To be honest, 2010 has been kind of tough. Not that there hasn’t been good things happening, but after 2008 and 2009 offered grand new experiences the main thing I learned in 2010 was that it was time for me to leave my job. The conclusion came as a matter of necessity and I did not have a hard time doing it, but I still have not resolved everything it actually means to me. For almost 20 years I wanted to work with games and when I finally got employed I did not imagine I would ever want to leave Starbreeze – reaching this decision has created a lot of questions I never really thought about before. Luckily, I am free to follow my dreams yet again and it looks like 2011 will be a lot more interesting. But enough about that! A lot of games were noteworthy this year but I have boiled it down to four, three of which are rather obvious.

Mass Effect 2

I played a lot of JRPGs when I was younger and I distinctly remember not liking Lufia 2 because I could not sympathize with the main character – despite the game being fairly good otherwise. The problem with story in games is just that – it is hard to write an involving story without giving the main character a personality, and this means games usually have bland stories or stories that some people just do not like. Mass Effect 2 is fantastic in this regard as it gives you an involving story where you really feel that you play the character you want to play and that the game responds accordingly, and I am really looking forward to the third installment.

Hero Core

Hero Core had a pretty long polish phase for a game of its scope, but playing it it becomes clear that it was worth it. Daniel Remar is a master of creating more with less and makes creating great design – core mechanics as well as level design – look effortless. It is becoming increasingly difficult to draw a line between “mainstream” and “indie” games, but that hardly matters as long as lone developers create virtual masterpieces and inspire hopeful future game developers.

Starcraft 2

Starcraft 2 oozes refinement and as a gamer who is increasingly more interested in a good story it is very refreshing to see a game that has such intriguing mechanics and careful balancing that you can play it in a multitude of different ways for hours and hours and still learn something. Sure, a game made with professional gaming in mind is bound to be deep, but even for a rookie or casual gamer Starcraft 2 is fun to just mess around with.

Alan Wake

Returning to the heavily story-based games, Alan Wake takes a completely different approach than Mass Effect and instead embraces a very static script with heavy influences from Stephen King and Twin Peaks. Now, the game sometimes feels tacked-on as the story is central, but it is very well-written and immensely well-presented both aesthetically and technically. I suppose if I hadn’t liked the source material my opinion would have been more in line with the reviewers’, but as it is I really loved the game.

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Posted on Dec 31/10 by Saint and filed under Meta-blog, Reflections | No Comments »