Monday, March 8, 2010

2009 Game of the Year Awards

Alright, late as always, but here are my picks.  Will try to be brief, since this post always ends up being long. 
2009 Game of the Year
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Simply the most fun I had gaming in 2009.  Rocksteady really hit it out of the park.  Not only did they produce a great Batman game (which hadn't been done before), but it ends up being my favorite game of the year.  Impressive.  I played through this twice, which is something I rarely do anymore.  Last time I beat a game twice was with my 2008 GotY, Dead Space.  Maybe subliminally that's my criteria for this category.
Demons Souls
It was a close race.  Batman had it locked up until I popped Demons Souls in my PS3.  Talk about an innovative title.  On paper, the things I like most about this game sound awful: No checkpoints, dying sends you back to the beginning of the level (even if in a boss fight), dying also then reduces your HP by half, etc.  But surprisingly, it is all those design choices that make this game truly special.
PS3 Game of the Year
Demons Souls
See my comments above.  It almost beat Batman for the top prize, so it easily wins the PS3 category.
Uncharted 2
On a technical level, Uncharted topped every game released in 2009 (or before it).  Naughty Dog has fully tapped into the PS3's power and the result was a visual marvel that awed at every corner.  Throw in what I considered the best voice acting of the year (or again, ever), and you have one wild, entertaining ride.
Xbox 360 Game of the Year
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
The single-player let me down, as I didn't find it as memorable as CoD4's, but this series stopped being about single-player a while back.  The follow-up to my favorite online game continues the trend.  Yes, I have my frustrations about the connection quality sometimes, I hate the riot shield, Commando Perk, and anything Akimbo, but it is still the most fun I have playing on Xbox Live.
Assassin's Creed 2
Taking the fantastic foundation of the first game (read: engine, controls), Ubisoft actually managed to make a game out of it this time, with a MUCH better structure, narrative and just about everything else.  A true example of a sequel taking all the flaws of its predecessor and fixing them.
Live Arcade Game of the Year
Secret of Monkey Island
I never played the original since I was never a PC gamer, but I always wanted to.  It was worth the wait.  Fantastic adventure game and a genuingly funny gaming experience.
Shadow Complex
Metroidvania at its best.  Great job taking a classic gaming style and updating it.
PSN Game of the Year
This was the only PSN game I played last year.  Thankfully it was a good one.  The last few levels were a bit too weird and dark for my liking, but overall it was a very unique and relaxing game.
Best Sports Game
MLB: The Show 09
This is getting redundant.  Will any game take this category back?  The Show is simply the best sports sim out there (That I've played.  I hear the NHL series has been great the last few years).
Madden 2010
Looks like the Madden team managed to finally back up their off-season promises .  For the most part at least.  It takes some slider tweaks, but Madden 2010 was probably the best in the franchise.  Keep at it guys!  Pretty soon you'll have this series where it should have been 5 years ago.
Best Graphics
Uncharted 2
Hands down easy win here.  Uncharted 2 is gorgeous from every possible angle.
Killzone 2
If you would have told me prior to its release that Killzone 2 would NOT be winning "best graphics of 2009" I wouldn't have believed you.  The game is absolutely gorgeous.  But as great as it looks, Uncharted is the current king of making my jaw drop.
Best Multiplayer
Modern Warfare 2
I mean really?  This game won my 360 GotY because of its multiplayer alone.  It wasn't even close here.
Demon's Souls
As you can see, I am not much of an online deathmatch guy aside from MW.  I'm sure Halo: ODST could have been a contender here.  Or Battlefield 1943.  But not for me.  Demon's Souls, on the other hand, wins for its ingenious and unique way of incorporating multiplayer into a single-player experience.
Surprise game of 2009
Demon's Souls
I think I heard about this game for the first time a few weeks before its release.  Wow.  Not bad when your runner-up to GotY was a complete surprise.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Sure, it looked good and I had high hopes, but somewhere in the back of my mind I didn't think Rocksteady was going to pull it off.  They sure proved me wrong.
While I had heard of this title way before release, it didn't interest me at all.  The I played the demo and realized I should have been paying more attention.  Solid action/adventure title.  Bring on the sequel.
Shadow Complex
Didn't think much of this title when it was announced.  Little did I know it would be an homage to the great Metroid and Castlevania games from my youth.  Great title!
Biggest Disapointment
Full price for Halo: ODST
I thoroughly enjoyed ODST.  It was a fun experience that felt like classic Halo at times, but was different enough to feel unique.  But this is definitely NOT a $59.99 title.  This should have been released at $29.99.  $39.99 at the most.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
Not so much a disappointment since I became interested in the title close to its release, and even then I wasn't feverishly awaiting it, but after playing it I like many, many things about it, but technical flaws and extremely troublesome A.I. teammates really make this game far more of a chore than it needs to be.
Best Sophmore Effort
Assassin's Creed 2
This is how you make a sequel.  Address its flaws, keep what works, add a ton of stuff.  Great job.
Uncharted 2
Even though overall I enjoyed Uncharted 2 more than AC2, the upgrade in overall quality was not as big a jump in Uncharted as it was in AC.  That is more of a compliment to the original Uncharted than a knock against its sequel.
My Most Anticipated Release of 2010
Last Guardian
Anything from Team Ico will be my most anticipated game that particular year.  These people can do no wrong
Alright, that's all.  One year I'll get this list out at the end of the year, instead of 3 months into the new one . . .

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