Games I Have Played In 2009

2009 may not have been the best year for me in terms of new releases, but it was a bloody good year in terms of me actually playing through and finishing some games. The following is a list of every game that I completed (the definition of which usually encompasses reaching the end of the single player campaign) between January 1st and December 31st 2009. Each game is accompanied by some thoughts, explaining my likes and dislikes related to them. Read on. As you can see, 2009 was a very busy year...

List items

  • A big thank you has to go to fellow Giant Bomb user BiggerBomb for recommending this to me, otherwise I would never have picked it up. It's a great action/adventure title with some really inspired puzzles and solid combat. The story is rammed down your throat a little at first, but it's a pretty captivating tale and features some excellent voice acting.

  • I bought Mirror's Edge for £15 as part of a deal at my local GAME store. I loved the aesthetics and the parkour gameplay, although it can get pretty frustrating at times, particularly when combat is brought into the equation. I'lve since traded it in, but I had a lot of fun with Mirror's Edge.

  • I picked up Saints Row towards the end of 2008 and since then it's served as an auxiliary game - something to play in addition to whatever game I'm focusing on. I'm surprised how much fun I had with it, to be honest. It's pretty rough around the edges, but it features some really well-crafted missions and isn't a chore to play. It may be a GTA clone, but it's a well executed one.

  • I received Canis Canem Edit as a Christmas present a while back, and never really played it. I decided to give it a chance after my Xbox 360 died, and I haven't been disappointed by it in the slightest. Well-written, focused and refining the open-world, sandbox-style gameplay Rockstar have become famous for is enough to make Canis Canem Edit Rockstar's finest hour on the PlayStation 2.

  • I decided to revisit Grand Theft Auto IV in anticipation for The Lost & Damned DLC. The game was just as excellent as I remember it being the first time through, looking incredible and playing even better. Once again I was gripped by Niko's story. This time through, I chose the deal ending instead of the revenge ending and got a much more profound impact out of the plot as a result. Shortly afterwards I played the first part of DLC for the game, The Lost and Damned, and really enjoyed that, too. November saw me returning to the game a third time, this time to play through The Ballad of Gay Tony. All in all, the trinity formed by these three games is a masterpiece of game development.

  • I played through Dead Space over the course of about two weeks in April. The combat was a lot of fun, with strategic dismemberment adding a new dimension to the otherwise standard third-person shooter mechanics. The story was kinda peace-meal but really added to the game's atmosphere. That being said, it was the incredible visual detail and immaculate audio design that really stole the show, making it easily the scariest game I've ever played.

  • I've always been a fan of the Metal Gear series. Metal Gear Solid 4 was the only game I'd never had the chance to sample, up until May when one of my flat mates at University let me borrow her PS3 to play it. The gameplay changes brought a much-needed new lease of life to the combat, while maintaining the stealthy aspects of the previous games. It looks breath-taking and sounds amazing, but it was the plot that really gripped me. It was nice to finally get closure on the story arc and have all those long-standing questions answered.

  • Up until May this year, I hadn't touched Shadow of the Colossus since I first played and completed it back in 2006. Three years later, my girlfriend expressed an interest in the game, so I booted it up and we played it together. The game still looks amazing thanks to its impressive art style, and it evokes some truly incredible emotions as you play. It's hands-down one of the best games I've ever played.

  • I initially started playing BioShock with my girlfriend after we both had a blast with Dead Space, but for some reason Rapture didn't hold quite as much appeal for her as the USG Ishimura. I wasn't overly impressed either but I persevered with it, and at some point the game changed from feeling horribly average to being totally awesome. I loved the storyline and the game looked amazing. The gunplay wasn't all that great but the plasmids kept combat fun and varied.

  • After going over a year without playing through a JRPG, fellow Giant Bomber Disgaeamad persuaded me to give Final Fantasy V a chance. Despite the story's slow start, its excellent cast of characters and deep Job system pulled me into the experience. Thirty-seven hours later, as I stared at the game's The End screen, I could only wonder why I hadn't got round to playing through the fifth instalment of my favourite gaming franchise sooner.

  • I played Portal for the first time last year as part of The Orange Box and absolutely loved it. With nothing to do one evening in May, I decided to pick it back up and play through the campaign once again. It was just as brilliant as I remembered it to be - funny, stylish and challenging. It's a truly innovative gaming experience.

  • After my girlfriend fell in love with Shadow of the Colossus, I introduced her to Team ICO's first effort. It still holds up remarkably well and I still love it, despite it being a six-hour escort mission. The art style is beautiful, and the simple storyline invites the player to read more into what is going on than a simple escape from a castle. The emotional attachment the player feels towards Ico and Yorda at the end of the game is rivalled only by the effect of Shadow of the Colossus.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was the game that made me fall in love with video games. Way back when the Mega Drive was a staple item in my household, I used to waste hours on this game. Before that, I'd make excuses to visit my cousin's house so I could play it there. Yet, despite reaching the final boss several times, I never managed to complete the game. Inspired by Disgaeamad, I decided to pick it back up as part of the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection and, with the help of a can of Relentless and a shit-load of reserve continues, I finally finished the game. It still looks and plays beautifully, as you'd expect the old Sonic games to.

  • As a long-time fan of the Metal Gear franchise, I got pretty pumped for Peace Walker following its announcement at E3. It was then that I realised I still hadn't finished Portable Ops, so I busted out the PSP and started pouring my free time into the game. It looks incredible, needless to say, with the stylish hand-drawn cut scenes being the stars of the show. The squad mechanics also make for a refreshing twist to the traditional stealth gameplay. The boss battles were also exciting and memorable, although the final showdown was a little anticlimactic.

  • With nothing else to do in my final days at University, I decided to pick up Metal Gear Solid for the GameBoy Color and check it out. It's incredible how well the team at Konami managed to translate the MGS experience to a handheld as technically limited as the GBC, but they certainly succeeded. It looks great thanks to a consistent art style, and tells a pretty interesting non-canonical story. The boss battles were all memorable and well-constructed, too. In short, MGS on the GBC offers pretty much everything you'd ever want in a 2D stealth action game.

  • After brief but enjoyable experiences with Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion earlier this year, I decided to spend my summer break with another open-world Bethesda RPG. The Game of the Year release of Morrowind on the Xbox captivated me almost right away with its incredible depth and detail in design. I took my combat-focused character through the ranks of the Fighters Guild, the Imperial Legion and House Redoran, and played through the game's main quest over the course of two months. I still have the additional Tribunal and Bloodmoon content to play through, so this could still keep me occupied for a long time to come.

  • One of my greatest vices last year (no pun intended) was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. I picked it up on PS2 at the end of 2007 and played it for about six months to get me in the mood for Grand Theft Auto IV's April 2008 release. I worked my way right through the game but never completed the last story mission. I returned to it in the middle of August and finally put paid to Mendez and Martinez, completing the game's storyline. Despite its graphical shortcomings the game remains a lot of fun to play, and adds some interesting new twists to the familiar formula with its empire-building side missions.

  • I've loved the Oddworld games ever since I picked up a cheap copy of Abe's Exoddus when I was around nine years old. Last year I bought the Oddworld Pack on Steam, giving me access to both Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus. In August 2009 I decided to play through the former, having never experienced it as a kid. I saved forty-three Mudokons during my time with the game, leaving me just short of the target and punishing me with the bad ending. The game oozes a twisted kind of charm, much like its sequel, and the puzzles it features are incredibly well thought out. It can be frustrating at times, but solving one of the game's puzzles is extremely rewarding.

  • After finishing the first Oddworld game, I decided to revisit Abe's Exoddus as well. It takes the gameplay of the original and expands on it in a lot of ways, making for some very good puzzles. I didn't find it to be quite as difficult or as rewarding as Abe's Oddysee, but the expanded Gamespeak function makes a for much more interesting puzzles and ultimately makes it the superior game, in my opinion. Thankfully, I managed to save two hundred and forty-six of the game's three hundred Mudokons, so I was rewarded with the game's good ending.

  • I will always have a soft spot for the first generation of Pokémon games considering the pivotal role played by Pokémon Blue in my childhood. I picked up a copy of Pokémon Yellow at the start of September and worked my way through it, finally decimating the Elite Four towards the end of the month. While graphically it's nothing special and the narrative is rather scant, the game's accessible gameplay and strategic elements were enough to keep me interested. Now I've finished it I'm feeling a strong urge to sit through a second-generation instalment in the franchise.

  • Almost immediately after finishing Pokémon Yellow, I picked up a copy of Pokémon Crystal. Having never finished a second-generation Pokémon game before, I resolved that 2009 would see that fact change. The Elite Four finally fell to my team of hard-trained Pokémon midway through November, fulfilling my aim and leaving me with a wealth of end-game content to explore both this year and next.

  • Most of my November was spent wrestling with this behemoth of a game. Fallout 3 was the game that drew me into Bethesda RPGs, and I felt I owed it to myself to return to it after purchasing all the DLC. I had an awesome time with the game and even managed to attain my first S rank on Giant Bomb by snagging all the achievements. The atmosphere and cohesiveness of the Fallout world is so wonderfully realised that it's impossible not to get lost in this game, even if the story is a little lacking.

  • Upon finishing it in mid-December, I came to the conclusion that Lost Odyssey is without doubt one of the best games I've played this year, and probably the best JRPG I've picked up since Final Fantasy X. The combat system is incredibly well-balanced, the levelling system favours progression over grinding, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. The story really gripped me too, in spite of the game's leaning towards annoying characters.

  • Finishing the Career mode of Forza 2 has been an ongoing mission of mine ever since I picked the game up back in the summer of 2008. I finally achieved 100% completion of the game's Career mode in mid-December, using up a free day to polish off all the outstanding events.

  • With Christmas fast approaching and a lot of spare time on my hands, I picked up Pandora Tomorrow looking for something to keep me occupied before the new year. It's certainly an improvement on its predecessor, feeling a little less rigid and a little more forgiving, although it still had its moments. I think my favourite aspect of the game was the more epic scope of some of its missions (the level set on the French train was incredible).