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Best of 2009

 Full discloser, I did not play every game released this year, of the games I played these are the ones in order of how much I enjoyed them, favorite to least favorite, not necessarily best to worst.  

List items

  • To be frank, I don’t like fighting games. Especially 2d fighting games. The more complicated they are the less I’m interested. Indeed BlazBlue wouldn’t have been a blip on my radar had it not been packed with a DVD and 2 disk Soundtrack at standard price. I got it thinking if nothing else, I got another soundtrack.

    As it turns out, the game is fucking nuts. The games branching story mode gave me some of the funniest, as well as some of the darkest moments I’ve seen in a game all year. BlazBlue’s cast of characters is also one of the best. All the characters use such vastly different fighting styles it took days before I figured out what was going on. In fact 2 days in I thought I had it all figured out, then in a fight against Bang I saw him turn into a Super Saiyan for the first time and pummel the crap out of me. I dropped my controller, put my fists in the air and thought, “I have no idea what the hell just happened, but I love it.”

    The games online mode is unparalleled in it’s consistency having the least amount of lag in any online fighting game to date, making it that much more addicting. The soundtrack by the way, is now my favorite soundtrack, for any game, ever.

    BlazBlue is like accidentally discovering masturbation. It starts out confusing, terrifying, and kind of cool. But once you figure it out, it’s just awesome. Hands down, my game of the year.

  • Demon’s Souls is probably the most revolutionary game of the year. Putting you in what is essentially an MMO single player game. It doesn’t seem like that would work, especially while trying to create a mood of loneliness and death. From Software did it though. Whether watching the last moments of another players life or watching someone in a parallel dimension run past you fighting for their life, Demon’s Souls let’s you know you’re going to die, everyone’s going to die. The seamless summoning and invading of other players without any menus is also something not seen before in a single player rpg. Aside from all the risks, the games level design is a work of art and the boss battles are some of the most satisfying in recent memory.

  • Dragon Age is a game that takes a lot old gameplay mechanics, and puts them in a very familiar fantasy setting. What makes Dragon Age so good is the writing and the relationships between the characters. Throwing out the good/evil morality bar that’s been a mainstay for the genre makes every dialog choice feel a lot more critical to the whole story. In fact a number of times I started avoiding characters or taking breaks from the game because I was going to have to make a choice that had no right answer. That doesn’t happen often in games.

  • Pokémon Diamond/Pearl were enormous games. So much so that the amount of new content they added to Platinum makes you wonder how it can all fit on a DS cartridge. Adding new events, more elaborate gyms, more catchable Pokémon, and new Wi-fi modes would almost justify the cost of the game by themselves. Truly this is the pinnacle of Pokémon.

  • They fixed the problems with Ninja Gaiden 2 and added co-op. I think that says it all.

  • Assassin’s Creed 2 had a good story, tight controls, and was one of the most beautiful games of the year. Also, that was some kind of ending.

  • Cryostasis is buggy, but in spite of that it stands out as one of the better games this year. It’s hard to overstate just how well the atmosphere in the game is done. It’s original way of telling a story should be commended, and the story itself is memorable to say the least.

  • I came into RE 5 more than a little skeptical, having never really understood the high raise RE 4 has enjoyed. Having said that I was pleasantly surprised with how far the series had come. This is the best co-op this year, and possibly the best reward system. I ran through this game at least 6 times in it’s entirety, and still felt like going back for more.

  • DiRT 2 is a game with which it’s hard to find fault. The cars and environments look gorgeous, the environmental effects are breath taking, and the physics make you feel like you could lose control at any moment. On top of that, DiRT 2 is just plain fun.

  • Bit.Trip Void is the most hypnotic game I’ve played all year. The simplicity of it’s gameplay and it’s 8-bit look and sound mixed with the continuously more elaborate soundtrack and beat patterns make this game hard to put down. Within minutes the game had me so entranced I could have been stabbed and wouldn’t notice or care.