Well, 2010 is almost over. It's been an interesting year for me on the gaming front, having gone from my old MMO of choice (Lord of the Rings Online) back to EQ2, via of Age of Conan and a couple of beta tests. I also got back into single-player gaming for the first time in a few years and played through quite a few new games (Batman: Arkham Asylum, Mass Effect 2, Alpha Protocol, Dragon Age, Dirt 2, Assassins' Creed 2, Civ V) as well as a couple of old ones I hadn't had chance to play before (Knights of the Old Republic, Bioshock and Vampire: Bloodlines). That's quite a few games when I look back, considering I have a full time job and a full time family!
I thought I'd look back over the year with a few highlights across various media, as a way of recommendation to anyone who might be interested.
So, first up, my favourite Single Player Game of 2010 is...
... no surprise whatsoever. Mass Effect 2. Better than the original in almost every conceivable way (and the original was a pretty good game too), I just loved it, from the very first minute. Click the button below to read more due to major spoilers.
So, onto my favourite MMO game of 2010. 2010 saw a few new MMOs appear, and none of them really grabbed my interest. Fallen Earth was one of the worst I've played, and none of the others grabbed my interest enough to try them. So, as this is a personal choice my fave MMO of 2010 is one from 2004 - Everquest 2. It's a really great MMO, and one that has improved in many, many ways since I left the game in 2007. There are plenty of reasons it isn't a bigger, more popular game (a topic I'm planning to return to soon), but it provides one of the most complete MMO experiences out there.
Time for something a little different now. My favourite Blog of 2010 is... Charlie Brooker's blog for The Guardian. Consistently funny and acerbic, Brooker has a way with words that make you laugh out loud, feel violently sick, then really think about what he has said. My favourite piece he wrote this year was this piece on Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. It's everything a blog should be - personal opinion that is interesting, well written, and full of sarcastic wit.
Favourite Movie of 2010 is a bit of a tough one for me, as I haven't seen that many films this year. I'm a huge movie buff, but the fact I have an attention-seeking two year old and a job that has gone crazy this year mean that I have made no trips to the cinema (of course, for us modern pc-literate types that doesn't necessarily pose too much of a problem in accessing the latest films). So, my shortlist is well, short. There are a couple of films that I want to see that may change my opinion (such as Inception), but for now my favourite movie of 2010 is Toy Story 3. Funny, technically superb, and strangely moving I was surprised at how good it was. The best of the Toy Story movies by some way.
My favourite Book of 2010 is going to be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin was recommended to me by a guild mate in Age of Conan, and I was expecting a pretty stock fantasy adventure. Instead I got a very adult fantasy that created some of the most compulsive characters I've read. I'm now on the second book (A Clash of Kings), which if anything is better than the first, but I think the first is my favourite just because it was such a shock as to how good it was. I'd also recommend Transition by Iain Banks as a great read - good to see him doing some more SF under his mainstream nom-de-plume.
TV Show of 2010 goes to either True Blood or Sherlock. True Blood because it is so ridiculous and over the top, whilst retaining a very dark sense of humour and knowing wit, and Sherlock because it's just plain awesome and shows that us Brits can make decent modern drama as well as the Americans when we put our minds to it.
My favourite Album of 2010 was always going to be a tough one to decide on. and it's so hard to compare something as intangible as how a piece of music makes you feel. My two favourite bands of all time reformed this year (Orbital and Lamb), but neither released a whole album, which helped with the decision. In the end my choice was between Only Revolutions by Scots rock act Biffy Clyro and Jack Wall's Mass Effect 2 soundtrack, and the Bif won out. It's a great record, far better than their last (Puzzle) which was the one that saw them break into the mainstream market.
So, there go. I'm not sure anyone will be interested in any of the above, but it's at least made me think back on a pretty good year, especially when it comes to gaming. My thoughts on what 2011 will bring should be landing next week.