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Looking Back at 2010: The Year in Shooters

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Posted December 20, 2010 - By Kevin Kelly







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Looking Back at 2010: The Year in Shooters

2010 offered us a lot of video games, and for those of you who enjoy pretending that your controller is a gun, it involved a lot of shooters as well. Some were good, some were bad, but can you remember all of them? Stretching your memory all the way back to January 2010 can be tough when we're on the precipice of the holiday, but lets' take a look, shall we?

JANUARY

Army of Two: The 40th Day

The year was still brand-new when the second Army of Two got dumped in our laps. It expanded upon the original, giving us more co-op moments, destructible environments, and the ability to mock surrender while your partner popped them in the head with the bullet. While not a huge success, it was one of the more robust co-op experience in that vast wasteland of early January. However, most people were probably playing Darksiders instead of this one. Great idea that just hasn't delivered yet.

Read on for the Rest of the Year in Shooters!

 

MAG Launch Trailer »


 

MAG

MAG promised us massively multiplayer gunplay action, and it actually delivered. Up to 256 players online at the same time duking it out as one of three different factions led to a lot of fun moments, although there were some glitches along the way. Still, manning a turret and defending your base from hordes of real-life foes is highly addicting and was well worth it. Issuing orders to your squad and leveling up through the ranks gave this a lot of replayability.

FEBRUARY

SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo 3

Who said shooter experiences are just limited to consoles? SOCOM on the PSP delivers a squad-based shooter experience in the palm of your hand, and it does it with over 70 different weapons. Seriously, that's a lot even for a console title. Online co-op lets you experience the action with a friend, and you can level up and earn ribbons to decorate your uniform with. If you're stuck in a car on the way to grandma's house for three hours, this is what you want in your pocket.

Borderlands - The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

Yes, Borderlands came out in 2009, but the best piece of DLC (possibly ever?) came out for the game in early 2010, giving you even more RPG Shooter-ness to enjoy. Brand-new weapons, never-before-seen enemies, more Scooter, and tons of new missions make this piece of content a very easy buy, and we haven't even mentioned Crawmerax. What's that? Oh, you'll find out. Oh boy, will you find out. Just keep a spare pair of pants handy. 

MARCH

 

Metro 2033 First 15 Direct-Feed Gameplay »


 

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 came out of left field and surprised everyone when it managed to combine the shooter genre with the best elements of action adventure. Plus, the game introduced a bullet economy where ammunition was more valuable than cash. Requiring air filters for gas masks, supplying you with horror elements, and even making you illuminate your map with a Zippo lighter all gave this game a unique edge that is still a lot of fun to experience.

Red Steel 2

Even the Wii got some much-needed shooter love in 2010, and it all started with Red Steel 2. Which actually means it started back in 2006, because it was a launch title for the Wii. However, this game is superior in every way to the original Red Steel, and it adds MotionPlus support, so you can more accurately pop a cap in, or disembowel, someone. Great combat and much-improved visuals make this sequel well the time.

Just Cause 2

While this game might not fit squarely into the shooter genre, I'm calling it the lone entry in the "Sandbox Shooter With a Grappling Hook" genre, because it gives you the toys you need to play with (namely lots of guns, and an awesome grappling hook) and sets you loose. You can completely ignore the storyline if you want, and just go around tethering things to one another. Or shooting people. It's really up to you, and more people should check this game out. There is something truly addictive about it.

APRIL

 

Get Perfect Hunter Achievement In Splinter Cell: Conviction »


 

Splinter Cell: Conviction

It's almost criminal to include this title, as Splinter Cell has traditionally been about sneaking and stealthing, but Sam Fisher's new ability to "Mark and Execute" make spying on enemies that you're about to kill all the more exciting. Granted, the game is extremely light when compared to Chaos Theory, but Fisher needed a shakeup. While the team stopped shy of turning him into Jason Bourne outright, they got very close in delivering us a fast, powerful Sam Fisher. Plus that whole "spraying the name of the objective" on the environment thing was very cool.

Dead To Rights: Retribution

I'll be honest. This game was a real limburger cheese-fest. By which I mean, it stank. However, you know what didn't stink? Shadow. Having a dog sidekick that can literally rip the balls off of bad guys is awesome. Sure, you have to trade the good with the bad, and was DTR: R's bad gameplay worth it? Definitely, when you saw the "Scrotality" achievement. 

MAY

Lost Planet 2

Again, not a typical shooter, per se, but one that gave you the ability to hop onto giant mechs armed with pods that could house your teammates and wield things like giant shotguns. Yes, there were some control problems, and trying to carry giant eggs in multiplayer is enough to make you tear your hair out, but that low-gravity combat and those Vital Suits made it enjoyable. If only this had been a Winter release, I would have felt the need to search for heat sources a bit more compelling. 

JUNE

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

While I enjoyed Portable Ops as much as the next PSP owner, I really didn't think it was going to be possible to put out an MGS game that managed to tie together the original games with a new storyline, but they did it. Peace Walker represents a true MSG-centric experience on the PSP, and the fact that they made it co-op is all the better. Even though you all play as Snake on your own screen, it's nice having the ability to bring buddies into the battle. Once you step onto the beach in that opening scene training mission, you'll be hooked.

 

Singularity Time-Manipulation Device - "Deadlock" Trailer »


 

Singularity

While not the first game to allow you to manipulate time while you fire weapons at baddies, Singularity had the added ability of letting you de-age things (i.e. crumbling a wall), or re-aging something (restoring a crate to its full glory so you can smash it open and get the goods inside). Yes, we all know that the game wasn't exactly a success when it hit shelves. but the innovative time-manipulation was definitely something that I'd like to see in a game at some point. There's so much that could be done with time-travel, so I'm hoping that Valve picks up the chrono-gauntlet after Portal 2.

JULY

Crackdown 2

While Crackdown 2 didn't really shake things up too much in terms of a sequel, it added a lot of new toys to play with. Granted, searching for orbs gets to be a pain in the ass after your first 100, those magnetic grenades turn everything in the world into something fun to play with. Launch cars up onto buildings has never been so enjoyable. Once you finally find aerial vehicles, you're so far into the game that you can practically leap everywhere you need to go. But, that doesn't mean that the flying isn't a total blast, because it is.

AUGUST

 

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Notorious Criminals Trailer »


 

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

If you want gritty realism in your video games, then you need to check out Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, as it was inspired by user created content from surveillance cameras and the like. Grainy, jump-cutty, and visceral, this game doesn't want you to think it's light and fluffy at all. Gameplay mechanics are basic, but going online to co-op as both Kane & Lynch (you only play as Lynch if you're going at it single player) offers up the best experience. It's a bloody mess, and very fun at times.

SEPTEMBER

Halo: Reach

Okay, if I really need to remind you about the Halo: Reach release date, then you need to try chewing on a plasma grenade. Halo: Reach gave us a team to fight alongside, and sweet powerups that give you a slight edge at times, or let you do insanely stupid times at others. Like flying off the edge of the map to your death. Not that I've done that several times or anything. 

Quantum Theory

Quantum Theory, I really don't want to be the boot that kicks you in the ribs while you're down, but holy cow you sucked. Your premise sounded amazing. I mean, fighting your way through a living tower? Getting to toss your partner as a projectile? These are all good things. Sadly, it just didn't come together. Maybe next time.

OCTOBER

Medal of Honor

While I didn't enjoy Medal of Honor as much as I thought I would, there were some awesome gameplay elements that this brought to the table. Silently traversing a map with your buddy instead of going in guns blazing? That creates a lot of tension, and is surprisingly enjoyable. But my favorite level had you a great distance from the bad guys, popping them one by one with an extremely long-range sniper rifle. That was enjoyable enough to make me wish they'd just make Sniper: The Snipening game already. Bring back Silent Scope!

 

Vanquish "Weapons" Trailer »


 

Vanquish

Yes, it was short, had dorky dialogue, and a wafer-thin plot. But, it was a science fiction shooter that delivered hardcore or the clanking and robot-ing where Halo: Reach only offered you strange-colored aliens. Plus, since when has knee-gliding been such a core component of a game? Read: never. Especially since knee-gliding isn't offered up in Guitar Hero or Rock Band. Vanquish offers a solid game experience that got overshadowed by Halo: Reach, and deserves some of your hard-earned attention.

NOVEMBER

GoldenEye 007

When this game was first announced, I thought it would be a craptastic port. Instead, you got a beautiful game with some very fun gameplay and a very fun experience on the Wii. I only play it with a classic controller, but I have friends who swear by the Zapper. Whichever flavor you choose, GoldenEye offers up a really impressive James Bond experience on Nintendo's baby, and it does it with style. The multiplayer doesn't have quite the addictive feel of the original, but it is a lot of fun as well. Especially in that tacky disco level.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Best to end the year with a bang, right? Call of Duty: Black Ops certainly came in with a bang, and it shows no signs of going out anytime soon either. We imagine this will be a popular gift this holiday season, and with the just-announced DLC, you're going to be killstreaking and fragging your way to multiplayer bliss in no time. Plus, the game has one of the most interesting and exciting single-player campaigns to come with a shooter pretty much ever. Toss in the hilarious historical zombies, and this is a game that you'll have no problem loving.

 

So we probably didn't hit everything on this list, so what were some of your favorite Shooter from 2010? I'm split between Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Thankfully this isn't the Gift of the Magi, where I have to give up both games in order to make someone else happy.

Have something to share? Have an idea for a feature you'd like to see on G4? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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