Kotaku’s 2010 Game Of The Year

Kotaku’s 2010 Game Of The Year

It was a contentious fight: Which game of 2010 was the absolute best of the year. But we’ve reached a conclusion and have, at last, a clear winner.

We spent the better part of January nailing down the games we agreed internally were the best contenders for best game of 2010. In 2009, we narrowed that list down to just three games. This year it came down to two.

Several felt that Rockstar’s western epic, Red Dead Redemption was the pinnacle of gaming in 2010 because of not only what it offered to gamers, but how it delivered that experience.

Fahey felt that it was Mass Effect 2, not just because of the role-playing experience it created, but because of how well it married that with third-person shooter controls. An accomplishment that Fahey believes deserves not one, but two game of the year awards.

My argument for Call of Duty: Black Ops as game of the year, was backed mostly by my endless hours playing it. It was the most fun I had in a video game in 2010, I argued.

Finally, Owen argues for NBA 2K11 as game of the year. It was a pinnacle sports gaming experience, he wrote, one that deserves the nod.

We wrote up our thoughts on all four games, debating the good, the bad, the ugly of the games. We even opened the debate to you, our readers, and we talked amongst ourselves.

Then we voted.

Kotaku Tower agrees, as much as we can, that the best video game of 2010 was Red Dead Redemption.



  • Another Rockstar game is made GOTY? Soon people will look back at it and just realize it was another game of the same old same Rockstar formulae: lot of things to do with no depth to it, excitement will fizzle out not long after it wins all the accolades it can and then people will start shelving it on the “loved it but couldn’t bother finishing it” shelf.
    *sigh* And no PC version for it either!

    • No different than gta 4 there was lots to do but it wasn’t fun

      I feel lately there games are trying to be movies instead of unadultered fun of gta. 3 vc and sa

      • I found the opposite, I thought GTA IV was totally devoid of fun, but that RDR absolutely reeked of seemingly endless fun.

    • Nah, the only other Rockstar game I ever really enjoyed was the GTA that came out on the original XBOX (whichever release that was, the one before Vice City) but I loved RDR, and is the only game that I still go back to and play from last year.
      All of the other games either fizzled for me after a few days, or the ones I enjoyed didn’t pull me back in after I completed them.
      RDR kept me coming back, it was the first time I felt I was in an actual real-world that was deep enough to escape into.

      It also was in a genre that hadn’t been done to death. I am a scifi nutter but am completely over semi-futuristic space fantasies that offer almost no ship to ship combat and the same tired characterisations.

    • I’m not a fan of GTA4 (and never played enough of the earlier titles to really judge, only a few hours of mucking about) and think that Rockstar is great at making games that reviewers will love. There are definitely a lot of features and impressive details that would excite people who are not looking at the game in depth, but as you go on, the sheen falls away and the experience was pretty ordinary.

      Red Dead Redemption didn’t have this problem. I was motivated the entire time to get to the end an the meaningless sidequests and distractions were entertaining enough to entice me to keep going through with them.

      Just ask anyone who played the game what they named their horse. That’s what was so great about RDR, it felt like a fully realised world that you were a part of.

  • I think the readers got it right with ME2 coming out on top (although with Black Ops coming second i think the poll lost a lot of creditability with most people) but i was going to happy either way if ME2 or RDR won this because both are such great games.

  • It’s funny how almost every reader poll will go with Mass Effect 2 and yet the editors of gaming websites will go for Red Dead Redemption.

  • For me the descision between RDR and ME2 came down to choice and replayability.

    While RDR had a great deal of optional content and a substantial story, there is no reason for me to play it a second time except acheivements.

    Once it’s finished, it’s finished.

    ME2, however, not only allowed you to see some of the impacts of your previous actions, but promised futher impacts in the final game.

    It also gave you choices about how you treated people, how you dealt with situations and let you shape your world.

    I’m even considering playing through from the first game AGAIN to see how many team members I can leave behind. What if I don’t accept people onto my team in 1? What if I am the sole survivor of the suicide mission? What then?

    • agreed ross. while this might be an indictment against myself, i’ve played ME1 and ME2 through completely three times so far – each time a different character: a largely noble woman, an neutral woman, an an asshole man. Didn’t feel bored with the experience, and looking forward to how ME3 plays out for each character.

  • I believe Rockstar did a great job with RDR. It isn’t an easy task to deliver great atmosphere and story with a sandbox game.
    I normaly find myself becoming bored within a couple of hours of playing a sandbox game but this one kept me going until the end. Even played a bit of multiplayer for a while.

    I still don’t think RDR should get the title of best game of 2010. ME2 is my pick by a long shot.

  • Personally I was unable to play RDR, however respect the decision of people that play and review games for a living. If RDR is better than ME2, rockstar should port it to pc so we can all play it. Maybe that’s the ploy of the reviewers?

  • If I may, here’s a rant I posted on the Mass Effect 2 post for GOTY consideration:

    As a ridiculous fanboy with a penchant for good writing, cinematic ideals, action, suspense, options, grit, guns, magic and streamlined futuristic interfaces, this was always destined to be my game of the year. It’s a masterpiece.

    I’m on my third playthrough now, and realising that my old save file from ME1 is now junk (long story) and I’ve never played as a female Shepherd, I’m about to re-buy the first game and complete two thirds of the trilogy all over again. I haven’t been this obsessed with a game since FFVII (and I played the %#[email protected] out of that game!).

    However, just to be fair, and considering I’ve played three of the four contenders for GOTY, here’s a brief summation of the others:

    Red Dead Redemption: Very pretty, super engaging, well acted and heaps of fun… until the third act. I simply lost interest. The washed out colour schemes started getting to me. I just… no longer cared. Odd, because I was so invested early on. I’m told that if I finally get around to finishing it I’ll see what all the fuss was about… but why should I? (Oh, and good point about the horseshoes… and liars dice… and armadillo hunting…)

    Call Of Duty: Black Ops: To be honest, I don’t even know why this one’s even in the running. I played it, loved the Kowloon level (though had no idea what I was doing there), enjoyed the pretty colours and bombast and machismo… then it ended, seemingly 5 minutes after it began. Multiplayer is a bust for me (thanks to Starcraft II, which I thankfully walked away from… though I do feel it’s more deserving of consideration than COD:BO), so why bother going back after a paltry 6 hours? I haven’t played it since for the same reasons I’ll never watch a Michael Bay movie more than once. Nuff’ said.

    NBA Jam 2K11: Haven’t played it. And I never will. Sorry. Basketball’s fun and all, but until they incorporate guns and swords, I simply don’t see the appeal.

    So, yes… there’s my two cents, though it doesn’t really matter, as I’m sure my opnion is just as flawed as anyone else’s. Mass Effect 2 and Assassins Creed: Brotherhood were always destined to be my two games of the year. Great games with great mechanics that not once left me wishing I was playing something else.

    Thank you for your time.

    P.S. Bring on Mass Effect 3… uh, bitches? 😉

    Oh, and BTW, I disagreed with last years winner 2. Assassins Creed 2 was masterful… though in all fairness I never played Uncharted 2 (though only because I don’t own a PS3).

  • I haven’t played it myself yet, but from reading the reviews I’m surprised that Assassins Creed Brotherhood didn’t even get a mention. Not just on Kotaku but anywhere, really. What happened? Did people decide it wasn’t that great after all?

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