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Giant Bomb's Xbox 360-Only Game of the Year, 2009

What's the best thing going for Microsoft's machine this year? You're only a click away from finding out.

It's been an interesting year for the Xbox 360, and honestly, it's not really a stretch to say that most of the 360's best games were third-party releases that also appeared on other platforms. But there were still a few kick-ass gems on Microsoft's machine in 2009, so we're going to specifically call those out here with the year's best Xbox 360-only games.
 

Best Xbox 360-Only Game


Shadow Complex


Known as 'Cipher Station' east of the Rockies. 
Chair Entertainment's Shadow Complex stands alone in 2009 as the best game that was only made available on Microsoft's home console. It's a great action-adventure that straddles eras by recalling some of the best games that previous generations had to offer while modernizing the process in a way that makes the whole thing feel very much like an all-new experience.

As Jason Fleming, an everyman who just so happens to have a bit of weapons training under his belt, you'll infiltrate a shady fortification full of bad guys who are plotting to overthrow the United States, build a powersuit that gives you additional traversal abilities, and eventually shut the whole place down. The additional skills you get, like double jumps, speed running capabilities, better weapons, and even a shield that makes you practically invincible as long as you move slowly, make the game a joy from start to finish because you're always acquiring something new that makes you rethink the different ways to get around this side-scrolling world. Missiles open doors, foam lets you create platforms, and a grappling hook lets you hook onto and climb to places that felt completely impossible to get to only minutes before. With its satisfying combat and plenty of enemies to eliminate in a lot of different ways, just fighting your way from place to place is exciting as heck.

Then there's the meta-game to Shadow Complex. The way the game challenges you to collect every single item, or gives you a set of well-conceived leaderboards for things like headshots and melee attacks, or the way you can speed run your way through the entire game in a fraction of the total time if you know exactly what to do makes Shadow Complex a very replayable game that feels very different when you're attempting to achieve these alternate goals. On top of that, there's the Proving Grounds, a set of out-of-game challenges that give you some very tricky tasks to accomplish, as well.

It looks great, and it's a downloadable Xbox Live Arcade game that launched at $15. You can't find it anywhere else, and it's the best thing going on the Xbox 360 for 2009.
  
  
Runners-Up: Halo 3: ODST, Forza Motorsport 3 Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
96 Comments
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Posted by Bigandtasty

Makes sense since there were so few major 360 exclusives this year.

Posted by MisterSamMan

Wow, this shocked me, but great choice and definitely deserves it.

Posted by AgentJ

Great choice. Shadow Complex was fantastic.

Posted by Bigbombomb

I enjoyed Shadow Complex a lot when I played it. I haven't actually finished it though; I only finished the main story. I'm glad to see that it won.

Posted by StaticFalconar

I"m glad Halo didn't win, but Shadow complex over FM3? wow, I should really look into shadow complex.

Posted by Meowayne

Very good choice. Just beat it today.

Posted by King9999

I'm hoping this game comes to the PC.

Posted by Teptom

I have this downloaded, but never played it yet. I should do that.

Posted by DevWil

Word, Giant Bomb.  Word.

Posted by Ratcabbage

This game totally deserves it. It's really hard to stop playing once you get going. I had to check out every question mark.

Posted by LiquidSwords
@Fripplebubby said:
"I was disappointed by this, definitely. Now understand, I have never played Shadow Complex, but I am still a little urked that the Xbox 360 GOTY went to a downloadable game. Forgive me if that seems old-timey, but I think a full out game should probably win the award instead of some XBLA shit. But hey. I haven't played it, maybe it's really that good.  "

You are a fucking idiot, never post here again
Posted by natetodamax

Nice choice, Shadow Complex is great.

Posted by CptBedlam

I fully support this choice.
 
When I started playing it I just couldn't stop until I had done everything and got each achievement. I took me about 4 playthroughs, one on each difficulty setting. This game is so addicting!

Posted by Nemesis

Well  Halo 3: ODST was a pile of garbage, and Forza 3 is quite a niche title, so it had to go to Shadow Complex. Funny how a $15 XBLA download was better than an expansion pack that was priced as a full game. ODST showed how the Halo fanboys are the biggest sheeps in the gaming industry.

Edited by Crono

Very good choice, however unusual it may be to have a downloadable/arcade game be a platform best.

Posted by ImperiousRix

So I guess I should clear some space for Shadow Complex, huh?

Edited by CoolDrMoney

Very cool game. I played a shit ton of it in the first week completing just about everything with the exception of hitting level 50. Totally exhausted myself of it though, and I never want to look at it again. I'm not made to marathon game.
 
Also, 360 had a weak ass year for exclusives. 

Posted by Bubahula
@Nemesis said:
" Well  Halo 3: ODST was a pile of garbage, and Forza 3 is quite a niche title, so it had to go to Shadow Complex. Funny how a $15 XBLA download was better than an expansion pack that was priced as a full game. ODST showed how the Halo fanboys are the biggest sheeps in the gaming industry.
"
why are you even allowed on the internet?
Posted by JackSukeru

This and Mass Effect are the games that make me want an Xbox, and I can live without Mass Effect :<

Posted by MeatSim

Like how they made it best platform exclusive, otherwise your just gonna get MW2 for everything.

Posted by Milkman

Hm, kinda makes you realize that there really weren't that many exclusives on the 360 this year.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Shadow Complex, nice. This game really did take away a chunk of my summer even if i ran into a bug that forced me to play it over. I will admit that I enjoyed playing through it again more than I should have. ;)

Posted by Zereta
@Nemesis said:
" Well  Halo 3: ODST was a pile of garbage, and Forza 3 is quite a niche title, so it had to go to Shadow Complex. Funny how a $15 XBLA download was better than an expansion pack that was priced as a full game. ODST showed how the Halo fanboys are the biggest sheeps in the gaming industry.
"
Classy. 
 
Didn't expect ODST to win anything here. They all thought the game was good, just nothing special. Basically, Halo all over again. Its a sound feeling. But Shadow Complex over Forza? Mind boggling... Though from their reactions in the podcasts, make sense.
Posted by Axdemon

Man, seeing this is gonna make me put off my xmas present games and go back and get to level 50.

Posted by TripMasterMunky

This was a surprise. I mean Shadow Complex was a lot of fun. But yo, Forza is dope.

Posted by Yummylee

mmmmmnaaaaaah I dunno, i enjoyed playing through it on my first playthrough. Haven't been on it ever since then, dunno why I just found it hard to stay stuck in it.
Posted by MAN_FLANNEL
@Nemesis said:
" Well  Halo 3: ODST was a pile of garbage, and Forza 3 is quite a niche title, so it had to go to Shadow Complex. Funny how a $15 XBLA download was better than an expansion pack that was priced as a full game. ODST showed how the Halo fanboys are the biggest sheeps in the gaming industry.
"
Funny how a child can use a GOTY award in a deliberate insult towards personal taste.  Oh, and if I'm a sheep, I guess that makes you a rat or some other type of rodent. 
Posted by Brendan
@Nemesis said:
"Well  Halo 3: ODST was a pile of garbage, and Forza 3 is quite a niche title, so it had to go to Shadow Complex. Funny how a $15 XBLA download was better than an expansion pack that was priced as a full game. ODST showed how the Halo fanboys are the biggest sheeps in the gaming industry.
"

So did you come to this page with the premeditated intention of letting the world know just how much you hate Halo then?
Posted by CowsWithGuns

sry but that's little lame.  The best xbox 360 game is down loadable.....Microsoft step up your game!

Posted by StingingVelvet
@Fubar said:
"I would play it, if it came to PC  ... a perfect game for my steam collection  "

Same here, I wish Epic would get over their whiney bitch thing over Unreal Tournament 3, realize the game wasn't that great and that is why sales sucked, and then release their games on PC again.  It just burns when a studio made through the PC turns their back for no real reason.
Edited by ez123
@CowsWithGuns: 360 didn't have many strong exclusives but that doesn't take from the fact that Shadow Complex is awesome. 
Online
Edited by Fripplebubby
@DRE7777: Damn, way to be the bigger man (man?). In any case, it's an opinion, I get one. You get one too! 
 
@LiquidSwords:     You too. Welcome to the internet, I guess.
Posted by scarace360

good a down loadable game won now if only a game that only comes out for download wins game of the year next year i think that their will be a shift of some sort maybe alot more download able full games. AKA steam on consoles with day and day  launch at retail. Now that is the world i want to live in. Also i need to go play this game.

Posted by Supermarius
@Shaunage: Dragon Age won the PC award even though it was multi-platform because it was a very different, and generally inferior, game for the home consoles.  The control scheme for the 360 or PS3 was functional but couldn't compare to a mouse and keyboard. That being said, i have it for the 360 only, and its entirely playable, just not ideal.  The guys said that they would have even included MW2 for the pc award if it had had dedicated server support, as that would have made the pc version special relative to its console versions.
Posted by mastrbiggy
@AndrewB said:
" The link between the best 360 game and best PS3 game: Nolan North. "
Best voice actor ftw!
Posted by Jayross

Xbox 360 exclusives this year were terrible, I really hope 2010 will be a better year, I really want to buy a PS3 for Uncharted 2, Ratchet and Clank, God of War and Heavy Rain, and Killzone, and maybe Resistance...
 
But, Xbox has Mass Effect 2 next year, yay! But.... thats about it... I don't really want more Halo, I guess Gears 3 would be nice...

Posted by Noxpectius

I really should finish that game........

Posted by belaraphon

it was a really fun game!

Posted by Clbull

At least ODST didn't win.

Posted by CowsWithGuns
@ez123: 
Very True.
Posted by Nemesis

Choosing Shadow Complex shows how much downloadable games have come. It really is even harder to justify some of the overpriced garbage on the XBLA arcade with awesome, and lengthy games like Shadow Complex.

Posted by artofwar420

East of the rockies, nice reference there.
Posted by MrPickles

This is my favorite game over-all this year as well. Fantastic choice.

Posted by wiII

I would of gone forza, but I totally enjoy shadow complex too.

Posted by giyanks22

Great choice.

Posted by BreatheEasy

Downloading now.