode is actually fun is just icing on the cake.
5. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
The initial PC teething problems aside, Bad Company 2 is the only shooter that really got things right this year. As others toy irritatingly outside of the open dedicated server model, DICE continue to get it right.
6. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
Was it worth a ten year wait? Probably not. Is this game the expected king of competitive RTS? Damn straight! StarCraft 2 is just another example of Blizzard doing what they do best, polishing the hell out of a winning concept to keep the fans clicking.
7. Super Mario Galaxy 2
How on earth does Nintendo continue to make a game about jumping Italian plumbers from Brooklyn in a mushroom land so engrossing? Japanese game development may now be but a flicker of it’s former glory but Mario Galaxy 2 is evidence that there’s a few left still pushing the right buttons for global core-gamers.
8. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
IP fatigue had well and truly set in with this franchise that was once the undisputed king of arcade racing, so it was refreshing to see that the Criterion folk have worked their magic -- without making it feel like a re-skinned Burnout.
9. Super Street Fighter IV
While it would have been nicer had it been offered as a cheaper expansion to existing SF4 owners, it’s hard to argue with the quality of this game. The undisputed king of fighters.
10. Call of Duty: Black Ops
With the fallout from Infinity Ward still raining down, Treyarch really showed they had the goods. Some shitty, backwards decisions in regards to server exclusivity and perpetuating the trend of short single-player campaigns give pause to greater credit, but it’s hard to otherwise fault the good times still to be had here.
So that’s it from the editorial team here at AusGamers. I hope all of the above gives you a good understanding of the type of writers and gamers we have on board here, and as we keep saying, be sure to stay tuned for tomorrow’s Game of the Year 2010 Awards conclusion as we look at the Top 10 Games of the Decade, as voted by you!