Bytten Ernie Awards 2010
Best Overall Game - AI War: Fleet Command by Arcen Games, LLC
Wow, I can't believe that I was so stingy over the last year that I only dished out one gold star! This game was the sole and worthy recipient, and it is an absolute blast. The incredibly deep and dynamic gameplay with some of the best AI that I have experienced combine to make this 4x real time strategy title a must buy. The never ending stream of free DLC as well as a very reasonably priced expansion pack just serve to demonstrate Arcen Games' dedication to constantly improving the title.
Arcen have polished AI War to the point where it is at the pinnacle of the genre. If I were to review the game today rather than a year ago, this would be reflected in a close to perfect score for one of my most loved and played games ever. I honestly can't think of anything that might make it better, but Arcen keep releasing free updates that do just that.
Most Entertaining Narrative - The Three Musketeers: The Game by Dingo Games
Not only is this a classic tale in the first instance, but the way that Dingo Games recreate Alexandre Dumas' novel into a point and click adventure is applaudable. Without making any concessions to gameplay in The Three Musketeers, the story is what drives the action forwards. In other words, the player is allowed to believe that they have full freedom of action in an interactive (but quite basic) 16th century French environment, yet the storytelling is so strong that they will want to keep moving d'Artagnan along the quest line so they can be entertained by what comes next. To illustrate; one of my favourite features of the game was the tennis mini-challenge which appears quite early on in the piece, but I actually played through the entire main storyline before going back to it.
I'm not a fan of linear plot driven adventure games - I'd just as soon read a good book, but this is one of two in recent memory that I just couldn't quit until I'd finished it.