Best of 2009
Wipeout: Best of 2009
Wipeout: Best of 2009
I like to put my surprise presents at the top of my list, because unexpected greatness is the most satisfactory greatness of them all. I spent a great many 50 hours in the five varied worlds of Demon's Souls, to which I spent 8 of in one stretch at the cost of a mere sick day phoned into work. The fruit encased within may be difficult to unshell but the sweet prize within is rewarding and glorious. To it's difficulty I say that I beat Demon's Souls twice, but was turned away by Ninja Gaiden's cheap asshole offscreen bikers and exploding kamakaze antichrists. Your mileage may vary.
Perfection by iteration in video games is something we hold over movies in most cases. This is in effect what has happened with Uncharted 2. Not only has everything numerically and physically improved by the eye of objection, it is the subjection of its' incredible action sequences that vault Uncharted 2 to the realm of super-sequel to which I call "The Half Life 2 of Uncharted games". Memorable moments, a great cast, unspeakable visuals and a satisfying length - and the evocation of the term 'more than a sum of its' parts'.
If I were asked to speak candidly of what I have had the most fun with in 2009, I would be a liar if I said anything else that playing Resident Evil 5 with either of my friends. In truth I have never even tried to play with just the CPU controlled Sheva, and I have finished the game four or five times in summation. I enjoy the methodical pace and the deliberate sequence of movements required to get around the environment. Take this in thought; RE5 and L4D2 are both zombie killing games, but because of it's pace and structure, RE5 feels like a totally different game. Variety is good in our hobby, RE5 just hit a note I like to experience in it's genre; tactical use of resources, and calculated cerebral advancements.
The first game was an impressive technological feat, but in 2009 we get the first actual game built around the sublime parkour engine. Not only was I engrossed in Ezio Auditore de Firenze's own story, but the drive to break the cocoon and flourish as butterfly became more and more intense. The final payoff was like solving your own Divinci Code puzzle, a reference not made lightly in this case.
Okay, so I'm a rabid, raging fanatical Top Gear watching petrol-head. It makes sense then, that since Forza 3 is squarely directed at pumping it's gasoline into my receptical that it would make a natural fit to my 2009 list. The microsoft steering wheel however....that goes on a different list called 'things better placed in the toilet'.
Bioware's best execution of it's own craft thus far. Yes I prefer the science fiction pieces, but they do not have the breadth or bandwidth of choices and gameplay that are present here. Flawed slightly in it's class balance (boring warriors and overpowered mages) does not tarnish its' place on some of the best 60 hours of 2009
I say with no subtlety that Metroid Prime is one of my very most favourite experiences. To that I add that I love great suprises. Here, encased in unassuming plastic and etched onto an optical disc is the consumation of both entities, and propelled by such quality that it easily nets a comfortable position in my ten of 2009 list. It is no greater surprise to anyone but myself that what I was convinced was a piece of forgettable shit for most of the year turned out to be so much the opposite.
Seeing as how Super Metroid lust runs rampant within me, and has perhaps bonded with my genetic code, I cannot ignore Shadow Complex or it's 'come hither' attractions. There is a distinct lack of exploration based action games to jab into my pulmonary artery like epinephrine-candy, so the satiation could be merely a cause effect of the lacking. However, Shadow Complex is such a quality experience at such a bargain price that it can still be embraced with love.
I challenge you to find another series of games where you lay traps for human meat to consume on a plate with sides of sanctioned griefing and cooperative survival modes. All this with your friends, too. Since you cannot, then Left 4 Dead 2 might just make it into my 2009 list by default. Cementing it is easily done by fact that its a shitload of fun and a helluva quality product, improved in every way over it's predecessor.
After toiling over what to place as #10 - Super Mario Bros wii? Infamous? MetroidPrime Trilogy? I decided that I had to take a stand for the game that gives me my Diablo fix plus guns. Despite some truly awful missions and a lack of thematic flavor, Borderlands is still awesome. Pitchford and co. can leave the crap collections to the MMO's and look to Torchlight for it's ability to radiate variety in a redundant location. Borderlands I consumed happily anyway, and indeed hunger for more.
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