#2 Batman: Arkham City (PS3, 360, PC)
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment — Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Batman Simulator 2.0 doesn’t disappoint, as it hits all the high spots gamers loved in Arkham Asylum and scatters them across an entire sandbox of a city to find. Rocksteady Studios is to be commended for continually getting what makes Batman fun. The double-edged sword here is – even though Arkham City is more robust than Asylum, gamers won’t get that stunning moment again where they realize that finally someone finally got a Batman game right. But the overall quality of the game is vastly improved, making it one of the year’s best.
Best Arthouse Games
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (XBLA)
Publisher: Microsoft Studios – Developer: Shadow Planet Productions
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a great (if sometimes a little slow) explorative shooter, complete with ship upgrades that pave the way to new areas. And part of what will keep gamers exploring those new areas is just how darn cool everything looks in the game’s environments. From the defined, bold colors, to the designs, ITSP is consistently engaging.
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (PS3, 360)
Publisher: UTV Ignition Entertainment – Developer: Ignition Tokyo
Combat drives the gameplay of El Shaddai, but fans will likely be more taken aback by the art style of the decidedly Japanese-developed Ascension of the Metatron. It adheres to a very anime style, but with an almost simplified sort of line work highlighted by fantastic lighting. For those pleased by that kind of thing, it is fantastic to see in action.
Bastion (XBLA, PC, Chrome)
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment – Developer: Supergiant Games
I’m not one for the action-RPG gameplay of titles like Bastion (nothing personal), but I could stare at this one all day long. With a visual style inspired by anime, it also infuses a sort of a cel-shaded approach. It is also very detailed, which goes a long way to help gamers become immersed its world.