Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Obligatory 2009 Game of the Year Feature...

Well I at least I'm able to do this earlier than last year as I will reflect upon my top ten games of the year. 2009 is a different story compared to 2008 due to a change of consoles from the Xbox 360 to the Playstation 3. If you checked the reviews tab on the side, you noticed the drop on reviews as I have been pretty selectable with PS3 and PSN games unlike I would with 360 games because of being an achievement whore throughout the time I had with the system. Anyway, here are my top ten games of the year and yes, I have missed some of the bigger titles this year due to my lack of interest or I just flat out don't have that much time as I want to.

10) DJ Hero

So, I actually didn't buy the game for myself hence I didn't review it, but I played it enough to like it a lot. DJ Hero is definitely what the rhythm genre needed since we are starting to see a decline with the rocking (Guitar Hero/Rock Band) in terms of sales and its stability of being good games now. It is a solid start for a potential franchise if Activision still wants to roll with it despite its lack of sales being a disappointment for them and it is worth trying out at least once. Also, it depends if you love the type of music DJ Hero offers from mainstream hip-hop, R&B, electronica, and house. Despite how fun the game is with the turntable controller, its lasting value as a platform will be a make or break for them with more downloadable content, but it seems like they are already thinking about the inevitable sequel next year. Still though, DJ Hero is good enough to make my top ten of 2009.

9) Punch-Out!! (Wii)

The new Punch-Out is a reminder of how you can still do old-school franchises the same way in today's world of gaming. Out of all the franchises Nintendo has decided to bring back, its this one and Little Mac's return feels like a love letter to the NES crowd more than trying to make it appeal to their casual market. As a hardcore Wii game, this is as hardcore as it gets being purely old-school if you loved Mike Tyson's Punch-Out! back in the day. Yeah, this one does not have the magic the original in terms of how a cultural phenomenon it was, but this Wii iteration is one of the better Wii games out this year.

8) Fat Princess

I pretty much call Fat Princess the "cutesy Team Fortress 2." I mean it in a good way because it is a must play online multiplayer experience. Once things do click and you work as a team with other online players, that is when the game satisfies and truly delivers. The class system works and it is still gets patched and balanced with changes, which is neat. At the same time, it does have its charm with the cutesy look being filled with blood and carnage along with feeding the fat princess cake. This is one of the better downloadable games out this year being both fresh and chaotic at the same time.

7) WipeOut HD Fury

Even though Wipeout HD came out last year, the Fury expansion makes it a completely different game and a more complete package with more modes, tracks, and changes to the gameplay. The new modes from Zone Battle, Detonator, and Eliminator makes it one of the most intense racing games I have played. At the same time, this game still looks gorgeous especially with the backgrounds playing Zone mode as they are just sights to behold. A new campaign showcasing the new modes and tracks, the crucial quick 180 turn addition to destroy opponents, and other online additions make Fury the definitive futuristic racing game of the generation.

6) Flower

My favorite game that came out on the Playstation Network without hesitation is the indie hit Flower by thatgamecompany. This is one of those games that is more about living the experience rather than playing the game because that is what Flower is, a special and original experience. Sure, there are some elements that make it more of a game especially later on, but it still never loses its focus of being a beautiful experience. As a game that heavily relies on the Sixaxis, it is the best use of that functionality out this year. Flower feels like you're relaxing and the last time I experienced something similar vibes from is Rez, another indie game I love. Even though Flower is not what you expect out of games these days, it does throw something completely different and original making it awesome.

5) Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion (ARC)

Last year, Tekken 6.0 made my top ten games of the year as Bloodline Rebellion counts it for this year in terms of Tekken. More specifically, I'm counting the arcade version and not the disappointing console version of the game because well the arcade version is still the way to play this game and Namco made less dumb decisions with it compared to console with Scenario Campaign and the rocky start to online play. Despite that, Bloodline Rebellion is Tekken at its best gameplay-wise with balance changes, new characters, new moves for existing characters, and more customizations. It is also the most balanced fighting game I have played in recent memory even though that has been for the franchise since Tekken 5 DR came out as the majority of characters are pretty good with the high tiers still better, but others can still win especially in tournaments. Tekken 6 BR at its core is still a superb fighting game at the arcades and also on consoles despite its issues.

4) New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Once again, Nintendo gives us another example of how to do old-school right, which is the case with New Super Mario Bros. Wii. It is one of the better games in the legendary franchise as if you remember a line from my review, this is pretty much the baby of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World because its combines elements from both games along with the DS game to make it a way better 2D Mario game than New Super Mario Bros. DS. The big addition of co-op multiplayer with up to four players makes it a better game because that is where all the fun is at in terms of teaming up to reach impossible heights or trying to kill each other off by being total jerks. NSMB Wii is one of the better local multiplayer experiences out now and it is worth trying out to screw your friends.

3) Batman: Arkham Asylum

Who never thought that we would ever bow down to the Dark Knight in the videogame world? With Arkham Asylum, this is one of my favorite games out in this generation of consoles. I never seen such a polished game based on a popular comic book character in my life and it proves that you can still make a pretty good comic book game rather than trying to rake in the cash because of the property. Arkham Asylum is not really an original game as I got vibes from various games such as BioShock and Metroid Prime. It definitely feels like Metroid Prime with the exploration, the scanning with detective mode, and progression of traveling across various buildings of the infamous island. Most importantly, this is finally the game that you are actually the Batman being true to the character from being a badass at close combat to a stealthy dude using the environment to his advantage. This also feels like I'm watching a long episode of the 90s animated series since the voice actors from that cartoon being the voices for Batman and the Joker, which is awesome. Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of those games you can not miss this year to play.

2) Street Fighter IV (PS3)

In all of my gaming life, never has one game completely changed my life around like Street Fighter IV. It brought me a new perspective in the fighting game culture and I decided to play this a high competitive level against the country's best players. With all those times being spent at tournaments at various locales in SoCal from Arcade Infinity, the Dreamlab at Arcadia, Irvine for West Coast Warzone, and Hooters for Bar Fights, they brought some of the best times of my life as a whole. I have gotten to know new friends and the best players from the scene to the point I hang out with them on a regular basis. Its just crazy that one game has brought me new friends that are amazing people at the same time. Its pretty safe to say now that I'm a completely different gamer with Street Fighter IV. Anyway, the arcade version was my favorite game of last year and I would easily make the console version my game of the year again, but that's probably too biased since the number one game for me this year totally deserved it. You seen me ramble about Street Fighter IV a lot on this blog, so I won't talk about it that much now, but yeah, I never thought Street Fighter would change my life before I decided to actually hang out with the fighting game scene gaining new friendships with such great people.

1) Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2 definitely deserves my game of the year for 2009 because it is truly one of the best games I ever played in quite a while. This is the game that finally defines the Playstation 3 for what it is as a console in gaming today and an amazing experience from beginning to end. The campaign is just jaw-dropping and plays out like an actual movie with Nolan North reprising his role as Nathan Drake. He really sells the character that everyone enjoys as well as the supporting cast. The gameplay is more refined from the cover-based shooting, the melee combat, and the puzzles. With the amazing setpieces, this game is even better than most of the summer blockbuster movies out this year easily topping them in terms of quality. Even if you're done with the campaign, there is the multiplayer, which is pretty solid (of course not as good or addicting as Modern Warfare 2) with the standard set of modes to play with along with the Uncharted twist being thrown in. This is also the best looking game out this generation so far as everything looks beautiful top to bottom. The various locales are sights to behold to the point they are real and all of this is done with no slowdown at all making it extremely polished. The sounds are also the best of the business with the superb voice acting and one of the best gaming soundtracks with its theatrical approach. To me, it is too obvious that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is my favorite game of 2009.

Well, that's my top ten games of 2009 in a nutshell... More gaming is ahead in 2010 and starting off with a bang!

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