Games of the Year 2010

Since the year’s drawing to a close, and I haven’t posted about games nearly enough to satisfy my own desire to do so… I figured I’d post my picks for GOTY 2010.  Ordinarily I’d call these the “best” games of the year, but I’ll switch it to “most interesting” games of the year.

Infinite Space (DS)

This one was a surprise hit for me.  I expected it to be decent, but not nearly as good as it was.  There is a little more linearity to it than I would like, but the gobs of recruitable characters and a few major decision points with genuinely different  results make it more non-linear than 90% of JRPGs.  Not that it really is one.  Solid customization, fun but quick battles, and a good plot make it hard to beat.  This was better than several console RPGs I played this year.  My review at vl

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (Wii)

It’s not quite as good as Baroque – in fact, it’s frustrating and repetitive to actually play.  But that’s actually part of the point.  It’s one of the prettiest, creepiest games out there, and although I doubt I’d play it again I can appreciate the amount of work put into its making.  This is the first game I’ve played in a long time that was truly touching in places.  My review at vl

Dragon Quest IX (DS)

This is without a doubt my “bland JRPG” pick of the year.  It has rock-solid pacing, lots of fun customization mechanics, good support/post-game content (I got two shirts, a poster, and some stickers out of what amounted to advertising events)… it’s like a big-budget RPG, but on a portable system.  It’s a good replacement for all the missing PS3/Wii RPGs, with the PSP picking up the slack otherwise.

Persona 3 Portable (PSP)

This is the ultimate version of the best game from last generation.  It is perfect in nearly every way; the load-time fixes make even the slow parts go by quickly, and there’s a fast-forward available for all dialogue.  The event movies are missing, but this makes a difference in only two places.  With the new protagonist, additional songs, and even subtle references to an upcoming Atlus game it’s pretty hard to go wrong with an improved version of a game that was already better than any JRPG out.

NieR (PS3/360)

Sort of a mature counterpoint to Fragile, NieR is a diverse game.  It’s sort of a JRPG, but often feels like Zelda.  Fantastic voice-acting (if SE could only get this going on their main-line…), incredible music (available on iTunes, as is a more recent arrangement album), frantic action and a compelling plot.  Hard to go wrong.  My review at vl

I hope to follow this up with a “Worst games of 2010”, since I haven’t found an appropriate forum on which to vent about Final Fantasy XIII.

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