Usually around this time of year we’d do a run down of our favourite MMO’s of the year. But 2010 was such a sucky year for the MMO we’ve decided to look at all genres of game, and 2010 had some great ones! Here’s our top ten!
10. Mafia II (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Dave: I loved the original Mafia. Well… I loved Mafia apart from the practically impossible to beat car race… But overall it was a brilliantly told, and wonderfully atmospheric game. Mafia II doesn’t quite live up to it’s predecessor for atmosphere, and I would have liked it to be a little more sandbox and a little less linear – It seems a shame that they created such a stunning world, only to be forced down a certain path, rather than allowing you to explore on your own, GTA style. Even so, it’s still an immensely enjoyable action adventure.
9. Medal of Honor (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Daryl: Yet another Medal of Honour game is what I first thought when I heard about this title, but as a fan of the FPS genre I thought I would give it a try. What I encountered is a unique and memorable game. While most FPS games in recent years feel like a Michael Bay movie or a Tom Clancy novel, DICE set out to make Medal of Honour as close to reality as possible. There are no soviet super spies, no team of cocky soldiers who can storm an army of thousands with only a few scratches, in fact whenever you do encounter the enemy in large numbers you’ll most likely find yourself running for your life or calling for backup.
Throughout the game you play as various different characters but the one that I grew most attached to was a young Navy Seal who goes by the call-sign Rabbit. The events he goes through are truly engaging and it was only after finishing the game that I learned his story closely follows that of a real Navy Seal known as Neil Roberts. This was a brave decision and DICE’s commitment to making the game absolutely authentic has earned them widespread condemnation, but I’m sure if many of the bandwagon jumpers had played the game they would change their minds. Yes it has its flaws, particularly in a lacklustre and derivative multiplayer offering, but few games feel so sincere, nor so inspiring.
8. Battlefield Bad Company 2 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Daryl: Yet another game from the DICE studio, but if you played them both you wouldn’t be able to tell. While Medal of Honour focuses almost purely on single player, Bad Company is very much a multiplayer game. The Battlefield games have always had a strong following online but this latest edition stands out and is some of the most fun I’ve had since Call of Duty 4. The vehicle and infrantry combat is perfectly balanced, so you’re as likely to win a match with your rifle as you are with a tank. The building destruction is more than a gimmick, allowing you to demolish the very buildings objectives are housed within, or if that pesky sniper is getting you down simply obliterate the entire room he is standing in. The maps are perfectly sized, allowing you to quickly travel on foot but also hang back far enough away for some old fashioned sniping and the levelling is always interesting as the game offers seemingly endless items and weapons to aim for.
The Battlefield and Bad Company games have always had their strengths, but Bad Company 2 feels like the game where everything came together for DICE, the technology, Battlefield staples and modern FPS trends are blended together to form a truly exceptional online game.
7. Alpha Protocol (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Dave: Alpha Protocol was an original title from the kings of the game sequel Obsidian. A little rough around the edges, but a still a thoroughly enjoyable spy thriller. One of the neatest parts was the Dialogue Stance system, which give you a number of choices, modelled (according to Obsidian) after the 3 JB’s – James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Jack Bauer. So, be suave (Bond), be professional (Bourne), or threaten to cut someones fingers off one by one till they tell you what you want to know (Bauer).
6. Heavy Rain (PS3)
Dave: This was a fascinating concept for a game, from the makers of the brilliant Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy – Quantic Dream. On the surface, it’s a straightforward adventure thriller. You start playing Ethan Mars, a father looking for his missing son. However, at various points in the game, it’s possible Ethan may get killed… So you just load your last save, right?.. Not it Heavy Rain. You continue the story, using one of the other characters you’ve met along the way. And if they die, you move to the next one. Each changing the story, and giving you a variety of possible endings. Heavy Rain also has a lot in common with Quantic’s previous releases, from the extremely cinematic feel, to the fairly unique control system, which works by using the controller to mimic the action you want to perform on screen. This has also been modified to work with the PS3’s Move controller.
5. Fallout: New Vegas (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Dave: This really had to go into the list, as thanks to Steam, i know it sucked up 49hrs of my life last year (no, it’s not big or clever… ;)). Following on from Fallout 3, development for New Vegas was passed on to Obsidian from Bethesda.
Obsidian is actually the natural home for a Fallout game, as many of the developers now at the studio are ex-employees of Fallout & Fallout 2 developers Black Isle Studios. Yes, New Vegas was basically more of the same (including the same graphics engine, bringing it’s own advantages and problems), but the original Fallout 3 was so good, why rock the boat. What Obsidian did bring is a lot more humour to the script, and a bit more of the essence of the original Fallout. Still… The next character to say ‘Patrolling the mojave almost makes you wish for a nuclear winter’ to me is getting a bullet through the brain…
4. Angry Birds (Smart Phone, Mac)
Dave: Angry Birds really has everything you want from a moblie game. It’s cheap. It’s silly. It’s easy to control. And most of all, it’s incredibly addictive! The basic premise is that you control a bunch of flightless birds to help them reclaim their eggs from some thieving pigs. This is done by slingshotting them into the pig’s wood, metal or glass forts. As you advance, the birds gain more skills, as you fire them at the pigs to create piggy carnage.
3. Mass Effect 2 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Dave: The original Mass Effect breathed a breath of fresh air into the RPG genre. RPG masters Bioware, produced an epic space opera, with a wonderfully constructed story, fast paced FPS style gameplay, and a stunning galaxy to play in. Mass Effect 2 managed to expand and build on that, even allowing you to import your character and choices from the first game to effect some of the story elements in the second.
Bioware also listened to the criticisms of Mass Effect 1, and managed to make 2 a far more streamlined and pleasurable experience, whilst still keeping the cinematic nature of the original. Mass Effect 3 is due out in a few months, and I for one, can’t wait!
2. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360, PS3)
Dave: So yes, it is basically GTA with horses… but in my book, that’s no bad thing.
Once again. Rockstar not only built one of the move stunning and complete environments for you to play in, they also constructed a great story and characters to play with. From annoying snake oil salesmen, to crazy old grave robbers, Red Dead gives you a world full of interesting a textured people to interact with. The story is well constructed, managing to avoid falling into being an off-the-shelve western cliche (apart from when it intents to for comic effect).
Red Dead, like Mass Effect, is one of those games that proves you don’t need to go to a cinema to find a well crafted script.
1. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (PC)
Dave: Well it had to be really. How often do you get an MMO that does something as crazy as destroying half the zones in the game to improve gameplay. Most companies would just decide to launch a WoW2, but not Blizzard. Although Cataclysm is technically an expansion, the massive changes it brings to WoW really does make it seem like a whole new game. Plus there’s the addition of the frankly awesome Goblin race (really the best starting zones they’ve ever made), and the ye olde England style Worgen’s.
There is also a 5 level bump in level cap, a whole new zones for 80-85, and a huge graphic update. Blizzard have once again show why WoW is number one… for now at least… 2011 sees the first truly serious contender for it’s crown, and that’s in the shape of Star Wars:The Old Republic. Whilst the updated to WoW has massively improved levels 1-60, 60-80 now seems a bit of a grind. 2011 could get very interesting for the MMO genre.