The Platinum Chalice Awards 2010

WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

If you read our individual games of the year, you probably already had an inkling this was going to happen – after all, four GR editors declared it their personal GOTY, each knowing full well that they’d have to think up something to write that the other three wouldn’t. That’s devotion.

Red Dead Redemption is a staggering achievement as a sandbox game, combining a gigantic, diverse world with an exacting attention to detail and character. Every stretch of terrain, from the hills and scrub-deserts of New Austin to the rolling prairies and snowy mountains of West Elizabeth, is uniquely beautiful and liberating to explore, especially on horseback. Sunsets and rainfall can make your surroundings achingly pretty, and everywhere you go, you can bank on there being something interesting to do just around the corner (even if “interesting” sometimes means “getting jumped by six bears at once”).

The end result is more than just an “open world;” it’s a convincing recreation of a time and place in history – something that its characters do a lot to bolster. We’ve gotten attached to characters in Rockstar games before, but never quite like we did with John Marston and company. We were always happy to give Marshal Johnson or Landon Ricketts a hand, we fell just a little bit in love with Bonnie MacFarlane, and we felt just a little bit of remorse when John finally faced down his mentor-turned-nemesis, Dutch van der Linde. But mostly we liked spending time with/as John. And when the slow, deliberate suckerpunch of a twist “ending” finally smashed into us, it was unusually affecting for a game – so much so that we took on the bloody task that followed with extreme relish.

Combine that with the emotional lifts from a few surprise moments in the soundtrack, as well as the odd urge we had to obey John’s troubled conscience and stay good (pretty unusual for a Rockstar game, that) and – hell, let’s be honest – the fun of leaving tied-up civilians on railroad tracks, and this was the most poignant, exhilarating and wildly fun game we played this year.

And that’s not even factoring in the zombies.

Mass Effect 2

Only a game as thrilling and engrossing as Red Dead Redemption could keep BioWare’s space opera sequel from the top spot. Both are so thoroughly above anything else in 2010 that awarding either “Game of the Year” is a defensible, understandable choice. And while we ultimately sided with Marston, ME2’s galaxy-spanning tale of genocide, betrayal, atonement and friendship under fire inspired us enough to play it two, even three times to completion.

Consider how highly regarded the first game is. Scored in the 8-10 range across the industry, despite a few immensely irritating problems. ME2, on the other hand, addresses every single complaint we had with the original, making it the easiest 10/10 score we’ve ever handed out. It expands and further defines the growing cast, refines the cover shooter gameplay, builds upon the main plot as well as the myriad sub-stories that trail through both games and sets everything up for a surefire megaton conclusion. Once upon a time, the phrase “Western RPG” was practically a slur – now, largely thanks to BioWare, it’s associated with some of the best stories and characters the medium will ever know.


WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

We’re confident in our Game of the Year decision, but we still wanted to get YOUR opinion on the matter. To that end, we began a Twitter poll earlier this week and asked for you, our attractive and highly savvy readers, to weigh in. Several games were on your minds, but in the end it came down to the same two heavy hitters, and Red Dead Redemption walked away the victor once more.

@kingboruc said “RDR because it came out in a period of time where I was having fun with games but not blown away. RDR changed that.” Many, many more echoed the same sentiment, naming Rockstar’s newly reborn (redeemed?) franchise their favorite game of the year. Let it be known that voting was tight, however, and our Runner Up nearly won.

Runner Up: Mass Effect 2

But don’t feel down, BioWare fans. Your voices were heard just as loud: @litrock said “Mass Effect 2, obviously. Nothing else comes close except Bayonetta, but nobody else will pick that.” If it makes you feel any better, a handful of people DID suggest Bayonetta, but if there were a third place to name, it’d go to Super Mario Galaxy 2.

That’s the end of our Platinum Chalice Awards for 2010.
Let us know what your winners are in the comments below!

Dec 17, 2010

GamesRadar Editors' 2010 Games of the Year: 2010 Edition
The 14 different games that rocked our individual worlds


The Top 7... Overlooked games of 2010
Our very first video countdown!


Worst box art of 2010
40 of the year's ugliest attempts at game packaging


  • anduin1 - January 25, 2011 2:43 a.m.

    I swear it looks like you guys just pulled categories out of your ass just to give a game an award. Most cute? Best fanservice? Good god.
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - December 15, 2011 6:27 p.m.

    You're right. "Best strategy game" and "Best sound design" are totally more fun / interesting.
  • evermore9871 - January 10, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    Yea ummm Deadly Premonition has the worst graphics/cutscenes......
  • randilon - January 3, 2011 6:18 p.m.

    hey best soundtrack coulda been shatter too! at least runner up... anyways Scott pligrim does the job too :D
  • CanadianBeaverHunter - January 1, 2011 1:45 p.m.

    Look forward to this feature each December. Enjoyable read.
  • meh - December 27, 2010 9:49 p.m.

    How did I know everyone was gonna blow Red Dead and Mass Effect? Ugh. Don't get me wrong, I loved Red Dead, and I'm sure ME 2 is awesome, its just something sets me off about it. I dunno.
  • thing1amc - December 27, 2010 6:58 p.m.

    Mass Effect 2 is a game of almighty proportions. It deserved to win for the fact that sacrifices nothing: fantastic combat, beautiful visuals, a perfect cast, an amazing soundtrack, and the best story told in a videogame since bioshock. Red Dead, although fun, masters none of these even close to as well as Bioware's Space epic.
  • bugcatcherjason - December 27, 2010 5:36 a.m.

    I'm just glad to see Bioshock 2 somewhere on this list. YES, THIS GAME DID NOT SUCK. Thank you
  • BadCompanyBrik - December 25, 2010 9:12 a.m.

    ME2 for me. I don't know why, but I couldn't even bring myself to finish RDR. After a while, I just felt like it stopped bringing anything new to the table. I do appreciate a good story, but the story in RDR was not going to get me to slave through hours of gameplay that was rapidly getting increasingly mediocre. The core gameplay is too repitive, and not nearly varied enough. And I'm not too big a fan of single player games in the first place. That's why I was so surprised by ME2. I never played ME1, and the only reason I tried ME2 is because my brother bought it used. In general, once the gameplay in a singleplayer game dries up, that's it for me. It just ends there, because the opponents (the programmed, non adapting computer) is never going to bring anything new to the table. But the gameplay in ME2 is so varied. If you take 6 class setups, then 6 squad members (because to be fair, 4 of them are used for a pretty limited amount of time), that's 6 (classes) by 6 (squad members) by 5 (remaining squad members), or 180 different ways to play the levels. Then there's the infinite variety in the final mission, trying to figure out who'll live, who'll die, damnit Chambers died she's supposed to give an erotic dance ( :p ). And your actions affect the future in overt or subtle ways. Some games claim that your actions affect the future. Fable II, as an example (haven't played III), claims that your actions affect your world. There's just the one switch for the neighbourhood with the fliers, and then it's just your appearance and people being scared of you. That's it. You can just skip away through dialog, say whatever you want, and you don't care. But in ME2, you know that every line of dialog has potential consequences on your relations with other characters, and on what happens in the outside world. Especially since you might be importing characters into ME3. And lastly, the devs have an amazing way of making me chuckle throughout the game. They have a great sense of humour. They have satirical references to debates about religious freedom and 'Nigerian Prince' ads as well as great original little dialogs you hear when you're walking around that never cease to put a smile on my face. "Humans are a blight on the galaxy. You sir! You are a blight!"
  • 2cute2Bcruel - December 22, 2010 4:55 a.m.

    FF XIII's menus are gorgeous.
  • Spartan-N7 - December 21, 2010 4:27 p.m.

    I would have done ME2, but Red Dead Redemption definitely earns the award. Both games were perfect 10s in my book.
  • Tymiegie - December 21, 2010 12:40 a.m.

    Another great Platinum Chalice awards. Cannot wait to read the anti-awards!!!!!
  • GodofPS314 - December 20, 2010 11:29 p.m.

    For the last 3 years, you guys have given the game of the year to a game that got a nine out of ten... so why?
  • Lefty2005 - December 20, 2010 7:41 p.m.

    No!!! Mass Effect 2 is sooooo much better than RDR. John Marston is a great character and many parts of RDR were amazing(fantastic ending! even though spoiled by Talk Radar (Elston)!) but with exception of planet scanning ME2's pacing was fantastic and to me the game was rivetting from beginning to end. Forgive the hyperbole, but ME2 is my #1 game ever. I have never been so consistently amazed by a game of ME2's size and scope. Otherwise, good job with the awards.
  • jackthemenace - December 20, 2010 6:45 p.m.

    Bayonetta or Mass Effect 2 didn't even win ONE PROPER, full award! SCANDAL!!!
  • TheCloakandDagger - December 20, 2010 9:19 a.m.

    Nice to see Civ V and Vanquish win some awards. They were great games.
  • Ravenbom - December 20, 2010 1:16 a.m.

    I think the Most Original Rip-Off is 3D Dot Game Heroes, personally.
  • suicidalpigeon - December 20, 2010 1:03 a.m.
  • elmaropwnz - December 20, 2010 12:10 a.m.

    what happened to black oops? and new vegas was pretty good maybe best spin-off? and best shooter? i guess that is just what makes this list different than the others, except RDR that's everyone's game of the year, other than the trolls
  • Skykid - December 19, 2010 10:48 p.m.

    GOTY: CoD Black Ops Runner up: Halo Reach Accept no substitutes for awesomeness. For me, ME2 was no more than a scifi weepfest with guns. Can't argue the graphics choice. They were superb.

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