While I’ve still got a major post (ie; involving lots of screenshots I’ve not finished yet) on a ton of indie games I got in packs in the Steam sales, this is a quick overview of the better games released in 2010 I’ve played; quick because I don’t need to bother with screenshots, huzzah! (I’ll also promise to myself to post more stuff here…). This was also posted on the WDG forums I frequent often, although expanded a bit with some late additions. Some of these games I should post about in more detail sometime.
Some good games; no real priority, certainly no stupid top 10 or rankings or numbers. Nothing stood out as “dammit beyond dying you must play this”. Wow, having revised this list it still has so many sequels…
Metro 2033 – Not finished the SP yet, for goodness knows what reason, it’s like the last level (expanded note: It was an annoying last level). Still utterly fun though up to that point. Kudos points for not being a sequel of any kind!
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 + Vietnam – I was late to the party, but loads of fun in multiplayer. The SP is passable and helps you to learn the weapons a bit. Vehicles, large maps and always team based gameplay with no silly perks appeals. One issue is the stupid levelling system, go go gimped new players…urg.
Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising – Excellent expansion pack since I thoroughly enjoy the singleplayer; just so over the top action. Can be quite hard too which is great. Can redistribute your squads points after the first mission (thank goodness), so gets points redistributed to more powerful aspects for that
Fallout: New Vegas – Everything Fallout 3 fell down on (factions interacting, banal main plot, out of character factions, some terrible weapon selections and the game being damn easy with insta-stimpacks, and also terrible companions) was improved and bettered. An interesting world with actual fascinating intrigue and a better enemy faction of your choice, and still retained all I liked about Fallout 3 – exploration and so forth. Improved massively with a radio mod for more tracks though.
Mass Effect 2 – Fast paced “epic” shooter-RPG-kinda-thing. The combat/RPG levelling was to me oversimplified and the combat, if not especially difficult, was certainly frustrating in places since it is basically only you killing things and you get limited ammo. Still apart from some blatant plot hiccups (bloody idiot Shadow Man being the most blatant and dumbfounding one) it had some more fascinating characters and places to visit, and I still love the voiceacting and sheer character of the games. Mining minigame can bugger off though, so much wasted time on that stupid thing. Extra points for being a sequential sequel – one where actions in the first game, some rather small, do have some kind of impact on the new game.
BioShock 2 – Dare I say a good sequel – enjoyable levels, nice upgrades this time (fear my drill and named sentry bots!), a more coherent plot throughout and some very inventive work put into some parts of the game and it certainly is much more fun to play. Bonus points for
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat – A great end to the first set of STALKER games (they’re making STALKER 2 now right?), being part of the military gives me the ample canon for a faction I otherwise was fascinated with but never got to talk to, the levels were well tuned and some more demanding decisions being made of me to actively do one thing or another, rather then general side missions (which more fully influenced the much more complete ending too). Was fun to decide what to do; and the AI was great this time (more times you played in a group, was good fun doing so). I don’t think I even needed a weight mod this time, but those are easy to find to stop the curses of inventory management.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth – A damn fun game. Not too challenging, but was rewarding and seeing you move around more actively was just more pleasing then static screens and more involvement in evidence use and “logic”. No courtroom drama is a real shame, but it still pulled something similar off, and was much better then the last Ace Attorney game (which suffered from a terrible main cast; this one actually has some good cast members, and I still love Gumshoe ).
Assassin’s Creed II – Still playing, but damn it is so much better then the first game. Sadly no skippable cut-scenes still, but they’re not hours long either (still a shame if you exit and have to re-watch them again if you close the game). Extra assassination missions outside of the main plot and more combat moves/enemy types make it very fun; you really feel you have the power to kill anyone this time. Slightly more checkpoints, mission restart/cancel options and less “stop playing the fun part of the game for 10 minutes of walking around a single room” experience then the first helps too (the over the top plot is instead ingested with minigames in the past world).
Pokémon HeartGold – Yes, addictive handheld nostalgic (but still good) play-on-the-bus fun. Best game in the series is still the original Gold and Silver, and this remake captures most of that again (missing is the much better AI that was always on in the original, the room decorating and Espeon from Red also why can’t you flight from one side of the map to the other?). Now I am just waiting for Black and White…
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty – Singleplayer == good clean, if very predictable levels (mainly) although utterly unsatisfying plot-wise (with points docked for horrible NPC’s, backstory “we knew each other all along honest” cutscenes, some really really awful actors, and no mention of the UED at all with most of the original game having seemingly not happened). Multiplayer still makes me wince, and I dare not go back there unless I had severe help.
Mount and Blade: Warband – Multiplayer is a damn fun addition to the game actually – the c-rpg mod makes it a wee bit more persistent and less wacky then the normal one (which is still pretty fun but strange how gold is distributed in a kind of Counterstrike way). The revised map and actions in the game are okay too – much better then the original, more balanced, and you can become king/queen now – recommended if you’ve never played the game at all
Just Dance 2 – As a party game, utterly great silly fun you don’t need to “play certain things to unlock the good stuff”; yes I love silly disco dancing
Mafia 2 – Still playing this one, about half way in. Some major clichés and parodies/homages/references don’t stifle the quick-witted dialogue and actually likable main character and close friend, mixing some humour into the drama which moves along through mostly short cutscenes (which are skipable, take that Assassins Creed!). Reasonably fun melee fighting on top of cover-based fighting makes for a patient combat system, but is kept interesting by each mission essentially being setpiece upon setpiece. Exploring the pretty dead city isn’t great except for buying flashy suits since the police, for how little the missions actually involve them so far, do take some effort to get away from in the old cars (they don’t, however, do much unless you are speeding or hit them or a pedestrian, which makes navigating easier). Gets double points for basically including, so far at least, 2 era’s and separate seasons. Sliding around in an icy 1940′s or the summer of the 1950′s. Fedora’s look good in both
Got to play more of: Alpha Protocol (why haven’t I played this? just…kinda left the disk and never installed it!), Napoleon: Total War, Civilization 5 (this just does not appeal still for some reason; I think I love civ4 that much more, I did try again recently…) Just Cause 2 (although should be completely insanely over-the-top), Batman Arkham Asylum (I only brought it this year…not even booted it up), Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (still playing…is it all a dream again? or is this going to go mental and be actually real?) and others.
Still not brought Golden Sun: Dark Dawn or Super Scribblenauts yet though. I’ve also played a wee bit too much AI War, League of Legends (still a PITA to install dammit, but good with friends) and Team Fortress 2 from earlier years, heh.
Man, I really should play Alpha Protocol; at least then the list of “original 2010 mainstream games” I’ve played will double from 1 to 2 (admittedly there are more originals I haven’t or wouldn’t or can’t play here). I’ve resigned myself to knowing next year will be little different according to what’s going to be released; I should probably do some kind of list…wait, no, lists with no content are terrible, and there is already one here (spoiler: almost all are sequels).