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As I sat and waited for Santa’s fat ass to squeeze down my chimney with a Kinect, I took a moment to reflect on all the games that weren’t CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS (yes, there were others). See below for my favorite gaming entries to the year 2010, in no particular order.
ANGRY BIRDSThis game wins the title of “Application to get more screen time on my Droid than Facebook, Twitter, and the auto-tuned red shirt Blizzcon nerd combined.” Birds seek vengeance on pigs, and you help by launching them out of a slingshot to bring down their shoddily fortified structures. Drag your finger left, then right, tap occasionally. Then look at the clock and realize that three hours just passed. One of the best free games I’ve ever played.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION“Grand Theft Horse,” right? Not at all. Rockstar traded in tricked-out Maseratis and white-collar crime sprees for cutthroat cowboys, backroom poker, and westward expansion - and RED DEAD REDEMPTION is leaps and bounds above the label’s patented open world environment style of game. From the character-driven story, to the rich developed landscape, RDR takes gamers on an old-west adventure that could only be topped by use of an actual time machine. Critics and fans alike have gushed over this game, largely due to the test of morality required for a solid play through. Instead of the open playground-for-thugs presented in the GTA series, RDR makes you want to be the hero and feel rewarded for the bloodshed which you bring to the land of New Austin. If playing “Cowboys & Indians” isn’t your cup of tea, then Cowboys & Zombies it is! That’s right, zombies. As part of RDR’s downloadable content, UNDEAD NIGHTMARE offers up one of the best survival horror experiences to date, not to mention some of the best drawn/costumed zombies to ever grace a console, and all for a mere $10.
ENSLAVED: ODYSSEY TO THE WESTProbably the sleeper-hit this year, ENSLAVED transports gamers to a futuristic life-after-people New York City, overgrown with flourishing plant life and overrun by insentient mechanized war machines. Yeah, “post apocalypse” is a theme not uncommon in the video game world, but ENSLAVED paints such a beautiful landscape, you might find yourself daydreaming about mankind’s inevitable downfall. While relying on a simplistic linear mode of single-player game-play and button-mashing combat, ENSLAVED delivers some of the best motion-capture animation and voice acting to date, giving gamers two protagonists about which they actually care. Monkey and Trip – 2010’s best video game couple. Oh, and shredding through giant robots with a bo-staff never gets old.
DEAD RISING 2Its formula is simple – survive 72 hours in a zombie-infested mall/casino plaza using anything and everything as a weapon. How could this not make anyone’s “favorites” list? Sure, the game’s cut-scenes/load times/side quests can be a bit insufferable, but who when this sequel has co-op play and the ability to combine weapons, who cares? Want to use 2x4s to carry lawn-mower blades and plant it on the face of a zombie? No problem. You and a buddy want to drape superhero capes over your footie pajamas and put flaming lizard masks on zombies’ heads? Can do. Want to drive a car through rows of slot machines and then beat down zombies with giant fuzzy dice? All while dressed in ladies’ swimwear? Feel free…zombies don’t judge.
SPLATTERHOUSEMetal. Gore. Boobs. Profanity. Did we mention the gore? Because it’s just as loud as the metal. Blood and guts turned up to eleven! SPLATTERHOUSE pushes the exact combination of buttons to bring out your inner thirteen year old – making you feel like you just left your first Metallica concert with your 8th grade buddies and stayed up all night smoking weed and watching horror movies and Skinemax. There aren’t many experiences on the market like that delivered by SPLATTERHOUSE – a mindless, unapologetic button-mashing beat-down of demonic thugs amidst wave after wave of blood; delightfully offensive on so many levels.
GOD OF WAR IIIKratos: master of combat, hater of Olympus, destroyer of all things pottery. Since the announcement of the third (and final?) installment of the mythology-themed blood-soaked brawler series, Kratos and his penchant for dismemberment have become the driving force behind many a PS3 purchase. The development team dragged out the release as long as possible, but “well worth the wait” doesn’t come close to describing how much awesome they packed into the final release. From the cringe-inducing carnage of tearing off Helios’s head or Hermes’s legs, to the jaw-dropping moments while fighting atop a Titan climbing Mount Olympus, to the tried and true satisfaction of ripping the wings off a Harpie, GOD OF WAR III delivers over and over again. No game has yet to fully utilize the PS3’s capabilities quite like this beautiful pastiche of blood and mythological revenge.
So those are my favorite games of 2010. Feel free to use this as a guide to spending those holiday gift cards, they’re all solid bets. Here’s to a New Year’s hangover and future releases like DEAD SPACE 2 and BULLETSTORM, and more blood spewing from my consoles.
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