December 13 - December 17

Nothing.

That's the watchword for basically the next 3 weeks. There are no new releases coming. And, I don't just mean there's no triple-A games on the horizon; aside from 1 or 2 throwaway Wii and DS titles, there is an absolute vacuum of games coming out the rest of December.

I'm pretty ok with that, actually. It gives me the opportunity to begin looking back and taking stock of the year, a year that began with Mass Effect 2 and ended with Cataclysm. I know we've been going on all year about the consistency of good releases -- there was essentially no down season for the industry this year -- but looking back as a whole I feel a little underwhelmed by 2010. For me the year is kind of defined by games like Alan Wake, Crackdown 2, Elemental and Epic Mickey. I walk away feeling like we were missing the 1 or 2 really exceptional, quintessential core-gamer games that exceeded any reasonable expectations, and instead ended up with a bunch of games whose names in the long scan of gaming history are writ in water.

That's not to say there weren't highlights, but I think one could pretty easily argue that the best game released in 2010 was a one-man project with virtually no budget, no marketing and no bells or whistles. I realize that a sentence like that is flavored with the kind of annoying cynicism and self-awareness that you get when a fan of true cinema points out that the best movie of the year is a Ukranian coming of age story about a boy and his grandfather set during the Turkish-Armenian War. So, let's just chalk up the bad vibes coming from my mood ring to a freak storm and a too-early Monday morning.

Comments

I'm going to work the weekend, and put Battlefield Bad Company2: Vietnam is out on the 18th up on the calendar.

I think this is a conspiracy by Blizzard. I'm low on games to play and Cataclysm was the last thing to come out. Damn your shadowy conspiracy tentacles, Bobby Kotick!

I'm inclined to agree. I've played some great games this year, but there's been nothing game changing, other than Minecraft, and that frenzy lasted all of 3 weeks for me.

2010 was par for course, but 2011 is looking hot as all hell if release dates are stuck to.

Looking back at 2010 I had really high expectations for a lot of games and was ultimately dissapointed in a lot of them. Except for Heavy Rain.

2010 gave me (personally) Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Dragon Quest 9, Plants vs Zombies on XBLA, Costume Quest on XBLA, Undead Nightmare DLC, Rock Band 3 with pro drums/keyboard and ilomilo on XBLA.

On that list are a couple of games that I wasn't overly thrilled with but still delivered quality gaming to the masses and I'm okay with that, because they've got other games that delivered in spades.

Now there were terrible games I ejected myself from, but they're not the memories I want and thus shall not be named.

I can't wait to get... oh.

This seems to be the week of digital releases.

BF Bad Company 2: Vietnam (360, PS3, PC)
Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves (PS3)
Under Siege (PS3)
X-Men: The Arcade Game (360, PS3)

The best game this week is trying not to rewatch the Mass Effect 3 trailer over and over again.

...man it just feels really good writing Mass Effect 3.

Weird. I thought 2010 was a great year for gaming, but that's partly because it's been a great year for my platform of choice (the Wii) and for the types of games I like. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is one for the record books, and I loved Metroid: Other M. And while they might not be "exceptional, quintessential core-gamer games" but Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Resonance of Fate are all worth talking about.

2009 was a year that left me with only a handful of games worth considering, but I have a pretty substantial pile of 2010 releases that I've purchased but haven't played or haven't even been able to buy yet. Looking forward to 2011, I honestly don't see what everyone is so excited about. Dead Space 2 looks fun, and I'm excited about Lost in Shadow, but as to everything else? Eh. Nothing has caught my eye.

The year started with Mass Effect 2, and I am going to finish the year by finishing Mass Effect 2.

I considered getting Cataclysm, until I logged into Starcraft II and realized all of my WoW playing friends are all on different servers. So instead of trying to pick which person I want to play with the most, I'll just skip the whole damn thing and finish a bunch of single-player games instead. Take THAT Blizzard!

It's been a very good year.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

2009 was a year that left me with only a handful of games worth considering, but I have a pretty substantial pile of 2010 releases that I've purchased but haven't played or haven't even been able to buy yet. Looking forward to 2011, I honestly don't see what everyone is so excited about. Dead Space 2 looks fun, and I'm excited about Lost in Shadow, but as to everything else? Eh. Nothing has caught my eye.

For the same reasons you loved this year (the Wii) and most of us are only okay with it.

LittleBigPlanet 2, Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age II, Crysis 2, Brink, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Shogun 2: Total War, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, L.A. Noire and (wait for it) Portal 2.

And those are mostly just the established games or from established devs. I'm sure there'll be plenty of indie things hitting stuff out of the park.

Oh, and the 3DS.

Is this the GOTY 2010 before party?

I'm going to add Divinity 2:Dragon Knight Saga and Alpha Protocol to the honorable mentions.

Hmm. One problem with 2010 is that the 3 reliable studios that regularly release character action games every year or two are all skipping this year. Sucker Punch, Insomniac, and Naughty Dog all have their next major release set for 2011. Insomniac used to be a fairly reliable one-game-per-year studio. 2 years ago, they even released two games in one year. This year they moved to two year cycles for their games.

The games I'm still playing for this year are Dragon Quest 9, and the Sly Cooper collection...

Other games I enjoyed: ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman, and Final Fantasy 13.

I have a handful of other games for the DS, PSP, and PC though, none quite reaching the threshold of the above 4 games. Fallout New Vegas for instance. Costume quest and Deathspank were great, but a bit on the short side.

I'm doing pretty well at resisting the urge to play WoW Cataclysm every night. I might play 3 nights per week...

garion333 wrote:

[...]and (wait for it) Portal 2.

I had forgotten about this. That makes one more interesting game in 2011, although to be honest I'm not confident about it. Everything I've seen so far makes me think it'll be an interesting puzzle game with absolutely annoying side characters. If it turns out that I can drop that Australian orb in the chute with the companion cube, let me know.

Hopefully you'll give next week to Grubbins on Ice, since there's probably not going to be much else showing up.

Heavy Rain was this year; I'm pleased.

PyromanFO wrote:

I'm low on games to play.

As your comrade in Fringe Busting, I hereby label you "silly."

wordsmythe wrote:

Heavy Rain was this year; I'm pleased.

PyromanFO wrote:

I'm low on games to play.

As your comrade in Fringe Busting, I hereby label you "silly."

Probably more appropriate to say I sit down during my game playing time and go "Hmm, now what?"

We've also got the Divine Wind expansion for Europa Universalis 3 coming out this week. Just sayin'. Fairly big deal for Paradox/Strategy game nerds.

I hear you and even agree with you to a point, but honestly I think we could have flipped the release schedule this year and it would've felt as exciting as any other year for me. All the solid but unexciting games came out in the latter half of the year, and all the big damn awesome games came out in the first half. Mass Effect 2, Mario Galaxy 2, and Dragon Quest IX would've made for at least as big a holiday season glut for me as any three games from any three other years if they'd been released in October or November instead of January, May, and July respectively. My boner for Red Dead Redemption isn't quite as big as some folks', but I understand that's how a lot of people feel about that game, too.

Starcraft 2? It's kinda a big deal. And while I think a lot of goodjers for many reasons passed on it, COD: Black Ops was a super seller. Red Dead Redemption was a sleeper hit. Some more notable titles for 2010:

AC Brotherhood
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
Dance Central
Rockband 3
Fable III
Fallout: New Vegas
Halo: Reach
R.U.S.E.
Transformers: War for Cybertron
Blur
Alan Wake
Just Cause 2
Supreme Commander 2
FF XIII
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Bioshock 2
Mass Effect 2
Mafia 2
Split/Second
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Mount & Blade: Warband
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising

Was 2009 that much better?

Shoal07 wrote:

Red Dead Redemption was a sleeper hit.

I'd hardly call 6.9m sales in 4 months (release in May to Sept) a sleeper hit, sounds more like a regular hit to me.

For me, 2011 will be the year for me to buy all of the great 2010 releases at half price.

Shoal, I totally agree on SCII, but that list looks more like an info dump of "here's some games that got released this year" than "here are a bunch of really really great games". I'd be hard pressed to pick 1 stellar game out of that list.

What Shoal07 said. You guys have some mighty high expectations! I thought this was a great year to be a gamer.

TsuDhoNimh wrote:

For me, 2011 will be the year for me to buy all of the great 2010 releases at half price.

Or for less.

I agree with Elysium and I really enjoyed the 50 hours I put into Just Cause 2, laughing maniacally all the way, and am really enjoying Battlefield Bad Company 2 having just bought it. Honestly the only games I'll remember years from now will be Starcraft 2 (only because it effectively replaced the 1st one, but is much less of a impact) and Super Mario Galaxy 2 even though it seems I'm almost alone around here on that one.

Gunner wrote:

We've also got the Divine Wind expansion for Europa Universalis 3 coming out this week. Just sayin'. Fairly big deal for Paradox/Strategy game nerds. :)

You know it.

Stand-out titles of the year for me were Mass Effect 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Starcraft 2. Cataclysm would probably be on that list if I wasn't so anxious about jumping back in. Honorable mentions would go to God of War III, Kirby's Epic Yarn, and Heavy Rain. I feel pretty satisfied with the year overall.

PyromanFO wrote:

Probably more appropriate to say I sit down during my game playing time and go "Hmm, now what?"

The answer should always be "More Starcraft."