Gaming Nexus - Our favorite games of 2010


posted 1/17/2011 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
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Dan Keener
Angry Birds - I know this is on everyone's list, but as a late comer to the Angry Birds party, I found that it is a must have regardless of your platform (iOS, Android, etc). At only $0.99, or free in some cases, this game will cost you next to nothing, yet give you hours upon hours of physics puzzler fun.

Kinectimals - Kinectimals is a game that goes much deeper than it appears on the surface. While you do play and interact with your pet cat, the game offers up a bunch of challenging minigames including driving an RC Car, kicking soccer balls at targets, exploring new areas and even locating buried treasure. It take many elements from popular social game sites and brings them all together under the control of the hottest gaming feature for 2010, the Kinect camera.

Red Dead Redemption -  There is a reason this game won the Spike VGA Game of the Year award, and it is because it is awesome. Rockstar took everything they learned from GTA IV, improved what they could, and overlayed one of the most beautiful game play areas we saw in 2010 with an amazing musical score and addictive gameplay. I am a huge sandbox style gamer anyways, so to get a western themed game with this open world play and the ability to follow my own ethical path, money in the bank in my opinion.

Optoma GT720 - Back in June I was able to spend time with Optoma's Game Time 720p gaming projector. Coming in at the low price of $799, this has been one of the best projectors I have tested to date when you factor in features, quality and price. Anyone looking to add a projo to their gaming rig, look no further than this gem. Once you game on a big screen for awhile, it is very tough to go back to a traditional flat screen TV.

Cyril Lachel
Rock Band 3 - While the mainstream game press was spending their time talking about the death of music games, Harmonix was busy creating one of the best games of all time. At first glance it looks like more of the same, but Rock Band 3 delivers some substantial changes to the formula. For one thing, it adds a keyboard, an exciting new control that opens up a wealth of potential. Best of all, gamers looking to take the next step can literally learn how to play these songs in real life. Thanks to the pro guitar, drums and keyboard, the game will teach you how to play each part like a real musician. Rock Band 3 taught me how to play The White Stripes on guitar, what did I learn from Call of Duty?

Even if you don't make the commitment to learn how to play a real instrument, Rock Band 3 offers all the improvements you could want from a sequel. The 2,200+ song library is seamlessly integrated into the game, giving players all kinds of ways to play their favorite tracks. The end result is so good that I'm content with this being the final numbered Rock Band sequel. As long as the downloadable content keeps flowing I'll be content with Rock Band 3 for many years to come.

Red Dead Redemption - I'm not your typical fan of western fiction. I didn't grow up loving cowboys and Indians, and I don't own a single movie starring John Wayne. Yet Red Dead Redemption spoke to me. I loved its deliberate pacing and fully developed characters. I loved that it didn't take itself too seriously, yet wasn't afraid to get sentimental. I loved just wandering through this gigantic world, devoid of the urban landscape we usually see in this style of adventure game. I bought into this character's journey, which is why the final act is so heart-wrenching. And just when I thought I was done being impressed by Red Dead, Rockstar Games comes up with a zombie-filled expansion pack that adds a whole new layer to the fun. Even if I didn't put it at number one, there's no question that Red Dead Redemption belongs in everybody's collection.

Super Meat Boy - Super Meat Boy is a frustrating game. It's the type of product that will make you want to throw your control on the floor and stomp on it. It's challenging to the point of being unfair. Yet that's exactly what I love about this crazy Xbox Live Arcade game. Super Meat Boy manages to capture everything I love about classic games, from the pixel-perfect jumping to the nonsensical level designs. Even though this game is clearly inspired by the titles of my past (including homages to Street Fighter, Castlevania, Bubble Bobble, Mega Man and much, much more), it still has a unique style all its own. Throw in a dozen bonus characters from other must-own games (including Tim from Braid) and you have one of the best games of the year.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker - Trumpeted as a proper sequel to Guns of the Patriots, Peace Walker seems to have gone largely unnoticed by most video game critics. That's a shame, because this small disc represents the very best in portable gaming in 2010. Not only does it tell a story on par with its console counterparts, but Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker manages to add compelling new gameplay mechanics to the long-running franchise. Being able to take on these levels with friends adds more strategy to the already deep sneaking missions. Best of all, the bite-size levels keep the pace moving. It may not have HD graphics and 50 GB worth of visual flair, but there's an argument to be made that Peace Walker is a step up from Metal Gear Solid 4.

Need for Speed:Hot Pursuit - I don't think it's an overstatement to say that Criterion's Hot Pursuit reboot is the best Need for Speed game since 2002's Hot Pursuit 2. As confusion as that sounds, all you need to know is Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is the best racing game of 2010. With its beautiful graphics and exciting races, Criterion proves that they are the masters of arcade racing games. Longtime Burnout fans will be happy that there's just enough Takedown here to keep things interesting. I was also impressed by the Autolog implementation, along with the incredibly addictive online multiplayer events. Need for Speed is officially back!
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