16th December 2010 - Well another year has past and here we are presenting our 2nd Game of the Year Awards. Was 2010 a better year than 2009? I guess it depends on your games of choice. One thing is for sure 2010 brought about plenty of new innovations with both Playstation Move and Kinect and we also saw the return of the Gran Turismo series on Playstation with the massively anticipated Gran Turismo 5 being launched only a matter of weeks ago. We hope you enjoy our awards and please give us your feedback in our comments section at the bottom of this article.



By John Elliott


Nominees: Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, Red Dead Redemption, God of War 3, Alan Wake

Runner Up: Mass Effect 2

Winner: Heavy Rain


Have you played Heavy Rain? No? Well that’s why you have doubt. For those of you who have played Heavy Rain, there shouldn’t be a soul amongst you doubting the great PS3 exclusive’s credibility for taking home the Graphics award. Quantic Dream have created a game years ahead of the competition in terms of visuals, and everything here from the movie-like lip synching to the stunning detail in every inch - like dilating pupils when a character blinks - add up to be what can honestly be called the best looking game of all time, I am not exaggerating! It would have been a very difficult choice had Heavy Rain not be present in the nominees, but too bad for the rest of them and their individual visual feats, because 2010 is the year we witnessed the next step forward in the graphical capabilities of our time.



By Danny Yee


Nominees: Halo Reach, Final Fantasy XIII, Battlefield Bad Company 2, Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 2

Runner Up: Mass Effect 2

Winner: Red Dead Redemption


With such fierce competition this year, the award for best sound is a very difficult choice. For 2010, the most notable trends in video game music are the shift to orchestral scores and improvements to the quality of voice acting. Attention to detail and using sound to add to the game are traits each of the nominees share. Interestingly, the majority of them have also released an accompanying soundtrack.


As expected the JRPG genre is represented by Final Fantasy XIII (FF13), released in the first quarter of 2010 in English speaking countries. This was the first main FF game not to feature compositions from the much lauded composer Nobuo Uematsu. In spite of this, the jazzy and catchy tunes of Final Fantasy 13 lives up to its series heritage and even features the famous chocobo theme with lyrics! (Though with mixed reactions from FF fans). The Halo series has always received praises for its soundtrack, and Halo: Reach is no exception. Another notable nominee is Mass Effect 2, released in first quarter of this year so it may have been forgotten with time. The voice acting is top notch and backed with a great soundtrack.


Ultimately, there can only be one winner and that would be Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. The background music adapting to the action on screen, contrasted with the sounds of nature and silence when travelling through the plains. Rockstar has definitely hit a home run in immersing their players in an old western action movie. The audio cues embedded in the game enhance the gameplay experience. While you are riding along the plains, you might hear gunshots in the background leading you to a side quest to complete. Red Dead Redemption ticks all the boxes with original compositions that support the graphical experience, great voice acting and innovation in sound technology.



By Craig Cirillo


Nominees: NBA 2K11, FIFA 11, NHL 11, Madden NFL 11

Runner Up: FIFA 11

Winner: NBA 2K11


With 2K Sports signing the great Michael Jordan as the cover athlete for NBA 2K11, many wondered how well 2K Sports would utilize this prize signing in the game. Just signing him meant the hype for the game grew immensely. Fortunately 2K Sports pulled out a masterstroke in their integration of MJ and they also managed to tweak the game to make it the best sports game ever made which makes it the obvious choice for the best sports game of 2010.



By David Brown


Nominees: DJ Hero 2, Dance Central, Def Jam Rapster, Rock Band 3, Dance Dance Revolution

Runner Up: DJ Hero 2

Winner: Dance Central


Although I don’t personally own an Xbox or Kinect, I was at a friend’s house one Friday night who did and who had Dance Central. In Dance Central you can perform over 650 moves within 90 dance routines. Having 5 game modes means there are plenty of challenges to occupy you. There is a good track list that comes on the disk initially with the option for more via DLC. The best thing about this game is that you will get fit while you play this.


Microsoft certainly has a winner with Kinect and Dance Central and it is certainly awesome fun when there is a group of people playing with you. So for its style, innovation and depth, Dance Central gets our award for Best Music/Rhythm game for 2010.



By Danny Yee


Nominees: God of War 3, Red Dead Redemption, Bayonetta, Assassin’s Creed  Brotherhood

Runner Up: Red Dead Redemption

Winner: God of War 3


Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption is another example of how well they can produce free roaming adventure games. Taking the best bits from their GTA 4 franchise, Rockstar delivers a great third person western action adventure with many things to do. The main character can interact with the world and as players explore the vast landscape, the attention to detail becomes very noticeable, from the rustling of the plains and noises from animals to the voiced dialogue and dynamic background music; this is a very polished AAA game for 2010. The single player experience is great and multiplayer game modes are not left out either.


Bayonetta is what you get when you take a Devil May Cry and take it to the extreme, with great boss battle set pieces and add a subtle touch of female nudity. The action is fast paced and the games difficulty can ramp up for those that like a challenge and overall who doesn’t love the fact your main character’s clothing and weapon is her hair?


Ultimately there can only be one winner though and that is Santa Monica’s Playstation 3 exclusive, God of War 3. This set a high standard for the rest of the “like God of War 3 but not” titles in 2010 (Dante’s Inferno? Darksiders? Castlevania?). Continuing Kratos’ saga to topple Zeus we are thrown into a fantastic adventure which had us solving puzzles, jumping around like a monkey, had a tone of gore and destruction and finally, the fantastic eye candy throughout the game which definitely makes this one of the best PS3 exclusive games of 2010.



By John Elliott


Nominees: Mass Effect 2, Fable III, Fallout: New Vegas, Final Fantasy XIII

Runner Up: Fallout: New Vegas

Winner: Mass Effect 2


Yet another close battle for supremacy here, Fallout: New Vegas is second in the running due to the fact that although it was highly addictive and full to the brim of content, it was only ever-so-slightly updated from Fallout 3, a game we got our hands on 2 years ago now. Mass Effect 2 on the other hand, is a huge improvement on the already great original. It broke new ground graphically, technically and showed the gaming world just what was capable in a video game when it comes to character progression, relationships and story. Still a beacon of what a modern RPG should be the Mass Effect series is making a splash with RPG and action fans the world over.



By Michael Brennan

Nominees: Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Meat Boy, Donkey Kong Country, Limbo, Sonic Colours
Runner Up: Limbo
Winner: Super Mario Galaxy 2


Say what you want about Nintendo but they know how to make platform games and make then very well. They took one of the best platform games ever and made it better. They added one of the best support characters in Yoshi, a truly great game.


BEST SHOOTER (Single player)

By John Elliott


Nominees: Halo: Reach, Bioshock 2, Medal of Honor, Metro 2033, Goldeneye 007

Runner Up: Medal of Honor

Winner: Bioshock 2


Medal of Honor was a close contender here, given its highly authentic war experience that simply hasn’t been present in war games for years bar a handful of simulation-type shooters. But Bioshock just managed to scrape past it for a few reasons. Firstly, Bioshock 2 improves on nearly every possible aspect of the amazing original and takes the lore, story and characters to new depths. Then there is the atmosphere and environments. Claustrophobic, detailed, at times frightening, graphically impressive and above all, it mixes so well with my third selling point - the perfectly paced storyline and combat that makes it hard to argue with the results. Bioshock 2 is a worthy sequel to one of this generation’s best title, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for the series. Namely Bioshock Infinite.


BEST SHOOTER (Multi-player)

By Michael Brennan

Nominees: GoldenEye 007, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Call of Duty Black Ops, Halo Reach, Medal of Honor, Crackdown 2
Runner Up: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Winner: Call of Duty: Black Ops


The figures don't lie. One of the most successful games of all time. A very big online community and with Halo Reach failing to really improve from the last couple sees the latest in the Call of Duty juggernaught roll on as the premier online shooter.



By John Elliott


Nominees: Gran Turismo 5, F1 2010, Modnation Racers, Blur, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Runner Up: F1 2010

Winner: Blur


I felt Need for Speed missed its mark with a little too much Burnout in there. Modnation Racers was a great little kart-title that definitely deserves a mention, but didn’t bring enough new content to take home the cake. Gran Turismo 5 was one of the year’s biggest disappointments for me after the hype built up such a great game that Polyphonic simply could never deliver upon. F1 2010 though, was a great concept executed with extreme precision. It is a great return to a scarce take on the racing genre, but still only caters to a particular taste. So the winner here is Blur. From Bizarre Creations - the guys behind the Project Gotham series - Blur is a wholly unique take on the overworked Kart-racing genre that dictates a little too much child’s play. This is a mature and lovingly crafted title that pushed the boundaries of just how much fun can be had from online multiplayer racing. The cars look good, handle well and are total fun to drive.



By Khye Davey


Nominees: Castle Crashers, Joe Danger, Costume Quest, Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype, Pacman championship edition DX

Runner Up: Joe Danger

Winner: Castle Crashers


Although Castle Crashers has been around on the Xbox for a while now, PSN users only received the game this year. It has a cute art style with a whole bunch of beautifully created environments to explore. A side scrolling action game for up to four players the games art style makes the gore and violence stick out in a similar fashion to Fat Princess. Running around with your friends hacking and slashing enemies, upgrading weapons and magic and exploring the world to save the princesses has never been so much fun. A good game in single player, the ability to add friends to the mix both locally and online is what makes this game so addictive and such easy pick up and play fun.



By Victor Zanta


Nominees: LIMBO, Super Meat Boy, Dead Rising 2 Case Zero, Plants vs. Zombies, Castlevania HD

Runner Up: Super Meat Boy

Winner: LIMBO


There are not many arcade titles that have people interested in the game before it is released like limbo did. With all the talk that this game would be a great experience there was a lot of room for a big let down. But it was the complete opposite and it left the fans waiting in expectation for the next Limbo installment. Who would have thought a simple platformer in black and white would have been so successful. Even though this game has zero story line people are still very interested in what this little boy is doing in such a horrible and depressing place and we don’t even find out in the end which is the main reason people are looking forward to Limbo 2. The gameplay is a puzzling scary adventure which makes you swear, laugh and throw your controller across the room. This unique arcade title for me opened up a new door to arcade games which is why it deserves the best Xbox Live Arcade Game in 2010.



By Khye Davey


Nominees: Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, Heavy Rain: Chronicle one, Borderlands: Secret Armoury of General Knox

Runner Up: Dragon Age Origins: Awakening

Winner: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare


The fact that Red Dead Redemption is such a well made game means any downloadable content already has a huge advantage. Undead Nightmare doesn’t just rest on the laurels of its parent game though; it adds a whole bunch of content to stand up on its own. There is a whole new story which is separate to the main game but you still play as John Marsten. And as the title suggests it involves zombies, and lots of them. The package also added more weapons, costumes and multiplayer modes to give a lot of content. When so many downloads are simply skins or a couple of weapons Undead Nightmare stands out from the pack and delivers a true expansion of the game considered amongst the best of 2010.



By Victor Zanta


Nominees: Heavy Rain, Dead Rising 2, Alan Wake, Red Dead Redemption, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Runner Up: Red Dead Redemption

Winner: Heavy Rain


There are few games that have been as interesting to follow as Heavy Rain, because this game plays completely different to any other game in history. People were a little hesitant to try it out, but Heavy Rain’s total package comes together to deliver a total gaming experience that few games could ever offer and it couldn’t of been done any other way. The most important part of this game is defiantly the story. Depending on how you play depends on how the game ends. Heavy rain offers more alternative endings then any other game so each player will have a different and unique experience. As I mentioned before the gameplay is very different. The control scheme was very controversial as people were expecting it to be one big quick time event but that is false, instead of having one button for one action you get to choose what button to press which can determine whether you win or lose a fight. This game worked so well that they decided to re release it with Playstation Move support. This has been very successful because now you get to move like they do in the game making it feel a lot more Authentic. It’s because of these features that I think Heavy rain deserves Most Unique Gaming Experience.



By Michael Brennan

Nominees: GoldenEye 007, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid Other M, Red Steel 2, NBA Jam
Runner Up: Goldeneye 007
Winner: Super Mario Galaxy 2


How do you make one of the best games on the Wii better? Well you add a two on the end of it and deliver some of the most fun on the Wii not just this year but in the consoles life. This is a must have and well polished title.



By Victor Zanta


Nominees: Alan Wake, Mass effect 2, Halo Reach, Fable 3, Crackdown 2.

Runner Up: Halo Reach

Winner: Mass Effect 2


In 2007 Mass Effect 1 was released and to peoples shock they found the game to be way ahead of its time. And then Mass Effect 2 came out in early 2010 and to peoples further shock the game was STILL ahead of its time. The genre itself is something unique to the gaming world, its rare that we see a 3rd person shooter RPG that is also set in the future and for Bioware to pull this game off so well should stun every gamer because this game is a master piece. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Mass Effect 2 is the absolutely beautiful level and character design, these awesome graphics enhance the story and make the gaming experience all the more realistic and unique. Mass Effect 1 set up one of the best sequels of the decade especially because there is more then 1 start depending on how you finished in the original Mass Effect. Being able to choose how you interact with other character in the game allows you to really connect with Commander Sheppard and his crew. Now I know some of you will be saying "well in 2011 Mass Effect 2 wont be a Xbox 360 exclusive because its going to the ps3" well to you people I say that’s why its a 2010 article and not 2011. Some people were disappointed that there beloved Mass Effect series was going to the ps3 but I think it’s great because we get to share this amazing gaming experience with Playstation fans. Any game that has me speaking about it like this defiantly deserves top marks and this is why it gets my nod as the Best Xbox 360 Exclusive for 2010.



By Khye Davey


Nominees: Demon Souls, ModNation Racers, God of War 3, Heavy Rain, Gran Turismo 5

Runner Up: Gran Turismo 5

Winner: Heavy Rain


Heavy Rain was the most original game I can remember seeing in the last two decades. It’s also the only game I have seen my wife actually request me to play so she could see what happens next. That in itself is testimony to the titles impact. Heavy rain was more of an interactive narrative than a game in the usual sense. The story was gripping and the plot developed at just the right pace to keep you hooked, wanting to know what happens to each of the characters. The context specific controls were a brilliant change from the usual interface and the emotional/cognitive thoughts behind the characters drew you in. Having multiple story lines converging and yet not dependent on each other meant each decision had real consequence to the character and how the story played out due to its multiple endings. Graphically a masterpiece and top notch voice acting complimented and enhanced the experience. It all combined to give what I think is a shiny beacon of what can be accomplished when you break the mould.



By Craig Cirillo and Danny Yee with votes from all team members


Nominees: Call of Duty: Black Ops, NBA 2K11, God of War 3, Heavy Rain, Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption

Runner Up: Heavy Rain

Winner: Mass Effect 2


Bioware brought to Q1 2010 their epic space saga with a more streamlined approach to the gameplay whilst still keeping a strong focus on plot development and engaging characters. The battle gameplay was changed to be more of a 3rd person action shooter with some RPG elements mixed in but the biggest strengths of Mass Effect 2 is how it is able to create a living universe and give the impression your actions really makes an effect on the galaxy. Bioware also added a nice perk which rewarded players who completed the original game, with some subtle cues on how your actions in the past have shaped the present. With great voice acting, soundtrack and story Bioware delivered what we consider the best game of 2010.


On behalf of the AAG Team, we’d like to thank all our readers for their support in 2010 and we wish you all a very merry holiday season and a great New Year! We look forward to your continued support in 2011!