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19th, December
Esme’s Top 10 Games of 2010

As the 2010 year comes to a close in less than two weeks, everyone now has time to reflect on the important things of the last 12 months like their worst hangover, annulled marriages, and their top favorite games. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and do the same, because I know everyone cares about my opinion on video games (and by everyone, I mean exactly 2 readers).

Although I have been gaming most of my life, this was the first year I was truly “in the know.” Meaning, this was the first year I paid attention to game-related current events and became part of the actual gaming community. After reflecting on all the games I’ve listed below and the ones I have yet to play, I can safely say this was a good year to get engrossed in the gaming world.

(Fair warning, I write a lot.)

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10. ModNation Racers (PS3)
I tend to avoid most racing games because of the sheer fact that I suck at driving on virtual roads as much as I suck at driving on actual roads (thank you Miami upbringing). Yet, I picked up this game on launch date for the intriguing fact that there’s more to it than just racing. The customization options were so widespread for the racers, cars, and tracks that you spend 80% of your time creating, rather than actually racing. Many would assume this would be a bad thing, but for this game, it works in its favor. The tools to mess with everything were easy to understand on the first try, and downloading other people’s creations was very user-friendly. One of its faults at launch was the loading times, but it still didn’t take too much away from a pleasant game that had everything from Helghasts to the Joker.

9. Dead Nation (PS3)
A twin-stick shooter PSN title featuring the ever lovable zombies, Dead Nation proves to be a very fun co-op game. Your character, male or female, is in the midst of a zombie apocalypse (very original) and your task is basically to make it to the other side of the map that’s overloaded with zombies and other undead creatures. The weapon choices are solid, along with the ease it is to upgrade everything with the money you earn, and the gameplay itself proves to be both challenging and enjoyable. Setting off a car alarm then watching zombie bodies fly once the car explodes is probably my favorite part. The major downside that the game has though, is the absence of online voice chat (for now), which for a centrally co-op game seems to be a big slip up. But it’s still worth the time and money to play this well-crafted downloadable game.

8. Angry Birds (Mobile)
Mobile gaming truly made its presence known this year, and nothing is hotter right now than Angry Birds. This game is addicting from the very first level! Besides the cute characters, what I really like about this game is that it’s challenging enough to keep you playing, but not too hard off the bat that it completely throws you off from it. I usually hate puzzle games but I ranked this as one of my top games of the year. What’s weirder is that I don’t even have an Android or an iPhone of my own! This just further proves this game’s eerie hooking powers.

7. Dance Central (Xbox 360)
From the moment I found out about Project Natal, now known as Kinect, I didn’t have much hope in it. Motion gaming didn’t seem like a big deal anymore with the Wii losing its flare, but Microsoft managed to impress me with Kinect’s capabilities in Harmonix’s Dance Central. It’s a dance simulator that teaches you to bust a move (without the need of a controller) to songs from”Funky Town”, down to that annoying song “Crank That (Soulja Boy).” Dance Central proved to be a lot of fun, as well as a great way to work out. The game is more fitted for when you have groups of friends over, but it still manages to have enough songs to entertain someone playing solo, in case they want to impress their co-workers at the next office party.

Warning: Learning to dance off Dance Central does not make you any cooler.

6. Rock Band 3
When this originally released, I had little interest in yet another music video game. But after one night of epic band playing at Harlequin’s home, I went out and bought Rockband 3 the next day. Rockband 3 does what Guitar Hero can’t do anymore (for me anyway), which is give you a wide selection of good songs you actually like and want to rock out to. From new additions like Juanes’ “Me Enamora” to rock classics like “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” by the Doors, Rockband 3 has a wide assortment of songs that seem to cater to a wider audience – while still keeping the hardcore fans happy. The biggest selling point (beside the new keyboard) is the game’s ability to teach you to play an actual instrument in “Pro” mode. This is something simulation band games should be striving for.
5. Vanquish
Vanquish is a third-person shooter that pits you against robots and more robots, while throwing in a lot of giant robots at you in the middle. The gameplay is fast, intriguing, and accelerating. Taking on the same style as Bayonetta, Vanquish is more acrobatic  than any gritty shooter out there, and that was an appreciated change of pace. It is quite the challenge to get through, but it’s not so challenging that it makes it impossible. While the gameplay is cool, the worst part of the game is it’s story, or lack thereof. That said, the game is still intense enough to keep you entertained when you’re having that urge to shoot something and don’t want to bother with waiting in a lobby.

4. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Another game that puts you head to head with robots, except this time you’re armed with a staff and have the help of a woman who enslaved you to fight the robots in the first place. Enslaved was a great adventure game with wonderful character development and story-telling. The relationship between the character you control, Monkey, and the person you’re guiding, Trip, actually evolves throughout your quest (showcased by great motion-captured cut scenes). The graphics are stunning; how the environment is full of natural life and void of human life truly encompasses an apocalyptic world. The gameplay is simple and not everyone will love the on-rails platforming, but Ninja Theory managed to make a compelling story and characters that grip you until the end.

3. Red Dead Redemption
When it comes to open world games, I’m not your gal. I’ve tried several already and it just doesn’t seem like my cup of tea. Westerns are least favorite genre to play. Yet somehow both these traits didn’t keep me away from trying RDR, and I’m glad it didn’t. Red Dead Redemption follows the former outlaw John Marston on his quest to track down his old comrades under orders of the government to ensure tranquility in his new life with his wife and son. Marston’s journey full of gun fights, criminal wrangling, and carriage races was entertaining throughout and the side-missions built on the already good main story. The DLC that came out later for the game, “Undead Nightmare,” was a great addition and well worth the purchase. It’s funny, challenging, and proved to be one of the best DLC’s ever made.

2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
Considering I’m not much of a FPS lover, I’m just as surprised as you! Black Ops actually managed to keep me hooked throughout the entire SP campaign. The only other Call of Duty game I ever tried was Modern Warfare 2, which I put down after a few missions because I was just bored with the story. However, Black Ops introduced Alex Mason to me and got me to care about him. While this game has the usual cover and shoot mechanics of every other FPS, the way the game plays out with different objectives and environments manages to keep the gameplay from turning stale. Helicopters air fights (which I now have a love/hate relationship with), swimming up to a canoe to stab an enemy in the back, guiding soldiers on the ground from an SR-71 Blackbird (even if it’s not as accurate to military standards as it could have been) are just a few examples of things I truly enjoyed in Black Ops. Multiplayer-wise, I’m still a n00b (yes, I called myself this) so all I can really say is that in Black Ops, I’m not as mad about dying as I have been before in every other FPS I’ve played. Maybe it’s just me learning to handle the gameplay better from “experience,” but the leveling in this CoD seems to be more accepting of newcomers.

1. God of War 3 (PS3)
Of all the games I played this year, nothing sticks out more than the PlayStation exclusive God of War 3. From the moment you pop in the disc, you witness the beautiful CGI and partake in a massive boss battle that sets the mood for the rest of the game. Yes, God of War 3 is the same hack-and-slash we experienced from the first two installments, but you go in expecting that. The weapons are great (and you actually feel compelled to use more than just your primary weapon this time), the extra brutality shown throughout just exemplifies Kratos’ anger, and the boss battles are all over-the-top. The story itself is a bit more complex than the previous ones and doesn’t have the same flow, but it still managed to keep me intrigued. Although I didn’t exactly like the ending, I understood why it headed in that path and it still didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the actual playthrough of the game. Stellar graphics, gameplay, and soundtrack made God of War my favorite game of the year!

Honorable Mentions
Transformers WFC , DJ Hero 2, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

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This list was hard to compile, and even worse to have to put in order. But looking back at it all now, the fact that I can compile a top ten list and still have many other games leftover to consider, just goes to show you how great the gaming industry is. There are so many choices out there, and more are being developed as you read this now. We truly have a lot to look forward to and be thankful for. Here’s to more awesome games in 2011, may our wallets not buckle under the pressure!

Note: I never owned an Xbox 360 until late November of this year, so I have not tried any Xbox exclusives yet people (hence why none are listed). Give it time.

December 19th, 2010 at 12:37 by Phazon117


Great list, but I would have put Super Street Fighter IV somewhere in this list 😉

December 19th, 2010 at 14:40 by Esmeralda


Good game but not my thing 🙂 (more of a Mortal Kombat type of person)

December 19th, 2010 at 13:59 by karbaasi92


Good list. Also like the fact that you have variety in it (PSN, PS3, Kinect, Multi, iPhone) and not just one platform.

I would put Heavy Rain, Castlevania: LoS and BLUR somewhere in the list also 🙂

December 19th, 2010 at 14:41 by Esmeralda


Yeah, I don’t discriminate across platforms! I was only missing PC gaming but I’ll get there 😛 Did not play any of those games you mentioned – Well except Heavy Rain for a bit and boy did I dislike it haha

December 19th, 2010 at 16:47 by Asmerith


Castlevania is worth a look if you get a chance, awesome game. Also grab Mass Effect 2 when it comes out for PS3 (I know you have a 360 now but hold out for the extras :P)

December 20th, 2010 at 11:26 by Esmeralda


@Asmerith: That’s what I’m doing, I’m waiting for January for Mass Effect 2 on PS3 🙂 As for Castlevania, I may rent it later since I liked what I saw in trailers

December 19th, 2010 at 17:15 by Ian


It’s a good top 10 list for any fem gamers I think. Mass Effect 2 though!?

December 19th, 2010 at 17:55 by Esmeralda


I did not own an Xbox 360 until late November, so therefore I have not played Mass Effect 2 yet. As for my list, I would think it’s a good top 10 list for ANY gamer, not just female (seriously, wth?)

December 19th, 2010 at 18:57 by jaxboxchick


Too long didn’t read

December 19th, 2010 at 19:34 by Esmeralda


That’s okay, it’s similar to what I think of your articles. “Too boring, won’t bother.”

And at least my top game wasn’t a game that came out like 4 years ago 🙂

December 20th, 2010 at 01:11 by iMuteR


Great top 10, but if u listen closely, u can hear masterchief crying 🙁 lol

December 20th, 2010 at 01:11 by iMuteR


correction, NOBLE 6****

December 20th, 2010 at 02:40 by Esmeralda


I didn’t own an Xbox 360 before late November so I haven’t played any Xbox exclusive games yet lol

December 20th, 2010 at 06:07 by ManuOtaku


I think they are other tittles this year that deserve to be on that list, super mario galaxy 2, Donkey kong country, Mass effect 2, Bayonetta, Darksiders, Assassins creed Brotherhood, Majin, etc, compare with the 10-5 listed games, o-O

December 20th, 2010 at 10:29 by Esmeralda


Well considering how this is my list, I don’t agree with you o.O
I played Bayonetta, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Donkey Kong Country, they’re good games but not my top 10. Mass Effect 2, if you had bothered to read my note: I didn’t own an Xbox 360 before late Nov so I’m just waiting for January to pick up the PS3 version. As for the rest of the games you listed, no I haven’t played them, but they didn’t catch my interest. I may rent them someday, but as of now, I stick with what I listed since it’s what I played throughout the year.

December 20th, 2010 at 14:07 by ManuOtaku


With all due respect, i know this is your list, but i think if you are going yo put a ten best list of something, you first need to play all the games, and then make the list, like when a reviewer place the top tne movies, it is under the knowladge that he or she did see all the movies of the year, if thats not the case here, then you should tittle the post ” Emes top ten played games in 2010, because is misleading as it is

December 20th, 2010 at 14:43 by Esmeralda


@ManOtaku: That’s just being absolutely picky. The title says it’s MY top ten games already, my name is right in the title. If I wanted it to be in general, it’d just say “Top Ten Games of 2010.” Even then, at the end of the article it clearly states I did not play Xbox exclusives because I did not own an Xbox 360 before. If you’re reading something with my name in the title, you should presume already that it’s my opinion. Not that of the entire site’s. Especially when each description for the game is written in first-person. Also, I play what I can and am interested in. I will not purchase nor rent games I don’t care for, at least not when I write for this site voluntarily. That type of thinking of having to play every game to form a list would make sense if my article was to encompass the entire site’s opinion.

December 20th, 2010 at 08:23 by that guy


I can respect that you didn’t list games you haven’t actually played, but if this is your top 10 games of 2010 then you missed out on a lot of good games. Mass Effect 2 as several people have mentioned, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Alan Wake, just a name a few.

December 20th, 2010 at 10:33 by Esmeralda


And I can respect that you probably didn’t read the note at the end of the article that clearly states I did not own an Xbox 360 before late November so I have not tried any Xbox exclusives yet (in regards to Alan Wake and Mass Effect 2). I was not going to rush through them just to list them here. I am picking up the PS3 version for ME2 in Jan and renting Alan Wake later (it did not peak my interest to pick it up immediately). As for Assassin’s Creed:Brotherhood, you can read the comment above.

December 20th, 2010 at 09:52 by Madtownjoe2


I have to agree with the last one and I’m still trying to beat the game on I think titan so I can get my platinum trophy

December 20th, 2010 at 10:36 by Esmeralda


I’m still trying to get the platinum for the game, but my patience wears thin sometimes 😛 Good luck getting it!

December 20th, 2010 at 12:45 by Ala Douche


That annulled marriage bit was directed at me, wasn’t it?!

Also, WTFZORZ NO MASS EFFECT 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(sorry, had to fit in)

December 20th, 2010 at 13:33 by Esmeralda


I read that as “had to fit IT in” and was going to make a that’s what he said joke but no, you didn’t set it up 🙁

December 20th, 2010 at 14:51 by Ala Douche


I applaud your attempt at vaginal humor. 😀

December 20th, 2010 at 15:21 by PacManPolarBear


Vanquish made your list. Which means you’re awesome.

December 20th, 2010 at 16:11 by Phazon117


Come on, lay off Esmeralda. I only have a 360 and iPhone (haven’t touched my Wii (Frawlz joke) since 2009), so my list would probably not include Wii or PS3 games. You don’t expect her to lie and put a generic, run of the mill top ten that every wannabe blogger will post, do you?

December 21st, 2010 at 13:01 by Loud Farts Rock


Nice list Esme (wait for it), But I was curious to know why some of the games on your list shows the platform, while some don’t? Examples are Vanquish and Enslaved do not show the platform while GoW3 and Angry Birds do show. I know what you’re thinking (why so Anal?), but it’s more of writing style critique, than anything else.

See you on XBL with the rest of the crew!

December 21st, 2010 at 14:04 by Esmeralda


Because I decided not to list it if it wasn’t an exclusive. Notice that all the ones that do have a platform beside it are exclusives to the console it indicates 🙂 Thanks for reading!