Top 3 Feature: Tom Chudley

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Top 3 Feature: Tom Chudley

You’ve got to feel sorry for 2009. Remember last year when everyone was saying how it was the best year for gaming yet? Ignorant fools. If only they had any idea what was coming. The Wii had its most consistently strong year yet, with fantastic first-party support throughout. The PS3 has seen increasing support following it’s transformation into a viable financial option for the masses late last year. The 360 has seen big-hitters from some of the most popular franchises today, including Halo and Mass Effect.

In fact, I’m willing to say that 2010 was probably the best year for gaming yet. And I’m positive I won’t laugh at myself for that statement next year.

Best of 2010

1. 3D Dot Game Heroes

3D Dot Game Heroes will make you smile, whether it be at the myriad of subtle retro references, the hilarious writing, or the fact that the developers clearly has so much fun making this heartfelt Zelda tribute.

Everyone will find something that makes them nostalgic in this charming game, from old-skool pros that started gaming when Mario was still jumpman, to 90s kids that grew up surrounded by Pokémon. It might be set in the context of a Zelda game, with an over-world, towns, and 8 dungeons to battle through; but takes inspiration to everything from Final Fantasy to penis enlargement spam emails – because let’s face it, who doesn’t love the idea of an innuendo-filled sword sub-quest?

It can be infuriating, challenging, and backwards-thinking; but then, so are most of the games that 3D Dot Game Heroes is trying to emulate. It’s the best game you didn’t play this year, and it’s impossible to go away from Heroes without a big grin plastered across your face.

2. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

I groaned when I first heard about Brotherhood. Everything, from the return of Ezio to the addition of multiplayer, screamed of a cash-in. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be one of the finest games of the year, with even more single-player content than the already massive ACII, and with a damn fine multiplayer to boot.

While Ezio’s story may be slightly more wandering than previously, the achievement of taking all the historical detail that the AC games have been renowned for and producing it all in one, huge, city – Rome – is well worth seeing. There were plenty of moments where I just had to stop and take in the overwhelming beauty of the Roman skyline. The (completely optional) additions of the ability to control your own assassins and take down Borgia Towers across Rome only add to the massive experience. Desmond’s story is heating up, to boot – the ending might not be as huge a revelation as ACII, but is just as surprising and satisfying.

There’s a lot to be said about the addition of multiplayer to games, but Brotherhood has convinced me that it’s always worth giving it a go, especially as it hasn’t given an inch on the fantastic single player. What I first thought was going to be a throwaway mode was actually some of the tensest, high-quality multiplayer I’ve ever experienced.

Sure, Brotherhood still doesn’t really need to exist, but in the end, I’m glad it does.

4386758367 1a688b5570 Top 3 Feature: Tom Chudley3. Super Mario Galaxy 2

Galaxy 2 is, quite simply, a perfect game. I never expected a sequel to Galaxy, which was (until the release of Galaxy 2) my favourite game of this generation, but I’m so glad it happened, as it was one game that really needed room to stretch its fantastic ideas.

Despite the similar graphics (which, two years on, are still toe to toe with your average HD game), it was clear while playing it that Nintendo had a completely different mindset wile creating the game. This is a game from a developer that is completely confident in the ideas and concepts that Galaxy as a franchise represents, taking the very, very best from the original and stripping out anything that was too close to being padding – up to and including the hub world.

Tough, perfectly designed, and packed with enough ideas to keep an average franchise going for a decade, this is not only very nearly the best game I’ve ever played: it also proves that Mario is just as relevant – and just as magical – today as he ever was.

Controversy of 2010

4386197788 78c69aff1e Top 3 Feature: Tom ChudleyMetroid: Other M

Even though I was a pretty big skeptic at first (wasn’t everybody?), I never quite expected the controversy that Other M created. In , Metroid fans all over the world went from a state of mind that was uncomfortable with the direction Samus was taking as a character, to one of complete outrage.

I was never that angry – I just appreciated that Samus finally had a personality, a big step for Nintendo. However, even if the character of Samus could use a bit of refining, the overall game is a gem, with all the other aspects that makes Metroid present and correct. Even the rest of the plot – the presentation, the themes, and the (other) characters – was impressive.

In retrospect – and despite that scene – I’ve got to conclude Other M is another high point in one of the most consistently high-quality franchises in gaming,

With a slick combat mode and a fascinating mix of 2D, 3D, and first person gameplay, Other M is just as good at taking the Metroid franchise in new directions as it is at keeping in touch with its roots.

Most Anticipated of 2011

1. Okamiden

While the 3DS is almost definitely going to be my high-point of 2011, it’s important to remember that DS still has some life in it yet. The cream of the very last DS crop has to be Okamiden, sequel to one of the greatest Wii-makes ever.

Okamiden looks to be just as much of an adventure as its big brother, and nearly as gorgeous – not to mention that Capcom has finally figured out that an ideal platform for a paintbrush mechanic is one where you’re essentially holding a tiny plastic paintbrush.

2. Portal 2

Is it possible to be a gamer and not be ridiculously excited for Portal 2? Yes, but you’d have to have not played the original Portal, which is just plain sad.

Bigger puzzles, better graphics, and even more hilarious characters: Valve seem to be aiming to one-up every single factor that made the original a cult classic. Also, they’re getting rid of cake references, which after 3 years of endless memes, is probably for the best.

3. Alice: Madness Returns

I was completely unaware of the existence of American McGee’s Alice when teaser trailers for the sequel starting turning up around the internet, but I still fell in love with the game immediately.

The twisted premise and creepy atmosphere makes this game stand out above all the financially safe grey-brown shooters that are flooding the market in the wake of the credit crunch. Hopefully, come the end of 2011, the Cheshire Cat will have even more to grin about – as will gamers interested in seeing something fresh and different.

Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
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  • Mat Growcott
    December 23, 2010
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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    2009 was easy. You just said Uncharted 2 rocked and then went home.


  • Joe Ryan
    December 24, 2010
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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    Arkham Asylum STILL > Uncharted 2


    Mat Growcott Reply:

    @Joe Ryan, lol. Next you’re going to be telling me that the end of Red Dead Redemption was a quality conclusion.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link


  • Napoleon1066
    December 24, 2010
    VA:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    Portal 2? Never heard of it.


  • John A.
    December 24, 2010
    VA:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    Thanks for reminding me about the Alice game. :]


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