2010 was another great year for games as all three consoles have their shining moment from Microsoft entering the motion control arena with Kinect, Nintendo with more hardcore Wii games, and Sony trying to maintain pace with the other two. Honestly, I missed out on a lot of the third-party blockblusters like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Red Dead Redemption (early candidate for GOTY by others), Mass Effect 2, and others. So my top five games of 2010 (would be ten, but I didn't play enough big games) will be somewhat of a different list than the usual some would expect.
5) Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
This is easily my favorite downloadable game of the year as Namco Bandai managed to top themselves from the original Pac-Man CE to this DX version as the new additions made the game more crazy and better. Setting up a ghost train to chase Pac-Man and them eating them all after eating a power pellet is indeed one of the most satisfying gaming moments of the year. The increased focus on competing for high scores also matters again as you want to go beat that certain score or target in the various mazes the game offers is also amazing and where the addiction truly takes shape. If you want something that is quick to play in short sessions, Pac-Man CE DX is the best of the bunch on the downloadable front.
4) God of War III
God of War III definitely lived up to its expectations of being an epic experience from beginning to end. Sony Santa Monica had to go balls out for Kratos' main finale with huge bosses that scale as big as modern skyscrapers with the Greek titans. The core formula wasn't significantly changed and the quicktime scenes the franchise originally modernized have never been better on the Playstation 3. It is still one of the best looking games this console generation without resorting to CG trickery and has an epic orchestral soundtrack to boot during the game's big moments. Sure, it does not have the same dramatic impact the first game had, but this trilogy had to end in a bang and it did that this year.
3) Donkey Kong Country Returns
As an old school Donkey Kong Country fan, I had high hopes for Retro Studios to deliver the same and perhaps even better goods than what Rare did on the Super Nintendo with their previous experience with the Metroid Prime Trilogy. DKC Returns is the comeback of the gorilla and his signature red tie maintaining its old-school greatness for some of the best 2D platforming in recent memory. The level design is top notch and the fair challenge is up there for being one of the harder games out this year, but it is as not insanely hard as people exaggerated it to be. Everything just flows together from the jungle to the volcano seeing the levels click as you transverse them despite some control issues. DKC Returns is just simply that good and another superb Nintendo game in all aspects.
2) Super Street Fighter IV
It is no surprise that Super Street Fighter IV is very high on my list this year considering it is my most played of this crop of games. The new additions to the game (which is at a discounted price) that brought back the fighting game genre to the mainstream have been great from the improvements to online play, new characters, and so on. Plus, it is still as fun as it gets playing it at any level whether you're new to the game or a tournament player. I could ramble more in-depth about certain things since I talk about this game a lot being around the competitive scene, but I'll leave it as it is now. There's Arcade Edition to deal with now here at SoCal, which is a whole another story, but console SSF4 is as good as it gets no matter which system you're playing it on.
1) Super Mario Galaxy 2
If you read my review of this game back in June, I have claimed that it is my favorite game of all-time. Surprisingly, I still stand by that claim as Super Mario Galaxy 2 is pure perfection as I thought Nintendo outdid themselves with the first game, but this one is truly special though. There's just something about these levels throughout the game that blow my mind each and every time I play through them. I have never experienced a game since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that has achieved that certain spark from beginning to end. The level design feels like it is still ahead of its time with Mario and gravity and many moments just made me smile realizing why I love this hobby so much. Nintendo still manages to make masterpieces in today's world of video games where first person shooters like the Call of Duty franchise are all the rage. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a reminder to the modern audience that today's games don't need to be some crazy Hollywood blockbuster that has to appeal to the mainstream or have guns to be cool, they just have to be simply games that anyone can enjoy like the 8-bit/16-bit days.