Autostraddle Picks the Best Games of 2010

As you may know your trusty Autostraddle geek squad (not to be confused with those asshats at Best Buy) at times is known to live and breathe video games. Herein we recount our best of 2010, so get your assent and dissent at the ready!

Danielle’s Best of 2010

Mass Effect 2
Funny story – I was supposed to review this game for one of the sites I write for, but we couldn’t get a press copy and Gamefly took about six years to send it, so I ended up borrowing from a friend. I had never played the first game, so I was merely curious about the story (and may or may not have watched the lesbian sex scene from the first game a few times on YouTube). I played it and fell completely, unashamedly, deeply in love with this game – it’s the epitome of nerdy space fantasy for me.

There’s a lot to love: the intricate story, the phenomenal worldbuilding, the amazing characters, the “badass chick in space” roleplaying, and yes, the first truly developed lesbian relationship in a big-budget game that I have played and enjoyed. I loved it so much I went back and trudged through the good – but flawed – first game, then I played it again, with a Liara-loving Shepard.

Bonus: Playing the Shadow Broker DLC allowed said Liara-loving Shepard to really REALLY experience the lesbian romance experience ™, complete with fighting, emotional processing, and really hot sex. IN SPACE.

BioShock 2
Everyone expected this game to be dogshit – even if it turned out decent, it would forever be in the shadow of the phenomenal first game. 2K Marin really pulled it off, with completely new mechanics and a far better story payoff, creating an excellent game that stands on its own two metal-bootied feet.

Super Mario Galaxy 2
Have I listed enough sequels yet? Galaxy 2 was a phenomenal platformer, with level design that really represents the best in the business. The game is a little too hard for its own good, but that doesn’t stop it from being absolutely brilliant.

Costume Quest
Dark horse/sleeper hit alert! This is a bite-sized RPG from my favorite studio (Double Fine Productions), featuring little kids who go trick or treating in super-powered costumes that allow them to do battle with monsters. There’s even a rainbow unicorn!

Kirby’s Epic Yarn
The cutest game on the planet, with a squee-inducing aesthetic (the entire world, including every character, is made of yarn, patches, and buttons), and perfectly-paced platforming action.

Honorable mentions:

Heavy Rain
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Goldeneye 007

Most disappointing:

Metroid: Other M for being a solid game with an uber-sexist story.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 for, well, kind of sucking.

Rachel’s Best of 2010

Heavy Rain

Obvs I had a lot of strong feelings and emotions about Heavy Rain. It was hands down, no contest the most unique and interesting game I’ve ever played. Plus it was gorgeous to look at and so completely immersive that it’s a little crazy how lost in it I found myself. I laughed, I cried, I held my breath and closed my eyes. Heavy Rain is the reason to own a PS3.

BioShock 2

While I didn’t love it as much as I did the first game, it still delivered on the promise that comes with the name. Creepy, beautiful, thought provoking and intense. I liked being in the role of the original Big Daddy and getting to carry the Little Sisters around with me. I feel like my complete emotional inability to harvest them means that I’m well on my way to good parenting. Rapture is an environment like no other and I’m glad we got to go back to it before the BioShock name moved on.

God of War III

Again, I didn’t think it was the best of the franchise. But it was a totally perfect and fitting finale to Kratos’ blood soaked story. God of War has never been disappointing when it comes to epic scale and amazing battles; and this was certainly no different when it came to the Titans and fighting the gods of Olympus. I was a little disappointed by the final boss fight with Zeus – expecting so much more from such a bitter, long rivalry – but the scenes following it made up for it completely. God of War 3 was the third video game ever to make me cry.

Mafia II

What can I say, I’m a sucker for pretending I am a mobster. The game on a whole is a little short, but it was so much fun. Vito and I went shopping, joy riding, drinking and also on weapon wielding rampages. I got to crush a guy in a car compactor! Additionally, the driving mechanics were smoother than any other game I’ve played.

Beatles Rock Band

Okay, this came out at the end of 2009 but I never tire of it; I’m probably the biggest Beatlemaniac you know. It’s true that regardless of mood, headache size or sleep deprivation playing this game and staring into the big brown (digitally rendered eyes) of George Harrison makes everything feel wonderful. I’d never played a game that actually made me feel good until this one.

Biggest let-downs:

Dead Rising II

I don’t know, maybe it’s because I didn’t get to play the first one. But this game was just kind of tedious and boring. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed driving through zombie hoards on a dirtbike but that wasn’t enough to keep me enthralled. I sent this back to GameFly after four days.


Receive vigilante directive, rescue comrade/murder leading Nazi official/destroy Nazi propaganda spreaders, escape Nazis via car/rooftop/hiding places, return to hideout. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Tedious. The only redeeming factor of this game for me was the way it’d transition between colour and black and white as Nazi forces weakened in the city.

Sad I missed it:

The Sims III Why won’t GameFly send this to me?! It is all I want to play!

Alan Wake I do not own an Xbox. And this game is the reason I’m sad about it.

Looking forward to:

Metal Gear Solid: Rising Yes, Kojima Productions, please give us more. I’m not ready to be done with the Metal Gear franchise yet.

BioShock: Infinite Obvs.

Dead Space II The first Dead Space was so scary that I literally tossed my controller and had to leave the room.

Kim’s Best of 2010

Hello ladies! Rachel, your picks are making me wish I owned an Xbox 360 bad. This year was a bad year for gaming for me. Mostly because I discovered Steam and WoW and had little access to consoles to speak of. I think that the only new game I played was also my biggest let down– I gotta agree with Danielle and point a sad, disappointed finger at Metroid: Other M. So er, my “best of” isn’t much this time around, but I won’t let that stop me.

Sad I Missed It:

Kirby’s Epic Yarn Every time I go to Blockbuster to attempt to pick up Kirby’s Epic Yarn there are precisely no copies. I’M ALL ABOUT YARN, PATCHES AND BUTTONS.

Goldeneye 007

Hoping to pick this one up soon. Having played GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 with a fervour that I can only describe as religious, I am very excited to get my hands on this one.

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Other than those, I have already made some Donkey Kong Country Returns playdates when I can get my paws on it.

Looking forward to:

Mirror’s Edge 2

It’s sequel city. Did anyone play the first one? I feel like it was just me. It was super rad though. Excellently paced, super hot protagonist, great control system, slight nausea if you play it on a big screen, but 100% worth it.

Portal 2

I can’t say enough about how fantastic this looks. Beautiful art, harder puzzles, more gadgets. Do yourself a favour and go watch some preview videos.

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

My very favourite series. This one is supposed to be a prequel to Ocarina of Time, but very little has been revealed about the plot so I can’t wait to be pleasantly surprised, as per usual.

Taylor’s Best of 2010

I spent a decent portion of the year just catching up with 2009 releases like Assassin’s Creed II, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Dragon Age: Origins, and Borderlands (all amazing, btw) but of course I played as many 2010 releases as I could get my paws on.

Red Dead Redemption

An amazing game, and it’s a Western to boot! I love me the Wild West, and the free-roaming structure coupled with the atmosphere made this game a hell of a lot of fun. Rustling bandits out of their hide-outs? Don’t mind if I do. I spent hours roping and breaking pretty horses, which I guess kind of devolves RDR into a sort of cowboy Pokemon, but who’s complaining? Fucking nobody is, that’s who.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Hot off the heels of a waning Modern Warfare 2 addiction, Bad Company 2 was just what the doctor ordered. Okay, to be honest, the doctor ordered Trazodone, but fuck if I have time to take that stuff when I’ve got sniping to do. Sure, comparing Bad Company 2 to Modern Warfare 2 is overdone, but its lushly-rendered visuals really make killing en masse a pleasure unlike the bleak landscapes of MW2’s twitch-paradise. BC2 was a lot of fun, and I can still play a few rounds without losing my goddamn mind, which is a good thing. There’s something soothing and methodical about the pace of the game, and I really enjoyed that. And, you know, headshots.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

I haven’t had a ton of time to dig in yet, but 1) ahem, we have an Auto guild and 2) Cataclysm, beyond introducing werewolves in top hats, made everyday questing and leveling a joy. Gameplay feels streamlined and involving unlike ever before. The love the devs have for their latest WoW expansion really shows.


Don’t get me started. Also I think technically this maybe came out in 2009, but I don’t care.

Honorable Mentions:

Fallout: New Vegas

This game a) let me make an extremely gay looking character b) was set in the desert and c) was awesome. I didn’t have enough time to really get through the story, but what I saw I liked. I also didn’t encounter any of the bugs anyone was complaining about, so it was all laser-guns and cacti for me.

Final Fantasy XIII

This might sound contradictory after I spent approximately 100 hours complaining about this game to anyone who’d listen, but once I got into the second disc I actually started having a lot of fun with the combat system. I had a breakthrough moment somewhere about twenty hours in.

Biggest let-downs:

BioShock 2

I saw a glimpse of what this game could have been as things started royally unraveling in the basement with that giant horror in the accomodatingly giant test tube thing, and for that I am let down. I said it. Hmph.

Final Fantasy XIII

Really? The fact that I had to expend twenty hours of my life to enjoy this game offends me down to my very core. This isn’t some fucking soup in a crock pot, it’s a video game for christ’s sake.

What games did you love in 2010? What games broke your heart into teensy little pieces? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. I wanted to love Alan Wake but I just couldn’t get into it. It might have helped if I’d had my own XBox and was playing it by myself rather than playing it for a few hours at a friend’s, though. I was limited to the DS for the most part, and I really liked Lego Harry Potter and Professor Layton and the Unwound Future.

  2. trying to decide what gaming system to buy myself. could the authors let me know what system each of their favorite games were from? also any tips for a girl who is looking for a new addiction and is gamercurious but hasn’t owned anything since the original playstation? the last game I really played was donkey kong on my super nintendo when I was 8.

    • My lady just gifted me an XBox and I’m really excited and ready to love it. But I don’t think that it could stand up to how much I love my PlayStation.

      Some PlayStation exclusives that I feel make the system worth owning: Heavy Rain, the Metal Gear Solid series, the God of War series. I think most games are multiplatform now so you’ll kind of win either way you go.. but I’d go PS3 of 360 based on Heavy Rain and MGS in a heartbeat.

      Additionally, I’m kind of afraid of the 360’s controller. I haven’d had much time to get used to it yet so it is still incredibly foreign. It is very large.

      What sort of stuff are you into as far as your new gaming addiction desire?

    • Hmmmm, well my decision to stick with Playstation was through loyalty and the type of games I play.

      I prefer things like Call of Duty, Metal Gear Solid etc. (‘Those loner games’ as my other half calls them.) Which are really no fun for others to watch, and so stuck to the brand I knew and trusted as they seemed to have the lions share of the better developers. Now, however, it’s a much more even playing field.

      Now Kinect is out for the Xbox 360 Microsoft have cleverly moved into the market of ‘party gaming’ which the wii monopolised for so long. Although there doesn’t appear to me much in the way of games for Kinect, having spent so much on building up the technology, developers will be chomping at the bit to get their games into Kinect format, watch this space.

      So in that respect, the Xbox kind of has the edge I would say, now having the ability to double up as both a hardcore gaming machine and a social platform. I wouldn’t expect it to last for too much longer though, Sony’s geeks are hot on their heels I would imagine.

      Cost wise… you’re not really losing out much either way, as overall you’re getting pretty much the same ‘bang for your buck’ whichever way you opt, with peripherals etc.

      (Rachel B – The Xbox controller is a beast, I agree. Give my tiny hands a break for christssakes.)

      Say you were still longing for your Nintendo fix… then go for a Wii… *shudder* (Or you could pick up an old Super Nintendo dead cheap and re-live your youth, RETRO stylee!)

      • I think overall for price, the PS3 is a better deal. You’re only paying $200 for a basic 360 bundle with a 4gb system – but for $299 for a PS3, you get a machine with 160gb. Me personally, I like to save and hold onto every damn thing. ALL THE THINGS.

        I don’t know what the 360’s backwards compatability is but the PS3 unfortunately doesn’t have it anymore. (I think the original 250gb version and the Metal Gear Solid 4 80gb bundle are the only ones.) I’m not sure BWC matters to people other than myself (totally shoveled out $500 for the 80gb bundle) anyway though so nevermind.

        • *Facepalm*

          I totally didn’t even think about the difference between what the US pay and the UK. UK-wise a 250GB Xbox will set you back about 220GBP (around 340USD) and a 320GB PS3 will be about 280GBP (around 430USD)…

          You would have to do some SERIOUS gaming to fill up even an old 80GB on though, so I would be tempted to go for the 160GB PS3 for around 240GBP.

          There are around 400 Xbox titles which are compatible with the Xbox 360 (mostly North American ones.)

          I had about 60 PS2 games I was desperate to play on a new PS3, however you couldn’t get the BC model ANYWHERE in the UK when I came to buy one. BUMMER! I consoled myself by buying Guitar Hero…

          • Yeah, lots of gaming would be required to fill up even an 80gb PS3. I’ve been playing mine for, what, almost four years? And there’s still like +/- 30gb free. It’s wonderful.

            Backwards compatability is super important to me because I have so many PS2 games that I love and still play constantly (silent hill, mgs). So I can’t imagine not having the option to buy a machine with that capability. *insert ran about how it’s really stupid sony cut bc when they made the ps3*

    • I think it depends more on which kind of titles you mostly play. I like first person shooters so the xbox was a better bet for me. If you like more RPG’s then I think the PS3 is more your style. Also look at the exclusive titles for each system ie god of war for the ps3 vs. gears of war or something like that. Do you want to watch blu ray movies? that is also a factor I think as well. ok thats my two cents.. I was in a similar bind a while ago so I feel you.

    • Hi! my top games were all on the Xbox 360 or a Mac (WoW/Minecraft). As for deciding, I went through that process this time last year and ended up with an Xbox 360 for a few reasons. Mainly, I realized nearly all games I cared about were available across consoles and I knew way more people who played on the Xbox Live network than the respective PlayStation network. More things to consider:

      List of gaming exclusives (If I might pimp the other site I write for for a moment):

      We have a thread for Autostraddle players who play on XBL/PSN if playing with Auto friends makes a difference to you:

      You really can’t go wrong though! But Blu-Ray on the PlayStation and Kinect on the Xbox are two more big selling points.

    • I agree with the all the considerations. Like 2 years ago I went with the ps3 over the xbox 360. The deciding factor was BluRay.

      But now, I just bought the slim xbox for my multiplayer action with friends and family. I think if you really think you will want to play live with people over the Internet, xbox will be your console. Having said that, for popular games like Call of Duty, you will have no problem matching up with strangers on multiplayer. For me, a lot of friends were on xbox already and I felt left out! So you should also think about if you will play with friends or strangers.

      Others have lready mentioned exclusive titles, but I just want to add ps3 ha the very popular LittleBigPlanet, which I love and can’t wait for LBP2! On xbox, they have the Halo series. I don’t play many first person shooter games bc I get dizzy so I dont play a lot online anyway.

  3. Okay yeah, BioShock 2 kind of lost me in the test tube basement place as well. And the ending that I received was sort of shitty. But the first third of the game was so good that I didn’t mind. I JUST FUCKING LOVE RAPTURE, OKAY.

    Also, one time, when I was playing RDR… I was riding through the desert on that first horse he breaks from the wild pack and I was super in love with it. I rode around like ‘yeah, this is my horse.’ And then someone asked me for a lift. Since I’m nice I asked him to hop on (clearly, I wouldn’t last a day in the real wild west) and he pushed me off and stole my horse. As I set my sights on him and fired, I shot my horse and it died.

    I was really, extremely sad about that.


  4. Love these lists! Playing PS3 has been the majority of my winter break. Right now I’m addicted to RDR and I’m finally getting to play through the original Bioshock. The atmosphere of that game is so intense. I can’t play it before I go to sleep anymore /wimp.

  5. I loved Red dead redemption. Mostly because i love westerns. Films like the ox bow incident and the searchers are just greatness.

    Me and my friends have discussed at length the many similarities between the Icelandic sagas and the westerns. But that doesn´t really have anything to do with anything.

  6. Hands down, I’d go for Red Dead Redemption and Assasins’s creed ii and Brotherhood. Gah, how I adore my ps3.
    I couldn’t an xboox if I tried, I’m used to the x’s and o’s of the Ps3 better.

  7. Okay okay, so it’s had a kicking from the critics, but COD: Black Ops, anyone?

    VERY addicted right now. Despite some initial problems with the online game it seems to have sorted it’s shit out now.

    On my PSP I am currently reliving my addiction to Manhunt 2. I feel slightly mentally deranged playing (and enjoying it) but it’s mindless and I need that sometimes.

    I was subjected to Disney Singstar over Christmas… wrong, just wrong.

    • Ooooh, and most looking forward to in 2011:

      Max Payne 3 (PS3) – 25 Mar
      Ghost Recon Future Soldier (PS3) – 26 Mar
      Hitman 5 (PS3) – 28 Nov


    • i couldn’t allow myself to play it, for my own sanity. i sold my copy of mw2 with the utmost reluctance. i just like it too damn much.

  8. This list pretty much sums up this year in games (although I am a tad surprised that COD: Black Ops wasn’t mentioned anywhere,) but Tatsunoko vs. Capcom wasn’t mentioned either?? Really?? And I seriously can’t believe Marvel vs. Capcom 3 didn’t make anyone’s “Looking forward to” list… Am I part of the dying race of arcade goers?? Am I to believe that the days of arcade fighting games have come to their demise?! Is this pre-apocalyptic foreshadowing of what’s to come in 2012?!?! OMG the world IS approaching it’s end!!!

    But I digress… lol
    The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword! Beyond excited!!! Someone might report me as a missing person when this game comes out because I will go into a Legend of Zelda trance and not leave my Wii for days on end. Can’t wait!!!

  9. Black Ops is good but wouldn’t be in my top picks.

    Modern Warfare 2- I prestige(d) 4 times

    Assassins Creed: Brotherhood

    Red Dead Redemption

    Battlefield Bad Company 2 for the Multiplayer

    Looking forward to:

    Bioshock Infinity in two years or so

    Dead Space 2

    • i was pretty over it in 2, but i didn’t play 1. i complained about it for an approximate 30% of my auto review.

    • the first one was ace. 2 was disappointing. Not enough change and the story wasn’t as engaging. Also i think expectations were very high for the sequel and when it fizzled it felt even worse.

  10. Mass Effect 2 is easily my game of the year. As with all Bioware games the story and gameplay are excellent, but the dynamic voice, graphics, and choices in Mass Effect 2 are outstanding.

    I even asked for the N7 hoodie (in the Bioware store) for Christmas, but my mom said she doesn’t buy stuff like that for her 27 year old daughters. =/

  11. I’m cheap and therefore a fan of used games or waiting for the price to go down. However I did pick up the Assassin’s Creed:Brotherhood when I finally joined the xbox world (GT: bizmeister) and it was really good. The AC games just get better with each installment! I wish there was more combat in it though bc Ezio has all this new fighting ability and you don’t have to use it a lot. So now I find myself just picking fights with guards. LOL. Anyway, the multiplayer is so smart and different from the usual “death match” games we see with FPS.

    I also thought Heavy Rain was so good and had beautiful graphics. I borrowed it and finished it in a week. Also that girl is kinda videogame hot. LOL.

    Wii games: Kirby was epicly cute, but gameplay really really easy. Donkey Kong Kountry is a classic throwback. I don’t like it as much as I thought I would, considering my love for the SNES games. The New Super Mario Bros was a better revamping. An speaking of revamping, NBA Jam!!! So fun … And slightly more sophisticated than the original.
    Ugh still waiting for Red Dead Redemption to go down a little more in price.

  12. I keep confusing ‘Red Dead Redemption’ for ‘Red Deer Redemption’ and feel like I’m stuck in central Alberta again.

  13. Sims 3 is seriously the best thing ever. I’ve played it non-stop since I got it and the expansion packs for Christmas.

    • I lost approximately 4 years of my childhood to The Sims. I’ll never get that back. (35% actually playing it, 65% installing, removing, re-installing countless expansion packs)

      I have now banned myself from plaing it, for my own safety.


      And by that, I mean that someday GameFly will do me a solid and actually ship Sims 3 to my desperate little hands.

    • I used to hang out in SL when I was younger but eventually I just got put off by the amount of sex there was even when I wasn’t somewhere explicitly sexual. Like I’d be at a virtual friends house and you could see the moans all over the damn place. Maybe its cleaned up but I got weirded out quick.

  14. The game I played most this year was released last year: Uncharted 2 Among Thieves – which, together with Heavy Rain, makes the PS3 the system to choose in my opinion.

    I got the PS3 because it doubled as a blu-ray player and the biggest draw for the XBOX to the people I talked to was the online gaming community, which I wasn’t interested in.

    Heavy Rain is fantastic. It’s so intense I have to stop playing every few hours and do something else. I started a new game half way through my first one, because I made a choice I couldn’t live with, and I didn’t make exactly the same choices the second time so it was kind of amazing to see how the slightest alteration in decisions affected the outcomes. It’s completely engaging and interesting and not like any other game.

    Madden 2011 get’s a lot of play from me and so does UFC: Undisputed. I’m a sports person and these are the only two sports games I’ve played so far where the action is realistic and fast paced enough.

    Since it came out last year I won’t go on about Uncharted 2 except to say that it’s the shit and the game I’m most looking forward to is Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

    Also, if anyone can recommend some action adventure rpg’s not set in a post apocalyptic future that’d be great.

    • I asked the sales guy to point me to some non-dystopian futures and he couldn’t come up with anything. I like Fallout well enough but every now and then I need to see a color besides gray.

    • Omg, did Among Thieves come out in 2010?! I feel like it didn’t. But I’m having a sort of panic right now at the thought that I failed to include one of the greatest adventure games ever in the history of ever.

    • Hummmmmm, this is actually tough…

      It’s kind of a RPG / FPS mashup, but howsabout Farcry 2?

      Stole enough hours of my life anyway…

  15. And the PC version of the Sims 2 & 3 have taken more hours out of my life than anything. I played for so many hours once that when I finally fell asleep, in my dreams the people were all sims. I’m on vacation from that game now because that was shit was unnerving.

  16. I just finished Alan Wake, and its by far the most unique and interesting game Ive played in a long time.

    If Northern Exposure, The Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks all had a baby, it would be this game

  17. Since I haven’t played many games this year the only thing I have to add to this conversation is when you see the word titles enough it starts to look like titties.

  18. In my opinion, Crackdown 2 and Halo Reach were pretty solid releases of 2010 (even though they didn’t see much play-time from me – because I’ve been too busy).

    I’m still debating whether or not to get Black Ops. I desperately want to play it, but everyone says that MW2 trumps it big time. Then again, watching this: (Lego Black Ops) kind of made me want it again. Decisions decisions…

  19. Mass Effect2 was great fun, moreso after Lair of the Shadowbroker….Fallout New Vegas is going well. My desk computer needs some work or I would be adding to the 400 odd hours I spent playing Oblivion…mmm not sure I ever finished the main questline, which actually continues my streak of not “finishing” Elder Scrolls games. I bought Bioshock2, but haven’t installed it yet. I use the PC/laptop for most of my gaming, with a Wii and PS2 for more casual stuff(I have a weakness for lego games). No PS3 or Xbox for me.

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