This summer, something terrible happened: Microsoft canned 1 vs 100, its experiment in live trivia gaming. With two seasons under its belt, I became quite enamored with the free game. Honestly, my Tuesday and Friday nights will never feel the same again. Also, it's sad I'll likely never get to use the above image in a post on Joystiq again.
Super Street Fighter IV
I love fighting games and Super Street Fighter IV was the standout fighter this year. By adding some new characters and some throwbacks to Alpha and Street Fighter III, Capcom bolstered an already impressive roster, but the biggest (and most needed) improvement was an overhaul of its online infrastructure. On all fronts, Capcom delivered.
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
It was a big year for PC gaming and the biggest title was undoubtedly StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, the sequel fans have been waiting years for. It didn't change much of the original game and its expansion's formula, but that's a good thing in the end: it's enabled it to be one of the most balanced and hardcore real-time strategy games, giving impassioned fans a familiar and friendly experience right out of the box. The brand-new Battle.net and its ladder system were the icing on the cake.
It was the most nonsensical game of the year, but Bayonetta managed to do something incredibly impressive: set the bar for action games. Helmed by Hideki Kamiya, the ex-Clover and Capcom designer who brought us Okami, Viewtiful Joe and Devil May Cry, Bayonetta features some of the best boss fights and oozes style throughout. It sits comfortably among 2010's cannot-miss games.
The other big PC release of the year, Civilization V, melds together the diehard sim gameplay of the series' roots along with the more streamlined and simplified mechanics introduced in 2008 by Civilization: Revolution. Because of this, it successfully toes the line of accessibility while giving longtime fans the depth they crave, easily making it one of my favorites this year.
Dead Rising 2
Blue Castle's sequel to the 2006 hit Dead Rising is largely unchanged from the original, but added one crucial thing: co-op. It seems like the natural progression for zombie slaughter -- if it's fun killing zombies by myself, doing it with a friend has to be doubly as fun, right? Well it is and combined with the sequel's other new addition, a weapon crafting system, Dead Rising 2 managed to be more than just a cookie-cutter sequel.
It would've been easy for 2K Sports to sit back, slap Jordan on the cover and call it a day, but instead we got a truly wonderful product in NBA 2K11 this year. The online's improved, the Jordan Challenge mode was just that -- a challenge, yet incredibly rewarding -- and improved animations and ball-handling physics all made for what was the best basketball sim of 2010.
Joystiq has revealed its 10 favorite games of 2010! Stay tuned to see those games that didn't quite make the cut in Joystiq's Best of the Rest series.