By DanielJW 11 Comments
Here it is! Developers have vied for this top position all year long, yet only one can win. Well, I suppose several can win because I'm going to have a couple of categories going here, but that's beside the point. Publishers, look no further for your box quotes and little ribbon-dealies to throw obnoxiously on your box art, because DanielJW's GotY begins... now.
Let's also keep in mind the very limited scope of games I played this year. Of course I am open to discussion and disagreements, let's just remember that little factoid.
Best Use of Divide and Conquer
Wii Sports Resort!
After sword fighting with some friends, I can safely say they are no longer friends. As good as the Wii Motion+ was, the controller was never closer to a real sword then it was when I was striking my buddy across the face with it.
While I thought sword fighting was definitely a highlight, nearly every other game offered an equally fun and enraging multiplayer experience. Whether laughing at how ridiculous people looked competing to row that damn boat across the line, or how delightfully stupid and fun flying a plane down a volcano is, I thoroughly enjoyed my all my time with the game.
On top of that, it's got some great sticking power. Still lots of fun to take out with friends around, and I think it always will be. It's single player life runs a little thin, but hell, if you have a Wii, you should be playing it with other people. It's a social console!
Game that probably-would-have-been-a-contender-had-I-played-it!? : New Super Mario Brothers: Wii
Best Game That's Totally the Game I Played Last Year
Hey look, it's Madden. You can tackle, snap, throw, run, and get first down. This is all I know about football and that's all I want to be able to do in my football games. Well, that's not entirely true. I'd like to be able to play as Master Chief, or maybe a scorpion. Somebody make it happen.
But let's try and put something meaningful here. Madden is Madden and it's going for the same audience as always. Football doesn't change, and the people who are in to Football don't change. The formula works, and people buy it. When it comes to sports games, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Best Character of 2009
My main man Eddie. While the game play of Brutal Legend was decidedly janky and left something to be desired, I felt character development and feeling was spot
on. Jack Black lent his voice well, and there wasn't a time that I felt I was playing a Jack Black sound board on my PS3. A feeling I get from most of his movies.
The emotion conveyed through characters is unlike what I've seen in games before. Being someone new to Double Fine's games, I'd assume these art styles and feelings are something they've been doing well for a long time. If not, then kudos to them for nailing it this time. Brutal Legend pulled me in to the story more than any other game I played this year.
You can make a pretty strong case for the power behind the characters by stating my total dislike for the genre. I pushed through an RTS for the cut scenes. I couldn't play through an RTS if it would save my mother's life, which subsequently is a big part of why my mother is dead.
Character who'd have been a contender had I played his game!?: The Joker
Best Game That Doesn't Belong in the 2009 GotY Awards
This game just sunk in to my skin like so many heroin needles. And by heroin I mean insulin. Nevertheless, this game is incredibly fun. Having picked it up just a couple of months ago, I've yet to put it down. Even the behemoth that is Modern Warfare 2 has been shelved on occasion for this baby. I love the handling of the cars more than any other racing game. Theres a very distinct surrealism to the handling. It's not so much that you can stop on a dime and make any corner, but it allows you enough control that it feels good. Racing games, to me at least, have to handle nicely.
Another aspect of games I generally hate, collectibles, were handled gracefully here. They become a very natural part of the world, and most importantly, you never really have to go out of your way to find a ton of them. On top of that, they aren't just another trophy. The short cuts provide valuable aid for the tougher races in the game.
The variety of cars is nice too. The different boost styles go a long way in how you play, especially online. I jumped in to a few games with the sole mission of crapping everyone up, only to be wrecked every time I turned a corner by a truck. I am not one with patience, hence I cannot drive a larger vehicle. It is not my cup of tea. Needless to say I left the game, exhaust pipe between my legs.
My Runner-up!: de Blob
Best Multiplayer Experience
Modern Warfare 2
Surprise! Betcha' didn't see that one coming. Modern Warfare had a way of appealing to the motivation part of my brain. Few games have given my a sense that I need to level up and unlock the next gun, or the next perk, or the next camouflage. Yet here I am, level 40 somethin' in Modern Warfare 2, still going strong.
There's just something so satisfying about getting a kill in that game. Whether it's the incessant clicking of the gun, or the screaming of twelve-year-olds, I love it. The new perks, especially Bling, have given me a new drive to unlock gun attachments. Anything to get the edge over that jack ass who shot me last round. The game seems very fair and balanced to me. I hear complaints about double shotguns, but the rare occasions I've seen folks with those, they weren't doing too well.
The call signs and emblems are really neat too. While I would like nothing more than for "Joint Ops", "Blunt Trauma", "High Command", and all those who wear them to disappear off the face of the Earth, the other ones are quite good. It adds another level of customization, as well as a "That's cool, how'd he get that one?" factor.
Game that probably would have won, if I still only had just a Wii!?: The Conduit
Game of the Year
Hooray! Congratulations to Sucker Punch, you're winner! The level of polish on this game was outstanding. Everything from the story, to the gameplay, to the upgrades, to the sunglasses on Zeke's beautiful face, this game was excellent.
I plowed through this game, and even started a second play-through, which I am currently enjoying. I don't think I've ever felt the need to play through a game twice, and I want to here. The story is wonderful and the comic book style in which it's told, is not only emotionally powerful, but visually stunning. Cole got my empathy and ran with it, charging my emotions with his manly, electric hands.
Ahem, moving on, the action in this game is fantastic. The movement feels really great, and the powers feel... well... powerful. You hit an enemy, and you know you've done some damage. All the acrobatics and climbing work really well, especially in conjunction with the electricity shooting thing. I really appreciated that you could fire off some damage from virtually any location. Grinding train tracks? Perfect! Hanging from a street lamp? Wonderful! Rolling behind an exploding car? Even better!
The overall atmosphere and feel of this game was just flat out great. Something totally unexpected and unique for me this year. Every side mission had meaning, the moral choices actually required thought, and most importantly, it played great as a game. When I was thinking about what game I'd choose for GotY and I asked myself; "What brought together everything that I love about video games?" it was really no contest. The score, the story, the playing, the moving, the climbing, the electricity, the baldness, the fatness, the gravely voices, the angst, and the loud mouthed photographers, piled up for my game of the year.
If I had one complaint, it would be that the facial animation in the game is very stiff. Cole looks like his face was glued into position.
That's all folks, and thank you so much for reading. It's been a great year, and I'm especially excited for 2010. Have a happy holiday, and keep your eyes peeled for my next blogola.