OXCGN’s Game Of The Year Announced
The winners and the loser
©2010 David Hilton
I won’t lie: this gaming year has been a difficult one for OXCGN’s staff. (Cue). It seems most of us have had a hard time balancing a lack of time, a lack of money, and a lack of interest in the current crop of gamer’s games.
The general lack of innovation and proliferation of sequels in hard-core games in a difficult economic climate has seen many of us often turn to alternative (and often cheaper) gaming experiences like on smartphones or XBLA and PSN. (okay, kill violins).
That’s not to say there haven’t been some real gems out this year. It mainly has meant that each of us has been more discerning in our console game purchase choices.
Our decision on this year’s Game Of The Year reflects this, with each of us having different top 5 choices. This year we decided to use thesystem where each staff member chose a Top 5 and assigned 5 points to their personal favourite title, followed by 4 points for the next and so on. Then all these totals were tallied up to find out what our Game Of The Year for 2010 was.
As many of us own several platforms we also tallied our favourite exclusive game on another platform.
Finally, though we avoided buying iffy games like the plague, and there seemed to be less obviously bad ones around this year, we offer our choice for the “Golden Crap Award”.
We know many won’t agree, so give us your pick below in our poll and check back to see who’s winning.
OXCGN’s Game Of The Year 2010 Awards
Red Dead Redemption
Rockstar has a unique way of captivating the world with their games. Whether it’s from the intense tales of a man’s redemption, or from information that a sex scene is in their game appearing on the evening news, they are always getting into your life in one way or another.
Red Dead Redemption is no exception. I won’t hide it: some staff were huge skeptics of RDR. They looked at it and thought, “I already played this in 2006, and it was called Gun.”
But when that copy arrived at their doorstep on May 18th and it was booted up for the first time, said staff vowed to never doubt the brilliant minds at Rockstar ever again. As soon as the opening cinematic was finished, they were fully immersed into the rich atmosphere of the Old West, and one even had found his man-love, in the form of John Marston.
What followed was a tale of redemption, greed, murder, violence, love, friendship, and family. To this day, the ending of Red Dead Redemption still sends chills down spines; few tales have ever been told of that magnitude.
From the sharp writing to the lovable characters, to the free roaming dynamics to the absolutely awe-inspiring range of things that you can do, Red Dead Redemption is a title that deserves all the praise it gets.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Though some might argue that Assassin’s Creed has one of the most ridiculous stories in the entire gaming industry, Ubisoft took the gaming world by surprise with the sheer magnitude of its vision and by not telling us about Desmond Miles and his pertinence in the storyline. But it was a nice surprise upon first boot. Things only got so much better with Assassin’s Creed 2, last year’s Game Of The Year.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood serves as the first “bridge” between Assassin’s Creed 2 and 3. It continued the story of our favorite Renaissance killer, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, and told two concurrent stories of such greatness that it warranted a perfect score from our reviewer (which he doesn’t give very easily).
Brotherhood deserves its place on our GOTY list because it was some of the best this generation had to offer: improved combat, fluid animations, beautiful visuals, a heartfelt score, and a storyline that reaches into the depths of your soul to draw you in.
Remedy took their time making Alan Wake. Over five years, to be precise. What resulted was what some called mediocre, but what others called intriguing.
It portrayed a storyline like that of a Hollywood blockbuster, but different in that this was a “psychological action thriller.” Deep atmosphere, creepy undertones, a rich, varied score, and characters that you’ll tell your kids about, Alan Wake was definitely an underdog this year, being overshadowed by Red Dead Redemption (releasing on the SAME day).
While many of our staff personally liked RDR more, Alan Wake had a certain uniqueness about it that warranted it being higher up on our list.
Quite possibly the one you’ll be questioning the most on our scale, Halo Reach was one of the best games this year. Not only was it the true sequel to Halo 3 that we had been waiting for, it was everything we’d ever want in a complete Halo package.
It had a story with such immersion and gameplay sequences that it is still replayed over and over because of the fun factor. It brought a massive, beautiful world to explore, one of the best musical scores I’ve ever heard, and the only multiplayer title of the year that many of us still go back to. Halo Reach is the definitive Halo experience, for newcomers and veterans alike, and a worthy GOTY contender.
OXCGN’s Game Of The Year 2010:
Mass Effect 2
Really, you already knew Mass Effect 2 would win. Don’t even act surprised.
BioWare must sit back in their offices, relax, and realise that they are some of the greatest storytellers in the history of interactive entertainment. Homer would probably have enjoyed these tales of wondrous action and adventure!
Commander Shepard died. But, Cerberus brought him back to life, because it wasn’t quite his time yet. What followed was a tale of one man’s epic journey to save all sentient life as we know it from utter destruction, playing out in dozens, possibly HUNDREDS of different ways based on player choices.
The visuals were unique and eye-catching. The music was executed perfectly. The story made jaws drop and even caused us to get emotional at times. The gameplay was some of the most entertaining in gaming. The player choices and dialogue system are top-notch. The characters are some of the most ‘real’ we’ve ever encountered (How many other games, when one member of a team dies in an ending, makes you legitimately get sad and redo it in order to save them?). Seriously, it’s just the essence of perfection.
Featuring some of the best writing in the industry, Mass Effect 2 is one of the best RPGs of all time (even though it’s light on RPG elements), and I can’t wait for Mass Effect 3, just recently announced. Yet another reason to crave 2011! All PlayStation 3 owners should pick up this epic title as soon as it releases.
OXCGN’s Other Platform Exclusive Game Of The Year:
Starcraft 2 (PC)
Though there were many games on the PS3 (God of War, Heavy Rain, Gran Turismo 5) and more on the PC (like Civilization V) that were worthy contenders, the winner goes to the sequel to the classic Real Time Strategy game Starcraft.
Blizzard are the masters of many things (besides just taking your money). They have the MMO genre in their pocket, and with the release of the sequel to one of the most highly praised RTSs of all time, they can now say they have the RTS genre in their pocket.
StarCraft 2 was not only a beautiful game that was fun to play, it had a very gripping storyline that managed to immerse the player into a surprisingly interesting story. Most RTSs have crappy cinematics that are assembled as an after-thought, but not SC2. Blizzard went full force with their unique storytelling method, and came out successful.
As a newcomer to the series or an experienced veteran, StarCraft 2 was one of the best ways to enjoy some good ‘ol Real Time Strategy goodness.
OXCGN’s Golden Crap Award
SAW 2: Flesh & Blood
As with any year, there have been more than a few less-than-average releases on the 360, but nothing quite sinks to the depths of Saw 2.
Released only a year after the first unpleasant game, Flesh & Blood manages to possess a nonsensical plot, combat to make you cringe and some of the most stupidly simple ‘puzzles’ to ever grace current-gen scenarios, such as rotating the right stick and watching a fellow cut into stitches under his eyeball to retrieve a key.
Real enthralling gaming right there. After the end of the first chapter you’ll wish you were taking part in one of Jigsaw’s little games, because it could be argued that is less torturous.