Even though 2009 didn't come close to 2008 in terms of the sheer number of high profile games that came out, it still did a solid run, with a few surprises as well. So I've thankfully had the opportunity to play enough video games this year to make up a personal top ten games to the year. Last year I did a similar post
to this one, where I did more of an overview of my overall gaming experience in the previous year, but this year I'm just going to summarize that in one sentence. It was aight
Before I got deep deep down into the top ten list, I'll just mention that besides the next-gen consoles, my PS2 was still alive and kicking it, albeit the machine hosted only two
games and leaving me behind with the fact that I still have around 20 classic titles to beat on that system. But free time is really hard to find, and when I do discover it, I usually tend to burn through the newer games. A habit I somehow want to change slightly in 2010. Since I personally didn't allow myself to place an older game on my top ten list for 2009, I'll go right ahead and say that the game that made me almost lose my sanity on the PlayStation 2
was none other than my dearly beloved Persona 3
. The countless moments I had thinking about that game before snoozing off to sleep, really did make an impression on me. That's all coming from someone who really does not like your standard RPG games and turn based combat. Yet that game managed to completely seduce me into playing it for long and unbearable game sessions. Similarly, on the PC
completely blew me away. I've beaten the game twice and sank around 50 hours into it. And I still crave for more and more quests and loot to be given to through the means of DLC. I did include Borderlands into my overall top ten list for the year, I'm just mentioning it here right now, since in this paragraph I'm focusing solely on the platform a game is being played on. The PSP
received a lot of new and interesting games this year and I did
buy most of them, yet somehow the poor thing got neglected enough for me not to write about my personal pick for that system. Lastly, on the PS3
that scored high for me.
But I'm already slightly spoiling things, so allow me to jump into my personal
Top Ten List of Games For 2009
#10 - Skate 2
I don't know how to skate, but I do respect people that do
know how to skate. Thus the medium of video games is my only resort to actually getting the feeling and sensation of the sport. And man, does the feeling kick you in the groin and kicks you again after you fall down in pain. The game is better than the original that I loved last year and even more realistic, which means it's much harder. I never really was a fan of Tony Hawk's button control and the million combos you can do with a press of two buttons, but the stick control in Skate 2 still feels natural and fun. Even if it makes you almost break
a controller or two in the process.
#9 - Shatter
This year was a really good year for digital releases of retro-themed games on both PSN and XBLA. After a large number of bad
Arcanoid that rampaged through years, Shatter brings a new and innovative game mechanic into the overall gameplay. Sucking and blowing (no sexual innuendo intended)
. Thanks to trophies, I've managed to beat the game three times and I still found myself even today
trying to get the last three trophies, after a four month hiatus. The game is fun. What more can I say? Also, buy the soundtrack
, it's really
good. Anyone that you'll speak to about Shatter will mention this, even me.
#8 - Call Of Duty [insert number?]: Modern Warfare 2
I don't know why, but I feel kind of guilty placing Modern Warfare 2 on the list. I played the hell out of the original Modern Warfare's multiplayer, but here I didn't touch it on purpose. I only wanted to see one thing. The story mode. I wanted to see what kind of cinematic and insane crap they placed in four hours
of gameplay. A friend of mine lend me the game and I wasn't impressed. The original story and setting were spectacular, but this time, shit just got too surreal for my taste. I have no doubt that the game is really a high quality game, but I already knew what to expect from the game. So that's why it didn't do it for me. But if someone says that Modern Warfare 2 was an amazing experience for him and that the multiplayer is still awesome, I'll agree with him.
#7 - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
As with Modern Warfare 2, this was also a game that everyone waited for and held their breaths until they were released, consequentially climaxing at their cinematic value and fun multiplayer. But not me. I do appreciate setpieces, but when I saw that Uncharted 2 was built all around them, constantly placing me in cool moments
, it just didn't do for me. You could say that Uncharted 2 is played like a movie, which is totally fine. But a movie is a movie. For me a very good game gives me the tools to create my own
awesome and unforgettable moments, which is what counts. Similarly as with Modern Warfare 2, Uncharted 2 is a popcorn
kind of game, one that you enjoy while it lasts, but it's easy forgettable and doesn't really stand the test of time.
#6 - Left 4 Dead 2
I'm a huge Left 4 Dead fan. The structure of the game was perfect. There were zombies and you and three other people had to survive. No plot, just survive through this campaign and experience awesome moments of horror and agony. So when they announced a sequel after a mere eight
or so months, I was sceptical. And I still am. Even after beating the game. Sure, they added more contents, one more campaign and new modes. And chainsaws
. Out of some unknown reason, I keep coming back to the original Left 4 Dead, with a crew I'm far more familiar. Because of the fact that I would rather play more of the original L4D, L4d2 just didn't score higher on this list.
#5 - Resident Evil 4: Africa Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 4 was awesome and we all knew it. The new gameplay format was beyond godlike had a very special feeling to it. So when they announced a new Resident Evil 5, we we're stoked and in high expectations. And it didn't disappoint me, with one little exception. In RE4, you we're alone in an unknown location in Spain at night, where creepy stuff happened. In RE5 you're stuck 24/7 with a woman that is essentially you're mule, which you use to carry around weapons and ammo you don't need, in daylight Africa. And there's more action. A lot
more action. But you still felt the core of RE4's gameplay and fighting your way from one area to another was never more exciting. Which is what makes me wonder why most people behave like RE5 never came out this year and don't speak about it.
#4 - Assassin's Creed II
I was one of those few people who adored
the original Assassin's Creed, even though it had the typical repeated gameplay elements, you can usually find in Ubisoft's games. The game had this weird movie-like holy feel and setting to it, and was really a gem. Assassin's Creed II fixes all the issues that the original game had and expands on the concept of you being an assassin. You go through the actual process of becoming a killing machine in the, oh so
beautiful renaissance Italy in the 15th century. I originally placed Assassin's Creed II on the #2 spot on my list, but after a closer consideration, it was not worthy that high of a spot out of one main reasons. The game lost its holy setting in the Holy Land, which impressed me in the first game. There aren't any explicit religious reasons, it's just that the story had more meaning. Altair was on a quest to redeem himself and protect the Holy Land from the Knight's Templars and Ezio just wanted to get some payback for the death of his father.
The game was mentioned before as my personal game of the year pick for the PC, but in the overall picture, it deserves to be third on the list. This is mostly because of its lack of an actual story to drive the game forward. Sure, the FPS gameplay is fantastic, the loot system is fantastic, the gun system is fantastic, but it lacks that small piece of a meaningful story, that would give some sense to why you're doing the stuff you're doing, to actually place it higher on the list. But still, number three is still pretty good. Looking forward to some more DLC in the future and hoping that Borderlands will become next year's Fallout 3 in the sense of DLC support. For me, Borderlands is how Fallout 3 should have been, without the VATS system that I absolutely loathed
#2 - inFAMOUS
This was the year where developers did the superhero video game genre justice, by making those games right
. inFAMOUS places you in the position of a regular dude that gets electric superpowers. And then he does whatever shit he wants to. As in our deepest dreams, the developers made a successful superhero game that has a more than solid and fun gameplay, an amazing story which leaves you wanting for more. The fact that the game has a morality system, gives you the chance to play the game through two different perspectives, with two different superpower mechanics, once as an evil dude and once as a good dude (the morality system itself is actually dumb of course, but it does the job).
The game is simply awesome in its execution and does the job more than right.
#1 - Batman: Arkham Asylum
When I talked about setpieces and how they should be used, this game is a perfect example of how the game offers you the tools of execution awesome Batman-like moves with determined objectives. You find yourself in an area with thugs that you have to silently take out one by one in order to reach the next area. Batman's ninja hidding skills? Check.
There's an area of thugs and you have to beat the shit of out them? The game gives you the moves and a fighting system that is easy to learn and has a deep value of execution. Batman ninja fighting skills? Check.
You are Batman of course, which means you are the greatest detective that ever lived and you find yourself being able to solve all of these little puzzles placed by the Riddler. Batman detective skills? Check.
All of these systems with its main story that drives the game forward make an excellent package that everyone should experience, even if you never read any Batman related comics or just watched at least one Batman movie. The game could be described in one sentence. Batman: Arkham Asylum makes you feel like you really are
Batman. And a video game that can simulate that kind of a feeling and execute it spectacularly, is a video game worth placing highly in the annals of video game history.
So that's my top ten list for the year. It's a personal
list of course, so hopefully with that disclaimer I won't feel the wrath of random fanboys. The only thing I do want to say is that there were enough unique and high tier games in 2009, which makes me kind of sad seeing so many people shouting out madly either "Modern Warfare 2 best game evah, dudes!" or "Uncharted 2 cinematic shit baby, best yeah!". And about next year's releases I can say only one thing, holy shit, look at all of those games! Will it top 2008's mad releases? We can only hope. I'll end by saying something that a writer in a local gaming magazine said. It's a damn
good time to be playing video games.
Also, on a side note, the only real
reasons why this blog hasn't been updated since the summer, is the fact that something like Twitter and micro-blogging offer a quicker and more effective way of writing about games. Which is something that my account totally
agrees with and abuses on a daily basis.