Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: The Year of Video Games in Review

Posted By on Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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Check the rearview mirror: that’s 2010 receding into the distance. For the most part, 2010 was a pretty good year for video games; there were releases in established franchises and gamers could find something worth playing on just about any platform.

Let’s take a glance back at the year that was in video games and the top titles of 2010, in chronological order.

Mass Effect 2
Released Jan. 26, 2010—available on Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Once again stepping into the role of the heroic Commander Shepard, gamers command a crew of mystics, geniuses and convicts and then lead them on a suicide mission to discover why humans are vanishing from the galaxy.

Heavy Rain
Released Feb. 23, 2010—available on PS3
Heavy Rain is a cinematic, evolving thriller from Quantic Dream, and deals with a range of adult themes,

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bringing several storylines together. Unlike other titles, though, if one of the core characters dies during the game, they do not respawn, but the game continues and that story thread is wiped out. It was a taut thriller, allowing players to make decisions along the way that affected the outcome.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Released March 2, 2010—available on PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Bad Company 2 introduced an improved intensity to vehicle-based combat while also taking players from snowy mountaintops to dense jungles. Total destruction is the name of the game.

God of War III
Released March 16, 2010—available on PS3
Set in the realm of Greek mythology, God of War III puts its Spartan antihero, Kratos, at the center of the carnage and destruction as he seeks to overthrow the gods and challenge Mount Olympus. The game is an amazing vision brought to stunning life but it is not for those with delicate sensibilities—the violence can be horrific at times.

WarioWare D.I.Y.
Released on March 28, 2010—available on DS and Wii
WarioWare D.I.Y. allows players create the same kind of micro-games that were the hallmark of the WarioWare series. Players can design every aspect of a game and that includes graphics, animation, music and rules.

Picross 3D
Released May 3, 2010—available on DS
In Picross 3D, players start with a cube and smash away smaller blocks to reveal an object, shape or symbol. There are more than 350 unique puzzles included with the game, and more are for download.

3D Dot Game Heroes
Released May 11, 2010—available on PS3
A unique action RPG from Atlus, 3D Dot Game Heroes is the tale of an old-school 2D sprite world that wants to attract more people to the kingdom and goes about trying to reinvent itself as a retro 3D action-adventure. It’s a story within a story, cleverly told. It might have limited appeal, but for those who grew up playing games, this offers a bit of a trip down memory lane.

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Alan Wake Released May 18, 2010—available on Xbox 360 and PC
An intense psychological thriller from Remedy (the creators of Max Payne), Alan Wake offers a cinematic experience. The titular character is a fictitious best-selling author who usually makes his living off the terror of others, but in this game, the eyes of terror turn to gaze directly at him. The world is expansive, there are puzzles to solve, combat and horrifying enemies to overcome. Two downloadable expansions are available for this title.

Red Dead Redemption
Released May 18, 2010—available on Xbox 360 and PS3
Red Dead Redemption is a Western epic, set at the turn of the 20th century when the lawless and chaotic badlands began to give way to the expanding reach of government and the spread of the Industrial Age. A follow up to the 2004 hit Red Dead Revolver, this game tells the story of former outlaw John Marston, and features an open-world environment for exploration.

ModNation Racers
Released May 25, 2010—available on PS3 and PSP
ModNation Racers is a thoroughly fresh take on classic cart racing that empowers the player to personalize the entire game. Players can create their own Mod character, style their own racing cart and even build—in just minutes—an imaginative track that can be shared with the rest of the PlayStation community via the online PlayStation Network service.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Released June 8, 2010—available on PSP
Developed by legendary Hideo Kojima—the mastermind behind the most successful video-game tactical-espionage series of all time—MSG: Peace Walker allows players to take control of the famed Naked Snake at a critical junction in modern history. The single-player campaign is very good, and the game offers up a cooperative gameplay element as well.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
Released July 6, 2010—available on PSP

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School was never like this. A 17-year-old boy transfers schools and after entering his dorm, he is attacked by a mysterious Shadow enemy. Using his ability to switch personas, the boy eventually becomes the leader of an extracurricular force determined to eradicate the Shadow. This title is another strong entry in the series from Atlus, and fans of the series got what they wanted—a good Persona game that was mobile.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
Released July 27, 2010—available on PC and Mac
The StarCraft saga continued—finally—and improvements were made across the board. The solo campaign picks up where it left off in Brood War, there is a 29-mission campaign and the online experience is rebuilt from the ground up.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Released Sept. 7, 2010—available on PSP
A prequel, in a manner, to the original Kingdom Hearts release, Birth by Sleep features three apprentice Keyblade masters, traveling to vibrant Disney worlds in search of a missing Keyblade master. This title offers Disney characters in a manner not seen before, and is an amazing visual treat on the handheld platform.

Halo: Reach
Released Sept. 14, 2010—available on Xbox 360
The last release from Bungie in the Halo franchise, Reach takes it all back to the beginning of the Halo story

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thread. This is the tale Noble Team, a squad of heroic Spartan soldiers, and their final stand on planet Reach, humanity’s last line of defense between the Covenant and Earth. This darker story is echoed by grittier visuals amid a backdrop of massive, awe-inspiring environments. Characters, enemies and environments are rendered in amazing detail by an all-new engine designed to deliver epic-scale encounters against the cunning and ruthless Covenant. Reach features a deep single-player experience and a strong online component as well.

Civilization V
Released September 21, 2010—available on PC
Civilization V takes the strategy game series in a new direction with the introduction of hexagon tiles that allow for deeper strategy, more realistic gameplay and organic landscapes. The game features fully animated leaders that interact with players and speak in their native languages. The addition of ranged bombardment allows players to fire weapons from behind the front lines, and heightens the game’s strategic elements.

Super Scribblenauts
Released Oct. 12, 2010—available on DS
Words are the key to success in Super Scribblenauts, which offers a unique game experience and this new version includes an adjective system.

Fable III
Released Oct. 26, 2010—available on Xbox 360 and PC
The journey to rule the throne of Albion begins five decades after the events of the last chapter, and the hero from Fable II is called upon to make choices that could either lead to a kingdom that eradicates tyranny and corruption, or becomes gripped in the iron claw of a dictator. This is a sandbox world where every choice affects the land in profound ways.

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GoldenEye 007
Released Nov. 2, 2010—available on Wii and DS
Designed exclusively for Wii, GoldenEye 007 allows players to channel Daniel Craig’s lethal and gritty James Bond in an innovative, modern take on the legendary Bond adventure, GoldenEye. The title allows players a variety of ways to complete each mission, features destructible environments and sports a multiplayer game with classic Bond characters.

Call of Duty: Black Ops
Released Nov. 9, 2010—available on Xbox 360, PC, PS3, Wii, DS
One of the biggest multi-platform releases of the year, CoD: Black Ops pulled in $360 million in sales on its first day of release, setting industry records. Activision and Treyarch’s first-person shooter features zombies, a single-player campaign wrapped up in conspiracy that spanns several zones of conflict around the world, great graphics and a robust multiplayer element.

Disney Epic Mickey
Released Nov. 30, 2010—available on Wii
Launched from a scene that could have been lifted straight out of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice cartoon, Epic Mickey journeyed into the past of cartoons, and set Mickey up to free Cartoon Wasteland from a pervasive evil. His weapon of choice? A paintbrush.

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