Best of the Rest: Ben's picks of 2010

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Best of the Rest: Ben's picks of 2010
1 vs. 100
Remember when Microsoft confirmed that there would be no more 1 vs. 100 and your heart broke in half? I remember that day. It was the first time I'd ever experienced anything akin to an MMO shutting down -- I was an active player in a weekly live game with thousands of other people, and it was closing. Like no other game I've played before, 1 vs. 100 brought together all of my friends -- gaming and non-gaming alike -- for a weekly shared experience. Couple that unique experience with my love for trivia (I totally dominated history and video game-themed nights), and 1 vs. 100 was a clear choice for one of my favorite games in 2010. It's a real shame there's no way to play it anymore.

Just Cause 2
Like last year's Red Faction: Guerrilla, Just Cause 2 relishes in destruction to implement sheer fun über alles. Also like Guerrilla, the story in Just Cause 2 takes a back seat to entertaining madness, which kept it off my "Best of" list (Justin's sentiments echo mine -- play around with the game, just don't actually pay any attention to the story).

Unlike Guerrilla, however, JC2's enormous sandbox mixes up beautiful environments with (at times) comedic characters and widely varied missions. I piloted a Harrier Jet to the top of a rocket and jettisoned so that I could destroy the rocket thousands of feet in the air. Then I parachuted hundreds of feet down to another rocket, only to do that same thing. And yes, it was just as wonderful as it sounds.

Splinter Cell: Conviction
Splinter Cell: Conviction occupies a weird place in my heart. I like it more for style than substance, and I might not have ever played it had it launched at a busier time of year. At every turn, Conviction seemed to highlight its least enjoyable game mechanics (interrogation and direct combat), while its most fun aspects played out between the margins (sneaking and assassinating). Thankfully, the game's Deniable Ops dedicates an entire mode to a combination of sneaking and assassinating, even adding co-op to the mix.

Tilt to Live
As I noted in our iOS Buyer's Guide, Tilt to Live is essentially Geometry Wars on your iDevice. Which is just as problematic to your everyday life as it sounds. The formula has been changed up with power-ups and tilt controls (thus the name), and has been built around the portable's strengths -- the tilt controls actually work! Also like GW, rivalries quickly developed with friends and co-workers via in-game leaderboards (see Ludwig's deluded plans for domination here), enticing me all the more to regularly play. And stay atop my friends' leaderboards. Which I am, in case that wasn't clear. Tilt to Live is without a doubt my favorite iOS game.

I've heard game reviewers observe more than a few times, "If I'm still playing a game I reviewed after the piece has run, it's a really good game." That didn't happen to me with Blur, but that has more to do with my brother getting married across the country and me going to E3 than the quality of Bizarre Creations' adult Mario Kart title. Battling the single-player campaign's AI could be frustratingly difficult, but online multiplayer was a frantic masterpiece -- dropping a reverse shunt at the last minute to guarantee a win was thrilling each and every time.

Unfortunately, with weak sales and recent news of the studio's shaky future, it's likely that Blur won't ever get a sequel to build on the first game's solid base. And that's a real shame, because Blur was (and still is) a blast.

Halo: Reach
I love Halo. Yes, I'm that guy. No, no, not that guy shouting racial epithets at you over Xbox Live! But the guy who read all the Halo books and the graphic novel and the comic series and, yes, totally bought the cat helmet. And Reach is a Halo fanboy's dream: it fills in a major story point, it has the best multiplayer matchmaking of any console game, and it takes the best elements of Halo 2 through ODST, puts them into Halo 1's trappings, and then adds jetpacks. Reach is one of those few games that I'm going to put in two years from now to play more multiplayer. At least until Halo 4, of course.

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.
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