Games Of The Half-Year

It's the last day of June, so we're now halfway through 2010. I've played a lot of games in that time. Wouldn't it be fun if I told you about the best games I've played so far this year?

Every year I list my games of the year. I did it for 2008 when Far Cry 2 triumphed, I did it for 2009 when Batman: Arkham Asylum came out on top, and I'll be doing it again for this year.

Today, however, I won't be listing my games of the half-year in any particular order. I'll leave that for my end of year list. But it will be interesting to see how many of these games end up making that final Games of 2010 list.

So, these are the best games I've played this year... so far:

Alan Wake Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: It delivered tense combat where you constantly felt threatened and a gripping story that wisely refused to give you all the answers. Plus, the lighting was phenomenal, creating terror whenever you stepped out of the light. Why it won't: Was it really much more than a well-executed third-person shooter packed full of the usual horror genre clich├ęs?

BioShock 2 Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: For surpassing expectations. 2K Marin gave us a genuinely worthwhile sequel that improved not only on the original's sandbox combat but also - yes - on its story (if not its plot twist). Why it won't: The failure of its multiplayer mode left a sour taste in the mouth.

Heavy Rain Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: I love how Quantic Dream are happy to forge their own path and create such utterly unique games. Why it won't: Innovation and originality might not be enough to overcome the flaws in its storytelling.

Lost Planet 2 Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: Capcom hooked me through co-op play with objectives and boss battles that demand teamwork, and reeled me in with an addictive unlockables system. Why it won't: I might remember what it was like when I tried to play it on my own.

Mass Effect 2 Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: On that final "suicide" mission, BioWare managed to make me feel like a commander who was in charge of a team of real people whose lives were at stake, not just some extra firepower along for the ride. Why it won't: I did miss the bits of RPG that got lost in the journey from original to sequel.

Monster Hunter Tri Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: It's everything I wanted from a Monster Hunter game but could never enjoy thanks to the crappy controls of the PSP predecessors. Why it won't: I can't help but think how much more I'd enjoy it in HD and over Xbox LIVE...

Red Dead Redemption Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: Rockstar has crafted what is easily, without a shadow of doubt, the most atmospheric poker simulator I've ever played. Why it won't: When I eventually leave the bar, I might find the rest of the game pales in comparison.

Redder Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: I'm a sucker for Metroidvania style platforming and this indie effort nails the lonely ambience and complements it with some devious puzzling. Why it won't: Can a free, browser game really compete with all these big-budget commercial releases?

Resonance of Fate Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: After the deathgrip of Final Fantasy XIII cut off the blood supply in my hand, it was refreshing to enjoy an RPG that forced you to work things out for yourself. Why it won't: It really was a bit rough around the edges, though.

Stalker: Call of Pripyat Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: All three Stalker games have held me in their thrall on atmosphere alone, but this time GSC finally assembled and polished all their ideas into one complete package. Why it won't: I nearly forgot about it when writing this list, so what are the chances I'll remember in another six months?

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: Playing it this week reminds me of everything I just adore about Nintendo. Why it won't: I didn't stick with the first one, despite loving it for the first week.

VVVVVV Why it will make my Games of 2010 list: The perversity of a minimal, rock-hard platformer that looks like it was made for the Commodore 64 appearing in any best of 2010 list does appeal to me. Why it won't: As with Redder, how do I even start to compare this to the rest of the games here?

So there's my list. Of course I haven't played every game released this year, which may explain why your favourite missed out. Or perhaps - just possibly - I thought your favourite to be a bit rubbish.

What would be on your list of the games of the half-year?

And what games do you think I really ought to play before compiling my Games of 2010 list at the year's end?


    Very interesting list, and good to see you are considering all comers great or small.

    Surprised to see no 100 Rogues as you've mentioned it a couple of times in the last fortnight so figured it was holding your attention.

    Very surprised to see Lost Planet 2 make the list given its general reception, any idea if the prize packs from a little while back made it out the door?

    Look forward to seeing them in order in 6 months time!

    Bioshock 2, Heavy Rain and Resonance of Fate are all great games.

    I managed to find Lost Planet 2 at GAME for $24 last week but have yet to give it a try.

    I really should get around to playing Alan Wake and Red Dead though. Kinda embarrassed I've never touched either yet.

    I hate to sound like a fanboy, but i haven't actually played any others of the games on this list...

    *avoids objects being thrown at him*

    It's mainly because i can't afford the games when they first come out.. but anyway War for Cybertron.. i am absolutely loving this game at the moment - words can't explain how much. I know it's not perfect, or even close - but it's still damn good!

    David, if you haven't played it yet - give it a whirl - it's quite fun in both single and multi player. :)

    I would have completely forgotten VVVVVV! That, RDR, and Heavy Rain will all be.

    Modnation Racers would be if not for its terrible loading times.

    I think, surprisingly, I may have an iphone game on there too: Pix'n Rush. Been playing it more than any other game in recent weeks.

    And I only started playing it yesterday, but WarioWare DIY may also be a contender.

    Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mass Effect 2 and Battlefield Bad Company 2 for me so far this year.

    Really liked Mass Effect 2 when I didn't think I would, Bad Company is insane fun and Super Mario Galaxy 2 is well Super Mario Galaxy on acid so you know it's good.

    Bioshock 2 was blindingly good, it was the first game in a long time that kept me up until 4 in the morning on successive nights.

    Haven't played enough games this year to comment on much else.

    and Oh God is that Rukus to the right of my comments an ugly looking thing, looks like a rejected design for a new Lada.

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    No God of War 3, Darksiders, Bayonetta or Dante's Inferno, David? Not a action fan?

      I quite liked Darksiders and Bayonetta, but they won't get anywhere near my top ten. Both God of War III and Dante's Inferno left me cold.

    Personally i would not have had Bioshock 2 or Lost Planet 2 as i found both to be greatly disappointing (LP2 more so - so glad i just rented that one). If i was to fill those two spots, Splinter Cell Conviction would fill one of those, while it is far from GOTY status, it is ONE of the better games i have played this year and i would have also put in Transformers: War for Cybertron (hesitantly as it isn't GOTY material and i have only been playing it for a week, but again i thought it was better then both LP2 and Bioshock 2).

    It has been a really solid half year so far (the best ever so far?)but for me Mass Effect 2 is my game of the half year by a long margin (may have been less of a margin if i imported Mario Galaxy 2 but i am waiting for release tomorrow). Mass Effect 2 was easily not only my game of the half year but a serious contender for one of my favorite games of all time.

    However, i agree that a little too many RPG elements were removed but personally i thought were too unbalanced in ME1 (don't get me started on the looting). Hopefully ME3 will strike the right balance.

    For me it's probably:

    BBC2 (although I prefer the multi in MW2)
    ME2 (and the DLC keeps me coming back, damn you Bioware... damn you)
    RDR (which really surprised me because I hated GTA)
    Alpha Protocol (even after playing it, I'm still thinking about it)

    David are we not including the phenomenal Super Street Fighter 4 in the mix ?
    Is it because you haven't played it? Didn't like it? considered abit of a double dip? or did the Gaga VS Ibuki pic put you off??

      SSFIV would be my game of the half-year purely by the amount of time I've sunk into it. The revamped online mode is absolutely made of gold to me.

      I'd also possibly sneak Demon's Souls in there with the recent AU release ;)

      I wholeheartedly agree.

      My TE stick and Vega have grown very close to my heart.

      I'm thinking of getting the SSFIV strategy guide as well.

    Red Dead Redemption is GOTY for me. Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain and Bad Company 2 are the other definites. I've probably played more new releases than ever this year - the bargains have been too good.

    ME2 is still currently on top for me and I've noticed I've becoming a DLC junkie this time round.

    - Alpha Protocol. Yeah it's got flaws but a conversation system that is actually tense and how all those little decisions that actually stack up as the story progresses is a step in the right direction for the RPG genre.

    - RDR gets a mention but I haven't actually played touched it sine finsihing the single player campaign. Nor do I have the desire to at the moment. Can't get a good multiplayer connection over Xbox Live either. It was a good game but just didn't have that wow factor for me.

    So far, I've enjoyed:

    GOWIII, Heavy Rain, SC:Conviction, Alan Wake (up to ep 5 atm), RDR and Peace Walker. Peace Walker is quite addictive, the only drawback being is that my hands get sore after using the PSP for too long. I suppose GOW Collection as well, even though I played the first one one PS2. Still, I liked the remake.

    Not to sound like a scratched record (doin' it old school), but my top games would be:

    -Mass Effect 2 (Was as good as I was expecting- and I was expecting a LOT)
    -Red Dead Redemption (Was simply one of the most enthralling games I've ever played, and was a huge suprise)
    -Heavy Rain (Innovative and as good as I was expecting)
    -Alpha Protocol (If you can get past the intro and the first mission, it's actually very good. I had high expectations for this years ago, then lost interest as it seemingly entered development hell. So it was a pleasant surprise).

    Worst games so Far:
    -Final Fantasy 13 (Linear, cliche'd, BORING)
    -Star Trek Online (Had hopes, but have never been a fan of MMO's, and this one was pinning it's hopes on space combat, which wasn't that great IMHO)

    I have also managed to get my hands on a copy of "The Precursors", and an unofficial english translation patch. Will be interested to see which list this one ends up on.

    why heavy rain should make your list: PRESS X TO JASON

    ME2 and RDR are defenite GOTY contenders.
    I haven't played Galaxy 2 yet, but nintendo are always strong with mario platformers.
    I wanted to enjoy Alan Wake, but with it's reliance on story, the cliche and the fact it felt incomplete ruined it for me, possibly due to the prodigious amount of fiction I read.
    I haven't played the extra content yet, but doubt it will save it.
    Despite the beauty of the environment and the realism of the lighting, it seems Remedy is saving story for a sequel, and that is disappointing.

    Dear lord, Bayonetta easily take my game of the year thus far. Everything about it was polished to the nth degree, and even after finishing it 10 times over at least, I can still go back and have an absolute blast.

    Transformers : War For Cybertron.

    best Transformers game ever.

    I'd like to see your list for most anticipated games of the last half of the year. In regards to the topic, I'm pretty sure you've got all my favourites (Heavy Rain, RDR) and I can understand why something like MNR may not have made it.

    I agree about Red Dead Redemption and it's awesome poker atmosphere, I've seriously played about as much poker on it as the rest of the normal game.

      I've just realised maybe I have a virtual gambling problem, ruh roh

    I feel bad for all these games that have no chance once starcraft 2 comes out =\

    Darksiders, FF13 (screw the haters!), Blur, ME2

    Probably between Darksiders and Blur for my GOTY so far. FF13 close. ME2 not quite as good for me as ME1, better combat but much weaker story and most characters just didn't get enough time to develop.

    I'm almost through Resonance of Fate (off to complete it now) but it won't make the top list. Good game but as you say rough around the edges (just a bit TOO repetitive, from the combat system to rearranging gun parts to the scenery to having to go up and down the f'n elevators ten times an hour due to the arbitrary number of missions you can be on at once, oh, and the arena... ironically, what I found refreshing about FF13 besides the characters was that it IS more direct and linear instead of making you waste time wandering around doing side stuff when you're meant to be doing something more important...)

    Very tempted to put FIFA World Cup 2010 up there, but I figure FIFA 11 is odds-on to replace it.

    Mass Effect is a worthwhile mention, but won't be a contender once xmas rolls around.

    RDR is in the same boat - the ending (no spoilers, but it was very meh and it broke a golden rule of gaming), and the multiplayer both drag the hyperbole to down to terrafirma :(

    After all the raving earlier (where I myself did a backflip, from wanting-to-hate-it to over-the-heels-in-lust with it), Bayonetta doesn't rate a mention Dave? Haha, I josh. But it's on my list.

    Good to see some love for Transformers too, as it is a glorious game.

    SMG2 is obligatory in any list like this. (But so is No More Heroes 2...)

    SSFIV and Blaz Blue need a mention too.

    Finally, the front running games for my GOT1/2Y are Heavy Rain, which is 'G'OTPS3Y thus far, and Alan Wake the GOT360Y.

    Aaaaaand I'm done.

    I'd say FFXIII (Yeah! Haters be damned!) that game ate almost 100 hours of my life in record time, Lost Planet 2 - I still can't see what all the negative feedback was based on, Demon's Souls - omg, it's the most innovative and challenging RPG I've played in a couple of years, and finally Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker on PSP - wihtout a doubt one of the greatest games produced for the console.

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