The following is my list of best games I’ve played in 2010. There isn’t really a consistent criteria, just games that have opened my eyes, given me a wholly unique experience, is a fantastic expression of an idea, or just ate away a lot of time that I’m glad I gave away. They are in some form of order.
8> Dead Rising 2.
4 years in the making; the sequel to one of my favourite games of all time is exactly what I wanted in a sequel. It’s wacky zombie killing adventure, this time chainsaw paddle blades, wolverine claws and the automated Stephen Hawking kill chair. As zombies may be entering the mainstream pop culture du jour, Dead Rising 2 remains one of the best expressions of just how goofy the idea is, and how seriously we can take it.
Take for example the daughter part of the story, it’s a nice touch in an otherwise balls to wall game of insane zombie killing action. Sure, I can feed her medicine while dressed in a top hat and a mankini, but the intent of trying to get at an emotion beyond just awesome killing or desperate survival elevates this game just beyond B-grade enjoyable pulp. The rest of the game just mashing on the necros, but every so often, you can be reminded why we bother.
A German mod team takes 4 years to show that they have much better imagination that world creation abilities that Bethesda. Nehrim is a mod that makes full use of Oblivion’s potential, but building a world that seems at times plausible, at times picturesque, but all fantastic. Playing the game is like wandering through a fantasy novel; meeting the people and stumbling into some incredible locations, being yanked along by a plot that seems not to stop, and coming into set pieces that Bethesda can only wished they had originally dreamed off.
In Nehrim, you’ll sneak your way into a sieged city, trudging your way through its smoking ruins, you’ll delve deep into tunnels, looking for the lost mega-city buried beneath. You’ll trek cautiously through a haunted forest, only to arrive to a site of massive devastation. No two dungeons are alike, no two locations are similar. It’s a game that’s build a world out of sheer imagination and grit and it’s worth the time to see what mod teams can do, when they put their mind to it.
Limbo is this year’s Braid, and arguably a much better expression of an artistic idea. It’s a game that wears its aesthetic perfectly, the quiet echo of its soundtrack against the haunting imagery of its silhouettes upon shadows, a platform game with incredible simple mechanics, telling a simple story with just art. Also, those death animations are kinda cool.
Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting to be smitten by this. It originally looked to be just an update to the old Arkanoid/Breakout gameplay, with tweaks to the gameplay mechanic. Playing it, on the other hand, is a different story. Props goes to the awesome soundtrack, which I could just listen to without playing the game, but goes a long to providing that “zen thing” trance groove the game will lull you into once you get going. Whatever the case, it’s nice to see classic gameplay mechanics get a spit and polish and remind us why they are classic in the first place.
Here’s the soundtrack because it’s just that awesome.