Top 10 Best PS3 Games of 2010

The Playstation 3 is not the most popular console, nor is it the most affordable. However, it is my favorite, and arguably, it is the prettiest in terms of graphics. It's always difficult to pick select favorites from among many strong contenders, many of which are a wholly new experience on a PS3, simply because of the level of detail that is available. While this isn't true all the time, it's true enough that there are some multi-platform games which are best experienced on this console. And of course, there are some clearly standout PS3 exclusives, as well, and 2010 was a big year. Check out the list of top 10 best PS3 games of 2010, including major releases as well as some indies available on PSN

#10 Nier 

nier

A father, a foul-mouthed lingerie-wearing possessed woman, and a magical talking book must team up to save the life of a little girl, and drive evil from the land. This title, a recent but often overlooked release from Square Enix has been fairly divisive among players. Those who like it appreciate the top-notch soundtrack and general environment of the game, which is rather like some of the later Final Fantasy titles, but without the turn-based combat. Common criticisms from detractors usually have to do with one of three things: 1) There are a few bosses which can only be defeated with very specific actions, and often have a stun lock attack which gets frustrating very quickly. 2) The mode of gameplay temporarily shifts several times throughout the game to other formats, including overhead perspective and even text-based at one point, and for no readily apparent reason. 3) The fishing quests are notorious for being very difficult. However, if the player follows the red "X" on the map and fishes from the correct spot, these quests are not so bad, and the correct fish is eventually granted by the game if the player is having too much trouble, in the interest of time. On the whole, this title is worth a shot for any fantasy RPG fan, particularly for those interested in post-apocalyptic scenarios with slight steampunk leanings. 

#9 Bioshock 2 

bioshock 2

In this first person shooter sequel, the player assumes the role of a Big Daddy, a presumably human being whose guts and skin have been grafted into a diving suit, who has no memories of the events of the previous game, and who knows only to look for the Little Sister with whom it was paired, named Eleanor. Naturally, Sofia Lamb is threatened by this, though it seems a small thing at first, in light of the grandiose plans she has, and so she sends out her minions, the Rapture Family and new creatures call Big Sisters. 

      Most of the weaponry available to the player is similar to that of Big Daddies in the first game. There's a rivet gun, ability enhancing plasmids and tonics, and of course, the giant drill. Players are also faced with a similar ethical dilemma as was experienced in the original Bioshock in that they can engage other Big Daddies and either kill or adopt the subsequent Little Sisters. If the players opts to kill the Little Sister, more ADAM will be gained. If the players adopts the Little Sister, she will lead him around to more ADAM (found on corpses), but the player will be responsible for defending her in attacks. 

      With 8 different additional multiplayer modes, this game has a lot of replay value after the single player campaign is through. Additionally, there are quite a few downloadable expansions and campaigns for single player mode out at this point, which gives the game added appeal. 

#8 Deathspank 

death spank ps3

This title, released by Hothead for PC in October of 2010, is potentially going to be the most controversial on my list, due to the fact that this game was not particularly high profile, and a lot of folks dismissed it due to the cartoonish graphics, and that it includes clear elements of an RPG. However, both the original Deathspank and the sequel, Thongs of Virtue have been some of my favorite games this year, and I would argue that at best, the mode of gameplay, which is similar to Diablo, is and RPG-action hybrid. It certainly helps that the dialogue is full of cheeky smartarsery, and the world in which Deathspank exists is so absurd that after a while, players don't bat an eye when given quests which involve collecting unicorn feces or buying felt from a traveling salesman. While the original is more heavily dependent on melee weapons and features a more RPG-oriented aesthetic (unicorns, right?) the second game takes place during a war which references WWI and features more ranged weapons and a few science fiction elements, as well.  

#7 Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game 

scott pilgrim vs the world

This game, downloadable from PSN, is a fantastic combination of the movie (which I thought was great, in spite of not being that wall-received by audiences at the box office) and the original comic books (which are even better than the movie, and best read after watching the movie, or else the movie is likely to be disappointing due to time constraints). The artwork is very much based on the comics, but pixelated, so as to look like an SNES-era game.  

      Play as one of four characters, the titular Scott Pilgrim, Steven Stills, Ramona Flowers, or my personal favorite, Kim Pine. The actual gameplay is very old school- it's just a basic side-scrolling brawler. Characters can pick up items to be used as melee weapons, or throw them at enemies for a stronger one-time ranged attack. Enemies dissolve into coins, a la River City Ransom, and hidden rooms featuring various mystery items are located behind doors on nearly every level. 

      This game is well worth the ten bucks, especially in light of the fact that each characters has a different ending, only one of which is like the movie, and levels are interesting enough that playing through them multiple times is not outside the realm of entertainment. 

#6 Costume Quest 

costume quest

This neat little turn-based RPG sounds deceptively childish- and indeed it is appropriate for children in that it features a couple of treat-or-treating kids fighting trolls who've invaded their neighborhood by taking on the characteristics of the costumes they are wearing when in battle mode. The monsters themselves are not overwhelmingly scary, but the humor and narrative in the game is witty and captivating, which will not be lost on more mature players, either. There is a particularly poignant moment where one of the lead characters, after running into a kid dressed as Abraham Lincoln, makes a little speech about what true patriotism is. There are also abundant nods and references to offbeat facets of pop culture, which carry the game during the few times where the actual gameplay gets slightly tedious. 

      The combat system is turn-based, and the method by which characters attack and defend is simple. Attacks are specific to the costume of the character, and usually consist of a specific simple button sequence or stick movement. Te opportunity to defend presents itself when enemies attack. Players are given the opportunity to execute a particular, timed button tap, which is done successfully will mean that the damage is significantly lessened. 

      The few frustrations in this game involve the save system, which happens automatically after certain events, but cannot be done manually. There is also not a default map option, and the menus can feel a bit awkward, but after a few areas are unlocked, it begins to feel more natural, and at the game's close, the complaint heard most often is simply, "I wish it was longer".

#5 Call of Duty: Black Ops 

black ops

Ah, the long-awaited CODBLOPS. This installment of the Call of Duty series continues to break the tradition established by the first few games in the series by being set in the Cold War era instead of WWII. The player takes on the role of a soldier who is tasked with carrying out various secret missions behind enemy lines. Standard first person shooter rules apply: up to two guns can be carried at a time, ranged attacks include various explosives,  grenades, and even a crossbow. Players can stand, duck, and crawl, and move in any of these stances, though the position of the player affects his or her speed. If this is the kind of thing you like, it will meet or exceed your expectations. 

      However, as is often the case with first person shooters, and the COD series in particular, the multiplayer is what really shines. The XP and unlocking system remains unchanged, which is nice, because it seems to work just fine. Nothing ruins an otherwise well done follow-up like trying to "improve" upon systems that are perfectly fine. While it's most often RPG battle systems that draw this criticism, XP and rewards are big deals, too, and can diminish enjoyment somewhat if they suck. After all, seeing a connection between our effort and reward is a huge part of what makes us continue to play games at all, according to psychologists. And Malcolm Gladwell. 

      CODBLOPS also features a high degree of customization with appearance and weaponry. A currency system is in place which allows purchase of new duds and gear, and players can even gamble in free for alls by competing in "wager matches", which consist of an objective and time limit. This is not a new feature, however it contains a new aspect which many might find disappointing: Players can no longer define the win conditions for their own wager matches. While this is kind of a downer, the rest of the multiplayer functionality more than makes up for it. There is a reason that this game broke the record set by its predecessor by over 2 million copies- CODBLOPS is pretty badass. And it certainly helps that there is a mode in which JFK, Nixon, McNamara and Castro blow up zombies in the Pentagon. I mean, come on. That could be a game all by itself.  

#4 Red Dead Redemption 

red dead redemption

This open-world adventure, set in the wild west of 1911 see John Marston, a former bad boy, attempt to hunt down his old buddies when his wife and son are taken by the government and used as leverage. This is what you get for trying to stay on the lawful straight and narrow, apparently.  

      John must track them through the desert, hunting and skinning animals, collecting herbs and winning money through gambling along the way. He rides a variety of horses, and interacts with people in towns, who either treat him favorably or negatively, depending on in-game choices made with regards to captured outlaws.  

      This game is beautifully rendered, and worth playing just for the visuals and attention to detail. However, the soundtrack and the audio design in general is a breakthrough in gaming. Wear headphones for the most immersive effect (obviously) and you will not be disappointed. 

#3 Gran Turismo 5 

gran turismo 5

This shiny, new edition of the classic racing simulator series brings a few notable improvements, but manages to keep a lot of the features that made previous versions popular. The most notable improvement, right off the bat is the inclusion of multiplayer online for 16 players. This brought an additional spark of excitement, knowing that I was facing off against 15 other actual human beings. I adore racing games, though I am largely terrible at them in comparison to people who focus on them to the exclusion of other genres. Most often, I play them to blow off a bit of steam, and I usually opt for the Burnout series, simply because it is really gratifying to see all that damage. Nothing like an aftertouch takedown after a particularly bad day. 

However, the allure of Gran Turismo 5 is a strong competitor, what with the ridiculously wide array of 1,031 cars to choose from. In addition to some extremely fancy console debuts by Bugatti and Lamborghini, there's also a Tesla electric car.. Now I know that GT 4 had hybrids, too, and it really doesn't matter what you drive in a simulation because obviously your carbon footprint will be more affected by how long you leave your tv on as opposed to what kind of in-game choice you make, but for some reason it makes me happy to leave all the Subarus and Ferraris in the dust as I peel out around a hairpin turn in my Roadster. Or, more accurately, as I watch from last place and try to keep off the grass and avoid hitting the fence in my Roadster.  

#2 Heavy Rain 

heavy rain ps3

This PS3 exclusive game is unique in that it is hard to categorize it into an exact genre. The overall narrative of the game is that of a film noir style mystery, centered around the missing child of an architect and a serial killer who specifically targets children. Typically, such a plot might be rendered in a point and click adventure style, with the focus of the game on deductive reasoning, and Heavy Rain does have aspects of this, certainly, particularly when characters are meant to be exploring environments. However, there are also quick time events, which involve fast paced, specific controller sequences as well. Both of these things can alter the ending in various ways. Gamers who prefer more consistent action may find the mechanisms of gameplay disconcerting, as there is a bit of a discrepancy between the investigative probing of the environment and the quick time sequences. However, the desire to get to the bottom of the mystery at hand is meant to override this, and largely succeeds, in that people do seem to be compelled to at least finish the game. 

      Heavy Rain has been praised by many critics (not all of whom are specifically game critics) for breaking from the standard video game fare of fantasy worlds, aliens, race cars, and the like. At best, this criticism seems a bit naive, given that the scope of video game subject matter has grown so broad and diverse, even in the past five years. That being said, games like Heavy Rain and Alan Wake (which might be considered the most similar current game to Heavy Rain, even though the two are completely different in many ways) are perhaps setting a precedent for more interactive mystery/noir games, or at least raising the bar a bit.  

#1 God of War III 

god of war 3

Kratos is back. Again. And this time, he is determined to kill some Greek Gods. Teaming up with the Titans, Kratos and the gang storm Mount Olympus, and succeed in killing Poseidon, which causes a ginormous flood. Kratos and Gaia, the Titan upon whose shoulders he was riding, fall off Olympus, and Gaia reveals that she does not give a rat's behind at Kratos or what happens to him. After Kratos lands in the underworld, he loses the Blade of Olympus, and is weakened by the souls who reside there. He then talks to ghosts, gods and blacksmiths only to learn that they key to his quest is tied up, once again, with Pandora's box. 

      GOWIII gameplay involves many different types of maneuvering and combat, both first and third person. Some may find this frustrating, particularly if one harbors and aversion to a particular type of game, but generally this variety is viewed as a positive by players, and in my opinion, keeps the game fresh where it could have felt a bit monotonous. There is a good balance of platforming skill and puzzle solving abilities that come in to play, and the dramatic, ambiguous finale will leave players wishing that this was not the purported last chapter of the series. 

Honorable Mentions

Yakuza 3, Dead Rising 2, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Joe Danger, M.A.G, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, ModNation Racers