The year’s almost up, and it’s time for 360Zine to talk up our favourite 10 360 games of the year. It’s been a stunning 12 months, summed up by some of the games that DIDN’T make the top 10. Here are the games that did…
- Super Street Fighter IV
It’s a refinement, an expansion even, but Super Street Fighter IV is almost certainly the finest one-on-one fighter ever made. A game so meticulously designed that every single frame counts, and one so balanced and deep that players are still discovering ways to take advantage of new characters 10 months after release. It’s also an example of how to treat the online side of the fight game: lobbies, tournaments super-smooth connections and a mammoth replay theatre. And it’s not even a full-price game. Magnificent.
- Halo Reach
This time, Bungie really meant it. The team threw everything into Halo Reach to ensure it was a fitting goodbye to THE shooter series of the decade. A new engine underpinned the action, which was simultaneously classic Halo and utterly relevant, giving us some seriously memorable skirmishes to battle through. This is how single-player shooters should be – battling against AI and the environment instead of just popping and blasting duck-shoot enemies. Throw on the multiplayer and you have a monstrous package.
- BioShock 2
None were expecting much from Bioshock 2. Worries about a change in focus from ambience to action, plus the (admittedly average) multiplayer meant that our once-proud memories of Rapture were about to be spoiled, right? Wrong. Instead, we got another memorable journey into the deep, fleshed out with stronger gunplay than before and a couple of beautifully pitched set pieces. Brilliant from beginning to end.
Not many games get people intellectualising as well as interacting, but Limbo’s classy mechanics and gloomy melancholy did just that. The tale of a small boy’s treacherous trip through the woods (and city, and factory) was short but perfectly formed, and one of 2010′s most interesting gaming experiences. How many platformers send chills down your spine? Exactly.
- Battlefield Bad Company 2
Single player? Not so much. Multiplayer, though, yes please. Probably the best online shooter of 2010 (and that’s quite an achievement) and still being supported to this day, Battlefield Bad Company is a masterclass in cinematic online action. It’s a game full of moments, where an inaccurate medic can do just as much for a team as a deadeye sniper, and games become true epics. It’s not often you can use an online shooter for gaming anecdotes. In BFBC 2, there’s barely a match without one.
- Mass Effect 2
By stripping out the stats and focusing on the role-playing, Mass Effect 2 turned a whole new audience onto Bioware’s work. It’s a beautiful piece of work, underpinned with a rare treat for gaming – great dialogue. Add far-stronger shooting than its predecessor, and a heart-wrenching final battle, and you have the year’s finest space opera and a real contender for one of the best sci-fi universes out there. In any medium.
- EA Sports MMA
A surprise entry for many, no doubt, but EA Sports MMA rose from the ashes of its terrible demo to become something quite special indeed. No other game has managed to depict such dramatic, story-worthy fights as this. It’s a game that matches raw aggression with huge tactical depth, and is one of the truly rare examples of a videogame that’s as fun when you lose as when you win. It’s also superb online, with broadcasted live-fights (complete with real-world commentary) and no lag whatsoever. Shame no one seems to have bought it.
An early one – Bayonetta came out in January – but far from forgettable. Platinum Games’ madcap brawler is the best example of a declining genre, a game with so many possibly ways to take out your bizarre opponents it boggles the mind. In the hands of the hardcore, this is one of the most satisfying and pure examples of twitch gameplay in years, and it’s backed up by the kind of next-gen spectacle we’ve come to expect.
- Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Criterion is one of the best studios in the world, regardless of genre, and it has proved it once again with this marvellous reinvigoration of one of gaming’s most famous names. Hot Pursuit gives you the world’s greatest supercars and puts them in the world’s most exciting car chases. Even the French Connection can’t match some of Hot Pursuit’s stand out moments. The Autolog too, which constantly taunts you with friends’ scores and times, is dangerously compelling.
Hopes are always high for Rockstar epics, but few could have expected this sort of achievement. A note-perfect recreation of the Wild West through a cinephile’s filter, the tale of John Marston’s is a truly outstanding piece of work. Perhaps at its best during its quieter moments than when it goes all guns blazing, Red Dead Redemption succeeds in taking us to another place in time and actually making us think about how it was to live just 100 short years ago. Breathtaking.
Tags: Red Dead Redemption
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