SB Staff Picks ’10: Justin Last

December 30, 2010

One of Snackbar Games’ traditions is to have staffers pick their top ten games of the year. We’re so all over the map in our tastes that our lists are never similar. Today, we have writer and new dad Justin Last. This year’s list isn’t so baby-safe.

10. Heavy Rain (PS3). Heavy Rain is not without its warts, but it kept me engrossed from start to finish in the story of the Origami Killer. Quantic Dream handily proved that interactive fiction can work and that story can take precedence over gameplay. It’s something that everybody should play and the branching paths increase the replay value tremendously.

9. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC). I love building bases and then slowly marching siege tanks across the map to wipe out my opponent. SC2 doesn’t really allow for that, and it’s better for it. Each campaign mission has a theme, and it forces you to play in new and interesting ways. I learned how to properly (for single-player) micromanage caster units, saw the usefulness of the firebat, and helped keep the galaxy safe. What more could a person want?

8. Alien Swarm (PC). Alien Swarm hits a bunch of right notes for me – it is free, it is cooperative, and there are tons of aliens to kill. With four classes and two characters for each class each trip through the Jacob’s Rest campaign will be unique, fun, and tense – especially when you realize that nobody brought a hand welder with them.

7. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii). Super Mario Galaxy was wonderful, if a little slow to get going. Also, the space station was boring to move around in. SMG2 fixes both of those gripes by starting out with challenging stages, replacing the space station with a world map a la Super Mario Bros. 3, and bringing Yoshi back to core Mario games.

6. The Sly Collection (PS3). The Sly Cooper trilogy is my favorite series of games from the PS2. Rereleasing the whole set for only $40, improving the graphics, and adding in trophy support is enough to make this my second favorite PS3 game of 2010.

5. Costume Quest (XBLA). Costume Quest is full to the brim with charming characters, and the short length means that I didn’t burn out on it like I do most RPGs. Reynold and/or Wren’s quest is a cute one, the costume change mechanic works well, and I love the adventure-game feel of everything that isn’t an RPG battle. Double Fine finally released a game that I loved from beginning to end.

4. Pinball FX 2 (XBLA). Pinball FX 2 is for pinball what Game Room should have been for classic arcade releases. Leaderboard integration is top-notch, table design is good, all of the tables I bought for Pinball FX 1 imported into FX 2 for free, and tables are priced affordably. The only thing Pinball FX 2 is missing is digital representations of real pinball tables.

3. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii). DKC is my favorite SNES game, hands down, and my wife and I adore cooperative games. DKCR is just the right mix of nostalgia, coop, and tight platforming to keep the Wii powered-up and the two of us glued to the TV screen. The Wii excels at local coop, and DKCR is the best of the bunch.

2. Halo: Reach (360). Bungie has crafted a challenging Halo campaign (even when played on normal) and the best multiplayer game I’ve ever played. Armor abilities add an additional layer of strategy, and adding matchmaking to firefight and campaign along with the excellent invasion game type ensure that when I want to play a multiplayer shooter that it will be Halo: Reach.

1. Mass Effect 2 (360). I love the mix of third-person shooter and RPG. Putting that in a sci-fi setting secures it as my favorite 360 game of the year. The second chapter of the Mass Effect story is a great length, I love the paragon and renegade interrupts, and competent squad-mates make combat challenging but fun. And after I was done enjoying the base game Bioware supported ME2 with 3 DLC mission packs.