2010 Gaming Roundup
All games are listed in the order played and/or beaten; the “Endless Games, etc.” section is from memory and may be incomplete (there might be some Mario Kart Wii session that’s gone unaccounted for, in other words). Linked titles go to that game’s review or impressions entry; note, however, that unlinked games are most likely discussed elsewhere on this site. Icons were made from press images poached from various places all over the internet. Thanks as always to namatamiku for the initial inspiration.
Chrono Trigger (DS) – One of my all-time favorite RPGs, and along with The World Ends With You, Square’s best game, IMO. Aside from the FMVs from the PS1 port and bonus galleries, the extras are pretty much superfluous.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (DS) – One of the weaker Mario RPGs, but that isn’t saying much, as there’s still a hilariously good time to be had. The return of insane villain Fawful was a treat, and playing as Bowser was quite enjoyable.
Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer (DS) – A classic JRPG-style roguelike with equal parts charm and hardcore challenge, not to mention a lovely soundtrack by Dragon Quest regular Koichi Sugiyama.
Chrono Cross (PS1) – Speaking of soundtracks, Yasunori Mitsuda’s work on this game is mind-blowing; I’m listening to it as I type this, as a matter of fact. However, much of the rest of this game is a mess.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (DS) – An Ace Attorney spinoff that brings new gameplay ideas to the table. Cameos galore pepper five cases that come together to form one of the best video game stories I’ve played through this year.
Devil May Cry 4 (360) – That sexy badass goofball Dante is back! Well, actually, the player controls newcomer Nero for much of this game. Nero’s glowing hand lends itself to many QTE-style attacks, while Dante controls much the same as he always did.
Cave Story (WiiWare) – A game so nice, I played it twice, this time the long-awaited WiiWare version. Played it a third time on Easy in order to unlock “Hell”, but was unable to get through that brutal section.
Rune Factory Frontier (Wii) – In spite of its flaws—most related to the Runey cultivation system—the best Rune Factory I’ve played thus far, and one of the prettiest games on the Wii.
Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter (PS2) – GameSpite says that beating this without restarting at least once isn’t possible. Oh, it’s possible all right—I did it myself—but it’s very, very hard. Features an absolutely incredible battle system and another great soundtrack, this time courtesy of Hitoshi Sakimoto.
Halo (PC) – Sure, the environments get a bit samey after awhile, but what variety it does have, not to mention the simple but appealing characterization, kept me playing. I’d love to dive into the rest of the series, but cringe at the thought of using a controller to play the games after Halo 2.
Plants vs. Zombies (PC) – There are zombies on your lawn, we don’t want zombies on the lawn. One of my favorite games played this year. Shame that the Dancing Zombie (pictured) was taken out, but it’s interesting that the Disco Zombie that replaced him moonwalks as his predecessor did…
Tropico 3 – Steam Special Edition (PC) – A little buggy, a little lacking for female Presidentes, and the text has some glaring typos, but otherwise a fun and funny city builder.
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (DS) – Features the best story out of all the games I played this year, one which is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. A quality RPG worthy of the Dragon Quest name, with very few flaws and much to recommend it.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC) – If the first StarCraft and its expansion were indie films, this would be the big-budget sequel. Contains many varied and interesting missions, plus a tightly-crafted and entertaining story, but somewhere in the campaign, something special has been lost.
Kirby Super Star (SNES via Virtual Console) – This Kirby took awhile to grow on me, but I eventually came to understand its stellar (no pun intended) reputation.
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS) – Out of the games that were released this year that I played, this one is my favorite. I spent well over a hundred hours fighting monsters, exploring dungeons, helping townspeople, collecting items, and dressing up my party in a wide variety of gear.
Metroid Prime (Metroid Prime Trilogy version) (Wii) – My first Metroid game was deep, varied, and balanced, and has controls that have once again shown me just how good first-person games can be on the Wii.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Metroid Prime Trilogy version) (Wii) – This is probably my favorite of the trilogy, partly due to its light and dark elements and the thought and care that went into making them work.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Metroid Prime Trilogy version) (Wii) – A much more guided experience than the previous two games, but still highly polished and enjoyable.
Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard (DS) – Has some bad lag in spots, and a certain optional quest was badly handled, but otherwise, this is a good refinement of the Etrian Odyssey formula.
Eternal Sonata (360) – The graphics, voice acting, soundtrack, and battle system range from very good to excellent. However, the environments are linear in an old-fashioned way, the photo-taking feature isn’t particularly well thought out, and the story leads to the worst kind of GAINAX Ending.
Torchlight (PC) – A Diablo clone that’s just the right length for me. Beautiful and well-made, with loot galore. Yeah, there’s no multiplayer, but I don’t care about that.
Tropico 3: Absolute Power (PC) – More of the same, but with notable tweaks and improvements. Among others: pleasing the different factions has become more important, and garages take up less space.
Plants vs. Zombies (iPad) – The zombies are on the lawn again. Just as much fun the second go-round, even with the replacement of Dancing Zombie and his backup dancers.
Pokemon Platinum Version (DS) – A new iteration on the regular Pokemon formula I first became acquainted with in 2009, with even more stuff to do, especially in the postgame. This game took me nine months to beat; as such, I’m Pokemon‘d out for the time being.
Endless Games, Multiplayer Games, and Others Not Beaten:
Planet Puzzle League (DS) – This was the year I finally stopped playing this on a regular basis. Still lasted me a good while, though, and remains one of the best puzzle games out there.
Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA 2 (PS2) – My playing of this also petered out, though my love for DDR in general hasn’t diminished. Will play DDR Extreme 2 this year in its stead.
Wii Fit Plus (Wii) – Haven’t checked in in awhile. The Balance Board is going to be so mad at me.
Forza Motorsport 2 (360) – The most fun I’ve had with a racing sim, ever. I am officially done with Gran Turismo.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beta version (PC) – A nice taste of what was then to come, but also reminded me why I tend to avoid online multiplayer gaming.
Super Mario Bros. Crossover (browser) – The unofficial Super Mario Bros. remake that lets you play as other NES stars. Simon Belmont is my favorite, in large part due to that sweet Castlevania music. Play it here.
Halo 2600 (browser) – Originally made as an actual Atari 2600 game by the former Vice President of Microsoft’s game publishing arm, this version of Halo is super old school. Play it here.
ChuChu Rocket! (DC) – My husband and I played this briefly sometime last year. Back in the day, it was one of the first multiplayer games we ever played together, but as we discovered, our reflexes aren’t as good nowadays.
Audiosurf (PC) – Best rhythm game ever. That is all.