DualShockers 2010 Game of the Year Nominees

By Chad Awkerman

December 30, 2010

It now comes time for our game of the year. In a way, each and every one of these titles deserve to win, and the decision was pretty tough to come by. We went above and beyond and attempted to nominate a variety of games from various consoles, both exclusives and multi-plat, both Eastern and Western titles (a form of variety you won’t find on many other Game of the Year nominee lists). Our thoughts were basically, “What exemplifies gaming on each platform in 2010?”.

Games from various genres were considered – some we decided to leave in the categories related to that genre, because they would be able to shine brighter there. Others we brought over to this Game of the Year category because we truly believe they deserve to win.

Every game in this category should be played by everyone who calls themselves a gamer and really are masterful examples of what is available in this industry, both this year and overall.

So, without further ramble, let’s get on with the nominees, shall we?


This is the first title in the Dragon Quest franchise to come first to a portable platform, and it sure doesn’t disappoint. You can waste away hundreds of hours discovering every nook and cranny of this world. Oh, and the game has a great, non-cliché story, as well! If you own a Nintendo DS, you definitely haven’t lived until you’ve played Dragon Quest IX. Not only is it one of the best RPGs of the year, we feel it may just have what it takes to nab the Game of the Year title, as well.

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What Obsidian and Bethesda did here was no less than stellar. Bethesda had a winning formula with Fallout 3, and they went so much above and beyond that with New Vegas and they should be praised on that alone. Traversing the vast wastelands and urban landscapes of the game is quite a joy in itself, not to mention the solid first-person game play and deep, involving RPG mechanics.

In our review of the game, Tyler had this to say: “Fallout: New Vegas can be summed up into one word, a gem. Any high hopes that you may have had about New Vegas will probably still be there by the third or fourth day of gameplay, simply because you will most likely still be exploring. That in my book is money well spent!”


If you own a PlayStation 3 this year and haven’t played God of War 3, our Editor-in-Chief would like to punch you in the balls (or ovaries, whatever the case may be). Over the top bosses and all, this was truly one of the more eye-popping games of the year, regardless of the fact that it is a console exclusive. Xbox fanboys eat your heart out, this is the first of two PS3 exclusives in this nominee list.

Yaris eloquently described the game thusly in his review: “Words can’t describe everything that you will experience – but just know that God of War III will indeed be one of those games that will thrive in your memory for years to come. An epic conclusion to one of the most epic trilogies to grace the gaming industry, God of War III is a definite must buy for any PlayStation 3 owner and fan of the series.”


Mixed reviews aside, you can be sure that Heavy Rain was one of the most interesting titles this year, and the developers, Quantic Dream, along with Sony themselves, were taking a huge risk in sinking some serious cash into this one. Did the risk pay off? Absolutely. It is a unique take on the interactive drama scene, which, frankly, hasn’t seen a whole lot of positive feedback over the years. It’s moody, stylistic, has great characterization, multiple paths to take, choices to make and endings to be had. There isn’t anything quite like it, which is the reason it nabbed the top spot for our PS3 game of the year. But, can it stand up against competition from other platforms?


This was the Xbox 360’s crowning jewel of 2010, which brought about a stark change from the first game in the series. Dropping its more tedious RPG elements in favor of streamlining, this story-driven shooter/RPG mash-up enamored us with its heavy focus on character drama and story, but also charmed us with its intuitive game play, deep, involving, party-based combat and the stunning visual prowess and the vistas we encounters while traversing its expansive game universe.


There are two developers out there we constantly bring up when we talk about the fact that they seem to be unable to make bad games, and Rockstar is one of them. The setting and multi-player in Red Dead Redemption are huge stand outs this year, regardless of what other titles it is up against, and the single-player story is pretty awesome, as well. Nothing beats riding a horse – not a car, train, airship or tank – around the countryside, while taking in the stunningly recreated vistas of the American Southwest and Mexican landscapes. John Marston, you are our hero.


If Rockstar is one developer who just can’t make a bad game, Blizzard is the other. Everything they touch is gold, and, after a 12 year wait, we get some more of that goodness with StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. We spent a lot of time individually, and as a group, with this title over the summer months and have nothing but love for it. Its frenzied, fast-paced strategy seems to beat out all others in its respective genre. While other games were played, none were talked about in such a favorably light by our team as StarCraft II, and we now reflect that in this nomination for Game of the Year.


We can’t leave Nintendo out of the loop, because we just absolutely loved Mario once again, 25 years after his entrance into the world. Super Mario Galaxy 2 promotes the kinder, gentler side of our Game of the Year nominees and was what glued more than just François to their Wiis this year. Regardless of what other first-party titles Nintendo pumps out that fans clamor for, Mario is a sure win and, in this particular instance, is vastly deserved.


While it wasn’t on the PS3 like everyone hoped, Valkyria Chronicles II still carries the visual charm and awesomely unique game play like its predecessor. The story is deep and involving, the character development is top-notch and the addictive, tactical battles are something that must be experienced by any gamer. Sega really stumbled upon a gem of a franchise here, and we hope it continues through many iterations in the years to come.

From our review: “It combines the best of the old and the new for an outstanding strategy experience that no one should pass up. There seems to be something for everyone here. It has aspects of RPG, shooter and strategy games all rolled into this nice, feature-filled package. The second game doesn’t remove any of the great aspects from the first title and only improves upon an already superb franchise.”

Tune in tomorrow, because after much deliberation on our end, you’ll finally get to see what game we ultimately chose as our Game of the Year!

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Chad Awkerman

Chad joined the DualShockers staff in mid 2009 and since then has put much of his time into covering RPGs, with a focus on the Japanese side of the genre, from the obscure to the mainstream. He's a huge fan of iconic games like Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI and Persona 4 yet enjoys the smaller niche titles, as well. In his spare time he enjoys experiencing new beer, new foods and keeping up with just about every sci-fi show on television. He's married to an intelligent, beautiful Southern Belle who keeps his life interesting with witty banter and spicy Cajun cooking.

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