Five Favorites 2010Susan Arendt's Five Favorites of 2010Five Favorites 2010 - RSS 2.0
Ask me to name the best games of 2010, then ask me to name my favorite games from 2010, and you're going to get two vastly different lists. Not because I have lousy taste in games (though I'm told that I like "a lot of weird stuff,") but because I'm actually two different people: the person who writes about games for a living and the person who plays them for fun.
The games on this list weren't chosen because they were particularly innovative or groundbreaking, because they took design risks or launched a new and brilliant IP - though some of them did several of those things. The games on this list were chosen because I had a great time playing them. They're the games that I recommend to friends, that I think about playing while I'm at work, that I revisit after I've beaten them because I can't bear for my time with them to be over.
If you have a Kinect controller, this is the game you bust out to show off its impressive body-tracking tech to your friends. Unlike dance games on other platforms, Dance Central tracks your feet, not only increasing the challenge - no more faking it by just waving your hands around - but also the feeling that you're genuinely dancing. Harmonix is exceptionally gifted at designing games that persuade you to willingly make a fool of yourself in living room, and even though the music featured in Dance Central isn't going to suit everyone's personal playlist, the easy-to-learn/difficult-to-master dance routines will have everyone in the room itching to take their turn.
It's not the biggest or the deepest RPG out there, but it is certainly one of the most endearing. Its story, about rescuing your sibling from a bunch of candy-collecting monsters, seems perfectly reasonable within Costume Quest's whimsical and adorable world. The game's Halloween-drenched aesthetics, complete with trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, and candy corn, feels a bit out of place this far from October, but the costume mechanics remain brilliant at any time of year. Each costume you find grants you different abilities in the turn-based combat, and if there's anything more satisfying than using a giant rainbow-spewing unicorn to beat the crap out of monsters, I've yet to find it. The DLC, Grubbins on Ice, manages to make the Halloween mechanics work in a Christmastime setting (mostly), and serves up a few more costumes, including the hilarious Pirate.