Karmum: Best of 2009

It's been quite sometime since I've contributed to this website outside forum posts. 2009 has treated me pretty well, both outside and inside the gaming world. 2010 is about to dawn upon us, and I think I've actually played more than 10 games this year, which will allow me to create this list. I had the good pleasure of playing many games this year, however, still missed out on some great games. I've heard all the buzz about Dragon Age: Origins, and since I was a fan of the original Left 4 Dead, I was upset when I couldn't squeeze Left 4 Dead 2 into 2009. I'm sure there are other gems at retail or online that I've missed, but these are some of the most prominent. Mark these games down on "Games I Need to Play Next Year." This list was incredibly hard for me, because many of the games there didn't have many flaws in my opinion, so ranking them in the current order was both a frustrating and grueling process.
Note: I don't own a Playstation 3, so there isn't any PS3 hate. I want to play Uncharted 2, I really do! Mark down the Playstation 3 as the item that "I will be buying immediately next year."

List items

  • "Who the hell is Rockstedy Studios?" I said to myself. I was skeptic about Batman: Arkham Asylum, which all started with that first review a month prior to its release. One month later, my views changed, when I saw all of the positive reviews and when I was enjoying it myself. Arkham Asylum might have only occupied my Xbox's disk tray for a few days, but those were some of the best few days I've had this year. Good story, great looking game, and solid action. The fighting was both fluid and solid, which allowed me to not become frustrated throughout the whole game. Although its ending might have been...underwhelming, that's only one blemish in an overall fantastic game. Who needs multiplayer when you have an incredible singleplayer mode? It has a decent story, the looks, the mechanics and the replayability to solidify it as one of the best, and my best, games of this year.

  • If this list was solely based on amount of playing time, Madden NFL 10 would have destroyed the competition. I have no idea why I continue to come back to this game every single week, but it just has something in it that makes me do it. The addition of online franchise and refinement of its presentation are a good welcome, and I can't wait to see what they have in store for Madden NFL 11. I hope it's a different franchise mode, allowing for both more micromanagement and customization.

  • I liked the original Assassin's Creed, I liked it a lot. I came in with some pretty high expectations for Assassin's Creed II, and Ubisoft did not let me down. They didn't let me down at all. Assassin's Creed II did everything the original did and made it better. Assassin's Creed II has more variety of its predecessor, which was one of the very few gripes I had about the first one. Including a better story, refined combat and climbing mechanics makes it a must-buy for the action-adventure enthusiast. I mean duder, you get (spoiler) two blades! Two blades to kill two enemies at once!

  • It didn't take much for me to love Modern Warfare 2. Forget about its underwhelming story, multiplayer is where I was at. After spending countless hours playing Call of Duty 4, I was ready to jump into Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer mode. I've had a blast, spending a good amount of hours collecting kills, killstreaks, and certainly, plenty of deaths. I've also had my frustrations with the game, which may or may not be due to the fact that I hadn't played Call of Duty 4 in a long time, making my skills rusty. Nonetheless, excluding that negative, and the glitches that have been reported, I've had a great time playing with Modern Warfare 2. Even if it's only for an hour at a time, it's still a great hour. Whether you're playing with a group of friends online or with a buddy in Spec-Ops, you'll find something in Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer component.

  • Successful, unique, and original IPs seem to be rare these days. It's all about the sequels and the amount of money and sales they can generate. Luckily, Borderlands has had all of the mentioned. Borderlands has solid combat, a Diablo-like looting system, and all of the guns you can imagine. Borderlands has now created a new hybrid genre: combining both role-playing elements and shooting elements into a great package. Mix and match skills with one of four different characters and see what combination you like, and try it and the game's great multiplayer. If you decide to take the leap from the offline story to the online one, you'll be presented with tougher enemies, but more satisfying rewards. I can't want to pick up Borderlands and 2010 and pick up the downloadable content along with it, allowing me to boost my gamerscore past 1000. Whether you're playing it offline or online, you're bound to have a great experience.

  • I'm not going to lie, I came late to this party. Real late. How late might you ask? I just completed the game on Wednesday, December 30th. I decided to invest several hours last night completing Shadow Complex, but it was totally worth it. Shadow Complex creeps into the Top 10 due to the fact that it was a blast from start to finish, visually appealing even for an Arcade game, great controls (even if sometimes the platforming was tedious or clunky) and solid action sequences. I only wished that it could be longer. Being late to the party was better than never coming at all, and its discounted price of 800 Microsoft Points made it worth every single microtransaction...penny?

  • I love Grand Theft Auto, plain and simple. I loved Grand Theft Auto IV, and I could not wait for both of the DLCs to be released in 2009. I had a blast playing through both the Lost and Damned and the Ballad of Gay Tony, experiencing two different characters and playing styles. Albeit, I found the Ballad of Gay Tony to be more superior in excellency, gameplay, and overall playing time, Lost and Damned provided its fair share of fun. Both provided immense amount of fun, from parachuting off buildings or helicopters, to riding with your posse throughout Liberty City.

  • Red Faction: Guerilla is one of those games that I never was able to enjoy for too long. It must have gotten crammed between UFC 2009: Undisputed (also in this list), and Virtua Tennis: 2009 (not listed). For the amount of time I did get to play with it, I had a blast. I had remembered playing the beta for this in the summer of 2008 and simply stating "I must have this game, I must play it." Fast forward almost a year later and I was still enjoying it the same amount as I did the year prior, if not more. Its singleplayer can simply be highlighted with this: blowing stuff up has never been more fun. Its incredible multiplayer highlighted the package, making it a great buy, whether you're only going for an offline or an online experience.

  • It's hard for me to describe what makes UFC 2009: Undisputed so good. Oh well, maybe the countless times of knocking out some fools. Yeah, that can be pretty fun. UFC 2009: Undisputed is everything you'd want in a good MMA fighting game, and the first one we've had in awhile. There is an array of fighters at your disposal, each with their own traits and fighting style, and if you decide you'd rather have your own fighter, that is at your disposal as well. UFC 2009's Career Mode lets you pave your way throughout the UFC, even if it has its flaws. No aging and the minimal options is unfortunate, but all will be forgiven if it's upgraded in 2010. I found that the controls were gruesome and scary to attempt at times, but usually had a great time in the process. Only if I could get those damn submissions to work!

  • Chances are that you've never heard of Panzer General: Allied Assault. Panzer General was released in October on the Marketplace, and is one of my sleeper hits of this year. I didn't play this game much, which is a shame, but it was crammed in with other games on this list (Ballad of Gay Tony and Borderlands). I've never been a big fan of the card combat genre, but this little beauty made me change my opinion, even if it was slightly. Panzer General has both a campaign and multiplayer mode, and includes digital cards that you use to battle your enemies. Whether it's an airstrike, ground unit, or a tank. I can't explain its battle system in this short tidbit, but it's unique and provides an interesting experience. If you're a fan of war, don't mind a little variety (card based system), and have some free time on your hands (games aren't quick), you might enjoy this little jewel.