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Best of 2009

I risk being a revisionist, but 2009 may have been one of my personal favorite years in gaming ever.  the variety of games that impressed me was truly remarkable.  I had Western and Eastern RPG's,   tons of great genre hybrids that transcend their ingredients, and completely new approaches to genre's we thought were completely dead.  Some great gaming comfort food that never fails to dissapoint (I'm looking at you Popcap and Insomniac.)  Also, lots of shooting dudes in the face.  I may be a liberal peace loving guy, but who doesn't love a good headshot?
There were a ton of indie games I just didn't have space for in my lists, and some games that hold a special place in my heart as a lover of media like the joy that comes from playing in the Abbey road studios with The Beatles and wonderful electro-rock of the Shatter soundtrack and the joy of the retro-chic of the William Pinball Hall of Fame game (Which I picked up just yesterday!!!)
Also, there are lots of games that I know should be on the list, but a lot of them are extremely multi-player focused and I just haven't gotten around to them.  So please, let me get to it!

List items

  • The second i started up my first character, i could feel that itch i had as a 13 year old, discovering rock music, girls, and Baldur's Gate. I am on record saying that my many playthroughs of Baldur's Gate 2 formed the pinnacle of my enjoyment as a gamer. DA:O lives up to the seemingly insane proposition to be the spiritual successor to BG2. It simultaneously pushes my boundaries with challenging tactical battles and incredibly impressive voice acting and writing, while also making the D&D style combat more accessible than ever without sacrifing any depth. To me, it is the pinnacle of Western RPG design.

    In other words, I felt with Dragon Age what I fell with some of my favorite films and music, that it is simultaneously utterly fresh and i felt completely at home. I don't want to get to "the story of my life" on this, but Dragon Age feels like it was made for me.

    Thus, Dragon Age: Origins is my GOTY of 2009

    *Oh, and c'mon folks, play it on the goddamn PC. Its SO awesome with mouse and keyboard.

  • I find it hard to not just fall into a giant cliche trap when talking about Uncharted 2. As action games go, these is nothing more satisfying than the set-pieces in uncharted 2. The humor and humanity of the characters is amazing. Oh yeah, and the graphics are not just great, they are spectacular. The combat mechanics and the inclusion of stealth kills add a ton of depth to the combat.

    Also, Nathan Drake is the ultimate everyman. Besides the fact that he has cat like-reflexes and luck and hands that work like suction cups. Besides that he's totally an everyman!

  • I played Borderlands for 8 hours straight. I brewed a post of coffee. Then I jumped back in for 8 more. For real. And I'm one of those freaks who prefers to play it solo. Or maybe that was because the gamespy net code was so bogus on the PC version. Regardless, a fantastically fun time.

  • He built a bat cave under Arkham. Do you need to know any more?

    Batman does not fuck around, and even with his anti-killing stance, he causes some major damage to his foes. And guess what? It leads to the best hybrid of genres I thought no one was making anymore, stealth games and melee brawlers. It reinvigorates both. Oh are during the game batman's suit get torn to shreds. And he stays standing.

    That's a tough ass dude.

  • I was not a fan of the first AC1. Not at all. I found it the opposite of the gaming cliche of "compelling." I didn't care. Yet, all of the tweaks they made in the sequel moved the franchise from "thing lots of people on the internet love that I think is bullshit" to "thing lots of people on the internet love, including me, that others think is bullshit." Regardless, the story, setting,

  • The game of my summer. I got it day one, without know much about it except this "Sucker Punch Dude with Lightning" equals something special. One of the few times I avoided coverage and just jumped in to the game.

    Well, it was completely worth it. The kinetic nature of the parkour, and amazing powers and ability to cause such mass destruction really made it a sight to behold. Now, while the "moral choices" stuff was silly and extremely binary, it didn't really bother me. Its a video GAME. If its going to have a "gamey" aspects, that okay by me, because the core action was just so satisfying.

  • As you may have noticed I bought a PS3 this year, and I bought it just in time. I even went back and rented a lot of the earlier big time game from the past few years. And one thing I was sorely disappointed by was the showing of insomniac, especially resistance 2, which i found to be nearly offensively lifeless and dead. I mean, this is the team that made the ratchet and clank games, some of my favorite games of my high school years.

    Well, it appears that the past few games by Insomniac studios have just been warm up to A Crack in Time, the tightest, most enjoyable, and expansive ratchet and clank yet. Maybe expansive is the wrong word. There are actually less weapons and gadgets than normal, but they are refined to such a fantastic degree that I ended up maxing out every weapon (even the annoying sixaxis controlled one), without even paying attention.

    Truly a game I would recommend to anyone.

  • I haven't finished Dawn of War 2. But I will not forget the feeling I got the first time i booted the game up and took control of my squad of dudes. Many called this game a RTS/Diablo Hybrid, which i guess is true, but the tactical nature of the combat keeps you on your toes. You can't just highlight a huge squad and just click on the tyranid base. Unless you want to die.

    Its really hard to explain why I love this game so much, but everything about it felt so fresh and

  • Funniest little game ever? Totally. And don't tell me you have to read too much. Grow the f*** up and take it. Bowser has two Italian plumbers running around in his asophagus. Also, I have chortles. If you don't understand a word of this past paragraph, then you need to run out and get this wonderful little gem.

  • Zombie Fatigue? Shut up. Get over it. In this game, you can have corn on the cob plants shoot giant gobs of butter at giant zombies with catapults. Just get this game already. Its on windows and mac. just do it. Here, I'll help you:

    Okay, played it yet? No. DO IT.