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Best of 2009

My top ten games from 2009. Keep in mind while reading this that I have not played every game this year and this is purely reflective of my experience. I'm sure Dragon Age, Forza 3, Borderlands and Assassin's Creed 2 are great but I haven't played them yet so I'll get back to you.

List items

  • The original Uncharted is a solid game but it never really comes together in a meaningful way. In Uncharted 2, it comes together. It corrects everything the original did wrong and then some. And by "then some" I mean add an extremely robust multiplayer component and excellent co-op missions.

  • Infinity Ward does every thing a sequel is meant to do with Modern Warfare 2. It doesn't re-invent the formula, it just improves it in a bunch of really smart ways. Of course, Modern Warfare 2 didn't come without controversy from both players and press alike but the fact remains that this is a helluva multiplayer shooter and one that should be recognized as such.

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum was a game that looked neat before release but I always carried a cynical attitude towards it. That probably had something to do with the last Batman game I played, Batman Forever for the Sega Genesis. However, fortunately, Batman: Arkham Asylum was nothing like that game and become my most surprising game of 2009. Arkham Asylum shares a lot in common with the recent Batman movies. It's got a dark tone, manic characters and just an overall gritty tone. The game doesn't look down on you because you're playing a game about a superhero in tights and that's Arkham Asylum's strongest point.

  • There seems to be a theme developing here. I see a sequence of twos...It's not a lie, though. 2009 really was the year of the TWO. And DiRT 2 (their spelling, not mine) further extends this precedent. DiRT 2 takes everything in the original game and amplifies it by 10. The attitude, the style, the modes and most of all, the fun.

  • It's difficult to describe what makes inFAMOUS so good. It's just fun. It's fun climbing the buildings of this sprawling urban landscape. It's fun to blast thugs with your awesome electricity powers. There are just so many things that inFAMOUS does right that it can only be described as action-adventure perfection.

  • Metroidvania was the hot word of 2009 and none executed this play style better than Shadow Complex. Shadow Complex brings that "explore EVERYWHERE" gameplay into the next generation with amazing reverence towards the source material. The game doesn't hide its inspirations and tells you exactly what you're in for from the very beginning. And the end result is one of the most addicting games in recent memory.

  • Killzone 2 had a helluva hype train. Ever since the now infamous E3 2005 trailer, Killzone 2 has been buzzing through the gaming world. Did it live up to the hype? Debatable but there's not debating that it's damn good. First off, the game looks amazing. I mean, it LOOKS amazing. And although Uncharted 2 would blow my mind even further later in this year, at the time, this was the best looking game I had ever seen. Oh, and it played pretty good too. It had all the inner workings of a great FPS. Killzone 2 doesn't do a whole lot of new stuff but it does a whole lot of great stuff.

  • Nintendo does something very hard with Punch-Out!!!. It takes a 20 year old game and makes it feel fresh again. The formula is not changed here. You are still Little Mac and you are still punching dudes in the face. But the way in which Punch-Out!! tweaks the formula makes the game feel like an almost brand new experience. And a fantastic one, at that.

  • Time to get arty. flower is "that" game of 2009. That game pushes the boundaries of video games and makes everyone indulge in that age old "video games as art" conversation. I feel that thatgamecompany executed on what they tried to do with flOw with flower. The game is art. There's no real challenge or enemies but it just works. It's downright beautiful and though it gets a little preachy at the end, flower is something that should be experienced.