games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Games of 2010 – Red Dead Redemption, BioShock 2, More

February 6, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Red Dead Redemption

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week, I’m back with counting up some of my favorite games of the past few years. This week, I’m doing 2010. I’ll likely stop with 2013, because I think I did end up doing a past 8 Ball column on it, if you want to dig back through the archives far enough. Let’s begin:

#8: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

The Criterion-developed Hot Pursuit game is probably the last good Need for Speed game in the franchise. It didn’t have a big open-world for you to explore, nor some half-baked online integration where you can’t even pause the damn game (like the last few games). It, instead, had fairly linear races alongside two career paths, the racer and the cops. The racer is trying to evade the police and get in first place, while the cop is all about trying to take down various racers and break up the lawlessness in the world. Both sides have cool items like spike strips, emp weapons and turbos to help evade or capture your target. Also, that Autolog thing was a work of genius for the game, letting the player’s competitive nature really get out there, assuming they had a full friends list.

#7: Alan Wake

I’ll be the first one to say that Alan Wake has some problems. The narrative is kind of all over the place, and I don’t think the game quite hits its set out goals. I attribute this more to the incredibly messy development of the game, than anything else. I will always defend the game for really setting a mood and atmosphere and sticking with it. The game looks great, even now, with shadows moving across the landscape in haunting ways. I also appreciate the general combat, “no”, it’s not going to win any awards, but it is serviceable enough, especially once you get used to the dodge mechanic. I really hope Remedy returns to this game universe, in a big-budget sequel, because it really demands it. Also, the music, as you can see from above, is really great.

#6: Fallout: New Vegas

New Vegas is interesting in that it’s a far more ambitious game than Fallout 3 was, but it really doesn’t work as well. For instance, most weapons have at least three different ammo types, but it gets overwhelming trying to deal with energy cell ammo of: standard, bulk, optimized, over charge, and max charge. Or the companion system was vastly expanded upon, but outside of Veronica’s story, none of the other companions had a great story arc. That’s not even getting into the litany of technical issues and poor production values (in spots) the game had. Still, more Fallout is more Fallout, and the world of the Mojave Wasteland was interesting to explore, and New Vegas probably has the best story-based DLC in the Fallout franchise.

#5: Super Meat Boy

There were other masochistic platformers prior to Super Meat Boy, notably N+, but Super Meat Boy was the first game in the genre to really break out of the Flash-inspired roots and go big. Featuring a half dozen worlds, each has a distinct look and gameplay mechanics to really differentiate from one another. If you do well in the levels, you’ll unlock the “Dark World” version of the stages, which are all very hard and require precise timing and control to actually get through them. Also, there are about a dozen or so unlockable, hidden characters for you to collect, each having their own different control style and hook. The game is also just really fast, and you can really whip through levels if you know what you’re doing.

#4: BioShock 2

Here’s the real secret: BioShock 2 has the best combat in the BioShock franchise. It can take a while to get your head around the trap plasmid/rivet stuff, but once you do, the game opens up in some superb ways. BioShock 1 obviously doesn’t have the surprise twist ending the first game did, though the story is still a good tale of the continued downfall of Rapture. The game can start slow, but I actually think that is to its credit, as it helps build tension with the player, especially regarding the Big Sister fights you have to contend with. Also, like with other games on this list, it has some superb DLC to keep you occupied once you’re done with the main game.

#3: Red Dead Redemption

I don’t have the “OMG, RED DEAD IS THE BEST GAME EVER!” mentality that some fans of the game do. I recognize that it’s a great game, and probably top 5 in Rockstar’s catalog but there are better games than it. I do like John Marston as a character, but I feel Dutch is kind of hazily sketched out, and you don’t grasp him much as a character. Also, the game has an annoying habit of jerking Marston around, far more than other Rockstar games, which diverts him from his main goal, and forces him to do a lot of side-stories which seem ancillary to his overall goal. Still, Redemption has some good gameplay, some better characters, and is one of the best examples of how to really end a game.

#2: Mass Effect 2

Middle chapters are often times the best parts of a trilogy with this game and the next game being clear examples of that. Mass Effect 2 really expands on the universe of Mass Effect, introducing a dozen new characters for you to recruit, a shadowy organization that you are now a part of, and really setting the stage for the third game in the trilogy. Some of the characters are a tad lame, I’m looking at you Jack, but almost everything about the game works brilliantly, and it is just a blast to run around levels and kill everything you come across. If anything, the only “bad” part of Mass Effect 2 is how little Mass Effect 3 follows up on it. Oh, you liked characters like Miranda, Grunt, Thane and Legion? Great, in Mass Effect 3, they mostly just stand around for all of the game, except if they have a side quest for you to enjoy. Thanks for playing!

#1: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

I will pretty much always maintain that not only is Brotherhood the best of the Ezio trilogy, it’s still the best game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Brotherhood was the game that actually had a bad guy in it, one that was a prick from the very second you come into contact with him, and became a personal enemy for Ezio. It was the game that fixed some of AC2’s shortcomings, like having banks all around to collect your money, and vastly upgrading the improvement system. Instead of just upgrading your Uncle’s villa, you are tasked with rebuilding Rome from the Templar influence. Brotherhood is also the game which introduced the entire Brotherhood gimmick, you getting a gang of people together to send out on missions or to just kill everyone on screen if they are trained high enough. I replay this game every year and a half, or so, and it holds up remarkably well even to this day.

For comments, list which 2010 games you enjoyed and why.

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Top 8 Games of 2011