Best of 2009
ImperiousRix: Best of 2009
ImperiousRix: Best of 2009
It would have been a considerably easier feat to make a Batman game that was simply a "good for a Batman game". Despite his character likely being the inspiration for countless of video game protagonists, the Dark Knight has never quite had a game that represented all aspects of his character and also showed considerable muscle in all aspects of gaming. That was all shattered with the release of Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum. From the presentation to the story to the gameplay to the pacing and extras, everything about this game is superb. The sheer surprise factor over the quality of this game may be the reason why I consider it the best of 2009, but that's just nitpicking. This cape finally has his crusade.
Easily the best rhythm game of 2009, The Beatles: Rock Band actually seems like an important video game that unites two mediums in perfect harmony. Speaking of which, many forget that The Beatles: Rock Band actually made the (probably abandoned) innovation of adding harmonies to the mix. And when it comes down to it, that's what this game does best; synergy. Every element of Beatles: Rock Band just makes you feel the love.
Back in 2007, the first Assassin's Creed was one of my most anticipated games of the year. When I finally got my hands on the game, I was sorely disappointed with the game's lack of variety, uninteresting protagonist, and overall detached storyline. Every single one of these issues was addressed in the sequel. When combined with the already solid mechanics of the first game and with a wholly more interesting setting and much deeper overall systems in place, Assassin's Creed II is a greater representation of what the first game should and could have been.
Another handheld game on a "Best of" games of the year list?! Blasphemy! However, after all is said and done, Dissidia is still a deceptively deep brawler that offers tons of excellent gameplay packed into a small package. It remains as one of the few reasons to own a PSP. Oh, and did I mention you can make Cloud fight Squall in it? That's pretty cool, too.
The hottest sport on the market actually gets a good video game representation. UFC 2009 Undisputed brought rock-solid gameplay and presentation to the monumentally popular bloodsport, and even had a pretty fun and addicting multiplayer component that not only tracked wins and losses, but one's personal fighting style. With a few tweaks, this franchise can become perfection. Right now, however, UFC 2009 is just one of the better games of 2009.
A Flash game making a "Best of"... wait I already made that joke. It is kinda surprising how good this game turned out, but low and behold, Trials HD was as simplistic as it was SADistic. Failing multiple times never felt so awesome. Throw in the fact that it looks as if developers RedLynx are going to continue supporting the game with content, and Trials HD is not only a great game of 2009, but may well be alive and flailing in 2010.
The strength of a game's mechanics and a single hook can carry a game on for countless hours. Thus is the case with Borderlands. Although none of its mechanics alone makes for a game that is completely compelling, combined, Borderlands MMO style of open-world questing and character building, its FPS action, and the lust to snatch up as many guns as possible creates a full-blown obsession. I may have been a little late to this party, but there's no doubt in my mind that Borderlands is one of the best games of 2009.
Many games came before it in which things blow up. Many games will come after it in which things blow up. However, no game will likely match the satisfaction, sophistication, and overall centrality of blowing up-ness as Red Faction: Guerilla. For that alone, it qualifies as one of the best of 2009.
Out of the other two GTA spin-offs released this year (The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony), it was a surprise to even myself that my favorite GTA of 2009 would be on a handheld system. Despite its portable nature and throwback aesthetics, Chinatown Wars is a game that plays not only similarly to passed installments, but also brings in boat-load of new features to the venerable franchise. For me, the only way to play this game is on the DS with all the crazy touch controls in place, but no matter what handheld you prefer, Chinatown Wars is one of the most solid and most unique games of 2009
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