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Best of 2009

PsEG: Best of 2009
I'll start off by admitting I haven't played nearly enough of the awesome games from 2009 that are out there. It's a little embarrassing that I could only recall twelve total, in fact. That's why some of the bottom rungs here are decidedly questionable games.
Thankfully, there is no question in my mind which game is my Game of the Year for 2009, and which games deserve a solid runner-up status.

List items

  • Forza Motorsport 3 has undoubtedly unseated Gran Turismo as the console racing sim to beat. Maybe it won't last long, with Gran Turismo 5 months away, but it still remains significant in that this is the first racing game to truly challenge the Gran Turismo franchise. It's well deserved, too -- Forza 3 improves on Forza 2 on almost every level, creating a streamlined racing experience that's easy to jump into both online and offline. The Season Play mode makes the game's 220 events far easier to play through, and the expanded photo-taking and new video-making capabilities work tremendously well in cataloging racing memories.

    If you're looking for a fun and accessible racing sim, this is it. Forza Motorsport 3 raises the bar for what players should expect in racing games, and it is, without question, my Game of the Year.

  • 'Splosion Man takes a simple one-button control scheme and creates a challenging and entertaining game out of it. Twisted Pixel's off-kilter humor really sets the tone of this whole game, with the simplistic experiment-run-amok plot, and well-placed smidgens of dialog to establish characters. It's a great value with just its single-player mode, but the even tougher co-op campaign makes this a game anyone with an Xbox 360 needs to try. Oh, and the ending's amazing, almost reaching Portal levels of shock hilarity (provided no one's spoiled it for you).

  • I'll admit that I didn't pick up a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game until this year, though they've intrigued me for quite some time. While I may be biased somewhat because it's a new experience for me, playing guitar or bass on The Beatles songs is far more fun than it should be. It's a wonderfully crafted game, a rare title that just about anyone in a family can enjoy, and I've found great songs that I never knew about.

  • I'm ashamed to admit that I'm just beginning to work through Shadow Complex, but I have no qualms placing it this high on my list. Throwing grenades at enemies before rushing the survivors and melee attacking them to death has yet to get old, and the Metroid-esque exploration is quite enjoyable, too. The dark humor of the whole situation complements the gameplay nicely, though I fear I'll be let down by some serious or contrived/cliche plot twist before finishing the game.

  • Trials HD should not be so fun. It's single-player only, it's frustrating as hell, and the bikes are a pain in the ass to control perfectly. The leaderboard support, extra mini-games, and satisfaction of completing the really tough courses make it a pretty worthwhile buy, nevertheless.

  • This is what the first Worms on XBLA should have been. Period.

  • While Peggle isn't exactly new in 2009 itself, its XBLA version is, and it's just as addictive as the PC counterpart. The four-player party play makes this worthwhile, as if the addictive pachinko-style gameplay didn't make it addictive enough already.

  • Here's where we start getting into games I enjoyed, but wouldn't ordinarily make it onto a top ten list had I played more games. The Maw's fun, has a cute story, and is definitely worth a single play-through. The replay value? Hardly there.

  • I wanted Champions Online to be fun. For a while in its open beta, it truly was, and with an Xbox 360 controller hooked up to my PC, I was having loads of fun playing a punch-happy senator-turned-hero with oversized arms. Lifting and throwing gigantic objects at enemies in highly active worlds didn't hurt in the least, either. However, a last-minute XP nerf and enemy damage buff? Those both hurt, and unfortunately took the wind out of the sails of a game that I almost willingly purchased.

  • I lucked out and got the XBLA version of Virtual-On for free. Do you like fast anime robot combat? Good. Enjoy playing against loads of insanely skilled Asian players? Even better. Want the easiest 200 gamerscore since Dash of Destruction? Here you go.