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D+BATE: ‘What’s your favourite title of 2010 so far?’

12:2912/07/2010Posted by D+PAD StaffOne Comment

We’re now halfway through 2010 and the number of top-tier titles that have graced our consoles in the space of 6 months has been nothing short of astonishing. While there is obviously still a some time to go before we have to flip over our calendars to 2011, there’s nothing wrong with a little reminiscing is there?

So for this weeks D+BATE we thought it would be timely to ask:

‘What’s your favourite title of 2010 so far?’

Read how the D+PAD team responded below (it would appear that D+PAD loves Mass Effect 2…).

Zoheir BeigBayonetta :

That Bayonetta was released just eight days into 2010 is nicely appropriate. Not only did Hideki Kamiya’s opus lay down an extremely early benchmark for all the things that games writers like us here at D+PAD care about (innovation, visual design, Sarah Palin-lookalikes wearing catsuits made out of hair), it’s my opinion that despite such a heaving, unprecedented six months of triple-A games, still nothing has come close to the madness unleashed in that first week of January.

Despite being very much an evolution of familiar third-person combat models, Bayonetta manages to somehow feel fresh. It is initially daunting, and does require a certain investment on the part of the player; merely button-mashing will only get you so far. Far more satisfying however is taking the time to slip into the game’s rhythm. Start to recognise certain visual cues, understand the seamless integration of combos and the extent to which you can personalise your approach with upgradeable moves, and Bayonetta soon blossoms into something quite beautiful.

So yes it’s a lavish third-person action game of the highest order, but Bayonetta is also something a whole lot more: its wit, balance, sheer number of ideas, pacing, visuals and fighting system of incredible depth is a staggering package; Kamiya has taken the hack and slash, and its emphasis on style, to a boundary that not many people knew existed. Whatever his intentions, whether he created Bayonetta out of frustration with the paucity of imagination in evidence elsewhere in the genre (something Devil May Cry 4 would be guilty of), or whether he simply wanted to make his own love letter to videogaming (because Bayonetta is also that), he has made a game that proves you can use the constraints of a genre creatively and not, as in for example Dante’s Inferno (another high-profile 2010 release), use them as an excuse to indulge in stifling conservatism.”

Chris Morell – Mass Effect 2

“If Bioware’s original Mass Effect was the title that launched a brand new (and rather well received) franchise then ME2 was the sequel that absolutely smashed it. Merely the second instalment of an overarching trilogy, it’s startling that such a rich, diverse and living universe has been fleshed out so thoroughly; the glossy sheen of the Citadel, the dreary slums of Omega and the Coruscant-like Illium have all become but small facets of a colossal setting, rich with potential and limited only by the imagination of the developer. It’s not that these places are always dripping with innovation (indeed, we’ve seen much of it before in prior media) but the way in which the game’s many intricacies – such as the characters, dialogue wheel, levelling system and satisfying blend of gunplay and powers – come together to form a cohesive whole is nothing short of astounding.

Mass Effect 2 is all about choice. Taking the reigns of the first human Spectre, Commander Shepard, players can choose from a wide range of actions and responses, crafting a character with a strong personality in the process. The story still has a defined set of stages that must be completed in a specific order and Shepard’s sense of purpose is the same regardless of moral standing – everything else can be tackled as and when you see fit, so long as you’re prepared for the possible consequences.

As a sequel, ME2 offers everything the fans could want and just that little bit more, as many of the complaints from the original have been addressed, with subsequent tweaks and removals serving to improve the playability of what was already a well-conceived space adventure. Granted, the cover-to-cover can still use some work and the planet scanning is more mundane than it should be, yet such criticism comes as little more than nitpicking given Bioware’s eagerness to correct its errors via online updates. With a host of downloadable content available through Xbox Live and the Cerberus Network – including a few in the pipeline looking to bridge the gap between games – there’s more than enough reason to return to this fantastic sci-fi epic.”

Simeon PaskellRed Dead Redemption:

“It’s heartening that we’re only 6 months into the year, and there were so many games that I considered for this D+BATE. After weighing up the pros and cons, I was left with no other choice than to go with Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption.

While you could argue that it is just Grand Theft Auto on a horse, I think that Red Dead Redemption managed to transcend the high-water mark for sandbox gaming, set a new benchmark for realism in videogame worlds and make considerable strides in advancing the delivery of narratives/narrative structures. It’s a game that – once completed – leaves you with a countless memories and a palpable sense of having been there; of having lived the life of a cowboy and of having confronted the hardships that life in the Wild West presented.

Rockstar managed to take everything they learnt from the Grand Theft Auto series and improve it in nearly every way. Visually it’s utterly sumptuous; its audio is a treat for the ears and the breadth, depth and variety of gameplay on offer is simply astounding. Most importantly, it manages to transport you to another world and another time with unrivalled panache; presenting an all encompassing vision of the wild west, effortlessly encapsulating the decades of celluloid folklore whilst never losing sight of actual historical setting.

It’s also an incredibly brave title that makes many bold and challenging design choices, forgoing the obvious and genuinely breaking new ground and does much to reconfirm the reasons why I play videogames in the first place, adding fuel to the long standing hope that videogames will one day surpass movies as a means of storytelling. There’s so much to praise, so many memorable moments and so much like I simply love about it, it’s going to take something pretty damn special to shift Red Dead Redemption out of my ‘Game of the Year’ position.”

Richard Birkett – Mass Effect 2:

Released in the very first month of the year, my game of the year so far has to be Bioware’s masterpiece Mass Effect 2, which I felt refined the core experience at the heart of the first game so consistently that it was very nearly of unrivalled quality from the get-go. No other time in 2010 have I felt so enveloped in a game’s experience as this, stepping into the shoes of Commander Shepard for the second time. From its excellent cinematography and outstanding cinematic action, to its deep and atmospheric storyline and plotting, it really had it all.

As well as providing us with a presentation overhaul with a gorgeous visual quality and bright and vivid worlds that filled its narrative, Bioware went further in delivering a top-class cover based system for combat, rivalling some of the leading shooters out there. The first games clunky control system could finally be forgotten, as enemies were neatly dispatched through a hefty mix of gun play and clever use of powers. The dialogue was excellent, each character given a full and well rounded personality, and there were enough dramatic moments to rival the very biggest of Hollywood blockbusters.

With Mass Effect 2, we were presented with a rolling continuation of the vast space saga that will conclude in the final game of the trilogy, whilst the negativity that the first game held was addressed wholeheartedly. RPG mechanics were weakened (no bad thing), its cinematic offering was improved, the dialogue system was given extra weight, and action was upped. A resounding success, but did we really expect anything else from Bioware!? Sufficient to say, the third can not come soon enough!

Emmet Purcell – Mass Effect 2:

“Mass Effect is a near-perfect action RPG, and a pure example of the growing convergence of Western RPGs and third-person shooters. With cinematic-quality acting and cut-scenes, state of the art graphics, sound design and even lip-synching, ME2 is not just a perfect example of creating a videogame sequel, but of ending a videogame sequel.

Simply put, the conclusion to ME2 is absolutely unrivalled and unprecedented. Gamers across the world are still debating the significance of their leadership decisions and consequences, and bemoaning the death of their faithful comrades who are no longer available should they wish to purchase additional downloadable content.

The past six months have been perhaps the busiest, star-studded opening six months to any year, with Mass Effect 2 easily the undisputed jewel in the crown. If ME2 can fight off the likes of Red Dead Redemption, God of War 3 and Bayonetta, the rest of the year should be a cinch.”

Have you downloaded the latest issue from GamerZines yet? Check it out here!

One Comment »

  • Pantsman said:

    My game of the year would have to be Perfect Dark. I know it is a repackage if a 10 year old game but it was good then and its stil good now. To be fair I have not yet got round to Mass Effect 2, so it may change.

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