2010 has been a great year for gamers. The first person shooter fans got their fix with the ever-popular Call Of Duty: Black Ops, and the realistic Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is keeping third-person action stealth fans happy, and the latest expansion to World Of Warcraft, Cataclysm, is keeping the MMO gamer going strong. But what about people who love story in games? They love making hard decisions, seeing an epic tale unfold, and have gameplay that both keeps them interested and furthers the story? Well, we’re about to find out what 2010 had to offer in that department with the Most Immersive Games Of 2010.
Coming in at number 5 is probably one of the most anticipated titles of this year. Fallout: New Vegas pits players in a new character’s shoes, and within the first 10 minutes of the game, someone has already tried to kill you! Expanding on Fallout 3’s gameplay, New Vegas allows you to have different reputations with different factions, and the moral choices aren’t at all black and white. Keeping with the same style of gameplay as Fallout 3, but only making it better, New Vegas definitely knows how to suck you into its world as you try to discover who attempted to kill you, and why.
Dragon Age Origins: Awakening continues the tale of your Gray Warden from the first game (or an entirely new character, if you want) by allowing you to import him/her, along with the decisions you made, directly into this expansion pack. While you can’t expect an expansion pack to give you the same length or immersion as a full game, Awakening certainly serves as an exception, adding new spells, powers, and weapons, along with memorable new characters and new choices to make, Awakening is a must-own for any Dragon Age fan, and will allow you to continue your hero’s journey.
Red Dead Redemption picks up the #3 spot due to many different reasons. Putting you in the shoes (or, boots) of former outlaw-turned-rancher John Marston, the game immediately makes you feel like it’s 1911, technology is starting to become a part of people’s lives, cars are appearing in bigger cities, Rockstar did a wonderful job on the setting and making you feel as if you were there. Making it even better was the likable protagonist John Marston. We know Marston has done some bad things, and he won’t deny it, but he’s trying to go straight with his family. Only problem is, his past has yanked him back into the dark lifestyle he was trying to avoid. What plays out is an amazing adventure with likable, interesting characters, amazing scenery and settings, and an amazing story.
The #2 spot goes to an amazing sequel to an amazing game, Mass Effect 2. Mass Effect 2 not only allows you to import your Shepard from Mass Effect 1 (including all the decisions you made), but also makes you feel like this universe is real. As the game begins to play out, you realize your actions have effects that ripple through this galaxy. If you saved colonists on a planet in the first game, a character will show up and inform you of the colony’s progress. If you killed off an entire species in the first game, they are never heard from again. But the branching paths made just from the first game, while impressive, are nothing compared to the actual scale of Mass Effect 2. Human colonies are being abducted by a race known as the ‘Collectors’, and now Shepard has to put together a team of the most dangerous and skilled people in the galaxy if humanity has any hope to survive. Along the way, you have to make hard choices, life-or-death decisions, and choose who you will trust with specific tasks if the mission is to succeed.
Heavy Rain is a game that’s hard to describe to someone. It plays out like an interactive movie, but everything you do has a consequence. After Shaun Mars, son of Ethan Mars, is kidnapped by the origami killer, you play as 4 different characters trying to solve the murder, discover the killer, and save Shaun Mars. But how each one of these characters does that is up to you. As a father, will you cut off one of your fingers to get a clue as to the whereabouts of your son? As an FBI Profiler, will you follow a local lieutenant and use force to extract information from people, or will you stop him and abide by the law? There is unparalleled freedom to do what you want here, and the game has over 20 different endings to reflect the choices that you make throughout. All four of the characters can die during different scenes, and it makes for even more different ways to play through the game. After beating it 3 times, I still ask myself “What would have happened if…” or “What if (soandso) died before the end?” Heavy Rain will not be appealing to all gamers, but it does offer an experience of its own, as there’s pretty much nothing else out their like it right now, and I consider it the most immersive game of 2010.
So, do you agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments below!