Best of 2009
smithbubbajones: Best of 2009
smithbubbajones: Best of 2009
The number one spot, Game of the Year, is always reserved for the game that leaves the finest impression on me. Uncharted 2, I'll never forget its incredibly set piece moments, whether it be fighting along a speeding train in a blizzard, or robbing a museum in Istanbul. Absolutely relentless pacing, kick-ass gun combat, thoughtful puzzles and platforming, all wrapped together with an expertly directed story. Past that, Uncharted 2 is just a phenomenal sequel to an already impressive action adventure title, with addictive multiplayer modes and even more creativity in its design. No matter which way you look at it, Uncharted 2 is a near-perfectly executed project that Naughty Dog should be proud of. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves gets my Game of the Year title because it's just unforgettable in every conceivable way. Mind-blowing entertainment.
The first time I ever played Killzone 2, my jaw essentially hit the floor. Yes, it's pretty. But after the fact, it's an extremely well done shooter. It's got intelligent enemies, heavy weapons with just the right amount of punch, and incredible brutality and atmosphere. Killzone 2's universe is simply stunning from an artistic perspective. The steps of Visari palace, the glowing red eyes of the Helghast, the dust sweeping across an alley, it's all superb. While the campaign was well paced and exciting, Killzone 2 featured the best and most innovative multiplayer of the year, with epic battles spanning all night and shifting objectives on the fly. The fact that this game came out at the start of the year, and it is still fresh in my mind and in my Ps3 speaks for the legs of this fantastic shooter. Killzone 2 was close to taking my Game of the Year, but in the end, it was Naughty Dog's action adventure title which took the crown.
Borderlands is just badass. This fps-role playing hybrid really packed on the style and the action. Thousands of guns, a huge world to explore, great customization, cool visuals, an awesome soundtrack, fantastic enemy design, good pacing, superb cooperative play, a 25 hour main quest, 4 character classes, the never ending prospect of finding new loot, dynamic enemy AI, sweet driving, a unique second wind system, hilarious writing and text, fun violence, and terrible box art are what make Borderlands so damn great. The fact that it's snagged 3rd place on this list shouldn't be a surprise, Borderlands is in all honesty, just that good.
The biggest title of the year, Modern Warfare 2 is the game that everybody has, everybody is playing, and everybody loves. That's absolutely true as far as I'm concerned. Is it a little disappointing that Modern Warfare 2 failed to outdo 3 games this year? It shouldn't be. It doesn't speak for the quality of Modern Warfare 2 as it does speak for the quality of Borderlands, Killzone 2, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The campaign in Modern Warfare 2 got a little crazy, but in doing so, it opened up new opportunities for explosiveness, and Infinity Ward truly capitalized on every chance they had. The multiplayer has fantastic map design and innovative new perks and killstreaks, and Spec Ops mode is only bested by Borderlands and Left 4 Dead 2 as far as cooperative multiplayer goes. Assuming you DON'T already own a copy of this outstanding shooter, go out and purchase one this very instant. You won't get much more bang for your buck than this.
The original Assassin's Creed was one of those games that I couldn't sleep because I was pondering about how great it would be to reenact the life of an assassin in a historic era. Once the game rolled out, it managed to be a great action game, but not quite what I had been expecting. I wasn't alone in thinking this. Ubisoft Montreal has placed every card on the table for this ambitious sequel, to great results. Assassin's Creed II allows you to be more free in your approaches, and the game design itself is more open ended than its predecessor. While not perfect, which accounts for 5th on this list, Assassin's Creed II delivers on the ambition this time around, and that's definitely worth insurmountable credit.
I was very skeptical about Forza 3. As a Ps3 owner, I was planning to hold out until Gran Turismo 5 came out, but with news hitting that GT5 is still about a year away, I decided to take the plunge with Forza Motorsport 3, and it ended up being one of the best gaming decisions I've made all year. It's smartly crafted career mode nails the basics of pacing and developing the player from driving slower, more street ready cars, and gradually moving up to the R2 classes. One thing I notice the most impressive about Forza Motorsport 3 isn't its dynamic and huge community features and customization, it's that it makes driving a Ford Focus fun and intense, and no words can really speak for that.
inFamous is simply a blast. While it may not have the attention to detail as Uncharted 2 or Modern Warfare 2, or the large scale of Forza Motorsport 3 or Dragon Age: Origins, the game's use of the power of lightning is something of a dream. As an unlikely vessel for superpowers, it's up to you to decide how to use them, resulting in a rather personal experience that is really unlike anything else out there. inFamous is a game that I won't soon forget, mainly because I'll still be playing it.
Dragon Age: Origins feels like a PC game. This is apparent in the throwback to Baldur's Gate, the very minute details of its rpg nature, and the limitless dialogue that makes up the gameplay. The combat is more point and click strategy than fast reflexes, and that's okay. Where Dragon Age truly shines is in its art design, in its rpg customization, in its story, and in its overall presentation. A vast role playing game with over 60 hours of stuff to do, I found it easy to get lost in Dragon Age, because it's such an engrossing experience.
Halo 3: ODST is a full game. Despite not being titled "Halo 4", its campaign which stretches beyond the 5 hour mark, adding every single Halo 3 map to its competitive multiplayer, and its insanely addictive Firefight cooperative mode speak for justification that Halo 3: ODST is a true Halo game. While it may not continue the story in any meaningful way, it's hard to argue against the fact that this is a game that belongs in every Xbox 360 owner's collection of shooters.
I found myself playing the demo for UFC 2009 Undisputed for several hours at a time. With MMA as a fast growing sport, mixed with my hopes for a great UFC videogame that captures the feel of it all, and the end result of what this game ended up being were just too good to be true. Great balance in its fighting engine involving luck & strategy, it was a fantastic MMA game. Let's just hope the career mode is worth playing next year, yeah?
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