If you’re a gamer, you’ve probably spent most of 2010 being completely spoilt for choice. There have been so many fantastic games released this year that next year’s post-Christmas release drought is likely to be a very welcome period for almost everyone – as we’ll all finally have time to get stuck into everything that we missed the first time around. But even so, some of the very best games of 2010 managed to slip completely under the radar of way too many people, and here are five of our favourites that you should definitely try to make a date with as soon as possible…
5. Real Heroes: Firefighter
Real Heroes: Firefighter is the kind of game that most people won’t have even taken a second glance at. The rather generic box art makes it look like snail-paced bore (and it absolutely isn’t) and the title is drab in exactly the same after-school way. What lies beneath its cover is an expertly paced little thriller that not only has some uncommonly tight motion controls, but also a very solid plot. With impressive levels of realism pushed to the fore, the latter stages are perhaps a little more bombastic than some would probably like, but for the most part this is simply a gripping, coherent and challenging wee gem of a game.
4. Batman: The Brave And The Bold
2010 has been a standout year for retro-styled 2D beat ‘em ups, with Ubisoft’s Scott Pilgrim game and EA’s Shank standing out from the crowd. But even better than both of those was WayForward Technologies’ downright brilliant new Batman game, based on the popular Cartoon Network series of the same name. So much deeper than you’d expect, it had a fresh and fluid combat system that rewarded grace and hard-won complexity, and was an utter joy on co-op. If this is ever ported to WiiWare, XBLA or PSN, everyone will go utterly nuts for it. Get in early.
3. Infinite Space
Platinum Games may have been responsible for two of the best games of the year that everyone already knows about – the utterly bananas double-whammy of Bayonetta and Vanquish – but equally as strong as either of those was their brilliantly ambitious sci-fi RPG Infinite Space. A serious, deceptively adult and thoroughly cerebral experience, it still stands as one of the best looking games on the Nintendo DS. Great customisation options, a stellar storyline and an escalating difficulty tier that was rewarding in the extreme: this one of the best games on the platform.
Left to fend for itself against the savage behemoth that was Red Dead Redemption – Blur was the only significant release to share Red Dead’s much-touted release date – and as such Blur never really stood a chance. This is a monumental shame, because it was arguably Bizarre Creation’s best work to date, and a racer so well-crafted and addictive that it was undoubtedly the year’s finest until EA’s masterful Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit dethroned it last month. But a dedicated online community should ensure that this one will run and run. And deservedly so.
1. Rock Band 3
Rock Band 3 is unquestionably one of the best games of 2010. Whereas most of its genre contemporaries have occasionally chosen to tread water instead of innovating, Harmonix have never even seen that as a viable option. Rock Band 3 shines even if you thought you’d tired of peripheral-based music games, and this is purely because of how it playfully evolves the genre. The addition of the pro instruments are a genuinely thoughtful riposte to everyone who has ever lambasted these games, in the belief that they are keeping a generation of aspiring musicians from actually learning to make music. That argument has now been totally deflated, and this gaming genre has earned its finest ever moment.
Watch the Rock Band 3 trailer here: