It’s that time of year again. As usual, I do my Games of the Year awards on a one year lag, to give me a chance to get through my backlog. So, for the next week, I’ll be talking about some of the best games I played in that came out in 2010, as well as the best older games that I played over the course of 2011.
2009 was a year where I had to expand my Games of the Year list to 10 games in order to fit in all the games I loved, but I had a hard time picking a number one. I can already tell that 2011 is going to have the same issue. 2010, on the other hand, is a year where I had trouble filling out a list of even five games that I loved, but where the number one pick was never in doubt. Today, I run through the 2010 games that almost made the list, games that I had fun with, but that didn’t endure in my mind the way my top five did.
I love the idea of a game where I can sit down and play for 30 or 45 minutes and feel like I got a complete experience. There’s enough randomness to the progression that stays interesting through a bunch of runs. Plus it’s got this great implementation of 3d space combat, where it’s small enough scale to be manageable, and where position and flanking and maneuverability are all important.
Stylish and atmospheric. Another game that knows how to pace itself in order to provide a satisfying gameplay session. A little too predictable and with too little variety in the action to make it into the list proper. Nonetheless, I had a very good time with it.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
The first Battlefield game I’ve gotten into. It’s hard to describe how refreshing it was to have environments be destructible in a multiplayer shooter. Too many modern military shooters feel ungrounded and bloodless, mere shooting galleries. Seeing the environment get ground down over the course of a round in Bad Company adds a sense of weight to the proceedings, like all this violence is actually having an impact.
Lara Croft & The Guardians of Light
The best co-op experience I had in a 2010 game. Solid, casual fun, with a nice balance between action and puzzling. I played it in co-op with H, and we thought we were almost done, and then we scrolled down and there were a bunch more levels. So there’s no shortage of content in there.
A simple, unassuming puzzle game. Another game with great pacing. Rounds have a fixed length, over the course of which I’d get gradually immersed in to the music as it builds. Between the fixed game-length and the feeling that I’m interacting more directly with the music, I think I like it even more than Lumines.
Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse
I ended up subscribing to this season just after it started because of a Steam sale. So, once a month for half the year, I got this funny, low-intensity, two or three hour adventure game. Definitely the best way to play these sorts of things, rather than trying to push through them all at once. Plenty of laughs to be had, and some clever puzzles too, but even after being with these characters for three seasons, I don’t have the sort of emotional attachment to them that would put the game over the top.