December 22, 2009

2009 Game of the Year

Mike Rohde says It was a pretty good year for new games. Last year at this time, I lamented that almost all the new games were sequels, and many of them were not innovative or all that new. This year, all that has changed. Sure, there were plenty of sequels, but those sequels came off as fresh, unique, and most importantly: fun. As the Executive Editor, my qualifications for a game to be nominated for Game of the Year are based solely on one factor: how much fun did you have playing that game through the course of the year, regardless of when it was released?

Based on that criteria, my runners up for Game of the Year include: Halo Wars, The Godfather II, Gears of War 2, FEAR 2 and 50 cent: Blood on the Sand.The final nominees are: Dead Space, Fable II, Forza 3, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Assassin's Creed II. All of these games are fantastic, innovative, and fun. The shortcomings include occasionally frustrating game play, feelings of the game turning into a grind, or lack of features. All-in-all though, each of these games rate at least a B+ if not an A. I wholly recommend that everyone play these games.

The grand winner, in this gamer's opinion, is Modern Warfare 2. It offers everything a game can and should offer: an adrenaline-packed single player campaign that's just as fun the second time through; a multiplayer experience that's addictive and challenging; and coop missions that are a complete blast while playing with your buddy. You really couldn't ask for more out of a game.

Chris Nitz says 2009 Game of the Year: inFamous

2009 was a year full of great games. We finally saw a comic book game worthy of a GoTY nomination in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Uncharted 2 graced us with amazing visuals and great story line. Music games saw the Beatles and Grandmaster Flash put out some new ways to enjoy our music. Atlus proved that we are not worthy of gaming godliness with its punishing game Demon's Souls. With all these great games, my game of the year would have to be inFamous.

inFamous is the one game I had the urge to play through a second time just to get both sides of its story line. The story was that engaging to me. I am looking forward to seeing where the storyline goes in the sequel.

I felt like a powerhouse when I nuked enemies with my super lightning powers. The game looked great, ran well, and the controls were spot on. inFamous was just the right length and did not wear out its welcome. Overall, the package was very polished and highly enjoyable. It is the one game I still throw in from time to time. The amount of time I have put in and the enjoyable experiences I have had make this my 2009 console game of the year.

Troy Benedict’s GOTY 2009

I found myself having a really hard time picking a Game of the Year for 2009. In past years, choosing the best game of the year was an easier task. At least it felt that way in retrospect, where one title shone brightly amongst a sea of not-quite-as-great games. This year, nearly everybody stepped up their game (literally) and released some really top-tier titles! I had a good time working my way through the haunted daylights of Capcom's Resident Evil 5. Batman Arkham Asylum was a surprise hit that almost nobody saw coming until the high praise hit the Internet. Harmonix showed us what it would be like to be a member of the Fab Four with The Beatles: Rock Band. Naughty Dog made an amazingly stellar sequel with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, demonstrating some of the PlayStation 3's true power! The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition was a faithful and updated remake of one of my favorite games of all time! Scribblenauts and its nearly infinite if-you-can-write-it-you-can-use-it library of tools and objects was an innovative spin on the puzzle-platform genre. Shadow Complex showed us that good things come in small (or digital) packages at VERY reasonable prices ($15)! BioWare created a new franchise with Dragon Age: Origins proving that a fantastic RPG can exist today without the Dungeons & Dragons or Star Wars licenses. I was one of the 90-gazillion people who picked up Modern Warfare 2 on launch date, and loved every minute of the campaign! Borderlands proved that an RPG/FPS hybrid can exist -- and be tons fun (especially 4-player co-op) -- and that people still love Diablo-style loot drops! Finally, Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, a fun and enjoyable game that can be played without EVER pressing a button!

While I enjoyed all of those games, my choice of game of the year was none of those excellent titles. In fact, my choice for 2009 is a re-release of a three-year old PlayStation 2 game. It doesn't have awesome, high-resolution textures. It has no online multiplayer. It's not even a console-based release. My choice for 2009 Game of the Year was Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days by NIS America for the PSP. The choice for me was actually pretty simple: Disgaea 2: DHD was the 2009 release that I spent the most time to playing, and I enjoyed every second playing it! Being a father to three children (one of whom was born in September), it is sometimes hard to sit down and play a game without interruption, and a game like Disgaea 2 on a portable system like the PSP was the perfect combination to a busy life. I could take it on the road with me or I could play it when the TV was occupied. When family life called, I could suspend the game immediately and resume it later on. I never had to worry about not getting to a save point and losing my progress, or having to bail out in the middle of an online multiplayer game. It's situations like this that prove that it's still possible to be a gamer even when you're also a parent. Happy holiday to all of The Goozex Report readers! I can't wait to see how the gaming in 2010 can possibly top the greatness of 2009!

Cole Burton Says The VGAs are a big part of the year for every gamer. This was a great year. We saw Batman: Arkham Asylum, the first trailer for spec ops and Halo Reach and some of our most favorite games got the attention they deserved.

Two things at the VGAs stood out to me this year:

1. Jack Black beat Nathan Drake and The Joker for best voice award (crazy) and he was last year’s host for the VGAs. Was that award fixed?

2. Uncharted 2 beat Modern Warfare 2 for Game of the Year. I am glad for Uncharted 2, I always said that if it weren't for Modern Warfare 2, Uncharted 2 would win; boy was I shocked.

Either way, a great game won GotY and many other deserving games and actors were awarded as well. It looks like 2010 will be a strong year for gaming.

Shawn Lebert says While I admit that I haven’t experienced each and every amazing game currently on the market, I will nominate the ones that I have played! That means, unfortunately, I can’t really nominate any first-party titles for the PlayStation 3 since I don’t have one – sorry Uncharted 2, inFamous, and Killzone 2. To me, getting the Game of the Year award means it has to be original in its own light – even if it’s a sequel – a modern innovation, and, of course, fun. It has to stand out and make the year unique. The three most outstanding game nominations for 2009 to go: Assassin’s Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Assassin’s Creed II – This is, by far, a phenomenal sequel to the original. In fact, it’s so good that I consider it 100% better than the first. Yes, the first game has the same exact mechanics that you experience in its sequel, but Ubisoft surely listened to the fans and perfected AC2 to the best of their abilities. The fighting and climbing remain the same, albeit there are new animations from time to time. The arsenal for weapons, treasure hunting, glyph discovering, and the unparalleled, epic narrative are to the 110th power. The game will take at least 40 hours for those who wish to complete at 100%. Not only does it provide great insight to the “matrix”-like connections between modern day and the character’s ancestors, but also you’ll learn a plethora of history during the Renaissance.

Batman: Arkham Asylum – It’s heaven: a video game mixed with the best comic book hero: Batman. Not only does it stand out to be the best Batman game ever made, but it’s accurate to the mythos, as it was penned and developed by creators of the comics, along with top notch voice work that made The Animated Series so superb. Arkham Asylum caters to addicting gameplay that includes the brutal fighting styles of the Bat, but also balances itself with a great detective mode that makes Batman more than just a beat-em-up; making it smart, investigative, and fun. There are more than enough goodies throughout the game, and you will want to complete it, because the Riddler will never stump Batman!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – Amazing, amazing campaign that will give you goosebumps. Just like the first game, Modern Warfare 2 is complete with an adrenalin-rushing campaign that surpasses the first. The great thing about the recent Modern Warfare series is that Infinity Ward creates a world that feels so naturally well-developed not only through their characters, but even the locations feel like a dynamic character in itself when things explode, buildings crumble, etc., just to see it in a different light from when you entered it. It’s one big destructive – although scripted – playground. The multiplayer is just as addicting as the first. On top of all that, along comes a new Spec Ops mode that will keep you playing until your eyes bleed.

Game of the Year Winner: Batman: Arkham Asylum

It goes to Arkham Aslyum because it definitely stands out as a standalone game. Developed by scratch, this game is ideal for anyone who wants to get into gaming on any system, wants to be Batman the right way, or just loves a balanced and dynamic gameplay system. It’s got something for everyone, and everyone should enjoy it!

Erik Kubik says as a member of Goozex and a writer for The Goozex Report, I’ve had the opportunity to play a lot of newer games this year. Some of the games were great, some were okay, and a few were beyond terrible.

Candidates for game of the year include a lot of AAA titles. For starters, there is inFamous, for me this was the super hero game I had wanted to play for years. Free roaming game play with a decent story, two sides with two different paths, and an excellent narrative.

Second game on my list is Modern Warfare 2. I have to admit this game is awesome. It's easily one of the best fps I've played in the last three years. Once again Activision has a made a game that says “Wow!” Although the single player is short, the added “spec ops” mode and the multi player make this a game that everyone can enjoy for months.

Uncharted 2, showed off what the ps3 can do in the way of graphics and game play. Nathan Drake is back and taking charge. The game moved from cinematic to game and back again without effort. After the in-depth single player campaign, gamers were treated to an outstanding multiplayer that includes a team based co-op. I cannot stop playing this game, every week I fire it up for a few hours or more.

Batman Arkham Asylum is third. This game which I knew nothing about until I tried the demo, sucked me in for a few weeks. Fluid combat and gadgets combined with a great story narrated by the people who voiced the animated series. This is the Batman game that all gamers have been waiting for since Batman Returns popped out on the Sega Genesis back in the 90s.

My last candidate may be one which has just seen a recent revival in its multiplayer, Red Faction Guerrilla Warfare from THQ. The single player story and characters are marginally interesting. But who cares about the plot in a game where the gung ho, destroy all environments attitude is first. Mix in some fun and crazy weapons, and more multiplayer modes than I can count and it’s a wrap. These elements make it a candidate for GOTY.

Between the four it comes down to Red Faction, Uncharted 2, and Batman AA. I love the comics and everything that is Batman. Red Faction has a lot of fun multiplayer. But then look at Uncharted 2, it has everything and it looks great. I am sure Naughty Dog has long term plans for the game with DLC.