Game of the Year

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks – Developer: Bethesda Game Studios

The fifth game in the now well-established Elder Scrolls series, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a game that simply must be experienced. No other game released this year shares such a massive scope or breadth of gameplay. After an impressive initial sequence, players are drawn into a world that has a life all its own and in which the threat of savage dragon attacks looms against a backdrop of a bloody civil war.

Although players will find numerous quests available to them, it is oftentimes the random encounters in the game that are most memorable. Each is full of unique moments that will make for interesting discussions among fellow gamers, and this is truly one of Skyrim’s biggest strengths. The game succeeds in telling a compelling story but also gives the player just enough freedom to make each individual’s journey his or her own. Previous rough areas in the series, such as inventory management, have been given elegant solutions, while side quests are seamlessly interwoven in the main story. There are seemingly hundreds of places to explore. It all amounts in one of the best gaming experiences to be had. (more…)


#4 L.A. Noire (PS3, 360, PC)

Publisher: Rockstar Games – Developer: Team Bondi, Rockstar Leeds

Our Review

Every year, Pads & Panels list of top games is dominated not only by quality titles but also by a special few that try their damndest to reinvent what we can expect from mainstream games. It’s no surprise that Rockstar Games has found itself perennially among those special few. This year’s offering from the publisher is L.A. Noire. In addition to a ridiculously detailed recreation of 1940s Los Angeles and a plot worthy of its name, L.A. Noire works to reinvent what we can expect from gaming by pioneering facial technology that allowed its creators to add in-depth, emotional interrogations to what might have otherwise been a simple third-person action title. The DLC support for the title cannot be ignored, but even without it, L.A. Noire would stand out as one of the year’s absolute best. (more…)


Title: Brink

Platform: 360 (PS3, PC)


Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Developer: Splash Damage

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Review By: Eric Stuckart

Since its release, Brink has been very divisive in the gaming community, and for good reason. It’s one of those games that has gotten pretty much anyone with any sort of interest in first person shooters either enrapt or enraged with what it has to offer. (more…)


Title: Splatterhouse

Platform: 360 (PS3)


Publisher: Nacmo Bandai Games

Developer: BottleRocket, Namco Bandai

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Peter David

The name “Splatterhouse” may conjure a B-movie marathon, or an adrenalin-pumping hard-boiled death trap with no escape. The word takes me back to my childhood. I remember playing the original title on a friend’s console. It was one of the few times when you could play an almost-villain. Yeah, the player had to save a girl, but in the meantime relish pounding the living crap out of everything. It also helped that I had a “Friday the 13th” fetish, so when the protagonist put on a glowing hockey mask, I played him like Jason Vorhees.

That was many moons ago, and with my dark childhood aside, I grew and changed with the industry. But it was with great interest that “Splatterhouse 2010” arrived on my doorstep. After placing the disc inside my beloved 360, I came to the immediate conclusion that…this game is not for children. I cannot emphasize this enough. No one who cannot legally enter an “R” rated film should be allowed to even view this. (more…)


Game of the Year 2010 – Red Dead Redemption (360/PS3)

Publisher: Rockstar – Developer: Rockstar San Diego

Our Review

I didn’t want to buy into the hype for Red Dead Redemption. Its precursor, Red Dead Revolver, was a decent rental, but forgettable – a go-to title when trying to think of games that time forgot. To associate Red Dead Redemption with it should be a sin. Rockstar could have easily slapped a cowboy-themed skin on Liberty City and called it Grand Theft Horsey, but Rockstar San Deigo did so much more. The studio made a Wild West that was fun to explore on horseback – a desert that was desolate, yet not deserted. (more…)


#2 God of War 3 (PS3)

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment – Developer: Sony Santa Monica

Our Review

Is there any real question why God of War 3 is on our list? The game proved to be a truly epic finale to one of Sony’s biggest and most popular franchises. From the moment I started the game and up until the credits rolled, I was amazed by the sheer scope and breathtaking graphical prowess on display. The game’s first encounter had me questioning if subsequent levels could possibly top it, but those fears were quickly put to rest as God of War 3 delivered consistently. (more…)


#4 Mass Effect 2 (360, PC, PS3)

Publisher: Microsoft – Developer: BioWare

Our Review

Mass Effect 2 has earned its spot on this list due its outstanding storytelling, rich characterization and exciting combination of adventure and combat. Additionally, Mass Effect 2 boasts an impressive musical score, a vast array of weapons and abilities that can be tailored to any play-style and a variety of ethical and personal quandaries that players must endure, which essentially guarantees a unique experience with every campaign played. (more…)


#9 Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (360/PS3/PC)

Publisher: Ubisoft – Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
is a direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed II, continuing the story of Ezio Auditore, and the major game mechanics are largely the same as its predecessor. But the changes made go a long way in making Brotherhood the Assassin’s Creed game we’ve wanted from the very start. Recruiting assassins and either sending them on missions or having them aid in big moments is a stellar addition, and the multiplayer elements bring the classic Assassins game to the digital realm in grand fashion. (more…)


2010 Holiday Gift Guide – For the Action Gaming Fan…

By P&P Staff


Call of Duty: Black Ops


Activision’s popular shooter series is back this year with the Treyarch-developed Call of Duty: Black Ops.  If the shooter fan on your list wasn’t already camped out for a midnight release of the game and doesn’t already own it, this one is essential.  A brand-new single-player storyline, as well as new multiplayer levels and the return of the zombie mode from World at War will guarantee plenty of Prestige ranking, zombie killing, multiplayer fun. (more…)


2010 Holiday Gift Guide – For the Digital Download Fan…

By P&P Staff


Super Meat Boy


This game is alternately heaven and hell for platforming fans, but it manages to toe the line well enough to always be stuck in that sugary sweet spot that makes it so addicting players don’t even mind dying a few thousand times in the game’s 300-some levels. Plus, the Xbox Live version is going to have regularly-updated free downloadable levels added, which only makes the game even better! (more…)