The Best Game category at the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards is always a closely contested one. Last year’s winner, Modern Warfare 2, only just managed to stick its head and shoulders above the rest by breaking a whole bunch of records in the process. So, given that none of the titles released in 2010 have accomplished a similar feat, it’s going to be incredibly tight.
What’s more, it’s not just full console video games that are in with a shout. Mobile phone apps, although nothing compared in sheer scale, have taken hold in people’s hearts and there are some seriously addictive offerings out there that our judges would be fools to ignore. But, before we get that far down the line, we have the business of nominations to unravel and that’s where you, the reader, comes in. Let us know who you think should pick up this year’s gong in this category in the comments below. Here’s some of the potential Best Games, to give your memory a nudge.
As always, the first person shooter is where a huge amount of the current games market is spending its money. 2010 has been another good year for those who like looking the right way down the barrel of an assortment of guns, with the likes of Bioshock 2 typifying the depths to which these adventures go, with the excellent plot of Metro 2033 giving it a decent stab too.
On the other hand, the more standard military style combat shooters were out in force as ever. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 impressed us with its single-player action and, while the multiplay was good, it's really the 256-man take down that is MAG that's the one you've got to try. Halo came back once again, and better than the last time with the hit that is Halo Reach and there was also a return to the world of super-spydom in Just Cause 2. Finally, it was good to see a shooter that wasn't a sequel as the robot butt kicking experience Vanquish showed our reviewers a most entertaining time.
Action/adventure & RPG
It might seem odd to combine this two sub-categories but over the past few years we've seen more and more RPG titles add quite a deal of third person combat and action/adventure games taking a step towards role-play. The results are some serious contenders for the 2010 Best Game award in the shape of the hugely popular Mass Effect 2, the wholly immersive Fallout: New Vegas, and the everyman RPGs that are Fable 3, Demon's Soul, Darksiders, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and God of War 3.
On the straighter action side there's also been some real stunners. Both Enslaved and the rocket-fuelled Bayonetta have shown us that you can still have huge amounts of fun in video games without all the character and plot line trimmings, and the punishingly hard Red Steel 2 was one of the best uses of the Nintendo Wii we've ever seen.
With a different spin on proceedings, we couldn't not mention both the GTA IV of the Wild West, Red Dead Redemption, and the latest episode of Lara Croft and her impossibly appealing acrobatic puzzle adventures. Last of all, a big mention for Dragon Quest IX for showing how RPGs can even be fantastic on the small screen as well.
Naturally, 2010 has brought us the latest versions of FIFA, ProEvo and Football Manager, as one would expect, but there have also been some superb creations away from the football field as well. Forza Motorsport 3 had the petrol heads of the Pocket-lint team glued to their screens for far too long and both Blur and Split/Second: Velocity proved what a strong sub-category racing games are, even while the world still waits for Gran Turismo 5.
Although the likes of platform games are a little less fashionable these days - what with 2D rendering of landscapes rather obsolete on high powered consoles - that doesn't mean that there's not anyone out there breaking any boundaries. Both Limbo and the stunningly inventive Toy Story 3 are well worth a shout, but the best of them all has to be the one and only product in our Pocket-lint reviews archive to have received a 10/10 score in 2010 - Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Activision managed to add another couple of hits to its empire with Band Hero and Guitar Hero 6, but it was probably the film games that got the encores in 2010 instead with Alan Wake and the innovative Heavy Rain the ones to push boundaries. Finally, there wasn't much in the way of strategy this year, but the one to stand out head and shoulders was Starcraft 2 - fortunately an excellent enough piece of work to keep the RTS community busy for a while.
The consoles and PCs of the world may have far more under the hood than a simple mobile or handheld, but to say that an app couldn't deserve the title of Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2010 Best Game would be foolish. There are some out there that have made a serious splash. Whether they had a bigger budget or not, the likes of Angry Birds and Doodle Jump have got millions of players the world over. But, app games don't just have to be basic, and interestingly the iDevices have made a perfect platform for retro gaming such as the fabulous recreation of R-Type for the iPhone. Not to be missed.
The iPad has lifted things to a big screen level as well, and anyone who's played the two-player version of Mirror's Edge would certainly fight its corner for this prestigious gong. The likes of HTR HD High Tech Racing are also well worth a shout as well.
2010 has also seen the interesting phenomenon of big, proper game's franchises appearing on mobile devices - usually the iPhone. Although their bigger brothers might be more suited for the award one shouldn't ignore FIFA 11, PES 2011, Tiger Woods PGA, GTA Chinatown Wars HD and the Sims 3.
What do you think?
These are just some of the fantastic choices for 2010. What would you like to see held aloft as the winner of Pocket-lint Best Game 2010? Who have we missed out? Which are your unsung heroes and, of those we've already mentioned, which would get your vote? Let us know in the comments below and you'll help our panel decide which make the shortlist of nominees to be announced here on Pocket-lint on 8 November.