Best of 2009
Adrenaline: Best of 2009
Adrenaline: Best of 2009
This is the king of good sequels though, and I suppose my favorite game of this generation of consoles. I have a bit of an "I liked Uncharted before it was cool" thing going on, but it's nice to see the second attempt take it from being an interesting, genre-spanning gamer's game to a genuinely successful and nigh-universally praised technological marvel. It's not flawless, but the single player campaign is a stunning, immensely fun, beautifully paced near-masterpiece and the online multiplayer ain't half bad either. Anybody who owns a PS3 or has easy access to one and hasn't given it a shot is only robbing themselves of something pretty special.
I already really, really liked the first game despite its faults in some areas, so a sequel that fixes pretty much all of those was a shoe-in to appear high on this list. With a much more varied and thoughtful progression through the game, improved storytelling, more incentive to explore, and movement and combat systems that stand out from the rest of the world's open world action adventures, it's an extremely rewarding and fun game that does everything a sequel should.
Despite all the huge budget, lavishly produced games I played in 2009, this small, two hour piece of art probably hit me the hardest of anything. I know not everyone is going to be affected by something the same way, but at least for me, it was an experience that was at different times relaxing, distressing, and profoundly moving. And probably my favorite use of sound in any game last year as well.
It's still a bit amazing how Rocksteady came out of nowhere and made one of the most complete single player games in a while with a superhero that almost everyone has to at least like, though I do think it's in that rare position of being a great game but maybe a bit overrated by the world at large. I mean, how can a game really be that good when the bosses suck so universally? Still, that's mostly a quibble when the unique combat and stealth are both so well executed.
I didn't expect to be swept up again, but if nothing else, Infinity Ward is a group of professionals who know how to make a tight, engrossing single player experience, and can throw some good online play on top of it. I've had a chance to check out the two player Spec Ops missions as well, and they help extend the life of a game that's campaign can be finished in only 5 or 6 hours, but has plenty of moments worth revisiting and enough other content to keep shooter fans happy for a while.
It's getting harder for this series to really blow me away anymore, but A Crack in Time was probably the series' most complete installment to date. I'll probably never love a game in the series like I did the proper PS2 sequels again, but as I've said before, I could play games of this quality for a long time without getting sick of them.
This is probably the most flawed game on the list, but it's so much damn fun to run around and explore the environment that I had to put it here anyway. Few games make you feel as powerful as you do in inFamous, and it still managed to be challenging without ever getting too frustrating. I'd like to give it a go as a bad guy some time, just to see how the other half lives. If only Sucker Punch didn't feel the need to get all gritty and dark and nonsensical with the jump to new hardware.
I didn't play this nearly as much as I would have liked, but that's what happens when you experience significant lag issues and have a handful of single player games you'd like to get through. Still, I could tell with the time I've already spent that this quick sequel manages to add a lot of new things to the series without taking away any of the sense of fun playing it through with a group of friends. And with some DLC already on the way, we know Valve's going to continue supporting the franchise. I just hope they show a third installment of a different one of their series instead this year.
Most years that a Halo game comes out, seeing it this low would be weird, but it seems like I liked this one about as much as anyone. It's an interesting experiment that does some new things with the formula, but either people were turned off by the expansion pack nature or are just getting tired of the franchise. I guess we'll find out next year when the slightly more hyped already Halo: Reach comes out.
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