Ah, Thanksgiving time. The time of the year where we show our thanks by way of a gluttonous feast, with food fit for a king. Also, there’s that whole Black Friday thing, where we shove our money in our ears and buy everything that’s marked down in price. But that’s almost a different holiday altogether then, isn’t it? Greed Day, or somesuch.
However! We, the kind and wise overlords of GamerSushi, wanted to stop and take a quick look at the gaming year so far. In the spirit of the holidays, we had a hand-to-hand combat battle to determine the things that we are most thankful for in 2010, so that we could benevolently share them with all of you, our loyal fellow gamers and all around awesome dudes.
So, without further ado, here’s our top six gaming things we’re thankful for in 2010.
Great Downloadable Games
This year, downloadable games showed up in a big way. Not only were some of these great titles completely free to play, they even made up some of our favorite gaming moments of the entire year.
Downloadable games came in all shapes and sizes in 2010, and across multiple platforms. Angry Birds was an addictive hit for mobile phones. Alien Swarm was free to play on PC and had some fantastic co-op goodness. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light could be in my top 10. Double that for Limbo, only place it in the top 5 as well. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time dropped on the PSN. Each of these things constitutes another notch in the belt for downloadable titles, and we got all of them in the same year.
Red Dead Redemption and the Old West
We’re getting to the point these days, where I just expect to see space marines or military weaponry in every single title I play, no matter what the genre or the setting. This game will inevitably be filled with some epic setpieces, waypoints, predictable enemy AI and a fairly linear course for me to navigate. Also, generic heroes.
Not so with Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar’s landmark release that took us back to the Old West, and did so with great care and reverence. Red Dead Redemption is a tribute to thousands of westerns that came before it, but also an awesome tale in its own right, and an excellent video game to boot. There’s nothing quite like riding your American Standardbred into a swift sunrise, chasing a band of outlaws and pulling off the sublime Dead Eye headshots, one after the other. This is a setting we hope to see capitalized on and explored, especially given the current technology of this generation.
New Gameplay Mechanics in Heavy Rain
How could we not include a game that required using your controller interactively to remove a chick’s bra? Come on, it’s a given.
Joking (sort of) aside, Heavy Rain proved to be a major splash this year. As a title that didn’t revolve around killing or maiming everything in sight to focus more on a well told (although sometimes shakily executed) and engaging mystery, this was kind of a big deal. The cut scenes were involving and the quick time events were nail-bitingly intense, really sucking you into the moment in a way I haven’t experienced much in this generation. With a focus on narrative, mood, theme and using the controller in new ways, this PS3 exclusive is hopefully the first of many in this style. You hear that, publishers? We like this stuff.
Long Developed Titles See the Light of Day
Vaporware is a term that gets tossed around too often in today’s gaming climate, and in the Internet age it’s more likely that people are going to find out and pile on to games that stay in development hell for years on end.
Fortunately for 2010, several titles broke through the gauntlet and saw the light of day. Final Fantasy XIII, Alan Wake, Starcraft II and even Gran Turismo 5 (out today) have all finally hit the shelves, and the year was all the better for it. Starcraft II and Gran Turismo 5 in particular are shaping up to be two of the year’s heavy hitters, and Final Fantasy XIII and Alan Wake are nothing to sneeze at, either. Heck, with Duke Nukem Forever jumping on board the release train in 2011, maybe 2010 is the year we finally bucked the trend of games that stayed in development for way too long. One can only hope.
Mass Effect 2’s Engaging Tale
There is a difference between story and storytelling, and most games seem to only excel at one or the other. For some reason, they’re two great tastes that developers don’t always mix together, and gamers are the ones that suffer for it.
Mass Effect 2 is tremendous at both. Not only did Bioware’s epic build on and develop what I consider to be the deepest universe gaming has seen, they also filled it with a cast of characters that is unrivaled in today’s blockbuster releases. With the likes of Dr. Moridin Solus, Miranda, Thane and others, Mass Effect 2 is filled with people that are well written and at times, worth caring about. Mix this in a pot with a potential galactic apocalypse, and you’ve got a recipe for a game that is engaging and well paced from start to finish. We’re ridiculously thankful for Mass Effect 2, but more thankful for what it could mean when other developers start taking notes.
A Year of Spread Out Releases
Apparently 2010 is also the year that dreams came true. For what seems like forever, we’ve been wishing and hoping for the day when game studios finally spread the releases out over the course of an entire year, rather than loading up for the Fall onslaught like they did in the past.
Right out of the gate in 2010 we got the likes of Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2, Bad Company 2, Red Dead Redemption, Final Fantasy XIII, God of War III and then some – and that only gets us through March. This season still saw a barrage of games the way it always does, but we didn’t have to pick and choose the way we have in the past. When I look back on this year, I always had something to play, rather than the long droughts of no gaming, and for that, I’m pretty happy.
There you are, six things to be thankful for in 2010. There were actually so many to choose from that this list was a bit hard to nail down. Honorable mentions would have included Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer (a huge fresh of breath air in a world filled with Slayer), NBA 2K11, the revitalization of Call of Duty through CoD: Black Ops, etc.
So what about you guys? Any that you think I missed? What gaming things are you thankful for in 2010? Go!