Best of 2010: Xbox 360 / PS3
2010 was absolutely huge for gaming. The biggest year yet. Of course we say that every year, mostly because it's true. Gaming is just getting bigger and bigger covering all sections of society from young to old. It's good for us of course as it means a hell of a lot more games are coming out. More AAA quality games at that. So sit back while we take you through just what happened this year for the PS3 and Xbox 360. You never know, you might have missed out on a few gems.
Following on after the seasonal pre-Christmas rush, you'd be forgiven for thinking that January and February were set to be quiet months in the gaming world. 2009 tore this concept to pieces though with January and February providing some games that are bound to feature in people's games of the years. We hardly had a chance to catch our breath before Bayonetta and Darksiders leapt upon us in early January. Bayonetta offered utterly insane yet fantastic hack n slash gameplay while Darksiders offered gothic action adventure gameplay with more than a passing resemblance to an adult Zelda. More thought provoking gameplay came from experts of Western RPGs Bioware and the sublime Xbox 360 exclusive Mass Effect 2 in late January. It didn't seem possible at first, but Bioware managed to turn the Mass Effect franchise into something even more compelling offering some fantastic moral dilemmas as well as memorable story twists galore.
February begat another sequel to a much loved franchise, in the form of BioShock 2. Arguably not quite as magical as the original, BioShock 2 still managed to garner many a gamer's attention and rightfully so. The world of Rapture is still ever enticing and this was further enhanced by a much underrated multiplayer mode. When it came to new IPs though, February offered perhaps the most ambitious game of the year in the form of Playstation 3 exclusive Heavy Rain. Offering a cinematic experience with a great many echoes of the Saw series and Se7en, Heavy Rain didn't hit the spot with everyone but there's no denying the great potential that's offered here by David Cage and the rest of Quantic Dream. It might have felt more like an interactive film than a true game but the story offered its moments of shock and tension in equal measures. As an ideal palate cleanser, there was always Dante's Inferno - a title desperate to be the next God of War. It's not quite as good but it served its purpose well as a warm up for the real God of War, in the guise of God of War III.
March returns to more familiar gaming ground with a plethora of sequels. There was the spectacular God of War III for the PS3 which offered some truly stunning set pieces and some fantastically ridiculous boss battles. There was the equally silly, albeit in a different sense, Just Cause 2 which demonstrated just how much you can mess around in a sandbox title if the developers fully embrace this. Final Fantasy XIII pottered along offering a sound JRPG experience, if you were willing to persevere through the initial hideously slow opening six hours. March's true victor was Battlefield Bad Company 2 though. A FPS game that offered an exciting single player mode and an equally compelling online multiplayer. It was a multiplayer mode that kept players suitably entertained until Black Ops' eventual arrival later this year, but even then it's still extremely popular thanks to its more tactical gameplay.
April was a fairly quiet month, presumably because everyone was busy eating Easter eggs. It did however bring us Super Street Fighter IV, the best and most comprehensive beat em up of the year. If you weren't a Street Fighter fan though, you had to wait till May for other big titles to lure you in. May saw the eventual release of Alan Wake - a game that was five years in the making. It wasn't perfect and in some places, it was downright repetitive, but it certainly had something about it. If nothing else, after all those years, people were keen to play it. As long as its release didn't mean the world was ending or anything. For those not so taken by grumpy Mr Wake, there was the definitive cowboy game - Red Dead Redemption courtesy of Rockstar. Feeling slightly less controversial than the GTAs of years gone by, Red Dead Redemption focused less on shock tactics and more on a tale of a man and his urge to return to his family. Fortunately there was still plenty of action to be had and Red Dead Redemption happily placed itself as a front runner for many people's GOTY lists. Bizarre Creations' penultimate release before its closure, Blur, was released and if it hadn't been for 'really quite similar but not' racer Split/Second: Velocity, it might have caused waves. One of surprisingly many games to suffer at the hands of overly full release windows in 2010.
The summer months proved predictably quiet for big game releases. That's not to say that quality wasn't there. Singularity came along showing that Activision can do a good job of original IPs, if only people would back this up by actually purchasing them. While it might have been really rather similar to BioShock in places, it still provided a jolly good romp through time and space. The likes of Lego Harry Potter and Toy Story 3 ably demonstrated that games for kids can be just as fun for adults, and Crackdown 2 offered more of the same which was exactly what everyone wanted anyhow. As the pitiful summer drew to a close, the releases started to re-emerge, albeit with a summer popcorn blockbuster film type film to them. Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days proved ridiculously clichd and so did Mafia II.
September brought about one of two major innovations this year - the release of Playstation Move, Sony's way of competing with the Wii's dominance of the casual market. While it might have looked quirky, the technology was impressive and adding support to older games like Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 5 was certainly a good plan. For those more keen on sitting still while they game, there was the release of two really rather anticipated sequels - namely Halo Reach and Dead Rising 2. Funnily enough, they proved rather popular too. Who'd have thought it?
October and November turned out to be hugely overwhelming and wondrous in equal measures. Football fans had the choice of the ever dominant FIFA 11 or, surprisingly near equal, PES2011. Medal of Honor arrived to distract people from Battlefield Bad Company 2 and whet their appetite for Black Ops' release a mere month later. Multiplatform RPG fans had the choice of the massive but buggy world of Fallout: New Vegas or the warm but linear Fable 3. October's wealth of hits was to the detriment of others though. The extraordinary Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was left by the wayside achieving a disappointing 800,000 sales and it was a similar tale for the mental but fantastic Vanquish -a title that should have achieved as much success as Bayonetta.
November offered the last big rush of games as December proved rather quiet for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It was a rush that meant that during one week in November, many game stores didn't actually close for 2 solid days. While Call of Duty: Black Ops kept the hardcore gamers happy on the Tuesday, families and tech buffs were enthralled by Kinect on the Wednesday. While the games might not be classics just yet, the technology involved was impressive. Much like Playstation Move, 2011 seems that bit more exciting because of it. The end of November brought with it surprises. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood appeared and garnered ridiculously high scores and for good reason - the Assassin's Creed franchise has finally come of age and become something truly special. Another franchise kick-start came in the guise of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit with its ever addictive autolog system. Perhaps most shockingly of all, Gran Turismo 5 actually came out! Many doubted it'd see a 2010 release but it actually did. It was even good and everything.
So that was the year that was. Lots of big bangs, explosions and fast cars; a charming dose of cutesy and some motion control based fun too. Even better, both Alan Wake and Gran Turismo 5 finally came out and the world didn't end. Always a bonus. Thats our roundup of the year but what did you love most about 2010?