In this second part of our “Year in Review” series, we take a look at how Microsoft’s Xbox 360 performed throughout the year 2010. Against common belief, my analysis shows that the Xbox 360 had a great year as far as games were concerned. So let’s get started.
Even though the Xbox 360 had a great year in 2009, it was undoubtedly lacking some momentum in to 2010. Just like for the PlayStation 3, the year began with a hard hitting game from Platinum studios in Bayonetta. The game was superior on the Xbox 360 as compared to its PlayStation 3 counterpart, a plus point for the console, since Bayonetta is easily one of the finest action games this year. Then what’s next? Mass Effect 2 is next. It’s safe to say that the Xbox 360 started with a bang with the release of Bioware’s must have role playing game. Mass Effect 2 bought you on a journey and gave you an experience that cannot be achieved by playing any other game. Everything about the game seems polished perfectly and over the top. January also saw the release of Darksiders which succeeded at starting the year off right by delivering a solid experience albeit a few bumps along the way. February saw some solid AAA experience for the Xbox 360. It all started off with the release of Halo 3 Mysthic Map Pack 2 followed by a revisit to the underwater world of Bioshock 2. The month ended with the scares of Deadly Premonition. March saw a plethora of multiplatform games. Metro 2033, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Final Fantasy XIII and the amazing action game, Just Cause 2. The month also saw the release of Modern Warfare 2 downloadable content: Stimulus Package.
April began with a huge bang for the Xbox 360 owners. Splinter Cell Conviction was released and was absolutely loved by fans and critics alike. Conviction is one of the few games that excited me enough that I took the time to get all 1000 gamerscore from it, and for good reason. Like it or not, Conviction is a true sequel that has sought after a new style of gameplay, but set it in the same world that old fans of the series will find pleasing and familiar. It took a leap of faith and is all the better for it. The month also saw the release of another exclusive in Left 4 Dead: The Passing and multiplatform games Fifa World Cup 2010 and Super Street Fighter IV. Another big month in May for Xbox 360 owners, this time the hero of the show was Remedy. Alan Wake is a lot like the horror novels it so oft references. It’s short and sweet at the same time as being entirely memorable and chilling while it lasts. The shooting aspects are robust but take note that if you are expecting something along the lines of Quake then you will be disappointed by the action on offer. If however, you want an intelligent and gripping story set in a fantastical world then you’ve come to the right place. The month also saw super blockbusters in the form of Red Dead Redemption, Split Second and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. June saw some pretty good games in Alpha Protocol, Green: Day Rock Band and Singularity.
It seems that Microsoft started every Quarter with a bang. They did that again with Crackdown 2. But it was a major disappointment for us. Overall Crackdown 2 was too much like its predecessor. The Co-op was only online but offers more fun and explosions; while competitive modes aren’t so great. Lacking a good soundtrack the same song is played over and over again at different tempos. Crackdown 2 offered some fun with big explosions and fun Co-op but suffered from multiple major setbacks. But it seemed like Microsoft something up their sleeves, a small game, yet so big! Limbo one of the most original games that we played this year was a gem. It was damn good, one of the best games- not just Xbox 360 or Xbox Live games, and just games in general- you will ever play in this year. Do yourself a favour, get this greatly priced wonder of a game, and experience one of the most atmospheric, spooky yet wonderful video game ever. August was a slow month as far as disc based games were concerned, more of the fun was from the digital games. Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light, Shank, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero and Castlevenia: Harmony of Despair rounded up August. September was the month of Halo! Halo Reach was released on 14th of September and it was close to a perfect game. “In my beginning is my end… In my end is my beginning.” Reach takes us back to the beginning of the Halo franchise and marks Bungie’s beautiful Swan song to the epic FPS series with exciting multiplayer, the intense Firefight mode and the best campaign yet.
Just like its main competitor, the PlayStation 3, the 360 was bombarded with multiplatform games in October. Enslaved, Castlevania, NBA 2K 11, Star Wars etc. The 360 also had a few exclusives in the form of Alan Wake: The Writer and Fable 3. The Writer was a great piece of downloadable content that should not be missed by any Alan Wake or a horror genre fan and Lionhead’s third entry in the epic Fable saga was definitely worth a purchase. November was undoubtedly the month of Kinect. Microsoft did a great job of putting out some really good Kinect based games. Kinectimals offered a surprisingly robust story mode but a little too much repetition prevents it from appealing to all demographics whereas Shape: Fitness Evolved does exactly what it needs to do and it does so in an enjoyable and stylish manner. Overall I think Kinect is here to stay. November closed out with Call of Duty Black Ops and James Bond: 007 Bloodstone. And December is where we take a breather!
Personally I think the Xbox 360 had a great year. Yes there were moments where things were going down a bit, but mystically some great game came over and balanced out the ship. During Q4 it was no longer about hardcore games from Microsoft, it was all Kinect, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Microsoft has a very promising line up next year and something with which they can make some amazing games: Kinect.