Giant Bomb News

96 Comments

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. 
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 CommentsRefresh
  • 96 results
  • 1
  • 2
Avatar image for jeff
Posted By Jeff

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. 
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
Staff
Avatar image for cstrang
Edited By cstrang

Fuck yes.  Not a super big fan of the game, actually, but I thought it was pretty well done.  Also, it was a pretty shit year for X360 exclusives.

Avatar image for skyline7284
Posted By skyline7284

This throws a wrench into my predictions... Hmmmm
 
Worthy Choice though.

Avatar image for andrewb
Posted By AndrewB

Great choice. I freaking loved that game.

Avatar image for cerza
Posted By Cerza

Nice!

Avatar image for jeffsekai
Posted By Jeffsekai

I RESPECT THAT

Avatar image for austinmiller
Posted By austinmiller

Man i love shadow complex...this reminds me that i need to go back through again

Avatar image for pie
Posted By Pie

Yay! Wuh! Now put out the bombcast, its 20 past 8 in England and unless you put it up now I wont be able to finish it

Avatar image for hailinel
Posted By Hailinel

Anyone else find it oddly refreshing that, in a year that saw two Halo games, neither is running away with every 360-related award under the sun?
 
Also, good job to the folks at Chair on Shadow Complex.  Well-crafted Metroidvania is always a good thing.

Avatar image for delta_ass
Posted By Delta_Ass

Woof. 360 had a pretty bad year.

Avatar image for piderman
Posted By piderman

I concur wholeheartedly :)

Avatar image for the_philosopher
Posted By The_Philosopher

Nice choice, I'm glad you guys are doing it right. Bravo, I hate when multiplatform games win best 360 or PS3 game, it makes no sense.

Avatar image for toma
Posted By TomA

Never played Shadow Complex, i really liked ODST, but I don't think it should have won. Good job guys!

Avatar image for hot_karl
Posted By Hot_Karl
@Hailinel: 
 
Probably because A. console-based RTS game would never win an award like this, on any website and B. ODST was quickly forgotten the second Modern Warfare 2 shipped.
Avatar image for wintersnowblind
Posted By WinterSnowblind
@Delta_Ass said:
" Woof. 360 had a pretty bad year. "
It didn't have as many exclusives as the PS3, but it was by no means bad.
Shadow Complex was better than the majority of retail games released this year.
Avatar image for andrewb
Posted By AndrewB

The link between the best 360 game and best PS3 game: Nolan North.

Avatar image for shaunage
Posted By Shaunage

The platform exclusive awards make the multiplatform win for PC GOTY seem a little odd.

Avatar image for griddler
Posted By Griddler

No question what the PS3 winner will be

Avatar image for cstrang
Posted By cstrang
@Shaunage said:
" The platform exclusive awards make the multiplatform win for PC GOTY seem a little odd. "
It's just because Dragon Age is so obviously meant to be played on a PC.  It's leagues better than its console counter-parts, from everything from the graphics to the controls.
Avatar image for jeff
Posted By Jeff
@Shaunage: We look at it as a case of control differences making the PC version of a game meaningfully different from its console counterparts. It's the same reason why we didn't do "Wii-Only" or "DS-Only" categories.
Staff
Avatar image for nasar7
Edited By Nasar7

Bold choice; I still need to play this game.

Avatar image for pkshields
Posted By Pkshields

Not what I expected, but that is absolutely a worthy game for a GOTY award.

Avatar image for wrecks
Posted By wrecks

Fantastic Choice!!!!

Avatar image for wickedcestus
Posted By WickedCestus

50 isn't actually the maximum level. My character is level 53.

Avatar image for glitch
Posted By Glitch

I agree with this to some degree, I would have liked to see 'Splosion man nominated but did not expect it and, honestly, don't think I would have replaced any of the other nominees with it so I'm good with this.

Avatar image for demonstride
Posted By Demonstride

Great choice. Although I have only played through once I really liked it.

Avatar image for charleytony
Posted By CharleyTony

Great Choice ! And I am pretty glad you had the balls to pick this game. A lot of people dont really check the weekly XBLA releases on a regular basis and this game cannot be discounted in a store with a big dropped down price sticker that will make obssessive gamers buy anything. 
Epic & Chair should almost make a voucher that you can buy in a store just to promote this awesome game 
 
Can't wait for a sequel
Avatar image for pepper_2000
Posted By pepper_2000
@cstrang: Looking back, I kinda agree. All games were really good, but now that I think about it nothing gets close to, what I think, is great such as the PS3 exclusives inFamous or Uncharted.
Avatar image for handlas
Posted By handlas
@girdz said:
" No question what the PS3 winner will be "
Uncharted 2 = winner
 
Runner Ups = Ratchet and Clank,......and....Killzone?
Avatar image for get2sammyb
Posted By get2sammyb

Oh man, I wish Shadow Complex was on PS3.
 
Amazing seeing an XBLA game take the award though, especially in a year with Halo games. Congrats to all the people involved in Shadow Complex. Sterling job indeed.

Avatar image for get2sammyb
Posted By get2sammyb
@handlas: Runner ups could be anything from Ratchet, inFamous, Killzone, flower -- I expect inFamous and Ratchet though personally. Or Killzone. But it seems everyone's forgotten Killzone :(
Avatar image for monster9999
Posted By monster9999

Couldn't agree more. spent the last half of my summer playing this game

Avatar image for handlas
Posted By handlas
@get2sammyb said:
" @handlas: Runner ups could be anything from Ratchet, inFamous, Killzone, flower -- I expect inFamous and Ratchet though personally. Or Killzone. But it seems everyone's forgotten Killzone :( "
Oh ya I forget Infamous...that is definitely gonna take the 2nd runner-up slot.
Avatar image for ghostiet
Posted By Ghostiet
@handlas said:
" @girdz said:
" No question what the PS3 winner will be "
Uncharted 2 = winner  Runner Ups = Ratchet and Clank,......and....Killzone? "

I fucking hope the runner up will be Killzone 2. I don't understand why the cast forgot about that game, especially when recalling Jeff's excitement over the multiplayer.
Avatar image for machofantastico
Posted By MachoFantastico

Good choice, a deserving winner.

Avatar image for zombie2011
Posted By zombie2011

Wow wasn't expecting this i was hoping MW2 would win, but i like the way you guys think.

Avatar image for lasersanchez
Posted By lasersanchez
@zombie2011: Probably disqualified in the GOTY 360 exclusive due to it being on systems that aren't 360 as well.
Avatar image for infinitegeass
Posted By InfiniteGeass

I should probably buy this game the next time I get a points card.

Avatar image for fripplebubby
Posted By Fripplebubby

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. 

Avatar image for agentofchaos
Posted By AgentofChaos

Shit year for exclusives, but I liked ODST. Its got the cast of Firefly duder.

Avatar image for solidlife
Posted By solidlife

I should check out this game. I guess MW2 going to get GOTY.

Avatar image for griddler
Posted By Griddler
@handlas: Or inFamous
Avatar image for zombie2011
Posted By zombie2011
@lasersanchez: Oh i thought it was just 360 game i didn't read the "only" part of the title.

Avatar image for fubar
Edited By Fubar

I would play it, if it came to PC  ... a perfect game for my steam collection 

Avatar image for dre7777
Posted By DRE7777
@Fripplebubby:  
If you've never played the game why even bother giving your uninformed opinion that no one cares about?
Avatar image for tie23
Posted By TiE23

I've been playing A LOT of Forza 3 lately and I would of though it would have one...  hmm.

Avatar image for dallas_raines
Posted By Dallas_Raines
@Fripplebubby: 
 
Shut the hell up.
Avatar image for empire_man
Posted By empire_man

I didn't get the joke of the caption...

Avatar image for chicken008
Posted By Chicken008

Alright!

Avatar image for canucks23
Posted By canucks23

This game was awesome. Still need to get to lvl 50 though.

  • 96 results
  • 1
  • 2