107 points, 8 votes, 1.5 TOP GAME votes
Mordy: People have complaints about the ludic gameplay elements of Mass Effect 2 and they’re pretty fair. It is kinda silly with only superficial RPG elements. They also have complaints about the story and those are pretty fair too. You spend 95% of the game recruiting characters and doing their loyalty quests and only 5% actually forwarding the plot. But has any other series of games ever rewarded player participation quite as much as the Mass Effect series? The decisions I actually deliberated over in Mass Effect 1 were constantly mentioned and came to bear upon Mass Effect 2. Part of what makes ME2 great is the resonances of ME1 still echoing in the gameworld and the part of what makes it great is the promise of ME3 and the assurance that the things I am doing now matter.
Will M: I loved the first game precisely for the reasons everyone hated it and this game over-fixes the problems and removes a lot of what made the first game magic. But it’s still gorgeous space opera-y shit and the story, while junk compared to virtually all non-gamery things, is better than a lot of space opera stuff. George Lucas couldn’t compete with this even if he’d made his movies 30 years later.
Darramouss : Mass Effect 2 is way better aside from the horrible end mission. I was seriously pissed off when I finished it and realized that was the whole game. Scanning planets is boring as hell, but still beats that bastard buggy from the first one.
Matt D: If the first ME is liking playing a nineties sci-fi flick (with a decidedly 80s score), ME2 is like playing a high-budget contemporary blockbuster. I also played the last few ME2 DLC packs. Overlord is pretty good. Shadow Broker is great. Arrival is SHIT.
JimD: Three hours into this I was ready to put it on my disappointments-of-the-year list. So much of what was great about the original game got thrown out for the sequel that it’s barely an RPG at all any more. But it’s still a great universe and still has great characters and they got away with dumbing down the gameplay by clevering up the dialogue. Still don’t think it’s as good as the first (and ore mining can fuck right off) but that doesn’t stop it being great in its own completely different way.
GM: Yes, Mass Effect 2 is a greater achievement than Pac-Man CEDX; it balances the stat-addicted compulsion of an RPG with eminently competent third-person action, all while crafting an intricately layered story that transcends its inherently goofy sci-fi underpinnings. And yet I still play Pac-Man CEDX almost every day and haven’t touched Mass Effect 2 since I blew up that kinda lame giant Terminator looking thing at the end.
64 points, 5 votes, 1 TOP GAME vote
Brilliam: More games need to steal this idea: make an engine that is SO GOOD that nothing feels like a chore.
John Justin: Seems like it’s getting kind of slept on because ‘yawn another Burnout game’ but the open architecture is a great idea and all the free DLC makes it feel like Christmas all the time. Other game devs should wise up and realize that free DLC is the way to build continual sales into your product and to maintain your user base.
S1ocki: There are some serious problems with this game–free-roaming racing just don’t make much sense– but it’s still fun to grab for an hour here and there.
Jamescobo: If Little Big Planet gives you a complete set of tools, Burnout Paradise gives you a closed system with nigh-unto-endless variables – a single city which can instantly be populated by other human players at the press of a single button. It’s SimAnt at 200mph. It’s great. Also big ups to the developers who keep supporting this game with free new content to this day; I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall when they pitched it to EA (for god’s sakes). Also: LCD Soundsystem on the soundtrack!
Jeff Le Vine: I love the graphics, especially now that they added a day night cycle, but the racing just sucks.
84 points, 7 votes, 2 TOP GAME votes
Forksclovetofu: PVZ kept me up past three in the morning two nights in a row. $20 might seem expensive for a desktop defense clone, but damn is this ever polished. Never stressful! And the music is incredible!
Antexit: One of the most perfectly balanced and endlessly satisfying games I’ve ever played. It’s also the only game this year that every single person I showed it to went nuts over. Almost every one of the fifty or so plants in it was my favorite at one time or another– when does that happen with the weapons in other games?
Ledge: Does this game get hard, ever? (ed. note: Nope.) I am on stage four and I think I’ve let a grand total of two zombies through, pretty much by accident. I have 2000+ sun power left at the end of every game.
JimD: Hard to even remember what I loved about this, but it’s here cos I know I spent a big chunk of my year on it and really enjoyed it at the time. I guess this is a great example of a relatively new game design trend: games that don’t need to challenge you to keep you entertained. They can just keep giving you new toys and that’ll have the same effect. It’s only valid because it’s true… well, at least until you’ve seen all the toys and then that’s it and there’s little point of ever playing it again. But hey, that’s not the end of the world: who has time to replay games these days anyway?