Category: Games

Top 10 Wii Games of 2010

Okay, seriously, the Wii means more than “inferior port plus waggle” this year.By 1UP Staff

While the Wii has had to contend with the “good first-party and a ton of waggle-enabled shovelware” reputation in the past, it looks like 2010 will help shake said reputation. Besides known first-party superstars like Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M, we have some solid third-party games like Epic Mickey and No More Heroes 2 slated to hit shelves in 2010 as well. Heck, even the download-centric Wii gamer has something to look forward to. And not on this list, due purely to “wow, we don’t know much about it,” is the fabled “next Zelda game” that Miyamoto hinted at.

Super Mario Galaxy 2
Dev: Nintendo | Pub: Nintendo

Super Mario Galaxy 2

As Nintendo personnel will happily tell you, Mario Galaxy 2 marks the first time in a long time that they have designed two big Mario games for a single hardware generation, so it’s no surprise that they went the direct sequel route to follow-up one of 2007’s best games. We don’t know a lot about the sequel just yet, but it marks the return of Yoshi and seems to be incorporating a lot of variety into the already varied Galaxy formula, so we’re excited.

Epic Mickey
Dev: Junction Point | Pub: Disney Interactive Studios

Epic Mickey

A Mickey Mouse platformer for the Wii that has a “paint the world to save it” premise that sounds a little bit like Okami? That idea alternates between sounding inspired and concerning. Though, one name has gone a long way to ease our skepticism: Warren Spector. He’s been a producer on such games as ThiefSystem ShockUltima Underworld, and Deus Ex. Now, take that experience of working on action-RPGs with freedom-of-choice mechanics, and apply it to a subject he loves — old-school Disney animation — and suddenly, Epic Mickey sounds like something worth paying attention to.

Metroid: Other M
Dev: Team Ninja | Pub: Nintendo

Metroid: Other M

We anticipate seeing more details on Nintendo’s surprising collaboration with Ninja Gaiden developers soon. We anticipate it very much, in fact! Other M promises to move the 3D Metroid games a step back toward the older games, eschewing the first-person perspective of the Prime trilogy in favor of a third-person action style that apparently blends open 3D action with traditional side-scrolling sequences. And lots of exploration, of course. Hopefully Nintendo’s influence will play up Team Ninja’s strengths (hardcore action) while sidestepping its weaknesses (vague and incomprehensible plots).

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Dev: Grasshopper Manufacture Studio | Pub: Ubisoft

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

NMH 2 was one of the most anticipated Wii games of last year, but it just barely missed 2009. No big deal, because now that we’ve learned more about the game and even played it for ourselves, we’re confident that waiting for the end of January will be worth it. It looks better than the first NMH, trims some of the weaker parts, but is just as insane as before. Rock out with your beam katana out.

Red Steel 2
Dev: Ubisoft | Pub: Ubisoft

Red Steel 2

Although in name, Red Steel 2 looks to be similar to its predecessor, that is hardly the case. With a new protagonist and its Japanese-Western infused setting, this sequel should be a brand-new experience. Match this with Wii MotionPlus support, and we’re eager to see what kind of gun slinging, sword wielding, bad-ass we’ll be. And there’s promise of various mini-games (one we saw at E3: pick a lock by listening to the Wii Remote’s speaker and slowly tilting it until you hear the “click”) that will take advantage of the Wii Remote’s capabilities. The gameplay is sure to be fun as you unlock new abilities along the way as well.

Monster Hunter Tri
Dev: Capcom | Pub: Capcom

Monster Hunter Tri

If you told us that it’s not unusual to see four young women intensely playMonster Hunter Freedom Unite on their PSPs together in ad hoc mode, we would have called you a filthy liar had we not witness this incident ourselves. Yes, Monster Hunter is immensely popular, and after a series of numerous (but incremental rather than evolutionary) expansions, the Wii is getting the true and proper third Monster Hunter. While the “hunt, kill, skin, make, and hunt more” formula remains intact, this installment adds snazzier graphics (recall that the previous games were on PS2 and PSP), motion controls, and even Wii Speak support for online matches. You can actually talk to someone about skinning lizards together across the Internet on your Wii now!

Sin & Punishment 2
Dev: Treasure | Pub: Nintendo

Sin & Punishment 2

While it’s already made a splash in Japan (we even played it on Game Night), Nintendo is still — as of this writing — mum on a final U.S. release date for Sin & Punishment 2. Perhaps it’s waiting for the right time, but honestly, the sooner, the better: This slick sequel to the N64 classic features intuitive pointer controls, awesome looking stages and boss fights, and simple co-op play that can honestly make it fun for even the most adverse gamer you know.

La Mulana
Dev: Nigoro | Pub: Nicalis

La Mulana

When it debuted as a free game, La Mulana was a deep, exploratory platformer with a difficulty in line with the classic games it was inspired by. Prettied up for Wii-ware, it looks like it’ll be keeping all its charm while gaining SNES-style graphics. Of this particular feature, Jeremy Parishnotes, “while the visuals still feature quite a few placeholders, Nigoro has really gone out of its way to create a gorgeous game. Sprites look faithful to the original version of the game, but now they animate fluidly, and the hero boasts more contextual animations: He stands at an angle on sloped surfaces and reacts differently to damage according to how he’s hurt.” The original is still out there if you’re looking for an early peek.

Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Ultimate All-Stars
Dev: Capcom | Pub: Capcom

Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Ultimate All-Stars

When Capcom announced Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, its latest Versus game starring notables from Capcom and Tatsunoko (a Japanese animation studio) franchises, people weren’t sure if Capcom could even release it outside Japan. Acquiring the character license for several Tatsunoko characters was tricky, to say the least. But Capcom managed the impossible. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom will not only be released outside of Japan, but include several new characters, like Frank West (fromDead Rising) and Mega Man X’s Zero. And just like any Versus game, expect crazy aerial combos that seemingly never end, over-the-top special attacks, and a frenetic pacing in every match.

Endless Ocean 2
Dev: Arika | Pub: Nintendo

Endless Ocean 2

Those with an affinity for the mysteries of the deep should keep an eye out for Endless Ocean 2, which seems to greatly improve upon the unique (if flawed) original. Beyond the more detailed graphics, your exploration now covers a variety of real-world locations instead of just one, with a host of new sea life (and sea landmarks) to seek out and learn about. You can also build your own reef, train your dolphin pal, and get some extra use out of the Wii Speak mic when you dive with a friend online.



Top 10 Worst Games Of 2010

2010 was an awesome year for games, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood are to mention a few but lets just stop for a moment and give a thought to a year that we also got plenty of crap. Here are my top 10 worst games of 2010 that I had the displeasure of playing…

Fighters Uncaged

Now I don’t want to pick on Kinect too much, but there have been several under par titles released on the system. Fighter’s Uncaged takes a prize for one of the worst, it was just plain pants. I refused to accept that the game sucked and borrowed a friends copy. The training went great, a fairly responsive system with a variety of moves and combos. Okay so some moves were pretty poor, like throwing a hand down to do a spinning back fist, but I was really beginning to wonder why there was so much bad press on the game. Then I had my first and last fight – what an awkward, frustrating scrap pile. That game got turned off, placed back in its case and the game history deleted from my tag. My brother is still insistent that he wants a go when he comes over next, best he dig deep in the garbage for it.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

When I was young you were either a Nintendo boy or a SEGA boy, I was the latter so when I heard that Sonic was returning to his 2D roots I was jumping for joy, that is until I bought and played Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1! What had they done? I was confused, it looked like Sonic and the first level had a very similar look and layout to Sonic, but this wasn’t Sonic. Had he put on weight? Because boy does it take him a while to get going and what in the world has happened to the jumping? How can a platforming game make the jumping mechanic feel so awkward? It got worse, you can now jump into any level at any time! What happened to starting at the beginning and work your way through the whole game, no saves just one playthrough. If you are going to rebrand Sonic as returning to his roots at least return him there and not get half way and give up, in the trash you go.

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

Ok so form an orderly queue with your pitch forks at the ready. I know I may upset a lot of people by having this title in my list but then it is my list and I apologise to all you gamers who hold this franchise very dear to your hearts. I never got into Castlevania as a kid, it was just one of those franchises that I never picked up and so I jumped at the chance when Harmony of Despair appeared on XBLA. I must have missed something? I found it confusing and unresponsive, I just couldn’t understand why it had such a grand cult following. I did love Castlevania Lords of Shadow but this game belongs in the trash.

Crazy Taxi

My last trashy XBLA game is Crazy Taxi. Some things are best left to memory. We all have fond memories of cartoon shows we used to watch, then when we sit down and watch them the realisation kicks in that actually they weren’t as great as we remember, well Crazy Taxi is just like that. I had fond memories rocking out to Offspring as I thrashed my taxi around but now thanks to the XBLA’s remake that memory is forever tarnished. Unresponsive controls, bland graphics and no Offspring, I did not enjoy my reminisce half as much as I expected to. To the trash pile you go!

Skate 3

Whatever happened to the good old days when skating games were fun? Oh that’s right they kept on plugging it with gimmicks and trying to make it too true to life. Seriously it’s a game and that’s where Skate 3 fell down, bridging a skate sim with a Tony Hawks-esque point scoring system. Skate had a fragmented story, awkward controls and bored me half to death, the fun with skate games stopped at Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 and Skate 3 is happily in my trash pile.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior


I actually quiet enjoyed the idea behind this game, however I did not enjoy the execution. It was hard enough seeing through the multiple screen tears in the graphics, trying to piece together a very boring and unoriginal story but the final straw was being shot from miles away by AI with Semi automatic rifles while I, complete with full Ghilly suit,  tucked up in a hedge! This was highly frustrating and if this wasn’t enough, you can forget about trying to sneak about levels because stealth is next to impossible. All the elements of stealth and the funky ‘follow the bullet’ mechanic were shot to pieces by an extremely poor AI system, Sniper, try sneaking your way out my trash pile.

Dark Void

Dark Void, a game that showed so much promise. The videos looked great and the developers spoke offering much promise of a unique third person shooter which would flip perspectives on their head, well it certainly flipped something! To start with I thought this was a great little game, okay so the story was pretty lame but the vertical combat was great and really quite an impressive twist to the third person formula. Its just a real shame that the game became samey using the same bag of tricks over and over, not to mention some of the lamest flight combat and controls I have ever experienced. A shame but in the trash you go!

Alpha Protocol

What’s there not to look forward to in a game promising the three JB’s? (James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer). Well it seems quite a lot is missing! This game is proof of far too many promises and gimmicks which have ended up being mashed together in an awkward game. There are several great stand out features to AP but they are all destroyed by a control system that will have you screaming and a story so confusing that it makes inception sound like a nursery rhyme. I’ve been told the game opens up and can become very in depth and enjoyable but like many before me this game has been slung in the trash with the rest of them.

Crackdown 2

I, like the rest of you bought Crackdown for pretty much one reason, to get my hands on the Halo 3 beta. What I didn’t count on was getting the added bonus of an awesome game, I loved it. There was so much fun to be had leaping around causing destruction and carnage with my mates online, the gameplay was top notch as well with a good story and plenty to do and see. Crackdown 2 comes along with refined multiplayer and zombie like creatures, what’s there not to love? Well everything! I hated this game, everything that I felt was to love about the first had been lost. Crackdown 2 had a crap storyline and the missions were so incredibly repetitive and dull, but deep down I had hoped that the game would spring to life and what I once knew would be hidden in there somewhere, then it ended and I was left empty. If I didn’t have to return this game it would have certainly ended up in the trash.

Aliens vs Predator

What could go wrong? Aliens, Predators and Marines all bundled up inside a computer game. Surely this should be GOTY material, iconic characters that have awesome films and a huge following. Well on paper it sounds ace then Rebellion Games took a hold of it. Not only did AvP push back and possibly can Aliens: Colonial Marines, but it completely trampled all over the hopes of many gamers that this new game would inject a bit of life into the AvP franchise which had been recently damaged by the terrible films. It played awfully, had no pace to it and the only stand out part was a multiplayer which was fun for about a week and a Marine campaign that was over just as soon as it began, very disappointing and like the films, it should all be trashed and incinerated! – What’s your worst game of 2010? Maybe the empty promises of a certain Mr Molyneux disappointed you such that Fable III was your trash, or Halo: Reach just wasn’t the game you expected. Let us know below.


Today’s Top 10 focuses on some of the brilliantly terrible game controllers that shipped for game systems. Many of these were first-party, out-of-the-box concepts, while others were cash-in ideas from engineers that clearly either didn’t have a sense in their noggin, or they simply listened too much to their marketing department. Either way, these controllers are a bad bunch. 

10. 5200 Controller
Though Nintendo didn’t truly innovate with analog control out of the box, at least the company got it right. Atari’s attempt two decades prior was just unbelievably half-assed – the company created an analog joystick that didn’t even center itself when released, and its engineers used material for its buttons that seemed to deteriorate at room temperature. The games were challenging, but not in a good sense…with this thing, trying to get Pitfall Harry to jump over a gap was just as difficult as trying to stop him from running to the right.



9. Turbo Touch 360
Dear Control Engineers: Please don’t remove the D-pad on a controller in favor of a touch-sensitive surface. You may try to con fighting gamers into thinking it’ll make smooth circular motions easier, but you may not realize they like to rest their thumb on the pad when idle. Thanks. Your Pal, Craig



8. U-Force
What looks like a laptop when folded and a Death Star access panel when open is one of the most ridiculous third-party controllers ever conceived. Infra-red beams shot out of this unit’s surface and tried to interpret hand motions as controller movements, but did it work? Know anyone who owned this thing? There you go.



7. Power Glove
One of the stupidest controllers is also considered one of the most classic simply due to brilliant marketing known as “product placement.” The Wizard, starring Fred Savage, was a 90 minute Nintendo commercial for Mattel’s Power Glove and Super Mario Bros. 3, even so far as using both items in the movie trailer. So even if you didn’t pay your six bucks for a movie ticket, you were still assaulted with the branding. Oh, and you won’t look as cool as this kid when you strap it on, so don’t bother.



6. TI-99 Joystick
Computers in the 80s weren’t meant for the gaming market, but let’s be realistic: that’s all we really used these things for anyway. Texas Instruments’ TI-99, a computer with an optional disk drive twice as massive, jumped on the gaming market early with a bunch of classic games like…um…M*A*S*H…and, um…some Pac-Man clone… Anyway, you had the choice of controlling these games with either A) the keyboard, or B) one of the crappiest, most unresponsive, piece of junk joysticks ever produced. But hey, there were two of them!



5. Philips CDi Game Controller
Philips certainly had its heart in the right idea. It just didn’t have the brains. The Philips CD-I was a near dead-on-arrival, straight-to-infomercial multimedia system with a huge focus on games. But with a really retarded set of remote controller designs, from the sluggish and wildly inaccurate analog unit shown here to a digital pad that looks more like a crackpipe than a controller, these guys really knew how to woo the gaming public. But at least the system had Zelda!



4. Intellivision Disk
Look, we understand that many system designers were shooting in the dark during the early days of videogames. I’m sure that a handheld controller that looked like a touch-tone phone appeared “Space Age Technology,” and the design even preceded the Nintendo D-pad by more than a half-decade…even offering more directional points than an 8-way controller could dream of having. But good luck figuring out if you’re pressing left or just slight up and left. And controller overlays? Work of the devil.



3. Sega Activator
Didn’t the U-Force teach us that invisible infra-red beams are the absolute worst way of controlling your games? This octagon from Sega promised players who stood in the middle a new way of fighting in titles like Eternal Champion. But it just ended up making 8 year olds look like they were having convulsions.



2. Xbox Fat
I may be able to palm a bowling ball, but even I couldn’t comfortably or effectively wrap my mitts around Microsoft’s original monstrosity. This gargantuan thing was clearly made for the Rock Biter from The Neverending Story. What a shame the Nothing took him away.



1. Jaguar Controller
Maybe Atari was doomed even before the Jaguar was ever conceived, but their idea of a controller definitely didn’t help. Not only did the company bring back the unnecessary phone keypad-with-overlays theme of the early 80s, Atari also created a three action button device in a world of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, a genre that the company was trying to woo over to its 64-bit system. On top of this, the company utilized a VGA plug for its controller ports, and the controller plugs simply fell out if a mouse farted somewhere in the house.


Honorable Mention: Spider-Man Plug ‘n Play
Look at it. Just look at it.

Top 10 PS3 Games of 2010

A fantastic first-party lineup gives the PS3 a great start for 2010.By 1UP Staff

Sony had a pretty rocking 2009 with games like Killzone 2Uncharted 2, and inFamous, and 2010 already looks like another great year for first-party and/or exclusive PS3 titles (in addition to the solid multiplatform titles like BioShock 2). Anyone who complains that the PS3 doesn’t have enough games to justify its existence needs only to look at God of War 3, Heavy Rain, The Last Guardian, Gran Turismo 5, and even 3D Dot Game Heroes to see the error of their ways. We haven’t even touched on what possible surprises Sony and its friends might reveal later at E3 or somesuch. And again, if this list could be a little bigger, then we’d fit in games like Red Dead RedemptionMafia II, and MAG.


Dev: Square Enix | Pub: Square Enix

Currently locked in mortal combat with Mass Effect 2 for the title of “Biggest RPG of 2010,” the thirteenth numbered Final Fantasy looks very much like a return to the fan-favorite elements found in FFVII and FFX: Beautiful people with fashionable clothes engaged in a melodramatic story and lots of turn-based menu-driven combat. Even gamers who are growing a little weary of the Final Fantasy style are interested, just because the whole thing is so pretty. March is gonna be huge, but FFXIII is so big that it simply eclipses everything else that month.


If you finished God of War 2, you know exactly how God of War 3 begins — with you as Kratos climbing Gaia’s back on his way to getting revenge on the gods. Between letting players fight on the backs of giant Titans, attack with new weapons like the gauntlet-like Cestus, and use new abilities like the ability to fly vertically in wind tunnels, God of War 3 looks to push the series forward in many ways, but for many the appeal here is to see how it finishes off the trilogy from a story perspective.



A tribute/homage/rip-off/parody of 8-bit action adventures (and then some), 3D Dot Game Heroes tells the story of a 2D kingdom thrust into 3D by their king, but the main plot centers around the hero taking down a malevolent bishop. This action RPG is filled with references to the good ol’ days of console adventuring, starting with a much-too-faithful feel of the original Zelda games, continuing with a cameo by the 8-bit hero ofSpelunker, and of course, the very beep-and-boopy music. There’s also a nifty character editor if you want to 3D-ify your own pixel people (or another game’s!).


Team Ico and Fumito Ueda have a well-deserved reputation for making games that almost instantly spur an, “Are games art?” discussion whenever they’re brought up. So it’s hard not to be excited for their next big project, The Last Guardian. All we know so far is that you have to take care of a huge griffin-like monster, and it at least looks a lot like Ico andShadow of the Colossus. But will it be a stand-alone title? Will it tie those other esoteric stories together? Will it make us cry by killing off our giant, “sea eagle” pet in the end? We can’t wait to find out!


After holding our breaths for so long while waiting for Polyphony Digital’s long awaited “driving simulator,” we can finally start looking forward to exhaling as Gran Turismo 5 is slated to release in early 2010. In standard GT fashion, the PS3 racer comes packed to the brim with an abundance of features including 1,000 cars, 60 tracks, and fully modeled car cockpits. A first in the series, Gran Turismo 5 also features car damage — adding to the already keen attention to detail that keeps gearheads and videogame fans alike returning for more. With the usual world circuit series rounded out by fully fleshed out rally and NASCAR modes, GT5 is a title no car nut can afford to miss.


Though it no longer carries the subtitle “Sea of Dreams,” one gets the feeling that this sequel to 2K’s smash-hit shooter will still deal in utopian/dystopian themes and ultimately corruption. A bit of the story has been revealed, and here’s a quick rundown of we know so far: It’s 10 years after the first game; you play as the first Big Daddy (complete with new weapons and plasmid powers); new splicer types and Big Sisters attack you; and a cult-like society run by one Sophia Lamb (and her crazy butterfly imagery) is the new Big Bad. You can see why we’re eager to figure out how it all fits together when the game releases in February.

Though it no longer carries the subtitle “Sea of Dreams,” one gets the feeling that this sequel to 2K’s smash-hit shooter will still deal in utopian/dystopian themes and ultimately corruption. A bit of the story has been revealed, and here’s a quick rundown of we know so far: It’s 10 years after the first game; you play as the first Big Daddy (complete with new weapons and plasmid powers); new splicer types and Big Sisters attack you; and a cult-like society run by one Sophia Lamb (and her crazy butterfly imagery) is the new Big Bad. You can see why we’re eager to figure out how it all fits together when the game releases in February.


We loved sky diving, car surfing, and airplane hijacking the first time around, and the sequel looks to be focusing on spending as much time as possible performing some combination of those things. Not many other games allow for a ridiculous series of events such as using a grappling hook to slam two guys into each other while standing on top of the roof of a moving car. If there’s anything in the world more important than pulling off ridiculous aerial stunts like that with the aid of a grappling hook, we haven’t heard of it yet.


When the first Army of Two fell into our hands, we weren’t sure if it was an odd celebration of man and friendship, or if it was just borderline homosexual (fist pumps included). And now with the prospects of another bro-venture among the list of next year’s releases, we can’t help but gasp with excitement. Whether that emotion is related to having a solid co-op experience (which is nice for the PS3, since there’s no Gears of War), or laughing at the game’s antics, depends on which person you talk to. The most interesting part to us about The 40th Day, is that once per chapter, Salem and Rios will come across a very specific situation with a clear, “good/bad” choice. What will you do broseph?


The previous incarnation is quite possibly the best baseball videogame ever, so ’10 has to impress us with the little things while keeping the original mechanics in-place: calling pitches as a catcher, introducing the Futures Game, and having small stadium animations like a working splash counter at AT&T Park are a nice start. If they can fix the online play (and those loading times) this year, ’10 is likely to take the mantle from ’09 as the best baseball game ever. Spring can’t get here soon enough.

#10 Super Meat Boy

As many have noted, Super Meat Boy is one of the most difficult games ever created, standing as the number one title in the “frustrating as f***” genre of insane platformers.

Super Meat Boy takes the best parts of I Want To Be The Guy and countless other nightmarish games and puts it in one colossal bundle of masochistic goodness. You play the role of titular character Super Meat Boy who has to rescue his princess, Bandage Girl, from the clutches of some bad guy who has nothing better to do than to kidnap helpless characters.

Along the way, you can unlock allies from various other games, including Braid, Castle Crashers and Minecraft (If you’re playing it on the PC) as a substitute for Super Meat Boy. The game has since been parodied by those jerks over at PETA in a poorly made game called Super Tofu Boy. As they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery, but Super Meat Boy is worth playing only in its original form

#9 Alan Wake

From the makers of Max Payne comes Alan Wake, a novelist who, with his wife Alice, seeks refuge in the sleepy town of Bright Falls to alleviate his two-year long writer’s block. As someone who’s suffered from it from time to time, I can totally relate with Wake’s wanting to get away.

When Alice goes missing, it sets in motion a  sinister plot that envelopes the town of Bright Fall in a mysterious darkness. Alan realizes that the events reflect the pages of a manuscript written in his handwriting, and knows that he’s the only one who can get to the bottom of it. Armed with only a flashlight and a gun, he sets out into the dark to recover missing pages of the manuscript, intent on solving the mystery and figuring out how the story ends.

Like Max Payne before it, Alan Wake is an excellently written action thriller that not only plays well, but reads well.

#8 Bioshock 2

Bioshock 2 is a return to the underwater city of Rapture. Taking place ten years after the events of the first game, a collectivist cult lead by the enigmatic Sophia Lamb consumes the city’s inhabitants, left lost and astray after the death of Andrew Ryan. The Rapture Family, as it’s called, fills a niche in the hearts and minds of many.

You play the role of a sentient Big Daddy whose Little Sister Eleanor (whom you regard as your daughter, really) was taken away from you by Sophia Lamb. Finding yourself awake once more, you wakl through the city of Rapture in its dilapidated state on a mission to rescue Eleanor. Along the way, you discover the identity you lost and recover the humanity that was stripped from you when you were forcibly made into a monstrosity.

Bioshock 2 is a story of what it means to be a father, and what it means to be human.

7. Call of Duty: Black Ops

Black Ops, the latest title in the popular Call of Duty series is also arguably its best. You’re Mason, a Black Ops operator for the US Government, and you’re strapped in a chair as a man behind a glass calls out your name and tortures you in an effort to get you to tell him what you know about who you are, and what you’ve done.

You relive a decade of Mason’s life through flashbacks as you move through the streets of Cuba, escape a Russian gulag, and fight your way through the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia during the war–all in an effort to discover the truth about yourself.

It’s a surreal, but entirely visceral first person shooter experience that leaves almost every other FPS released this year in the dust. Not only is it awesome to play, it also tells a damn good story.

#6 Red Dead Redemption

There’s not too many games that take place in the Wild West, and most of them tend to suck. Red Dead Redemption doesn’t suck, and contrary to what you may have heard, it does the game an injustice to call it Grand Theft Auto with cowboys. It plays the same, but it’s also a lot more than that.

Playing the role of John Marston, a former outlaw hired (or forced, really) by the Bureau of Investigation (a precursor to the FBI) to hunt down an outlaw by the name of Bill Williamson and exterminate his gang. You’ve got a history with Bill and his cohorts, having run with them before, and the agents think that you’re the only man who can pull off the job. That, and they’re holding your family in custody as leverage for getting you to carry out their dirty work.

That’s the storyline. Most of the game consists of shooting down cowboys with a wide range of weaponry (from pistols to WW1-era rifles) and riding a horse across the desert in search of bounty. You can even play poker, liar’s dice, horseshoes and do a whole lot of other things if you ever need a break from the main narrative.

#5 Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

It’s a sequel to a sequel but it’s not quite Assassin’s Creed 3. Taking on the role of Ezio once again, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood takes place after the events of AC2 and this time, it puts you in charge of a whole brotherhood of assassins (hence the title). They can earn experience, level up and undertake missions in this iteration of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, which has more RPG elements than ever.

Aside from the fantastic single player game, one of the Brotherhood’s greatest draws is its multiplayer mode. Players earn points by carrying out assassinations in stealth and escaping after each kill. Breaking cover makes the players visible, turning them into targets for other players. Like the single player game, Brotherhood’s multiplayer is rife with RPG features so players can level up and earn new perks, abilities and streaks for playing well. Players can choose from a variety of different characters and classes and earn unlocks based on their choices. It’s fun as hell.

#4 Fallout: New Vegas

You were dead, but you got better. Your head feels like hell and someone needs to pay. Enter Fallout: New Vegas, the latest iteration in the Fallout series and in the opinion of hardcore fans, the true successor to the series.

Set in the Mojave Desert, Fallout: New Vegas follows the events of Fallout 2. The New California Republic has expanded its borders to the north and is encountering resistance from a Roman-styled army called Caesar’s Legion. As a courier trying to make a living in the wasteland, you stand directly in the middle of the warpath.

Staying true to form, New Vegas takes everything good about the previous Fallout games and delivers a solid experience.

#3 Limbo

Limbo’s a game that spun out of no-name independent Danish developer Playdead Studios to become one of the best games ever made. Developed under a meagre budget, Limbo puts the player in control of a little boy who has to run through a series of obstacles in search of his sister in one of the bleakest environments ever imagined. Mistakes will get the little boy killed, and the graphics, though minimalistic, are utterly gruesome to behold. Presented in monochromatic black-and-white tones, Limbo is truly a work of art.

#2 Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach is a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved, taking place a few weeks before the events of the original game (which is currently rumored to be in development with the Reach engine). The game takes place aboard the colony of Reach where the UNSC is fighting a losing battle against the Covenant. Taking control of Noble Six, an elite member of the Spartans, you have to participate in a war that’s ultimately futile.

The gameplay is a lot closer to the original Halo game than later titles in the series. With the addition of jetpacks, the game also shares some similarity to the Tribes series.

Halo: Reach is an unmissable chapter in the Halo series and any fan of the game should pick this up.

#1 Mass Effect 2

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call Mass Effect this generation’s Star Wars (or Star Trek, if you prefer). The quality of the game’s writing, the depth of its universe and the memorable characters who populate it are just a few of the excellent elements that make the series as great as it is.

Playing the role of Commander Shepard, Mass Effect 2 takes place two years after the events of the first game, where Shepard’s ship, the SSV Normandy is destroyed by an unknown alien vessel as they were attempting to answer a distress call. Presumed dead, Shepard was in fact retrieved by the mysterious Cerberus corporation and brought back to life with the help of various cybernetic implants. Back from the dead and stronger than ever, Shepard must rebuild his crew aboard a new Cerberus-constructed Normandy by recruiting unique individuals across the galaxy, and take the fight back to the mysterious aliens that killed him the first time.

Mass Effect 2 is a major upgrade over the first game, featuring a completely revamped combat system making it more of a third person shooter than the first game ever was, while retaining all of the dialogue and RPG elements that made Mass Effect an excellent, choice-driven game.

It’s also our Xbox 360 game of the year.