Top 10 Console Games of 2010
Realm of Gaming Holiday Guide: Top 10 Console Games of 2010
By: Christopher Otis
Christmas comes only once a year. For those of us who are at the age where this consists of plowing into a pile of gifts and ripping through their wrapping like a pack of deranged gremlins, the year-long wait is a curse. For those of us on the other side of the line, namely those buying said gifts, a curse of a different kind finds a foothold in the form of choice. Too many choices to be exact, especially in the world of video games, and sometimes it takes a wonderful and informative guide to help the lost find their way. Luckily for you, this is that guide and you're already on your way to an enlightened morning of gift-giving rivaling the kind put forth by old St. Nick.
The following console games are listed in no particular order. The very fact that they are here exemplifies them as some of the biggest games of the year, worthy of your attention, and hopefully, a great gift for that special someone in your life.
Mass Effect 2 (XBOX 360, rated M) Have you ever wanted to battle a destructive alien force across the galaxy with the combat prowess of Darth Vader, piece together a motley crew with the integrity of John Crichton, or woo blue women with the charisma of Captain Kirk? Well, then look no further. Biowares Mass Effect 2 is in a genre of its own with its combination of pop and stop 3rd person shooting, integral team-building mechanics, and a complex conversation system where every decision you make molds the story. Filling in the shoes of Commander Shepard on the sequel to his/her maiden voyage is one of the most thrilling and sophisticated games of the year, and the perfect gift for a gamer who thrives off the thrill of having the weight of the universe on his/her shoulders.
Heavy Rain (PS3, rated M) One part the movie Saw, one part pulp mystery novel, and six parts raw suspense, Heavy Rain comes from Quantic Dream, the creators of Indigo Prophecy. Its plot, on second look, is not without a number of weak spots. However, where this title flourishes is not in the threading of its storyline but in the magnetism of its four main characters as they each try to solve the mystery of the Origami Killer before he murders another little boy. The gamer who receives this gift will undoubtedly be invested in the games plight as they navigate the flawed protagonists through gripping narrative sequences by pressing button combinations in a manner similar to the actions being prompted on screen.
God of War III (PS3, rated M) Hatred. Rage. Few words are adequate enough to describe the relentless killing machine embodied within the new god of war, Kratos, and even fewer are capable of describing the epic proportions he amounts to in order to exact his blind vengeance on the gods of Olympus. Definitely not for younger gamers nor the squeamish, God of War III is the conclusion to a horrifically gruesome three chapter romp through Greek mythology. Fluid 3rd person combat and some light puzzling round off this experience for gamers looking to tap into their inner monster this holiday season.
Splinter Cell: Conviction (XBOX 360, rated M) For now, Jack Bauer is retired, James Bond is on the sidelines, and Jason Bourne is nowhere to be found. Enter Sam Fisher. The star of four previous Splinter Cell titles, this grizzled stealth guru has slinked through his fair share of shadows in the past and rightfully deserves a quiet and calm retirement. But when the death of his daughter gets linked to a terrorist plot threatening the foundation of the very nation he has sworn to protect, Fisher has no choice but to return to the world of cloaks and daggers. Gone are the days where stealth is the tool of a weak soldier out-gunned and isolated. Instead Conviction turns the hide-and-seek games of the old Splinter Cell into a game of cat-and-mouse where the enemy soldiers are the clueless prey and the gamer is a lethal predator striking from the darkness without pause or pity.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: (XBOX 360,PS3, rated M) What better Christmas gift for someone then a trip to the beautiful city of Rome circa 1500 A.D., smack in the middle of the Italian Renaissance, and only for 60 bucks? Sounds wonderful but impossible right? Hardly. Brotherhood does come off as a glorified expansion of Assassin's Creed 2 where instead of pouncing around the cities of Florence and Venice your moving through the historical landmarks of Rome (The Coliseum, The Pantheon, and The Sistine Chapel), but thats where most people would be wrong. Whats here is a full game that not only includes the signature parkour/ stalk-and-assassinate style game-play and the conspiracy theory-ridden/ time-hopping story of the previous entries in the series, but also an inventive new multiplayer component as well. A gamer blessed with this gift will be continuously thanking you for it as it lasts them into the later weeks of January.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (XBOX 360, PS3, Wii, rated M) The Cold War was one of the defining moments in world history. It has also the perfect playing field for a slue of video game franchises wishing to immerse themselves into a world of espionage and top secret military operations. A gamer whose into first-person-shooters probably already has this game stuck inside their home console, but, for those who dont, look nowhere else for the cinematic and intense gameplay that has become the staple of the Call of Duty Series for years. An explosive campaign and a robust multiplayer suite rivaled by only one other genre veteran, Black Ops is a must have for any gamer and a welcome site under the Christmas Tree.
Read Dead Redemption (XBOX 360, PS3, rated M) There are two types of people in this world. Those with guns and those who dig. You dig. Dig into your wallet, that is, and pull out the amount of cash it takes to bring this bad boy home as a gift to a fellow outlaw. Once one of the darlings of American cinema, the Western has had the unfortunate luck of ending up on the wrong side of a six-shooter in the realm of gaming for years. However, with Rockstars Redemption, thats changed. Gone are both the bad and the ugly and whats left is only the good. Horseback it through the literal wilds of the West, take your turn as a gunslinger in a Mexican stand-off, or simply knockback a few shots at the local saloon. Either way you hang it, this Grand Theft Auto game done cowboy-style is the new sheriff in town and would be a welcome edition to any gamer's library.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii, rated E) The godfather of video game characters, Mario, besides being a legend, has probably appeared in more games than any other video game mainstay. Now keep in mind, not all of those ventures have ended up as a gold star pinned to our plump plumbers blue suspenders and there are only so many times that his main squeeze Peach can believably be bamboozled by the treacherous Bowser. Nevertheless, when a true blue Mario game comes out, even if that entry is another sequel like Galaxy 2, our mustachioed Italian jumpman delivers in spades. Precision platforming, and pernicious puzzling are Marios specialties, and those gaming goombas who receive this celestial adventure will discover that fact firsthand. Oh yeah, and Yoshi is in there too.
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii, rated E) The king of swing has given up instigating his old nemesis Mario and tossed aside his set of bongos to pursue a much more personal matter: finding his stolen horde of golden ripe bananas. Simple right? Well, anyone who played the original Donkey Kong Country games for the Super Nintendo knows that this missing pile of fruit means they get to be a dress tie-wearing primate as he barrel-blasts, mine cart-hops, rhino-rides, and vine-swings through lush environments and dastardly designed platforming segments. This sequel is no different and only gets bigger, faster, and stronger too if you give it a chance.
Halo Reach (XBOX360, rated M) The green armored super soldier Master Chief has become a gaming icon, second maybe only to Mario. When it came time to finish the fight in Halo 3, his gold-plated visor was plastered over every public bus and fast food restaurant in sight. So how does a Halo game fare when the famous space marine isnt center stage to the war effort against the zealously alien Covenant armada? Very well indeed. Reach supplies the Spartan-starved gamer with more then one of Master Chiefs ilk as they struggle to win the battle which started it all. Set before the events of the first Halo entry, Reach is a game which packs together the fluid game-play synonymous with the developers over at Bungie, an extremely flexible map editor mode, the machinima friendly theater mode, and the unbelievable robust multiplayer mode that has been the cornerstone of online FPS gaming for years. Get this game for the loved one receiving your gifts, because nothing says I care for you more than a sticky grenade to the face.