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Giant Bomb's Game of the Year 2009, Day Three

Our guilty pleasures, our best villain, and Dave's Eastern Bloc GOTY revealed!

If you like audiobooks as much as you like lists, check out our companion podcast to today's awards for the best of both worlds! 

Dave Snider's Eastern Bloc Game of the Year Brought To You By Dave Snider


Cryostasis: The Sleep of Reason


If you didn't know by now, our designer Dave believes the best thing to come out of the the former Soviet Union was not potato vodka and perestroika, but odd and original games like Cryostasis: The Sleep of Reason. These Eastern Bloc games not only share a loose geopolitical bond but also come with fiercely original ideas and technology that while not always coherent, are creeping onto Western store shelves at an alarming rate thanks to Russian publishers like 1C.

The best of the bunch this year was Cryostasis, a Ukrainian-developed first-person shooter that allowed you to jump into the past lives of fallen comrades while investigating a derelict ship. That game's frigid mystery and unusual story line seemed a bit off while we played, but then we got to the ending, and well... we're still confused. Cryostasis' ending alone scores five out of five stars on the only criteria you need to win this category... utter bewilderment and originality. 

Runners-Up: Majesty 2, Drakensang: The Dark Eye
 
 
 

Best Villain


Helicopters


No disrespect to either Uncharted 2's Lazarevic or Brutal Legend's Doviculus--easily two of the most effectively menacing villains we've seen in a game this year, and two gentlemen we would never want to make the mistake of disrespecting--but 2009 was simply a banner year for antagonistic helicopters. 
 
Maybe it's just one of those weird serendipitous things, like when you get two asteroid movies coming out back-to-back the same summer, or maybe it speaks to society's latent fear and distrust of unnatural flying contraptions, but there was just a volume of memorable enemy helicopter encounters in games this year. Then again, isn't it just a little too coincidental that some of the biggest, most memorable games of 2009 featured these hovering hate machines, including 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Modern Warfare 2, Prototype, Shadow Complex, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine? More likely, these are all cautionary tales meant to warn us against the evils of non-fixed-wing aircraft. Either way, we've got our eyes on you, shifty, no-good helicopters!
 


Runners-Up: Zoran Lazarevic - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Doviculus - Brutal Legend
 

 

Worst Game of the Year


Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust


In a perverse sort of way, this is one of our most technically challenging awards to give out. Games and the people who play them have both become more sophisticated, and the standards for game design processes and quality assurance have come a long way. By this logic, the worst games of today should seem like handcrafted gems compared to the worst games of 10 years ago, but Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is indisputable proof that we've still got a long way to go. 
 
Not that the cheeky Leisure Suit Larry series has ever been freely associated with the upper crust of anything, but Box Office Bust lacks any of the playfulness or deliberately corny sexual innuendo that gave the Al Lowe-era adventure games their charm. Instead you get some lazy approximation of a cliche-ridden Hollywood send-up, filled with grotesque characters spitting venomous lines at each other. It's hard to tell who the game despises more, its own characters--most of who feature regrettable celebrity voices--or the player, who it punishes with infuriating controls and desolate open-world settings that seem to exist purely for the purpose of padding the experience with lots of needless running. It's such a repugnant concoction, it makes 2004's ill-conceived Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude look like a fun, appealing take on the Leisure Suit Larry franchise by comparison.
 
This is an ugly, tedious, stupid, mean-spirited, and profoundly unfunny game, and it should speak volumes that, unlike the other two nominees here, we couldn't bring ourselves to play enough of Box Office Bust to render a proper review. This quick look was the last time any of us could muster the necessary self-loathing to play this hideous game, and frankly, we probably deserve some kind of award for making it that far.  
 
 
Runners-Up: Tony Hawk: RIDE, Velvet Assassin
 
 
 

Best Add-On


Fallout 3 - Point Lookout


Whether you like it or not, downloadable content is a video-game fact of life these days. But DLC need not always be associated with paying extra for content that should've been on the disc, or worse, paying extra for content that is on the disc. A well-considered add-on can bring new dimension to a game, or it can just give you a good reason to extend your stay in a place or with characters you've become fond of. In 2009, Bethesda showed us the right way to do DLC with its post-release support for Fallout 3, and Point Lookout was the best of the five episodes it released. Part of what made Bethesda's approach to DLC work so well was the timing. If you started playing Fallout 3 when it came out in October of 2008, and you kept up with the DLC, there's a decent chance you were still playing Fallout 3 in August of 2009. That's a seriously impressive lifespan for a single-player game. 
 
Of the bunch, though, what makes Point Lookout so specifically noteworthy is the way it sums up some of Fallout 3's best characteristics. It takes you out of the Capital Wasteland, an area you potentially had your fill of by the time Point Lookout was released, giving you a glimpse of how hillbillies have handled the apocalypse. It's filled with memorable characters, none of which are as good or as bad as they initially seem (or are they!?!) The main quest is rich with the nihilistic humor and anachronistic sci-fi touches that are the hallmarks of Fallout 3's best quests, leading up to a no-right-answer finale that's still oddly satisfying. And, for you treasure hunters out there, Point Lookout is full of unique and occasionally quite useful souvenirs to bring back to your home in the wastes.

 
All this talk about Fallout 3 add-ons has got us antsy for Fallout: New Vegas, which is exactly why Point Lookout is our choice for best add-on.

 

Runners-Up: Grand Theft Auto IV - The Lost and Damned, Borderlands - The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
 

Guilty Pleasure Of The Year


50 Cent: Blood on the Sand


OK, let's get one thing straight: 50 Cent's second foray into the world of interactive entertainment is not a good game. But it somehow manages to be great in some weird way. It's over-the-top in a way that approaches complete nonsense, and despite its mundane, somewhat-uneven gameplay, it's never so broken that you're forced to put it down and walk away. 50 and the G-Unit run around a torn-up-yet- unnamed Middle Eastern country, blasting anyone and everyone that gets in their way, from soldiers, to soldiers that double-cross you, to helicopters. Tons and tons of helicopters, in fact. All the while, you're just a man trying recover the diamond-encrusted skull that you were promised in lieu of a cash payment for a rap show. On top of all that, if you click in the left stick, the characters just sort of curse at the enemies they're blasting, prompting what might be the greatest line in video game history, Tony Yayo's shout of "I'mma kill your whole fucking generation, motherfucker."

It's not a great game. In fact, if you put it up against the eight billion or so other shooters that were released in 2009, it's competent at best. But it's so overboard that it transcends its dull shooting and becomes something that we'll guiltily return to again and again. 

Runners-Up: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Godfather II
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Posted by Brad

If you like audiobooks as much as you like lists, check out our companion podcast to today's awards for the best of both worlds! 

Dave Snider's Eastern Bloc Game of the Year Brought To You By Dave Snider


Cryostasis: The Sleep of Reason


If you didn't know by now, our designer Dave believes the best thing to come out of the the former Soviet Union was not potato vodka and perestroika, but odd and original games like Cryostasis: The Sleep of Reason. These Eastern Bloc games not only share a loose geopolitical bond but also come with fiercely original ideas and technology that while not always coherent, are creeping onto Western store shelves at an alarming rate thanks to Russian publishers like 1C.

The best of the bunch this year was Cryostasis, a Ukrainian-developed first-person shooter that allowed you to jump into the past lives of fallen comrades while investigating a derelict ship. That game's frigid mystery and unusual story line seemed a bit off while we played, but then we got to the ending, and well... we're still confused. Cryostasis' ending alone scores five out of five stars on the only criteria you need to win this category... utter bewilderment and originality. 

Runners-Up: Majesty 2, Drakensang: The Dark Eye
 
 
 

Best Villain


Helicopters


No disrespect to either Uncharted 2's Lazarevic or Brutal Legend's Doviculus--easily two of the most effectively menacing villains we've seen in a game this year, and two gentlemen we would never want to make the mistake of disrespecting--but 2009 was simply a banner year for antagonistic helicopters. 
 
Maybe it's just one of those weird serendipitous things, like when you get two asteroid movies coming out back-to-back the same summer, or maybe it speaks to society's latent fear and distrust of unnatural flying contraptions, but there was just a volume of memorable enemy helicopter encounters in games this year. Then again, isn't it just a little too coincidental that some of the biggest, most memorable games of 2009 featured these hovering hate machines, including 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Modern Warfare 2, Prototype, Shadow Complex, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine? More likely, these are all cautionary tales meant to warn us against the evils of non-fixed-wing aircraft. Either way, we've got our eyes on you, shifty, no-good helicopters!
 


Runners-Up: Zoran Lazarevic - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Doviculus - Brutal Legend
 

 

Worst Game of the Year


Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust


In a perverse sort of way, this is one of our most technically challenging awards to give out. Games and the people who play them have both become more sophisticated, and the standards for game design processes and quality assurance have come a long way. By this logic, the worst games of today should seem like handcrafted gems compared to the worst games of 10 years ago, but Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is indisputable proof that we've still got a long way to go. 
 
Not that the cheeky Leisure Suit Larry series has ever been freely associated with the upper crust of anything, but Box Office Bust lacks any of the playfulness or deliberately corny sexual innuendo that gave the Al Lowe-era adventure games their charm. Instead you get some lazy approximation of a cliche-ridden Hollywood send-up, filled with grotesque characters spitting venomous lines at each other. It's hard to tell who the game despises more, its own characters--most of who feature regrettable celebrity voices--or the player, who it punishes with infuriating controls and desolate open-world settings that seem to exist purely for the purpose of padding the experience with lots of needless running. It's such a repugnant concoction, it makes 2004's ill-conceived Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude look like a fun, appealing take on the Leisure Suit Larry franchise by comparison.
 
This is an ugly, tedious, stupid, mean-spirited, and profoundly unfunny game, and it should speak volumes that, unlike the other two nominees here, we couldn't bring ourselves to play enough of Box Office Bust to render a proper review. This quick look was the last time any of us could muster the necessary self-loathing to play this hideous game, and frankly, we probably deserve some kind of award for making it that far.  
 
 
Runners-Up: Tony Hawk: RIDE, Velvet Assassin
 
 
 

Best Add-On


Fallout 3 - Point Lookout


Whether you like it or not, downloadable content is a video-game fact of life these days. But DLC need not always be associated with paying extra for content that should've been on the disc, or worse, paying extra for content that is on the disc. A well-considered add-on can bring new dimension to a game, or it can just give you a good reason to extend your stay in a place or with characters you've become fond of. In 2009, Bethesda showed us the right way to do DLC with its post-release support for Fallout 3, and Point Lookout was the best of the five episodes it released. Part of what made Bethesda's approach to DLC work so well was the timing. If you started playing Fallout 3 when it came out in October of 2008, and you kept up with the DLC, there's a decent chance you were still playing Fallout 3 in August of 2009. That's a seriously impressive lifespan for a single-player game. 
 
Of the bunch, though, what makes Point Lookout so specifically noteworthy is the way it sums up some of Fallout 3's best characteristics. It takes you out of the Capital Wasteland, an area you potentially had your fill of by the time Point Lookout was released, giving you a glimpse of how hillbillies have handled the apocalypse. It's filled with memorable characters, none of which are as good or as bad as they initially seem (or are they!?!) The main quest is rich with the nihilistic humor and anachronistic sci-fi touches that are the hallmarks of Fallout 3's best quests, leading up to a no-right-answer finale that's still oddly satisfying. And, for you treasure hunters out there, Point Lookout is full of unique and occasionally quite useful souvenirs to bring back to your home in the wastes.

 
All this talk about Fallout 3 add-ons has got us antsy for Fallout: New Vegas, which is exactly why Point Lookout is our choice for best add-on.

 

Runners-Up: Grand Theft Auto IV - The Lost and Damned, Borderlands - The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
 

Guilty Pleasure Of The Year


50 Cent: Blood on the Sand


OK, let's get one thing straight: 50 Cent's second foray into the world of interactive entertainment is not a good game. But it somehow manages to be great in some weird way. It's over-the-top in a way that approaches complete nonsense, and despite its mundane, somewhat-uneven gameplay, it's never so broken that you're forced to put it down and walk away. 50 and the G-Unit run around a torn-up-yet- unnamed Middle Eastern country, blasting anyone and everyone that gets in their way, from soldiers, to soldiers that double-cross you, to helicopters. Tons and tons of helicopters, in fact. All the while, you're just a man trying recover the diamond-encrusted skull that you were promised in lieu of a cash payment for a rap show. On top of all that, if you click in the left stick, the characters just sort of curse at the enemies they're blasting, prompting what might be the greatest line in video game history, Tony Yayo's shout of "I'mma kill your whole fucking generation, motherfucker."

It's not a great game. In fact, if you put it up against the eight billion or so other shooters that were released in 2009, it's competent at best. But it's so overboard that it transcends its dull shooting and becomes something that we'll guiltily return to again and again. 

Runners-Up: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Godfather II
Staff
Posted by CoolDrMoney

FUCK

Posted by VisariLoyalist

I bet the people who made cryostasis are thrilled with this award!

Posted by schattenwolf86

Agree on Guilty Pleasure.  Bought the game for $10 and it was fun! 

Posted by Hilfemaster

But drakensang is from germany

Posted by AjayRaz

haha i really want to try 50 cent :( 

Posted by wwfundertaker

Might get 50 cent game now.

Posted by gingertastic_10

Yeah! Fallout 3 DLC, that I still haven't bought, won!

Posted by TwoOneFive

lol@ these ridiculous awards.  
 
GB awards should be the official gaming awards period. 

Posted by rhodric

Yo 50

Posted by Svestus

Even though I liked Broken Steel more, I am glad to see more Fallout on the 2009 awards.

Posted by cstrang

I dunno about Guilty Pleasure.  X-Men Origins was pretty fucking awesome.

Posted by SkipT

Fucking Rogue Warrior wasn't even a goddamn runner up for worst game.

Posted by Bubahula

awesome! i still need to get the falllout dlc

Posted by MeatSim

Those damn helicopters are so pesky.

Posted by Cadmus

i can't stand Larry's hateful face.
Posted by Lotan

50's BOS was an awesome/bad game.

Posted by themartyr

haven't played a single thing on that list, including nominees. 
 
I didn't realise RIDE was that hated however, I thought they just thought it was a bit clunky.

Posted by fisher81
@SkipT said:
" Fucking Rogue Warrior wasn't even a goddamn runner up for worst game. "
These fuckin' Kim Jong-Il wannabes are gonna eat shit and fuck off. Rogue Warrior is the motherfuckin' best goddamn game since fucking Custer's motherfucking Revenge. Booyah motherfucker.
Posted by MrMiyagi

LOL HELICOPTERS

Posted by HT101

I am really wanting to play 50 Cent.  Another nice day of awards and podcast.

Posted by zombie2011

50 cent, maybe i'll rent that game.

Posted by DanielJW

I love that Tony Hawk: RIDE almost got worst game. 

Edited by blackbeard

yo, yo.... yo... listen... fuck helicopters! 
 
those bastard are just asking to be shot down, acting all high and mighty hanging up there... all like... look at me... i can fly in the sky and you can't... fuck you helicopter.... fuck you. 

haha, great best villan! :)

Posted by Meltbrain

Hahaha, that Dave category is fantastic. Brilliant list, guys. Completely agree with the choices, even if some of them are not the ones I would have picked I can easily say "I can totally see why they chose that", and this is key. :)

Posted by DrewHughes

Its a shame Mad Moxxi cam out in period of limbo, wonder if there will be a "Best 2009 DLC of 2010" section next year.

Posted by sopranosfan

I hate flying helicopters worse than shooting them down.  Helicopter flying ruined Bad Company and GTA IV for me.

Posted by Nasar7
@Hilfemaster said:
" But drakensang is from germany "
It's east....from Sausalito.
Posted by Ffenix

Admit it Jeff. You know in your heart of hearts, you WANT to give 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand a 5 out of 5! LOL =D

Online
Posted by xrolfx

Fuck those motherfucking helicopters. Take an RPG to those things.

Posted by Phetz

Hovering hate machines. Awesome.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Leisure Suit Larry? Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor came out this year. Other than that, I can't view some of the other awards because I'm currently playing those games.

Posted by ParaParaKing

So Germany is now part of the Eastern Bloc? Drakensang was made in Germany.

Posted by Gennolli

Joker?

Posted by Ethereal

50 Cent is a very competent, very fun, very crazy from a story stand point game..... There is one question in that game and it is this... "Where my skull".... See Jeff's Video Review
Online
Posted by snide
@ParaParaKing:
 
Drakensang's developer is based out of Berlin. A portion of Berlin as well as a portion of Germany entire was part of the Soviet Eastern Bloc. 
 
A mild stretch stretch granted, but hey, Drankensang was a pretty decent ride and I figured it could use some spotlight. 
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Germany    
Posted by Maxszy

Helicopters and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. Best awards yet! Thanks GB for the great laughs! Keep 'em coming because you know we lovem!

Posted by WrenchNinja

Wow, no nomination for  Wipeout HD Fury for best add on?

Posted by TheLawnWrangler

I say most disappointing goes to Eat Lead.... damn I had high hopes for that game 
congrats to everything featured in this list... they all deserved something lol

Posted by cpchrist

No love for the Joker for best villain? 

Posted by Jimbo

Men of War, Anno 1404 (close enough), Cryostasis, Majesty 2, Grand Ages: Rome, Tropico 3...
 
Not a bad year at all for our friends behind the Iron Curtain.  Three of those made my Top 10.

Posted by Grognard66

Good choice for Guilty Pleasure.  I also picked it up for $10 and it was well worth that.  Runner's Up for Guilty Pleasure, for me, would be Jurassic: The Hunted and Wet (both of which I got for under $15).
Edited by Jimbo
@Hilfemaster said:

" But drakensang is from germany "

The developer is in East Berlin - it totally counts.
 
Edit:  Bah, beat me to it Dave.  As sad as it is, I looked, and Radon Labs HQ is in fact East of the Wall....
Posted by ZmillA

xmen: wolverine wasn't that bad.

Online
Posted by SJSchmidt93
@Gennolli said:
" Joker? "
@cpchrist said:
" No love for the Joker for best villain?  "
Posted by sdnewman

Yo Fiddy hit that ramp

Posted by Rhombus_Of_Terror

well done Helicopters wooooo!

Posted by RHCPfan24

This year really was a great time for helicopters. Every game had them it seems. I also like your pick for DLC, as Point Lookout was easily my favorite of the Fallout 3 add-ons.

Posted by Cerza

LMAO! This makes me want to play Leisure Suite Larry. No way is it worse than Onichanbara.

Posted by Schnatterfleck
@Jimbo said:
" @Hilfemaster said:

" But drakensang is from germany "

The developer is in East Berlin - it totally counts.  Edit:  Bah, beat me to it Dave.  As sad as it is, I looked, and Radon Labs HQ is in fact East of the Wall.... "
God, I hope you're joking! There is no East Berlin anymore ... The king of Germany decided to tear the wall down 10 years ago  :-)
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