Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia is no doubt, one of the scariest games ever made. Waking up in the hauntingly desolate Brennenburg castle, Daniel must uncover the past he forced himself to forget. Whilst exploring the castle, Daniel unveils a plot that takes a gruesome look into the human psyche that will shock and surprise you. Armed with just his nerves, Daniel is chased by the nightmarish Shadow that refuses to let him rest. Most outstanding is Amnesia’s ambient soundtrack that will grate into your sanity, long after you have left the computer screen. Playing this game is comparable to masochism; you will fall in love with the most terrifying experience of your life. Amnesia is a modern classic and a true masterpiece in game design. You will never want to be alone in the dark again.
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect was an exceptional RPG experience from Bioware, but Mass Effect 2 simply blew us away! With so many fixes, changes, and enhancements to the experience, it almost felt like an entirely different game. A tremendous story was brought to the table with the game’s release at the beginning of the year. A cast of both new and old characters and a choice driven narrative held our interest from the start and never let go. Coupled with an exceptional amount of downloadable content and the promise of your decisions impacting the story in Mass Effect 3, it is hard to imagine a game of this quality not being one of the best of 2010.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Released back in 1998, the first Starcraft was a groundbreaking strategy title that commanded a presence in the top 10 best selling games for almost 2 years. Blizzard must have banked on the old saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ as they waited 12 years before releasing the sequel. And what a sequel it is. Building upon the original formula, Starcraft 2 strengthens the familiar gameplay where it can while leaving it alone where it should be. A gripping storyline, balance and distinctly unique races were key features in the original and the sequel delivers here as well. With Starcraft 2, Blizzard once again takes the strategy gaming crown, although arguably they never lost it in the first place.
The granddaddy of all turn-based strategy games returned for its fifth iteration this year. Civilization V made the series' addictive formula even more accessible for newcomers. The new hex-tile system and the one unit per tile rule has a tremendous effect on war-time strategies and ensures a fresh experience for even the hardiest of Civilization players. The inclusion of a sleeker interface also provides quick access to a wealth of information and diplomatic options at your fate-deciding fingertips. One thing that has not changed though is the ‘one-more-turn’ syndrome that has caused sleep deprivation in all Civilization players. What else would you expect from a series that has conquered its audience for nearly twentyyears?
Fallout: New Vegas
When Bethesda released Fallout 3 in 2008, few could have imagined how successful it was going to become. As Bethesda was hard at work on another unannounced title, they asked for a follow up from another well-known RPG developer, Obsidian Entertainment. Keeping the radioactive franchise alive, Obsidian took us to the bright lights of a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. The result was a similar experience as our last trip to the nuclear wastelands, but that does not mean that it felt stale; far from it. Despite experiencing some growing pains, Obsidian delivered a very compelling experience this past October with many refinements to the formula that we all enjoyed two years ago. With a large amount of downloadable story driven content coming down the pipe, your invitation to the radioactive Mojave Desert is exceptionally alluring.
Mafia IINot quite the open-world experience fans had hoped for, Mafia II does manage to do a fantastic job of recreating the life of a 1950's mobster.
Sam & Max: The Devil's PlayhouseIf this doesn't make you laugh, we doubt that any game will. One of the funniest franchises in gaming.
Bioshock IIIn Bioshock 2, the player returns to Rapture as Subject Delta, a recently re-awakened Big Daddy with no clue as to his origins. In true Bioshock fashion, the story slowly unfolds as the player progresses through action-packed scenes.
Napoleon: Total WarThe Total War series is synonymous with large scale, real-time battles and turn-based empire building. Developer Creative Assembly puts players in control of the French empire led by Napoleon Bonaparte where infantry ruled the battlefield.
Metro 2033Metro 2033 introduces the player to a post-nuclear Russia where the few remaining people have found refuge in underground metro stations in an attempt to survive nuclear winter. Atmospheric, horrific, intense.