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Game Of The Year Awards 2009 January 5, 2010

Posted by Matthew in Awards, Feature.
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Back after a two-month hiatus caused by playing about stuff rather than writing about stuff. Much like last year, I’ve decided to do my own awards – at least that way they’ll all be correct (bleoww). Couldn’t be arsed with too many categories, genres and sub-genres etc. The games in the platform-specific categories are platform exclusives – just because. So onto the results below…

Best Xbox 360 Game:

Halo 3: ODST

It was quite refreshing not playing as Master Chief for a change. ODST plays like a “Greatest Hits” of the Halo series, with each flashback showing off some very polished and refined gameplay based on the series’ best bits. The atmospheric hub overworld of New Mombasa was simply brilliant. Best of all, NO FUCKING FLOOD. Read my review at Peoww HERE.

Runner-up:

Ummm…errrr…the 360 wasn’t exactly blessed with great exclusives that I liked in 2009. Forza 3? Realistic racing game = not interested. Shadow Complex? A bit bland, and became dull as fuck after a while.

Best PS3 Game:

Demon’s Souls

One of the most unique games I’ve played this generation, and one of the most punishingly difficult. An action RPG, with hints of roguelike and an unforgiving death mechanic – upon dying, you resurrect in “soul form” with less health, but more attack power and have to regain your soul in order to turn to body form. The online component is fantastic, with the ability to leave messages on the ground, summon players for help, invade their games and even playing as a boss, in certain circumstances. Add to that the fact you can see the spirits of other players online in real-time, playing through the same section as you. The whole online aspect of the came is certainly something else. A refreshing RPG from Japan that distances itself from the usual clichéd JRPG nonsense. I will review this for somewhere at some point.

Runners-up:

Uncharted 2 – Still contains some things from the first game that pissed me off e.g. the shite gun combat, but the platform mechanics are as good as ever, and it’s one of the most impressive cinematic experiences you’ll have playing a game. The not-tacked-on-at-all multiplayer mode was surprisingly good, too.

inFamous – An interesting take on the superhero story, with a hint of “Heroes” about it. The eagle-eyed enemies were a pain in the arse, but were only a quick zap away from death. Jumping and grinding around the gritty, run-down city was fun, and there were plenty of side-quests to do if you wanted a break form the main story. Read my review at Gamestyle HERE.

Best Wii Game:

House of the Dead: Overkill

Quite simply the best light gun game I’ve ever played, wrapped up in a lovely Grindhouse-inspired art-style and soundtrack – complete with an onslaught of gratuitous fucking swearing. The new game + director’s cut mode offers new paths throughout the levels, and two-player coop is a blast. The official Hand Cannon light gun is the perfect companion to the game, and arguably the best light gun shell for the Wii. Peoww review HERE.

Runners-up

New Super Mario Bros. Wii – It’s a proper 2D Mario platformer. It’s a proper 2D Mario platformer. It’s a proper 2D Mario platformer. It’s a proper 2D Mario platformer. It’s a proper 2D Mario platformer. It’s a proper 2D Mario platformer. It’s a proper 2D Mario platformer. It’s a proper 2D Mario platformer.

Dead Space: Extraction – I loved Dead Space, thought it was far better than Resident Evil 5, so naturally I’d be interested in this. As a prequel, it does a great job in showing the origin of the necromorphs and the marker. It doesn’t really play like your typical on-rails light gun shooter, more like a guided FPS with a very cinematic feel.

Best PC Game:

Left 4 Dead 2

Bu-bu-but it’s just a quick lazy cash-in! Bu-bu-but it should have been DLC! Bu-bu-but PISS OFF. No add-on here, just more awesome. Five campaigns, one more than the previous game, and one of which is possibly the best yet – Hard Rain. New special infected, most notably the fucking annoying Jockey – basically the “headcrab enemy” of the game. a beefed-up set of firearms is complemented by the addition of melee weapons. Chainsaw and zombies? Yes please. The crescendo events and finales have seen a change, with not all of them adhering to the “fight the horde until help arrives” method. All of that, and it again has some of the best online co-op around.

Runners-up

Torchlight – a.k.a Diablo 2.5. A brilliant little loot-heavy RPG, whose creators include the co-designers of Diablo 1 & 2. It’s your typical Diablo-style gameplay, while collecting shit-loads of loot in randomly generated dungeons. The lovely art-style is reminiscent of World of Warcraft, and the haunting soundtrack fits just perfectly.

Killing Floor – An Unreal Tournament mod, It’s an interesting alternative to Left 4 Dead. It’s very impressive, with great horde-bade gameplay and online co-op. The setting (London) is interesting, and the levelling-up mechanics ensure to keep you occupied.

Best Downloadable Game:

Battlefield: 1943 (Xbox 360)

I lapped up the Battlefield: Bad Company multiplayer, so naturally I’d be all over this. Despite the limited selection of maps and weapons, it was definitely the best fun I had online in 2009. The classes were shaken up a little bit, and recharging health was added, but that didn’t have a negative impact on the game at all. In fact, other than the fucking shit planes-only level (Coral Sea), everything else was brilliant. Hanging back and taking out foes from afar as a sniper, while at the same time watching over and protecting your bases is an immensely satisfying experience. It looks bloody nice, and the sound design is almost as good as Bad Company, which is alright for a downloadable game.  Reviewed HERE.

Runners-up:

LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias (WiiWare) – the first game, reviewed HERE, was brilliant. It was definitely one of the best downloadable games I’ve played, and this  takes everything that made it great, and does it better.

Bit. Trip Beat (WiiWare) – an intriguing mixture of the gameplay of Pong, with the rhythm gameplay and visual inspiration of Rez. I loved the retro 8-bit visuals, and the clever use of motion controls.

Best iPhone/iPod Touch Game:

Canabalt

Also available online as a flash game HERE, Canabalt couldn’t be any simpler. Controlling a little running man in a suit, you must run from left-to-right over collapsing buildings, while jumping to avoide obstacles with a simple tap of the touch screen. That’s about it, really. There’s so much to love about this game, from the retro 8-bit style visuals to the intense soundtrack. I love all the little graphical touches, like the way the nameless man’s jacket flaps as he jumps, and the flocks of birds scattering as you run past them. Plus there’s the ominous War of the Worlds-esque tripods stomping around in the background. It’s only a measly £1.49, and should be  a definite purchase for any iPhone/Touch user. It’s a perfect example of what a game on the platform should be.

Runners-up:

Space Invaders: Infinity Gene – An interesting update of a retro classic. The game “evolves” as you play, with the ability to create levels based around the beats of a chosen song on the iPod. The graphics have an impressive Rez/Geometry Wars vibe to them which are very pleasing to the eye, in fact, it’s arguably the best looking game on the platform. A little bit more expensive than Canabalt at £2.99, but worth every penny. It’s one of the best modern updates of Space Invaders yet.

Flight Control – Surely everyone owns this by now? For 59p, you certainly should. With some excellent use of the touch screen, you frantically plot courses for planes and helicopters to safely land. I’m a bit rubbish at it, and tend to shit myself and panic if there’s more than five vehicles on-screen at one time, but it’s still fun as hell.

Best Visuals:

Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)

What’s this? A Wii game? But it’s not in HD! A perfect example of why art-style matters more than graphical horsepower, in my opinion. The beautifully animated 2D hand-drawn characters and environments are breathtaking at times. As good as it looks in screenshots, it really has to be seen in motion for the full impact. Simply put, one of the best looking games of the generation, let alone 2009.

Runners-up:

The Beatles: Rock Band – From the amazing animated introduction, to the fantastically realised dreamscape sequences, the spirit of The Beatles, their music and their image is perfectly captured here. My particular favourite is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

MadWorld – The black & white, cell-shaded visuals contrasting with the copious amounts of red blood were certainly striking, and helped to emphasise the game’s slapstick humour – especially with the comic book-style “SPLAAAAAT” etc. accompanying every over-the-top finishing move. check out my review HERE.

Best Audio:

The Beatles: Rock Band

It’s The Beatles: Rock Band, need I say more?

Runners-up:

Halo 3: ODST – I’ve always been a big fan of the Halo series’ soundtracks, and this is probably my favourite so far. It all goes a bit film-noir and, while the trademark Halo theme isn’t present, it still contains the signature moments and sounds that makes the music in this series so memorable.

House of the Dead: Overkill – Full of what are basically parodies of sleazy 70s rock, it’s just a shame the soundtrack didn’t get an official release.

Surprise Of The Year:

Prototype (Xbox 360/PS3)

I didn’t really pay much attention to this beforehand, but it turned out to be brilliant. Probably one of the best non-licensed “superhero” games I’ve played. No other game gives you the feeling of being such an all-powerful badass, and maneuvering around the city was like a mixture of Crackdown’s platforming, and the parkour of Mirror’s Edge. Read my brief review HERE.

Runners-up:

Dead Space: Extraction (Wii) – What many thought to be just a lazy light gun cash-in game turned out to be an incredibly cinematic experience, almost in a  genre of its own.

Little King’s Story (Wii) – Came out or nowhere. Basically an RTS/RPG/adventure mish-mash full of charm and character. Shame about the curious lack of pointer controls, though.

Disappointment Of The Year:

Resident Evil 5

A hilarious attempt to “Westernise” the franchise by beefing up Chris Redfield with steroids, and adding forced co-op resulted in a disappointing entry in the franchise. The whole “can’t move while shooting” thing just feels archaic now, especially after playing the superior Dead Space. It wasn’t that it was a terrible game or anything, it just wasn’t good enough. While it did have it’s good bits, it plays like a poor imitation of Resident Evil 4.

Runners-up:

Killzone 2 – Allegedly the Second Coming of Christ in terms of visuals, it turned out to be nothing more than an above average FPS with good graphics. Your squad mates being a group of clichéd, “bro soldiers”,  shouty cunts didn’t make the game any more enjoyable, and neither did the lethargic controls – it felt like wading through treacle half the time. the online multiplayer was great, though. Review, complete with pathetic fanboys in the comments sections is HERE, with a follow-up article by me HERE.

FIFA 10 – The laziness appears to be creeping back into the franchise again. Full of silly bugs and glitches present in the last game which EA only bothered to fix with a patch a few months after release.

Pile Of Shit Of The Year:

Damnation:

Started off as a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004, and evolved into this shitefest. It tries to be a mix of Gears of War (to the extent of outright copying its menu system and HUD) and Prince of Persia. The scale of the levels is impressive, the scale of its awfulness is astonishing. Reviewed HERE.

Runners-up

Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad – I actually scored this one lower than Damnation, but the presence of zombies shunts it into the runner-up slot. Still shite, mind.

Turtles in Time: Re-Shelled – A remake of the TMNT SNES game. Horrible graphics, awful fighting mechanics and awkward controls. Biggest waste of money I’ve spent on XBLA.

Best Multiformat Game:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

I was cautiously optimistic about this. The series wasn’t making any progress with its “infinitely respawning enemies until you pass a certain point” tactic, and the enemies themselves were devoid of any AI whatsoever. Thankfully, most of that has been fixed. The singleplayer has some of the best setpieces around, and the story is surprisingly good for what it is. Of course, the multiplayer is as brilliant as ever. The perks have been shaken up a bit, and the new killstreaks and introduction of deathstreaks have made things much more interesting. The maps are also more varied this time, they aren’t as flat as before and there is more “verticality” this time. All in all, a fantastic FPS. Prestige edition was ace, too.

Runners-up:

Assassin’s Creed 2 – Pretty much all of the countless problems with the first game have been fixed. No more tedious, repetitive side missions. It now flows more naturally, with plenty of variety in the main missions and an engrossing story to go with it. Double wrist-blade kill from a rooftop? Yes please,

Batman: Arkham Asylum – A good licensed comic book game? Bloody hell. The story was great, and it has some of the best third-person brawling action I’ve played in a long time.

Overall Game Of The Year

Demon’s Souls

I gushed about this above, this game really is brilliant. Many seem to be put off by the game’s tough difficulty, but it’s very rewarding if you stick with it. Sadly it doesn’t seem to be getting a PAL release, but it’s region-free, so importing shouldn’t be a problem at all – you might even find a copy in your local indie if you’re lucky.

Runners-up:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

House of the Dead: Overkill

Game Of The Decade:

Resident Evil 4

One of the most complete games ever made. It redefined the survival horror genre, and set a template for action games to follow – none of which have done it better. Who can forget that cabin seige bit? Or the raspy breathing of the regenerators? Or the fight with the lake monster? Or the chainsaw-wielding maniac? I could gon on and on, it’s just that there is so many memorable moments in this game.

Runners-up:

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – My favourite Zelda game of them all. Very different to the others in the series, it’s much darker, and more “mature”. You can read my thoughts on it in this feature at Gamestyle.

Super Mario Galaxy – The best platformer ever made, bar none.

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Comments»

1. Jacob - January 5, 2010

What a load of rubbish

2. Matthew - January 5, 2010

ffs Jacob 😡

3. revnardintheplace - January 6, 2010

How are you, I made a Classic Rock Mix that you might like, you should check it out and let me know what you think

4. Dalagonash - January 6, 2010

House of the Dead: Overkill as Wii GOTY, you absolute legend!

Also, good work having proper format GOTY’s then a multiformat one, sensible boy.

5. Maflol - January 6, 2010

Nice! Some good awards there Maflol

6. Suzzopher - January 6, 2010

I read the full thing all the way up to Majora’s Mask being a game of the decade, realized this article is a pile of shit and you have no clue what you’re on about. Leave the internet, no one wants you here.

Disregard the above comment, Final Fantasy XII is rubbish and Majora’s Mask is the best game ever.

7. Matthew - January 6, 2010

Posting two comments with two separate email addresses, Chris? For shame.

Also, what the hell is with that classic rock mix?

revnardintheplace - January 7, 2010

It’s a mix of classic rock artists that i put togethor i got alot more different type of music on youtube type in revnardintheplace

8. Suzzopher - January 6, 2010

Editing my message. Power gone to your head boy. Two can play that game. Mod power>you.


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