Extra PunctuationHonorable and Dishonorable MentionsExtra Punctuation - RSS 2.0
The new year brings with it a host of little rituals that bring a welcome variety to our otherwise hideous existences, and not just the ones where you drink yourself inside out and mouth along to the only person in the room who actually does know the words to Auld Lang Syne. There's choosing a new desk calendar. Spending the first few weeks putting the wrong year on official forms and checks. And, of course, the inevitable slew of 2010 retrospectives, so that at one point the front page of The Escapist resembled an airport arrivals board at around ten minutes past eight in the evening.
Coming up with a top five and a bottom five was quite enjoyable, because the most interesting games to write about are the ones I really really hate and the ones I really really love. It was an opportunity to not have to come up with things to say about the just plain mediocre stuff that execute themselves reasonably competently but fail to hit any joy buzzers. Even I was surprised by Just Cause 2 going in at number one, but once you're going into broad assessments rather than picking through all the individual bits, I find it better to take more of a meta-analysis. JC2 and Dead Rising 2 were both games I ended up wanting to play once my obligation as a critic had ended. Which is not to say that playing most games is a chore these days, but once a video is up the need to move on and get started on something for next week's video is an overpowering one that only a truly special game can penetrate.
The rest of the top and bottom 5s were a little harder to pick. There are still quite a few titles from the year that deserve being retrospected for one reason or another, so through the medium of Extra Punctuation, ever the sober Wednesday clarification of Thursday's manic knob gag jamboree, here are the honorable (and dishonorable) mentions.
First of all, one rule I decided on early in the creation of my top 5 was that any expansion pack sequel (as in, a sequel that plays virtually identically to the previous game just with different levels and a few new mechanics) would be automatically disqualified, no matter how much fun they were. Because that fun belongs to the original game and the year that game came out. It doesn't get to put a new hat on and take part in this year's race, too, that's just not fair on the other kids. With that in mind, Mario Galaxy 2 and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood were both out, despite being good. Brotherhood's multiplayer was a nice addition but hardly enough to elevate it any higher than DLC territory, and encouraging Nintendo to keep turning the handle on the money grinder makes every instinct in my body want to explode messily from my nervous system.
In no particular order, I want to pick up Dark Void again. After starting out on a bit of a stumble with rather generic combat and a main character voiced by Nolan North, whose portrayals of heroic characters make me want to knock their pearly white teeth out with a chunk of concrete on the end of some bent rebar, the game suddenly and unexpectedly took to the skies like a mighty eagle when the jetpack mechanics were introduced. Then the rocket fuel ran out and they crashed into a nursery school, but they still get the polite thanks-for-trying round of applause.