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by Ethos

Most Surprising Game 2010 – Riddles

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Bayonetta

Most Surprising was a little difficult to decide this year, largely because, well, not much really surprised me. In fact, a lot of games that I wanted to surprise me, didn’t. *coughALANWAKEcough*

That being said, I have chosen Bayonetta, as you have all gathered. Bayonetta hardly came from left field – I was fairly confident in the fact that I would enjoy the game – but I didn’t expect I would enjoy it quite as much that I did. And, to be perfectly honest, I never expected the gameplay and mechanics to shine the way they did. So, I suppose you could say, the game impressed me with its shine – and I don’t just mean style.

If you’re like me, you don’t look to Japan for much these days. And certainly, you don’t look to Japan to deliver a game that can almost – almost – be called the definitive action game of this generation. Bayonetta’s combat mechanics are so polished and intelligently designed, they can be called a piece of programming art. It can be summed up simply: utterly accessible, yet insanely complex. It’s better than Devil May Cry, better than God of War, better than Ninja Gaiden. In fact, it’s better than just about anything else out there.

Obviously, more than just pure and simple gameplay must be considered when deciding the best titles of the year. But, I can say this: of all the games I played in 2010, not one of them was as much pure, unadulterated, consistent plain fun as Bayonetta. And yeah, I’ll admit, I didn’t quite expect that.

Maybe in Bayonetta 2, they can work on making all the other parts of the game equally sensible.

Runner Up: Mass Effect 2

Ah, well this was even harder to decide, but I promise it’s not a cop-out. Again, I didn’t think I’d enjoy Mass Effect 2 as much as I did. Know why? Because I really didn’t fall in love with Mass Effect 1. I managed a single bare-bones playthrough, appreciated the depth of the universe and some of the mechanics, and wondered why they didn’t do a better job of delivering a game with these concepts. Well, Mass Effect 2 takes those concepts, and delivers that game. And it’s amazing to witness.