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Top 10 Games of 2010 & 2011 so far [in Mid 2011] - Destructoid

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I started off as a gamer when I got my Nintendo as kid and feverishly played through box fulls of games. Then things really picked up when I got my hands on a S.N.E.S and then later my trusty Playstation 1 & 2 consoles. Ever since those golden years I've labeled the "Mid-Gamer" generation, I've kept gaming, and now I write about contemporary Gaming culture as it has progressed through time and become a mainstream obsession.



I also share my Gaming playthroughs by broadcasting them on Justin.tv and Twitch.tv. I love writing and I've started a series/column called "The State of Gaming" discussing Gaming culture.

Besides gaming I also love Basketball, Photoshop, Video Editing, Biking, Philosophy, Biology, and a ton of other unrelated things. :)

Whether it's live video, Youtube, or Twitter (@TheeImmortal) , I love interacting with people and it's great to get their opinions on gaming and life in general.

At the end of the day it's all about having fun and being part of the community. : )

Feel free to contact me and give me feedback on all of my different projects. You can use Twitter or Youtube to leave your questions/responses. Also if you get a chance checkout my website: ImmortalPhoenix.net.



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(These past 2 years have been very bright for gaming and we review some of the best games of these years, making sure you haven't missed any of these gems. Witcher 2, pictured above, gets an honorable mention for it's compelling story and gameplay. It's also a beautiful work of art.)


This list aims to answer that age old question of what the best recent games are and what you should play. If you don't recognize a game on the list definitely consider buying it as myself and many others have probably verified it as an amazing game to play. Every single game on this list gets a 4 out of 5 or higher on my own rating scale, which is categorized as "Excellent".

Before we get started, I do want to mention that a number of potentially excellent games have not come out yet for 2011. Games like Mass effect 3, Skyrim, and Diablo 3. That's why in the title of this post I put 2011(so far), since this list only includes games we know about, having been released previous to September of this year.

This is simply a round up of all the best games from 2010, til now(mid 2011), and what you should play if you notice a game on here that you haven't heard of or haven't played.

{ A word of advice about my rating system, I never give decimal ratings, such as 4.5's or 3.5's. I think it helps the reader if the game reviewer is forced to choose between a 5/5 game, or a 4/5 game. Decimals make the area murky and gray where as I'm trying to show stark contrasts between games. For that reason a game I rate 4, others may rate a 4.5, and we would both mean the same thing.

But my 5/5's are truly and significantly the best of the best. While others may rate a game a 3.5, it could get a 3 from me, helping you distinguish it from a 4 and not get confused or mislead into buying it. That's why I don't use decimals.}

Number 10

Plants v.s Zombies

What makes this game thoroughly addicting is not just the freedom it allows you to defend yourself, but the numerous items it lets you employ in your arsenal. It's one thing to have to defend your home, but it's another to give someone 100 different possible items and ask them to do what they want, to fight the zombie apocalypse.



That seems to be the greatest aspect of this game, getting new items and using them to become better at destroying zombies. As you progress in levels and get those better items, the game keeps it challenging by upping the difficulty and putting new challenges in your way you didn't have to deal with before.

This makes the game smooth and enjoyable, as far as difficulty goes, and you never feel you have a complete edge over the zombies, while definitely enjoying the new toys the game gives you to destroy them.

Lack of replay ability is an issue though which is why this game gets a 4 out of 5. That's a score of "Excellent" in my book.

Number 9

Limbo

This game proves that all you need to have fun is a jump and an action button. The action button letting you interact with your environment and the jump used to save you from that bottomless pit. The creativity, the story, and the yearning this game gives you to get to the end is INSATIABLE.



You want your character to survive, and you've invested your emotions into him. It makes surviving in this game even more important and it makes each death that much more intense and dramatic.

Limbo is simply one of the most creative and interesting games to come recently and it's a must play for anyone who hasn't bought it.

Again a lack of replay ability does make the game lose a point, giving it a final score of 4 out of 5 in my book; again a score of Excellent.


Number 8

Terraria

This is an adventure game on steroids. Rather than leveling up by destroying enemies, as in most RPG games, Terraria will only allow you to get stronger by the items you loot. To loot better items requires more adventuring and exploring.



More exploring though, inevitably leads to more deaths and tougher monsters. Terraria is a very deep 2d platforming game that on the face of it seems very simple. It's not until you really get into the game and see what's out there that you find bosses and secret areas.

Terraria also keeps updating new content into it's game free of charge and has a very low price point of 10 dollars. In so many ways Terraria was hand tailored for me since adventuring and exploring is one of my favorite elements of gameplay.

The downside of the 2d graphics though is that building becomes less detailed and less rewarding. It's much more difficult to build your dream home when it has to be in 2 dimensions and will never really look like the mansion you envisioned in your head. For this reason, and for the lack of a concrete storyline, Terraria gets a 4 out of 5.

Number 7

Minecraft

The title of the game says it all. You're a miner that can explore your own unique world, going out and scavenging for goods in deep caves and you're a crafter employing those new materials for the betterment of your life and your surroundings.




Possibly the most creative game of the year, or maybe even the decade, Minecraft's survival mode which puts you up against monsters, mother nature, and the fear of the unknown, really is a sandbox game mastered to near perfection.

Each and every world generated is unique and a seed generator which uses your input to create a world is a nifty tool which can give you and your friends the same exact world to toy around in if you input the same numbers. So world 771 is the same on my computer and my friends.

The game makes up for it's downsides by constantly offering updates and new content to fill in those gaps. For instance the future implementation of bosses will make up for the fact that currently there are no bosses in the game and the future implementation of npc's and quests, will make up for the fact that currently their are no such RPG elements.

Having said that, I can't rate a game on work that hasn't been completed yet, and as is, Minecraft gets a 4 out of 5. If it implements everything that it seems to claim it will, it has a very high probability of becoming a 5/5 in my book. A 5/5 by the way, is categorized as a "Near Perfect/Amazing Game", which is essentially a must play game for all audiences.

Number 6

Heavy Rain

I'm a sucker for a good story especially an exceptionally well designed one that you experience with Heavy Rain. This game is hand tailored for those that want to sit back and enjoy an amazing story with minimal gameplay elements. Even though you slightly interact with the game, every interaction really does invest you into the characters, and it completely changes the dynamic so you're not just watching a movie.





The way this game is superbly crafted, it really makes you feel a part of the story, and it's why I'd rather play Heavy Rain than watch a number of Hollywood Blockbuster movies. Movies have you sit back and make you less invested in what actually happens to the characters.

Heavy Rain is dictated by your choices and you will affect the game's ending significantly. What an amazing concept right? This is an interactive movie, with amazing characters, that you get to control to an ending tailored for you. Plus it's a mystery which asks you to identify the culprit, and keeps you guessing throughout the game.

Heavy Rain is truly phenomenal and one of the hardest games to rate as a result. My final verdict again comes back to replay ability, giving the game a 4 out of 5.

Number 5

Mount&Blade Warband

While the last game was very story intensive, this game is a completely different animal. Although it has a very creative and unique back-story selection tool that fleshes out your character from choices you choose, Warband allows you to make the story as you progress.

Once given your back-story it's up to you to continue your life, in a medieval Europe like setting, and to form alliances and conquer how you choose. This is a must own game for those that love politics. You can become friends with the king, do missions for him, and eventually become a recognized lord and king yourself.

The depth of the game is pretty amazing and the sandbox atmosphere is something that will either turn you on or off. Since I love exploring and doing missions on my own, it was a definite plus for me, although other gamers like to be walked to their destinations with clear goals every step of the way.(Like kindergarten school....)



Although the game is very difficult to understand when you start, a nice tutorial over-viewing the main aspects of the game is essential and is something I'm personally working on making for any future Warband players. If you can get past that initial difficulty, Warband is a must play game that has more than a 100 hours of gameplay.

As noted earlier though the lack of storyline is an issue, and the lack of a concise tutorial really does hurt the score of the game that could have been given a 5/5. So as a result it gets a 4 out of 5 and is still one of the best games recently released to play.


Number 4

Deus Ex - Human Revolution

The story of Deus Ex is superb. The gameplay of Deus Ex is superb. The dialog in Deus Ex is superb. The weapons and abilities in Deus Ex are superb. Do you get my point? This game is amazingly superb and brilliant.





If you've played Fallout or Fallout New Vegas, this game is basically how the world would have been if futuristic America were never nuked by the Chinese and growth continued. It's a VERY futuristic mind teasing plot of the world dealing with the politics of human integration with technology.

The game is very open in allowing it's players to beat missions how they deem fit. You can FPS this game from start to finish, or you can stealth your way from the first mission to the last.

Deus Ex is a work of brilliance and I wait with bated breath for the next installment. It's our first must buy and a well deserved 5 out of 5 on my ratings list. Simply a work of art needed to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Number 3

Starcraft 2

While everyone speaks about the amazing fluidity and balance of the multiplayer of this game, don't be fooled in forgetting about it's single player campaign. Sure this game is amazing when played with friends or put in a tournament setting but the sheer length and brilliance of single player mode of this game cannot be forgotten.

You really start investing in the characters in the story and you upgrade abilities at a nice enough rate to where the game gets more challenging yet more fun as you go.





Starcraft 2 is my favorite game made by Blizzard studios and the fact that they put so much effort and time into the single player campaign shows how much they love their fan base.

While Marvel vs Capcom simply gave their fans a nice multiplayer experience and gypped them of a single player campaign, Blizzard decided to work hard on both fronts and for their resilient effort and hard work they truly deserve their 5 out of 5 rating.

Blizzard's dedication is an example to other game studios that sometimes cut corners. Don't cut corners and you will be praised and rewarded by the masses. Starcraft 2 will go down in gaming History for both it's single-player and multi-player campaigns. How many games can say that?


Number 2

Fallout New Vegas

The main gripe about this game is people say it resembles Fallout 3 too much, to which I ask, "Is that a bad thing"? Fallout New Vegas is everything I wanted in a sequel. I didn't want them to rework this game to something new because you don't mess with something that isn't broken and happens to be amazing.

All the new improvements, such as the DPS meter, new areas, weapons, and features make this a definite step up from it's predecessor.

People who mainly give this opinion, have spent little to no time ACTUALLY playing the game. After playing New Vegas, I loved it so much that I can't even play Fallout 3 anymore. Fallout 3 just lacks too many of the features that I need and love in Vegas.





New Vegas also boasts a unique story ending that lets you control the end of the game based on your singular choices. It makes the end very satisfying and makes your choices very important. One choice directly affects others and one faction will end up liking you or hating you based on your choices with other factions.

This game is very sandbox oriented, letting you do exactly what you want, when you want, and the degradation of weapons/limited resources really forces you to think your moves through instead of running in haphazardly.

New vegas has some of the most unique story dialog options that can get your heart moving or have you laughing till you fall off your chair. Anyone who criticizes this game, really hasn't taken the time to play it. For such an amazing full package experience with more than 50 plus hours of gameplay, if you do the side missions, Fallout New vegas is the story and adventure of a lifetime. The wasteland has now become a permanent part of our digital homes.

This game gets a very well deserved 5 out of 5.

Number 1

Red Dead Redemption

What can you say about a game that has such a compelling story with a built in sandbox mechanism and a number of side missions and side jobs that are fun and entertaining for the player. How can you describe just how compelling this game is?


The story is what gets you in the beginning. You fall in love with John Marston and the future he's trying to build for his family. The gameplay is smooth and slick so that whenever you're working hard to succeed and win, you are definitely rewarded.

The ability to slow down gameplay and shoot your opponents also makes the gameplay amazingly intoxicating. Just like in VATS in Fallout, John can hone his skills and focus in on killing his enemies from his years of practice with running in outlaw gangs.



In so many ways this game is a marvel and Rockstar really has outdone itself when it created this game and revamped the whole Red Dead series of games; just like Fallout did. A testament to this game's greatness is that nearly every gaming site, magazine, and reviewer ended up giving Red dead redemption game of the year for 2010. Such a unity of opinion in gaming is a very rare sight to see and shows just how amazing this game must have been for so many people to have given it game of the year.

For those reasons and for the hours and hours of fun gameplay, Red Dead Redemption gets an easy and well earned 5 out of 5. It's worth mentioning that Undead Nightmare, Red dead Redemptions DLC, is an 8 hour adventure of it's own and is widely seen as the best DLC ever released.

Rockstar definitely got it right when it developed this game. It's too bad they followed it up with the L.A Noire flop....


Final Thoughts


I hope everyone enjoyed my 10 game reviews and got to find a gem in there that you haven't played yet. This list does cater to my style of gameplay but I feel because of sales numbers and reviews in general, most of these games will be big hits with gamers.


There are a lot of themes we see here that seem to make the games reach the top of the list. Story seems a very integral part of any game nowadays, as it engrosses the gamer into the atmosphere of the game.

Gameplay is also significant and the majority or these games have a small or significant sandbox feature. This shows the average gamer today really does want more control over his experience and game companies in the future will have to cater to this command by making their worlds more open ended.

Also creation and creativity is the wave of the future with the introduction of games like Terraria and Minecraft that let people create to their hearts desire. Watch more game companies cater to this new demand of gameplay.

A bright future awaits for gamers and the gaming industry. Stay tuned as we take that journey together and once again review the best of the best next year.


Author's note: This article was originally titled "Best games of 2010 and 2011 so Far" and It didn't include the better games that came out at the end of 2011 such as Batman: Arkham City. I've tailored it a bit to make it readable for today, but Batman and Skyrim would definitely had made my list had it been available when I originally wrote this back in mid 2011.






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