Looking Back at 2010: The Year in Action Adventure Games


Posted December 22, 2010 - By Dana Leahy

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Looking Back at 2010: The Year in Action Adventure Games

It’s been a great year for games and now, we’re going to look at a small slice of that awesomeness as we talk about the most notable Action Adventure games of 2010.

Action and adventure are two things gamers crave. While most games have these two elements included in some way (well, at least, hopefully they do), there are some games that don’t necessarily need heavy weaponry to bring the heat: God of War 3, Red Dead Redemption and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, just to name a few. So, come with me as we take an ever-so-brief trip down recent memory lane and discuss the most notable Action Adventure games of 2010.



A great way to start off the year is with a kick-ass heroine who loves lollypops and whose clothes are made out of her own hair. That’s what we got with the highly sexy game Bayonetta. Half-brawler, half-puzzler, Bayonetta quickly became a title that everyone was talking about. Not only was the gameplay totally addictive and satisfying, but the cutscenes and storyline left us all saying WTF. . .in the best way possible.

Hit the cut for the rest of the list!


Heavy Rain

Jason! Jaaaaaaaason! Jason! Quantic Dream’s quick time event driven epic left us all on the edge of our seats. Heavy Rain brought choose your own adventure storytelling to new heights and was a welcome break from continuous explosions, but packed a lot of action into its mysterious, rainy setting. Press triangle to shave!

Deadly Premonition

It’s still up in the air as to whether Deadly Premonition was an intentional work of low-budget genius or a complete fluke, but one thing is clear: Deadly Premonition was the surprise cult hit of 2010.  Who cares if it was meant to be this way or not? It’s great. Cruise through the befuddling level design and weird, hilariously creepy atmosphere, all while laughing at the awesome (in a bad way) lines of dialogue. If you love campy, ridiculous gameplay and the thought of a detective who talks to himself, then you will love Deadly Premonition.


Deadly Premonition Review »


God of War 3

Kratos, back for his third and “final” installment, wowed us all. This trip up Olympus was as impressive as we had hoped and God of War 3 was an almost perfect ancient Grecian adventure. Plus, getting to bed the two hotties wasn’t that bad. I have to mention that. You can’t write about God of War 3 without mentioning the sex scene. They’d pull my videogame journalist card if I didn’t.

Dante’s Inferno

Who doesn’t want to explore the depths of hell with a big scythe? And exchange collected souls for special abilities? Terrorists, that’s who! Dante’s Inferno was the videogame equivalent of a big summer blockbuster movie: not something that’s going to change the world, but a blood-spilling pleasure none the less.



Dante's Inferno Review »


Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

Sam Fisher was pissed in Splinter Cell: Conviction, but it wasn’t just his lust for revenge that made the game great. The Mark and Execute feature, which was new to this title in the Tom Clancy library, allowed players to mark specific targets and then do sweet s&#t like shoot the targets while flying through a window. Mark and Execute, along with the Last Known Position mechanic, gave Conviction some really cool stealth combat moments.


Red Dead Redemption

I’m not going to lie: westerns give me a lady boner, so Red Dead Redemption was like porn for me. The incredible landscapes, engrossing gameplay and truly open world feel made RDR one of the greatest games of 2010, if not of all time. Some downers complained that the Mexico missions dragged, but I disagree. I thought the game was well paced and the added quests helped to shape the entire John Marston storyline. Red Dead Redemption is like watching a very long, very good movie and is a triumph of modern technology and great storytelling.

Alan Wake

Remedy’s decision to ditch sandbox-style gameplay in order to focus on the creepy ass storyline in Alan Wake paid off. This game brings new meaning to the word atmosphere. From the moment you arrive in Bright Falls, the game does a magnificent job of creating a terrifying and thrilling vibe. Through episodic storytelling, players are lead through a twisted maze of unreality, while trying to unlock Wake’s secrets.


Reality TV is all the rage these days with “the kids” and “lonely old women who wish their lives were different,” and in Split/Second, it creates the backdrop for high velocity racing thrills. Besides the reality TV setting, one of the coolest mechanics in Split/Second is the powerplay meter, which allows you to create shortcuts for yourself, or make other player’s live miserable by planning obstacles in their way. I think you know which way I chose to use my powerplay meter.


Split/Second Review »


Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

First of all, I like that the protagonist of this game goes by two names: Naked Snake and Big Boss. (If you’re looking for a porn name, there are two stellar ideas.) Second of all, I like that this is the first MGS game on a portable platform directed by the creator, Hideo Kojima. With most of the same crew that worked on Guns of the Patriots, Peace Walker was exciting Metal Gear Solid experience, and even though it was on the PSP, it delivered big fun.


Crackdown 2

I like chasing balls as much as the next girl, especially when we’re talking about the orbs from Crackdown 2. While Crackdown 2 is primarily a shooter, the enhanced agility ability makes leaping and exploring the sandbox world an interesting experience. Plus, any day I get to fly a helicopter around a futuristic looking city is a good day.


Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

The downloadable space blew up this year and one of the most memorable titles was Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Sexy shorts led us on a third-person adventure that held its own against full retail releases, and while the fixed camera took some getting used to, the puzzles pumped us full of joy. 

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Review »


Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

For a lot of gamers, titles based on comic books are one step above movie-based games. That’s not to say that there aren’t some great comic-inspired games, it just means that usually they’re churned out based on the property alone, with little regard to quality. That being said, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions was a fun romp with four different Spider-Men. The frenetic combat and interesting levels made Shattered Dimensions a good bet for everyone.

Dead Rising 2

While I enjoyed riding my tricycle around the shopping mall and picking up items to combine into zombie slaying death objects, Dead Rising 2 was really just an extension of the first game. That was disappointing in a lot of respects, but they did improve on some things, and if you liked the first game, well then you probably liked this one (time trials and all).


Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

This impressive reboot of the beloved Castlevania series features over fifty levels packed with platforming and puzzle elements that warmed the hearts of gamers everywhere.  With new enemies and Patrick Stewart, this title really shines. Robert Carlyle is also in it, along with new enemies and Patrick Stewart, which makes me wonder why there isn’t a glass-shattering mini-game in it. Don’t get it? Go rent Trainspotting. Come for the glass-shattering, stay for the heroin!


Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Review »

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2

Remember when you got to fight as Darth Vader in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and then after you were done with that, you quit playing? Well, they made another one. This time you get to fight against Darth Vader and then quit playing. Let’s face it: we all wanted this game to be good, but it was mediocre at best. It’s disappointing that we can’t seem to get a decent SW title on consoles, but you can wish in one hand and then wish in the other and you still don’t have a good game. Here’s to hoping that in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 3, you get to party with Darth Vader and then quit.

Fable 3

Fart fans, rejoice! Peter Molyneux has crafted another epic adventure game. Some of you might think that Fable 3 is an RPG, and you’re probably right; however, there’s plenty of action and adventure to go around as you try to become king. Also, your dog is back. So, guess who’s back. Back again. Surprise! It’s your dog. I’m probably focusing on the wrong thing here, but sue me. Fable 3 is a great game. If you haven’t played it, you should be farted on.


Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Before its release, everyone focused on the multiplayer mode, but after we got our dirty little hands on it, we realized that the crown jewel was really the single-player campaign. Even though Brotherhood seemed like Assassin’s Creed 2.5 and didn’t do a tremendous amount to forward the storyline, the improvements made to the already impressive gameplay mechanics made Brotherhood an immediate hit.


While Splatterhouse isn’t for everyone--in fact, most people hated it--it’s notable for its over-the-top gore. I didn’t play it, but I’m pretty sure that someone did and that someone told me that you get to pull an enemy’s intestines out of his anus. Huzzah! The perfect Mother’s Day gift!

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Hot Pursuit lets you as either the pursuer or the pursuee, so if you’ve ever harbored a desire to be a cop or run from the cops, this is the game for you. Seacrest County, where the game takes place, is an interesting setting. Plus, everyone drives like an assh#le. You thought Massachusetts was bad! Well, it is, but it’s not the setting of this game.



Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Review »



TRON: Evolution

Light cycles? Check. Discs? Check. Fun? Nah. While TRON is one of those things that seems to permeate nerd culture like Doritos, Mountain Dew and Snakes on a Plane, the movie-based videogame is a disappointment. You’d be better off playing the old school TRON game, which may not have been high tech, but was at least a whole lot of fun.

Well, that about wraps it up for our list of the most notable action adventure games of 2010. I probably missed a game that you’re going to yell at me about, so go ahead and sound off in the comments.


Awesome "Take the Adventure" sign by araneldesigns.

Looking Back at 2010: The Year in Action Adventure Games


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